Occupied time

Even Astronauts Get The Blues: Or Why Boredom Drives Us Nuts
March 15, 2016

VEDANTAM: Richard Larson at MIT tells a story about how business passengers arriving on early morning flights into Houston were complaining about being bored as they waited for the conveyor belt to bring their bags. The airline company brought in consultants. They hired baggage handlers. They reduced the waiting time to eight minutes max. Nothing worked.

The complaints kept coming in. So the airline thought harder. Executives realized that business passengers were spending only a couple of minutes disembarking from the plane and six or seven minutes waiting in baggage claim. The solution, they moved the arrival gate further from baggage claim. Passengers now spend six or seven minutes walking to baggage claim and one or two minutes waiting for their bags. Poof, the complaints disappeared.

PINK: Extraordinary, I mean, this goes to – there’s a concept called occupied time, where if our time is occupied, we don’t feel a sense of distress. So we’ll take more occupied time instead of a shorter amount of time that isn’t occupied.


Job crafting

How To Build A Better Job
March 29, 2016

Why do you work? Are you just in it for the money or do you do it for a greater purpose? Popular wisdom says your answer depends on what your job is. But psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski at Yale University finds it may have more to do with how we think about our work. Across groups such as secretaries and custodians and computer programmers, Wrzesniewski finds people about equally split in whether they say they have a “job,” a “career” or a “calling.”
… how we find meaning and purpose at work.

Job crafting: what employees do to redesign their own jobs in ways that foster engagement at work, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving.”
Berg, Wrzesniewski, & Dutton, 2010

November 10, 2014
Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management

Job crafting takes 3 forms:

  1. Task crafting: alter number, type, nature of tasks
  2. Relational crafting
  3. Cognitive crafting: alter how one perceives tasks and their meaning





cited by:


Lazy workers are necessary

Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies
Eisuke Hasegawa, et al.
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 20846 (2016)

Optimality theory predicts the maximization of productivity in social insect colonies, but many inactive workers are found in ant colonies. Indeed, the low short-term productivity of ant colonies is often the consequence of high variation among workers in the threshold to respond to task-related stimuli.
Why is such an inefficient strategy among colonies maintained by natural selection?
Here, we show that inactive workers are necessary for the long-term sustainability of a colony. Our simulation shows that colonies with variable thresholds persist longer than those with invariable thresholds because inactive workers perform the critical function of replacing active workers when they become fatigued. Evidence of the replacement of active workers by inactive workers has been found in ant colonies. Thus, the presence of inactive workers increases the long-term persistence of the colony at the expense of decreasing short-term productivity. Inactive workers may represent a bet-hedging strategy in response to environmental stochasticity.

journalistic version:

General Mills, Mars and Kellogg plan to label GMOs

How Little Vermont Got Big Food Companies To Label GMOs
March 27, 2016

Over the past week or so, big companies including General Mills, Mars and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products …

According to a 2015 poll, two-thirds of Americans support labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.

“Consumers are pushing for more transparency,” food industry analyst Jack Russo told us.

Prevention of Low Back Pain

Prevention of Low Back Pain
A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):199-208.
Daniel Steffens, et al.

Conclusion and Relevance:  The current evidence suggests that exercise alone or in combination with education is effective for preventing LBP. Other interventions, including education alone, back belts, and shoe insoles, do not appear to prevent LBP. Whether education, training, or ergonomic adjustments prevent sick leave is uncertain because the quality of evidence is low.

journalistic version:

Depression & stroke risk 2 years after mood improves

Changes in Depressive Symptoms and Incidence of First Stroke Among Middle‐Aged and Older US Adults
Paola Gilsanz, et al.
Conclusions: persistently high depressive symptoms were associated with increased stroke risk. Risk remained elevated even if depressive symptoms remitted over a 2‐year period, suggesting cumulative etiologic mechanisms linking depression and stroke.

journalistic version:
Long-Term Depression May Boost Stroke Risk Long After Mood Improves
May 14, 2015


Microsoft Chatbot Snafu Shows Our Robot Overlords Aren’t Ready Yet
March 27, 2016

Her emoji usage is on point. She says “bae,” “chill” and “perf.”
She loves puppies, memes, and …  Meet Tay, Microsoft’s short-lived chatbot that was supposed to seem like your average millennial woman but was quickly corrupted by Internet trolling.
She was launched Wednesday and shut down Thursday.




Bot Framework – Making Bots More Intelligent
By Kevin Ashley | March 2017

Neonatal abstinence syndrome

Tiny Opioid Patients Need Help Easing Into Life
March 27, 2016

Lexi, 2 weeks old, is experiencing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Her mother took methadone to wean herself from heroin when she got pregnant, just as doctors advised. But now the hospital team has to wean newborn Lexi from the methadone.

As rates of opioid addiction have continued to climb in the U.S., the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has gone up, too — by five-fold from 2000 to 2012, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.