Attention, not money, is the new currency. “Attention,” write Thomas Mandel and Gerard Van der Leun in their 1996 book Rules of the Net, “is the hard currency of cyberspace.” They’re dead on. As the Net becomes an increasingly strong presence in the overall economy, the flow of attention will not only anticipate the flow of money, but eventually replace it altogether.
Though it might sound peculiar at first, attention as the basis of a new economy really does work. To begin with, attention addresses a fundamental human desire. Let’s suppose you woke up one morning, well supplied with food and other material essentials, but invisible and inaudible, unable to get noticed in any way at all. At first, it could be quite amusing to spy and eavesdrop, to see what you’re not supposed to. But no matter what you discovered, not being able to share your encounters with anyone would soon become torture – itself a pain you couldn’t express to anyone. Living without feedback, even in the lap of luxury, would be for all but a few recluses barely living at all. — Michael H Goldbauer, Wired
What the 1940s can teach us about sex-ed. It’s hard to believe how far backward we have gone in terms of sex education. Not that there was ever a sepia-toned time where boys and girls were told it’s OK to be gay, that sex before marriage can be a good thing, that marriage and children might not be for everyone. But there was a time when sex education — and not just “Keep it in your pants, kids” — was seen as an important part of raising moral, healthy citizens. In Susan K. Freeman’s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education Before the 1960s, she tells us our sex-ed programs were maybe better off 50, 60 years ago — Jessa Crispin, The Smart Set
Superbugs: be afraid. The new generation of resistant infections is almost impossible to treat. — Jerome Groopman, New Yorker
Can organic farmers thrive in India? Abundant cheap labor is one of the potential advantages India can bring to expanding organic agriculture. Picking off pests by hand, harvesting inter-cropped fields with a mix of plants ready at different times, eliminating weeds by frequent hoeing between tight rows, preparing soil with organic fertilizers, deploying micro-irrigation lines positioned to release water at the roots of each plant—these are all labor-intensive tasks. But organic farming in India faces significant disincentives. — Mira Kamdar, Slate