Tough Competition

Have you ever wondered what truly drives competition and performance? As someone who is innately competitive and is constantly surrounded by competitive people, I can attest to the fact that there are various types of competitiveness. While some people are driven by the need to prove themselves,and want to come out the winner, other people use their peers as more of a measuring stick. In this case, competition becomes less about winning and more about matching up. Either way I think this article proves how many factors are involved in how someone perceives competition. From pre-existing stereotypes to the way a task is phrased, each little factor can determine how well a person fares in a competitive environment. 

>> Can Tough Competition Hinder Academic Performance? <<

-Monisha

Political Attraction

>> I Love Your Ballot, Baby: Members of Your Own Political Party Are More Beautiful <<

We’ve all been there – we’re hanging out in an otherwise innocuous group, and, suddenly, someone drops the politics card.  And then it all goes INSANE.  Tensions run high, thinly veiled insults are thrown like gang signs in south central LA, friendships are dissolved, etc.  Well, apparently political leanings don’t just influence your views; it can even make potential love interests more or less attractive!  A study conducted by a political economist at Stanford Business School showed that subjects’ attractions to online dating profiles were influenced – in this order – by the following: religion (50%), ethnicity (16.6%%), education (10.6%) and political partisanship (9.5%).  Basically, political affiliation has almost the same weight in determining someone’s appeal as his/her education levels.

– Sandra

You Are What You Eat

If you are a giant foodie like me and my co-blogger, you are probably always seeking out new and exciting places to eat. Whether its a new type of cuisine or an interesting presentation, we never stop looking for the next good meal. This article proves that some people are so adventurous in their search for food that they would even eat dirt. This japanese restaurant serves up a menu of dirt including dirt soup, salad with dirt dressing and dirt ice cream for a whopping $110 bucks. Bon Appetite!

>> Japanese Restaurant Serves Meal of Dirt — for $110 <<

-Monisha

The Harlem Shake

>>How Your Harlem Shake Videos Make Money for the Original Artist<<

If you’ve always wondered how exactly these youtube sensations make thousands of dollars, read the article above to find out. This article presents an interesting perspective that ties together pop culture with business. We as the general public may not view fads like gagnam style or the harlem shake as anything more than a passing craze, but the creators of these videos know a thing or two about a thing or two. 

Another interesting idea that I read elsewhere is how youtube and the internet have revolutionized the popularity of music. Gone are the times when we needed to rely on our local radio station to tell us what the latest hits were. Now music is traveling from the internet to the radio. I think this presents a certain freedom in the way music is created and popularized. In a certain sense it creates equal footing for everyone to get their chance to shine. Even if that chance only lasts up until the next craze begins. 

-Monisha

Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and racism

>> Alexander Wang, Balenciaga’s New Designer, Is an American in Paris <<

Since December, there has been substantial controversy over the selection of 29 year-old designer Alexander Wang as the new creative director of luxury brand Balenciaga.  As Pham notes in the article above, the announcement of his appointment spawned a huge speculative discussion on whether he was chosen for his ethnic connections to China.   This discussion appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Forbes Magazine and ignored, for the most part, the facts that he was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is ethnically TAIWANESE American.  And the fact that he’s talented.

– Sandra

Happy Valentine’s Day

So here is a series of articles to celebrate the day of love:

>>A Valentine’s Day Gift to Save a Marriage <<

While most of the people in my life are not married and neither am I, I found this article to be useful and interesting. Conflicts in relationships are probably the most complicated kind of conflict to deal with and it’s interesting to see the kind of homework you can do to potentially save your relationship. While I think it’s hard to quantify things like happiness in a relationship, it is interesting to see how the study performed in this article found that couples who actively worked towards managing their conflict(according to the way outlined in said article) were across the board more satisfied in their relationships. Have a look!

>>Guppies Use Ugly Friends to Seem More Attractive<<

Here’s a tactic that’s not unheard of in the human world as well. But then again who knows how guppie personalities work. Looks may be all they have to go by.

>>The Science of Romance<<

This is probably one of the best articles I’ve ever read. Again I think it’s interesting that these studied try to quantify things like attraction and romance, which are generally idea we don’t think about in a quantitative manner. Here are a few highlights:

– The clash between biology and romance. How our biological instincts drive our attraction and ultimately control the way we fall in love.

-To truly be attracted to someone you must be attracted to their scent

-There are certain hormones found in a partner’s saliva that may help us determine whether we are biologically compatible with a potential mate

-The birth control pill may distort the amount of attraction a woman feels to her partner

-Monisha

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools

>>The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools<<

Interesting to see how one school district turned themselves around to become one of the top performing schools in their district despite harboring an underprivileged student body. I think the main takeaway from this, which applies to more than just schools, is innovative strategy and continuous improvement. This opinion piece doesn’t exactly say what the school district did to turn themselves around but that’s almost good in a certain sense. Improvements and innovations don’t come one size fits all.

-Monisha