Life | Dominik Mayer – Products, Asia, Productivity

FDA Approval  

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Anita Sircar writes about a severely ill COVID patient she treated. The man had not gotten a vaccination. He wanted to wait for full FDA approval to not be “the government’s guinea pig”.

“Well,” I said, “I am going to treat you with remdesivir, which only recently received FDA approval.” I explained that it had been under an EUA for most of last year and had not been studied or administered as widely as COVID-19 vaccines. That more than 353 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the U.S. along with more than 4.7 billion doses worldwide without any overwhelming, catastrophic side effects. “Not nearly as many doses of remdesivir have been given or studied in people and its long-term side effects are still unknown,” I said. “Do you still want me to give it to you?”

Check the article to see how the story continues.

How to Raise a Human

As part of NPR’s parenting series #HowToRaiseAHuman Michaeleen Doucleff visited a Maya village in Yucatán where even the youngest kids take great joy and pride in helping out in the house.

The Maya achieve this by letting the kids help whenever they want and however small the contribution is. In the beginning this takes longer than if the parents would do the task on their own.

Doucleeff writes:

The moms see it as an investment, Mejia-Arauz says: Encourage the messy, incompetent toddler who really wants to do the dishes now, and over time, he’ll turn into the competent 7-year-old who still wants to help.

Research supports this hypothesis, says the University of New Hampshire’s Andrew Coppens. “Early opportunities to collaborate with parents likely sets off a developmental trajectory that leads to children voluntarily helping and pitching in at home,” he says.

Or another way to look at it is: If you tell a child enough times, “No, you’re not involved in this chore,” eventually they will believe you.

Back in San Francisco Doucleeff tried it with her then two-year-old daughter:

So how did I turn a tantrum-fueled toddler into a chore-loving cherub (as if). To be honest, I needed to revamp the way I parent. I changed the way I interact with Rosy and the way I view her position in the family.

She made the chores the fun activity of the day, took her time doing them and included her daughter whenever possible.

For another article Doucleeff and colleague Jane Greenhalgh went to Iqaluit, Canada to learn how Inuit parents raise their kids to be calm adults that don’t get angry.

One part is not to yell:

“Shouting, ‘Think about what you just did. Go to your room!’ " Jaw says. “I disagree with that. That’s not how we teach our children. Instead you are just teaching children to run away.”

And you are teaching them to be angry, says clinical psychologist and author Laura Markham. “When we yell at a child — or even threaten with something like ‘I’m starting to get angry,’ we’re training the child to yell,” says Markham. “We’re training them to yell when they get upset and that yelling solves problems.”

Another one is storytelling:

For example, how do you teach kids to stay away from the ocean, where they could easily drown? Instead of yelling, “Don’t go near the water!” Jaw says Inuit parents take a pre-emptive approach and tell kids a special story about what’s inside the water. “It’s the sea monster,” Jaw says, with a giant pouch on its back just for little kids.

And one is role play:

When a child in the camp acted in anger — hit someone or had a tantrum — there was no punishment. Instead, the parents waited for the child to calm down and then, in a peaceful moment, did something that Shakespeare would understand all too well: They put on a drama. (As the Bard once wrote, “the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.")

“The idea is to give the child experiences that will lead the child to develop rational thinking,” Briggs told the CBC in 2011.

In a nutshell, the parent would act out what happened when the child misbehaved, including the real-life consequences of that behavior.

All three articles are highly recommended.

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice  

Kevin Kelly:

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice which I offer as my birthday present to all of you.

Great list. Some of the bits I like particularly:

  • Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them “Is there more?”, until there is no more.
  • If you are looking for something in your house, and you finally find it, when you’re done with it, don’t put it back where you found it. Put it back where you first looked for it.
  • Before you are old, attend as many funerals as you can bear, and listen. Nobody talks about the departed’s achievements. The only thing people will remember is what kind of person you were while you were achieving.

A Billion Viruses

Jörg Blech, writing for Der Spiegel:

There are up to a billion viruses in our intestines alone – per gram of content.

Turns out those viruses are bacteriophages.

Ed Yong (who wrote the amazing article about Giraffes) in The Atlantic:

This isn’t an infection in any meaningful way. The phages aren’t hijacking human cells to make more copies of themselves, as viruses like influenza, Zika, or Ebola might. Instead, Barr thinks that the cells are in control. They’re actively engulfing phages, and shuttling them from one end to the other. Why?

They might help our immune system fight bacteria.

This Website Will Self-Destruct  

ThisWebsiteWillSelfdestruct.com:

Hi,

I’m a website. I’ll be gone soon, and that’s okay.

You can send me messages using the form below. If I go 24 hours without receiving a message, I’ll permanently self-destruct, and everything will be wiped from my database.

That’s okay though.

Until then, let me know how you’re doing. Other people will be able to read what you write, but your name or identity won’t be attached to anything, so feel free to say what’s on your mind.

It’s been a rough month.

With love,

ThisWebsiteWillSelfdestruct (dot) com

Head over and read the messages. Or send one yourself and keep this wonderful page alive.

It seems to have survived for three weeks already.

Wabi-Sabi  

Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House:

According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.

To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as wabi-sabi. Emerging in the 15th century as a reaction to the prevailing aesthetic of lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all.

Check out the Wikipedia article for more examples and some photos.

One Day I'll Stay Over There

35 years ago Gert Steinbäcker wrote this hymn of all expats (my translation):

Last summer was pretty nice
I was lying at some bay
The sun like fire on my skin
You smell the water and nothing’s loud
Some place in Greece
Loads of white sand
On my back just your hand

I’m not too happy with this full translation but it gives you an idea of what the song is about.

Coronavirus: What’s Behind Vietnam’s Containment Success?  

Chris Humphrey writing for the South China Morning Post:

“Vietnam responded to this outbreak early and proactively. Its first risk assessment exercise was conducted in early January – soon after cases in China started being reported,” Park says.

I’m impressed with Vietnam’s reaction to this crisis. They closed cinemas, bars, karaoke parlors early, then restricted access to restaurants and finally closed everything that’s not absolutely necessary.

Heaven or High Water  

In the next fifty years Miami Beach is going to disappear in the ocean. Sarah Miller tried to buy property:

I did not ask if Mother Nature would respect the zoning requirements, but I did say it was amazing to me that such a famous architect was taking the time to build in a city so threatened by climate change. (I do not think that, by the way. I think he is getting paid a lot and he will get to see what he created and in a world where people tell you with a straight face that no, this city will be wiped off the map in fifty years, not thirty, and you’re supposed to be like “Oh, I feel so much better now,” I am not at all surprised by an architect building an enormous luxury apartment building here.)

A Room People Love  

On his great 3-2-1 newsletter James Clear quotes architect Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language) about designing a room people love:

Light on two sides of every room. When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty.

This pattern, perhaps more than any other single pattern, determines the success or failure of a room. The arrangement of daylight in a room, and the presence of windows on two sides, is fundamental. If you build a room with light on one side only, you can be almost certain that you are wasting your money. People will stay out of that room if they can possibly avoid it…

The importance of this pattern lies partly in the social atmosphere it creates in the room. Rooms lit on two sides, with natural light, create less glare around people and objects; this lets us see things more intricately; and most important, it allows us to read in detail the minute expressions that flash across people’s faces, the motion of their hands … and thereby understand, more clearly, the meaning they are after. The light on two sides allows people to understand each other.

The Anatomy of Nightfall  

Jack Forster analyzes the Apple Watch Solar Face for Hodinkee and starts talking about twilight:

Twilight, as it turns out, is further divided into three phases: Civil Twilight, Nautical Twilight, and Astronomical Twilight, and it is the phases of twilight, plus sunset, which are indicated by the four dots clustered at sundown.

He continues describing every form of twilight and why it is important to be defined. One example:

Civil Twilight is not only an astronomical event – it is also important in fields as diverse as aviation and law. Here in the United States, the FAA defines night, and the additional regulations pertaining to nighttime aircraft operations, as the period between the end of Civil Twilight and the beginning of morning Civil Twilight.

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out  

In 2003, the philosopher Nick Bostrom made an ingenious argument that we might be living in a computer simulation created by a more advanced civilization. He argued that if you believe that our civilization will one day run many sophisticated simulations concerning its ancestors, then you should believe that we’re probably in an ancestor simulation right now. His reasoning? If people eventually develop simulation technology — no matter how long that takes — and if they’re interested in creating simulations of their ancestors, then simulated people with experiences just like ours will vastly outnumber unsimulated people.

Nick Bostrom is the author of Superintelligence. (Check out Tim Urban’s take on it for Wait but Why.)

He makes a compelling argument with, again, grave consequences.

It’s 2020 and You’re in the Future  

When World War 2 started, the Civil War felt as far away to Americans as WW2 feels to us now.

Also, remember when Jurassic Park, The Lion King, and Forrest Gump came out in theaters? Closer to the moon landing than today.

Many incredibly fascinating facts.

When I’m Gone — Life Tips.  

Death is always a surprise. No one expects it. Not even terminal patients think they are going to die in a day or two. In a week, maybe. But only when this particular week is the next week.

Wanderers  

What if we could live on the other planets of the Solar System? Here’s Erik Wernquist’s take. He writes:

The film is a vision of our humanity’s future expansion into the Solar System. Although admittedly speculative, the visuals in the film are all based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. All the locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.