Category Archives: evidence-based

Patty McCord at Netflix — The Queen of the good good-byes and the future of work

This is an amazing story about the culture of Netflix and it’s clearly the future of (creative) work for better or worse. No set hours, unlimited time-off, etc. But “ruthless” (or simply more “real”/”honest”) in hiring/firing. Depends on your perspective! “A for effort” doesn’t count. (19 minute podcast from NPR’s Planet Money)

NETFLIX: “We’re a _team_, not a family” (Slide 23 of 124)

This reminds me of Byron Katie in “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” (BTW, I really recommend the audio cds.. really great!) where in Chapter 6 (pages 84-85) she talks about a boss firing an assistant because she wasn’t doing a good job even though they had been working together for many many years.

“People usually fire themselves when they realize what’s going on.”

IOW, it’s best to be clear and truthful about what is happening with the company — a person’s performance or the lack of a need for them (because of a change in technology or because the company has pivoted in some way)

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Filed under contrarian, evidence-based, future, talent vs skill, technology, uberification, work, work-life balance

My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me

My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me
What happens when a father, alarmed by his 13-year-old daughter’s nightly workload, tries to do her homework for a week

“My daughter has the misfortune of living through a period of peak homework. But it turns out that there is no correlation between homework and achievement.”



Right. Or very little.

Kids are people. Let them choose. If they are stoked on something, let them work on it as hard as they want. If not, why bother? Life is long. My kids, 5 and 8 work their hearts off on stuff they are interested in, usually to the dismay of me and/or their mom — us urgently trying to get them to do something on OUR agenda, like… get out the door for some reason or another.

And it has taken me an embarrassingly long time to realize over the years that when my 5 year old regularly seems like he doesn’t hear me asking him something over and over… it typically is not that he is ignoring me, he literally is so insanely focused on his task at hand that he doesn’t notice my increasingly loud and annoying attempts at getting his attention.

Seen in that light, that’s not annoying, it’s AWESOME.

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Filed under ageism, evidence-based, kids -- freedom and responsibility, motivation, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Crank the tunes! I gotsta get some work done!

“Eysenck’s hypothesis that introverts have higher cortical arousal than extraverts, and therefore require less stimulation from the environment to achieve their optimum level of arousal is cited and supported by Stenberg et al (1990). They found higher levels of blood flow into the temporal lobe in introverts than extroverts.”
Will Background Music Improve Your Concentration?

So does that mean I am an “I” or an “E”? (An “outgoing introvert” I like to say…)

But keep reading: “Performance was best in the silent condition and worst in the familiar music condition”

Figures. Still, I find that music (headphones… I have 20 year old Sony MDR-V6’s going strong) helps when I am doing more routine sorts of work perhaps as a sort of consolation prize… at least I can listen to some music?

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Filed under contrarian, evidence-based, motivation, programming, responsibility, science, work

Jane McGonigal TED talk: Gaming can make a better world

Watch this TED talk on using gaming to “save the world”. I think it’s quite compelling. Maybe the logic falls apart if one thinks about it more than 18 minutes, but I think there is A LOT of truth to this based on what I see with my own kids and their gaming.

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Filed under alternative education, collaboration, community, contrarian, energy, evidence-based, experiments, gamification, green, health, motivation, screen-time, social media, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, technology influences, video games

“High-fat, high-protein diets are also dangerous”…

This is old news, but I think it is worth a reminder! (Do your own research of course, but I think Joel Fuhrman’s advice–based on research of research–is quite sound. His books always include lots of supporting research references to studies one can read oneself on PubMed, etc. And exercise!)


This ill-advised “news”may heve been fit to print, but the diets surely are unfit to eat.
By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

In July, The New York Times printed an article titled “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” by Gary Taubes. Taubes states that the cause of the obesity problem in the U.S. is that Americans eat too many carbohydrates and that low-fat, high carb diets make you fat and lead to other diseases. His solution is the high-fat, high-protein diets advocated by Dr. Robert Atkins and others. After reading the article, I sent a letter to the editor, which the Times did not print. The information that follows was included in that letter.

The recent New York Times article by Gary Taubes perpetuates many of the nutritional myths spread by Dr. Robert Atkins and others. The fact that high-glycemic diets-rich in refined carbohydrates such as sugar, pasta, and other junk foods–are large contributors to the obesity epidemic and also to serious disease in no way justifies a recommendation to eat a diet that is rich in saturated fat. Without question, high-glycemic diets are dangerous, But diets rich in the highly saturated fat of animal products are also dangerous. Why debate which dangerous diet is worse?

Taube reiterated the false claim of authors like Atkins and Barry Sears that Americans are eating less fat than ever before but our obesity rate is skyrocketing. The truth is that because we are eating more calories than ever before, the percentage of fat in the diet has gone down. The total amount of fat in the American diet has changed very little.

Atkins recommends that you eat primarily high-fat, high-protein, fiberless, animal foods and attempt to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Analyses of the proposed menus show that animal products comprise more than 90 percent of calories in the diet. Hundreds of scientific studies have documented the link between animal products and various cancers, Increased consumption of animal products combined with the decreased consumption of fresh produce has the most powerful effect on increasing one’s risk for various kinds of cancer.

There are more than 3,500 scientific studies, involving more than 15,000 research scientists, reporting a relationship between the consumption of meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products with heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, constipation, gallstones, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids, just to name a few.

A meat-based diet like the one Atkins advocates (which includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables and no whole grains) could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially of meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six fold greater in women in the highest fifth. Atkins devotees adopt a dietary pattern that is completely contrary to the one recommended by the world’s leading research scientists studying the link between diet and cancer.

There are numerous ways to lose weight. However “effective” they may be, some simply are not safe. No responsible person would advocate smoking cigarettes or snorting cocaine simply because these can be effective in promoting weight loss. Advocating a weight-loss program based on severe carbohydrate restriction also is irresponsible. following this advice can cost people their lives!

Diets that are designed to be low in refined carbohydrates, while rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, offer the greatest protection against cancer, and at the same time enable individuals to lose weight healthfully and permanently. My patients who follow a high-nutrient, high-fiber, low-glycemic, plant-based diet invariably achieve more substantial weight reduction, compared to patients who follow the meat-based diets irresponsibly supported by the recent article. Remember losing weight healthfully and permanently is the key to success.

Joel Fuhrman MD: Nearly Everyone Gets Cancer

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Filed under diabetes, erik-green, evidence-based, health, obesity