Saturday, May 31, 2014

Books read in May 2014

I had a very busy month and didn't get to read very much.


1. Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb
2. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay


1. Born in Death

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How I inadvertently embarrassed a couple of goths

The other day I saw a couple of goth kids.  They were very young (maybe 14) and clearly just beginners, but the look was definitely goth, which I haven't seen around in quite a while.

I have a certain affection for goth as a concept, which dates back to my transition from middle school to high school.

After doing time in a middle school where you'd get bullied for wearing jeans in the wrong shade of blue, I was delighted to discover that a wider range of fashion was perfectly acceptable in my high school.  People wore jeans and t-shirts, or skirts and heels, or flannel grunge, or funky thrift store outfits, or surgical scrubs (they were trendy for some reason), or baggy gangsta pants, or pink-mohawked punk, or earth-mother hippie skirts, or full-out goth.  There weren't distinct fashion-based cliques and quite often people would wear vastly different looks from one day to the next.

I liked the goth aesthetic (and it's well-suited to my long dark hair and pale skin), but I lacked the talent and discipline to go fully goth.  So I dabbled, incorporating bits and pieces here and there.  And I found the actual goths didn't mind that I was dabbling, and generally turned out to be kind and intellectual people, all of which was quite a relief after middle school!

Many of the teens I see around this season are wearing fashions that I rejected.  Things like leggings, tight jeans, pants tucked into boots, high waistlines, baggy shirts (sometimes even tucked into high waists) and tank tops with enormous armholes seem to be worn by a surprising proportion of teens, but for me they're all things that made me feel frumpy and gross.  I wore them because I didn't know better or didn't have a choice (wearing a narrow-fitting shirt isn't an option when all the shirts commercially available are baggy).

But, also around the time I started high school, fashions evolved.  Shirts became fitted and were worn untucked, waistlines dropped, and jeans became hip-hugging flares.  This is all far more flattering to my curvy long-legged short-waisted narrow-shouldered body, so around the time that social fashion policing went away in my corner of the world (allowing things like goth to exist), fashion also evolved in a way that allowed me to dress in a way that was flattering and attractive for the first time in my life.

The fashion cycle hasn't returned there yet, but seeing the goths reminded me that we're probably on our way back.  Seeing them, I felt a sense of nostalgia for a time and place where, for the first time in my life, fashion trends were available that I could use, subcultures were available that I could dabble in, and kindness and intelligence could be found in the most surprising places.

Unfortunately, this combination of affection and nostalgia manifested itself in my saying aloud, in the tone of voice one might use to herald the first crocuses of spring, "Awww, look! Goths!"

And they heard me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to Vote Strategically

Some people vote for the party whose platform they find most suitable (the Best Party). Other people try to prevent the party whose platform they find most harmful (the Worst Party) from being elected, by voting for the party that's most likely to defeat the Worst Party (the Compromise Party). This is called strategic voting.

The most important thing about strategic voting is that your strategy has to apply to the reality in your riding. The media feeds us provincial polls for breakfast every day, but they're not directly relevant. Regardless of what the rest of the country is doing, your vote will only be used to elect your own MP. If your riding is already disinclined to elect the Worst Party, there's no point in a strategic vote - you'd just end up making the Compromise Party look more popular than they really are.

So here's what to do if your priority is stopping the Worst Party from winning:

1. Ask yourself: "If I don't vote, who's going to win in this particular riding?"

If the answer is a party other than the Worst Party, vote for the Best Party. If the answer is "the Worst Party" or "it's too close to tell," go on to step 2.

2. Ask yourself: "If I don't vote, who's most likely to defeat the Worst Party in this particular riding?"

This is your Compromise Party. Read their platform. If it's acceptable, vote for the Compromise Party. If it's not acceptable, vote for the Best Party.

Remember: ignore the provincial polls; think only about the situation in your riding!

Tools to help you figure out likely outcomes in your riding can be found here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bad instructions (and dishwasher detergent)

I recently received a sample of dishwasher detergent, and I noticed a problem with the instructions.  A scan of the packaging is below (click to embiggen).  Can you spot the problem?

The answer: step 2 of the instructions is the run the dishwasher.  Step 3 is to check to make sure the items are dishwasher safe.

Shouldn't you check to make sure the items are dishwasher safe before you run the dishwasher??


I don't recommend the actual product either. The little detergent pack got stuck in my detergent dispenser and didn't dispense at all, meaning my dishes were still dirty after the cycle ended.  I had to pry it out with a spoon, which punctured the detergent pack and made detergent powder explode everywhere.  So I decided to run the dishwasher again, thinking maybe the detergent exploded everywhere would at least clean the dishes (and, if not, running the machine was easier than cleaning up the stray detergent), but it still didn't clean the dishes.  That's two cycles of water and electricity for nothing!  I eventually had to put my usual liquid detergent in to get the dishes clean.

I've tried a number of different powder packs (they seem to be a popular item to give out free samples of) and I always have similar problems. Powder just can't compete with liquid, and I don't know why they're going through all this trouble to keep trying!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Where to Vote

Some people (such as university students renting housing in the community where they go to school or have a summer job who also still have their parents' house as their "permanent address") are in a situation where they could legitimately vote in one of two possible ridings.  This post is intended to help them decide where to vote.

Where to Vote:

1. If one of the ridings is a really close race, vote in that riding. If both are close, vote in the riding with the closest race. If neither is really close, follow the instructions below.

2. Of the parties running candidates in your riding, decide which one has the best platform that comes closest to meeting your needs and your vision for the province (hereafter the Best Party). Then decide which one has the worst platform that is furthest from meeting your needs and deviates the most from your vision for the province (hereafter the Worst Party). You are judging the parties as a whole, not the individual candidates in your riding. Assess each party individually without regard to possible strategic voting - that comes later.

3. Based on your own needs and your own vision for the province, decide whether it is more important to you that the Best Party win, or that the Worst Party does not win.

4. If it's more important to you that the Best Party win, vote for the Best Party in the riding where the Best Party is least likely to win.

5. If it's more important to you that the Worst Party not win, and the Worst Party has a chance in either of your ridings, vote for the party most likely to defeat the Worst Party in the riding where the Worst Party is most likely to win.

6. If the Worst Party doesn't have a chance in either of your ridings, vote for the Best Party in the riding where the Best Party is least likely to win.

Tools to help you figure out which party is most likely to win in your riding can be found here.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Teach me how to keep my sweaters from acting like clutter

In the winter, I most often wear an open-front sweater (cardigan or wrap cardigan) over another shirt.  In the summer, I sometimes wear a smaller, lighter top of a similar style over whatever I'm wearing, just for a tidier look.

When I'm sitting at my desk and feel the need to take my sweater off, I drape it over the back of my chair.  But I don't promptly put it away, because I might get cold and feel the need to put it back on.

I'm not as diligent as I should be about putting the sweaters back in the closet, so I often end up with multiple sweaters hanging on the back of my chair.

Then, with the passage of time and multiple sweaters and lots of getting in and out of the chair, the sweaters start getting pushed off the back of the chair and fall down and get tangled around the chair legs and wheels and mechanism.  I get frustrated by this, pick them all up, and throw them all on the couch. 

So the vast majority of the time, I have a cluttery surfeit of sweaters hanging on my desk chair or piled on my couch.

Putting them away in the closet like I'm supposed to obviously isn't something I can convince myself to do, so I'm looking for better ideas.  Where can I keep my sweaters so I can conveniently take them on and off without them looking like clutter?

Context:  my desk is in my living room, which also contains a couch and TV and general living room stuff. There isn't room for anything beside the desk, because on either side are the doors to my bathroom and bedroom.  I don't really want to keep something right beside my desk chair, because I already have to move my desk chair out of the way to do yoga, so I don't want to introduce another thing to move out of the way.  There currently isn't room for anything else under my desk, although that may change in the future if I ever get around to cleaning and donating my old desktop computers.

The best idea I have right now is a clothes tree, but I don't really like that idea because I'd have to do a lot of rearranging to find room for one, it wouldn't be within convenient reach of the desk chair, and it doesn't seem like it belongs in a living room.

Anyone have any better ideas?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Vote

1. Of the parties running candidates in your riding, decide which one has the best platform that comes closest to meeting your needs and your vision of the province (hereafter the Best Party). Then decide which one has the worst platform that is furthest from meeting your needs and deviates the most from your vision of the province (hereafter the Worst Party). You are judging the parties as a whole, not the individual candidates in your riding. Assess each party individually without regard to possible strategic voting - that comes later.

2. Based on your own needs and your own vision for the province, decide whether it is more important to you that the Best Party win, or that the Worst Party does not win.

3. If it is more important to you that the Best Party wins, vote for the Best Party. If not, continue to the next step.

4. If it is more important to you that the Worst Party does not win, assess the Worst Party's chances of winning in your riding.* Not in the province as a whole, just in your riding. If you feel that there's too great a risk of the Worst Party winning in your riding, vote for the party most likely to defeat the Worst Party. If you feel the risk of the Worst Party winning in your riding is acceptably low, vote for the Best Party.

Remember: do NOT use province-wide polls to inform your strategic voting. Your vote is only effective in your riding. No matter how earnestly you vote, you cannot cancel out votes in another riding. Vote strategically only if the situation in your very own riding demands it, regardless of what the rest of the country is doing.  The process for how to vote strategically can be found here.

Tools for assessing a party's chances of winning in your riding can be found here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Answering Social Q's

From Social Q's:

While riding in the Quiet Car on Amtrak, which prohibits speaking on cellphones and loud conversations, I sat down next to a man who was reading a Kindle. Soon, I heard his breathing grow louder and increase to full-blown snoring. I know that snorers have no control over their sound level. But neither could I imagine reading quietly for several hours with that roar coming from two feet away. What would the appropriate response have been? (Note: Snoring is not specifically prohibited on the signs.)
The columnist suggests LW either move or wake up the snorer and tell him he's snoring.  But I don't think it's necessary to tell him he's snoring.  It's not like he can do anything about it.  Just nudge him and "accidentally" wake him up.

I am regularly included in group text messages. At times, I receive as many as 100 texts from group members within a five-minute period, leaving me feeling as if I’m trapped in other people’s streams of consciousness. I rarely respond to these messages and would prefer not to be included. Is it possible to opt out of them?
I wonder if there might be a technological solution for this. With email, you can set rules that would screen out emails with multiple recipients, for example. I wonder if you can do this with texting, perhaps with some of the texting apps that people seem to find it useful to use?  If not, lets add it to the Things They Should Invent list!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What if the real problem is on the other side of the "confidence gap"?

I recently blogged about The Agenda's blog post about their difficulty booking female guests.  Steve Paikin framed the problem as prospective female guests not wanting to go on TV when they didn't feel they were experts in the subject matter, but, as a viewer, I think it's more of a problem that The Agenda is willing to books guests who aren't up on the subject matter but will read up on it before going on TV (something Steve Paikin presents as laudable.)

I had a similar thought when I read the article circulating about the "confidence gap", which proposes that men advance more than women because men are more confident, i.e. more likely to loudly declare "Yes, I can do that!" regardless of whether they actually can.

Why are they assuming that the men's behaviour is baseline and correct?  What if the problem is in fact that people who are overconfident are being unduly rewarded?  What if the problem is that the system isn't set up to recognize people who have a fair and accurate assessment of their abilities?  What if we could circumvent the Peter Principle by figuring out a way to accurately and proactively identify and recognize people's actual objective skill levels and set them up with commensurate responsibilities and compensation?

Disregarding my role as an employee, if I look at this solely in my capacity as a client, as a part of the economy, as a part of society, I find it unhelpful that people would get promoted and rewarded simply for being loud. In my capacity as a client, as a part of the economy, as a part of society, I need people in positions of power and expertise and authority not just to be the most competent, but also to have a realistic sense of their own abilities and limitations.  It is very important that they only say "Yes, I can definitely do that" when they can definitely do that.  If they're running around saying "Yes, I can definitely do that" when they don't actually know because they've never done it before but they're willing to give it a whirl, that just make things worse.  We need to be able to trust the professionals and experts of the world to actually be competent professionals and experts, and we can't trust them if their best credential is that they're loud.  This creates a world where you have to approach everything with caution - Can that shoemaker in fact fix my shoes? Can that doctor in fact do that operation on me? - even though you don't have the expertise to independently evaluate these people in the first place.  That would make things worse for everyone, so we need to make sure the people responsible for putting people in positions of expertise and authority are able to assess them based on actual expertise.

Talking with Ehrlinger, we were reminded of something Hewlett-Packard discovered several years ago, when it was trying to figure out how to get more women into top management positions. A review of personnel records found that women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements. At HP, and in study after study, the data confirm what we instinctively know. Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in.
Are these men who meet 60% of the qualifications getting the promotions?  If so, there's something wrong.  Why are they listing qualifications if they aren't required?  Why are they considering applicants who don't meet the qualifications if the qualifications are required?

The people who are applying only if they meet 100% of the qualifications are doing the job poster the basic human decency of taking them at their word.  If they are being punished for that, the system is broken.
We were curious to find out whether male managers were aware of a confidence gap between male and female employees. And indeed, when we raised the notion with a number of male executives who supervised women, they expressed enormous frustration. They said they believed that a lack of confidence was fundamentally holding back women at their companies, but they had shied away from saying anything, because they were terrified of sounding sexist. One male senior partner at a law firm told us the story of a young female associate who was excellent in every respect, except that she didn’t speak up in client meetings. His takeaway was that she wasn’t confident enough to handle the client’s account. But he didn’t know how to raise the issue without causing offense. He eventually concluded that confidence should be a formal part of the performance-review process, because it is such an important aspect of doing business.
How to raise the issue is very simple: in the meeting, you say "[Young Female Associate], what do you think? Do you see any points that haven't been addressed?"  Then, after she says something useful, you mention to her after the meeting "I'm very glad you mentioned [useful thing] in that meeting!  It was very important, and no one else seems to have thought of it."  Lather, rinse, repeat until you reach a critical mass of feedback (which shouldn't take super long - half a dozen meetings at most.) 

This lady's manager thinks she is excellent in every respect, but does not have as accurate a sense of her own skill set as perhaps she should. She truly doesn't realize that, despite the fact that she's a relative newbie, the other people in the room don't see the thing that she sees or don't have the idea she does, rather than having already thought of and dismissed it (I've discussed my own experience with this phenomenon here). So she needs to have this demonstrated to her with specific examples and be set up for success. That's where the manager comes in - as someone who sees her work as well as others' and is more experienced in this field, the manager is the best person to give her a sense of what her own skill set is - strengths and areas for improvement.  But because he doesn't know how to do this part of his job without raising offence, her career progression suffers.

He's in this management job without knowing how to boost a shy, new employee's confidence - and instead coming up with the ridiculously ineffective idea of grading people on confidence.  He should be setting her up for success by giving her openings to see first-hand how her contributions are valuable and necessary, but instead he's setting her up for failure by adding a performance-review item that correlates with her greatest weakness, without doing anything to help her improve other than perhaps telling her to improve.

Which leads me to wonder: did this manager, who can't figure out how to effectively coach a quiet employee without causing offence, get his management job simply because he was the loudest person in the room?


I should also add my personal experience with confidence: the more confident I get, the more willing I am to admit when I don't know something or don't have a certain skill set.  When I was just starting out my tech support job in university, I pretended I knew everything everyone was talking about out of imposter syndrome, terrified that they'd mock me or fire me if I (a teenager who had never been more than a personal home user - and this in the 20th century) admitted that I hadn't heard of reimaging a computer. I just said "Yes, of course I know what that is," and frantically muddled my way through.

But as I've had more and more experience validating the fact that what I know is acceptable and I won't get in trouble for not knowing everything, as I've been influenced by Eddie Izzard and learned how to do Entitlement, I've become more and more confident - confident enough to accurately represent and express how capable I do or don't feel in a given situation.

For me, saying "Yes, I definitely can" when I wasn't certain I could was a symptom of lacking confidence.  Saying "Probably, but I'm not certain," or "Sorry, I have no experience in that," or "I'll give it a try but I can make no guarantees" is a sign of confidence.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Teach me about animal shelter economics

From The Ethicist:
Here is an ongoing argument among my friends: Group A says you should adopt a pet only from a no-kill shelter to support the shelter, while Group B says you should adopt a pet only from a kill shelter to save the animals from death. Which is preferable?
The question to which I don't know the answer:  to what extent does adopting an animal from a specific shelter actually support the shelter?

If these were regular businesses, it would be obvious.  For example, there's a Shoppers Drug Mart and a Rexall in my neighbourhood.  If I decided to stop shopping at Shoppers and shop exclusively at Rexall, Shoppers would make less demand and profit and Rexall would see more.  If everyone made the same decision, Shoppers would cease to exist.  If Shoppers saw that everyone was shopping at Rexall, they might think "What is Rexall doing that we aren't?" and try to emulate that.

But do animal shelters work that way?  If people adopt their animals, they have room for more animals.  If people don't adopt their animals, they don't have room for more animals unless they kill some. That part is clear. 

But does adopting the animals serve as an economic incentive? If nobody adopted from the no-kill shelter, would the no-kill shelter cease to exist?  Would it be incentivized to become a kill shelter? Would anything else bad happen to it or to its animals?

Conversely, if nobody adopted from the kill shelter, would it cease to exist?  Would it be incentivized to become a no-kill shelter?  Or would it just keep on killing animals it can't fit?

It seems to me that the primary factor in whether animals end up in a kill or no-kill shelter would be which shelter people choose to surrender animals to.  It doesn't seem like adoption decisions would enter into it. What am I missing?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Things They Should Study: does ability to buy happiness correlate with happiness?

As I've blogged about before, my experience is that money can in fact buy happiness. And I am generally happy.  In any case,  I'm happier than I ever expected to be or than any fair, just or karmatic system should be allowing me to be.

Some people think that money can't buy happiness.  Someone should study whether these people who think that money can't buy happiness are happy.  Are they unhappy because they're not able to buy happiness?  Or are they happy because their sources of happiness transcend their life circumstances?

It would also be interesting to see if there's a correlation between money and happiness among people who believe that money can't buy happiness, and see if that differs from the degree of correlation found among people who believe that money can buy happiness.

I know there have been studies quantifying how much happiness costs (i.e. identifying the point of diminishing returns where more money generally doesn't buy more happiness), but I don't know of any that have compared people who can buy happiness and people who can't.

Friday, May 09, 2014

When and why did people start using backwards smilies?

I first learned about smilies in the early 90s, on BBSs.  I learned that a happy smiley is :) and a sad smiley is :( .

But in recent years, I've seen people doing their smilies backwards.  So if they want to make a happy smiley, instead of  :) they put (:  .You have to tilt your head to the right instead of tilting it to the left.

Having used smilies for 20 years, I don't tilt my head any more.  I just skim and quickly process a) the fact that a smiley is present, and b) the direction of the parenthesis.  So when I see a backwards happy face like (:  my first thought is that it's a sad face, because for the vast majority of my life a smiley with a left parenthesis has been a sad face like :(

How did these backwards smilies come about?  Why do people think they're superior to regular tilt-your-head-left smilies?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Analogy for assuming I'm going to get sick

I operate under the assumption that I'm going to have every medical problem - everything my ancestors have died of or even been diagnosed with, everything my genetics or behaviour makes it more likely for me to develop, basically everything I have an even slightly greater than average likelihood of contracting.  I assume I'm going to get Alzheimer's, I assume I'm going to get cancer, I assume I'm going to get Barrett's esophagus, I assume I'm going to break a hip and become helpless.

There are people who think this approach is needlessly pessimistic, and who say things like "Why don't you just adopt a healthier lifestyle so you don't end up with these health problems?"

Today my shower gave me an analogy to explain why:

Suppose you want to enter a university program, but you don't have enough money to pay the tuition.

The university offers a scholarship to the very top student in the whole university every year, and this scholarship offers enough money to pay for the whole program.  But only one such scholarship is offered, and it's only available to the one student with the very top marks in the whole university.

So is it a good strategy to decide "Okay, problem solved.  I'll just get the best marks in the whole university and pay my tuition with that scholarship"?  Or would it perhaps be a better idea to assume you won't win the big scholarship, and instead work out a way to assemble the funding from other, smaller, more winnable scholarships with multiple recipients, combined with perhaps a part-time job and some student loans?

To win the one single big scholarship, you have to address and overcome a wide variety of ever-changing factors.  You not only have to be at the top of all your classes, you also have to be aware of what kind of marks other students are getting in other classes and figure out ways to top them.  You  need to keep in mind how various courses are graded, and choose courses (and maybe even a major) that make it more possible to get higher marks. (For example, it's easier to get extremely high marks in a math class than in a literature class, because answers to math problems can be unquestionably and objectively correct, whereas a literary analysis essay is more subjective and far less likely to be interpreted as perfect and therefore worth of a 100%.) You also have to be able to read your profs to determine how to extract the highest marks from them, (for example, I've had profs who give higher marks to essays that prove conventional theses, and I've had profs who give higher marks to essays that take a risk and prove an unconventional thesis, or have a good go at disproving a conventional thesis), and you have to do this early enough in the course so as not to have a sacrificial first assignment.  To say nothing of the stress you'd have to put yourself under and the pleasures of life you'd have to give up to study enough to earn top marks in all things at all times!

This is rather difficult, isn't it?  In addition to doing your absolute best in everything at all times, you have to be constantly and at every moment on top of an ever-changing lineup of factors, many of which are completely beyond your control.  And if you drop the ball even for a second, there goes the scholarship you were depending on for funding.  It's a lot easier, less stressful and more feasible to operate under the assumption that you're not going to get the big scholarship and instead work out a way to get more predictable funding.  If you get the scholarship, bonus!  All your problems are solved!  But if you don't get it, you're prepared for the eventuality.

Similarly, I find the list of things you're supposed to do to prevent Alzheimer's, cancer etc. is large, complex, overwhelming, and ever-evolving.  There is contradictory information out there, some of which is actively trying to discredit each other.  It encompasses every facet of life, some of it involves factors that are beyond our control, and much more of it involves factors that it is possible to control but very difficult to do. There are aspects of it that we don't know yet, and there are aspects of it that may be thought to be helpful but later be discovered to be harmful.

So instead of making myself a slave to all that, I just assume I'm going to get all these diseases and plan accordingly.  If I don't get them and end up dying peacefully in my sleep, bonus!  But if I do get them, then I'm prepared for the eventuality.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Summer's Best (a.k.a. where to get Cortland apples in Toronto right now)

Summer's Best is a small store selling produce, flowers, and an assortment of other foodstuffs.

I feel moved to blog about them because they not only have Cortland apples (yes, now!), but these apples are decent-sized and smell like apples (yes, now!)

(Apples often lose their smell in the off-season, probably as a result of however they store them, so when fall rolls around and the first apples of the new fall harvest appear in the farmer's market the first thing I notice is that the apples smell like apples again.)

Neither Metro nor Loblaws nor any of the other small produce stores I've passed by have Cortlands, but Summer's Best does.

So if you're in the Yonge Eglinton neighbourhood and looking for Ontario produce that's still available and yummy even though it isn't in season, try Summer's Best.  It's at 2563 Yonge St., just north of Sherwood.

Update:  As of May 8, they seem to be out of Cortlands :(  I still recommend the store though.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Positive physical changes that correlate with getting older

I recently ended up walking from Bathurst to Yonge for various boring reasons. This is significant because shortly after I moved to Toronto I also ended up walking from Bathurst to Yonge for various boring reasons, and my feet and glutes hurt like hell the day after.  I just wanted to lie down with my feet up and do nothing the next day.  But this time, I had no ill effects.

I don't notice any difference in my external appearance or day-to-day functioning, but I guess I must be in better shape than I was in my early 20s!

I've noticed a number of other healthish things that are better than they were when I was younger:

- If I have to climb the stairs to my apartment, I don't get lactic acid in my legs, which I did in my early 20s.
- I can fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time. Up until my mid-20s, it took me 2 hours of lying in bed to fall asleep. (This can be directly traced to my parents' consistently setting me bedtimes that were way too early for my internal clock.)
- I'm not painfully thirsty when I wake up, and I don't have disgusting amounts of crust on my eyes, which often happened in my teens.
- My voice works every time I try to use it.  When I was a preteen, it didn't always work, especially in the morning.  Sometimes I'd try to talk and nothing came out, so I'd be trying to test my voice without anyone noticing in case I got called on in class.
- I hardly every get stiff and sore from using the computer for extended periods of time, which I often did in my early 20s.  (This may well be a result of ergonomics.)
- I can translate on zero sleep, which I couldn't do at the beginning of my career.  I can't do final copy without quality control, but I'm not useless.  (This may well be a sign of being better at my job rather than being healthier.)
- I feel like things like zits, blisters, cuts, etc. heal faster.  I'm not sure if this is true or if it's just that time passes faster when you're older.  Acne is more likely to scar (although the scars do eventually heal), but the zits themselves seem to go through their lifecycle faster.