Helen Marriage’s latest public art installation and event

The Guardian reports on the dazzling light show at Durham Cathedral which Helen Marriage’s group Artichoke is responsible for.

The festival, created by the arts trust Artichoke, has now spread to other cities and will return to London in January, but it began in Durham in 2009. “It’s fair to say that in the beginning some people wondered what on earth we were at,” its director Helen Marriage said. “Now it’s an immense source of local pride – a lot of people went down to London and said it was good but not a patch on Durham.” [TheGuardian.com]

Brian Alexander on Amazon’s list of best business and leadership books of 2017


Brian Alexander’s Glass House has made the list.

“A devastating portrait…For anyone wondering why swing-state America voted against the establishment in 2016, Mr. Alexander supplies plenty of answers.” ―The Wall Street Journal … In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion. [Amazon]

NY Times: Five Technologies That Will Rock Your World

Among the “Five Technologies That Will Rock Your World” is the work of Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert’s Kitty Hawk which is developing a flying car.

Even as he sets the pace in the race to autonomous cars, Larry Page, the chief executive of Alphabet and a founder of Google, is backing Kitty Hawk, a start-up that wants to move commuting into the air. And many others, including the start-up Joby Aviation, Uber and Airbus, are working on vehicles capable of flying above congested roads. These vehicles take many forms, but generally, they carry a single rider and take off like a helicopter: straight up. At first, Kitty Hawk will sell its vehicles to hobbyists. But the company hopes it can eventually convince the general public, and regulators, that flying cars make sense. That is no easy task. After all, these cars will require a new kind of air traffic control. [NYTimes.com]

Liza Mundy and Meredith Wadman on the WaPo’s 50 notable works of nonfiction in 2017 list

Congrats to both speakers. Meredith Wadman’s The Vaccine Race (“Scientific anecdotes, historical detail and quirky characters enliven this tale of how researchers developed vaccines against polio, rubella, rabies and more.”) and Liza Mundy’s Code Girls (“Because they were sworn to secrecy, the women recruited to decipher German and Japanese codes were barely known after World War II. Mundy tells their story.”) among the notable works of nonfiction this year recognized by the Washington Post.

Jay Newton-Small on “What Happens When Women Reach a Critical Mass of Influence”

Jay Newton-Small’s latest for TIME.

If it seems like the structures that enable sexism are exploding, that’s because they scientifically are, according to the theory of critical mass. When women reached 20% in the Senate, they went after the Pentagon to reform the military’s sexual-assault protocol. When they reached 25% of Hollywood producers, they took down Harvey Weinstein and his casting-couch culture. And when they reached a third of the White House press corps, Fox’s Roger Ailes, NPR’s Michael Oreskes and other serial harassers in the media began to get called out. Somewhere in that zone, when women comprise 20% to 30% of an institution, things begin to change. [TIME.com]

New York Times review of Liza Mundy’s Code Girls


The NY Times have reviewed the latest from Liza Mundy. (Above see a recent talk on the book; introduced by Liza’s husband.)

In Liza Mundy’s prodigiously researched and engrossing new book, “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II,” she describes the experiences of several thousand American women who spent the war years in Washington, untangling the clandestine messages sent by the Japanese and German militaries and diplomatic corps. At a time when even well-educated women were not encouraged to have careers — much less compete with men to demonstrate their mastery of arcane, technical skills — this hiring frenzy represented a dramatic shift. The same social experiment was simultaneously unfolding on the other side of the Atlantic. The British debutantes and their middle-class peers recruited to work at the secret Bletchley Park code-breaking operation came to outnumber the men. [NYTimes.com]

Fast Company dissect’s the work of happiness expert Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s work was cited for the piece “This Is Why Your Passive-Aggressive Office Note Didn’t Work.”

People are different. The way you convince one person to do something often doesn’t work on another person. In fact, sometimes the same method that works on one person backfires with another. That’s what author Gretchen Rubin found after surveying over a million people about how they view and react to expectations. [FastCompany.com]

Michael Osterholm on “How to Stop a Lethal Virus” in this Smithsonian interview

Michael Osterholm is the author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.

“The real challenge is that there is already an established, and very mature, private-sector enterprise producing flu vaccine that has in place a system of annual delivery that guarantees a certain amount of money,” said Michael Osterholm, the founder of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “How are you going to change that? Who is going to pay for that, given that the cost of research and development may mean the vaccine will be substantially more expensive than what we already have? What company will embrace that?” [SmithsonianMag.com]

Gordon Wood’s new book is out now; reviewed in the WSJ

Gordon Wood’s latest Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson is out now. It has been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal:

“…as Gordon S. Wood vividly conveys in “Friends Divided,” the two men were stark contrasts in almost every way. Tall and lanky, Jefferson towered over the short and stout Adams. Outwardly serene, gregarious and gracious, Jefferson made friends more easily than did the cranky, excitable and acerbic Adams. Jefferson sought to ingratiate, Adams to provoke. Where Jefferson flattered the American people as the best on earth, Adams warned them to beware of their passions, greed and conceit. Jefferson told them what they longed to hear, while Adams conveyed unpalatable truths. Adams clung to a secularized vision of the original sin that taints all humanity, according to the Calvinist sermons of his youth. Jefferson instead embraced an Enlightenment creed that regarded humanity as potentially perfectible if freed from too much government. Jefferson sought, with remarkable success, to know something about everything, while Adams focused his reading and writing on political theory. [WSJ.com ––paywall-protected]