The Costs of Overwork and Other Fascinating News of the Web

January 21, 2014

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  1. Dude, Where’s My Laptop?

    Over the weekend, my five year-old daughter confiscated and hid my laptop. She was tired of competing for attention with the screen, and no amount of daddy trying to convince her he was building his personal brand was going to change her mind. Similar scenes are all too common in this era when, thanks to always-on digital devices, the line between work and home life has been largely obliterated. So it comes as a welcome surprise that some firms on Wall Street — where overwork is viewed as a badge of honor — are urging their employees to take a little time off. Why? Because it’s better for business. Here’s The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki on the cult of overwork and the costs of working too much.

    + “In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough.” From Sam Polk in the NYT: For the Love of Money.

    + According to a recent study, money is addictive.

    + “The world’s richest 85 people control about $1.7 trillion in wealth, equivalent to the bottom half of the world’s population.”

  2. The Olympics’ Sixth Ring

    Russian authorities refer to their Olympic security plan as the “ring of steel.” But recent warnings of up to three potential suicide bombers (known as Black Widows) in and around Sochi have security personnel concerned.

  3. What Comes Around…

    According to a couple of recent studies, China’s air pollution is now increasing the strength of cyclones that form over the Pacific, and some of it is making its way to the the United States (where consumption of Chinese goods is a key driver of the creation of the pollution).

  4. Thinking Outside the Searchbox

    When it comes to your kids, what are you most likely to ask Google? That, it turns out, depends on whether your child is a boy or a girl. Consider this: “Parents are two and a half times more likely to ask ‘Is my son gifted?’ than ‘Is my daughter gifted?’ … Parents Google ‘Is my daughter overweight?’ roughly twice as frequently as they Google ‘Is my son overweight?’” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on what he learned about what we ask Google.

  5. Trash Talk Heard ‘Round the World

    Forget the violence, the injuries, the concussions, the brain damage, and the suicides. Someone on the Seahawks said something mean after one of the NFL playoff games. Richard Sherman’s televised outburst overshadowed (at least on social media) his team’s win over the 49ers. Will Leitch reviews the comments and argues that Sherman “is precisely the type of person you should cheer for.” And Terry Blount insists that Richard Sherman is a better man than what you see.

    + Now, even Richard Sherman has written an article in which he attempts to explain how he became one of the first athletes in history to say what he really means during an interview: To those who would call me a thug or worse

    + The best quote on the subject goes to Neil Brennan who tweeted: “At least Richard Sherman plays in the NFL. I’ve seen dudes yell like that about football and they work at Best Buy.”

    + OK, enough about Sherman. Let’s get back to focusing on what the Super Bowl is really all about. The ads. From BloombergBusinessweek: Super Bowl Ad Insanity Explained in Six Charts.

    + Is the extra point on the way out?

  6. Air Force One on One

    David Remnick goes behind the scenes with President Obama and gets his take on marijuana, chewing Nicorette, whether he’d let a kid play football, and dealing with critics: “The only time I get frustrated is when folks act like it’s not complicated and there aren’t some real tough decisions, and are sanctimonious, as if somehow these aren’t complicated questions.” (So that’s basically every Tweet or blog post ever written.)

    + It’s been a tough week for Chris Christie between the traffic scandal and the Bruce Springsteen/Jimmy Fallon parody. Now his inauguration party has been snowed out. (I can’t wait to see how his staff plots to get back at Mother Nature.)

  7. Not So Fast (Forward)

    You’ve been fast-forwarding over commercials for years. But big media companies hope they can rewind that trend with on-demand programming. It’s available when you want it. But you can’t skip the ads.

    + Thirty years ago, it wasn’t clear whether you’d have the right to record. ArsTechnica looks back at Betamax case that changed everything.

    + What do you get when you combine “more independent financiers willing to back mid-budget ‘prestige’ dramas, and tightened purse strings throughout Hollywood?” A lot of really good movies.

    + Don Draper sells a lot of Lucky Strikes.

  8. You Say Potato

    MoJo provides an overview of American eating habits with these three simple charts. Spoiler alert: You’re good on potatoes.

    + Does microwaving food kill its nutritional value? Apparently not.

  9. Meet a Fanboy

    Have you ever loved something so much it hurts?  Lessley Anderson of The Verge goes into the dark, strange mind of a fanboy. I used to be an Apple fanboy. But then I realized I got more satisfaction out of being shareholder.

  10. The Bottom of the News

    “Nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It’s kind of a shock.” Mental Floss shares the fourteen things we learned from Bill Murray’s Reddit AMA.

    + Seven hand gestures that make you look like an intellectual. And the one gesture that can get you disqualified from a speed skating competition.

    + The time a driver didn’t notice the man stuck in his windshield.

    + Can you cure snoring with singing? Possibly. But you take the risk of living with both.