Over the last several years I have read many articles (popular as well as academic) that have consistently tried to educate people that multitasking is inefficient, error-prone and negatively impacts the mental health of the so-called multi-tasker.
However, we still receive job applications with resumes that highlight the multitasking skill of the applicant. So, I chased this a bit, and discovered that even consultants helping people apply for jobs advice them to highlight their multitasking skills (or is it a single skill?). I have also found ‘multi-tasking skill’ as a checklist item in the interview evaluation forms of a few organizations.
Evolution of the Multitasking concept
The word ‘multitasking’ first appeared in the description of the capabilities of an IBM computer (System/ 360) in 1965. People started using the word for human beings in the 1980s as a desirable skill and something that enhances productivity.
So, what is multitasking in human beings?
Human multitasking is the apparent performance by an individual of handling more than one task, or activity, at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking.
In the last ten years, multiple controlled experiments and studies have been conducted to understand the concept of multitasking in humans. The research consistently shows that humans cannot pay attention to multiple things at the same time. So they are essentially doing rapid context switching. This increases the total time taken and also increases the errors. People who typically multitask, perform poorly (compared to people who do not typically multitask) even when they are asked to do tasks sequentially.
Continue reading “Is Multitasking Still a Skill to Boast About?”
For anyone who stays in hotel rooms, the three pictures above would be familiar. They are the pictures of a mini-fridge inside a wooden cabinet. The cabinet is usually closed from all sides, except for a small hole/ slit for the wiring. This seems to be the case in all types of hotels, regardless of their “star” rating.
Continue reading “Fridge Inside a Cabinet: Design Thinking or Unthinking Designer?”
August 13, 2016 is being observed as the Organ Donation Day in India.
Briefly, one can donate tissues, organs and the whole body. Donations can take place under three circumstances:
- Donations when alive and conscious. Examples of these include blood, stem cells, bone marrow, kidney (only one), and segments of liver, pancreas, lung, or intestine, and are limited by what can be given without affecting the health of the donor.
- Donations when ‘brain dead.’ These include organs that can be transplanted such as heart, liver, pancreas, intestine, 2 kidneys, and 2 lungs. Tissues such as corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, and veins can also be used.
- Donations within a short time of typical death. Some organs/ tissues can be used for others, for example corneas harvested within a few hours after death can be used to give sight to someone. You can also donate any part of your body — like the brain — for research and use by the medical community. Finally you can donate your whole body to a medical college, usually to the anatomy department, so that students can study it and gain experience.
Continue reading “Increase Chances of Becoming a Donor (organs/ body)- Take Action Now!”
The CVV number is a 3 or 4 digit number (associated with a credit card) that is used for verification in case of Card Not Present (CNP) transactions. CVV stands for Card Verification Value and is also called Card Security Code (CSC), Card Verification Code (CVC), Verification code (V-code or V code), and Signature Panel Code (SPC).
CVV numbers are used to authenticate the card, as an additional security measure when the card is used in online transactions. It is like an ATM pin.
I am unable to understand why the CVV number is printed on the card, whereas the ATM pin is provided to the card holder separately.
Continue reading “Why is the CVV Number Printed on Credit Cards?”
Some weeks ago, there was a buzz in our residential complex about having to set up “grey water” processing, because it may be made mandatory by the municipality. I got curious and started investigating the topic.
At the end of my study I was left wondering why it was not yet mandatory – grey water processing, when fully implemented, could reduce the water requirements in cities by 30-35%!!
Continue reading “Recycle Greywater to Reduce Urban Water Needs”
A few months ago, it was time to replace the water purifier at home. The present one was difficult to maintain – the model was discontinued and its replacement parts were no longer available.
We thought it would be a simple task of selecting from one of the popular brands (like Kent or Aquaguard).
Little did we know that it would become a whole big project that required deeper research and evaluation of many alternatives based on criteria. Our task was made easy by the details available at achawater.com – a comprehensive site that covers water purification in great depth.
Typical impurities that need to be removed
As the first step we had to figure out the possible impurities to be removed. Our water is supplied by the municipality in Bangalore (BWSSB).
Here is a list of possible impurities in this water.
Continue reading “Choosing a Home Water Purifier in Bangalore, India”
Passports were earlier used as travel documents, to establish the holder’s country. With time, a passport has also increasingly become a proof of identity and address.
However, passports have an expiry date, and upon renewal, a new passport is issued with a new passport number. This is extremely inconvenient, as one now needs to remember the new passport number while filling travel documents (every time one enters and exits a country) and sometimes at other places in a foreign country. Additional mess can be created if the passport renewal date and travel dates are close to each other, or there are valid visas on the old passport (to which passport number is the visa attached? :=( ).
Continue reading “Why Does the Passport Number Change when Renewed?”
Many of us who work in offices sit for more than 8-10 hours a day. We sit for our breakfast, we sit during our commute, we sit for long stretches at our desks, we sit with our coffee/ tea during the breaks, we sit for our lunch, we sit in meetings, we sit on our way back home, we sit during dinner and watch TV while sitting. And many times we sit continuously for more than 2 hours without getting up.
Being able to sit is also a status symbol that displays higher education and higher income / wealth. People who are more educated typically have jobs that require them to be on desks; richer people do not walk to bus stops and train stations, nor do they walk to shopping centers or coffee shops.
Over the last few years there has been a concerted movement in some countries (like Australia) to encourage people to sit for lesser time during the day, reduce continuous sitting, and increase time standing and moving. However, this movement has not yet picked up any steam in India.
Summary of the Findings
Prolonged sitting has been linked with multiple health concerns like obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood-sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. It also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Sitting more than 6 hours a day may be as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day.
Continue reading “Don’t Just Sit: Stand, Walk, Move!”
This post (written by Swapna Kishore) explains how you can read kindle ebooks without a Kindle device; by installing the relevant app on your machine/ device.
Till a few months ago I had not registered the fact that I could read ebooks on other devices (like my laptop) and didn’t need a Kindle device. This was in spite of my wife’s constantly telling me so for years.
Last month, though, the coin dropped and I took aside an hour to set up my laptop to read Kindle ebooks. Then I felt that it may be worthwhile to have a blog entry on this topic because I suspect there may be a few (or many?) others like me who dismiss the very idea of reading Kindle ebooks because they don’t have a Kindle device. So I invited my wife, Swapna Kishore, to write this post.
[Brief intro: Swapna Kishore is an author of technical books and speculative fiction. She also maintains a comprehensive website to support dementia caregivers in India. She blogs here.
Over to Swapna…
Read Kindle ebooks within minutes on your laptop, mobile, or tablet – by Swapna Kishore
The world of instant information is just a few keystrokes away now because we can buy and start reading ebooks within minutes – the latest books from across the world. Amazon, for example, has a vast number of ebooks in its Kindle store.
Continue reading “You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle ebook”