Links 8/21/15

A 3 part series in the New Yorker about Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions.  Summary: receiving blood is more dangerous than we think and outcomes would be better if we used various techniques to reduce the amount of donor blood patients needed (although they’d still need some).  These techniques were developed in part to treat Jehovah’s Witnesses.  This is why you tolerate weird and dumbSometimes weird and dumb pushes the establishment to invent things that help you too.

Logical Journey of the Zoombinis is out on mobile.  11 year old me is so happy right now.

The New York Times published an article on how awful working for Amazon corporate is. This is one of those times the response is more damning than the accusation.  A lot of their complaints were anecdotal, sensationalized bullshit- every large company has an employee onboarding process where they say CUSTOMERS! a lot, no one expects it to actually affect you.  They left out things I’ve heard from friends that are more damning- e.g. they quote you compensation averaged over four years, but it’s back loaded and a good chunk of people don’t stay that long.  It’s Jeff Bezo’s response– “Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero”- that I think really demonstrates the problem, because it betrays exactly the kind of attitude that would lead to exactly the environment described in the New York Times article.  It’s punishing middle managers for not protecting him from the consequences of the culture he created.

The employee defenses betray the same lack of understanding of what the problem really is-  “During my 18 months at Amazon, I’ve never worked a single weekend when I didn’t want to.”, “Last year, during all-hands, a very high ranking Executive said, verbatim: Amazon used to burn a lot of people into the ground. This isn’t how we do things anymore”  (source).  These are the words of people with Stockholm Syndrome.

Dustin Moskovitz explains why long hours aren’t even helpful.

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