Exchange time!

1) Medium user @Jeswin has written a brilliant essay on why Facebook is awful and needs to go away: “Facebook is godsent for people who love to talk, but have nothing to say. Here is a network that doesn’t care about originality or the quality of content. In the time it takes to create something original, they could share dozens of things…there is an entire industry working non-stop creating low quality, emotionally appealing content that gets ‘likes’ from gullible users.”


2) Despite its incredibly, incredibly, (incredibly) annoying click-bait headline, the guys at Business Insider have a graph showing the power of compound interest that should be widely disseminated. And it’s young people, who need to start saving when they are young, who should be taking particular notice; “Interestingly, Susan, who saved for just 10 years, has more wealth than Bill, who saved for 30 years…That discrepancy is explained by compound interest.”


3) Modern a Farmer has the “confessional” of a pig farmer who is going through an ethical struggle with what he does for a living; “no matter how well it’s done, I can’t help but question the killing itself. In a well-managed, small-scale slaughterhouse, a pig is more or less casually standing there one second, and the next second it’s unconscious on the ground, and a few seconds after that it’s dead. As far as I can tell — and I’ve seen dozens of pigs killed properly — the pig has no experience of its own death. But I experience the full brunt of that death… In a way, livestock farmers lie to their animals. We’re kind to them and take good care of them for months, even years. They grow comfortable with our presence, and even begin to like us. But in the end, we take advantage of the animals, using their trust to dupe them into being led to their own deaths.”


4) The Atlantic explains why we are so bad at giving gifts: sentimentality. We care so much about wanting to be thoughtful, and to surprise and blow away the recipient, that we take our eyes off what they really want and need; “the clever paper asks givers and recipients to rate gifts along two metrics: desirability (i.e.: the quality of a restaurant, the cost of a coffee maker, the visual complexness of the video game) and feasibility (i.e.: the proximity of that restaurant, the ease of the coffee maker, the learning curve of the video game). Across several experiments, they find that givers consistently give gifts based on desirability and recipients consistently favor gifts based on feasibility.”


5) The Exchange has already featured some heart breaking stories about failures in the fight against ivory poaching. Quartz has the story of “Japan’s Amazon” – Rakuten Ichiba – which features the online trading of ivory and whale meat: “As of Feb. 2014, Rakuten Ichiba featured 28,000 ads for elephant ivory products… These ranged from ¥3,800 to ¥320,000 ($36 to $3,126)… nearly 800 whale meat ads on Rakuten Ichiba as of February, most cost the equivalent of only a few dollars.”


6) The Priceonomics blog starting out trying to quantify the cost of babysitting services, but by digging through more than 170,000 online babysitter profiles, they came up with some other incredible data. For example; only 2.9% of babysitters were male. And despite having such a tragic participation rate, and in a field that is probably dominated by females because of societal norms and expectations, the males actually received a higher average wage.


7) With the ongoing stoush over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, and the steady economic rise and arms build up in that region of the world, David Pilling at Foreign Policy has a brilliantly timed history on ‘Why Japan is so different‘.


8) According to Tom Jacobs at Pacific Standard, new research has confirmed the cliche that stressed Men turn inward, while stressed Women turn to their friends. “Men respond to stress in a fight-or-flight manner, conserving their energy for the confrontation they fear is coming by turning inward. Women, on the other hand, take a “tend-and-befriend” approach.”


9) Just a few kilometres from where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill took place, scientists are digging for worms on the Ocean floor. “These sorts of critters – worms and crustaceans chief among them – represent a critical strand in benthic food webs. They consume much of the dead organic material from surface waters that is constantly snowing down on the seafloor, ultimately repackaging it for larger animals, like crabs, larger crustaceans, and ultimately fish or octopi. Without these middlemen – the macrofauna and meiofauna – the seafloor would likely remain an exclusively microbial domain.” Who knew there were worms in the ocean floor?


10) In an article in The Conversation, David Nally argues that “dietary convergence” is resulting a “food system designed not to meet human needs, but to facilitate capital accumulation and economic growth. Recycling surplus industrial grains through livestock, for example, has the economic advantage of converting cheap (because heavily subsidised) animal feed into higher value proteins in the form of meat and dairy. In other words, by harnessing the metabolic processes of animals, cheap and usable nutrition is replaced with more valuable (but not necessarily better) nutrition, and in the process the problem of price-deflating grain surpluses can be nullified.”


And that’s all for this week’s exchange. The exchange will hopefully be back again next weekend with more intriguing stories and ideas. Same bat channel.

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