Search Results for: malcolm gladwell

How Athletes Get Great

Longreads Pick

How much of greatness is nature vs. nurture? Sports Illustrated writer David Epstein challenges Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” rule in a new book about the science of training, The Sports Gene. A lot depends on individual biology, and there are cultural factors, too:

“Usain Bolt is a great example. He was 6’4” when he was 15 years old and blazing fast. He wanted to play soccer or cricket. What are the chances anyone lets him run track in the U.S.? To me, it’s zero. There’s no way he’s not playing basketball or football. Nowhere but Trinidad, the Bahamas, Barbados, and Jamaica would a guy that’s 6’4”, with blinding speed, be allowed to run track instead of something else. People have asked me, ‘Should we do genetic screening for the best athletes or at least some sort of measurements?’ Yes, measuring kids and trying to fit them into the right sport for their body type absolutely works. That’s why you saw Australia and Great Britain up their medal haul with their talent search programs when they had their Olympics. However, when there’s a sport that’s most popular in an area, you don’t have to do that because you already have the natural sifting program. You don’t have to go hunt for the best football players in America because they’re already going to go play football and then we select them.”

Source: Outside
Published: Aug 9, 2013
Length: 21 minutes (5,302 words)

Playlist: 5 Pioneering Computer Demos, featuring MIT, Stanford and Xerox

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Mark Armstrong is the founder of Longreads and editorial director for Pocket

Last week we lost a pioneer of early computing, Doug Engelbart, and Tom Foremski has an excellent short backstory about the inventor of the mouse. It was Engelbart’s 1968 demo of computer graphical user interfaces that inspired everything we now use today—yet despite his many accomplishments Engelbart struggled in later years to get attention or funding for his work.

Now seems like an appropriate time to look back at some of the early computer demos, and for further reading, check out “Creation Myth,” Malcolm Gladwell’s 2011 New Yorker story on the work of Engelbart, Xerox PARC and Apple.

1. The Early Days of ‘Cloud Computing’ at MIT, 1963 (28 min.)

This is a 1963 interview with professor Fernando J. Corbato at the MIT Computation Center, where he explains the concept of “timesharing,” which they developed to allow teams to work on individual consoles that attach to one centralized computer.

For more from MIT, check out this 1963 demonstration of “sketchpad” software developed by Ivan Sutherland.

2. Hewlett-Packard’s First Personal Computer, 1968 (21 minutes)

Marketing brochures proclaimed that HP’s 9100A was “more than a calculator—it’s really a desk-top computer!” The cost: $4,900. Read more on how the Model 9100A was developed.

3. Doug Engelbart, Stanford Research Institute, 1968 (1 hr., 15 min.)

This two-hour demo from Engelbart, who founded SRI’s Augmentation Research Center, not only introduces the mouse, but also everything from the graphical user interface to hyperlinking, cutting-and-pasting and collaborative editing.

4. Early Digital Teleconferencing, University of Southern California, 1978 (6 min.)

USC’s Informational Sciences Institute produced this filmed demonstration of early digital teleconferencing technology over ARPAnet, complete with guy-who-nearly-misses-the-call-because-he-was-yachting.

5. Xerox Star User Interface, 1982

It was Xerox PARC where Steve Jobs saw the future for Apple, when he visited and got a demo of the Alto personal computer. Xerox released its Star Professional Workstation in 1981, and this clip features Star designers Charles Irby and David Canfield-Smith explaining how the system worked.

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Image via dougengelbart.org

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Nieman Storyboard’s “Why’s This So Good” explores what makes classic narrative nonfiction stories worth reading.

This week: Tim Carmody examines Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Ketchup Conundrum,” which was originally published in The New Yorker’s Food Issue in Sept. 2004:

Note: I can’t stand ketchup. Any ketchup. I think it’s disgusting, and always have. I was averse to it as a kid, and unlike almost every other one of my wide list of childhood prohibited foods, it never made it off that list. But I am riveted by the story of ketchup regardless, because Gladwell’s offered me a route, through history, science, and the words of men and women here and now, to understand these odd human beings around me who love the stuff.

“Why’s This So Good?” No. 35: Malcolm Gladwell on Ketchup

Featured Longreader: Caitlin Dewey, producer for Kiplinger. See her story picks from Malcolm Gladwell, Vanity Fair, plus more on her #longreads page.

Was Steve Jobs a Samuel Crompton or was he a Richard Roberts? In the eulogies that followed Jobs’s death, last month, he was repeatedly referred to as a large-scale visionary and inventor. But Isaacson’s biography suggests that he was much more of a tweaker. He borrowed the characteristic features of the Macintosh—the mouse and the icons on the screen—from the engineers at Xerox PARC, after his famous visit there, in 1979. The first portable digital music players came out in 1996. Apple introduced the iPod, in 2001, because Jobs looked at the existing music players on the market and concluded that they “truly sucked.”

“The Tweaker.” — Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

See more #longreads from Malcolm Gladwell

Was Steve Jobs a Samuel Crompton or was he a Richard Roberts? In the eulogies that followed Jobs’s death, last month, he was repeatedly referred to as a large-scale visionary and inventor. But Isaacson’s biography suggests that he was much more of a tweaker. He borrowed the characteristic features of the Macintosh—the mouse and the icons on the screen—from the engineers at Xerox PARC, after his famous visit there, in 1979. The first portable digital music players came out in 1996. Apple introduced the iPod, in 2001, because Jobs looked at the existing music players on the market and concluded that they “truly sucked.”

“The Tweaker.” — Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

See more #longreads from Malcolm Gladwell