Month: September 2018

Kanye West’s comments about the 13th Amendment are confusing and bad

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Oh no.

Kanye West took to social media on Sunday to tell everyone that he supports the messages of Donald Trump while wearing a MAGA hat. In the same tweet, he wrote that he wants to abolish the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America — the one that abolished slavery.

this represents good and America becoming whole again.  We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs.  We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love pic.twitter.com/a15WqI8zgu

— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018 Read more…

More about Kanye West, Entertainment, Music, and Politics

Solve, MIT’s take on social innovation challenges, may be different enough to work

Since McKinsey released a report on how best to use prizes to incentivize innovation nearly a decade ago, an entire industry has grown around social innovation challenges. The formula for these “save the world” competitions has become standard. Drum up a lot of buzz around an award. Partner with big names to get funding and high-profile judges. Try and get as many submissions as possible from across the world. Whittle down the submissions and come up with a list of finalists that get to pitch at a glitzy event with a lot of media attention.

On the final stage, based on pitches that last mere minutes, pick a winner that can get upwards of millions in prize funding. Don’t have a software platform to run a challenge of this kind? No worries, numerous for-profit vendors have sprung up that can do all the work for you—for anywhere from ten to a few hundred thousand dollars. The growth has been so exponential that prizes awarded through competitions has grown from less than $20 million in 1970 to a whopping $375 million just four decades later.

But do these prizes get the sort of world-saving results they aim for? There’s little quantified evidence to back that, and some leaders in philanthropy are broadly skeptical.

For its part, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is trying a different approach to innovation challenges with Solve, taking some of what’s worked in these challenges and fusing it with elements of tech accelerator programs, including post-award training that focuses on results.

Solve is entering an already crowded field of innovation challenges. Many of these prizes overlap, with each vying to be the “Nobel” of its field. More prizes means more noise—which has led to a race to offer more money to get attention.

But even private-sector riches do not guarantee that prize money for innovation gets good results. In 2004, Bigelow Enterprises sponsored a $50 million Space Prize but it failed to capture the imagination of space researchers and eventually folded. Back in 2009, Netflix invited outside teams to improve it movie recommendation algorithm by 10% for a $1 million reward. The Netflix Prize led to a race among programmers, only for Netflix to eventually kill the entire plan because it was getting better results in-house.

Overall, the social innovation competitions tend to reward presentation, glitz and charisma, and penalize speaking English as a second language, introversion and inability to make flashy slides.

Solve, which held its third annual finalists event on Sunday September 23 in New York, is taking a different approach.

Unlike other contests where questions are internally decided, Solve crowdsources the questions to begin with. Its team takes months to run hackathons and workshops around the world to decide on the four most pressing questions to become the focus of that year’s challenge. This year, the questions focused on teachers and educators, workforce of the future, frontlines of health and coastal communities.

The competition is then opened up to participants from around the world with relatively low barriers to entry, resulting in 1,150 submissions from 110 countries in the last competition round. (That’s at least one submission from nearly 60 percent of all countries in the world!)

The prize recipients of the GM Prize for Advanced Technology. Photo: Adam Schultz | MIT Solve

To qualify, though, participants need to have more than just an idea. They must have a prototype that works, be either in the growth, pilot or scale stage, and be tech-driven. Submissions are then evaluated by judges from across industry, intergovernmental organizations and academia to get to 15 finalists for each of the four challenge questions. These 60 finalists get a full day with judges to be asked in-depth questions and have their ideas evaluated.

The day after, with all the preparations completed, the finalists get three minutes apiece to present on stage. Crucially, instead of one winner, eight finalists are chosen for each of the challenge questions.

Each finalist receives an initial $10,000 prize, plus a pool of hundreds of thousands of dollars provided by partners including General Motors, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Consensys, and RISE.

This year, for example, Ugandan health care startup Neopenda brought in an additional $30,000 in funding through Solve, from a UN program sponsored by Citi. An intelligent messaging app called TalkingPoints, meanwhile, received backing from General Motors and Save the Children to develop its personalized coaching technology for parents and educators. (You can see more details on this year’s winners and prizes here.)

As opposed to being a “one and done competition” where winning the prize money marks the end of the competition, managing director of community Hala Hanna tells me that the real work begins once the Solver teams are selected. Each qualifying Solver team gets 12 months of engagement and support from the organization. “Our value-add is providing a network, from MIT and beyond, and then brokering partnerships,” she explains.

Perhaps the biggest testament to the Solve method getting traction is its funders putting in even more cash in support. At the closing event on Sunday, an upbeat Matthew Minor, Solve’s director for international programs, took to the stage decked out in Solve-branded socks and a broad smile. He announced the winning finalists—and more funding opportunities. Two of Solve’s original backers, the Atlassian Foundation and the Australian government, are continuing to invest out of a standing $2.6 million budget for companies in the workforce track. RISE, a global impact investing fund, is putting an additional $1 million into companies focused on coastal communities.

The Australians have already put in funding to help past winners scale after the program. One of them is Ruangguru, a digital boot camp in Indonesia that gives youth dropouts resources they need to earn graduation certificates. The startup had reached nearly a million Indonesians prior to participating in Solve; through the program and the additional funding, it assisted more than 3 million Indonesian youth by the end of last year. Iman Usman, one of Ruangguru’s founders, tells me that Solve enabled them to enter into partnerships that helped them scale across Indonesia in a way they would have never been able to do on their own.

Solve has also been unequivocally good at ensuring diversity, both in its own staffing and—perhaps for related reasons—in those that are chosen as finalists. Of Solve’s 20 full-time staff, 14 are women, as are six out of the seven leadership team members and—by my count—at least seven nationalities from four continents are represented on staff.

The 33 Solver teams selected at the finals this year hail from 28 different countries, with 61 percent of them being women-led. At a time when the tech industry is struggling to increase diversity, Solve’s emphasis on diversity in challenge design and promotion has led to applicants and finalists that reflect the world Solve aims to help.

Hanna noted that increasing diversity is not as difficult as it’s made out to be. “Honestly, we’re not even trying that hard,” she explained. “So whoever says there are no women in tech, I say, crazy talk.”

The view from the Apella at Solve Challenge Finals on Sept. 23. Photo: Adam Schulz | MIT Solve

Still, Solve does have a few kinks to work out. By taking on extremely broad topics, the competition can sometimes lack focus. Lofty questions mean you can get very disparate answers, making it hard to compare them in a way that feels fair.

And while it’s great that the award monies are not all given to a single winner, it is not quite clear how funders pick the teams that do get funding. 15 qualifying finalists this year ended up winning money awards, some winning more than one, while the remaining 18 qualifying teams went home with the minimum amount. This is because Solve funders get to pick which of the teams that qualify at the finals get their respective monetary prizes. Of course, all 33 qualifying teams equally get to be a part of the Solve class with all the support and training that includes.

Another kink is the audience choice award—selected through open online voting prior to the finals—but not tied to any clear concrete benefit. Take the example of Science for Sharing (Sci4S), a Mexico-based startup that trains teachers to better engage students in STEM and has already reached nearly a million children across Latin America. It garnered 419 community votes in the Education Challenge, more votes than any other participant in the category, and handedly won the audience choice award. Ultimately, Sci4S was not selected as a Solver team. Another education startup, Kenya-based Moringa School, only got two votes but was selected. While Moringa and others were compelling and qualified in their own right,  it’s still hard not to think that Sci4S should have focused all of its time on its presentation and ignored the audience vote.

All in all, Solve does get a number of things right where other innovation challenges have failed. Instead of anointing one winner for the entire competition, it selects a class of dozens—reflecting the simple fact that the world’s most intractable problems are not going to be solved by any singular idea. Unlike many challenges put on by educational institutions and open only to their own students, Solve opens its doors wide. And winning at the finals doesn’t end your connection with MIT, it only starts it, with all qualifying finalists getting a year of individualized support, training and mentorship.

Done right, prizes can be effective at incentivizing startups to focus on pressing societal issues that can truly benefit from tech-driven solutions. But prizes for the sake of prizes can add to the noise and dissipate scarce public resources and entrepreneur attention. In the increasingly crowded world of innovation challenges promising to change the world, MIT’s Solve is a step away from the noise and towards effective prize granting.

A secret new Chromecast wound up on the shelves at a random Best Buy, apparently

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In a media environment that thrives on leaks, tech companies do their best to keep the very latest and greatest iterations of their products away from prying eyes until the right moment. When they finally release them, it’s with press conferences and fanfare, ad campaigns and endorsements.

Or, you know, they just show up a month early at some completely random Best Buy. 

Google’s new Chromecast, which was presumably not to be announced until the coming Oct. 9 reveal event, was accidentally sold to a Reddit user with the handle GroveStreetHomie. So of course, the buyer posted an image of his new hardware on r/google. Read more…

More about Best Buy, Chromecast, New Chromecast, Google Hardware, and Google Fall Hardware Announcement

Scooting while drunk is a dangerous, lame way to get a DUI

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Yes, you can get busted for scooting while drunk. 

With scooters swooping into more and more cities, it’s no surprise that people are behaving badly on the electric devices. E-scooter rental company Bird celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month with 2.1 million riders in 100 cities. That’s 10 million rides.  

But not all those rides have gone smoothly. Just this week Los Angeles had its first DUI case involving an e-scooter. The Bird scooter driver was three times over the legal limit when he crashed into a 64-year-old pedestrian, who fell to the ground, scraping their knees. Twenty-eight-year-old Nicholas Kauffroath rode off without helping the pedestrian. Read more…

More about Bird, Lime, E Scooter, Tech, and Transportation

Mark Zuckerberg shares the first projects he ever coded

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The key to being first-to-market? Working to create products that service the public by listening to their needs. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always been working to get his products to the public as soon as possible. This episode is narrated by Masters of Scale Host Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn Cofounder, Greylock investor).

This editorial series is created by Mashable & Masters of Scale and sponsored by Skillshare, the online learning community. Get 2 months of Skillshare classes for free by visiting this link → http://skillshare.com/masters Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Masters Of Scale, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

Tech In Asia lays off staff after canceling planned ICO

Earlier this month, media startup Tech In Asia surprised its readers when it announced plans to implement an $18 per month paywall. More expensive than packages for the Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, the subscription went live this week. It’s designed to make the business self-sustaining after a tricky period of business in which the company contemplated an ICO and was forced to make cutbacks to its team.

The Singapore-based company — which operates a popular blog and events business in Southeast Asia — laid off as many as one-third of its staff after it went back on a plan to raise money from an ICO, according to documents reviewed by TechCrunch and multiple people familiar with the situation.

In July, as the company scrapped its ICO plans, Tech In Asia fired 18 of its 60 employees in Singapore; one-third of its smaller employee base in Indonesia and restructured other business units after scrapping the plan to develop its own cryptocurrency. Most of the layoffs were in non-editorial business lines — like the company’s jobs division, which works with companies to pitch the Tech In Asia website as a recruitment platform. That division laid off half of its team, according to a source, while a number of reporters elected to leave the company too, as E27 reported in August.

Tech In Asia founder and CEO Willis Wee did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

While the fundraising target for the ICO wasn’t disclosed, the plan was to bring in enough new investment to extend the company’s eroding runway.

The ICO was part of ‘Project Tribe,’ a strategy to develop a decentralized platform that would allow any organization to develop online communities using a blockchain-based framework built by Tech In Asia, according to documents viewed by TechCrunch.

“Our goal is to give Tech In Asia back into the hands of the community and harness community forces to bring us closer to our mission of building and serving Asia’s tech communities,” the company wrote in one section of the whitepaper, which was never released but had been widely-circulated beyond Tech In Asia staff.

The most successful ICOs have developed decentralized systems that are often initially beneficial to the company behind the token sale, but that can, in theory, be extended to cover other businesses.

Project Tribe used that angle. Bearing some basic similarities to the Civil journalism platform, the plan was initially to host Tech In Asia’s news and community website over the next three years, before opening up to third parties by 2021.

Company-wide Slack messages seen by TechCrunch show that it was discarded after the management team balked at the risk behind the move. They told staff their concern that token economics, pleasing retail investors and legal uncertainties would all distract from the core business. That reversal was taken despite “significant” investment resources and dozens of staff being allocated to develop the concept and whitepaper over a number of months.

From funding to cutbacks

It wasn’t so long ago that Tech In Asia was the toast of Asia’s media community.

The startup — which launched in 2010 — brought in $6.6 million in fresh funding last November in a round led by Korean investor Hanwha.

In the ensuing six months, after watching annual revenue drop thanks in part to a dramatic decline in its events business, the Tech In Asia leadership caught crypto fever and decided to venture into the new world of ICOs.

There were signs of trouble earlier in 2017 for the company. Tech in Asia laid off most of its India-based team in early 2017 and ended its events business in that country. Those decisions impacted its event business, which a source said saw total revenue drop by more than 50 percent.

A shift to community content, with fewer ‘original’ reporting and journalism pieces also cut into company performance. Internal data seen by TechCrunch shows that monthly active users on the site were down 31 percent year-on-year in Q2 2018 — reaching 1.84 million — while total pageviews slipped by one-third, too.

Tech In Asia’s management team told all staff in June that its runway, which was thought to be shored up by the November deal, had gone from a solid-looking 81 months to just 14 months. Management claimed that a change in financial calculations caused the difference and employees were reassured that their jobs were safe.

One month later, however, the company began shedding staff in an effort to cut costs, reversing a hiring spree it launched in January, according to sources.

Two sources told TechCrunch that morale of the remaining staff was crushed when members of the management ‘flaunted’ the fruits of their wealth on social media just days after firing large portions of the team. Some social media updates posted to the internet that upset departing staff members included a photo of Rolex, the view of a villa on a weekend trip to Bali, and an expensive sushi dinner bill. 

With the company facing a straitened financial situation, if Tech In Asia tries to raise money again it’ll have some explaining to do to potential investors.

The business grossed SG$3.37 million (US$2.47 million) for the first six months of the year. Annualized, that would represent a 15 percent drop on 2017’s revenue, and Tech In Asia is still losing money. It recorded a net loss of SG$1.43 million (US$1.05 million) for the first half of 2018, according to internal data. That’s an average monthly burn rate of SG$0.23 million, or US$0.17 million.

Nonetheless, Wee — the Tech In Asia CEO — is hopeful that the subscription model pivot can make Tech In Asia sustainable in the long run.

“As you probably know, our business model has been built around events and advertising. While these have kept our business going, we are still working towards becoming profitable. Why is achieving this important? Because the only way we can be better at serving Asia’s tech ecosystem is if we have more resources and a consistent income stream,” he wrote when announcing the subscription package.

Full disclosure: I bought an annual subscription to Tech In Asia at the early bird discount rate being offered right now. That doesn’t impact my coverage of this story — I support a number of media businesses via subscription packages.

How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities

The best relationship advice for a happy marriage is never to compare yourself or your spouse to someone else. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, especially if you are insecure by nature. Getting over relationship insecurities can be hard for you.

Insecurity often boils down to a deep feeling of inadequacy in a relationship. You may feel like you aren’t smart, pretty, funny or interesting enough to keep your partner’s attention. Insecurity may also stem from a distrust from your partner due to a past indiscretion on their behalf.

Feeling insecure about yourself or your spouse can do some serious damage to an otherwise healthy relationship. Here are 6 tips on how you can start getting over relationship insecurities.

Consider Your Baggage

Some of the best relationship advice you can follow for handling insecurities in your marriage is to pinpoint the source of the problem. Some examples of what led you to this emotional point may be that:

  • You have been cheated on in the past
  • You watched your parents go through a messy divorce
  • Your current spouse has been unfaithful in the past
  • You have experienced a drastic change in appearance (weight gain/loss/pregnancy)
  • Your emotional connection to your spouse feels lacking

The list can go on and on, but it is important to learn where your insecurities are stemming from. Once you know what led to your romantic insecurities, you will be better equipped to handle them.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Always remember that comparison is the thief of joy. The more you compare yourself to someone else, the less happy you will be in your marriage.

It is common for someone who is feeling insecure to begin comparing themselves to their spouse’s former lovers. This can lead to boiling jealousy, hurtful fights, and much irritation for both you and your partner.

If your spouse wanted to be with someone else, they wouldn’t be with you. Your partner is not with their ex-flame, they are with you. They love you, are charmed by you, and choose to spend their time with you because they enjoy doing so. Remember that the next time you are feeling insecure about your partner’s past.

Get It Out of Your System

talking about insecurities

If you’re feeling insecure or jealous and it is bubbling to the surface, don’t wait for it to explode. Let it out!

The longer you hold back your insecurities, the more time they have to build and fester. Instead of letting things spiral out of control, talk to your partner about it. Do that before you start snooping on your partner’s phone, following them around, and having friends check up on them.

Communication is the key to a healthy relationship, especially when you are feeling insecure or jealous.

When you sit down to talk to your partner, don’t snap at them or turn your insecurities into an argument. And trust us, that can be very easy to do.

Instead, speak calmly and reasonably about how you’re feeling. Explain to your partner why you might be feeling this way. You will likely find them to be understanding and eager to help in this matter.

Practice Self-Care

The best relationship advice for building confidence is by practicing self-love. Take care of yourself. Dress up, take a bubble bath or play guitar. Whatever makes you feel great, do more of it!

Exercising is a great way to build confidence. Learn to appreciate the unique qualities that make you a lovable and valuable partner to your spouse.

When you exercise, you are feeding your self-confidence.

Exercising triggers your body to release a compound neurotransmitter called dopamine. It’s the body’s natural reward system that causes euphoric feelings of happiness. This mood-elevator can do wonders for your confidence and overall outlook on yourself and your marriage.

Getting fit and stronger is another benefit of working out. You’ll find that the healthier your body feels, the better your mental state will be in. Doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day for the best results both mentally and physically.

Have a Regular Date Night

Emotional and physical intimacy are both integral to a happy marriage. Scheduling time each week to spend a romantic, fun or exciting evening together as a couple is a great way to strengthen these aspects of your relationship.

Studies show that building emotional intimacy and boosting oxytocin is actually proven to boost trust in humans. Having more trust in your spouse will put you at ease about your insecurities. It’ll give you more time to spend enjoying each other’s company.

When sitting down for date night, make sure to put your phones away. Having an electronic-free date night will prevent you and your spouse from feeling snubbed or unappreciated.

Write It Down

writing down insecurities

It’s healthy and wise to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling, but you can’t do that 24/7. Not only is it unhealthy for you to make them the source of your constant reassurance, but it is exhausting for your partner.

Make it a goal to talk about your insecurities for no more than 20 to 30 minutes a week. If you still feel the need to talk about it after this time frame, why not create a journal?

In a study done by the BMJ Journal, patients undergoing stressful situations were encouraged to write about their plans for the day for three 20-minute periods over the course of several days. The results showed a reduction in emotional stress. Just from writing!

Writing down your feelings is an excellent way to get them out of your system without starting a fight or getting upset with your partner.

See Also: 3 Writing Techniques to Increase your Self-Esteem  

It’s normal to have insecurities, even in healthy relationships. Focus on the good in yourself and in your spouse. Learn a healthy way to communicate with your partner about your insecurities and always work to build up your relationship. Following these best relationship advice tips will help you maintain a happy marriage.

The post How to Get Rid of Relationship Insecurities appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

So, turns out snakes have been hitchhiking on planes. Have a nice flight.

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Seems Snakes on a Plane isn’t as a ridiculous film as we thought, as new research suggests snakes have been hitchhiking on planes. Feel good about that trip you’re about to take? 

A team of scientists led by the University of Queensland has found that the brown tree snake, which has been obliterating Guam’s native bird population, made it to the Pacific island by hitchhiking on planes. 

And from Guam, they’re hitching it to Hawaii.

What planes? Don’t worry, the snakes didn’t just slither through security to a business class seat on a commercial flight. According to the study published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution, they hopped on military transport planes somewhere around Australia during World War II. Read more…

More about Snake, Birds, Snakes, Science, and Animals

Here are all of Google’s 20th anniversary Easter eggs

Twenty years ago this month, a pair of Stanford PhD students founded a search engine company based in their friend Susan’s Menlo Park garage. Initially named “BackRub,” Larry Page and Sergey Brin eventually thought better of it and opted for a misspelling of the term googol, denoting the number one followed by 100 zeros.

To mark its 20th anniversary, Google’s peppering its properties with some fun Easter eggs, in addition to the above doodle. Starting today, a number of circa 1998-style queries will prompt the suggestion “It’s 2018! Did you mean?

There are 17 such queries. So, spoilers, here’s the list:

mp3 file

stream music

watch a dvd

streaming subscription

googol

Google

gettin’ jiggy wit it

floss dance

page me

New phone, who dis?

butterfly clip styles

top knot

soccer world champions 1998

soccer world champions 2018

chat room

text the group

how to tell someone you like them

swipe right

low-rider pants

how to style high-waisted pants

digital pet

fidget spinner

baby

bae

143

ILYSM

what is Y2K?

how does cryptocurrency work?

screen name

social handle

clip art

GIF

The Google Street View feature is even more fun. The aforementioned Susan (who now runs a little video site) has kindly offered up an inside glimpse of the space where it all started. The garage has been restored to its old glory, with the old-school Google homepage on an equally old-school monitor. There’s also the bedroom that serviced as the company’s “Worldwide Headquarters.”

It’s a history littered with school jackets, empty pizza boxes and a stray Koosh ball or two.

How To Stop Unhappiness Rituals in Your Relationships

I once had a patient, we’ll call her Betty, tell me that every night she would cook her spouse a gourmet dinner. At first, it didn’t look like she was unhappy in a relationship. After dinner, she would ask, “How was your dinner?”

The response was always the same: “So, so.”

Every night, she would find herself angry, unhappy, and resentful. She would focus on how hopeless her situation was. After all, she told herself that all she wanted was to please her partner and to get a little appreciation for her efforts. This woman was definitely unhappy in a relationship.

What is an Unhappiness Ritual?

unhappiness ritual

An unhappiness ritual is a repeated, unsatisfying, cyclical behavior that leads us to unhappiness. There is always a beginning to our unhappiness rituals. Entrance to them is usually initiated by the person who maintains the ritual. As long as we keep our unhappiness rituals going, there is no end to the hopelessness, disappointment, resentment, guilt, and anger that comes as a result.

Over time, unhappiness rituals become automatic. They become habits. We unconsciously include them. The unhappy feelings, which is the outcome of our unhappiness rituals can evolve into a state of chronic discontent and bitterness. Depression often awaits us as we endure with predictable outcomes.

How do unhappiness rituals begin?

Let’s review the patient above.

Her unhappiness ritual with cooking dinner began because she unknowingly needed some kindness, appreciation, and validation from her husband. She didn’t put those needs into words. It was rather a wordless longing inside her.

Then, the idea came to her that cooking nightly gourmet dinners would certainly invite conversation and expressed appreciation from her husband. When her solution didn’t give her the outcome she wanted, she kept on cooking, hoping things would change. She initially became disappointed.

Then, she became sad. Anger and resentment took over. She became stuck in a repetitive unhappiness cycle.

Here is the equation for the inception of unhappiness rituals:

  1. We have an unarticulated, unmet want that is surrounded by a discontent about our need not being met.
  2. We try to get our needs met by creating a solution.
  3. The solution doesn’t work. Our needs are not met. We get stuck in the solution, hoping that one day our needs will be met.

Why do we stay stuck?

Think back to when you learned to drive a car. If you were like most, you paid attention to how you pulled away from the curb. You always put on your turn signal and you checked the speedometer to make sure you were not going too fast. You were aware of what you were doing and what other drivers were doing.

Compare that to how you drive a car now.

After years of driving, isn’t all that you do on the highways and byways automatic? Do you consciously think about how you drive? Probably not, because your driving is now habituated. You do it without even thinking about what you are doing.

We get stuck in unhappiness rituals the exact same way.

We practice them over and over and without knowing, they become automatic. Like Betty, she no longer was aware that every evening around 4:00 she would begin thinking about what she would cook for her husband.

She would comb Gourmet magazine or her recipe books for new and delicious-sounding recipes. Around 5:00, Betty would have selected a meal and she would begin preparing it. Her mantra was, “maybe this time my husband will love the dinner.”

She reported that she was “always hurt when I got the same “so-so” response, night after night.

We become unconsciously and habitually stuck in our unhappiness rituals. Inexplicably, in our stuckness, we expect others to change their responses. It is our fervent hope that others will “get it” and we will be acknowledged, appreciated or feel loved because someone else changed their behaviors.

How to stop being unhappy in a relationship

unhappy relationship

After some therapy and planning, here’s what Betty did:

She stopped putting so much energy into meal preparation and she stopped asking her husband how he liked his dinner! Does that sound too simple?

It took Betty some time to gather the courage to sort out the needs and feelings that were related to her unhappiness ritual. She took quite some time for her to embrace the idea of stepping out of her automatic behaviors. It took creating new ways of interacting and connecting.

How to get out of your unhappiness rituals:

  1. Identify what is causing unhappiness for you. What is it that you repeatedly do that leads to your unhappy feelings?
  2. Name your feelings. Instead of just saying you feel unhappy, name exactly what the feelings are. Are you resentful or in an unhappiness ritual because of guilt? Are you accustomed to being a victim in your life and therefore being in an unhappiness ritual feels comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time? Exploration of your feelings is more easily done with a neutral third party involved.
  3. Learn what you are needing. We enter unhappiness rituals through a desire to get some response usually from another person.
  4. Dissect your ritual. When does it begin? What thoughts go through your mind? What do you tell yourself? Is guilt, retribution, anger, revenge, manipulation or setting yourself up for victimization a driving force? Write it down. Look at it.
  5. Clearly state what it is about your unhappiness ritual that you want to stop.

Action exiting

Change is very difficult as our automatic behaviors are hardwired into our brains. It takes consciousness and perseverance to depart from our unhappiness rituals, especially when they have become entrenched through years of practice.

Betty made a step-by-step plan. She took action!

She identified that around 4:00 pm, she would start planning the evening meal. Her first exodus step was to create activities for herself at that hour.

After some time, Betty decided that she and her neighbor would either play tennis at the local community center or hike with their dogs. In inclement weather, Betty worked out at the gym.

Unhappiness rituals usually fall apart after we intervene on our first step into the ritual.

Next, Betty stopped her subscription to Gourmet Magazine and she boxed up her cookbooks and the recipes that she had collected from newspapers over the years. She put them in the guest room closet.

Then, she considered what types of meals she would make for dinner. Betty decided on some frozen, pre-prepared meals and fresh salads. She had advised her husband.

It went like this:

Honey, I have changed my schedule so I won’t be dedicating so much time to preparing dinner. Just wanted you to know. I’ve got to go right now. I’m going to the gym. If you have any questions, we can discuss it later.

Notice that Betty was brief and respectful. She simply told her husband that she was making a change and then, she exited. No justifications and no explanations. No processing of feelings and no making her husband wrong for not fulfilling her unspoken needs.

To exit an unhappiness ritual:

  1. Write down a plan. Get feedback from an impartial party.
  2. Tell the person/people involved what the change is going to be. Discussing the reason for the change is not necessary and usually leads to a diatribe about our unhappiness because someone else is not meeting our needs (which usually translates into blaming them for our feelings and for making a change necessary).
  3. Plan activities you can do before you enter your unhappiness ritual.
  4. Stick to your change. Practice the change you have selected. Do the change.
  5. Remember, the more you practice your new behavior, the more quickly it becomes automatic.

Finally, get yourself out of your unhappiness rituals. If you follow the steps, you will alleviate emotional pain and find yourself happier and more satisfied with your life.

The post How To Stop Unhappiness Rituals in Your Relationships appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Aussies are baffled over something called ‘Australian battered potatoes’

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Thanks to the likes of Outback Steakhouse, Australians have grown used to Americans and their weird take on what their food is like.

While they’re happy to let the awfully calorific Bloomin’ Onion slide, the Aussies are less amused about something called Australian Battered Potatoes.

Spotted by Rachel Lonergan on Twitter, the concoction of deep fried spuds, topped with a very American combination of ranch and liquid, radioactive-looking cheese left people scratching their heads.

I don’t want to upset anybody but I just found out that you can buy potato scallops at county fairs in the US but they call them “Australian battered potatoes” and they put cheese and ranch dressing on thempic.twitter.com/EgLMxRTr2I

— Rachael Lonergan (@RachaelHasIdeas) September 25, 2018 Read more…

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It looks like Coinbase is preparing to add a lot more cryptocurrencies

Coinbase aspires to be the New York Stock Exchange of crypto, and it is taking a small — but not insignificant – step to offering a lot more cryptocurrencies after it revamped the process of listing new digital assets.

The exchange currently only supports just five cryptocurrencies — Ethereum, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin — and the process of adding each one has been gradual. The company would announce plans, and then later announce when listing the asset. The idea being to reduce the potential to send the value of a token skyrocketing. (Since support from Coinbase potentially adds a lot more trading volume.)

That clearly isn’t a sustainable process if Coinbase is to add “hundreds” of tokens, as CEO Brian Amstrong told an audience at TechCrunch Disrupt it eventually plans to.

Regulatory concern is high on the scale when evaluating support for new cryptocurrencies, so now Coinbase is speeding up the process by limiting trading of some tokens to specific locations where necessary.

“Today we’re announcing a new process that will allow us to rapidly list most digital assets that are compliant with local law, by satisfying listing requests in a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction manner. In practice, this means some new assets listed on our platform may only be available to customers in select jurisdictions for a period of time,” the company said in a blog post.

That’ll mean an end to the double announcement — ‘token X is coming soon’ and ‘token X is now supported’ — and instead a single reveal. That indicates that a large number of new assets may be incoming — for an idea of which ones, Coinbase recently said it is looking over a number of cryptocurrencies.

Interestingly, the company also noted that it may introduce a listing fee — this is common with many other exchanges — in the future in order to cover costs around adding some projects.

“Initially there will be no application fee. Depending on the volume of submissions, we reserve the right to impose an application fee in the future to defray the legal and operational costs associated with evaluating and listing new assets,” it explained.

The company has opened a listing proposal link, here. If similar features from other exchanges are anything to go by, Coinbase’s will be flooded by naive token holders who think they have a shot at getting listed on Coinbase, which will take them to the moon. Good luck maintaining that list, guys.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity

Do you feel stressed or distracted as soon as you get to work? Here’s one cause you may not have considered: not having a clean desk at work

Sure, you’ve probably heard things like “yeah, my desk is messy, but so was Einstein’s”. This idea that having a cluttered desk is a good thing has become much more common in the last few years. But alas, that doesn’t make it right and we’re going to do a bit of debunking.

Here are 5 reasons why a cluttered desk isn’t better:

messy desk

It Creates Stress

When you start the day feeling like you’re behind, that can be deeply discouraging. That’s exactly what happens (even subconsciously) when you’ve got unsorted piles all over your workspace.

It’s Distracting

A mess can stop your flow. If you find your eyes drifting to the odds and ends strewn around your desk, those moments are lost time. More importantly, it’s an interruption. This can be particularly counterproductive when you’re “in-the-zone” and cranking out fast, quality work.

It’s Unhealthy

The average office keyboard has roughly 7,500 bacteria on it. Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your work surfaces. An uncleaned desk can have a real impact on how often you’re sick or not feeling well.

It Can Undermine Your Reputation

According to Adecco, a majority of Americans (57%) admit they judge co-workers by how clean or dirty they keep their workspaces.

If you work in an office or shared space, your desk will impact how your colleagues and superiors see you. A messy or disorganized desk can be interpreted as a sign you are disorganized and inefficient in your work. That’s not the type of image any of us want.

It Reduces Self Confidence

In addition to affecting the way others see you, a messy desk can impact how you see yourself. Don’t miss the importance of this. Having confidence can have a profound impact on how you present yourself and pursue your work. A clean desk at work is a very simple step that can have a variety of benefits in your professional life.

Now that we’ve established the negative effects of a messy desk, let’s do something about it. Here are 4 things you can start today to get your desk in order:

organized desk

1. Create a Cleaning Habit

Even 15 minutes/week makes a huge difference. I like to do this on Friday afternoons. It gives me a sense of resolution and paves the way for a positive start on Monday morning. If you want to go bigger, decluttering at the end of each workday can be a great cadence.

2. Purge Based on Frequency

If you don’t use it every week, store it or throw it away. If you use it every week, put it in an easily accessible bin/shelf/drawer. In case you use it daily (or hourly), keep it within reach. The idea is to strategically place files, tools, and materials based on how often you use them.

3. Create a Clear Filing System

This applies to paper files and digital files. The amount of time we waste trying to find stuff is outrageous. Take an hour to establish a clear system. This will save you hours (even weeks) in the long run.

4. Splurge on Organization Tools

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your desk is to add something to it. That may be a bit counter-intuitive but adding something like a shelf or desk cover can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your workspace.

That’s it, now do it! Add a block to your calendar or planner and transform your workspace into a well-oiled machine.

The post 5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Swiping right on virtual relationships

There’s an episode in the latest season of the Hulu original series Casual, where the main character, Alex, tries his hand at dating in virtual reality. He quickly meets a woman and develops a big, adrenaline-inducing crush only to realize she’s a scammer out for his credit card information.

The season takes place around 2021 or 2022, when technological advances have made dating in VR both possible and socially acceptable. We’re not there yet, and we probably won’t be there as soon as the writers of the show think, but it’s time to imagine and plan for a future when entire relationships exist in and as a result of virtual reality.

Sextech entrepreneur and advocate Bryony Cole has built a career around the assumption that a full pivot to VR will happen in our lifetimes.

She’s the chief executive officer of Future of Sex, a podcast-turned-media company and sextech accelerator. Future of Sex has just released its inaugural report on virtual intimacy and plans to produce content on other topics at the intersection of technology and sex. 

Today, most people are more interested in Magic Leap’s new Angry Birds VR game than the ways in which VR can aid struggling relationships, but the report is full of interesting nuggets on how tech, like teledildonics (Internet-connected sex toys), is transforming intimacy.

There’s a whole class of startups named in the report embracing the notion that human experiences can be improved when powered by apps and devices. No, they aren’t advocating for you to bring your smartphone to the bedroom, but rather claiming that customizable tech can heighten the senses or create new avenues for exploration.

Kissenger, for example, has a mobile app that lets you exchange a kiss over the Internet. Fleshlight and Lovense sell Bluetooth-connected vibrators. And CamasutraVR streams virtual versions of real-life porn stars.

VR is the future of couples therapy

VR, Cole says, is a the forefront of the sextech industry’s transformation and if used correctly, can bolster relationships.

“It’s a new way for couples or thruples, or whatever relationship you’re in, to bond,” Cole told TechCrunch. “The ability to empathize with another person is enriched in this context, which is great, especially for understanding a lover.”

VR can facilitate more meaningful interactions for couples in long-distance relationships. If used right, it can fill the “intimacy gap,” or the space between a couple’s shared happiness and an individual’s personal happiness that, when too big, leads to many couple’s demise. 

As a safe space for experimentation, two people can explore fantasies, engage with educational content and even visit a couple’s therapist in VR. 

The release of the report is hot off the heels of Future of Sex’s fourth sextech hackathon. In New York, the company asked participants to create tech-enabled solutions to reinvent sex education for teenage boys, among other prompts. 

Women in sextech

Future of Sex partnered with porn site YouPorn to co-host the event and asked hackers to come up with ways to leverage YouPorn’s content, which includes VR porn, to improve the sex lives of viewers. VR porn is not a new phenomenon and while it can allow for more personal sexual experiences, researchers have warned that blurring the line between the real and the virtual could lead to ethical issues. How, for example, do you give consent in VR?

Women, who are often exploited for the purposes of sexual entertainment, need to be at the table while this content and other sextech are in development. Fortunately, Cole says, women are entering the sextech community in droves.

“[It’s] exploding at the moment and more and more women entrepreneurs are having a go at building a company,” she said. “It’s Important to highlight why women are getting involved in sextech especially in the current climate of #MeToo.”

On stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF this year, Unbound, which makes fashion-forward vibrators and other sex toys for women, took home the second-place prize.

“Our dream at Unbound is for female sexual health to be viewed through the same lens as male sexuality — as a part of our overall health that deserves a conversation, platform, and shopping experience that doesn’t feel like a flaming pile of garbage,” Unbound founder Polly Rodriguez told TechCrunch’s John Biggs.

Rodriguez is a close friend of Cole’s — the community is still small — and she’s appeared on the Future of Sex podcast.

The podcast, hackathons and the 12-week accelerator program for sextech startups are part of Cole’s effort to expand the dialogue around VR & sextech, invite new voices into the movement and remove the stigma around having open and honest conversations about sex and intimacy.

“There has to be a way to invite more people into this conversation,” she said. “If we can normalize the conversation, we can raise the standards around talking about sex.”

Next time someone annoys you on Tinder, rock this Halloween ‘ghosted’ costume

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Ghosts are everywhere — in haunted houses and on our most popular dating apps.

That’s why Party City has developed an adult ghosting costume for women. Plenty of women have encountered someone who just won’t stop bothering them on dating apps or over text.

Might as well “ghost” them in real life.

The costume is now available for $24.99 on the Party City website. As of now, there is only a women’s costume.

“If someone’s blowing up your phone, ghost them in a Ghosted Costume for women!” the Party City description reads. “The costume is a hooded white dress designed to look like a ghost with a series of unanswered texts on the front.” Read more…

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