Top Reads: March 2022

This month's issue of top reads includes insights on biodiversity, "shrinkflation," and ads coming after us in our dreams.

Top Reads: March 2022
Photo by Biegun Wschodni / Unsplash

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1. Why people are really leaving their jobs during the Great Resignation

The Hustle | 8 minutes

Source: The Hustle
“To better understand these nuances, we decided to interview 4 people in varying industries, and at different stages of their careers, who left their jobs. Here are their stories.”

This thoughtful article explores stories from real people who quit or switched jobs during the pandemic, each on their own, unique career path.

2. How companies are hiding inflation without charging you more

Quartz | 4 minutes

Source: Clarisa Diaz / Quartz
“Downsizing a product while keeping its price the same is sometimes called “shrinkflation”—a combination of the words shrink and inflation. Companies face higher prices for their supplies and may try to pass that onto the consumer. Downsizing a product reduces costs for manufacturers.”

The truth behind why your bag of chips isn’t what it used to be: product downsizing.

3. The Ukrainian leader who is pushing Silicon Valley to stand up to Russia

WaPo | 5 minutes

Source: Barcroft Media/Getty Images
"'The ultimate goal is to help win the war by turning world opinion and that of Russia’s own people against Putin and his government. 'Make the Russian business community and regular Russians feel what we feel,' Bornyakov said. 'If everything is fine in Russia, people won’t start asking questions. But when big platforms and the whole civil world, civil society will start to act, this will be a signal to them that their government actions are unacceptable.'"

Despite all of tech’s ills, a thoughtful, well placed Tweet can change the world for the better.

4. The War That Russians Do Not See

The New Yorker | 9 minutes

Source: Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker; Source photographs from Getty
“The government has banned the use of the words 'war,' 'aggression,' and 'invasion' to describe its 'special military operation' in Ukraine. Media outlets that violate these bans face fines and closure. On Friday, the upper chamber of parliament passed a bill making the dissemination of 'false information' about the conflict punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.”

The propaganda campaign in Russia is straight out of 1984 - where a "Ministry of Truth" is devoted to spreading lies. The collective will for freedom of speech and international law will prevail.

5. Brandon Stanton’s Empire of Empathy

NYT | 19 minutes

Source: Susie Montagna
“The stories, presented in his subjects’ own words, gradually grew from a few sentences to paragraphs and occasionally pages. They were about everything: bullying, divorce, mental illness, sex, body image. But Stanton said that, as an artist, he found the best stories were those in which a protagonist overcomes hardship and is redeemed. On HONY, many of his posts began to follow a classic arc in which a hero faces an obstacle, comes to self-understanding, and reaches a resolution — an antidote to the shallow fragments that populated the internet at the time.”

Interesting read on the story arc of Humans of New York. A case study on the modern human condition and empathy.

6. Shibuya & White Rabbit Pilot

Medium | 6 minutes

“The concept of the pilot is simple: our main character will come across two doors and behind each door is an alternate ending to the pilot. To watch/vote for an ending, users will need to mint a Producer Pass (ERC1155 NFT) and stake it in the door of their choosing. As users purchase Producer Passes, it also helps fundraise for the film’s production. For the pilot of White Rabbit, the majority vote will decide the future fate of our main character and her development in the plot.”

This project lets viewers take part in the journey of a quality web series that combines “anime, Black Mirror, Love Death + Robots and web3.” I’m not an expert here, but I could envision this effort as a sign of what’s to come in the next phase of the streaming wars.

7. The World Is Awash in Plastic. Nations Plan a Treaty to Fix That.

NYT | 5 minutes

Source: Irungu/EPA, via Shutterstock
“Supporters have said that a global plastics treaty would be the most important environmental accord since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, in which nations agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiators are now set to meet this year for the first of many rounds of talks to hammer out the details of treaty on plastics, with a target of sealing a deal by 2024.”

This agreement on plastics is early, but hopefully a sign of progress towards more bans on single use plastics, strong national laws for producer responsibility and plenty of innovation.

8. This Map Shows Where Biodiversity Is Most at Risk in America

NYT | 8 minutes

Source: NYT
“Right now, about 13 percent of the United States is permanently protected and managed primarily for biodiversity, according to the United States Geological Survey. The Biden administration has set a goal to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. It’s part of a larger global push, known as 30x30, to protect more land and water worldwide.”

This revealing map illustrates the most urgent areas where Americans should protect biodiversity.

9. The Elephant In The Courtroom

The New Yorker | 75 minutes

Source: The New Yorker
“In the past several decades, as the human population has doubled, the populations of animal species have declined by an average of nearly seventy per cent. Clearly, we need to contain our heedless rapacity. There is also a danger of becoming paralyzed by the scope of the change required. “We’re at the beginning of a big ethical awakening,” Martha Nussbaum, the philosopher, told me. “It’s only the beginning, because people are not really prepared to make sacrifices.” She advocates for vegetarianism, smaller families, and the end of the factory-meat industry.”

A long read (or listen), this article gives a fascinating look at animal rights through the lens of a highly intelligent and self-aware elephant. Human rights could certainly improve globally, but animals also deserve the opportunity to thrive.

10. Are advertisers going to infiltrate our dreams?

The Hustle | 7 minutes

Source: The Hustle
'On one hand, dream manipulation is gaining acceptance and has all these great applications,' he said in a recent interview. 'And on the other hand, it’s, ‘Oh shit, the advertisers are coming.’ The best case, adds Haar, is that dream intervention will deepen people’s relationship with their dreams. The worst case is that it will cheapen it. 'I think it’s going to be a bit of a battle,' he says. 'And I think that battle has already started.'

Science is just beginning to understand how we dream. We need strong laws to protect our subconscious and its awesome methods of creative destruction. Let the brain rest!

Bonus: Ego is the Enemy: The Legend of Genghis Khan

FS | 5 minutes

Photo by Snowscat / Unsplash
“Genghis Khan was not born a genius. Instead, as one biographer put it, his was “a persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation, and constant revision driven by his uniquely disciplined and focused will." It is not enough only to be a student at the beginning. It is a position that one has to assume for life. Learn from everyone and everything. From the people you beat, and the people who beat you, from the people you dislike, even from your supposed enemies. At every step and every juncture in life, there is the opportunity to learn—and even if the lesson is purely remedial, we must not let ego block us from hearing it again.”

A great read from history with practical lessons: Genghis Khan is shrouded in a westernized myth and overlooks his approach to learning, tolerance and innovation. Stay humble out there.

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