10 Weekend Reads – The Big Picture

by nyljaouadi1
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The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Danish Blend coffee, grab a seat on the aisle, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:

Jack Dorsey’s Celebrity Network Is Helping Him Give Away Billions When Dorsey, 45, laid out his goals—months before MacKenzie Scott became the poster woman of high-flying philanthropists—the nonprofit world was abuzz with hopes for what this brave new approach might look like. Dorsey said he wanted to work quickly and that he would be transparent about it, a departure from the slow-moving black box that characterizes traditional grantmaking. So far, Dorsey has delivered on that promise. Thanks to Square’s surging stock price, Dorsey’s pledge has exploded in size. What’s more, his gifts come with little red tape for recipients—something coveted, but uncommon, in the philanthropy world. The tech titan’s big-money giving has bloated Hollywood’s charities. (Bloomberg)

A Power Struggle Over Cobalt Rattles the Clean Energy Revolution The quest for Congo’s cobalt, which is vital for electric vehicles and the worldwide push against climate change, is caught in an international cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship. With more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt production coming from Congo, the country is once again taking center stage as major automakers commit to battling climate change by transitioning from gasoline-burning vehicles to battery-powered ones. The new automobiles rely on a host of minerals and metals often not abundant in the United States or the oil-rich Middle East, which sustained the last energy era.  (New York Times)

The Newest Texans Are Not Who You Think They Are The Texas population grew by about four million people in the past decade—far more than any other state in raw numbers, and enough as a percentage to make it the third-fastest-growing state in the nation over that period, behind Utah and Idaho. Roughly 3,800 more people move here every week than move out of state. Tick down any list of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and Texas shows up again and again. Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio all landed on the list of cities with a population gain of at least 100,000 over the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The record influx of recent arrivals from all over might be exactly what the state needs. That includes Californians. (And no, they’re not turning Texas blue.) (Texas Monthly)

Idea Legos: Ideas compound and compose just like interest and software Language made ideas composable. “Knowledge, when shared, becomes like a grand, collective, inter-generational collaboration.” Then technology — from the printing press to the telegram to the phone to the internet to Twitter — made it easier to connect to people and share knowledge. Ideas got bigger and better faster and faster. Ideas composed and compounded more quickly. If compound interest is easy to quantify but difficult to feel in your bones, and software composability is harder to quantify and even harder to intuit, idea composability is the hardest to measure and feel of all. (Not Boring)

The Women Behind Historic House Designs“ The designers, the architects involved — in many instances those were women, or women were part of the team,” says Christina Morris, manager of the year-old “Where Women Made History” initiative for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns the Edith Farnsworth House. “They were the patrons, they were the owners. Women were responsible for creating the preservation movement and continue to lead it today.” (CityLab)

The Elephant Who Could Be a Person: The most important animal-rights case of the 21st century revolves around an unlikely subject. But can an elephant be a person? No case like this has ever reached so high a court, anywhere in the English-speaking world. The elephant suit might be an edge case, but it is by no means a frivolous case. In an age of mass extinction and climate catastrophe, the questions it raises, about the relationship between humans, animals, and the natural world, concern the future of life on Earth, questions that much existing law is catastrophically ill-equipped to address. (The Atlantic)

A Tough Love Approach to Spirituality: “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello  “Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics—Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion—are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.” (Sloww)

•  NASA hopes to hit an asteroid now in case we really need to knock one away later If all goes well, the spacecraft that NASA plans to launch Tuesday will smash itself to bits against an asteroid. If all goes absolutely perfectly, that impact will jostle the asteroid into a slightly different orbit, meaning that for the first time, humans will have changed the trajectory of a celestial object. Making history, however, is incidental. The real mission is to defend the planet. (Washington Post)

Macho Macho Men: The queer history of pumping iron Pumping Iron represents a puzzling contradiction within professional men’s bodybuilding. Namely, while homoeroticism is on full display—its aesthetics, its sustained assessment and idealization of the male form—bodybuilding is routinely presented as the very apex of male heterosexuality: masculinity dialed up to eleven in the hulking, bulging, rock-hard bodies of the professional male bodybuilder. While straightness is front-and-center in the world of bodybuilding, homosexuality is everywhere and nowhere to be seen. (The Baffler)

Sharing the Enthusiasm: Here’s what it’s like to be dropped into Larry David’s world on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ in the words of some of the show’s best guest stars: “You’re either going to be the guy that makes Larry mad,” says Paul F. Tompkins, who plays Larry’s divorce lawyer in Season 8, “or you’re going to be the guy that gets mad at Larry.” For the show’s guest stars, getting to either of those places requires more than just showing up and reading their lines. In fact, there are famously no lines at all. Only scenarios. Not everyone can hack it, but the genius of David and Co. is that they’ve found so many who can. “If you cast the right people, they’re going to know how to do it,” Essman says. “I just always try to make people feel comfortable and at home, and it seems like I’m the grandmother on set.” (The Ringer)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this weekend with Steven Fradkin, President of Northern Trust Wealth Management, a division of the insurance giant. The group has $355 billion in assets under management, serving 1 in 5 of the wealthiest families in America. Fradkin was previously Chief Financial Officer and was head of the international business for NT.



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