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Readings: 2 Oct 2016

The Slack blog describes in “Slack 101: Onboarding” how they use their own chat platform to manage their work. My first reaction to Slack was “OK this is cute but not substantially better than HipChat or Campfire”. Now that I’m a member of 11 (!!!) different Slack communities1, I’m convinced that Slack is an incrementally better team chat system. Reading about how their own internal channel-naming conventions has me convinced that they get the information architecture of communication in a deep way.

A Huffington Post article on teaching children about meditation recommends a wonderful way to visualize how meditation affects the mind.

Above that, they suggest a really simple do-it-at-home experiment to demonstrate what meditation is all about. It says to take a jar and fill the bottom with a bit of sand. Then, cover with water. Shake the jar so that all the grains of sand begin swirling all around. Tell your child that each of those grains of sands represents a thought. It could be a happy thought, a sad thought, an angry thought. But, the grains swirling around represent all of the thoughts buzzing around our heads throughout the day. Next put the jar down and allow the sand to settle. See how the sand “thoughts” become calmer and the water becomes clearer? The thoughts are still there, but they are no longer all “crazy.”

America subsidizes the shit out of sugar production. Robert Lustig argues in Vox that we should instead treat it like a harmful and addictive substance.

Sugar is the alcohol of a child. You would never let a child drink a can of Budweiser, but you would never think twice about a can of Coke. Yet what it does to the liver, what it does to the arteries, what it does to the heart is all the same. And that’s why we have adolescents with type 2 diabetes.

Two years ago, my wife and I committed to a go sugar-free and low-carb for thirty days, in a fit of desperation to just take some charge of our health. We were following the cue of a friend who makes an annual event of her sugar-free cleanse. I was a bit skeptical, but willing to commit to support my wife. But two weeks in, my baseline energy and feeling of well-being matched that of my prior peak. Once we re-admitted sugar, etc. into our lives, I was back to having a regular upset stomach and difficulty with willpower around treats.

I get that it can seem like absurd hyperbole when someone calls sugar a “drug”. But I remember how great I felt in my month off and I’ve tried to go sugar-free again. Each time, I rationalize my way back into another afternoon cookie within days – that certainly feels like an addiction to me.

  1. A family Slack, two for work, Rands Leadership, and a bunch of others associated with various software dev communities. ↩︎