China in the Memory Industry

“China’s Predatory Mercantilism is a potential threat to the memory industry.”

“China has for years aggressively threatened foreign competitors with serious
penalties, up to and including exclusion from the Chinese market, unless they hand
over valuable intellectual property (IP). It has pumped up its tech enterprises with
massive subsidies. And it has erected a vast array of contorted rules and regulations
inside its borders in a quest to skew the terms of competition and gain absolute
advantage in key industry sectors ranging from semiconductors to biotechnology.”

To read the rest of this article from William Tidwell on what the impact of China would be in the Global Memory Industry go to As Time Goes By China, Inc. Versus The Global Memory Industry

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Quote of the Day

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” Albert

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Generations in our Society

What are the primary generations today?

Currently, five generations make up our society. Each of those five generations has an active role in the marketplace. Depending on the specific workplace, the workforce includes four to five generations. Here are the birth years for each generation:

  • iGen, Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
  • Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
  • Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before

Taken from

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Spyware That Could Control Anybody’s iPhone from Anywhere in the World

Great story from Vanity Fair ( How a Grad Student Found Spyware That Could Control Anybody’s iPhone from Anywhere in the World | Vanity Fair

“This is a James Bond story,” says Mike Murray, Lookout’s vice president of security research and response, a curly-haired 40-year-old salesman type who formerly headed product-development security at G.E.“The guys who did this are James Bond villains, evil arms dealers attacking dissidents in the real world. It’s real. It’s true. This is finding cyber-weapons being used against someone in the real world. Before, people only suspected this might be out there.”

The entire story can be found at

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Amid and Among

Nice little review from Gary Kinder at Wordrake:

Amid the Soapsuds

A while back, I compared fewer to less (See Tip: “Still Another Three Words Many Writers Misuse”), and we saw that fewer applies only where we can separate things—”countable” things, like trees—and that we use less only where we cannot separate something, like “shade” or “chaos.”

A similar relationship exists between among and amid. The general rule is the same: If we can separate the items, we should use among; if we cannot separate them, we should use amid or maybe another preposition. Bernstein’s bold statement: “Among means in the midst of countable things.” And that’s the end of it. He maintains that if we can’t separate them, we use amid (if you’re American, please don’t write amidst) or another preposition. But Webster’s dictionary of usage calls Bernstein’s statement “nonsense.” You can see why writers are so fragile.

You can read the full article at


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9 Ways Reading Fiction Will Make You Happier and More Successful

A nice read from Jeff Haden at Inc.  The web version can be found here.  This partially justifies the ~12,000 books I have at my house…

I know: you’re on point, on task, and totally focused on achieving your professional goals. So if you’re going to spend time reading you want to read practical, nuts and bolts, how-to business books… right?

Not so fast.

The following is a guest post from Courtney Seiter, a content crafter at Buffer, a tool that makes social-media sharing smarter and easier. (You can read her posts on social media, productivity, and marketing on the Buffer blog.)

Here’s Courtney:

One of the most inspiring perks we’re lucky enough to have at Buffer is a free Kindle for each teammate (and her family!) and as many free Kindle books as you like, no questions asked.

When we share what we’re reading at Buffer on our Pinterest page or in our Slack community, the selections often tend to skew more toward non-fiction–you can generally find teammates reading books that help us improve at our jobs, understand our world better and become more productive, for example.

What’s interesting–and maybe a bit counterintuitive–is that reading fiction can provide many of those same self-improvement benefits, even while exploring other worlds through stories that exist only in the mind.

In fact, the practice of using books, poetry and other written words as a form of therapy has helped humans for centuries. Fiction is a uniquely powerful way to understand others, tap into creativity and exercise your brain.

The next time you feel even a tiny bit guilty for picking up a work of fiction instead of a self-help book, consider these 9 benefits of reading fiction.

1. Empathy: Imagining creates understanding

To put yourself in the shoes of others and grow your capacity for empathy, you can hardly do better than reading fiction. Multiple studies have shown that imagining stories helps activate the regions of your brain responsible for better understanding others and seeing the world from a new perspective.

“And knowing you’d all be talking and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it, lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say. So I’ll say this: In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story, to help complete the story.”When the psychologist Raymond Mar analyzed 86 fMRI studies, he sawsubstantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to navigate interactions with other individuals.

“…In particular, interactions in which we’re trying to figure out the thoughts and feelings of others. Scientists call this capacity of the brain to construct a map of other people’s intentions ‘theory of mind.’ Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.”

That’s because when we read about a situation or feeling, it’s very nearly as if we’re feeling it ourselves. As Fast Company reports:

“Two researchers from Washington University in St. Louis scanned the brains of fiction readers and discovered that their test subjects created intense, graphic mental simulations of the sights, sounds, movements, and tastes they encountered in the narrative. In essence, their brains reacted as if they were actually living the events they were reading about.”

2. Disengagement: Reading is most effective for stress

Your brain can’t operate at maximum capacity 24/7–far from it. We all need periods of disengagement to rest our cognitive capabilities and get back to peak functionality.

Tony Schwartz talks about this as one of the most overlooked elements of our lives: Even the fastest racing car can’t win the race with at least one or two great pit stops. The same holds true for ourselves. If we don’t have “pit-stops” built into our days, there is now chance we can race at a high performance.

And reading fiction is among the very best ways to get that disengaged rest. The New Yorker reports that:

“Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”

Research at the University of Sussex shows that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress, beating out other methods like listening to music or taking a walk.

Within 6 minutes of silent reading, participants’ heart rates slowed and tension in their muscles eased up to 68%. Psychologists believe reading works so well because the mind’s concentration creates a distraction that eases the body’s stress.

3. Sleep: Regular readers sleep better

In fact, the kind of relaxed disengagement that reading creates can become the perfect environment for helping you sleep.

Creating a sleep ritual is a great way to build up a consistent sleep pattern. One of the key things is to have the last activity completely disengage you from the tasks of the rest of your day.

Buffer’s CEO, Joel, has a ritual in the evening of going for a short walk and, upon returning, going straight to bed and reading a fiction book. He reports that it helps him disengage from the work he’s done in the day and get the sleep he needs to wake up refreshed and ready for the next day.

Serial optimizer Tim Ferriss also believes in the power of reading before bed–fiction only:

“Do not read non-fiction prior to bed, which encourages projection into the future and preoccupation/planning. Read fiction that engages the imagination and demands present-state attention. Recommendations for compulsive non-fiction readers includeMotherless Brooklyn and Stranger in a Strange Land.”

4. Improved relationships: Books are a ‘reality simulator’

Life is complicated. Oftentimes, interpersonal relationships and challenges don’t have the simple resolutions we might like. How can we become more accepting of this reality? By using fiction to explore ideas of change, complex emotions and the unknown.

Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, proposed to the New York Times that reading produces a kind of reality simulation that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.”

Fiction, Dr. Oatley notes, “is a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect. Just as computer simulations can help us get to grips with complex problems such as flying a plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life.”

Writer Eileen Gunn suggests that reading science fiction, in particular, helps us accept change more readily:

“What science fiction does, especially in those works that deal with the future, is help people understand that things change and that you can live through it. Change is all around us. Probably things change faster now than they did four or five hundred years ago, particularly in some parts of the world.”

5. Memory: Readers have less mental decline in later life

We know that hearing a story is a great way to remember information for the long-term.

Now there’s also evidence that readers experience slower memory declined later in life compared to non-readers. In particular, later-in-life readers have a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline compared to their peers.

In addition to slower memory decline, those who read more have been found to show less characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2001 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

6. Inclusivity: Stories open your mind

Can reading Harry Potter make us more inclusive, tolerant and open-minded? One study says yes. (A butterbeer toast for everyone!)

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, tested whether the novels of Harry Potter could be used as a tool for improving attitudes toward stigmatized groups.

After 3 experiments in which students read passages of the books about discrimination, the students showed changed attitudes about everything from immigrants to gay students.

Mic reports that “the researchers credited the books with improving readers’ ability to assume the perspective of marginalized groups. They also claimed that young children, with the help of a teacher, were able to understand that Harry’s frequent support of “mudbloods” was an allegory towards bigotry in real-life society.”

There’s no doubt that books can open your mind. This great, short TED talk by Lisa Bu shows just how much.

7. Vocabulary: Fiction readers build more language

We all want the kind of vocabulary that can help us express ourselves and connect with others.

Fiction can help you get there. A 2013 Emory University compared the brains of people after they read fiction (specifically, Robert Harris’ Pompeii over nine nights) to the brains of people who didn’t read.

The brains of the readers showed more activity in certain areas than those who didn’t read–especially the left temporal cortex, the part of the brain typically associated with understanding language.

The website analyzed millions of its test-takers to discover the somewhat expected conclusion that reading more builds a bigger vocabulary.

What was less expected was how much of a difference the type of reading made: Fiction readers were significantly more likely to have a larger vocabulary.

The study noted:

“That fiction reading would increase vocabulary size more than just non-fiction was one of our hypotheses–it makes sense, after all, considering that fiction tends to use a greater variety of words than non-fiction does. However, we hadn’t expected its effect to be this prominent.”

8. Creativity: Fictions allows for uncertainty (where creativity thrives!)

In the movies, we often long for a happy ending. Have you noticed that fiction can be much more ambiguous?

That’s exactly what makes it the perfect environment for creativity. A study published in Creativity Research Journal asked students to read either a short fictional story or a non-fiction essay and then measured their emotional need for certainty and stability.

Researchers discovered that the fiction readers had less need for “cognitive closure” than those who read non-fiction, and added:

“These findings suggest that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures of processing information generally, including those of creativity.”

9. Pleasure: Reading makes you happier

All the above factors are great. But the very biggest reason I try to read every single day? I love it. It makes me happy, and I’m not alone–a survey of 1,500 adult readers in the UK found that 76% of them said reading improves their life and helps to make them feel good.

Other findings of the survey are that those who read books regularly are on average more satisfied with life, happier, and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.

It’s fascinating to me to think about how much has changed in American life and media over the years in the chart published by Pew. Somehow reading for pleasure has remained relatively stable–even with the advent of the Internet, smart phones and so many more attention-zapping inventions.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of


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The Million-Dollar Comma

Love this one from Gary Kinder at WordRake.  It reminds me of the discussions we have had reviewing documents and student papers.  You can find the original web version here

The Million-Dollar Comma

Many years ago, a law firm in Chicago asked me to be an expert witness on the difference between that and which.  The issue concerned a selling manufacturer’s non-compete clause. That at the beginning of the clause meant zero dollars for the buyer; a comma followed by which meant millions of dollars for the buyer. But the clause read “which” with no comma.

The difference between that and which might be the most confounding piece of grammar in the English language, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you need to know: Grammarians call the words following that or which a “relative clause.” That relative clause either “restricts” what it modifies, or it “does not restrict” what it modifies. The writer tells us which it is by the word chosen to introduce the clause.

That at the beginning restricts; it means that the writer wants the relative clause to distinguish one thing from a universe of like things. Which at the beginning does not restrict; it means that the writer addresses only one thing to begin with, so there is nothing to restrict; the relative clause simply adds information.

The cabin that sleeps eight people is farther up the mountain.

Lots of cabins on that mountain, but only one sleeps eight people, and it’s farther up.

The cabin, which sleeps eight people, is farther up the mountain.

Only one cabin on this mountain, farther up, and, by the way, it sleeps eight people.

The confusion arises when the writer uses which with no comma:

The cabin which sleeps eight people is farther up the mountain.

We don’t know if the writer is trying to use which restrictively to tell us that out of all the cabins on the mountain, this is the only one that sleeps eight people, and it’s farther up; or if the writer just forgot the comma and means there’s only one cabin on the mountain, it’s farther up, and, oh, by the way, it sleeps eight people. Either could be correct, but the writer needs to let us know.

Here’s the takeaway: Although Hemingway often used which restrictively, we shouldn’t; whenever we want to restrict or distinguish, we should always use that; if we put which at the beginning of a relative clause, we should always precede it with a comma. Otherwise, we confuse our reader.

Sorry to keep you hanging. The case in Chicago settled. Smart lawyers. The thought of trying to explain the difference between that and which to a jury (or a judge) was so daunting, they decided to give-a-little-take-a-little, and go on to other cases with easier issues: like trying to explain the Rule Against Perpetuities. Lawyers will get the joke, but wish they didn’t.

About the Author
New York Times bestselling author, Gary Kinder, has taught over 1,000 writing programs to law firms, corporations, universities, and government agencies. In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake, the only software in the world that edits for clarity and brevity, giving professionals more confidence when writing to clients and colleagues. Backed by seven U.S. patents, WordRake was recently hailed as “Disruptive Innovation” by Harvard Law School. And LexisNexis® Pacific has chosen the WordRake editing software to include in its new Lexis® Draft Pro.

Visit for a free 7-day trial–no credit card required.

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