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Untangling skill and luck.

Welcome to Wednesday, my friends. Today, I have several interesting articles for you. The first one is especially good, but it’s very, very long.

Untangling skill and luck. [it’s complicated…] — “There’s a simple and elegant test of whether there is skill in an activity: ask whether you can lose on purpose. If you can’t lose on purpose, or if it’s really hard, luck likely dominates that activity. If it’s easy to lose on purpose, skill is more important. In this report, we will discuss why unraveling skill and luck is so important, provide a framework for thinking about the contribution of skill and luck, offer some methods to help sort skill and luck in various domains, and define the key features of skill in the investment business.” This PDF is long (and 11 years old) but it’s fascinating. Well worth reading.

Ten ways to make your time matter. [Greater Good Magazine] — “The modern discipline of time management (or productivity) is depressingly narrow-minded, focused on devising the perfect morning routine or trying to crank through as many tasks as possible, while investing all your energy on reaching some later state of well-being and accomplishment. It ignores the fact that the world is bursting with wonder—and that experiencing more of that wonder may come at the cost of productivity.”

A man’s dog was stolen. He found the thief, and instead of calling the police, he got her into rehab. [The Washington Post] — “Morton shared his story with the woman, and she told him her own. She explained that she had been living on the streets for several years, relying on sex work to fund her drug addiction, Morton said. She wanted to get help, he said, but she was terrified.” [This is a great story.]

Are we on the verge of chatting with whales? [Hakai Magazine] — “Several animal species have proved to be vocal learners—acquiring new vocabulary, developing dialects, identifying each other by name. Some birds even learn to imitate cellphone ringtones. Dolphins acquire individual whistles that they use as an identifier for themselves, almost like a name.” [I believe strongly that animals are far more intelligent than most people credit them.]

And that’s all for today. Come back tomorrow for more interesting stuff, won’t you?