More Intelligent Life – Thought for Today 01.27.12

Advice to people at the beginning of their careers: do not imagine that you have to know everything before you can do anything. My own best work was done when I was most ignorant. Grab every opportunity to take responsibility and do things for which you are unqualified.

Advice to people at the middle of their careers: do not be afraid to switch careers and try something new. As my friend the physicist Leo Szilard said (number nine in his list of ten commandments): “Do your work for six years; but in the seventh, go into solitude or among strangers, so that the memory of your friends does not hinder you from being what you have become.”

via THE 60-YEAR JOB: FREEMAN DYSON | More Intelligent Life.

I really wanted to post this when I first read the article.  But I was in Chicago, sitting in a Cosi, working on a laptop that should have been replaced five years ago.  I didn’t have my usual software tools, but I digress.  I loved this advice and I know you’ll love it too.


Tablet and E-Book Reader Ownership Nearly Doubles

The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period.

The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

via Tablet and E-book reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period | Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Faithful followers are aware this author abandoned his Read a Book a Week project sometime in 2011.  Workload got very busy so I ultimately had to trade non-work reading time for revenue.  Not a bad trade-off but I still miss my recreational reading time.

I’ve owned a Kindle for over a year now and received a smart phone this past Christmas.  I can now access my Kindle books on my phone.  We’ll see if this helps me read more books this year.

Click through to the Pew website where you can download a PDF copy of this study.

50-Year-Olds Get New Knees in Record Numbers

During the past three decades there has been a dramatic, 130-fold increase in knee replacement surgeries, particularly among individuals in their 50s, a Finnish study found.

via Medical News: 50-Year-Olds Get New Knees in Record Numbers – in Surgery, Orthopedics from MedPage Today.

Knee replacement cost – cost of knee replacement surgery.

After reading about the dramatic increase in the number of knee replacements I did a Google search for “average cost knee replacement” without the quotation marks in the search string.  At the top of page one was the second link above.

Taiwan anyone?

Meaningful Treatments

Thankfully, we’ve learned from our mistakes. Opening blocked vessels is useful in really only two general areas:

Heart attack, where the rule of thumb is to open the tightest blockage (we refer to it as the “infarct-related artery”) and leave the rest as is.

Symptomatic blockages such as the 99% plug that caused my patient his troubles. If, on the other hand, a person has no chest pain or breathing difficulty associated with the disease, we provide no benefit by uncorking it—even if the blockage is 100%.

via Meaningful treatments in the battle against coronary disease.

Pressed and Stressed – The New (AB)Normal

Worker stress reflects not only heavier demands in recent years, but the fears and difficulties of the Great Recession that preceded the recovery as well as ongoing economic uncertainty.  In effect, employees have been under sometimes-severe strain for roughly four years.  Bigger workloads might be easier to shoulder if employees were getting raises, as well.  But by and large they aren’t. In the Workforce Management-Workplace Options survey, just 30 percent of those employees reporting an increase in job duties said they got a pay increase as well.   And government data show that inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings fell 1.6 percent from October 2010 to October 2011.Still, some observers say workers should get used to the present business as usual.  Given doubts about the government’s ability to reduce unemployment rates anytime soon, employers may be able to make always-on “superjobs” the standard rather than the exception. Companies have seen a spurt in productivity, but it may not be a lasting one. Wayne Hochwarter, a management professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, surveyed more than 700 full-time workers in 2011 and found that employees in a demanding work environment said their job performance had risen.  But their anxiety levels at work and home also rose, while their job satisfaction fell.  Especially when increased demands come with factors like layoff fears and poor communication by the boss and company, heightened worker productivity is likely to be short-lived, Hochwarter says. “The toll on the human system leads to deteriorating performance and effort,” he says. “The person is left with an empty tank.”

via Today’s Workforce—Pressed and Stressed – Featured Article – Workforce.

The hamsters are dying.

Binge Drinking in Adults United States 2010

  • Binge drinking causes more than half of the 80,000 deaths and three quarters of the $223.5 billion in economic costs caused by excessive drinking.
  • Approximately one in six (38 million) U.S. adults binge drink, and do so approximately four times a month. On average, the largest number of drinks consumed by binge drinkers is eight drinks per occasion.
  • Prevalence and intensity of binge drinking was highest among persons aged 18–34 years, but the frequency of binge drinking was highest among binge drinkers aged ≥65 years. Binge drinkers with annual household incomes ≥$75,000 had the highest binge drinking prevalence, but binge drinkers with household incomes <$25,000 had the highest frequency and intensity of binge drinking.

via Medical News: Binge Drinking Common Among Adults, CDC Finds – in Public Health & Policy, Public Health from MedPage Today.

Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Prevalence, Frequency, and Intensity Among Adults — United States, 2010.

The first link takes you to the MedPage Today article.  The second link takes you to the source article which is also available in a downloadable PDF format.  This report is well worth sharing with your underwriting staff.