This could be a new way to manage your email, set realistic expectations for others and …. most importantly, help to be present in the present.
I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by tasks and projects, and find it useful to chunk up my work into focused sprints during a fixed time frame—a concept used both in software development and in various time management practices.
I’ve been finding myself using the Pomodoro technique, a fancy name for doing 25-minute sprints punctuated by 5-minute intervals.
There are a wide variety of simple Pomodoro timers available:
- At home, I use Pomodoro for Mac
- At work, I use Focus Booster (for Mac and Windows)
- Some people like the Tomato Timer web app
What techniques do you use to maintain focus while juggling projects?
How important are birthdays? Computer scientist Latanya Sweeney‘s work quantifies the importance of knowing someone’s date of birth when trying to re-identify partially de-identified data. She’s written a series of papers showing how multiple non-name attributes can work together to serve as functional identifiers when matched against publicly available databases like voter lists or public hospital visit data. Per her research, she estimates that:
- 87% of Americans can be uniquely identified by the combination of date of birth, gender, and ZIP code
- 53% of Americans can be uniquely identified by the combination of date of birth, gender, and city
- 18% of Americans can be uniquely identified by the combination of date of birth, gender, and county
However, substituting year of birth for the full day-month-year:
- 0.04% of Americans can be uniquely identified by the combination of birth year, gender, and ZIP code
- 0.04% of Americans can be uniquely identified by the combination of birth year, gender, and city
- 0.00004% of Americans can be uniquely identified by the combination of birth year, gender, and county
Conveniently, many zombie preparedness safety tips also carry over to other real-world dangers:
“In movies, shows, and literature, zombies are often depicted as being created by an infectious virus, which is passed on via bites and contact with bodily fluids. Harvard psychiatrist Steven Schoolman wrote a (fictional) medical paper on the zombies presented in Night of the Living Dead and refers to the condition as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome caused by an infectious agent.
So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored). Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page.
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
- Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
- Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
- Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
- Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
- Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
- First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)”
Read the whole thing, before the undead hordes come for you.
In “Getting A Reaction From Online Video”, Brian Massey at ClickZ does a good job of breaking down what should be an obvious point: online video works better when it’s embedded in an focused landing page design. He expands on it in at a talk he gave at PubCon 2011.
How about a little science silliness for a Friday? After all, you can’t have funding without the “fun”!
Did you know that there’s a strong musical undercurrent running through our greatest science labs? Of course, music may have beneficial health effects, interesting physiological roles, or even lead to strange injuries. But primarily, scientists want to express their feelings in song. Here are two of my favorites, but I’m sure that there any others out there. Post some great links in the comments, and be sure to have a fun Friday!