Listened to Sports, the Great Uniter? (Contested, Part 1 of 6) by John Biewen from Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Can a winning baseball team bring St. Louis together post-Ferguson? John Biewen investigates in the inaugural episode of Scene On Radio, a new podcast of audio stories from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Not the sports series I sort of expected this to be after the Men series and the Seeing White series. But now that I’ve started it, it’s exactly the sort of story I should have expected from John Biewen.
Listened to The Daily: ‘We Followed the President’s Orders’ from New York Times

In highly anticipated testimony, a top envoy said the operation to extract a political favor from Ukraine was done at the direction of the president, vice president and secretary of state.

Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, has evolved from a loyal Trump campaign donor to a witness central to the impeachment inquiry. But his testimony has been contradicted on multiple occasions.

Today, we look at how both Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee handled their most complicated witness to date.

Listened to The Latest: The Irregular Channel from New York Times

Testimony from Fiona Hill, a former top White House adviser, showed that even the witnesses in the impeachment inquiry may only now be learning the full picture of the part they played in the Ukraine story.

Throughout the impeachment inquiry, an image has surfaced of the Trump administration’s two policymaking channels on Ukraine — one regular, one not. Today’s testimony from Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, raised the question: Which was which?

Listened to The Latest: ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ from New York Times

Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified that President Trump ordered a pressure campaign on Ukraine and that senior-most administration officials knew about it.

In explosive testimony, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, directly implicated President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top administration officials in what he said was a push for a “clear quid pro quo” with the president of Ukraine. But during questioning, things got complicated.

Why is it that Sondland testified but others in the administration did not?
Listened to OTM presents: Here's the Thing with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor by Alec Baldwin from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Our colleagues at "Here's the Thing" produced a great episode this week that we think you'll enjoy:
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. For five months -- perpetually in danger of losing the scoop -- they cultivated and cajoled sources ranging from the Weinsteins’ accountant to Ashley Judd. The article that emerged on October 5th, 2017, was a level-headed and impeccably sourced exposé, whose effects continue to be felt around the world. Their conversation with Alec Baldwin covers their reporting process, and moves on to a joint wrestling with Alec’s own early knowledge of one of the Weinstein allegations, and his ongoing friendship with accused harasser James Toback. The guests ask Alec questions about the movie industry’s ethics about sex and “the casting couch.” Over a respectful and surprising half-hour, host and guests together talk through the many dilemmas posed by the movement that Kantor and Twohey did so much to unleash.

Listened to Episode 9: Make 'Em Laugh by Dr Laurie SantosDr Laurie Santos from The Happiness Lab

The world's greatest expert on canned TV laugh tracks helps Dr Laurie Santos demonstrate how the emotions of those around us can make us feel happier or more sad. If happiness is so contagious... can we use them to bring joy to ourselves and our loved ones?

Jeff’s research showed that participants pick up other people’s emotions through text— in say, a quick email note or an online comment— just as easily as they do in face-to-face real world interaction.”

Hancock, J. T., Landrigan, C., & Silver, C. (2007, April). Expressing emotion in text-based communication. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 929-932). ACM.

The social media giant allowed Jeff to run an experiment to figure out the emotional impact of Facebook posts.

Kramer, A. D., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), 8788-8790.

This is particularly an interesting listen for web developers and designers who could be thinking about the emotional contagion that their products may have on others.

The original link has some additional references and research, but I’ve excerpted some small portions of the ethically questionable research Facebook allowed on emotional contagion several years back. 

This research reminds me of things like Tantek Çelik‘s 100 Days of Positive Posts.

Listened to Optical Delusion from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Impeachment ennui, Virginia's Lobby Day, and accountability in Puerto Rico.

A gathering of thousands of armed protesters in Virginia last weekend prompted fears of mass violence. On this episode of On the Media, how some militia groups are spinning the lack of bloodshed as victory. Plus, fresh demands for accountability in Puerto Rico, and why the senate impeachment trial feels so predictable. 

1. Bob Garfield [@Bobosphere] on the present moment in the impeachment trial. Listen.

2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], reporter at the Guardian, and OTM producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] on the "double-bind" Puerto Rico faces as earthquakes shake the state. Listen here. 

Listened to The Alleged Crimes of Greenwald by Bob Garfield from On the Media | WNYC Studios

The charges against Greenwald are only the latest result of the unholy, incidental alliance of out-of-date computer laws and political leaders with a grudge.

The Brazilian federal government on Tuesday revealed charges of cybercrimes against Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his alleged role in the leaking of explosive messages written by high-ranking law enforcement officials. Press freedom advocates immediately decried the charges as a dangerous blow to basic press freedoms; Greenwald himself told Washington Post cybersecurity reporter Joseph Marks, "Governments [are] figuring out how they can criminalize journalism based on large-scale leaks." In this podcast extra, Marks breaks down the charges and draws comparisons (and contrasts) with the American government's prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. 

Listened to Episode 8: Choice Overload by Dr Laurie SantosDr Laurie Santos from The Happiness Lab

We all make thousands of choices each day. But making even trivial decisions can sap our energy and cause anxiety. Dr Laurie Santos examines why our society wrongly prioritises choice over happiness, and meets a woman who junked her wardrobe in a bid to improve her life.

Limiting one’s choice can be an important thing in life.

There’s some discussion of limiting one’s wardrobe choices as a way of freeing one’s life up a bit. They didn’t mention the oft-heard example of Einstein wearing the same thing every day, but did catch the possibly better example of Obama cycling through the small handful of choices in his wardrobe to limit the yet another decision of many he had to make each day.

Listened to Episode 7: Don't Accentuate the Positive by Dr Laurie SantosDr Laurie Santos from The Happiness Lab

We often think positive thinking is the best way to achieve our ambitions - but the science shows it holds us all back. Dr Laurie Santos hears how champion swimmer Michael Phelps imagined the worst to help make his Olympic dreams come true.

Bob Bowman’s book

Kristin Beck | Wikipedia

Gabriele Oettingen’s website

Dr. Santos mentions Norman Vincent Peale and his book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) as one of the earliest in this space. I might suggest that Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (1937) was a natural precursor to this and these ideas of visualizing what you want as a means of helping to get it. His work assuredly influenced Peale’s and probably sells as well today.


 It takes what it takes. 

–Bob Bowman, swimming coach of 23-time Olympic medal winning swimmer Michael Phelps


On planning:

Hope is not a course of action.

–Kristin Beck, Senior chief petty officer, United States Navy SEAL, ret.


Gabriele Oettingen’s work and the Woop concept  (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) sound interesting. Perhaps worth reading some of her work: 

Oettingen, G. (2015). Rethinking positive thinking: Inside the new science of motivation. Current.

“You name the goal, and research shows that positive thinking makes it less likely you’ll reach it.”

Oettingen, G., & Mayer, D. (2002). The motivating function of thinking about the future: Expectations versus fantasies. Journal of personality and social psychology, 83(5), 1198

Oettingen, G., & Wadden, T. A. (1991). Expectation, fantasy, and weight loss: Is the impact of positive thinking always positive?. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 15(2), 167-175

Oettingen, G., Mayer, D., & Portnow, S. (2016). Pleasure now, pain later: Positive fantasies about the future predict symptoms of depression. Psychological Science, 27(3), 345-353.

“It’s a strategy Gabrielle calls “mental contrasting.”

Oettingen, G., Mayer, D., Timur Sevincer, A., Stephens, E. J., Pak, H. J., & Hagenah, M. (2009). Mental contrasting and goal commitment: The mediating role of energization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(5), 608-622.

“In addition to simulating the obstacles, Gabrielle also recommends taking time to imagine— very intentionally— what it would feel like to implement our plan whenever the obstacle comes up.”

Oettingen, G., & Gollwitzer, P. (2010). Strategies of setting and implementing goals: Mental contrasting and implementation intentions (pp. 114-135).

Some of the ideas behind the WOOP concept remind me of some tangential sounding philosophy and framing that Matt Maldre wrote about in his recent posts about New Year’s resolutions. [1] [2]

WOOP also seems tangential to some areas of memory research as the visualization can tend to create “false” memories that one can look back on as experience when moving toward a particular goal. I often found that in my diving practices in college I did significantly better on new dives when I visualized them or practiced them in my mind several days and even the night before practices.

Listened to Want to succeed? Take an Econ 101 course by David Brancaccio from Marketplace

New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof thinks understanding the basics of the economy will help you get far in life.

https://www.marketplace.org/2020/01/28/want-to-succeed-take-an-econ-101-course/

College students receive any number of recommended introductory courses. But according to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, one of the key classes you might need to take to succeed in life might be an introductory economics course.

As part of the Marketplace Morning Report’s “Econ Extra Credit” project, host David Brancaccio spoke with Kristof about how an Econ 101 class can provide a student with a robust toolbox that could be used later in life to both understand and address larger issues like rent control or how to fund a tax cut.

“We’ve repeatedly mangled macro economic policy in the U.S.,” Kristof said. “It’s pretty obvious that even lawmakers kind of have no clue about really basic issues, like you know, what a fiscal stimulus is.”

Click on the player above to hear their conversation on the merits of Econ 101, as well as Kristof’s thoughts on how introductory economics has adapted to better reflect real world economic issues.

This interview is part of our “Econ Extra Credit” project, where we read a new introductory economics textbook provided by the non-profit Core-Econ together with our listeners. If you’d like to join us in this project, email MorningReport@marketplace.org and let us know you’re reading along with Marketplace through the end of Spring.

I love the idea that Marketplace is planning on using an OER (open educational resources) economics textbook to do a public bookclub/MOOC/guided self-study of Economics 101. 

Naturally I worry that the participation rates will start high and end low, but the fact that they’re encouraging their listeners to expand themselves and delve a bit deeper than just listening to their show is fantastic.

And honestly, who couldn’t use an ECON refresher from time to time–particularly one that takes a dramatically different approach to the subject than the one many of us took?

Listened to Episode 5: Caring What You're Sharing by Dr Laurie SantosDr Laurie Santos from The Happiness Lab

Sharing a good experience with another human deepens our enjoyment of the moment... but only if we abide by certain rules. Dr Laurie Santos shows us how we often get 'sharing' wrong and explains how we can all derive more happiness from ice cream, sunsets and a night in front of the TV.

Maryellis Bunn’s website

Erica Boothby website

Museum of Ice Cream website

Alix Barash website

There is some interesting discussion about exploring and interacting with the world here both with and without a camera and/or digital phone or other device in one’s hand. 

The research and examples in this episode could be useful  for UX/UI  designers in the social media and IndieWeb spaces. The ideas presented here could help us in designing interactions on the web for people in a much happier and healthier fashion. I particularly likes the concept that a museum specifically redesigned some of it’s exhibits so as to be able to minimize the use of phones and increase the human-to-human interaction.

The questions of whether we’re posting content for ourselves or to share with others is an intriguing one. I tend to post for myself (and my memory via my commonplace book) first in almost all cases. When I’m taking photos or checking in, I almost always do it in a way so as to minimize as much as possible the distraction of doing so to others. It’s exceptionally rare that I spend the time and effort to get the “perfect” photo when I’m with others in public.

The discussion about the museum experience being designed for or against photography and the research relating to memories of the experiences reminds a lot of Matt Maldre’s recent experience with a museum security guard who urged patrons to get their phones out and take close up photos of artworks. [#] She obviously intuitively knew something that the rest of us could have only guessed at. Or perhaps she’s just been reading all the most cutting-edge research and putting it into practice in her own work?

This also reminds me I ought to call Dan Cohen and have a conversation about these sort of design concepts (and particularly those relating to Frances Yates and memory techniques) for his forthcoming library.

Listened to Episode 3: A Silver Lining from The Happiness Lab

You can't win 'em all - but you'll only beat unhappiness when you stop comparing yourself so harshly to others.

Ice skater Michelle Kwan was all set to win Olympic Gold... but in a major sporting upset came second. Sharing her story with Dr Laurie Santos, Michelle lets us in on a key secret to achieving happiness when life doesn't go to plan.

Watched One Thousand Ropes - Score Recording from YouTube

Score recording for the film One Thousand Ropes, directed by Tusi Tamasese, produced by Catherine Fitgzerald.
Composed by Tim Prebble, Orchestrated by Ewan Clark and featuring Tudor Consort choir, Aroha String Quartet, with Joan Perarnau Double bass and Jeremy Fitzsimons Percussion.

Listened to The Thirteenth Amendment by Dr. Sarah Taber from Farm to Taber

As immigration for farm work slows, farms are beginning to turn to convict labor.

Some stunning observations on labor here. Definitely worth a second listen for additional notes and subtlety.