Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #493

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • “A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Robot Walk Into a Bar” – Slate. “I may have cheated on my links this week, since I saw Hugh’s link on religion first (see it below). But this is too good to pass up. It’s a brilliantly apocryphal reflection on chatbots, political correctness, and self-reinforcing filter bubbles that coddle us with the idea that our way of seeing the world is the only, right way. Cheers!” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • A Nude ‘Playboy’ Photo Has Been a Mainstay in Testing Tech for Decades – OneZero – Medium. “You may have seen the photo of Lena promoting graphics software. Since the dawn of computer graphics, engineers have needed a baseline to test compression, resolution, color gamut, and more. And given the climate of the time, they chose this particular picture. Now the subject of a documentary, it’s an interesting example of how we perpetuate things without much reflection.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Why we need religion – Prospect. “While I am agnostic and/or atheist, a large part of my family is extremely Catholic, and I grew up with religion as a kind of background to my growth and formation as an adult. I’ve always found that arguments against religion (from, say, the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins) to miss much of the point of religion. The appeals to science and logic miss something critical. Philosopher Stephen Asma, an atheist himself, has written critically of religion, but has emerged with a more balanced view, namely that religion functions as ‘a management system for our emotional lives that helps the human organism stay healthy and well.’ And argues that there may be no other cultural force that helps broad swaths of humanity manage their emotional lives as well as religion. I think he’s right. And those of us who worry about the effect religion has on the world (wars, laws, policies) ought to take the emotional value of religion as the starting point, rather than an aside, as we think about how to shape discussions of the (negative) impacts we believe religion can have on the world.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Massive Ancient Underground City Once Housed 20,000 People – My Modern Met. “It would be interesting (to me!) for Mitch to partner with some researchers to do some text analysis on all the links that Mitch, Alistair and I have shared over the years. What themes is each of us most interested in? What kinds of stories do we continue to go back to and then share with each other. I am sure that underground cities/passages/discoveries come up in my links often — so much so that I can’t remember whether I’ve shared this link before? But anyway: Derinkuyu is an underground city in Turkey, built up over hundreds of years, but fully-formed in 750-1180 CE, as protection of the local Byzantine population during the Byzantine-Arab wars; later used in defence against the Mongols, and as late as the 20th century by populations seeking protection from various wars and incursions.The city can accommodate 20,000 people (!!!) plus livestock, over five levels, and descending sixty meters. I wonder what it says about me that I love these stories?” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • The best books of 2019 – picked by the year’s best writers – The Guardian. “It’s that time of the year. All of the ‘best of…’ lists start arriving. Most of which I actively ignore. How about you? Still, when it comes to books, I am a sucker for these lists. Every. Time. This one is no exception. I especially like the angle of it coming from some of the most interesting writers out there today. Why? In case you didn’t know, to be a great writer, you have to read… a lot. And, these people do. So, why not go to the source? Here’s a grand list for your holiday reading, or if you’re looking for a gift. Happy reading!” (Mitch for Alistair).    
  • How To Become A Librarian – Book Riot. “It’s funny, as much as I love books, reading, writing and visiting libraries, I don’t think that I have ever asked myself this question. I just assumed it was a simple job to do. Help people find books, then check them out or place them back once the books are returned. Right? Wrong. How stupid of me. There is much more to this vocation than I could have ever imagined. I have a newfound respect for the profession of librarian. My guess is that you will too after reading this…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.