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Friday, 4 October 2019

Weekly Reading - Some Interesting Stuff


1) Thomas Cook, which pioneered the concept of packaged holidays, is now officially bankrupt
The bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Group Plc, the company whose founder is credited with inventing the modern tourist industry, is being blamed on Brexit, a series of bad management decisions and an unsustainable debt level. Perhaps, however, it’s worth looking at Thomas Cook’s failure as the beginning of the end of the tourism model the company helped create.

2) How our memories work against us
Our memories are not an accurate recording of the past. They are constructed from imperfect perception filtered through our beliefs and biases, and then over time they morph and merge. Our memories serve more to support our beliefs rather than inform them.
There is no easy way to develop a deep understanding of a topic. In-depth research requires that we consider a variety of perspectives. One way to reduce the risk of memory contamination is to inform ourselves with facts before exposing ourselves to the tabloid version. When we have a fully informed opinion and a broad understanding, sensational headlines have less of an emotional impact.
Personally, I don’t think it’s healthy to read too many sensational headlines. I find that these exaggerations can get mixed into my memory and mess things up.

3) How technology disrupts in unpredictable ways
In 1978, Head got one of his new oversized rackets into the hands of a talented 16-year old named Pam Shriver. Although Shriver entered the U.S. Open unseeded, she ended up beating Martina Navratilova in the semifinals. Pros took notice: by 1984, composite rackets had taken over the tour.
This is a portrait of technological disruption.
Why were composite rackets so hard on the oldest players? Head, after all, invented the composite racket to help old guys like himself hit good shots; it was supposed to level the playing field. And yet, his invention ended up doing the exact opposite, tilting the competitive balance in favor of youth. 
While Howard Head was trying to create a bigger sweet spot for amateurs, professionals didn’t really need a bigger sweet spot. Instead, they used these new rackets to give their shots more topspin.

4) We are all ignorant & confident idiots!
In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.
An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous.

5) Brazilian football is dying (of corruption)
If football is a religion in Brazil, a prayer might be in order. A conspiracy of blunders and malfeasance by professional football’s elite handlers has squandered talent and left the cherished national institution in shambles. As a result, Brazil’s signature sport has suffered a drought of trophies (Brazil’s last World Cup title was in 2002), empty bleachers and abandoned stadiums, not to mention the dreaded “foot drain” that sends the game’s most promising players abroad in their prime.
Without thorough reform, the football system that put ballet on grass and captured five World Cups with marquee stars from Pele to Ronaldo is headed for an international reckoning and almost certain insolvency.
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-03/brazilian-football-is-on-the-brink-of-self-destruction


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