Zoom fatigue explained

Here’s an interesting article trying to make an informed guess as to why videoconferencing all day long is so exhausting. The author suggests some reasons:

  • being stared at for hours at a time at close range: the faces on your computer screen are within the 60 cm ‘intimate’ space, normally reserved for loved ones and family members, and you’re literally being stared at like giving a speech on a stage.
  • overload on sending and receiving non-verbal cues: communicating non-verbally takes more effort, like nodding longer.
  • constantly looking in the mirror: standard setting in many video call software is that you see your own video stream, amongst those of the other participants. Your looking in the mirror and previous research has shown that can cause self-evaluation and negative affect.
  • video call convention requires sitting still: in order to be visible to the others, centred in your video stream, you are moving less than in other settings. Think about all the things you normally do when calling someone using audio only.

Even though more thorough research needs to be conducted all of the above sounds very plausible to me. So next time someone sends you a zoom (or teams) link, suggest doing a traditional audio call and take a walk outside instead. And when meeting with a group, agree on a new convention that it’s alright to step out of view in you office, not face your screen, or switch off your camera entirely.

Door |2021-02-28T15:29:25+02:0028 februari 2021|flow, links|1 Reactie

Ondertussen gebeurde dit

Goed dat je me even laat terugdenken aan Schwartz en aandacht vraagt voor Elbakyan (van Sci-Hub), Frank!

Swartz kwam in opspraak in 2011 toen hij 4 miljoen academische artikelen had gedownload uit de online JSTOR bibiotheek. Naar eigen zeggen om deze in het publiek domein weer beschikbaar te stellen, omdat academisch onderzoek door publiek geld wordt gefinancierd. Het is daarom moreel onjuist om dit achter een betaalmuur te zetten, volgens Swartz. Hij werd gearresteerd en dreigde te worden veroordeeld tot 50 jaar gevangenisstraf en een boete van 1 miljoen dollar boven zijn hoofd. De rechtszaak en de eisen van de aanklager werden door veel experts in twijfel getrokken. Het zorgde er helaas voor dat Swartz besloot zelf uit het leven te stappen. Een gemis dat nog altijd doordreunt in de geschiedenisboeken van het internet.

Gemis inderdaad.

[…]op de dag dat Trump van alle grote sociale netwerken wordt verbannen, werd het account van Sci-Hub eveneens verbannen van Twitter. Sci-Hub is een website die gratis toegang geeft tot academische artikelen die normaliter achter een betaalmuur zitten. De oprichtster van Sci-Hub is Alexandra Elbakyan, een 32-jarige programmeur uit Kazachstan. Vanwege haar werk zou je kunnen zeggen dat ze de spirituele opvolger van Swartz is. Elbakyan ligt op dit moment onder vuur door rechtszaken met Elsevier, Wiley en ACS.


Ik hoop dat Elbakyan er beter vanaf komt dan Aaron Swartz destijds. Maar ik heb er eerlijk gezegd geen goed gevoel over.

Zorgelijk inderdaad.

Door |2021-01-14T18:00:49+02:0014 januari 2021|flow|0 Reacties

Read: What’s women really holding back?

This article reveals how strong narratives about gender roles when it comes to take care of kids in combination with a professional career are.

Eli and Padavic conducted research within a big global consultancy firm to help them figure out why women were progressing less than men career wise within their company. They conducted interviews and revealed a strong narrative:

High-level jobs require extremely long hours, women’s devotion to family makes it impossible for them to put in those hours, and their careers suffer as a result. We call this explanation the work/family narrative.

However, the men they interviewed talked about their struggle to balance their work with family life as well. They started investigating deeper why men progressed in their career despite feeling as much pressure finding a balance between work and family as women.

Their main conclusion:

Women were held back because, unlike men, they were encouraged to take accommodations, such as going part-time and shifting to internally facing roles, which derailed their careers. The real culprit was a general culture of overwork that hurt both men and women and locked gender inequality in place.

Using company data they revealed some disconnects between the company’s narrative and actual behaviour. There was no higher turnover rates for men and women, career progression of childless women was just as low as mothers’ progression, accommodation was almost only taken by women while two-third of male interviewees struggled as much as women in work-family balance and many of the interviews questioned the 24/7 work schedule mentality to overdeliver to clients who don’t really need that.

This is what they told the leaders of the company after their research:

For the firm to address its gender problem, it would have to address its long-hours problem. And the way to start would be to stop overselling and overdelivering.

And of course the leaders….dismissed this solid piece of advise and held on to the existing narrative that women were struggling to keep a balance between work and family and therefore solutions have to target women specifically.

The rest of the article, the researchers dive deep into why these leaders rather hang on to the existing narrative rather than to accept that long working hours are counter productive and holding women back. Read it. It’s an excellent piece of work.

Door |2020-04-20T18:00:12+02:0020 april 2020|flow, vrouw|1 Reactie

King of the Meadows (74)

This week I learned a bit about the black-tailed godwit (and through writing this the English term for what I call a ‘grutto’). Apparently there is a Dutch professor up north, Theunis Piersma, working on very cool research involving birds. He studies how the distribution and numbers of waders correlate to climate, food, predators, pathogens and their historical-genetic background. More recently he focuses on black-tailed godwits and their migration patterns. With tiny transmitters he and his research group are now capable of tracking these birds over time.

One thing they learned is that a lot of these birds reside in Portugal during the winter. These birds are very picky, because it’s an area they grow rice for baby food. That means no use of pesticides. Smart birds. The problem they are facing right now is that Portugal is contemplating relocating Lisbon’s airport. Guess what? The planes will fly right over this area. The researchers started a petition to make local authorities aware of this and reconsider the relocation of the airport.

The most exciting part of Piersma’s research is that you can follow the birds online. This is how I learned of Estevao, who was hanging out in my neighbourhood the past few days. Somehow I find it very comforting to know this bird is travelling through my country. It means spring is around the corner.

Door |2020-03-13T16:49:04+02:0014 maart 2020|366, flow|0 Reacties

Language matters more than you think

A study was done in the use of positive words in research papers.

Male scientists are more likely than female ones to publish work that describes itself as “excellent”, “unique” or “novel”, experts have found – a swagger that appears to reap dividends in respect of how often others reference the research.

The Guardian

This is yet another subtle way how a seemingly insignificant difference in the words men and women use could have a big impact in the long run.

“Here is another example when gender differences, probably imposed by unconscious cultural norms on both authors and editors, lead to divergent outcomes,” she said. “Because publishing itself has so much impact on career progression, this finding has significant implications. Academic processes and institutions need to pay much more attention to what gets published where, why and by whom.”

Prof Athene Donald, University of Cambridge in The Guardian
Door |2019-12-17T11:00:17+02:0017 december 2019|flow, vrouw|0 Reacties

Read: History as a giant data set

I really enjoyed reading this article. A completely new way of researching history.

In its first issue of 2010, the scientific journal Nature looked forward to a dazzling decade of progress. By 2020, experimental devices connected to the internet would deduce our search queries by directly monitoring our brain signals. Crops would exist that doubled their biomass in three hours. Humanity would be well on the way to ending its dependency on fossil fuels.

A few weeks later, a letter in the same journal cast a shadow over this bright future. It warned that all these advances could be derailed by mounting political instability, which was due to peak in the US and western Europe around 2020. Human societies go through predictable periods of growth, the letter explained, during which the population increases and prosperity rises. Then come equally predictable periods of decline. These “secular cycles” last two or three centuries and culminate in widespread unrest – from worker uprisings to revolution.


The author of this stark warning was not a historian, but a biologist. For the first few decades of his career, Peter Turchin had used sophisticated maths to show how the interactions of predators and prey produce oscillations in animal populations in the wild. He had published in the journals Nature and Science and become respected in his field, but by the late 1990s he had answered all the ecological questions that interested him. He found himself drawn to history instead: could the rise and fall of human societies also be captured by a handful of variables and some differential equations?

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future, The Guardian.
Door |2019-11-13T13:56:08+02:0013 november 2019|deze dag, gelezen|0 Reacties
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