NYTimes Book Review on VR

I just wrote my first book review for the New York Times. I reviewed two books about Virtual Reality, one by Jeremy Bailensen and the other by Jaron Lanier:

Enter the Holodeck



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Pizza Insurance: very dumb

January 29, 2018 Comments off

My newest Bloomberg View column just came out:

No, I Don’t Want to Insure My Pizza

Insurance can be useful, but too many schemes are distorting the concept.


For older Bloomberg View columns, please go here.

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Personality Tests Are Failing American Workers

My newest Bloomberg View article just came out:

Personality Tests Are Failing American Workers

All too often, they filter people out for the wrong reasons.


Read all of my Bloomberg View pieces here.

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A Pointed note on Martin Luther King, Jr Day

January 15, 2018 2 comments

Three years ago I was out for a walk in Haiti when I met this boy who asked me to photograph him pointing to God. Aggrieved by the president’s recent disrespectful comments about Haiti, I am posting this as a reminder of what even the youngest of Haitian children know: There is a power higher than that of any president.

Categories: Becky Jaffe, guest post

Graves’ Disease is making me very boring & TomTown Ramblers gig this Saturday

Since my last update I’ve been diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. You can look this up on Wikipedia, but the short version is it makes my thyroid hyperactive, which in turn makes me anxious and hyperactive, which in turn makes me exercise a lot, which in turn makes me very boring.

It’s an autoimmune disease, and it’s treatable, so please don’t worry. Also, it probably has nothing to do with my recent bariatric surgery. In fact before my bariatric sleeve surgery, I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disorder, which is even less worrisome, called autoimmune gastritis. That basically means my stomach slowly produces less stomach acids. It’s good for acid reflux, since there’s nothing to reflux, but it’s bad for absorbing iron and B12. Luckily after gastric surgeries they’re constantly checking your vitamin and mineral levels so no need to worry. But long story short, once you’ve gotten one autoimmune disease you’re more likely to get another. They cluster. So chances are I would’ve gotten Graves’ Disease even if I hadn’t gotten the sleeve surgery.

I’m on a medication called Methimazole to calm down my thyroid, and I’m due for a blood test tomorrow to see how well it’s working. I can’t really tell if it’s working but that’s not a real surprise because I couldn’t really tell I had a problem in the first place. Also, if we can’t adjust the Methimazole levels to make it work, then the standard approach is to burn out my thyroid with radioactive iodine – which sounds worse than it is – and take supplementary medication to replace what my thyroid should have been doing in the first place.

Finding out I have Graves’ Disease is actually kind of good. It explains the deep anxiety I was feeling and the trouble I was having sleeping. And I know there are plenty of reasons to feel anxiety but it was getting slightly out of hand, and now it seems a bit better but again I’m not sure if that’s because the meds are working or because I’m just acclimating to Trump. Or it might just be because I quit Twitter, which was bringing me down consistently. Having no social media habits is good for anxiety problems!

Also my eyesight was changing rapidly, which is a common symptom of Graves’ Disease (although my eyes never bugged out as far as I could tell). That seems to be calming down a bit as well, but again I might just have acclimated. Right now contact lenses work much better than glasses.

So, you remember last update when I mentioned that I started exercising a lot? Well that’s still true. In fact at this point I’ve signed myself up for a 5K race in Riverside Park on February 3rd (which involved free hot cocoa at the end of the race so please join me) as well as a Sprint Triathlon at Lake Welch in Harriman State Park on May 20th (no free hot cocoa but please join me there and I’ll buy you cocoa).

I’ve always said that people who get really into exercise are the most boring people in the world because all they ever want to talk about is exercise. So excuse me for being incredibly boring from now on, or until my thyroid gets under control. It really is a wonderful escape and I admit I’m indulging. For example, in preparation I ran 5K on Saturday morning and I haven’t stopped gloating about it. I’ve really become insufferable. Please tell me to shut up when you next hear me drone on.

Also, and I promise this *isn’t* boring, my band, the TomTown Ramblers, is playing this weekend downtown! Details are below.


Date: Saturday, January 20th.
Time: Our music starts promptly at 9pm.
Place: Caffe Vivaldi, located at 32 Jones Street, between Bleecker and West 4th.

No cover charge! Cash Bar! See you there!

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I will not repeat what the president said yesterday about Haiti, because it is too mean spirited to perpetuate. I will say that in my travels in Haiti I met people wealthier in spirit than our poor president.


Photograph by Becky Jaffe

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Bring on the Sex Robots!

I’ve got a new Bloomberg View piece, which I think any fans of Aunt Pythia will enjoy:

Maybe Sex Robots Will Make Men, Not Women, Obsolete

They might at least create some healthy competition.

For other columns, go here.

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