Is washing soda! If you have super dirty laundry (kids), hard water or both, add extra washing soda. We add about a cup to our loads. No more of that stinky moldy smell with kitchen clothes either, and we use bleach WAY less.
Parents with young children need to monitor, if not outright abandon, YouTube. This TED talk takes parents through “why” but high level, never let them watch YouTube with automatic play. Avoid surprise egg videos. Don’t let them watch videos you haven’t checked them and take precautions if leaving them watch unattended.
Visit dollar street to find how income affects how people live. Also startling… everyone in a 1st world nation is considered RICH! And unfortunately we take a lot for granted; like having a toothbrush. Bill Gates introduces the Dollar Street site here. Explore Dollar Street in full here.
(11Sep2018 edit) The book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling describes the 4 levels of income groups and explains the kind of life these people have (similar to Dollar Street). Explore these income groups (which replaces the concept of developing vs developed world): https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Factfulness
What’s to blame for slower growth and rising inequality? Regulatory capture. And who practices Regulatory Capture? EVERYONE “Regulatory capture is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. When regulatory capture occurs, the interests of firms or political groups are prioritized over the interests of the public, leading to a net loss for society. Government agencies suffering regulatory capture are called “captured agencies””. This is an issue that is a “bipartisan blind spot” and affects politicians from any political view.
“…[I]t’s ultimately the duty of the governors to make sure that the rules are in the public interest, rather than in the narrow interests of the various clamoring claimants who come before them.” The first step to eliminating regulatory capture is to recognize that it happens.
One of the reasons the public tolerates regulatory capture is that special interest groups use a positive policy image which creates a natural blind spot in the public’s eyes. An example used by Planet Money is teeth whitening and North Carolina’s Dental Board. The public feels that dentists help people so when the NC Dental Board lobbied to get a regulation to stop non-dentists from offering simple tooth whitening services the dentists initially won. Teeth whitening is more like a pedicure for your teeth rather than a dental procedure and anyone can do one. In fact, these days, people can buy teeth whitening kits at the grocery store. It had to go to the supreme court for the regulation to be removed. While waiting for all the legal trials to settle the issue stifled competition (natural market forces): teeth whitening service costs were artificially inflated (bad for consumers) and non-dentists were put out of business. Planet Money explains a few more examples and including one where homeowners practice regulatory capture.
* As published in the PMI-SAC April 30, 2018 email newsletter.
Remote Working Tips
Sometimes its impossible to avoid having remote team members. Here’s some tips for preparing to communicate:
1) On teleconferences, mitigate any “bad connection” problems by reminding all participants to mute unless they are talking.
2) Check the internet connection before the meeting. If possible, choose a wired connection over wireless. If the internet is bad or unavailable a participant may become audio only. As a contingency to audio only, having a team sync tool that offers use in offline mode can be useful. Examples are: Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox.
Extra tip: Cisco Spark has a tool for testing internet readiness for softphone calling, screen share and conference calls. In addition to bandwidth it also tests for critical real time application requirements such as jitter: https://mediatest.ciscospark.com/#/main. If the remote work site is a location that will be used often then it might be worth having the local internet service provider look into any issues the Cisco Spark tool finds.
Extra Tip: Have a visual cue to remind yourself of your mute status. This reduces the chance for the dreaded “talking while accidently muted” issue. The author uses the Logitech H820e wireless headset as the boom mike has a red LED.
The opportunities we have available to us depend on our network of people. If you want to imagine a different world or life, you need to meet the right people. The people you know now are unlikely to get you there or worse, block you. More on this important concept on TED:
Consumer Reports also addresses the three common excuses for not getting the flu shot in their article “Why Your Excuses for Not Getting a Flu Shot Stink“. Up front is the idea that it can cause the flu. No, it just makes your symptoms less severe if you get it (e.g. YOUR LESS LIKELY TO DIE… dying being a symptom apparently). And no, there is no scientific link to autism despite tons of fake news to the contrary.
So please, do the world a favor and get a flu vaccination yearly.
13Mar2019 update: Unvaccinated children in Italy have been banned from preschool. Under the new law, parents are also subject to fines of 100 to 500 euros and local health authorities will then schedule vaccinations for the children to make sure they get caught up. The fines presumably are for the extra administration of managing the vaccinations instead of the parents. This is directly addressing the “tragedy of the commons” issue that unvaccinated people represent.
26Apr2019 update: The Cost of Measles: Let’s leave the science aside and talk about the economics. According to this NPR “The Indicator” podcast, it would cost the US economy $4 Billion annually without vaccinations (an outbreak). It costs $45 Million to subsidize vaccines. That’s a 90,000% return on investment. “Measles is extremely contagious. It can remain in the air for up to two hours after you’ve left…. [T]here can be really significant long-term effects. Some people unfortunately have brain damage after their body is trying to fight measles because of lack of oxygen. They may lose their hearing. They may lose their eyesight. … [W]hen people are having to respond to these outbreaks and they form an outbreak team, those people aren’t just materializing out of nowhere. They had another job in the public health system before that now they have to leave to go do this. We were realizing, like, wow, measles isn’t just causing measles. It’s also causing these weaker links in the health care infrastructure and the public health infrastructure. And goodness knows what that could be doing kind of for our risk for other diseases down the road.” Based on this scenario I think it’s pretty plain to see that we’re going to start seeing policy for folks who don’t vaccinate. https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/15/713645707/the-cost-of-measles