Obsessive Branding Disorder

In nature, animals use all sorts of evolutionary tricks to mislead predators, mates, and competitors about who they are. The tomato frog puffs...

In nature, animals use all sorts of evolutionary tricks to mislead predators, mates, and competitors about who they are. The tomato frog puffs itself up to look like a bigger, more fearsome creature when it's facing down danger. Harmless coral snakes bluff predators by mimicing poisonous ones. It's a facade.In the world of business, the corresponding behavior is called "branding." While creating a "strong brand identity" or whatever certainly has some fun, legitimate purposes, more often than not branding is about manipulating consumers' impressions. Starbucks is your little, local coffee shop. Häagen-Dazs is Scandinavian or something (the name is nonsense; no language uses umlauts that way). Branding has run amok, and that's the subject of Lucas Conley's new book OBD: Obsessive Branding Disorder - The Illusion of Business and the Business of Illusion. According to VSL:Conley, a contributing writer at Fast Company, believes branding is an insidious pathology contaminating American life. His well-executed argument is convincing: The more money and effort companies pour into branding, the fewer resources are left for research, development and substantive innovation. Our products and services don't improve, or even give us what we actually need; they just get slicker. And we are diminished.It looks like a great read to us. The appearance of the cover convinces us it's a sophisticated, no-nonsense analysis. It's on Amazon here.

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

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via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

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via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

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