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The Week’s Best Reads – 09/01/17

Sep 1, 2017 | Fifteen on Friday

This week’s highlights: chronic pain, day trading, and the ‘fleece of the century.’


Fifteen on Friday – 09/01/17 – Issue 251

A quick word of welcome to a number of new subscribers, and thanks to the folks who forwarded along last week’s email.  In case you are new to Fifteen on Friday, the goal here is simple – to curate a thoughtful list of the most interesting pieces of the week, across a wide range of subjects from arts, culture, economics, science, technology and occasionally fashion.

Food for Thought:

  1. NYT – The Secret Life of Pain.  Chronic pain, unlike the acute variety, was treated as a malfunction in perception, whether or not an ongoing physical cause had been identified. The brain becomes addicted to dramatizing pain, they said; and the more you feed it, the stronger the addiction
  2. MIT – How the “Gangnam Style” Video Became a Global Pandemic  Do viral videos spread in the same way as infectious diseases?
  3. Time – How Kids’ Sports Became a $15 Billion Industry
  4. Wired – The Hotel Room Hacker.  A global vulnerability in hotel keycard locks was a security disaster and the opportunity of a lifetime.
  5. WashPo – I am sorry for killing everything: A millennial’s confession


  1. VF – Facebook is Facing a Demographic Time Bomb  Mark Zuckerberg confronts an existential crisis: teenagers.
  2. CBC – Rising household debt could be drag on long-term growth: federal document – Credit HZ – Study argues household debt accumulation eventually hampers economic growth over the longer term.
  3. BusinessWeek – Why Yale Owns a Forest – Credit SAH – College endowments snapped up timber for higher returns, and Yale’s found itself in a controversy.
  4. NYT – OpenTable Began a Revolution. Now It’s a Power Under Siege.
  5. Forbes – Return Of The Day Traders.  At the end of the 20th century, there was no better indicator that the dot-com bubble was about to burst than the millions of everyday people–dentists, lawyers and bank tellers–armed with cheap PCs and internet connections who abandoned their day jobs to trade newly born internet stocks…today they are trading cryto-currencies.


  1. NYT – Fleece of the Century  In a city known for circuses and illusions, Mayweather and McGregor exchanged blows for less than 30 minutes. Nothing mattered; nothing was at stake.  And, when it was over, they hugged and laughed, a pair of business partners who had just pulled off the score of the century.
  2. WashPo – Melinda Gates: I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids.
  3. BizWeek – Delta Will Promote Pilots to Captain—if They Can Fly This Aging Plane  The unloved “Mad Dog” is helping to topple the traditional timetable as the carrier contends with a graying pool of aviators…”About half the pilots at 10 large U.S. airlines will hit the retirement age of 65 by 2026″
  4. PS – Even more evidence that we’re eating all wrong.  Forget fat, it’s carbs that might stick it to your ticker.
  5. a16z – Engineering Intent.  VC-firm Andreessen Horowtiz’s podcast featuring senior technologists from Airbnb and Pinterest.  If you want to understand what is going on behind the scenes and how AI and machine learning is being applied into a live consumer facing company, this was eye-opening.


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