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Greetings fabulous friends, it's good to be with you again. My email of three weeks ago introduced a ๐Ÿ’ฅBLAST! Spotify playlist for your delectation, with each song thematically related to each email. While a tune for last week's email took a bit of thinking about, this week I'm utterly spoilt for choice.
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ARGUMENT: We evolve slowly. While we've gained dexterity in an extraordinary breadth of situations, we're slow to update this armoury in line with technological advances. As technology enveloped conversation, it became harder for us to detect all the silent cues that surround human interaction. The result? Arguments!

It's becoming less obvious but, when people have their first online experiences, it's interesting how long it takes for them to get into an argument about something. Further, the ability to argue a viewpoint, no matter the depth to which it has been considered, has been extended far and wide. With that, low-quality arguments ensue. The Subreddit /r/changemyview, which went on to spawn ChangeAView, attempts to address this. It might not be the answer but it does at least solidify the challenge, and it beats not having a view at all.

Online arguments, poorly conducted, are negative for the platforms upon which they transpire. But that's not to say they should be discouraged, for robust debate is essential for peaceful civilisation; whether online or offline. Mindful of this, Eve Pearlman explains in a TED Talk how, instead of driving division, journalism might bring people who disagree together.

Causes that matter, political or otherwise, are worth arguing for. It's better to argue with science deniers, for example, as not to do so is more dangerous. And while it might seem taboo, there's a strong case for arguing in front of the kids so that they can become stronger at managing conflict.
๐ŸŒ A Womanโ€™s Whole World Catalog: building upon Stewart Brand's countercultural work, and perhaps the feminist edition it inspired, Alex is collecting for an update specifically for women: "a digital and collaborative time capsule, a tool for shared knowledge, a way to connect lessons from the past to our difficult imminent future".

๐ŸŒณ UN report says to transform how we use land and grow food. Sing it with me: conventional agriculture bad, trees are good. (Those of you who've joined more recently should perhaps note I'm obsessed with trees and reforesting.)

๐Ÿคฒ What Does a Coder Do If They Can't Type? A touching personal account of tackling disability.

๐Ÿ‘ญ Quilt is a meetup platform to form meaningful connections among professional women. The startup seeks to change the nature of networking, helping members get to know each other on a deeper level.

๐ŸŒฑ How did the lawn become the central landscaping feature in America, and what is the ecological cost? When I first visited the Midwest, the American dedication to an 'English' lawn, more so than even the English, was striking, particularly as the climate would far better suit, oh I dunno, big forests.

๐Ÿ•š New study claims to pinpoint the most creative time of day, down to the minute: and it's 11:05am. Interesting survey, but the aggregate results strike me as less interesting than individual data points. It'd be nice to know why people feel creative at any given moment, and whether this has anything to do with how much they actually create. Anyway.
Better conflict: Bobbie's excellent newsletter on the subject of conflict put me onto The Future of War: A History by Laurence Freeman; a challenging read but it got me thinking about how conflicts can be measured. Philosopher Daniel Dennett suggests an interesting methodology for arguing with kindness and care, actively pursuing and demonstrating an understanding of the opponent's position.

Radio 4's Word of Mouth has looked at conversation, exploring how improving our dialogue can aid in resolving conflict. This reminded me of the disagreement hierarchy proposed by Paul Graham, and how pursuing higher-order disagreements makes for better outcomes. It might even be said that arguing rather can, say, brainstorming can and should be productive.

An area that can feel like conflict, but shouldn't, is the giving and receiving of criticism. For the professional environment it's worth learning how to give constructive criticism, since it's not necessarily intuitive. Equally it's worth having a methodical approach when receiving criticism as opposed to an emotional one.

Further, rather than waiting for criticism and hoping it's valid, it's worth considering how to get good feedback. And of course, when we mess up, better apologies make for better conflicts.
Finally: Nicolas Cage on Acting, Philosophy and Searching for the Holy Grail: a lengthy NYT interview, perhaps in an effort to score some Goldblumian cool. ๐Ÿ•ถ

Caramba, it's the bottom of the email. More good stuff next week. Know someone who likes interesting things? And whose dreary inbox would benefit from an injection of interestingness? Of course you do! They can join in at momorgan.com/blast. ๐Ÿ’Œ

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