Cal Chow

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A controversial study has a new spin on the otherworldliness of the octopus

Octopuses are strange, smart creatures that certainly <i>seem</i> alien—what with the tentacles, camouflage, and shape-shifting skills. Still, the idea that they actually came from outer space would seem to fall strictly into the realm of sci-fi; an update of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, say.<p>But in these …

Biology

Why introverts might actually be better networkers

“I’m an introvert,” someone inevitably tells me when I speak about building a professional network. “Networking is just not for me.” These people assume networking belongs solely in the domain of the extroverts.<p>Presumably, extroverts are more excited by going to mixers and events and meeting new …

Psychology

How your workplace is killing you

The modern workplace can inflict dangerous levels of stress on employees. Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Dying for a Paycheck, argues that these practices don’t help companies – and warns governments are ignoring an emerging public health crisis.<p>An Uber software engineer making a six-figure income …

The Workplace

The Era of Fake Video Begins

The digital manipulation of video may make the current era of “fake news” seem quaint.<p>In a dank corner of the internet, it is possible to find actresses from <i>Game of Thrones</i> or <i>Harry Potter</i> engaged in all manner of sex acts. Or at least to the world the carnal figures look like those actresses, and …

Virtual Reality

PWC's millennial employees led a rebellion—and their demands are being met

A few years ago, PwC recruiters noticed a change on the blue-chip campuses that produced so many of the consulting behemoth’s new hires.<p>For decades, fresh graduates had simply accepted they’d be signing away nights, weekends, and any semblance of a normal family life or social calendar in exchange …

The Workplace

Amazon built one of the world's most efficient warehouses by embracing chaos

Robbinsville, NJ<p>When Dave Alperson got his first job at an Amazon warehouse in 1997, as a temporary hourly employee, it involved walking around the …

eCommerce

If you want your kid to get a good job, let them play more

Fears about automation displacing workers around the world ranked high on the list of Things to Be Very Worried About at the World Economic Forum in January. “At the end of the day, we have to fire a lot of people,” said Ursula Burns, chairman of the supervisory board at telecom group VEON, and …

An effortless way to improve your memory

A surprisingly potent technique can boost your short and long-term recall – and it appears to help everyone from students to Alzheimer’s patients.<p>When trying to memorise new material, it’s easy to assume that the more work you put in, the better you will perform. Yet taking the occasional down time …

The Brain

The secret tricks hidden inside restaurant menus

Great thought and effort go into creating restaurant menus – and there are some very powerful psychological tricks employed to make you choose.<p>With a theatrical flourish, a sombre, leather-bound document is placed in front of you. Inside, the pages bear a tight italicised script and your eyes are …

Marks & Spencer

The art and science of being charismatic

Charismatic people have mastered a complex set of communication skills which give them considerable advantage in work and life.<p>What do Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs and Tony Blair have in common? Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, they all oozed charisma. Charismatic leaders can inspire followers to be more loyal …

Body Language

How Hedge Funds (Secretly) Get Their Way in Washington

With swept-back silver hair and a prestigious résumé, James K. Glassman cuts the classic figure of a Washington wise man. He’s a former …

Hedge Funds

Your smartphone📱is making you👈 stupid, antisocial 🙅 and unhealthy 😷. So why can't you put it down❔⁉️

A decade ago, smart devices promised to change the way we think and interact, and they have – but not by making us smarter. Eric Andrew-Gee explores the growing body of scientific evidence that digital distraction is damaging our minds<p>In the winter of 1906, the year San Francisco was destroyed by …

Why Do We Need to Sleep?

At a shiny new lab in Japan, an international team of scientists is trying to figure out what puts us under.<p>TSUKUBA, Japan<i>—</i>Outside the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, the heavy fragrance of sweet Osmanthus trees fills the air, and big golden spiders string their webs among …

Watch a young Steve Jobs explain why most professional managers are "bozos"

Nobody ever accused Steve Jobs of lacking strong opinions.<p>In a video posted to YouTube, a young Jobs talks candidly about his approach to management and leadership. As the founder of Apple, and the guiding force who transformed it from emerging upstart to one of the world’s most innovative and …

Leadership

Humanity’s fight against climate change is failing. One technology can change that.

Iceland is cold. But it sits atop one of the world’s hottest underground regions, giving the country the ability to tap into a massive store of geothermal energy held by live volcanoes beneath Icelanders’ feet. Drill down only a few hundred meters, and trapped water will come gushing out as …

Fossil Fuels

Great Companies Obsess Over Productivity, Not Efficiency

Business leaders often think of “efficiency” and “productivity” as synonyms, two sides of the same coin.<p>When it comes to strategy, however, efficiency and productivity are very different. At a time when so many companies are starved for growth, senior leaders must bring a productivity mindset to …

Why we can’t trust basic economic figures

Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he decries America’s trade deficits with countries around the world—and that’s not his fault. None of us do.<p>Thanks to offshoring practices like those revealed in the Paradise and Panama Papers, global investment figures are “a big black hole,” …

Economics

From inboxing to thought showers: how business bullshit took over

In early 1984, executives at the telephone company Pacific Bell made a fateful decision. For decades, the company had enjoyed a virtual monopoly on telephone services in California, but now it was facing a problem. The industry was about to be deregulated, and Pacific Bell would soon be facing …

Charlie Chaplin

That unsold bottle of Merlot is probably winding up in your gas tank

The first thing you notice is the smell. An acrid eau-de-wet-garbage mixed with electrical fire and burning diesel. <i>Mad Max</i> meets scratch and sniff.<p>Breweries and distilleries have a distinct aroma, like moist bread. The backrooms of gin distilleries can fill with the scent of cardamom and juniper …

Wine

The Power of Names

The German poet Christian Morgenstern once said that “all seagulls look as though their name were Emma.” Though Morgenstern was known for his nonsense poetry, there was truth in his suggestion that some linguistic labels are perfectly suited to the concepts they denote. “Dawdle” and “meander” sound …

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know. You meet someone and say, “I’m from …

Confucius Institutes across Africa are nurturing generations of pro-China Mandarin speakers

Lusaka, Zambia<p>Ten Zambian women sit in a row, readjusting hairdos and smoothing skirts in a flutter of nerves. Another young woman is in tears on the manicured lawn of Lusaka’s Chinese embassy, with a number 1 pinned to her prom-style dress. This isn’t a beauty pageant. It’s a Mandarin proficiency …

China

If scheduling causes you conflict, maybe you're on "event time"

Sociologists can rightly be accused of routinely dividing the world into two groups, says Robert Levine, a professor of social psychology at California State University, Fresno. With regards to how humans relate to time, he explains, they’ve done it again: There are people who live by “clock time,” …

Sociology

Why we can no longer separate work from life (and shouldn't)

“Work creep” is often portrayed as hazardous to our health.<p>The average workweek for a full-time employee in the US is 47 hours, according to a Gallup poll, and, according to another study, 40% of US employees work on weekends at least once a month. This has led to concerns that professionals are …

The Workplace

Batman's Traumatic Origins

A horror in Bruce Wayne's childhood created the Dark Knight. Did a real-life childhood horror create Bruce Wayne?<p>When a really bad thing happens to children unexpectedly, the event can change them forever. As a child psychologist, I see firsthand what that means. Traumatized children often try to …

A Stock Market Panic Like 1987 Could Happen Again

Oct. 19, 1987, was one of the worst days in stock market history. Thirty years later, it would be comforting to believe it couldn’t happen again.<p>Yet that’s true only in the narrowest sense: Regulatory and technological change has made an exact repeat of that terrible day impossible. We are still at …

Stock Markets

The Murderer Who Helped Make the Oxford English Dictionary

William Chester Minor opened his eyes and gazed sleepily at the figure of a man looming over the foot of his bed. The intruder, who had been hiding …

Nearly every country on earth is named after one of four things

When the US president says “America first” to a room full of world leaders, he probably doesn’t mean to invoke the spirit of a 15th-century Italian. When Charles de Gaulle proclaimed, “La France n’est pas seule!” he likely wasn’t talking about a Germanic tribe from two millennia past. And Gandhi’s …

Papua New Guinea

The death of languages

Endangered languages have sentimental value, it's true, but are there good philosophical reasons to preserve them?<i>By Rebecca Roache</i>Read at Aeon

Language

Stunning AI Breakthrough Takes Us One Step Closer to the Singularity

Remember AlphaGo, the first artificial intelligence to defeat a grandmaster at Go? Well, the program just got a major upgrade, and it can now teach …