But looking inward, I wonder if our industry doesn't do the same thing in many cases - what about:
- Eye strain caused by lack of contrast due to our favorite color palette.
- Stress induced by unintelligible workflows.
- Failure to protect a user's privacy.
- Programs that induce RSI.
I realize this is a far cry from polluting the environment with toxins, but shouldn't we at least think about these factors more often?
Advertising is our C8. It pollutes nearly every corner of the web with deception and manipulation. It is the cause of the cancer called click-bait. It is so profitable it has given rise to factories that pump out cheap junk "content", overwhelming anything of merit on the web. Then, to extract even more from the devil in this Faustian bargain, we invade our very customer's privacy, selling our soul twice over.
Most of us avert our eyes from this moral abdication because it funds our high salaries and our get-rich-quick startup schemes. Everyone seems happy with their "free" non-stick pans and waterproof boots, so why spoil the party?
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair
If you agree with me, send me an email. I'm starting a project to whistle blow, to raise awareness, to inspire change.
 Most people will miss this article about C8 because it doesn't stand a chance against all the ad-supported garbage. The Intercept doesn't do click-bait. Journalism, a cornerstone of democracy, is dying. This toxin analogy is sadly too accurate.
> I realize this is a far cry from polluting the environment with toxins, but shouldn't we at least think about these factors more often?
Yes, demand a better work environment, but please don't compare "eye strain caused by lack of contrast due to our favorite color palette" and "Stress induced by unintelligible workflows" with an environmental toxin that never existed until we created it, is now "in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans", causes cancer and birth defects, and may outlive humanity. Many jobs have some stress on the body or mind or risks to life and limb (manual labor, fire fighting). It is called "work" after all. The fire department is not being evil. Dupont and 3M are. I hope you can see the difference.
I don't work in the chemical industry and other than complaining, I can't effect much change in how it operates. I can however make life better for those using the software I create. As many others have pointed out, there are many more categories. I'll even add another - efficiency. I should create my software to use the least amount of resources possible. Eventually CPU and memory usage equate to power consumed from the grid.
This. Not to mention the malware that hitches rides on ad networks. Adblockers being the new condoms and all that.
C8 and similar compounds pollute the only inhabitable planet we have access to, there's no escape from the pollution. The man-made C8 will remain in the water and soil far longer than any human will be around, but before that it will accumulate in our bodies and poison us. And C8 is just one such compound, how many more are there?
At ~300$ there not cheap, but not only do they help save your hearing they are also less distracting for those around you.
If active noise canceling seems to lower conversation volume, it is because you've convinced yourself it should. No DSP located on your ear can analyze and cancel an unpredictable signal like conversation before it reaches your ear. It can be effective against drone sounds like motors, rushing air, etc. because the same cancellation signal works now as did 100ms ago. This is not true of human speech.
Opt for a pair of well-fitting in-ears. If you have the money, see an audiologist for a custom fit. With high-quality earbuds and a good seal, you can play music at a very low level and still 1) hear all its detail, and 2) not perceive outside sounds.
Noise canceling works by playing back the exact environmental frequencies through the headphones, 180 degrees out of phase. So from the perspective of your ears, noise canceling does lower the absolute volume.
The noise isolation is so strong that I can't even listen to music at higher than half volume without discomfort.
From the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
"Watching televisions, including LCDs and flat screens, can't cause your eyes any physical harm. The same is true for using the computer too much or watching 3-D movies. Your eyes may feel more tired if you sit too close to the TV or spend a lot of time working at the computer or watching 3-D movies, but you can fix that by giving your eyes a rest."
Do you have evidence that computer use was a factor in your development of Blepharitis, or do you think that because of the correlation between the two?
Another rationalization is that longer work hours are somehow mutually beneficial but I find the opposite to be true.
An anecdote: A couple of years ago during a stressful time at work I was fitted for prescription lenses. While being indecisive about choosing frames, I installed f.lux and reduced brightness of my monitors. Never ended up buying glasses, and in a couple of weeks my vision was back to normal. It was just eye strain, and I saved about $300.
Edit: changed "Flux" to "f.lux"
Unfortunately, 35 years of typing in front of a screen has led to trifocals for me (or maybe I would have needed them anyway?).