Weekend Long Reads - September 27, 2014

Larry Ellison Bought an Island in Hawaii. Now What?

Jolicoeur spent about three weeks strolling around the island, asking locals to hold his ungainly, foam-sheathed microphone and tell the camera how they felt about the big acquisition. Everyone seemed to feel very, very good. “I want to thank Mr. Ellison,” one fishing-boat captain says. “He’s got a vision, and he’s taking care of us over here on Lanai.” A pack of landscapers, shown assiduously raking dirt, say things like: “Thank you for work, Mr. Ellison! Thank you very much!” The owner of a salon: “I just want to take this time to thank Mr. Ellison for the unbelievable, incredible takeover of Lanai.” Inside the island’s Catholic church, a priest in a purple robe, surrounded by children, says: “Heavenly father. . . . We ask for your blessings for Mr. Ellison, particularly, and those who work with him, that all the good plans and intentions that he has for Lanai be fruitful.” Elsewhere, a woman shouts a little breathlessly: “Mr. Ellison! Thank you for being here! We love you! I’ve never met you before and really would like to, and I can imagine that you will do awesome wonders for this place!”

The Power of Sleep

“Chronic sleep restriction is a stress on the body,” says Dr. Peter Liu, professor of medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and L.A. Biomedical Research Institute. And the cause of that sleep deprivation doesn’t always originate in family strife, financial concerns or job-related problems. The way we live now–checking our phones every minute, hyperscheduling our days or our kids’ days, not taking time to relax without a screen in front of our faces–contributes to a regular flow of stress hormones like cortisol, and all that artificial light and screen time is disrupting our internal clocks. Simply put, our bodies don’t know when to go to sleep naturally anymore.

iPad: The Microwave Oven of Computing

The microwave isn't easier for every cooking task, and perhaps it takes longer to prepare a complicated meal in a microwave. Perhaps no award winning meal will be created in one, unless it's a special contest for microwave cooking. But it simplified simple cooking, and consumers around the world saw it as a necessary piece of equipment within in years of it becoming popular. It didn't need to be an oven, and didn't need to be better than an oven. It just needed to be the best for some certain cooking scenarios, and that was enough to win the hearts and minds of people around the world.