Kim Jong Il, Dead At 69

by Gordon G. Chang via Forbes

Kim Jong Il, supreme leader of North Korea, died from fatigue on Saturday during a train ride, state television reported Monday at noon.  He was 69 according to official sources. Kim, known as “The Lodestar of the 21stCentury” in his homeland and by more than 2,000 other titles, is reported to have had a history of serious ailments including diabetes, stroke, and pancreatic cancer.  He may have been on kidney dialysis at the time of his death.  In North Korea, he was considered a “contemporary god.”

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The fast, fabulous life of 32-year-old billionaire Sean Parker

by Dylan Tweney via Venture Beat

If you ever wondered what it would be like to be a billionaire before forty, look no further than Sean Parker.

His fabulous, $20 million townhouse in New York’s West Village has an indoor swimming pool, features Byzantine icons and two massive, six-foot portraits by Spanish Renaissance painter Alonso Sánchez Coello, is large enough to accommodate a party of 800, and has at least four floors. Oh, and it’s called “Bacchus House,” which might give a clue to the Dionysian delights it’s meant to convey. When a New York Times reporter visited him recently, the house was swarming with staff and a hairstylist was waiting upstairs for Parker, who had just arrived via private jet from California, where he recently bought another home (in San Francisco).

These details come from a glowing, almost fawning profile of Parker in the New York Times style section today.

Parker, who cofounded Napster and then went on to play a key role in the early days of Facebook, was in many ways lucky to be in the right places at all the right times. But he’s also clearly a smart businessman with vast social skills and an eagerness to reinvent the music industry.

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How Free Are You, Really?

Dr. Nicholas Christakis is known for his research on the social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. 

In his lecture "If You’re So Free, Why Do You Follow Others? The Sociology and Science Behind Social Networks," part of Floating University's Great Big Ideas course, Christakis explains why individual actions are inextricably linked to sociological pressures. Whether you’re absorbing altruism performed by someone you’ll never meet or deciding to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, collective phenomena affect every aspect of your life.