Weekend reads

Kristin Tyndall's reads

Who are you calling a Millennial? "The more I hear about Millennials, the less I recognize myself," Jesse Singal writes in an article for New York Magazine that perfectly articulates the angst and alienation of being an old Millennial. Singal argues Millennials are actually two generations: the first born in or before 1988, and the second born in or after 1989. As an old Millennial, I always felt out of sync with the smartphone-obsessed, narcissistic, failure-to-launch stereotypes of my generation. "Even thinking about learning how to Snapchat makes me want to take a long, peaceful nap," Singal writes, in a phrase that I propose we old Millennials adopt as our motto. Long, peaceful naps for all!

It took 6,000 edits by 3,000 users to create today's definition of "happiness" for Wikipedia, according to Nikhil Sonnad, who reviewed 14 years' worth of edits to the page. From 2003 to 2007, he says, the page had a fairly rudimentary definition and editors were kept busy warding off vandals. But in late 2007, users began grappling with the philosophy of happiness more seriously and the definition began to evolve. What followed, writes Sonnad, is a case study in Socratic dialogue and a surprisingly poignant glimpse at the pursuit of happiness.

Caroline Hopkins' reads

I’m a words person, not a number person, which is why I tend to agonize over financial decisions. The very thought of awakening my "math brain" (if I even have one) totally stresses me out. This explains why I found Carl Richards’ article in the New York Times so interesting—and frankly, relieving. Richards, a certified financial planner and the author of “The Behavior Gap” and “The One-Page Financial Plan,” argues that numbers aren’t everything when it comes to finance. Emotions matter a lot, he says, as do feelings and intuition. He backs his argument with several studies—oh, and he personifies “Numbers,” throughout his argument, which I’m all about. 

This week, a compelling article in The Atlantic titled “The Young Academic's Twitter Conundrum” left me mulling over the complex free-speech-on-college-campuses debate once again. With social media in the picture, this debate becomes even stickier. Oliver Bateman shares how opinionated academics can lose their jobs for tweeting offensive messages on their personal pages—and how many argue this is an infringement on academic freedom. Yet Bateman writes that “social media can rarely be avoided; junior scholars are increasingly presenting and discussing their research through online channels.” It certainly is a conundrum—and one for which I’d encourage any reader to ponder the solution. I know I am.

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