A further short post of ten articles I have enjoyed reading this week:
# ‘Paris Syndrome’ Drives Chinese Tourists Away [Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg]
Chinese people romanticize France, they know about French literature and French love stories,” said Jean-Francois Zhou, president of the Chinese association of travel agencies in France. “But some of them end up in tears, swearing they’ll never come back.
# How to Be Polite [Paul Ford, Medium]
Politeness buys you time. It leaves doors open. I’ve met so many people whom, if I had trusted my first impressions, I would never have wanted to meet again. And yet — many of them are now great friends. I have only very rarely touched their hair.
# Slot Machine Science [Brad Plumer, vox.com]
Slot machines have this reputation for being these arcade devices only played by little old ladies. But these devices are now driving the gambling industry and bringing in the majority of profits.
# The Most Wanted Man in the World [James Bamford, WIRED]
Edward Snowden [is] the most wanted man in the world. For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with him—traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting. Among other things, I want to answer a burning question: What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government’s domestic surveillance programs?
# The Future of College? [Graeme Wood, The Atlantic]
A brash tech entrepreneur thinks he can reinvent higher education by stripping it down to its essence, eliminating lectures and tenure along with football games, ivy-covered buildings, and research libraries. What if he’s right?
# The End of Neighbours [Brian Bethune, Maclean's]
It’s a new day in the neighbourhood all across the Western world. More than 30 per cent of Canadians now say they feel disconnected from their neighbours, while half of Americans admit they don’t know the names of theirs. An Australian sociologist investigating community responses in the wake of the 2011 floods in Queensland found relations in “a precarious balance”; neighbours were hesitant to intrude even in emergencies—leading the scholar to conclude that “we are less likely than ever to know” our neighbours. Quite right, too: A recent poll of 2,000 Britons found a third declaring they couldn’t pick their near neighbours out of a police lineup.
# Postscript: Robin Williams, 1951-2014 [Anthony Lane, The New Yorker]
The snuffing out of a life, especially when the flame was still strong, is never less than a shock, and admirers of Robin Williams, who died on August 11th, will feel that they have been left in the dark.
# Suicide & Silence: Why Depressed Men are Dying for Somebody to Talk To [Owen Jones, The Guardian]
Why are so many more men killing themselves than women? “Is it biologically set in stone that men take their own lives – or is it cultural?” Powell asks. “If you look at how the suicide rates have changed, how they go up and down, you can see that it’s cultural – it’s about what we expect.” And this is what is so troubling about male suicide. Women are actually more likely to suffer from depression, but more likely to seek help whey encounter trouble. The uncomfortable truth is that stereotypical forms of masculinity – stiff upper lips, “laddishness” – are killing men.
# How (and Why) to Develop Your Mental Toughness [Patrick Allan, Lifehacker]
Developing your mental toughness can help you be more emotionally resilient, push you to go further and harder, and build armor to persevere against the bullets that life fires your way. It’s not as easy to just “be tougher,” though. Here are some tactics to toughen up your mind for life’s hard knocks.
# Is Samsung bigger than Google? [Nilay Patel, The Verge]
Apple’s forever going to do Apple things, keeping its products premium and exclusive and tightly integrated with each other. Samsung and Google, on the other hand, are increasingly competing to offer the alternative open platform. Each wants to own the foundation that everyone builds on; the hub on which we all place our spokes.