Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sugar and poinsettias

The LA Times reviews an end of the year issue of the British Medical Journal summarizing weird things (you can listen to the podcast here). Some things aren't too weird -- I though that poinsettias aren't poisonous is common knowledge. But kids and sugar? This shouldn't be too surprising:
Studies showed that children who consume large amounts of sugar are no more hyperactive than those who don't. But parents who think their kids have eaten sugar, even when they haven't, tend to rate them as being hyperactive.

Another thing in the news lately is a about workplace friendships. Actually, it is about workplace socializing (more about workplace friendships later):
Pentland and Waber found that the badge wearers with more social connections -- and more interactions with coworkers in their social network -- had the highest productivity, whether they were talking about work or, say, basketball. And people who spent the most time "in the groove," moving rhythmically as they went about their work, had higher productivity levels than others.
The badges
kept track of the wearers' location, direction, and voice inflections. When one badge wearer met another, the length and tone of the wearers' conversation was measured. The badges could even track subtle body shifts when wearers were sitting down. Then the researchers compared that data with the wearers' productivity.
You can read their paper from the April 2008 Journal of Information Processing and see data from one conversation among four people in Figure 1.

Does this offer anything to the long debate about workplace friendships?