Julia Campbell, writing in a post in the Yahoo Small Business Adviser section, confirms what has been long suspected: that the only way to reach all the people who like your Facebook Page is to pay for it:
In the document, titled “Generating business results on Facebook”, the company says:
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”
In plain English, this means that “organic distribution” – posts that are not sponsored or promoted – will go way down. Already, less than 15% of your fans see your posts. Now it could plummet even further.
And then, as if to twist the knife, they say this:
“We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”
Compassion starts with empathy — imagining putting ourselves in the mind of another person, and imagining what they’re going through. We are probably wrong about what they’re going through, because we can’t know, but without this imaginative process we can’t have compassion.
Once we’ve empathised, and feel their suffering, the second half of compassion is wanting to end that suffering, and taking action to ease that suffering in some way.
So empathy is incredibly important, but if we are thinking about ourselves first, and only ourselves, we can’t empathise.
While the evidence may not be scientifically thorough, there’s certainly enough to suggest that porn has a negative impact on our lives. It might be a good time to give that overworked hand some rest, or, at the very least, use it to dial the phone number of a real live human woman and ask her out on a date.
Rob Bell continues his series of blog posts about the Bible, this time exploring how we deal with the awkward parts that leave us feeling deeply uncomfortable, questioning what God is truly like:
I don’t read the Bible like a flat line. I don’t see all of the passages in the Bible sitting equally side by side so that you can pick one and then counter it with another and go back and forth endlessly, always leading you to the randomness of God. I read it as an unfolding story, with an arc, a trajectory, a movement and momentum like all great stories have. There are earlier parts in the story, and there are later parts in the story. The story is headed somewhere, and a Christian, I see it headed to Jesus. Because of this, I read it through the lens of Jesus, especially the parts that come before the specifically Jesus parts.
When you read the Bible, then, you are reading an unfolding narrative that reflects growing and expanding human consciousness. When you read it as an unfolding story you don’t edit out the earlier bits or pretend like they’re not there, you read them in light of where the story is headed. That doesn’t mean that the earlier bits are bad or worthless, they’re just earlier. That’s how people understood things at that point in the story, but the story kept going. (Thank God.)
9to5mac unpacks the data on whether you’re better off with an Apple device or an Android device when it comes to ongoing support and updates:
In the chart above we see that many once flagship Android devices— the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S3, LG G2 etc— have still not received the latest Android 4.4 KitKat update. Most of the devices on the list have been an upgrade or two behind at launch or not long after first launching. In comparison, only the iPhone 3GS five years after its release doesn’t support iOS 7. We also get a look at how much longer Apple devices generally stay available for sale and continue receiving support, nearly twice as long as Android in most cases.
Maria Konnikova, The New Yorker, explains why lists are one of the most ubiquitous ways to package content online and why are they so appealing:
In the current media environment, a list is perfectly designed for our brain. We are drawn to it intuitively, we process it more efficiently, and we retain it with little effort. Faced with a detailed discussion of policies toward China or five insane buildings under construction in Shanghai, we tend to choose the latter bite-sized option, even when we know we will not be entirely satisfied by it. And that’s just fine, as long as we realize that our fast-food information diet is necessarily limited in content and nuance, and thus unlikely to contain the nutritional value of the more in-depth analysis of traditional articles that rely on paragraphs, not bullet points.
The Wall Street Journal reports on an interesting new acquisition by Apple:
Apple recently acquired social-media analytics firm Topsy Labs Inc. for more than $200 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Topsy specialises in analyzing the global conversation on Twitter. Its tools can decipher how often a term is tweeted, find an influential person on a specific subject, or measure the exposure of an event or campaign.
Rafael Behr, writing in the New Statesman, says the Conservatives deserve a better leader than David Cameron:
To be back in No 10 after the next election would be victory enough for Cameron. But to the outside observer, to anyone who is interested in Conservatism as a political creed, to anyone who values debate or who recognises that there are principled MPs on the Tory benches, the party looks diminished by its leader. It is being whittled into a crude instrument for the sole purpose of bludgeoning the opposition. You don’t have to be a Tory to believe it should be more than that.
Tim Stanley, writing in The Telegraph, responds to Boris Johnson’s controversial speech about social mobility:
…the Mayor is absolutely right that inequality is an inevitable part of living in a free society, and right that competition generates wealth and raises all our boats. But my teeth are immediately set on edge when Boris mentions IQ tests, implying a deterministic view of human ability that is neither fair nor accurate. Someone who went to Eton will score higher on an IQ test than someone who was raised in dire poverty by uninterested parents and awful teachers. Intelligence develops at different speeds in different people and takes very different forms that cannot possibly be measured by a single test involving anagrams and quadratic equations. A brilliant artist might suck at maths; a brilliant mathematician might suck at conundrums. One way or another, categorising the beautiful subtleties of the individuals’ mind by IQ is plainly wrong. And life is too complicated to presume that – even if we all went to a grand school – talent would naturally rise to the top. People’s educational careers are ruined by parents divorcing, by bullying, by a crisis of confidence etc. Some make the choice not to take their talents in a particular direction – to raise kids or work for the benefit of the community – and the rest of us should be grateful for it.
Recent Voxburner research has found that 62% of 16-24s prefer buying books over ebooks. When asked which products currently available for download were preferred as physical objects, 62% agreed with books.
Interesting. I still get the appeal of physical books but I’d only now ever buy a hardback book for something I specifically want as a keepsake. Ninety percent of my reading is now done on my iPad and I prefer that format.
Matthew Syed, writing in The Times, says we want the England and Australia teams to demonstrate their attributes through the quality of their play, not the nastiness of their abuse:
It is certainly true that we all want to see the Ashes played with the sharpest of competitive edges. We want the players to battle, to test each other, to give it their all. But we want the teams to demonstrate these attributes through the quality of their play, not the nastiness of their abuse.
To put it another way, you can be ultra-competitive without descending into the gutter of personal invective.
Roger Federer is a rather obvious example. Sue Mott, the sportswriter, summed it up perfectly a few years ago by describing his dominance as a “beautiful tyranny”. The Swiss is tough, ruthless, and he destroys opponents by exploiting their weaknesses. But he does this with his guile and supreme ball-striking. The idea of trying to defeat his opponents by questioning, say, their sexual prowess during the coin toss is anathema. It is not a part of the game.
We might also look to Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is a fine player and has a fierce will. But he also goes out of his way to show respect to his opponents (even, as at Wimbledon, in defeat). The reason is simple: Nadal has understood the deep truth that competitiveness and nastiness are very different things. Other titans of sport such as Lionel Messi and Jack Nicklaus have understood this, too.
Civility and decency can also be powerful weapons. Björn Borg was one of the toughest players in tennis, but his self-restraint and composure often unsettled opponents.
Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry, talks about management transition ahead of her move to Apple:
Too often management transitions are viewed with fear or suspicion, when they should be the ultimate example of a natural and healthy organizational evolution. In fact, I believe succession planning is one of the greatest responsibilities you have as a leader - so when your time comes to move on, your team not only doesn’t miss a beat but gains in momentum, embracing new challenges and realizing future opportunities.
Shouldn’t our ambition as leaders be to make a transition something to be celebrated rather than merely managed? And isn’t the reality that a successful transition could in fact be your greatest legacy?
Tim Bajarin on the growing battle between Google and Samsung:
I think Samsung is working toward ditching Android completely sometime over the next three to five years to take complete control over its future. And this is where the backing of Tizen becomes interesting and important. Although Tizen has not attracted a lot of app support to date, if Samsung gets behind it and is able to prove to the market it will continue innovate around the platform, delivering hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets annually under its brand, software developers would be crazy not to develop for it.
Former England captain, Michael Atherton, writing in The Times, hopes the fallout from Jonathan Trott’s stress-related illness will bring back some sporting perspective to both teams:
Ashes or no Ashes, it is just a game. If Trott’s sad departure on Monday helps those involved in the next four Tests to remember that, it may have served some purpose. Sport is not war; not even war minus the shooting. It is just sport. The hope is that Trott can find a way to enjoy it again.
Joseph Thompson reminds us of the need to, ‘learn to live each day circumspectly.’ He highlights that there’s a ‘broken, hurting world outside the boundaries of our own comfortable lives’. He then points us to a fascinating quote by Richard Stearns emphasising the reality that, compared to the rest of the world, most of us are living in an equivalent of Disney’s Magic Kingdom:
When we visit Walt Disney World, we understand that we have entered an insulated bubble that does not reflect the reality of the world outside its gates. Those of us who live in Magic Kingdom countries need to understand that we, too, have lived our lives within an insulated bubble that does not reflect the reality of the rest of the world. After an hour or two at Walt Disney World, we can almost forget what lies outside its gates. Imagine how much we can forget if we spend our whole lives there.
Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, looks into a romance app called Between that’s hugely popular in South Korea, exploring in the process the relationship between romance, love and technology:
You can have only one contact on Between: your significant other. In South Korea, more than half of twentysomethings have used Between. The app has become a synecdoche for commitment: whereas a boy might once have asked the object of his affections, “Do you want to be my girlfriend?,” he now says, “Do you want to Between?”
Fraser Spiers says the war between Apple and Google is over—and they both won:
To me, buying an iOS device feels a bit like buying an Intel-based Mac: you get all the great Apple software but you can run everything from the “other camp” too. It’s also interesting to note that one of the major historical arguments for buying an Android device - that it “works better with Google services” - is essentially moot now, save for some minor levels of integration that will probably disappear sooner rather than later.
Katie Fehrenbacher, GigaOM, sheds light on Apple’s bold approach to clean energy:
In the world of clean energy there are a lot of ways that companies can pay to green their operations — many buy renewable energy credits that offset consumption of fossil fuel based energy. But building solar farms and a fuel cell farm next to a data center could be the surest way to add clean power in a way that can be validated and seen by the public. It seems like Apple execs thought if they were going to commit to the whole idea of clean energy, it was going to be all the way.
This blog post on baby’s and their sleeping habits is great, warning of the dangers of listening to the so-called experts:
Experts, and books, and exorbitantly priced “Sleep Consultants” have proliferated and because we are terrified new parents with bags under our eyes the size of Samsonites we eagerly open our ears and our wallets to find a solution, any solution! And we are frustrated. We’re frustrated because our expectations are out of whack, and our expectations are out of whack because we are being sold lies -LIES I tell you!
A common first encounter with Siri, Apple’s virtual-assistant program: you lob her some easy questions and, satisfied with her replies, toss her requests of gradually increased difficulty. Maybe you throw her a curveball like, “What’s your relationship with your mother?” The game ends when you win, which is to say you reach the limits of Siri’s knowledge, get a laugh out of the misunderstanding, and find relief in the valley of intelligence that separates you from it.
But perhaps there’s an alternative: human meets smart bot; human grows attached to bot; human experiences genuine emotional intimacy with bot; human loves bot. That is a crude plot summary of the new film by Spike Jonze called “Her,” to be released next month.
Fascinating story by Patrick Radden Keefe in The New Yorker:
Eliot Higgins, an unemployed blogger from Leicester, England, has never been to Syria, but he is perhaps the foremost expert on the munitions used in the war. On YouTube, he scans as many as three hundred new videos a day, with the patience of an ornithologist. Recently, his Brown Moses Blog confirmed that Syria had used chemical weapons.
Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, reports on a story that, if true, is very worrying:
Unnamed journalists at Bloomberg News have accused their employer of withholding investigative pieces for fear of offending Chinese authorities. For a year, reporters who previously produced award-winning reports from China had been probing ties between a businessman and top leaders in Beijing. Then Matthew Winkler, the Bloomberg editor-in-chief, reportedly told his staff that the Party would consider such a story off-limits; in interviews, Bloomberg journalists said that he compared the situation to Nazi-era Germany, where news organizations had censored themselves to maintain access to the country.
Jonathan Freedland, writing in The Guardian, say the rise of the ‘selfie’ isn’t all bad:
Above all, and this might be the selfie’s redeeming feature, they are not designed to be looked at solely by the subject. The selfie’s usual purpose is to be transmitted by social media – with “social” being the key word. They may be focused on the self, but they also express a timeless human need to connect with others.
In that respect, the selfie is like so much else in the digital world – all about “me,” but revealing a sometimes desperate urge to find an “us”.
MG Siegler breaks down his grappling with trying to decide between the iPad Mini and the Air:
And the truth is that I’ve already found myself more drawn to the iPad Air in the past week. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why other than the obvious: the larger screen mixed with the newly impressive size and weight. In day-to-day usage, it feels like the iPad Air is a bigger upgrade to me versus the new iPad mini.
Bill and Lynne Hybels share their perspectives on the question of women in leadership:
Recent twitter conversations about gender equality (or lack thereof) in evangelical churches reminded me of an article Bill and I wrote some years ago. This article first appeared as a chapter in How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals, ed. Alan Johnson, 2010. In alternate sections of writing, Bill and I highlight our respective experiences related to the role of women in life and ministry. I hope it will add a helpful voice to the conversation.
Britain’s Chris Froome returns to his roots in Kenya and tells BBC Sport’s Tom Fordyce about learning to race in the Rift Valley. I particularly enjoyed the story of his Mum knocking him off his bike with her car while checking he was doing OK during a charity race.
Interesting interview by Gareth Crook in Scientific American with Paul Bloom, a Yale psychologist and author of a new book called ‘Just Babies’, who says morality is not just something that people learn, it’s something we’re all born with:
The earliest signs are the glimmerings of empathy and compassion—pain at the pain of others, which you can see pretty soon after birth. Once they’re capable of coordinated movement, babies will often try to soothe others who are suffering, by patting and stroking.
Joost van der Westhuizen, the South African rugby legend, is one of my favourite players of all time—he was a joy to watch. Though I’d heard about his battle with motor neurone disease some time ago, reading about his life and what he’s doing to help others with the same condition in The Times today was both heart-wrenching and heart-warming in equal measure.
Though normally behind a pay pall, this article is accessible for all until midnight in order to raise awareness of his charitable foundation—and hopefully funds too.
This is a man transformed, and not just physically so. A decade ago, he wrapped up a playing career so great that he finished with more caps and more tries than any Springbok before him. He was part of the great Nelson Mandela team that won the World Cup in 1995; he is still asked about that day and how he, the scrum half, was the one who tackled Jonah Lomu. He was phenomenally strong and rumbustious for a No 9. And handsome with it. MND has no respect for the mighty.
Yet sitting in his wheelchair, struggling to produce the words, he seems to have a veritable warmth. “I am humbled by the disease,” he says. “I know now what life is all about.”
His real passion now, though, is the J9 Foundation. He explains: “The moment I experienced difficulty, I realised what other families must go through and that’s when I decided to set up the foundation. Seventy per cent of MND sufferers are male and they are often the bread-winners in the family too. I know what sufferers are going through and I know what they need. For me it is not about the money alone; it is about the time we give to help others.”
Read more about the J9 Foundation at [www.joost.co.za](http://Read more about the J9 Foundation at www.joost.co.za. The Foundation has an SMS donation line; to donate £5, text JOOST to 60999.)
Alex McManus explores the significance of increasing numbers of people not wanting children and, in Japan, even sex. What does this tell us about humanity and the future of our species? It’s one of the most thought-provoking articles I’ve read in a long time:
Earlier generations delighted in the birth of a child. I wonder, Has the loss of a religious view of life so disoriented us that we cannot be bothered with even the most basic evolutionary compulsions? (The irony of that last sentence does not escape me.)
Or, do the young somehow intuit that they live at the twilight of their society and from this deep lack of hope feel nothing worth sharing and passing on to a new generation?
Is it a good thing now not have children? At least, since we seem to have lost the natural instinct of it, until we discover a reason to live, to enjoy life, and to love it enough to want to be part of expanding the experience.
Refe Tuma explains why every year, he and his wife devote the month of November to convincing their children that their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep:
Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.
Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has defended the right of Christians to intervene in politics as he revealed he had been criticised for his outspoken stance on issues such as payday lenders and energy costs.
Lots of sensible comments here from Welby. Enjoyed this wise perspective too:
"I am quite clear as I meet people in Government… when you meet people, you don’t find they have got two horns and a tail, you find they are people who are struggling with really, really difficult issues which in many cases they have studied for many years.
“We have to be very careful about the ease with which we polarise and demonise people with whom we disagree.”
How the size of the iPad I use affects my reading habits
Earlier this year, around the time I switched from an iPad 3 to an iPad Mini, I changed two of my magazine subscriptions—The Spectator and The New Yorker—from digital only to physical print versions. This was a big surprise to both me and those who know me. I’m a digital guy. I’ve happily embraced the electronic versions of books, newspapers and magazines from the outset, genuinely preferring them to their physical counterparts. But then something changed, and it’s taken switching from an iPad Mini to the iPad Air to realise what.
What I’m realising, in hindsight, is that when I changed from the iPad 3 to an iPad Mini, I stopped finding the reading of my magazines to be a truly great experience. At the time I made the switch to the Mini, I found myself browsing through the physical copies of my magazines in newsagents, increasingly jealous of that format. And before long, I changed my subscriptions from digital to physical. Having a physical copy of the magazines was a refreshing change—in the case of The Spectator there were whole sections of the magazine I hadn’t even fully appreciated were there.
But, just one week after having the iPad Air, I’m now back reading the magazines on the iPad. I’ve not fully decided if this is in part novelty, but it has caused me to reflect on the reasons for all this. For one, the iPad Mini didn’t have a retina display. It is only in being back with an iPad with a retina display that it’s becoming clear how much I did miss this. Text is so much clearer and crisper. And, inevitably, this crispness and clarity of text makes reading books, magazines and newspapers a whole lot more enjoyable.
Then there’s the size though. For some reason—and I’m really not sure why—the larger screen makes reading the magazines a much more enjoyable experience for me. Perhaps it’s because the apps were originally designed for the larger size and then scaled down for the Mini. But, whatever the cause, having my magazines on my retina screen Air is a whole lot more desirable. I’m choosing to read there rather than picking up the physical copies lying around my house.
I’ve not yet reach the point of cancelling the physical copies—as I say, there’s still scope for novelly factor, what with the Air being a recent purchase—but if my habits stay the same for the next few weeks, I think I will do.
Muireann Carey-Campbell, writing in The Guardian, praised actress Jennifer Lawrence for boldly stating she wants to be ‘fit and strong’, going on to suggest attitudes to health and fitness are changing amongst women:
More and more women are shirking the idea that you’re either sporty or not, and experimenting with different ways to stay active. We’re pushing the boundaries of what it means to be feminine and fit. We’re running ultra marathons, skateboarding, doing Muay Thai and, sorry to upset the apple cart here guys, but we’re sweating profusely while doing it. What’s more we’re not exercising with vanity in mind. A survey of visitors to my fitness website Spikes & Heels revealed that barely any of the women working out regularly did so for weight loss reasons. The majority cited overall health, fitness and mental wellbeing as their driving force.
David Whitebread, University of Cambridge, unpacks the evidence behind his views that our school children should start formal education later and have a longer time to develop through play:
There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies. Anthropological studies of children’s play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of play in the young of other mammalian species, have identified play as an adaptation which evolved in early human social groups. It enabled humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human higher mental functions.
It is sad that practical obstacles are likely to ensure we don’t see any real change on this front. If our whole education system shifted to starting formal education from seven, the upheaval would be immense. Not to mention the impact upon parents and the likely resistance by many.
But, if we truly want to lead the world with the education of our children, we need a political party who are prepared to sell the vision, the evidence, and explain that, no matter the short-term inconvenience and discomfort of change, it is simply something we must do.
I agree with pretty much everything in this piece for MacStories by Cody Fink, but especially this:
I’ll keep doing my part to report problems and correct business data, but I want to start seeing results. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, or next week, but I feel like Apple isn’t paying enough attention to the people who care about submitting fixes on their own time. I think the worst thing that Apple can do is show no signs of listening to people’s submitted reports. I’m not the only one who’s concerned about the lack of feedback, and I hope to see Apple doing more. Put the pause on making 3D maps with Flyover, and put focus on updated satellite imagery and updating maps with accurate business data.
I too have submitted numerous updates to Apple—some over twelve months ago now—and none of them have been updated. While the app has been solid for directions, searching for businesses and the like is terrible, pulling up hopelessly out-of-date information.
Cristina Odone, writing in The Telegraph, reports on how the new Pope’s modest, simple and fun approach is leading to more bums on seat in Italian churches:
Inspired by their new Pope, Italian Catholics are returning to Church. Soon, Catholics around the world will follow suit. It’s too early to speak of another Saint Francis, but this Pope is a miracle worker.
Negative attitudes are bad for you. And gratitude, it turns out, makes you happier and healthier. If you invest in a way of seeing the world that is mean and frustrated, you’re going to get a world that is, well, more mean and frustrating. But if you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you’re going to be better off.