Bringing slave dwellings out of the shadows with Google Street View.

There is a video in the link that explains further about slavery and the project.

It’s easy to forget about the painful yet important parts of American history when we can’t see them. By immersing ourselves in the places where enslaved communities once lived, we are confronted with a history that cannot be ignored. So to virtually preserve these living spaces and give people access to them, we [Google] created custom Street View imagery for tours of a dozen slave dwellings throughout Virginia, which date from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s.

The Street View tours also play a role in virtual preservation. Many of the dwellings are in poor condition—even in worse shape than when we started photographing them a few years ago. By creating the virtual tours, we preserve the dwellings for future generations.

For the tours, we consciously chose a range of dwelling types and locations to highlight how ubiquitous slavery was throughout Virginia—from the Eastern Shore to Mecklenburg County. People tend to think that enslaved people only lived on rural plantations. But we have tours of slave dwellings in urban cities like Alexandria and Richmond, which challenge the stereotypes of how enslaved people lived.

In school, I explored the usefulness of digital exhibitions. Short of visiting so many places worldwide, photography of these places allows us to “visit” them.

The immersive experience that visiting a physical space provides is lost when viewed through a screen, but with immersive Virtual Reality coming up, sights, sounds and eventually touch and smells (4 out of 5 senses) will bring the immersive-ness to anyone in the world.

How Chicago Got a Lot Faster at Beach Water Warnings.

Chicago is the only major U.S. city to use a new method to test for bacteria at most of its beaches—and then issue same-day swimming advisories.

Millions of people in the U.S. get sick every year (often with a gastrointestinal illness) after swimming, boating, or fishing at a beach.

Authorities measure fecal bacteria—from sewage, birds, or other animals—in the water as an indicator of what other illness-causing organisms might have been released with the waste. If the levels are too high, they post a warning.

Under the usual method, labs grow bacteria from water samples, a process that takes about 24 hours to show results. So by the time high pathogen levels are evident and a beach warning goes out, “Mom is picking up the baby, washing sand out of their pants, and getting into the car,”

For the sake of public health (and good PR), other local jurisdictions and states across the country have considered switching to the day-of testing protocol—but it’s easier said than done. So far, Chicago is the only major city to use a new method for the majority of its beaches, a choice facilitated by political will, capable labs, urban density, and some good fortune.

A sexism questionnaire to filter sexist candidates

How the female CEO of a mechanical engineering Indian startup dealing in menstrual hygiene solutions avoids hiring sexist candidates.

“We have very abstract questions to check for sexism,” says Mohan, who refers to the questionnaire as a “sexism filter.”

…more nuanced questions—one, for instance, that presents a scenario of inequality, and asks how the employee would behave in it—are more useful for identifying whether the candidates are indeed feminists, or just playing the part in the interview. The questions also draw from news and current affairs, trying to gauge the candidate’s opinions on socially-divisive issues, such as caste politics or sexist religious practices.

The best evidence is in the numbers of unfit candidates it helped identify. “We have actually rejected a lot of technically good candidates because of it,” she says. “When there is a cultural misfit, it creates conflict sooner or later,” she explains. “So, from past experience, we prefer waiting to find the right fit, rather than hiring someone and asking them to leave.”

Is your business a junction or a destination

What is your business about?

Yahoo grew as a place to stay. They built one service after another, hoping for time on site.

Google, on the other hand, began as a place to visit when you wanted to go somewhere else. That’s their entire business model. Time on site wasn’t as important to them as the accuracy of their direction. Come to leave.

Facebook, on the other hand, is organized to be a one-way street, with people staying on the site as long as possible.

Of course, it’s not simply web sites that work this way. Either we organize for junctions and trajectory, or we build our place as a destination, physically or as metaphor.

How social separation leads to tribalism and affects not just those ostracised, but the world.

But as measles cases in the U.S. climb to an all-time high after the disease was declared eliminated in 2000, U.S. public health officials have been looking for ways to address the problem.

As a researcher on religious politics and health, I believe that Nigeria’s highly mobilized efforts to eliminate polio can teach America how to reverse the increase in measles cases and shore up its public health infrastructure. Working with international partners, Nigerians have combated misinformation, suspicion of vaccine science and religion-based boycotts to go from ground zero for polio on the African continent in 2003 to nearly polio-free in 2019.

Nigerians understood that simply ostracizing religious communities would not work. Anti-vaxx politics tapped into mistrust of government and “others” that ran deep in a diverse but divided society, where religious, regional and ethnic loyalties took priority over national unity.

To foster reconciliation, Nigerians engaged in efforts to break down tribalism. One experiment, started in 1973 and still going, is compulsory service of college graduates in the National Youth Service Corps in “states other than their own and outside their cultural boundaries to learn the ways of life of other Nigerians.”

… we should work to depoliticize public health. Scapegoating religious communities evokes ugly histories of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

As different people, we have different mindsets. A way forward is agreeing to disagree and keep civilised communication going.

This applies to any form of interaction, including work and home.

Playing to your strengths as a leader doesn’t make you a good boss – in fact, it can make you a bad boss.

So, you have to ask yourself: Are your actions feeding your team, or your ego?

Focus on what you’re good at, and the team never becomes good at it themselves. Focus on what you’re good at, and you never see things for what they really are.

Resist viewing your strengths as the only way to make the team strong. Resist falling in love with the short-term results of doing what feels good to be doing.

Find someone who will tell you the truth. Your co-founder, your coworkers. Ask them if what you’re doing that you’re good at is really helping move the team forward.

Our strengths are our weakness, our weakness our strengths.

Also, the entire Know Your Team blog is amazing.

Highlights from In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Thought-provoking extracts by Jason Kottke of Erik’s Larson’s book – In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin.

Reading it, I couldn’t help but notice several parallels between what was happening in 1933 & 1934 as Hitler worked to establish an authoritarian government in Germany and some of the actions of our current government and its President here in the US. If you think that sort of statement is hyperbolic, I urge you to read on and remember that there was a time when Nazi Germany and its rulers seemed to its citizenry and to the world to be, sure, a little extreme in their methods, fiery in their rhetoric, and engaged in some small actions against certain groups of people, but ultimately harmless…until they weren’t and then it was too late to do anything.

Here’s everything I highlighted on my Kindle presented with some light commentary…much of it speaks for itself and the parallels are obvious. I apologize (slightly) for the length, but this book provided a very interesting look at the Nazi regime before they became the world’s canonical example of evil.

Quietly honest

A new job. A new environment, culture and expectations.

My DiSC results showed a high reluctance for conflict. However, conflict is inevitable to varying degrees when working with people of different characters.

Generalising here when I say that the Asian culture promotes sweeping issues under the rug to promote a surface of harmony. It would have been easy to brush the friction aside.

I quietly raised conflicting issues early. Nothing deal-breaking. After a lot of reflection, the root of the issue dawned on me. I reflected again, discussed the issue with trusted people and wrote it out to check my thought process.

As I write this, the stages of explaining have begun. Forgive the lack of details as it is a case still unravelling.

This is penned down as a milestone reminder. That I am being as openly honest as possible. That this is an incredibly uncomfortable task as it goes against how I operate, yet I realise it is necessary. It could cost me, but living my life as honestly as possible is what I strive for.

Intentionally weird

This is an actual commercial that ran on national television. It features two animated furry animals with bulging eyes and a mouth full of bare teeth. One is wearing a black bowler hat. The other was wearing the kind of hat that old-timey sea captains used to wear and it’s playing an acoustic guitar. They’re singing about Quiznos sandwiches, while bopping around over footage of the subs coming out of an oven.

It’s like this memorable horrific advertising campaign. It’s almost an assault, like in a way. And I remember just seeing him be like, what the hell was that? Like what just happened? And I like immediately loved it. Sometimes there’s these flashpoints where weird underground stuff finds its way to popular culture and the mainstream gets like a little exposure to it.

Creativity magazine, which is a big industry magazine, covered it and the creative director who reviewed it said something very interesting. “On the surface this just seems like a bunch of crazy maybe gross creatures, you know being funny,” but he says, “You look at this work. This campaign is brilliant retail advertising. The client’s store name, the logo is on the screen the entire time. Characters, they’re not just singing a funny song. They’re singing about the sub and that they’re toasted and they then show the toaster and the sandwich is going through the toaster and then they’re talking about the price of the sandwiches. This is brilliant.”

Listen to the podcast talking about the story of how this Quiznos ad got made.

Why I’m not playing Harry Potter Wizards Unite

With the release of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Other Half and a whole bunch of friends started playing it.

When prior Niantic games, Ingress and Pokemon Go, launched, the Other Half and I launched into intense playing — spreadsheets, a Tableau visualisation posted on Reddit, community events, etc. Go Big or Go Home, is our modus operandi.

Time spent on both Ingress and Pokemon Go has since decreased to almost nil.

With this launch, things were different. I flatly refused to even download the application, knowing that it would be a massive time sink. Time that I could not spare as due to other priorities.

It has been slightly lonely (or FOMO), watching the Other Half excitedly discussing the game with friends. While he would like us to play the game together, he understands why I do what I do.

We both agree that time should be spent wisely and right now, it’s divided between ramping up my career, health and spending time with him.

Short-term versus long-term.