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Welcome back to This Week in Ideas, where we share the most popular stories from Freethink’s Slack channel. Last week, we talked about failure’s role in entrepreneurship. This week we’re talking about a little bit of everything, starting with some fun findings from the world of behavioral psychology (helpful if you’ve got New Year’s resolutions to keep!).

How to create good habits in three steps: “ According to psychologist B.J. Fogg, doing something you don’t enjoy and subsequently failing to make it habitual is actually more detrimental to a mission for change than doing nothing at all. To create a real lifelong habit, the focus should be on training your brain to succeed at a small adjustments, then gaining confidence from that success.”

The case against empathy: “Empathy, however well-intentioned, is a poor guide for moral reasoning. Worse, to the extent that individuals and societies make ethical judgments on the basis of empathy, they become less sensitive to the suffering of greater and greater numbers of people.”

15 Years of Moneyball:  In 2003, Michael Lewis' seminal work Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game was published.  It told the story of the 2002 Oakland A's, a team which didn't have the revenue streams of many of its competitors. Led by General Manager Billy Beane, The A’s instead developed an analytical methodology which attempted to find overlooked players and which would allow them to compete with their wealthier competitors. The impact of ‘Moneyball’ is now a given. However the question remains, almost 15 years later, as to who really has been playing Moneyball.”

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Mystery fungus sparks NIH crisis: “The National Institutes of Health reported last month that a new cell therapy had completely reversed metastatic colon cancer in a patient and could help tens of thousands more — the kind of dramatic breakthrough that has made NIH the crown jewel of government-run medical research. Behind the scenes, the discovery of fungus growing in two medicine vials in an NIH hospital pharmacy 19 months ago has ballooned into a management crisis, stalling medical trials for prostate cancer, melanoma, and gastrointestinal and chest tumors.”

You’ve probably never heard of this creepy genealogy site. But it knows a lot about you: “Profiles on FamilyTreeNow include the age, birth month, family members, addresses and phone numbers for individuals in their system, if they have them,” reports WaPo. “It also guesses at their “possible associates,” all on a publicly accessible, permalink-able page. It’s possible to opt out, but it’s not clear whether doing so actually removes you from their records or (more likely) simply hides your record so it’s no longer accessible to the public.”

Up Next

Future of Cities
The Future of Micromobility in Africa
The Future of Micromobility in Africa
Future of Cities
The Future of Micromobility in Africa
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, improvements to infrastructure shift focus from cars to micromobility. The city’s transportation plan calls for hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes and pedestrian pathways for increased safety.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, improvements to infrastructure shift focus from cars to micromobility. The city’s transportation plan calls for hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes and pedestrian pathways for increased safety.

Catalysts
A School Made for Homeless Children
A School Made for Homeless Children
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Catalysts
A School Made for Homeless Children
When a child faces chaos at home, it's impossible to learn. This school is doing whatever it takes to help homeless students and their families create better lives.
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When you think of homelessness, you typically don't picture homeless children. However, every year, approximately 2.5 million children experience homelessness. Homeless children can't learn when they don't know where their next meal is coming from, or what is waiting for them at home. They often struggle in public schools where they feel out of place, or unable to keep up because they've missed schooling in the past....

Interview
This Child Psychiatrist Is Saving Refugees From Trauma
This Child Psychiatrist Is Saving Refugees From Trauma
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Interview
This Child Psychiatrist Is Saving Refugees From Trauma
With the right intervention at the right time, a trauma can be recorded in the memory as non-traumatic and in many cases the devastating effects of PTSD in children refugees can be avoided.
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Essam Daod is a child psychiatrist using a groundbreaking approach to help Syrian refugee children handle their trauma effectively by narrowing in on the key moment that can prevent PTSD in children. The world news over the past few years has been filled with coverage of the Syrian civil war. Caught in the crossfire of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and various rebel and terror groups, millions of Syrians have fled by sea...

Education
How To Teach Kids to Read in as Little as 50 Days
How To Teach Kids to Read in as Little as 50 Days
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Education
How To Teach Kids to Read in as Little as 50 Days
1 in 10 people in the world today are illiterate. This program teaches people to read in as little as 50 days.
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1 in 10 people in the world today can’t read. Pratham’s innovative approach is helping kids in developing countries learn to read in as little as 50 days. Pratham’s methodology centers around teaching children based on their level rather than their age or grade. It began in India, where most kids are in school - but many aren’t able to read at grade level. The success of the core approach - teaching kids at their level and...

What We Get Wrong About Love
What We Get Wrong About Love
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What We Get Wrong About Love
Why are we so bad at love?
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Love is important to all of us - so why aren’t we better at it? Nate Bagley, host of the Loveumentary podcast, interviewed hundreds of successful couples. He found many traditional ideas of love are wrong. In this interview, he explains how to have better relationships and reveals key insights about love that aren’t taught in school. He hopes that by improving our love lives, we can learn to foster better relationships...

Wrong
Did the Food Pyramid Make Us Fat?
Did the Food Pyramid Make Us Fat?
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Wrong
Did the Food Pyramid Make Us Fat?
To address rising health problems in the 1980s, scientists and policymakers developed the US Food Pyramid to...
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To address rising health problems in the 1980s, scientists and policymakers developed the US Food Pyramid to encourage healthy eating. But despite a massive public education campaign, obesity and diabetes continued to rise. What happened? How did we get it so… wrong?

Culture
This Week in Ideas: Beer That Delivers Itself, Chatbots From Beyond, and How to...
This Week in Ideas: Beer That Delivers Itself, Chatbots From Beyond, and How to Set a Very Strange World Record
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Beer That Delivers Itself, Chatbots From Beyond, and How to...
Uber's self-driving beer truck, how a chatbot can help the grieving process, and more of our favorite stories from...
By Mike Riggs

Uber's self-driving beer truck, how a chatbot can help the grieving process, and more of our favorite stories from the week.