friday five 3.24.17


1. joshua bell & jeremy denk: npr music tiny desk concert

NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts are the hidden gems of YouTube (if you're not into classical music, BANKS, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Death Cab for Cutie, and, surprisingly, T-Pain all have really great ones), and Schumann's Three Romances Op. 94 for oboe is one of my favorite pieces to play, but it sounds almost as beautiful on violin as well, especially performed by a world-famous violinist (you may remember him from his social experiment at a D.C. metro station in 2007). Skip to 6:15 for the second movement, but my favorite is always the first movement, which isn't performed here.

2. china's millennial consumers: what victoria's secret got wrong and nike got right

Navigating cultural appropriation is a difficult and often complex endeavor in advertising, but this is another classic example of understanding your audience vs. trying to hop on the bandwagon. But Chinese millennials are an important demographic: not only are they the most digitally-active, but they are already a primary factor in China's economic growth and their spending power is predicted to increase exponentially within the next decade.

3. trump's self-interruptions: a persuasion tactic

This is a well-crafted rhetorical device if he's using it intentionally and a narcissistic compulsion if he's not, but either way, it's brilliant. It's not something I even realized. And it's demonstrative of the fact that you don't have to be intelligent to be smart. You just have to know people. And while most of the educated global population makes fun of him, there's a whole demographic of working-class Americans that still to this day, despite his dangerous policymaking, extensive global conflicts of interest, and suspicious ties to foreign governments, worships the ground he walks on. And as much as I hate him, I can't help but be wary of the fact that this blind devotion managed to get him elected.

Michael Tracy writes in "Trump, Chaos, and Hatred":

Here’s what probably won’t be effective: stoking a kind of petty, personal hatred for Trump, mocking of his personal characteristics, affectations, etc. None of that will be particularly useful if one’s aim is to provide a serious counterweight to the harm-causing policies he’s likely to marshal, and already has marshaled. If anything, that superficial stuff just a vapid indulgence taken by people with little interest in policy, and who are more incensed about Trump the cultural figure rather than Trump the chief governing executive.

He is manipulating our country. By gaslighting, by misdirection. Everything he says is in service of his personal brand. He does not care about the American people; he cares that they are easily motivated by fear and easily taken advantage of. He is a dangerous puppet of his Chief Strategist, his Counselor to the President, his Vice President, and a Russian Dictator, and he is sitting in the White House making awful decisions for our country. It is a shallow mistake to focus solely on his appearance, no matter how easy it is.

4. gene therapy: what personalized medicine means for you

Customization is the future of everything, from cosmetics to genetic engineering, but it's awesome that it finally has practical applications in modern medicine to treat existing conditions, which, if you think about it, makes a lot of sense considering the astounding variance of human biology. I used to work for a healthcare agency that serviced a stem cell therapy company, and I can tell you, with a very limited understanding of genetic engineering, that the potential of this industry is absolutely mind-blowing. But medicine is not one-size-fits-all, and it's about time that we stopped treating it as such.

5. radiohead and sadness: a data analysis

I like "Exit Music for a Film" and I like visual representations of data.