Skip to main content
Move the World.

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.”

Moneyballsbn

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

Social Impact
Helping the Invisible Be Found
helping homeless people
Social Impact
Helping the Invisible Be Found
Volunteer digital detectives are helping homeless people reunite with their families.

Volunteer digital detectives are helping homeless people reunite with their families.

Health & Wellness
Looking for Natural Anxiety Relief? Try Improv
natural-anxiety-relief
Health & Wellness
Looking for Natural Anxiety Relief? Try Improv
In a judgement-free setting, improv requires the mind to focus on the present, providing natural anxiety relief for performers.

In a judgement-free setting, improv requires the mind to focus on the present, providing natural anxiety relief for performers.

What It Takes
The Snake Milk King
The Snake Milk King
Watch Now
What It Takes
The Snake Milk King
Enter the Kentucky Reptile Zoo—one of the largest collections of venomous reptiles in the world—and meet Jim Harrison, the man that spent his 42-year career milking King Cobras for anti-venom and saving lives across the globe. What drives a man like this to risk his life each and every day?
Watch Now

Enter the Kentucky Reptile Zoo—one of the largest collections of venomous reptiles in the world—and meet Jim Harrison, the man that spent his 42-year career milking King Cobras for anti-venom and saving lives across the globe. He’s a former cop, bounty hunter, and professional kickboxer - but for decades now his main focus has been extracting venom from snakes, or “snake milking.” He and his wife, Kristen Wiley, run the...

Culture of Change
Drone Racers Are A Thing and They’re Amazing
Drone Racers Are A Thing and They’re Amazing
Watch Now
Culture of Change
Drone Racers Are A Thing and They’re Amazing
Blistering speed. Big money. 11-year-old world champions. Is drone racing the next big sport?
Watch Now

Yes, drone racers are a thing and they’re amazing. The Drone Racing League has gone from a dream to ESPN in a few short years. We met world champion Paul Nurkalla, aka Nurk FPV, and got an inside look at how the DRL is striving to be the next big sports league. Somewhere between esports, NASCAR and Star Wars sits drone racing, also known as FPV racing. It’s a breathtakingly fast spectacle where drone pilots fly quadcopters...

Dispatches
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
Dispatches
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
Researchers at Cambridge University have finally figured out how the brain stops stressful thoughts and memories...

Researchers at Cambridge University have finally figured out how the brain stops stressful thoughts and memories from taking over our minds.

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.