50 episodes

Uncommon Sense is the podcast for This is True, the oldest Entertainment newsletter on the Internet, starting in early 1994 and running weekly since. TRUE features 'weird news' stories with a purpose: it's Thought-Provoking Entertainment. TRUE is news commentary using rewritten summaries of real news stories as its vehicle. The newsletter is text, but the podcast is decidedly not an audio version of the newsletter, so you may want to try a free subscription to the newsletter, too. Subscribe at https://thisistrue.com/podcast

Uncommon Sense: the This is True Podcast Randy Cassingham

    • Education
    • 4.9, 43 Ratings

Uncommon Sense is the podcast for This is True, the oldest Entertainment newsletter on the Internet, starting in early 1994 and running weekly since. TRUE features 'weird news' stories with a purpose: it's Thought-Provoking Entertainment. TRUE is news commentary using rewritten summaries of real news stories as its vehicle. The newsletter is text, but the podcast is decidedly not an audio version of the newsletter, so you may want to try a free subscription to the newsletter, too. Subscribe at https://thisistrue.com/podcast

    076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

    076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

    In This Episode: Having vague, preconceived, and uninformed notions and, worse, acting upon them, isn’t just the opposite of Uncommon Sense, it can actually cause harm. How do you avoid that trap?



    076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * This episode recounts and comments upon Tony Green’s essay in the Dallas Voice, A Harsh Lesson in the Reality of COVID-19.

    * Taiwan pulled off one of The Best Global Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic despite their proximity to China.

    * The “original first death” from Covid was thought to be February 28th, but it was actually weeks earlier.

    * As for uncounted cases, it’s estimated that New York City alone undercounted more than 5,300 deaths which “might have been directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic,” the CDC says. More recently, Coronavirus Infections Much Higher Than Reported Cases in Parts of U.S., Study Shows (by 2-13x).

    * An MRI study of recovered Covid patients found 78 percent had visible heart abnormalities compared to those who never have had Covid, and 60 percent had ongoing issues months later. Report from NBC News. If you don’t want a “mainstream media” report, here it is in the Journal of the American Medical Association/Cardiology.

    * Covid vs. Flu: “It’s not just what the infection-fatality rate is, it’s also how contagious the disease is, and COVID is very contagious,” says Dr. Eric Toner, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s the combination of the fatality rate and the infectiousness that makes this such a dangerous disease.” (Wall Street Journal — but behind a paywall.)

    * Coronavirus face masks: Why men are less likely to wear masks (BBC)





    Transcript

    Having vague, preconceived, and uninformed notions and, worse, acting upon them,

    • 18 min
    075: Leveraging Thinking Tools

    075: Leveraging Thinking Tools

    In This Episode: A profound bit of advice isn’t necessarily usable just for the situation it’s created for. In fact, that may be what makes it profound, because sometimes you end up with a nice tool for leveraging your Uncommon Sense. This episode offers a great example of that.



    075: Leveraging Thinking Tools

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 really helps!

    * This is one of several “Thinking Toolbox” items discussed in various episodes. Others include episode 27, Think… or React?; episode 34, I Have a Scenario For You; and episode 49, Mind Triggers.

    * My friend Aaron Dragushan is a serial entrepreneur: his most recent startup is the human resources site Happy Monday.





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    My mastermind group — a group of successful online entrepreneurs who support each other, share expertise, etc. — has several different online discussion lists. One of those is about investing. By definition after all, members are successful entrepreneurs, so how to save for the future is an obvious topic.

    One of the members asked how we decide when to get out of a stock — when do you sell?

    Well, a bunch of us weighed in with how we decide when to sell, including Aaron, who I’ve known since 1999. His answer to the question was not only very succinct, unlike mine, it disrupted the conversation with its simplicity. “A thought I’ve found both useful and rationally undeniable,” he posted, “is: If you wouldn’t buy that stock now, you should sell immediately.”

    Now, that’s not something Aaron came up with himself: it’s a fairly well known investing maxim, and posting that isn’t a demonstration of Aaron’s Uncommon Sense, even if it is short, easy to remember, and, really, fairly profound.

    So, that’s not why it’s worth discussing here.

    I’ve talked about “Thinking Toolbox” techniques in several episodes — I’ll link to them on the Show Page. The thing about tools is, they’re usually good for more than one situation, and this one is too, even if you don’t own any stocks.

    What takes this maxim from pithy advice to Uncommon Sense is how Aaron used it way away from the realm of the stock market.

    After another member gave thumbs up on Aaron’s advice, Aaron — almost as an aside — told a quick story about how he used this idea in a situation that had nothing to do with stocks.

    “I convinced my friends to put in a pool gate this way,” he said. “They have a beautiful 1-year-old. Life’s busy,

    • 5 min
    074: “I’ve Learned to Never Give Up”

    074: “I’ve Learned to Never Give Up”

    In This Episode: Previous episodes have pointed out that children can indeed have Uncommon Sense. So much so, they can truly contribute to society. So this week, I’ll tell you about Nora Keegan. She’s 14, and has been doing something extraordinary for five years now.



    074: “I’ve Learned to Never Give Up”

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * If you want to understand better how sound pressures double, see Understanding the 3dB rule by “Noise Measurement Experts” who have been in the biz for a long time.

    * Nora’s paper was published in the June 2020 issue of Paediatrics & Child Health.

    * There are a few photos in the transcript below.





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    At 8 years old, Nora Keegan of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, noticed something that a lot of kids notice: hand dryers — the ones that blow air really hard over your hands — are really, really loud. So much so that she noticed her ears hurt when she was done with them. “I thought maybe the kids aren’t just being oversensitive,” she said later, “the hand dryers are being really loud.”

    As she got to the ripe old age of 9, Nora’s young mind was putting some pieces together. Is something that loud harmful, especially for children? It’s not just because children’s hearing is more sensitive than adults’ hearing. Their arms are a lot shorter than adults’, so they have to stand closer to the machines. Plus, they’re mounted on the wall about four feet up, to make them convenient for adults, but still useable by children. That means kids old enough to wash by themselves, who are very commonly in the range of four feet tall, end up with the machine right in front of their heads.

    You might recall that your ears are attached to your head. Same with kids!

    So the machines are vertically right by their ears, and horizontally? Well, with their short arms, they’re close horizontally, too. And then there’s their sensitive hearing.

    Enter Nora Keegan’s curious mind, driven by Uncommon Sense. “I decided to do a study,” she said, and “test it to see if they were dangerous to hearing.”

    Well, how do you do that?

    Sound pressure is typically measured in decibels, dB for short, which isn’t actually a loudness measure per se — the range doesn’t go from zero to 10, for instance (or even to 11 for you Spinal Tap fans). To confuse lay people even more, a sound pressure level of 20 dB isn’t double 10 dB.

    Decibels are a measure of relative intensity starting at a baseline, and for sound pressure,

    • 12 min
    073: The Missing Element

    073: The Missing Element

    In This Episode: The medical profession is starting to realize that it’s been missing a very important element of patient care. It’s likely that you’ll be very surprised to hear what it is, but then when you think about it, it’ll make total sense — and you’ll be mad that you didn’t get it.



    073: The Missing Element

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * The story about Rosaura Quinteros, who helped save Col. Jason Denney, which brought me to this subject.

    * Dr. Trzeciak’s TEDx talk is embedded in the transcript.





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    What’s the biggest problem in healthcare today? I mean in the actual practice of healthcare, not the cost or doctor shortages, but what medical professionals do on the job. I suspect most healthcare providers would probably say “burnout” — they have too much to do, too much paperwork, too much administrative duties, and thanks to that doctor shortage, a never-ending line of patients needing care, but they’re so busy there’s never enough time to provide all the care that’s needed.

    Enter Dr. Stephen Trzeciak. He’s not just a professor of medicine at Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey, he’s the Chairman and Chief of Medicine at Cooper University Hospital. He’s board certified in internal medicine, emergency medicine, critical care, and neurocritical care, all particularly heavy-hitting specialties. He works as an intensivist — the doctor who treats patients in intensive care. People only get admitted to the ICU when they’re critically sick or injured, so he has to be able to deal with it when, despite all his efforts, many of his patients die anyway.

    So it’s probably no surprise that with all of that, he was burned out.

    Trzeciak says that the typical “treatment” for burnout is to get away for awhile — detatch from the job, go on vacation. He said he felt intuitively that detachment was probably the wrong thing to do. He probably noticed that detachment didn’t help him, and didn’t do much for his colleagues, either.

    Meanwhile, he says, we are “in the midst of a compassion crisis.” He’s not talking about sympathy or empathy: he says scientists define compassion as “an emotional response to another’s pain or suffering involving an authentic desire to help.” Sympathy and empathy are “the understanding components,” but compassion involves taking action.

    Dr. Trzeciak tells the story of a 2007 highway crash in Sweden: two buses collided head-on. Amazingly, only six people were killed; 56 were saved. Researchers followed up with those 56 people five years later to ask what they specifically remembered of their ordeal.

    • 14 min
    072: Not Perfect

    072: Not Perfect

    In This Episode: Sure, it’s cool to hear stories of famous (and completely obscure) people who exhibit Uncommon Sense. But there’s one other thing you need to know about every one of them: they’re definitely not perfect, and that’s important to know because neither are you.



    072: Not Perfect

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * The episodes I mentioned: 015: Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize, 017: Developing Uncommon Sense, 019: How to be Happier. And: List of All Episodes.

    * This is a follow-on to 071: Taking It To the Extreme, though it’s not critical to listen to them in order.

    * The Get Out of Hell Free products are here. The True Stella Awards cases are slowly returning to the Stella web site.





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    There are several common gut reactions that people often have when hearing a story about someone doing something fantastic, such as the type of people I tell you about in Uncommon Sense. First there’s the feeling that “I could never do that!” — because the person is so special, or so talented, or born at just the right moment and the right place, that they’re seemingly impossible to emulate.

    Or second, the “But what about…?” types, who are aware of something less than savory in the person’s background. To use a couple of recent example people from last week’s episode: Jeff Bezos may be looking way into the future, but didn’t he cheat on his wife of 25 years? Isn’t that pretty much the opposite of Uncommon Sense? I mean, his wife divorced him — and when she left she took 25 percent of his Amazon stock as a consolation prize. That was worth $36 billion at the time. She did allow her ex to retain voting rights in those shares, which sounds like a pretty shrewd move, because that stock is now worth around $50 billion. Yep, bad move ethically, morally, and financially, Jeff.

    And what of Elon Musk? Sure he’s looking way into the future too, but doesn’t he do pretty stupid things on a pretty regular basis? Say, taking a big puff from a marijuana cigar — on camera — when his SpaceX company is in the middle of a make-or-break contract with the government? Or call a cave rescue person “pedo guy” in a tweet, which was seen by millions and resulted in a big lawsuit for defamation by said guy?

    • 11 min
    071: Taking It To the Extreme

    071: Taking It To the Extreme

    In This Episode: Humans mostly pay attention to the short term. If we can lift our eyes and look much farther out, not only does that benefit us personally, but business leaders that truly have Uncommon Sense sometimes take it to the extreme, and their results, actual and still in the works, can be absolutely mind-blowing.



    071: Taking It To the Extreme

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * The “Easter Egg” (extra bit cut out) is included separately below the transcript [Jump There].

    * Meier’s article about his boss.

    * Consumer Reports on the most-satisfying car.

    * Results from investing in AMZN at IPO is from here, and the rankings are from Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires list.

    * Bezos explains civilization of stasis.

    * There are also some illustrations within the transcript. Click any of them to see larger.





    Transcript

    Humans mostly pay attention to the short term. If we can lift our eyes and look much farther out, not only does that benefit us personally, but business leaders that truly have Uncommon Sense sometimes take it to the extreme, and their results, actual and still in the works, can be absolutely mind-blowing.

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    In last week’s episode I talked about leadership and how making long-term investments in employees can pay off. I promised that this week, I’ll look at how that might be taken to the extreme.

    My examples are names you’ve heard. You may have positive or negative feelings about these people, but this isn’t about them per se. It’s about their vision, and how far out they’re looking. I suspect you’ll hear something you didn’t know about these men. They are: Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon.com), Elon Musk (the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX), and Bill Gates (the founder of Microsoft).

    Let’s start with Gates. He’s famously known for his early Microsoft mantra, “A computer on every desktop, and Microsoft software in every computer.” That’s not something any company can do in a quarter. Or a year. Or a decade. It’s a plan borne of long-term thinking, a mindset that made Gates the richest man alive. How nice for him, but if he stopped there, then he’d just be another rich guy who made money by helping ...

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

HowardTur ,

Interesting Stories about Inovative People

Randy finds people that are "Thinking out of the box" and shares there stories

V_Walker ,

Thoughtful & Thought-provoking

It’s amazing Randy packs so much into every episode. Having a listen to each, including the original season, every episode makes/helps me think.

killerglass ,

Just found this!!!

Very professional, intelligent, witty and love the topics. The heck with the lady that wants a "tighter performance ".... I think it's just fine...;)))

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