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Making of an Expert (re-post)

re-post from Harvard Business Review

Thirty years ago, two Hungarian educators, László and Klara Polgár, decided to challenge the popular assumption that women don’t succeed in areas requiring spatial thinking, such as chess. They wanted to make a point about the power of education. The Polgárs homeschooled their three daughters, and as part of their education the girls started playing chess with their parents at a very young age. Their systematic training and daily practice paid off. By 2000, all three daughters had been ranked in the top ten female players in the world. The youngest, Judit, had become a grand master at age 15, breaking the previous record for the youngest person to earn that title, held by Bobby Fischer, by a month. Today Judit is one of the world’s top players and has defeated almost all the best male players.

It’s not only assumptions about gender differences in expertise that have started to crumble. Back in 1985, Benjamin Bloom, a professor of education at the University of Chicago, published a landmark book, Developing Talent in Young People, which examined the critical factors that contribute to talent. He took a deep retrospective look at the childhoods of 120 elite performers who had won international competitions or awards in fields ranging from music and the arts to mathematics and neurology. Surprisingly, Bloom’s work found no early indicators that could have predicted the virtuosos’ success. Subsequent research indicating that there is no correlation between IQ and expert performance in fields such as chess, music, sports, and medicine has borne out his findings. The only innate differences that turn out to be significant—and they matter primarily in sports—are height and body size.

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View from highway, Taoyuan airport to Taipei city

Ever since the construction of what i called “Double Decker Highway System” near Taipei, I had always prefer to ride on the upper deck. (You can see the upper deck in one of the photos.) The segment that connect Taipei City to the airport is what I use more than any other.

I’ve been wanting to get photos of various views from the upper deck. It is closer to the mountains and offers different perspective than the lower highways. Since i am home once every 3 months (that is 2 trips from and to airport), armed with a cell phone camera, you would think snapping some photos will be simple in this day and age. In reality, photos have been a bit elusive for most of 2014 and 2015.

For example, I always take the public bus from Taoyuan airport to the city. Sometimes, the bus opted for the lower deck for no reason… well, that means no photo. Periodically, I traveled at night – no photo. shaky hands, no photo. (ok, super blurry photo) Weather is too foggy, no photo. Sit on the wrong side of the bus, no photo. Rain too hard, no photo. Super dirty window- no photo. Cell phone not charged – no photo. Fell asleep on the bus because I just took a red eye – no photo and I missed my stop! Talk about Moby Dick moments… not as grandeur or epic, of course… but repeated failure still!

This month, my “tiny” persistence paid off with a huge dose of luck, I managed to get some satisfying photos so I know it is possible. Enjoy this “few and the proud” photos, I hope the next batch will be soon and better 🙂

Jesus Of Nazareth, Enemy Of The State, Executed For Treason (re-post)

Written by: Jerry Bowyer

re-posted from  http://www.affluentinvestor.com

Jesus of Nazareth was executed today on the orders of the Roman State. Method of execution: Crucifixion. The charge under Roman law was treason, and under Herodian law blasphemy against the Temple. The evidence against this anarchist was so strong that authorities of both the Roman State and the Kingdom of Herod concurred with the arrest and execution, and he was subjected to trial by both governments. And in a rare uprising of spontaneous collective justice, the mass of people who were gathered for Passover called for his execution as well. The mob affirmed their loyalty to the state, chanting, “We have no king but Caesar.”

Friday’s execution ended a career as an anti-government agitator with a long history of lawlessness. The family was in possession of falsified, illegal, and unsanctioned genealogical records which claim to indicate that Jesus was of royal lineage, and undermined the legitimate claim of Herod to the throne. The malicious claim, which has been spread widely among the people, is that the King is an Idumean and not a Jew. The king is tormented by this claim, and laments that shortly after his father’s rise to power the genealogical records (which would certainly have proven his legitimate right to reign) perished in a mysterious fire, likely set by anti-government agitators.
Read more at http://affluentinvestor.com/2015/04/jesus-of-nazareth-enemy-of-the-state-executed-for-treason/#fuvdOvEQCBXadwYt.99

8 Classic storytelling techniques for engaging presentations

(re-post from http://www.sparkol.com, authored by

A good public speaker takes their audience on a journey, leaving them feeling inspired and motivated. But structuring your speech to get your ideas across and keep your audience engaged all the way through is tricky. Try these eight storytelling techniques for a presentation that wows. 

You’re doing a presentation, so you start with the facts you want to get across. Wrong! Humans are hardwired for stories. They love heroes, journeys, surprises, layers and happy endings.

Deliver a presentation that captures the hearts and heads of your audience by stealing one of these classic storytelling techniques. Start with the story – the rest will be history.

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Here’s Where The US Really Gets It Oil From – Business Insider

Here’s Where The US Really Gets It Oil From – Business Insider.

Christians in Myanmar: Give Back Our Land

“This IS our family land.” L.N., an energetic pastor and a community activist, expressed his mind through his thick-accented English. With a wave of his hand, he directed our eyes to nearly 20+ acres of open land featuring mature trees, rice patties, a small open pasture, and the whole area dotted with small one-room brick dwellings, chickens, pigs, and cattle. In the distance is a beautiful mountain that separates Myanmar from India. A cool December breeze carried L.N.’s words towards the plains, “The army generals took it from us years ago; we want it back.”

L.N. belongs to a tribal group that call themselves ZOMI, meaning, ‘Zo People”. A borderland people group that were known by the non-tribal plain peoples of Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India as Chin, Kuki, or Lushai. In all 3 countries, they are minority both ethnically and in their religious beliefs. The overwhelming majority of Zomi have joined the Christian faith since the first American missionary arrived and lived in their midst a century ago.   Under a military dictatorship from 1962 to 2011, the Burmese-majority military seized much private land from the citizenry to be given as personal assets to high ranking officials or as rewards to loyalists. L.N.’s family land was one of those far-too-common annexations that occurred across Myanmar.

In 2011, the military junta was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election, and a nominally civilian government was installed. While political reform is currently underway, the land resource reform to guarantee the right of private ownership is a touchy (almost taboo) subject in mainstream Burmese political discourse. This has caused the property market to rise unreasonably, increasing risks to foreign investment, slowing business expansion, and left people like L.N. without any solutions.

L.N. graciously shared with us a simple meal of rice, vegetables, fried pork, and Lahpet, the national delicacy salad made with fermented tea leaves.   He and I also discussed the private ownership issue from a Biblical perspective, as we share the same Christian faith. It was at creation that God the Creator committed the world and its resources to humanity (Genesis 1:28–29). As a result, God granted dominion to this first human pair under His law. This dominion was reinforced in the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15), which provided for property rights as well. With this command, not only was the principle of individual ownership recognized, but it also thereby regarded as criminal all attempts to take that property from a person in a fraudulent way and to then regard it as one’s own.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. On December 9, 2014, The National Land Resource Management Central Committee held its first meeting at Yangon. In the opening speech by Vice president U Nyan Tan, he acknowledged that existing land policies have flaws and suggested the committee should prioritize policy reform on the legal protection of land ownership rights.  Perhaps the Myanmar government is doing a high-wire act in pursing the long-term benefit of clearly defined private-property rights while trying to minimize the ill will of the old military leadership who had the most to lose when the illegally-seized private land reverts to their rightful owners.

In an ultimate sense, God owns the land.  As Leviticus 25:23 (NIV, 1984) made clear: “the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.” Also, Psalm 24 states that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” So God owns it all, but He has entrusted it to us (hence all the stewardship parables in the gospels) so that we can learn how to properly manage His resources. May we have the wisdom to do so.

Inattentional blindness: Moon-walking Gorilla in the Brain

Change The Learning Curve

Have you ever wondered why you usually miss glaring bloopers in major motion pictures? If you are like most people, you probably believe that just because your eyes are open, you are seeing. So why do we sometimes fail to see things that are right in front of our eyes?

The reality is that attention plays a major role in visual perception. One of the primary reasons why you fail to notice these mistakes in films and television programs is a psychological phenomenon known as inattentional blindness. When your attention is focused on one demanding task, such as paying attention to the main character in a movie, you might not notice unexpected things entering your visual field.

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