Is Powerlessness the Key to Successful Negotiation?

Leigh Steinberg, the real-life inspiration for the title character in the film Jerry Maguire, is one of the most successful agents in the history of American sports. He is also a master negotiator. It’s said that when he signed quarterback Steve Bartkowski as his first client in 1975, he realized that the NFL rules allowed him no power to bargain over salary. The Atlanta Falcons had drafted his client, so if he was going to play pro ball, it was the Falcons or nothing. So what did Steinberg do? He offered Bartkowski’s services to the Atlanta Falcons for a whopping $750,000–more than any football player had ever been paid. The outraged Falcons countered with an offer of $600,000, the most lucrative rookie contract in NFL history.

I’m borrowing this story from a team of psychological scientists, who believe they may have an explanation for Steinberg’s seemingly irrational behavior and for its ironic success. Michael Schaerer and Roderick Swaab of INSEAD, in France, and Adam Galinsky of Columbia believe that powerlessness can actually have a liberating effect on negotiators, freeing them from the cognitive biases that normally constrain the give and take of life’s negotiations.

Traditionally, professional negotiators associate power with what’s called —> Read More Here

Asteroid 2014 SC324 Zips By Earth Friday Afternoon – Tips on How to See it

Here comes another asteroid! 2014 SC324 will miss Earth by 1.5 times the distance to the Moon early Friday afternoon October 24, 2014. Credit: Gianluca Masi / Software Bisque

Here comes another asteroid! 2014 SC324 will miss Earth by 1.5 times the distance to the Moon early Friday afternoon October 24, 2014. Credit: Gianluca Masi / Software Bisque

What a roller coaster week it’s been. If the partial eclipses and giant sunspots aren’t your thing, how about a close flyby of an Earth-approaching asteroid? 2014 SC324 was discovered on September 30 this year by the Mt. Lemmon Survey headquartered in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona. Based on brightness, the tumbling rock’s size is estimated at around 197 feet (60-m), on the large side compared to the many small asteroids that whip harmlessly by Earth each year.

Illustration of small asteroids passing near Earth. Credit: ESA / P. Carril

Closest approach happens around 2 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. UT) Friday afternoon when our fast friend flies misses Earth by just 351,000 miles (565,000 km) or 1.5 times the distance to the Moon. This is a very safe distance, so we can finish up our lunches without a jot of concern. But the asteroid’s combination of size and proximity means amateur astronomers with a 10-inch or larger telescope will be able to track it across —> Read More Here

Rosetta’s Comet Springs Spectacular Leaks As It Gets Closer To The Sun

This Rosetta image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows spectacular jets erupting from the small body on Sept. 10, 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

This Rosetta image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows spectacular jets erupting from the small body on Sept. 10, 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Jet! The comet that the Rosetta spacecraft is visiting is shedding more dust as machine and Solar System body get closer to the Sun.

While activity was first seen at the “neck” of the rubber-duckie shaped comet a few weeks ago, now scientists are seeing jets spring from across the comet.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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Fusion Energy: Hope or Hype?

The IPCC Report’s Warning

The latest draft edition of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report bluntly warns that business-as-usual increases in greenhouse-gas emissions will cause “further warming and long-lasting changes” in the Earth’s climate system, with increasing likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” Specific dangers include rising sea levels, more frequent extreme temperatures, flooding, drought, harm to marine life and violent conflicts among human societies in the wake of agricultural changes. Delays may have already cost the world society US$8 trillion.

So what can be done? As we argued in a previous blog post, arguably the most cost-effective single measure is simple conservation. One of the present bloggers (Bailey), by making a few modest changes to his home, was able to reduce his electrical consumption by a factor of three, and his bill by a factor of five. The other (Borwein) has a dozen solar panels on his roof in sunny New South Wales, Australia. This has halved his bill, as he sells power back to the grid. Both bloggers are fortunate enough to own Toyota Prius hybrid cars.

But conservation by itself is far from the whole solution. We must —> Read More Here

Rapa Expedition: Gone Fishin’ … With Rocks

Collecting rocks Jerome Petit

The Hanse Explorer has arrived at Rapa Iti, the site of the latest National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition. In order to understand fishing and food from a local perspective, Expedition Leader Paul Rose elected to go on a fishing trip with Rapa fisherman, and the experience was eye-opening.

Collecting rocks for fishing. (Photo by Jerome Petit)

Fishing in Rapa’s waters is quite a unique experience. Rapa’s clever, traditional techniques are totally unlike my typical routine. Before going fishing I normally sort out a large pile of stainless steel, carbon, Kevlar, low-friction, high-tech, light-weight and heavily expensive implements. Not here on Rapa; the first order of business is to search for a handy bay and sail in and collect rocks from the beach. As I collected armloads of rocks on our recent fishing trip, one of our local fishermen, Octave, made sure that we only collected those of a particular shape and size.

The Technique

Once back onboard the city-hall fishing boat and heading a few miles out to sea, Octave revealed the method we were to use: Flying fish chopped into good-sized chunks are used for bait and a small piece from each is folded around a fishing hook. The hooks are attached —> Read More Here

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