Programming note: While You Were Working will not be publishing December 31 or January 1. Publishing will resume January 2. Happy New Year!
The Most Popular Stories of 2019
This time of year, there are tons of lists from just about every publisher recapping the best stories of the year. We are taking a bit of a different approach here at WYWW. Back on July 5, we did a recap of the top stories from the first half of the year. Today, we offer a recap of the most-clicked stories in WYWW for the second half of the year. These are the stories that you -- our readers -- found most appealing. Between these two editions, there are loads of interesting stories and videos ... and a lot of great tunes. Enjoy!
Why it matters: I'm not going to tell you which city welcomed the most international visitors last year, but I'll tell you it was not Paris, London, New York or Hong Kong. And surprisingly, Los Angeles didn't even crack the Top 20.
Why it matters: When you are going through a rough patch, there are things you can do to opt-in to happiness. This article highlights three things happy people do to improve their outlook -- and sometimes their outcome.
Why it matters: The world can be a very competitive place, so many parents aim to raise kids who will be successful. That's all well and good, but reading this article might cause some parents to redefine how they define "success."
A new question: At the end of every school day, I ask my kids how their day went. They usually respond with a less-than-detailed, "Good." Then I ask them what they learned. My 5th grader usually rattles off a few things, while my 1st grader nearly always responds with, "I forget." That response doesn't bother me because I know from helping him with his school work that he is indeed developing a solid base of knowledge (even if he can't recall specifics at the end of the day). After reading this article, I will now ask them one more question ... and it might be the most important question of all.
Why it matters: Apparently the widely accepted method of multiplying human years by seven isn't the most accurate way to calculate dog years. According to geneticists at the University of California San Diego, you can more precisely convert a dog's age to human years by multiplying the natural logarithm of your dog's age in years by 16, then adding 31. You can use this calculator for the logarithm part.
Why it matters:When it comes to brainstorming sessions, participants are often assembled based on their job title. Researchers recently looked at the role personality types play when it comes to generating the best brainstorming results. Among the "Big Five" personality traits (Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism), the best ideas surfaced when extroverts were paired with people with open personalities. The findings suggest managers might want to pay closer attention to the personalities they invite to a brainstorming session.
If you are curious about what personality you have, you can take the "Big Five Test" for free.
Why it matters: As an older and much wiser adult, it would be interesting to re-read books that were required reading back high school. New perspectives that come with age might help you glean new insights from some of these classics.
Why it matters: This video is a game attempt at summarizing the rise and fall of various civilizations throughout the history of the world. There are certainly a few biases at play, but there is enough good stuff to make it worth your time.
Why it matters: If you are looking for ways to get the most out of your time (or if you lead a team and are looking to get the most out of everyone's time), this article is for you. It dissects the difference between efficiency and productivity and shares the questions you should be asking yourself (or your team) about the way you go about tackling tasks.
Why it REALLY matters: We live in a world where more and more people respond to the question of 'How are things going?' with the same answer: 'Busy.' I'm not knocking people who give that answer because I often catch myself saying the same thing. This article is great because you can use some of the strategies it shares in your professional and your personal life.
Why it matters: Seltzer water drinks -- both alcoholic and non-alcoholic -- are enjoying a boom in popularity. But what kind of impact can guzzling all that seltzer water have on your health? This piece addresses some of the basic health-related questions about seltzer water.
Why it matters: As part of a massive exhibit highlighting the work of Leonardo da Vinci, the Louvre collaborated with a team of virtual reality experts to give people a whole new way to experience the artist's "Mona Lisa" masterpiece. The exhibit leveraged infrared, x-ray and refractive data to create a 3D version of what Mona Lisa might have looked like in real life.
Why it REALLY matters: Even art purists who aren't fans of virtual reality might appreciate the way this VR experience eliminates the worst thing associated with seeing the real portrait: crowds.
Why it matters: We all know the purpose of an ejector seat, but do we really know exactly how they work? This piece breaks down the inner workings of ejector seats ... down to the sequence of events that takes place in fractions of seconds. The piece also features comments from pilots who've had to eject. What kind of pain can ejecting out of a plane moving as fast as 700 miles per hour inflict on the human body? As one ejectee explains, "It was inconvenient."
Why it matters: Say goodbye to the next 15 minutes or so of your free time because once you dive into this collection of shark videos, you'll find it hard to stop. And all you WYWWers who might be headed to a beach to close out your summer are going to just LOVE how drone cameras are giving humans a new perspective on what lurks below when we go swimming or surfing.
Shark tip:All the videos found at the Outside Magazine link below are breathtaking, but my favorite is the one at the very bottom called "Surfers falls on shark!"
Why it matters:There isn't anything newsworthy about this rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" by Postmodern Jukebox, but I wanted to share it anyway because it's Friday Fun Day. The Gatsby-like setting, energetic vibes of the performers and the fact that is was filmed in one take make it fun to watch. I bet it will put a smile on your face to start the weekend.
Since I joined SmartBrief in 2003, I have produced content on a variety of topics including finance, energy, infrastructure, politics, telecommunications and international development.
I was very excited to see "People Are Crazy" and "Two Fifty to Vigo" made the list of the most-popular songs. What I left out of my story about my night in Ireland discovering the Céilí Bandits is that my wife and I had a traditional Irish band play our wedding and they learned that tune specifically so they could play it for our first dance. It is "our song."
As for "People Are Crazy," that song always moves me because it reminds me of my dad. He is gone now and while I miss doing loads of fun things with him like watching college football bowl games (He would have LOVED that Clemson-Ohio State game), I mostly just miss being able to shoot the you-know-what with him ... 'having us some beers and swapping I don't cares' ... 'like two ol' boys will do.'
Happy New Year everyone. Please have fun and stay safe!
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All our yesterdays are summarized in our now, and all the tomorrows are ours to shape.
Hal Borland, writer, journalist, naturalist
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