QuickReaction, Wednesday-4

What’s the point at Yahoo? Cancelling the telecommuting option at Yahoo makes little sense given the standard POV toward telecommuting. As a former telecommuter (1500 miles from office, 8000 miles from team) and working with a large number of other telecommuters (including my boss) I believe that telecommuting, esp. spread across time zones and even the world, ends up requiring far more hours on the job (basically 24×7) than the old 9to5 routine (which isn’t exactly the norm in Silicon Valley anyway, who gets such a short workday?). Yahoo has to know this + Marissa Mayer is not some 1950s white shirt boss who is used to watching the slaves at their desks. So why is she doing it? Sometimes failing organizations need a strong kick in the pants to get people to change their ways, or, perhaps, Yahoo had fallen into slovenly ways of people who weren’t doing the normal dedicated work of telecommuters, but pushing everyone into the office would normally be a really bad idea (independent of obviously losing some people just the unhappiness and crowding will impact morale and productivity). So the cost of the move will be high – what will be gained. If I were a stockholder I’d be very concerned.

No wonder nutrition “advice” is junk: Is anyone, esp. at HuffPo, writing nutrition articles not just peddling a cookbook? It’s just amazing how these people denounce “factory food” or “fast food” for slick marketing tactics and then turn around and provide their informercial disguised as an article. Yes, there is a nutrition problem in the U.S. and yes people would be better off cooking more of their own food instead of buying it pre-prepared BUT (and a very big bug) switching from one scam to another one scam doesn’t help. These “experts” are so full of attitude, not based on any science, esp. any actual biochemistry (data that is quite difficult to actually acquire in real experiments since it requires very invasive, possibly dangerous and certainly painful poking of the test subjects and IRBs frown on these kinds of studies that are then also very expensive). So there isn’t any real data to support 90% of the claims these nutrition fanatics make in their books, just their opinion which will simply be the next fad diet on the scrapheap. It’s really sad because we, the public, really do need some good information and we need to change our ways, but in a meaningful and efficacious plan, not the half-baked schemes of some quack selling a book or a “celebrity” (who thinks Miley Cyprus has a clue about any science) pushing their get-in-the-spotlight publicity gimmick.

More junk nutrition and chic lefty food “advice”: Boy, this stuff is proliferating so fast it’s making me sound like a climate change denialist. And I’m not. I do think a lot of food choices and U.S. patterns of eating are broken. But what we need for all the trendy authors and speakers to drop the attitude and start presenting something meaningful as solutions. This fad-oriented crap that passes for information is doing more harm than good. Why do the critics of an area (that needs criticism) go overboard with political solutions instead of truth. These “food” experts are just as bad as the economic “experts”, like Ryan, the Repugs trot out. And the lefties all believe that the Chez Panisse model, which most of them cannot afford and that doesn’t scale for the U.S. (exactly what local food is there in Nebraska in February vs balmy Marin County Alice shops at). It’s really sad that the critics have to be so stupid and self-serving. Meanwhile among actual taste-oriented foodies things are better than they’ve ever been, but I’m sure these political foodies probably freak at the ideas in molecular gastronomy as well. Their idea is simple – if it tastes good it’s bad for you. I wonder if they have that same attitude toward drugs because I suspect most of the same crowd is all hot for legalization – Paleolithic, indeed. And all these political foodies would positively hate this list of food you’d actually want to eat (and home-cooked and from fresh ingredients), most of which are just fine nutritionally, esp. in appropriate quantities.

They got Bittman to sign on: The food police have spread their PR campaign about a particular study (how many writing about it have actually read the study, I have and many writers get it wrong) and now they’ve recruited the voice of taste to their cause. Bittman who casts a huge shadow on the cuisine side of diet is certainly the endorsement they need. But Bittman is choosing to be a bit selective about how he defines the diet, certainly with a culinary twist instead of the food storm trooper version. He publishes their pyramid and then promptly describes something entirely different. Also his notion of easy and affordable has to be taken with a grain of salt (which isn’t mentioned by any of the writers or the study). But frankly Bittman’s take on it is more reasonable than most because he is looking at eating as pleasure and not as sin as the food bigots do. So if he writes the cookbook I might try it.

Balance is what’s needed in remote work: I think Yahoo’s crackdown on telecommuting is just that, a crackdown, designed to shake up a sleepy company that is failing. Yahoo should not be viewed as some new trend (at least I hope it won’t be). All the people defending word-at-home are right, it gets the company more work for their dollar. But the people who talk about the benefits of facetime, as this article does, are also right. As a former multi-year very remote and highly skilled home worker the answer for me is that both are needed. I did my job better at home (and worked many more hours) when it was just me job. But most of us work in teams and I did the teamwork part much better F2F. But a small dose of F2F goes a long way, in fact, I think that infrequent contact is better than frequent. The only times I went to the “office” (which was more a gathering place since my entire team was spread out geographically, some at home, including my boss) it was a special occasion where we could justify the travel expense. So those meetings were intense, productive, and a high dose of all the schmoozing part that is extolled as the virtue of facetime. So can we stop looking at this issue as binary? 90% of work is solitary (or communications technology is adequate, given people sometimes text each other even when they’re in the same room anyway) and 10% is social, so let’s have both and in the correct proportions and stop arguing about this. Plus then we’ll recognize Yahoo is special because it’s dysfunctional to begin with.

I never thought I’d agree with Paula Deen about anything but after all the nonsense and fad junk advice I’ve been wading through by the “experts” I seem to have come to the same place she did – MODERATION. Here’s her statement about how she lost 40lbs (which is more than a lot of her critics have done). Or, IOW, it’s not what you eat, it’s how much you eat. Butter is bad (for weight control) because it has a high calorie density so a little goes a long weight. It is NOT inherently worse than anything else (at least for weight, I’ll grant the possibility, if I can ever find science instead of opinion that other issues may apply). So Paula says she’s eating the same things but just less and all the food tyrants are piling on, denouncing her. Now I was never a Paula Deen fan (I just don’t like her food) and I certainly skipped her restaurant while in Savannah, but it’s not clear she isn’t closer to the mainstream than former druggie and smoker and self-righteous conceited ass Anthony Bourdain (maybe you ought to look at your drinking Anthony before you start denouncing others).

Good insights: It’s clear the Repugs actually have no intellectual base (hard to even use that word and Repugs together given their total love of being stupid) for the sequestration. They don’t have any goals except protecting carried interest tax gimmick for a few thousand Wall Streeters and maintaining privilege for the 0.01% but they can’t admit that so they’re all over the map on what policy philosophy they actually have. In reality, the tea bagger movement was bought and paid for by the Kochs and the whole ultraconservative crowd is just shills for the rich (they’re not for tax reduction for you or me, just for the 0.01%). So, of course, the response to the sequester is incoherent but since they do hate America they’re willing to burn down the house. Hopefully this doesn’t scare the adults (i.e. Obama) into giving into the screaming brats. Now, Barack, let reality force them back to the center. When those cuts start taking money away from red states gradually their MainStreet grassroots may find the courage to actually try to fight against the anarchists and take back the Repug party.

Classic industry bashing food nut: There is no science anyway in this article, just rant. Yep, there are ways we can criticize food producers, but this isn’t it. Whatever valid and useful information is in here is lost in all the attitude. I’m no fan of food processors BUT that doesn’t make their opponents right. I’m sorry folks, let’s see the science. Nature is magical and elevated to god-like status by people who don’t actually know any biochemistry. Plants didn’t evolve to feed us, they evolved for their own survival, and given half a chance a plant will poison you because it doesn’t exist for you to eat and it survives better, in the wild (instead of hippie Marin county “heirloom” gardens of totally man-made foods) by preventing creatures like us from eating it. Toxins are not the sole province of food processors, nature is pretty good at creating them too. And ascorbic acid is ascorbic acid and so weirdo homeopathic nonsense about where those molecules got produced makes a difference is mysticism, not science. Again, folks, do the public some good by facts and science, not politics and opinion. A lot of food products are bad, but not because corporations are evil and nature is inherently good.

Conservative critic of rightwingnut media? Any attempt by the right to clean up its own mess and reform rightwingnut media must start with recognizing most of it is, in fact, as recently named, the rightwing entertainment complex. Fox is a joke designed to make Murdoch the maximum money (guess why Ailes is still there, he delivers on the bottom line). Why are Coulter and Limbot and Beck hanging out, outside the conventional “media” complex – it pays better. Beck gets fired for being a nutjob and he’s now scamming a gullible public from more loot than he could have ever negotiated from Murdoch. Guess what, folks – these guys have learned from the televangelists who’ve been scamming the suckers for generations. The unholy alliance between greed and fanatical religion has shown these rightwingnuts the way to riches. Do you really think Hannity or O’Reilly give a damn about journalism awards? Come on, rightwing “media” is the entertainment business and nagging them to present something other than ranting is really naïve.

About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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2 Responses to QuickReaction, Wednesday-4

  1. Nona says:

    Having never seen Anthony Bourdain on TV, I thought when he came to the Laurie Auditorium that I would take 2 out-of-town friends to see a travel/food expert. Well was I taught an expensive lesson- in 1/ 1/2 hour talk he used the F word over 75 times. With a total of 9 grandsons and sons I have certainly heard my share of the F word and have been known to let one slip on occasion. But it was for shock value only and one of my guests was really shocked and uncomfortable. He has a new show on now which I don’t bother to watch as I figure he owes me $200 for a useless night out.

    • dmill96 says:

      He was always an acquired taste. He sorta started as the anti-FoodTV guy, the genuine guy instead of made-up celebrities. Then he became a celebrity and frankly is no different than any of the other celebrity chefs – supreme ego, certain that his every word will hold us spellbound. But he still likes to pick on the other celebrity chefs.

      And yes he’s very profane (and I mean that more than even use of words) and he likes to shock. Despite being French he seems to have adopted the nasty version of NYC attitude.

      His feuding with several of the FoodTV people was very public and perhaps one of those spats designed to attract attention. Paula Deen set herself up to be a target more than most but nonetheless he was cruel to her.

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