Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Your relationship with Windows 7

Sometimes technology can be put in very human terms. (Thanks Silver)

Why Fox News isn't

Rachel Maddow makes a strong and sober case for why Fox isn't just right-leaning News, its not news at all.  Quality journalism can be right-leaning, however.  Its called The Economist.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tea Party does not equal Gay Rights march

Stewart points out more problems with Fox News selective hearing when it comes to marches on Washington.

Difficult people

Almost everyone has at some point encountered someone that was hard to work with. Arguments for putting up with it usually go something like this (taken from an actual newsgroup post):

____ is a dick. He knows it, we know it. Pls take any dickish (ie: involving the dick) statements/responses from his intarwebs as such. It's his nature, he's not trying =)

Sure there's a little Hunter Thompson in all of us but unfortunately research suggests that the "its not his fault" position simply doesn't work. Although this person may justify their existence with technical capability or good sales, they exact a cost on productivity by affecting other employees poorly takes away any benefits they bring.

Why exactly have we tolerated jerks in business for so long? [Author] Bob [Sutton] convincingly demonstrates using surveys, psychological studies and anecdotal evidence that workplace jerks are far more trouble than they're worth. They mat be getting results and making the numbers, but they do so at a huge cost to the rest of the organization and to the well-being of the people around them. (source)

Sutton's suggestion is that you shouldn't hire them, don't put up with them, and if you're in a management position, fire them; they are hurting you more than they are helping. No one wants to attend a staff meeting where their ideas are going to be shot down and no one wants to post to a newsgroup with those kinds of responses. They could go to slashdot for that.

But what to do if you're stuck with one?

Video fact checking

Frequently political videos don't reveal their sources and thus are little better than propaganda. Often video is more entertaining and more interesting, but still needs to list sources so viewers can evaluate the truth. Entertainment and honesty in journalism need not be mutually exclusive. A recent one connecting the iPod with attacking the Republican congress fortunately at least tries to, unfortunately not using the best sources.

Similarly O'Reilly rightly corrects Jon Stewart for clearly taking one of his statements out of context.

Update: Stewart responds, O'Reilly edits it out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bad dad/mom

Children wanting to have a relationship with their parents despite serious problems is not unusual, but sometimes can be too toxic to maintain. (thanks silver)  You don't have to hit your kids to be abusive.

Remember, if your parents were shitty, you've got to try harder.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interesting videos

Unsurprisingly, four of these are TED talks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Less abortion

For many in the pro choice movement, abortion is still a terrible thing but a necessary evil. So a majority of Americans likely favor fewer abortions. How do we get there? Well, the country with the best statistics in this area is somewhat of a surprise:

The Dutch? With their legalized prostitution and ultraliberal abortion laws? How can that be? I did a little research and found out that the Netherlands has not only the lowest abortion rate but the lowest rate of teen pregnancy. In fact, the country has held this distinction for decades. Researchers credit strategies like sex education in schools, discussion of sexuality in the mass media, and easy access to contraception. One study pointed out that "acceptance of contraception preceded liberalization of abortion" and that Dutch citizens accept "abortion only as a last resort." (source)

See also: Huckabee and Stewart on abortion.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tepid Topic

Although it seemed a little deviance was better than none, the goth/punk store "Hot Topic" had, as of 2008, "688 locations in the United States and six stores in Puerto Rico, the majority of which are located in regional shopping malls." As of 2006 their revenue was 3/4 of a billion dollars (source: wikipedia). So really its the McDonald's of deviance.

(image source)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Music maker

I had such fun with this interactive music maker. Its so simple and enjoyable, its easy to blow your lunch hour.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Subtract your news (a howto)

Tired of getting certain types of news? Whether its the inconsequential morons or politics from Obama, Sean Hannity, or overused sports phrases, there's a way to finally clean that up using the free FeedRinse service:

1. Set up an account

2. Make a list:
People/topics I'm sick of

* Kayne West
* That Jon and Kate show
* Marilyn Manson
* Donald Trump
* American Idol
* Dance competitions


* Britney Spears
* Lindsay Lohan
* Scott Weiland
* Scott Stapp
* Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie
* The Kardashians

3. Get your news source (there are many). For example, the Associated Press Top Stories feed:

4. Add a list of filters. Click the "+" sign a few times to add lots of blockers:

5. Finally, select "get your rinsed feeds" and click the button in red below:

I use Google's service but there are many listed below:

You're done! Log into your news reader of choice and you've just filtered out the stupid!

Censored 8008ies

A new calculator with a profanity filter will help prevent calculator porn. The importance of such a move cannot be understated in pitting math vs. nipples.

What's 62 + 7? Error!

(image source)