Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 14-20 August

How Europe can build a Silicon Valley, by Drasko Draskovic, World Economic Forum

“Silicon Valley holds less than 0.1% of the world’s population (3 million people) and yet they’ve launched nearly half of the most valuable tech companies in the world, with a valuation of more than $100 billion. Other Silicon Valleys can be built in Europe, but it’s really hard. To make this happen, you need more than just start-ups; you need an entire ecosystem: a constant stream of entrepreneurs, capital and companies of all sizes. Public sector leadership in Europe is highly aware of the need to foster innovation-driven entrepreneurship and a large number of relevant priorities are already on the policy agenda. Interventions are being made to tailor education to the needs of entrepreneurial careers, to improve access to finance and to enhance the availability of and access to relevant talent. Environments that encourage strong innovation are crucial components of national development.”

Body Smart: Can a week of wearables improve your health?, by Samuel Burke, CNN

“I’ve hit 10,000 steps! My Fitbit is vibrating and digital fireworks are shooting across the tiny screen on my wrist. The only problem is I haven’t even arrived at my office yet.
I hit the gym before I go to work, and think heck, if I’ve already logged that many steps, why not kick back and chillax the rest of the day? This is the first sign that something is awry on my quest to find out if wearable technology, or wearables, can actually make us healthier. To find out if that’s true, I’m strapping three wearables in particular to my body for a week-long experiment. On top of my Fitbit, I’m also putting the “brain sensing” meditation headband Muse on my head five minutes a day. I’m also trying out the CheckMe health monitor, a small device which can check for more things than I ever care to know I may have. Among its capabilities is its role as a sleep monitor, thermometer and even an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. To get some real perspective on all this, I enlisted the help of a medical professional.”

Here’s what a permanent treaty with North Korea might look like, by David Ignatius in The Washington Post

“After weeks of belligerent rhetoric, North Korea took a pause Tuesday. But where is the mercurial Kim Jong Un headed next? U.S. officials are debating whether he may want direct talks with Washington about a formal treaty to replace the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War. The United States has been pursuing a dual path, threatening military conflict (semi-believably because of President Trump’s verbal thunderbolts) while also urging stabilization of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. The diplomatic trick here is simultaneously reassuring North Korea, China, South Korea and Japan that their vital interests would be protected. This process of negotiation was hinted at Sunday by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, they warned North Korea to “take a new path toward peace, prosperity and international acceptance,” or face increased isolation.”

Europe’s quality of life improved for the first time in a decade despite terrorism attacks, by Lianna Brinded in Quartz

“The spate of terror attacks across Britain and in Europe has led to some major cities falling in a benchmark ranking for “liveability.” But this was not enough to bring down Europe’s overall quality of living. The Economist Intelligence Unit puts together a report, titled “The Global Liveability Report,” each year to rank 140 cities across the world in order of best living conditions. The idea behind the report is to also help corporations better understand the environment they send workers into, and subsequently pay them premium, the harsher conditions are. The rankings are calculated by scoring 30 qualitative and quantitative factors, such as health care, education, and stability, that provide the best and worst living conditions for people. The scores from each factor are then put together and weighted to give a final score of between 1-100, with 100 being ideal and 1 being intolerable. This year, the EIU pointed out that liveability in Europe overall, as well as globally, registered an improvement for the first time in decade, by just 0.06 percentage points.”

Lithium from Supervolcanoes Could Power An Electric Future, by Claudia Geib in Futurism

“Whether you’re scrolling through cat memes on your phone, writing a glowing Game of Thrones review on your laptop, or running out to grab a coffee in your electric car, modern life relies on lithium — most likely, lithium mined in Australia or Chile. But a new study suggests future electronic devices could be powered by lithium from an explosive source here in America: supervolcanoes. Published today in Nature Communications, the research from scientists at Stanford University investigated lithium laid down by these unusually large volcanic eruptions, which eject more than 1000 cubic kilometers of magma. The researchers analyzed rock samples from several lithium-rich sites, including the McDermitt volcanic field on the Nevada-Oregon border, where several supervolcanic eruptions originating in the Yellowstone hotspot occurred between 16.5 and 15.5 million years ago.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 7-13 August

What Makes a Great Leader?, by Kishore Mahbubani and Klaus Schwab in Project Syndicate

“Not long ago, over dinner in Singapore, we attempted to define what qualities make a great leader. For Klaus, the five key elements were heart, brain, muscle, nerve, and soul. For Kishore, compassion, canniness, and courage were key, as was the ability to identify talent and understand complexity. The extent of the overlap is telling. It is no coincidence that both lists begin with heart. Like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, a leader cannot achieve greatness without showing deep empathy with his or her people – a sentiment that fuels the fight against the injustices those people may face. Such heroic leaders are unlikely to emerge in normal times. But these are not normal times. On the contrary, today’s unprecedented inequality in many parts of the world is precisely the kind of injustice that could spur the emergence of great leaders with compassion for those at the bottom.”

Pay More To Earn More, by Peter Georgescu in Forbes

“What I’m suggesting is a complete transformation in the way workers are respected as the source of a company’s growth. It’s been shown that great CEOs, and great companies, are creating a more valuable employee by training and treating that employee as the origin of their success. Part of how they do this is by increasing employee compensation. When they do this, along with training in customer satisfaction, they create a workforce that is motivated and creative in a unique way. In other words, these employees prove themselves to be worth more money — loyal, customer-focused, creatively thinking about how to please customers and always mindful of the company’s future. In a sense, higher wages are a self-fulfilling prophecy; they treat employees as more valuable in order to build the morale and motivation that actually makes them more valuable.”

“Meseria de jurnalist este în pericol pentru că nu ţinem cu dinţii de standard” – Interviu cu Cristian Lupșa, editor la Decât o Revistă (DoR), in Sinteza

“Jurnalismul narativ nu a fost niciodată un gen popular, important ori bine făcut. O spun jurnaliştii care totuşi îl practică şi o confirmă lipsa de pe piaţa din România, aproape în totalitate, a unor publicaţii care să promoveze acest gen. Unui asemenea tip de scriitură trebuie să îi dedici mult timp şi multe resurse. În plus, cine mai citeşte astăzi poveşti jurnalistice despre cum trăim azi? Şi totuşi. O revistă trimestrială generalistă, care de opt ani explorează familiarul realităţii româneşti, experienţele şi trăirile care ne sunt comune şi aprofundează o varietate de subiecte pe care le discutăm acasă, la muncă sau la bere, de la schimbări sociale, la trenduri culturale şi decizii personale, a reuşit, în condiţii deloc uşoare, să devină un reper pentru ceea ce înţelegem astăzi prin jurnalism narativ.”

Antivacciniștii & Co. Conjurația ignoranților sau bărbatul care s-a stropit cu suc de lămâie pe față ca să devină invizibil și pe urmă a jefuit o bancă, by Mirela Oprea in Republica

“Într-o dimineaţă a anului 1955 un bărbat de 44 ani din Pittsburg a decis să jefuiască o bancă. Era convins că nimeni niciodată nu îl va putea prinde, pentru că tocmai descoperise secretul invizibilităţii, aflat într-o proprietate chimică uluitoare a sucului de lămâie. Astfel, o scrisoare scrisă cu suc de lămâie devine vizibilă doar dacă hârtia este ţinută aproape de o sursă de căldură. McArthur Wheeler era convins că dacă îşi pune suc de lămâie pe faţă şi stă departe de orice sursă de căldură va rămâne invizibil. Când s-a văzut ridicat de Poliţie a exclamat uluit: „Dar aveam suc de lămâie pe faţă!”. Doi psihologi, Dunning şi Kruger, au auzit povestea uluitoare a lui McArthur şi au decis să studieze convingerea absolută a lui Wheeler, având în vedere că Wheeler era un cetăţean absolut normal, ce putea fi considerat în deplinătatea facultăţilor sale mintale. Întrebarea era: „De ce era Wheeler aşa de sigur că o să fie invizibil?”. Rezultatele cercetărilor lor au dus la descoperirea efectului Dunning – Kruger, care spune că un individ, cu cât este mai incompetent, cu atât e mai probabil să se autoevalueze ca fiind mai competent.”

Scientists found more evidence that we can learn during sleep, by Katherine Ellen Foley in Quartz

“It may seem to you like time sleeping is time lost. To our brains, though, sleep is not only productive, but vital. Sleeping provides the chance for our brains to do some chemical house cleaning, which helps us feel rested, awake, and a lot less grumpy the next day. And now, new research from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris suggests that our brains are capable of both learning and suppressing information during different phases of sleep. Their work was published Aug. 8 in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers led by Thomas Andrillon, a psychologist studying sleep, hooked up 20 participants to electroencephalograms, which measure the brain’s electrical activity. In the lab before the individuals fell asleep, researches played them white noise, similar to television static. They interspersed this noise with blips of other sounds, and asked participants to pick out when they heard distinct patterns. Participants were then allowed to get some shuteye through the night while wearing their electroencephalograms (granted, it probably wasn’t the best sleep of their lives).”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 31 July – 6 August

Toward a Post-Brexit Defense Partnership, by Lisa Aronsson and Frances G. Burwell in Judy Dempsey’s Strategic Europe

“With the Brexit negotiations under way, it is time to begin planning for a future defense partnership between the UK and the EU. Such a relationship is essential for British and European security and is a necessary foundation for UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s ambitious plan for a “Global Britain.” NATO will remain the cornerstone of British defense policy. The UK has committed to the alliance’s target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense and made major investments in defense capabilities, including commitments to operate Queen Elizabeth–class aircraft carriers and buy the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. Britain has emerged as a leader of NATO’s forward presence in Central Europe. NATO alone, however, is not sufficient to meet the challenges facing Europe—and Britain—today. Nor can the UK count on the United States to underpin a global Britain.”

Scientists edit human embryos to safely remove disease for the first time – here’s how they did it, by Joyce Harper and Helen O’Neill in The Conversation

“Scientists in the US have released a paper showing that they have successfully edited human embryos to correct a mutation that causes an inheritable heart condition. The findings are hugely important as they demonstrate for the first time that the technology may one day be used safely to edit out many devastating diseases. But how close to curing genetic diseases does the new study actually take us? And how concerned should we be about the ethical implications of the technology? The genome editing tool used, CRISPR-Cas9, has transformed the field of biology in the short time since its discovery in that it not only promises, but delivers. CRISPR has surpassed all previous efforts to engineer cells and alter genomes at a fraction of the time and cost. The technology, which works like molecular scissors to cut and paste DNA, is a natural defence system that bacteria use to fend off harmful infections.”

Mesajul pentru Europa al maşinii electrice de 35.000 de dolari, by Ovidiu Nahoi in Dilema veche

“Una dintre știrile importante și care nu s-a bucurat de atenția cuvenită este cea conform căreia compania Tesla a livrat primilor 30 de clienți – de fapt, chiar angajați ai Tesla – cel mai nou model, sedanul Model 3. Acesta este automobilul electric destinat publicului larg, transmit agențiile internaționale de presă. Prețul de pornire: 35.000 de dolari, mai puțin de jumătate față de precedentele modele. Compania americană a precizat că a primit deja 500.000 de precomenzi pentru Modelul 3. Obiectivul companiei îl reprezintă producerea a 500.000 de mașini electrice în 2018 și apoi un milion în 2020. Cu alte cuvinte, nu doar un brand de lux ar urma să se transforme într-unul popular. Dar și grija pentru conservarea mediului, manifestată prin folosirea automobilelor electrice, se „democratizează“. Tot mai mulți oameni – primii clienți sînt chiar angajații companiei Tesla – își vor putea permite să aibă cu adevărat grijă de mediu.”

Will you need a driving licence in the age of self-driving cars?, by Jennifer Bradley for BBC

“Driverless vehicles may seem unfamiliar now, but over the coming years you’ll start to encounter – or even use them – on a daily basis. Will it mean the end of the driving licence and changes to the rules of the road? It’s not uncommon to see a squat white droid trundling along the streets of Greenwich, south-east London, as it delivers takeaway food to the borough’s residents at 4mph. In Paris and Helsinki, robot buses are shuttling passengers along city streets, while in Colorado an 18-wheeler truck drove beer 120 miles down a highway – without a driver. Around the world, projects like these are under way to help develop the technology that will ultimately bring driverless cars and other vehicles to our roads. But alongside the issue of whether they will work is another big question: how will pedestrians, cyclists and human drivers be kept safe?”

Japan has engineered an ice cream that “doesn’t melt”, by Echo Huang in Quartz

“In Japan’s humid summers, some popsicles are staying cool even in the heat. An accidental discovery at Kanazawa-based Biotherapy Development Research Center helped create popsicles that don’t melt, and they’re available for sale in parts of Japan. Kanazawa Ice—also known as “not melting popsicles”—first hit stores in the northwestern city Kanazawa in April, reported Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun, before rolling out in Osaka and Tokyo. The secret ingredient that helps the popsicles keep their shape is polyphenol liquid extracted from strawberries. “Polyphenol liquid has properties to make it difficult for water and oil to separate so that a popsicle containing it will be able to retain the original shape of the cream for a longer time than usual and be hard to melt,” said Tomihisa Ota, the popsicle’s developer. The company didn’t set out to create popsicles that don’t melt.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 24-30 July

Doing the Right Thing Is Just Profitable, by Peter Georgescu in Forbes

“As a voluntary board member, I got a recent report from JUST Capital that confirmed what I’ve believed all my life: that doing the right thing, in every aspect of business, leads not only to success, but fosters excellence and creates industry leaders. Over the past decade, the most ethical and just American companies have also proven themselves to be the most profitable. They lead their industries over the long term. It recently released studies that demonstrate how the Just 100—the hundred most ethical and enlightened companies in the nation — consistently outperform their industry competitors continuously, by one to four percentage points. JUST Capital is a remarkable non-profit whose purpose is to transform the way America does business. It hopes to do this by publicizing how enlightened management leads to better results and long-term growth — as well as a better world for all of us. It tracks and reports on “just behavior” among the largest U.S. public firms.”

People are already replacing their desktop computers with smartglasses, by Kif Leswing in Business Insider

“In the tech industry, “dogfooding” is a common term that describes when companies make their employees use the software and hardware they make, so that bugs can be caught and everyday improvements can be dreamed up before the product ever hits the market. Recently, the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley have shown significant interest in augmented reality, a technology that integrates computer graphics and software into the real world. Eventually, supporters say, when “AR” technology becomes advanced enough, a pair of smartglasses may be able to replace every screen you typically use, from your smartphone to your work computer. But to get to that point, technologists are going to have to eat a lot of dogfood — they’re going to have to actually replace their beloved computers and smartphones with AR headsets. One Silicon Valley company is actually doing this right now.”

România nu poate fi sabotată în sectorul energetic, by Victor Grigorescu in Adevărul

“României i-au trebuit ani buni să dezvolte o adevărată piaţă a electricităţii. Acum câteva zile, un număr record de 270 de companii cumpărau sau vindeau electricitate la Bucureşti. Aproape că am uitat că acum câţiva ani doar patru mari societăţi controlau aproape exclusiv această piaţă. Cu sau fără bursa de la Budapesta, cu sau fără o conexiune directă cu Austria, proiectul din Marea Neagră are şanse reale să devină o realitate. Fără construcţia conductei BRUA şi a conductei Tuzla – Podişor, nu va exista însă niciun proiect românesc în Marea Neagră. Omorând bursa gazelor deja funcţională de la Bucureşti, România nu va putea extrage toate beneficii reale generate de noile resurse de gaz natural, întorcându-se la un statut de mâna a doua. Poziţia României în domeniul securităţii energetice nu s-a schimbat de ani buni. Poate că nu toată lumea realizează sau nu toată lumea apreciază pe de-a-ntregul cât efort presupune acest lucru. Nu vad motive pentru a face altfel acum. Sprijinind efortul Transgazului şi construirea unei pieţe naţionale competitive pentru gaze naturale servim, de fapt, propriul interes naţional.”

While you’re watching Disney’s films at the cinema, Disney can now watch you, by Ashley Rodriguez in Quartz

“Disney can now track your laughter, smiles, gasps, and frowns inside those darkened cinemas. The media conglomerate’s research arm is using machine learning to assess the audience’s reactions to films based on their facial expressions, it wrote in a new research paper. It uses something called factorized variational auto-encoders, or FVAEs, to predict how a viewer will react to the rest of a film after tracking their facial expressions for a few minutes. The FVAEs learn a set of facial expressions, such as smiles and laughter, from the audience, and then make correlations between audience members to see if a movie is getting laughs or other reactions when it should be—a much more sophisticated version of how Amazon and Netflix make suggestions for new things to buy or watch based on your shopping or viewing history. By placing four infrared cameras and infrared illuminators above a theater screen, the researchers were able to identify 16 million facial landmarks, or expressions, from more than 3,100 theatergoers during 150 screenings of nine Disney movies.”

New Artificial Spider Silk: Stronger Than Steel and 98 Percent Water, by Emily Matchar in the Smithsonian Magazine

“The silk of the humble spider has some pretty impressive properties. It’s one of the sturdiest materials found in nature, stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar. It can be stretched several times its length before it breaks. For these reasons, replicating spider silk in the lab has been a bit of an obsession among materials scientists for decades. Now, researchers at the University of Cambridge have created a new material that mimics spider silk’s strength, stretchiness and energy-absorbing capacity. This material offers the possibility of improving on products from bike helmets to parachutes to bulletproof jackets to airplane wings. Perhaps its most impressive property? It’s 98 percent water. “Spiders are interesting models because they are able to produce these superb silk fibers at room temperature using water as a solvent,” says Darshil Shah, an engineer at Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 17-23 July

Britain’s European Ties That Bind, by Ana Palacio in Project Syndicate

“Since the official start of Brexit negotiations last month, attention has been focused largely on the most contentious issues: how much the United Kingdom owes to the European Union, whether the UK will remain subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and what rights British residents of the EU and EU residents of the UK will retain. Given this focus, not to mention the UK’s history of aloofness and even disruption in relation to the EU, it is perhaps unsurprising that EU leaders view the UK as a hostile negotiating partner, lacking any real commitment to cooperation. In fact, the interests of the UK and the EU are closely aligned, particularly in three vital and interconnected areas: foreign affairs, security strategy, and defense policy. Finding a way forward on these issues, which have so far received little attention, might be the key to creating the cooperative frameworks needed to address the most controversial matters.”

Acum ori niciodată, by Adrian Gheorghe in Viața medicală

“Acrimea și disperarea lui „nu se vrea” trimite adesea la faptul că sprijinul politicienilor pentru o inițiativă de politică publică este direct proporțional cu măsura progresului, adică foarte mic. Analizele globale asupra determinanților succesului pentru orice reformă a sectorului public, inclusiv în sănătate, arată că nimic nu se poate întâmpla fără un prealabil angajament politic ferm și la nivelul cel mai înalt. Până și birocrații „buni”, aflați în căutarea soluțiilor pragmatice pentru dificultăți punctuale (precum creșterea calității serviciilor sau creșterea disponibilității medicamentelor), primesc de la experți același tip de răspuns la întrebarea: „De unde să începem schimbarea?”. Fără guvernanță funcțională și impetus politic, orice soluție tehnică, oricât de modernă, sofisticată sau adecvată contextului ar fi, poate aduce doar progrese limitate și incerte. Experiența globală arată că ferestrele de oportunitate trebuie exploatate ferm atunci când apar, însă problemele se agravează când aceleași ferestre ezită și încep să se închidă, unele în defavoarea altora.”

Companies need to stop focusing on hiring millennials, by Jennifer Brown in Quartz

“Once upon a time, workers could expect to retire by the time they were 65, if not before. It was a so-called three-stage life: Education would lead to full-time employment and then, after a dutiful stint in the office, retirement. Supporting older people during retirement freed up positions for new hires, who were junior to the senior retirees. That’s so outdated. A recent study included in the MIT Sloane Management Review by London Business School Professors Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott outlines a different trajectory, requiring workers to constantly update their skills if they want to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. Retirement, if it comes, will be much later–when people have racked up enough savings to last those twilight years. While millennials make up the greater part of workforces today, that won’t last in many countries: Falling birth rates in Japan will see fewer younger workers there, while Gratton and Scott predict US workers aged 16-24 will decline by 10% in the next decade. More older workers are already staying employed, due in part to the bite of the Great Recession.”

Google robot produces a million mosquitoes a week to release into wild, Euronews

“The parent company of Google has built a robot that can grow and release 1 million mosquitoes a week into environments in California. The mosquitoes are male, so they won’t bite anyone, but they are also sterile so they can’t breed. The exercise is part of a mission to curb growth of disease by controlling populations of the insects. Killing as many as 800,000 people a year, mosquitoes are by far the deadliest animal on earth. Verily, the health division of Alphabet, created the machine which breeds mosquitoes, selects the males and infects them with a bacteria called Wolbachia which prevents them from breeding. The bacteria is deemed harmless to humans and other animals. Once the swarms are released into the environment, where they compete with and hopefully outnumber fertile male mosquitoes, leading the wild females to breed unsuccessfully.”

Robots Will Lead Passengers to Their Gate at Seoul’s Airport, by Cailey Rizzo in the Smithsonian Magazine

“Robots are taking over. Starting this month, robots will invade Seoul’s Incheon International Airport. The robots will drive themselves around the airport, assisting passengers and picking up litter. Troika, as one robot is called, stands 4.5 feet tall and responds to its name when travelers need help, according to Associated Press. Passengers traveling through the airport can scan their boarding pass and Troika will take them directly to their gate. (Theoretically Troika is not programmed with spite, so the robot will not lead rude passengers on an aimless route through the airport.) If passengers start to lag behind the robot, Troika will say “Please stay closer so I can see you.” The robot will be able to speak English, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese by the end of the month. It can tell passengers the weather in their final destination, information about flights or display a map of the airport. When it speaks, Troika’s screen shows eyes that blink and smile.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 10-16 July

East and West have opposite views of personal success, according to psychologists, by Cassie Werber in Quartz

“Would you rather be an impressive employee in a mediocre firm, or land a role at the most prestigious company in your industry, knowing you’d have to work harder to prove yourself in comparison with brilliant colleagues? The answer to that question might seem highly personal, based on factors like whether or not you’re a competitive person, your self-esteem levels, and how much you relish a challenge. In fact, there’s another strong factor at play: People from different cultures react very differently to the question of whether it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond, or vice versa. Research already exists on whether people who are in jobs or at university are more contented if they have a chance to shine at an individual level, versus if their institution is more highly regarded. Those studies have tended to find that “bigger fish” feel more competent and achieve more than those struggling in high-achieving environments. But a group of psychologists from the University of Michigan wanted to go back to the point before choices are made, asking people theoretical questions about the decisions they take. Specifically, the researchers compared people with East Asian backgrounds and European American backgrounds.”

Radiografia României: mai puțini, mai bătrâni, mai săraci, by Constantin Rudniţchi, RFI România

“Datele statistice publicate ieri, cu ocazia Zilei mondiale a populației, definesc cât se poate de clar problemele grave pe care le are societatea românească. Sintetic, se poate spune astfel: suntem tot mai puțini, mai bătrâni și locuim într-o proporție atipică în mediul rural. Iată și câteva cifre: la 1 ianuarie 2016, populația rezidentă în România era de 19.760.300 de persoane. În același timp, se remarcă adâncirea fenomenului de îmbătrânire demografică. În comparație cu anul precedent, populația tânără a scăzut cu 16.000 de persoane și a crescut ponderea populației vârstnice, cu 61.000 de persoane. În același timp, populația adultă se află și ea în scădere atât ca pondere, cât și în cifre nominale. În fine, există și un fenomen românesc atipic, diferit de cel european, în sensul că 46% din populație trăiește în mediul rural. Desigur, aceste evoluții ale societății au un impact direct asupra economiei. Scăderea persoanelor rezidente în România creează distorsiuni în piața muncii. Nu există industrie sau sector de activitate care să nu se plângă de lipsa forței de muncă. Unul dintre motive este cel al plecării românilor la muncă în străinătate. Desigur, intrarea în Uniunea Europeană ne-a obligat să ne asumăm acest fenomen al migrației, diferențele de dezvoltare între România și vechea Europă făcând previzibilă această evoluție.”

Trump, Europa Centrală şi revoluţia energetică, by Ovidiu Nahoi in Dilema veche

“Nicolas Hulot, ministrul francez al Tranziţiei Ecologice şi Solidare (însăși denumirea portofoliului spune multe!), a anunțat săptămîna trecută dispariţia programată a automobilelor pe benzină şi diesel, pînă în 2040, urmînd a fi înlocuite cu mașini acționate de motoare hibrid sau electrice. La scurt timp, Grupul Volvo Cars a anunţat că toate modelele pe care le va lansa din 2019 vor fi electrice sau hibride. Și producătorul auto Dacia a anunțat acum cîteva zile că va începe fabricarea de automobile acționate electric. Parisul a anunțat de asemenea că după 2022 va înceta să mai producă energie electrică pe bază de cărbune, iar din 2025, sectorul nuclear va asigura doar 50% din totalul energiei electrice produse, față de 80% astăzi. Un număr de 17 dintre cele 58 de reactoare nucleare pe care Franța le deține ar urma să fie închise pînă în 2025. Toate aceste decizii pun bazele nu doar pentru o adevărată revoluție tehnologică și socială, ci vor schimba și balanța de putere globală. Anunțurile au venit – și nu poate fi întîmplător – cam în același timp cu prima vizită în Europa de Est a președintelui Donald Trump, urmată de participarea la reuniunea G20. Donald Trump avea mare nevoie de vizita în Polonia, unul dintre puținele state membre unde avea toate șansele să fie bine primit.”

Hyperloop’s First Real Test Is a Whooshing Success, by Alex Davies in Wired

“Your dream of one day zipping from one city to another in a pod in a pneumatic tube just took one more step toward reality. Hyperloop One announced Wednesday that it successfully tested a full hyperloop. The step into the future occurred in May at the company’s Nevada test track, where engineers watched a magnetically levitating test sled fire through a tube in near-vacuum, reaching 70 mph in just over five seconds. That is but a fraction of the 700 mph or so Hyperloop One promises, but put that aside for now. What matters here is all the elements required to make hyperloop work, worked: propulsion, braking, and the levitation and vacuum systems that all but eliminate friction and air resistance so that pod shoots through the tube at maximum speed with minimal energy. “This is integrating all of the pieces,” says Josh Giegel, Hyperloop One’s engineering chief. “It’s the first phase of a test program that will get us to a production unit.” Hyperloop One also revealed its design for the pod that will carry the people (or cargo) if and when this thing becomes real. The pod, made of aluminum and carbon fiber, is 28 feet long and resembles a bus. The May test comes just about a year after Hyperloop One publicly demonstrated its propulsion system on a tube-free track.”

Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code for techs in fight for talent, by Olivia Oran and Anna Irrera, Reuters

“Traditionally buttoned-up Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has relaxed the dress code for its computer engineers in a bid to attract tech talent with a more casual environment. The fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets told employees in its technology division to “exercise judgment in determining when to adapt to business attire,” according to an internal memo from late June seen by Reuters on Thursday. It did not specify whether hoodies or sneakers, the ad-hoc uniform of millennial tech workers, constitute acceptable dress. The move, one of the first by Goldman’s new chief information officer Elisha Wiesel, comes as the bank makes a push to recruit and keep hold of top tech talent in the face of intensifying competition. Goldman and other Wall Street banks have been struggling for years to compete for the best employees with Silicon Valley firms and hedge funds, which often have better hours and workplace perks for top software developers and engineers. Wiesel replaced Martin Chavez, now the firm’s chief financial officer, as Goldman’s highest ranking technology executive in January.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 3-9 July

De ce eșuează 9 din 10 afaceri? Lecții de la șeful Fribourg Capital și Elefant.ro, in StartupCafe.ro

“Antreprenorul Ion Sturza, președinte al fondului de investiții Fribourg Capital, care controlează și magazinul on-line Elefant.ro, consideră că fondatorii de mici afaceri și startupuri greșesc atunci când consideră că un eșec al acestora este cauzat de produsul slab sau de ideea de business. Ion Sturza, un important investitor în startupuri și firme aflate la început de drum, în zona de tehnologie și internet, a vorbit miercuri la conferința Businessdays de la Cluj-Napoca, organizată de Impact Hub și Liberty Technology Park Cluj. ”Eu consider că antreprenorul este o specie rară, se naște unul la un milion, o dată la 100 de ani și acela se numește Steve Jobs. Restul sunt meseriași. Atunci când vrem să ne aventurăm să ne ocupăm de afaceri, trebuie să știm un pic de economie, un pic de legal, de resurse umane, de proceduri corporate” – a spus omul de afaceri moldovean, fost prim-ministru al Republicii Molodva. Din experiența sa de investitor, el consideră că mulți dintre fondatorii de startupuri asociază eronat eșecul unui business cu produsul sau cu ideea de afaceri în sine.”

Impozitul pe cifra de afaceri nu este decât un anacronism într-un peisaj dominat de impozitarea profiturilor, by Dan Bădin in Ziarul Financiar

“Indiferent de statut profesional, culoare politică sau nivel al veniturilor, cu toţii am fost prinşi în ultimele zile în febra discuţiilor ocazionate de noul program de guvernare lansat săptămâna trecută. Discuţiile sunt aprinse şi în contextul climatului politic în care fostul guvern a fost dat jos de propria coaliţie de guvernământ, iar emoţiile sunt încă puternice. De ce? Am putea spune pentru că avem o anumită preferinţă politică şi dorim, ca la un spectacol sportiv, să vedem cine câştigă şi cine pierde. Din punctul meu de vedere, nu se exclud astfel de variante, dar există şi un răspuns mai simplu: noile măsuri fiscal-bugetare ne afectează suma veniturilor care vor ajunge în contul sau buzunarul propriu. Iar dacă reprezinţi o companie, îţi vor afecta planul de afaceri şi profitabilitatea, chiar dacă nu este încă destul de clar cât şi cum. La o primă vedere, în lipsa unor detalii cu privire la fiecare măsură în parte, există nişte câştigători, şi anume persoanele fizice cu venituri sub medie, unele companii, precum şi, potenţial, statul. Iar pierzătorii par a fi persoanele fizice cu venituri mari şi alte companii, multinaţionalele fiind cel puţin în această categorie. Dar aşa este?”

What Does ‘Community’ Mean?, by Megan Garber in The Atlantic

“For much of the 20th century, if you asked someone to define “community,” they’d very likely give you an answer that involved a physical location. One’s community derived from one’s place—one’s literal place—in the world: one’s school, one’s neighborhood, one’s town. In the 21st century, though, that primary notion of “community” has changed. The word as used today tends to involve something at once farther from and more intimate than one’s home: one’s identity. “A body of people or things viewed collectively,” the Oxford English Dictionary sums it up. Community, in this sense, is not merely something that one fits into; it is also something one chooses for oneself, through a process of self-discovery. It is based on shared circumstances, certainly, but offers a transcendent kind of togetherness. It is active rather than passive. The LGBTQ community. The Latino community. The intelligence community. The journalism community. For Bill Bishop, the author of The Big Sort:Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart, that semantic shift speaks to a much broader transformation in American life.”

NATO Cybersecurity: A Roadmap to Resilience, by Bruno Lété, GMF

“Today the digitalization of crisis and conflict is a fact. Hacks, malware, and fake news are increasingly taking the place of planes, bombs, and missiles. Cyberspace empowers adversaries from across the globe to challenge our security with a mouse-click. Worldwide criminal cyber-attacks such as the WannaCry ransomware, the aggressive use of social media by Daesh to lure people into terrorism, or the alleged role of Russia to spread fake news and sew confusion in our transatlantic societies are just a taste of more to come. For NATO, it means that the Alliance is faced with an evolving complex threat environment. State and non-state actors can use cyber-attacks in the context of military operations. In recent events, cyber-attacks, leaks, and espionage have also been part of hybrid warfare. Cybersecurity incidents can have geopolitical implications and potentially pose threats to the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Alliance as a whole. The critical question NATO is facing now is how to protect itself and its member states against hostile cyber power.”

Expecting tourists to pay more than locals can be controversial—but it’s the right thing to do, by Sally Everett in Quartz

“It was recently reported that cafes in Bruges charge tourists 10% more than locals for chips. Explained as “discount for customer loyalty,” tourists automatically end up in a higher price bracket. This reminded me of a conversation I overheard between two tourists in Sicily who felt they were regarded as “walking wallets” by local shop owners, a sentiment I often hear hinted at by holidaymakers when walking foreign streets. As the summer holiday season fast approaches, it’s perhaps timely to question the ethics behind inflated prices for tourists. Tourism has long been regarded as a vehicle of economic prosperity and source of increased revenue. It is one of the world’s largest industries, with a global economic contribution of over US$7.6 trillion (£5.8 trillion). The United Nations World Tourism Organisation forecasts that by 2030, the number of international tourist arrivals will reach 1.8 billion. With one in ten jobs on the planet reliant on tourism (that’s 292m people) and an equivalent worth of 10% global GDP, there is little wonder that host communities want to make the most of the opportunities it brings. One of the most famous places for hiking prices up for visitors is Venice.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 26 June – 2 July

Juncker’s “More, Together” Offers Romania a Better Future, by Mircea Geoana in Emerging Europe

“The five scenarios Jean Claude Juncker recently presented, concerning the future of the EU, are still provoking lively conversation in all corners of the European continent. Seen from Bucharest, the future, as described by the Commission’s White Paper, looks both simple and complicated. Simple, because Romania is one of the few countries where the domestic political and public consensus on Europe still holds. For centuries, the national dream of Romanian citizens was, and still is, to escape from the periphery of Europe, where geography, history and Great Powers’ politics have separated our nation from the developed West. From among the Juncker scenarios, only one fits this relentless ambition: “more, together”! More Europe, with as few different “speeds”, “intensities” or “levels of ambition” as possible; this is what Romania and Romanians want. Yet it is also complicated, because there is a significant and debilitating gap between our consensual level of ambition and the political, economic and strategic realities of the country and of Europe itself.”

Judy Asks: Is Italy Europe’s Achilles’ Heel?, by Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe

“Marta Dassù, Senior director for Europe at the Aspen Institute and editor in chief of Aspenia: Italy will remain Europe’s weak link until the next parliamentary election. Seen from the perspective of the markets, the political risk in Europe has shifted from France to Italy. And with good reason: given Italy’s failed electoral reform, it’s unpredictable whether Euroskeptic parties will be in government after the election. Moreover, Italy appears complacent of its status of too big to fail and has lost reform momentum at a time when the economy remains fragile and the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing is about to be phased out. However, letting the situation derail in the eurozone’s third-largest economy is a systemic risk. So, Brussels will grant Italy breathing space for a little longer, as confirmed by the EU’s green light for the Italian government’s recent bailout of two regional banks. It is a controversial (albeit small) bailout that shows both the price of Italy’s belated approach to banking reform and the inadequacy of European arrangements. As a consequence, an efficient banking union becomes politically more difficult but even more necessary.”

Q&A with Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute, by Rick Carroll in The Aspen Times

“The annual Aspen Ideas Festival, launched by the Aspen Institute in 2005, is back in town this week with the usual smorgasbord of national and global influential figures. This week also marks the last Ideas Festival under the leadership of Walter Isaacson, who is leaving his position as the Institute’s president and CEO later this year. In January, the author and historian will join the faculty at Tulane University in his hometown of New Orleans. He also has a biography on Leonardo da Vinci due out in October, while the current National Geographic series “Genius” is based on his book “Einstein: His Life and Universe.” Isaacson, 65, who joined the Washington, D.C.-based think tank in 2003, was the primary architect of the Ideas Festival, which has expanded to include a Spotlight Health series as well as the Security Forum, which returns to Aspen in July. The former editor of Time magazine, as well as the president of CNN, Isaacson’s interview subjects in Aspen — not all during the Ideas Festivals — have included presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, then-Sen. Barack Obama, Karl Rove, John McCain, Bill Gates, Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and even part-time Aspen resident Lance Armstrong.”

It’s Time To Measure Inequality, by Peter Georgescu in Forbes

“In my last column, I talked about the importance of income inequality. We hear a lot about it. We know it’s there, in an abstract way, and that it’s probably just about “poor people,” but we quickly move on to other things, because many of us don’t feel it in our lives. Amazingly, no one can point to a clear measurement that puts flesh and blood on the statistics. Yet most Americans know about it intimately. They live it. They don’t need government statistics. They face it every day. I’ve been writing about this issue for a while now, and as I researched it, it became clear that I needed to find a way to explain the inequality phenomenon beyond simply unloading onto my readers a plethora of harrowing anecdotes. I realized that it might help to turn away from talking about the gap between rich and poor and simply look at the state of the American household budget — where most people feel the pinch. There are roughly 125 million homes in America. I yearned to know the total income, from all sources, for the average home and use that as a basis for getting a picture of where people stand simply in their ability to spend.”

Advertising That Exploits Our Deepest Insecurities, by Matt Thompson in The Atlantic

“The function of advertising, wrote Robert E. Lane in The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies, “is to increase people’s dissatisfaction with any current state of affairs, to create wants, and to exploit the dissatisfactions of the present. Advertising must use dissatisfaction to achieve its purpose.” The web browser is a dissatisfaction-seeking machine. Every search query we input reflects a desire—to have, to know, to find. Ordinarily, that fact may escape notice. But there are moments when the machine reveals its inhumanity. Speaking on a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is cohosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s Note to Self, shared a story of a message she received from a listener who’d been following her series on digital privacy. “She was concerned that she might have a drinking problem, and so she went on Google and asked one of those questions, ‘How do you know if you have a drinking problem?’ Two hours later, she goes on Facebook, and she gets an ad for her local liquor store.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 19-25 June

Macron Shapes Old and New Europe, by Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe

“After a marathon of elections, Emmanuel Macron is now set to put his country on a new course. In the June 18 second round of France’s parliamentary election, the French president won an absolute majority of seats in the National Assembly. The Socialist Party was decimated, and the far-right National Front was already losing energy after its leader, Marine Le Pen, failed to form a strong opposition in the first round of the election on June 11. And even though the voter turnout was at a record low of 42 percent, Macron has a mandate to reset France’s economic and political compass. Ever since Macron was catapulted into the Élysée Palace on May 7, the focus, beside his reforms, has been on the revival of the Franco-German relationship. This, argue analysts, will be the axis that will give Europe the push it needs for further integration. But something else is happening beyond these two countries. The highly controversial austerity programs that Germany insisted the heavily indebted eurozone countries implement in return for financial assistance are bearing fruit. Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and even Greece are recording growth—albeit at an immense cost to public-sector employees, pensioners, and youth employment figures. And with economic growth comes political confidence.”

In the AI Age, “Being Smart” Will Mean Something Completely Different, by Ed Hess in Harvard Business Review

“Andrew Ng has likened artificial intelligence (AI) to electricity in that it will be as transformative for us as electricity was for our ancestors. I can only guess that electricity was mystifying, scary, and even shocking to them — just as AI will be to many of us. Credible scientists and research firms have predicted that the likely automation of service sectors and professional jobs in the United States will be more than 10 times as large as the number of manufacturing jobs automated to date. That possibility is mind-boggling. So, what can we do to prepare for the new world of work? Because AI will be a far more formidable competitor than any human, we will be in a frantic race to stay relevant. That will require us to take our cognitive and emotional skills to a much higher level. Many experts believe that human beings will still be needed to do the jobs that require higher-order critical, creative, and innovative thinking and the jobs that require high emotional engagement to meet the needs of other human beings. The challenge for many of us is that we do not excel at those skills because of our natural cognitive and emotional proclivities: We are confirmation-seeking thinkers and ego-affirmation-seeking defensive reasoners.”

Helmut Kohl: A great and flawed statesman, by Constanze Stelzenmüller in The Washington Post

“Helmut Kohl, Germany’s chancellor from 1982 to 1998, will be doubly remembered by history as one of its greatest leaders and also one of its most flawed. For a generation of Germans, his towering and darkly ponderous frame seemed to literally embody his center-right Christian Democratic party (CDU) and later the country itself — in both the best and the worst ways. His era ended long before his passing on Friday at the age of 87. Yet the news is a reminder of how far we Germans have come in the past two decades; without him, none of it would have been possible. In some ways, the “Chancellor of Unification,” as he is often reverently called, was simply a remarkably lucky man. Ronald Reagan’s determination to reverse the post-war division of Europe, the sclerosis and corruption of the Eastern Bloc, Solidarnosc in Poland and the Velvet Revolution in Prague, the sheer bloody-minded courage of East Germans marching every Monday night with candles in their hands despite armed police massed in the side streets and the Soviet Union’s leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s insight that it was time to fold: All these events came together miraculously in 1989 to achieve what had seemed impossible, even unthinkable for 40 years — the opening of the Berlin Wall.”

The End of Diesel, by Nicholas Clairmont in CityLab

“Once upon a time, diesel fuel was going to be the future. It was seen as more efficient, on a mileage-per-gallon basis, than other fossil fuels, and for that reason was also thought to be less polluting. About two decades ago, acting on those beliefs, policy makers in Europe—where high energy prices already made mileage a more-pressing issue than in the U.S.—made a number of rules that incentivized the growth of diesel over gasoline for use in passenger cars, moving past its traditional role in trucking and construction. These policies were remarkably successful at meeting their goals, and diesel-powered cars soon accounted for half of the cars sold on the continent. Car companies poured resources into developing diesel-related technology. But the result of this success has been not greener, friendlier, cheaper motoring, but the creation of toxic clouds over major European cities. At the end of 2016, Paris was choked by its worst episode of smog in more than a decade, lasting longer than two weeks, according to the city’s pollution-watching agency Airparif, and prompting the city to enact emergency measures that included restricting car use. It was not the first time. During a March 2015 pollution event, Paris was briefly the most polluted city in the world, surpassing famously smoggy Beijing.”

Netflix is trying to make TV a more active experience—starting with kids shows, by Ashley Rodriguez in Quartz

“Watching TV used to be a passive experience. We’d turn on the set, flip through channels for something to watch, then sit back and consume whatever was offered up by the networks. Video-on-demand, and then subscription-video-on-demand services like Netflix, changed that by letting audiences pick what and when they wanted to watch. Now, Netflix is handing audiences the reins to its stories. The web-video giant is rolling out choose-your-own-adventure-style programming that allows viewers to dictate the action that unfolds onscreen, it announced in a blog post today. “We think a lot about what can we do that others can’t do,” Carla Fisher, Netflix director of product innovation, told Quartz. “It’s innovating on storytelling…And it’s another way for us to put control into the members’ hands.” Don’t expect all of your favorite Netflix shows like The Crown and Orange Is the New Black to suddenly start asking you what you want to happen next. Netflix is beginning with kids programming.”

Aspen 5 Ideas. Week 12-18 June

Mariana Gheorghe, CEO al OMV Petrom: Asistăm deja la cea de-a patra revoluţie industrială. Vom vedea din ce în ce mai multe schimbări pe care noile tehnologii le vor aduce atât la nivelul societăţii, cât şi în mediul de business, in Ziarul Financiar

“Întrebarea mea pentru un viitor mai bun este ce facem pentru a ne asigura că resursele umane vor fi în continuare un factor de competitivitate pentru România şi cum abordăm provocările din sistemul de educaţie? Ca CEO, pentru mine, capitalul uman este unul dintre cele mai importante active. Este valabil atât la nivel micro, al companiilor, cât şi la nivel macro, pentru o naţiune.  Istoric vorbind, România a avut avantajul unei baze foarte bune de ingineri, de oameni tehnici şi, mai recent, de IT-işti. Pe piaţa forţei de muncă asistăm la o serie de evoluţii îngrijorătoare: mulţi tineri superdotaţi care părăsesc ţara; deteriorarea învăţământului tehnic şi profesional şi numeroase tentative de reformare a învăţământului, precum şi lipsa de corelare între cerere şi ofertă pe piaţa forţei de muncă. Însă, pe de altă parte, statisticile arată o rată ridicată a şomajului în rândul tinerilor – de peste 20%, faţă de o rată medie de  5,6% la nivel naţional. Această lipsa a corelării între cererea şi oferta de muncă nu este o problemă doar la nivelul OMV Petrom, este o problemă la nivelul întregii economii. Cred că succesul pentru viitor poate veni doar dacă mediul de afaceri, instituţiile educaţionale şi cei care definesc politicile din educaţie acţionează împreună, cu mintea deschisă.”

We’re Struggling — Count On It, by Peter Georgescu in Forbes

“If you aren’t counting it, don’t count on it to improve. That’s a fundamental truism for anyone doing business. It’s more than a truism; it’s an invariable axiom. You won’t get results if you don’t keep score. The problem is, if you’re tracking the wrong things — or the right things in the wrong way — you might believe things are improving, but you will be dangerously mistaken. This was brought home to me recently when I was invited to meet an Ivy League university’s leading lights in the economics and political science department. I was disheartened to hear them dismiss my fears about our economy. I laid out statistics about our growing income gap, household debt levels, chronic and structural wage stagnation and lackluster job growth. But their attitude toward the perils that lurk in all of these measures — if you drill down into them deeply enough — was a universal shrug. What did they say? “We will muddle through.” I came away feeling a bit like the guy in a loincloth crying in the wilderness, tolerated at best, mostly ignored. And it wouldn’t have bothered me if being in denial this way weren’t so pervasive. Since then, I’ve come to think that their reaction — and a similar reaction I’ve gotten from so many in the insulated, protected spaces of our society (academia, Wall Street, corporate board rooms, venture capital organizations, Silicon Valley) — stems from the way we’re failing to measure the economic reality of what’s happening now.”

The Global Age of Complexity, by Andrew Sheng in Project Syndicate

“Every century, it seems, has its “age.” The Renaissance, from a philosophical perspective, has been called the Age of Adventure. The seventeenth-century Age of Reason was followed by the Age of Enlightenment. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries were ages of ideology and analysis, respectively. As for the twenty-first century, I would argue that it is the Age of Complexity. On the one hand, science and technology have progressed to the point that humans can create life and, through ultra-advanced genome-editing technologies, even engineer new species. Futurologist Yuval Noah Harari anticipates the imminent rise of Homo deus: a species of humanity that can “play god” by manipulating nature in myriad ways, including delaying and ultimately even conquering death. Most of the technological trends identified by the US Department of Defense as crucial in the coming years were unheard of just 30 years ago. On the other hand, much of humanity is besieged by feelings of helplessness and frustration, owing to the challenges we seem unable to resolve, from pollution and climate change to unrelenting radicalism and terrorism. Economic inequality – reinforced by job losses from automation, deeply entrenched social orders, and damaging political power dynamics – has contributed substantially to this sense of powerlessness.”

France’s Rise and Britain’s Demise, by Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe

“The contrast could not have been starker. After the first round of the parliamentary election in France on June 11, President Emmanuel Macron’s novice Republic on the Move party and its ally, the Democratic Movement, were set to win a landslide victory in the 577-seat National Assembly. After all the ballots had been counted, the two parties together had won 32.3 percent of the votes and about 445 seats. It was an astonishing victory for Macron, who only a year ago had no party and no political profile. But he was catapulted into power on a promise to introduce long-overdue reforms, pull Europe away from Euroskeptics and populists, and move the EU forward. He now has a clear mandate to do all three. Across in London, British Prime Minister Theresa May was holed up in Number 10 Downing Street, her official residence. After her Conservative Party failed to win an outright majority in the UK general election on June 8, May was struggling to form a new government with the ultraconservative Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland. In addition, May retained most members of the cabinet and even brought back in Michael Gove, an archrival and outspoken anti-European. With talks due to begin on June 19 between London and Brussels over the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, May enters these unprecedented discussions seriously weakened. Indeed, it is not even certain that she is strong enough inside her party to remain prime minister.”

Pride can be a vice or a virtue, but it all depends on your personality, by Neil Mclatchie in Quartz

“The Greek philosopher Aristotle described pride as the “crown of the virtues”. It’s after all an emotion we experience when we’ve achieved something great, or when someone close to us has. It usually has a recognizable physical expression—a slight smile, the head tilted back, the chest expanded, with arms raised or akimbo. Think Superman after he’s defeated a villain. Yet pride often gets a bad rep. While it can help us feel dignified and aware of our self-worth—ensuring that others do not walk all over us—it can seemingly interfere with empathy and make us come across as arrogant and egocentric. Pride comes before a fall, goes the saying. It is also one of the seven deadly sins, sitting alongside terrible traits such as envy, greed and arrogance. So would it be better if we didn’t feel pride at all? Let’s take a look at what modern psychologists think. Much of the research in this area has focused on determining whether pride is good or bad for us. A solution has been to split it into two emotions: hubristic pride and authentic pride. Some researchers argue that hubristic pride is what leads to states of arrogance and smugness, while authentic pride is what promotes confidence and fulfilment.”