Good Links – Weekly (July 10)

by Hugh

The Great Montreal Link Exchange continues (sorry this is late): Every week Mitch (w / t) picks a link for me and a link for Alistair (w / t). Alistair and I do the same.

Losing Our Cool”: The high price of staying cool.

Alistair for Hugh: Since Montreal’s in the middle of a heat wave, with temperatures cresting at 41 Celsius (105 Fahrenheit for our friends to the South) I thought this would be a good fit for Hugh. It’s about air conditioners. I never gave them much thought, but according to Losing our cool, they’ve shaped us more than we know: encouraging people to reproduce in the summer months; swelling the ranks of voters in Southern states; contributing to a drop in immunity, and more.

How to Teach a Child to Argue.

Alistair for Mitch: For Mitch, who’s frequently called on to convince others, here’s a piece my extremely expectant wife found on teaching your children to argue. While that sounds like a horrible idea, critical thinking and rhetoric can help children reason and figure things out. As we trust crowdsourced data, upvoted stories, and word of mouth more and more, the ability to think discriminately and to distinguish good arguments from bad will become a vital life skill.

Quantum Entanglement Holds DNA Together, Say Physicists.

Hugh for Alistair: Talking to Alistair often leaves me with a sore brain. Another thing that gives me a sore brain is quantum physics, particularly quantum entanglement. Entanglement is a property of quantum systems that links two particles’ states, even if they are separated by vast distances. Or, to quote from today’s link: ‘Entanglement is the weird quantum process in which a single wavefunction describes two separate objects. When this happens, these objects effectively share the same existence, no matter how far apart they might be.’ Well that’s pretty weird. Even weirder would be if it turns out that quantum entanglement is what holds DNA together. Be sure to read the comment thread.

A short History of the development of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology by Dr. Joseph Woo.

Hugh for Mitch: Jaron Lanier has written critically about Wikipedia entries replacing the more idiosyncratic pages by individual experts/hobbyists that used to crop up in web searches in the ‘old days’. At least Wikipedia is for the most part real text written by real people with the intention of helping readers get the information they want. But recently there’s been a new scourge, vapid pages of filler commissioned to match search queries to high-value adwords (see: Demand Media). So, I was shocked and awed and thrilled when I did a recent search for ‘pre-natal ultrasound history’ and found this page: ‘A short History of the development of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology’ written by Dr. Joseph S.K. Woo of Hong Kong. Says the homepage: ‘Rated among the top 5% of all Internet sites by Lycos in 1995’ (!) … A lovingly put-together treasure from the early, innocent days of the web. And still #1 ranked on Google for ‘prenatal ultrasound history.”

Who Is The New CEO?.

Mitch for Alistair: A fascinating Blog post by Vineet Nayar over on the Harvard Business Review Blog where he asks: ‘What then is the role of the new CEO? Is it to personally add the most value to the business? Or is it to enable those at the heart of this new value zone? If, as I believe, the latter is the case, we need to rethink our leadership styles and adopt one that is aligned better with current realities.” As businesses try to re-define themselves in a post-recession and New Media world, why aren’t we looking for a new definition of our top leaders as well?

Cyber Dissidents: How the Internet is Changing Dissent.

Mitch for Hugh: Freedom of information is something we all need to be paying a lot more attention to. This is an excellent panel discussion (it’s a video) that looks at how online technology is allowing many stories to get told in real time. While many of us are quick to point to instances like the elections in Iran or the Haiti disaster, there are many, many other stories that are being told as well. None of this would be possible were it not for technology and Social media tools, channels and platforms. After watching this panel discussion, you may start thinking differently about Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as real tools of change and access to freedom.