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The Week in Ideas (9/10)

Posted by Josh Rothman  September 10, 2012 07:33 AM

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How to make time expand: Keith O’Brien on the science behind “time famine” and “time affluence”—the states of feeling like you have too little time, or all the time in the world. The newest research suggests that there are lots of surprising things we can do to make ourselves feel rich in time—including “spending time doing tasks for someone else — essentially giving time away.”

The nocebo effect: Chris Berdik on the placebo effect’s evil twin: If you’re told that an effective medication won’t work, or might have negative side effects, it can actually become less effective. It has implications we’ve only just begun to explore—like the possibility that “doctors could almost certainly reduce suffering by downplaying or even never mentioning certain side effects.”

No shortcuts with startups: Ben Schreckinger on the trouble with investing in your own startup: “According to a new study by a pair of finance professors, start-ups that receive loans from their owner-managers—as [Curt Schilling’s] 38 Studios did, to the tune of $4 million—performed worse than other firms and went out of business at a greater rate than start-ups that didn’t. It also found that the more of his or her own fortune an entrepreneur invested, the worse the start-up performed.”

Plus: Ben Zimmer on the origins of today’s football nicknames; Kevin Lewis on when boys and girls become more (and less) competitive.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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