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Olivia Goldhill

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Do You Think You Have a Long Commute? Millions Spend Two Hours Traveling to Work Each Day

November 10, 2015 If you live in horror of your sweaty train/bus/bike ride to work, then spare a thought for the 3 million UK commuters who spend more than two hours a day traveling to and from work. Over the past decade, there’s been a 72% increase in the number of people who...

What Happens if a Driverless Car Has to Choose Between Killing Its Passenger or a Pedestrian?

November 2, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Imagine you’re in a self-driving car, heading towards a collision with a group of pedestrians. The only other option is to drive off a cliff. What should the car do? Philosophers have been debating a similar moral conundrum for years, but the discussion has a new practical application with the...

Denmark: We Are Not The Socialist Utopia Bernie Sanders Thinks We Are

November 2, 2015 In the first Democratic primary debate, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spoke of their fondness for Denmark. Sanders, in particular, suggested that the US could adopt a socialist system by emulating Scandinavia. “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what...

What Would Happen If American Senators Worked Like the French?

November 2, 2015 Jeb Bush managed to offend American senators and the French on Wednesday, Oct. 28, when he criticized the US Senate for its “French” work ethic. “What is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up?,” Bush said to Florida senator Marco...

Why Are So Many Lottery Retailers Buying Winning Tickets?

November 1, 2015 There’s a major perk that comes with owning the gas stations and mini-marts where lottery tickets are sold in Washington, D.C.: At least three retailers have won significant prizes in the last eight years, including one ticket worth $1 million, making them three of the top five most frequent lottery...

People Should Demand Compliments More Often, Harvard Study Says

October 19, 2015 It’s time to start fishing for compliments and lapping up praise, because people who are reminded of times they’re at their best are more likely to succeed once again. A Harvard Business School working paper, published on Sept. 17, found that praise from friends, family, and colleagues creates “best-self activation,”...

Robots Could Replace White Collar Workers, Too

October 14, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Robots have transformed the lives of tradesmen and laborers, but lawyers, architects, and doctors tend to believe that their careers are safe from the advances of artificial intelligence. This belief is entirely wrong, according to the upcoming book, Future of the Professions: How Technology will Transform the Work of Human...

A Psychologist Explains Why Emotions Are More Persuasive Than Logic

October 13, 2015 Even if you have all the facts, you may not convince others to agree with your argument. It’s frustrating, but according to Rob Yeung, a chartered psychologist and author of the recently published book How to Stand Out, it happens more than we would like. It turns out that the...

Swedish Experiment Shows the Benefits of a Shorter Work Day

September 18, 2015 Most Western employees are used to spending more time with their colleagues than with their family. In the US, employees spend anaverage 47 hours per week at the office in a desperate bid to impress the boss and prove their work ethic before heading home, exhausted. But a Swedish city...

It Takes the Federal Government Two Years to Process a Refugee Application from Syria

September 4, 2015 More than four million Syrians have left their homes since civil war broke out in 2011, with roughly three million fleeing to neighboring countries, such as Jordan and Turkey. Many are now either in Europe or trying to get there to apply for asylum. After seeking refuge, there are still...