Sunday, December 13, 2009

"9th Annual Year In Ideas," with the Matthew Phelan Taxonomy

The moment all of you opened this year's installment of the New York Times Sunday Magazine's Ideas issue, many of you were curious about why it had not already been organized by the degree to which I found each idea either depressing or uplifting. Get excited; I did* it:

Most Depressing

Infant Sleep Is Destiny :: If your baby's sleep habits are like every stereotype of a baby's sleeping habits you've ever heard, your baby is doomed to lead an unproductive loser-y life.
Predictive Smiles :: Because I don't try to make nice or smile often, all my marriages will end in divorce.
Counterfeit Self, The :: Basically just about any minor deceptive practice you engage in (from lying on your resume to buying knock-off clothes) will snowball until you are basically Tom Ripley.

Most Life Affirming

Treating P.T.S.D. With Tetris :: From a very diluted (but analogous) bit of personal experience, I can tell you that this is true. It's also true of Laplace transforms.
Good Enough is the New Great :: The tech merchandise arms race is coming to a close! Men's magazine gadget ad revenue will need to be replaced.
Drunken Ultimatums :: The revanchist impulse is hard wired into us and I can stop feeling guilty about it.
Myth of the Deficient Older Employee, The :: Creed on the Office is an offensive stereotype—and this new research will keep some of us from getting canned just before retirement, unlike old people today.

* I didn't do them all; I have work I should be doing. Get off me!



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