Hotel/Motel (blue) vs Airbnb (red) locations in San Francisco. Via Medium.

Shortlisted: This week’s best links, #99

The people who have saved the most lives, a gorgeous surfing video, a powerful piece on the weight of worrying about police violence, and more.

Arts and Culture

Oliver Sacks / The New York Times / 8 mins
A beautiful piece from Sacks on his childhood and on what it means to live a good life, as he contemplates reaching the end of his own.

Light Therapy
Riley Blakeway / Vimeo / 4 mins
A visual and aural cocktail. Take a deep breath, soak in these gorgeously composed nature and surfing scenes, and feel the summer sun on your skin. (I suppose you could also go outside…)

Politics and World Affairs

Slow Poison (Top pick)
Ezekiel Kweku / Pacific Standard / 9 mins
“I can no more safely forget racism than a sea captain can forget about waves and weather. It must be heeded and understood to be navigated, and if I refuse, I will drown. I may drown anyway, despite my best efforts.” An outstanding and affecting piece on the weight of a lifetime of worrying.

Business and Economics

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas In A Bruising Workplace
Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld / The New York Times / 23 mins
A brutal portrait of Amazon’s workplace culture. Some of what’s portrayed may be, as one wag put it on Twitter, “Harvard MBA’s making six figures…complaining about performance reviews.” But there are also outrageous warehouse safety and gender equality practices that can’t be so glibly dismissed.
+ Related: Silicon Valley leaders shrug off the article
+ Related: Jeff Bezos responds

Networks And The Nature Of The Firm
Tim O’Reilly / Medium / 17 mins
A very thoughtful piece on how companies like Airbnb and Uber fit into the pattern of economic and technological progress. It’s especially interesting when O’Reilly flips back and forth between existing and emerging models. In one such instance, we see how technology allows Amazon to make nearly 3x in revenue per employee than Walmart.

The (Soon-To-Be) Prisoner’s Dilemma
Alex Tabarrok / Marginal Revolution / 1 min
An enterprising sheriff puts economic theory to work for him in this flyer, titled “Attention Drug Dealers.”

Investment Scam
Paul English / Medium / 1 min
This is pretty clever.

Science and Technology

The Ethics Of Modern Web Ad-Blocking
Marco Arment / 4 mins
A thoughtful argument about why the current state of web ads is a mess — and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about using an ad blocker.

Don’t Hate The Phone Call, Hate The Phone
Ian Bogost / The Atlantic / 11 mins
“One of the ironies of modern life is that everyone is glued to their phones, but nobody uses them as phones anymore.” That’s in part because new generations prefer texting. But it’s also because the actual experience of a phone call has gotten worse along multiple dimensions. Interesting.

Who Saved The Most Lives?
A list of scientists whose breakthroughs have saved the most lives. Four scientists are estimated to have saved over a billion lives — I’d heard of none of them — and 16 more are estimated to have saved over 100 million lives.

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