December 2, 2016: Friday news roundup

After a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday break, we’re back with a full week’s worth of ideas and opinions.

The secret algorithm behind learning
You may already be familiar with Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman, but do you know his simple-yet-ingenious formula for learning? Here’s a hint: creating a Udemy course on the subject you’re trying to learn could be just what you need to absorb new knowledge.

The new workplace is agile, and nonstop. Can you keep up?
This one might raise your blood pressure a bit. Those of you who work in and around the tech industry are likely familiar with agile computing, and now the New York Times has gotten around to examining how this approach is influencing the way other businesses operate.

Google’s former happiness guru developed a three-second brain exercise for finding joy
If you work in one of those agile environments, you might feel like there’s no time to stop and smell the roses. Former Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan earned his “happiness guru” title by spreading some simple wisdom about appreciating the little things that can add up to greater joy. 

What motivates gig economy workers
As the nature of work changes, the trend is toward more people cobbling together multiple gigs to earn a livelihood. Here, a “technology ethnographer” shares research into the reasons people drive for rideshare services Uber and Lyft, and she found very distinct groups of those who do it because they need to and those who do it because they want to. These differences have serious implications for the nature of employment in the gig economy and workers’ ability to earn a living wage.

A jolt of blue-collar hope
Delaware has suffered the kind of “post-industrial devastation” that was a key issue in our recent election. The state’s governor, Jack Markell, has responded with a laser focus on upskilling and education. It’s not just about teaching kids to code either. Instead, Markell’s approach includes creative solutions like reshaping curricula so high schoolers, for example, choose majors that will prepare them for the kinds of blue-collar careers available even as factories close.