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Everything posted by Anacharsis

  1. I think The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick Brooks is about as straightforward as you will get, considering that the field developed out of the military and has always been overladen with jargon. It's also available for free online: https://archive.org/details/mythicalmanmonth00fred If they have the basics under their belt, a fun exercise might be to watch the film Office Space, as it is a film that pokes fun at what happens when project management is done badly (the multiple disconnected bosses of botched matrix management, the passive-aggressive bullying of getting things done without a project charter, the convoluted organizational charts, the obsession with progress reports -- it's really a classic of what-not-to-do).
  2. Different personality types have different blind spots. I find that with solutions-driven thinkers, usually the struggle is to navigate complex problems without missing how the individual parts relate to one another. Dilbert used to love poking fun at this: ​ ​
  3. Is there any chance that this is just the media describing a new youth subculture? Kinda reminds me of the Juggalos of the late 90s.
  4. The concept of middle age suffers from some degree of vanity sizing, I think. It seems like a lot of people aren't middle-aged until the alternative is being old; then suddenly they are middle-aged. :)
  5. Saying anything useful about the U.S. as a whole is tricky -- it has more people than almost any empire in human history, and is up there even today as the 3rd most populous country in the world. It's also huge -- one country that is almost the size of the whole of Europe, including Eastern Europe. While tools exist that allow me to start to interpret things on that scale, it is very different to most of my day-to-day experiences. When someone says "15,696 murders" it sounds staggering -- I mean, in my day-to-day life, it is staggering. If someone dropped a bomb on the capital of South Dakota, obliterating it from the map, they'd still have a few murders left over -- so it seems like something to be alarmed about. Yet applying the same ratio of murders to population used for the U.S. to the South Dakota capital, a single person being murdered would be a greater quantity. For me at least, I try to focus on local rates, as they are easier to mesh with my day-to-day world.
  6. ​Well, let me ask -- in order to have the ability to see someone as clever, that means that you can distinguish cleverness from non-cleverness, right? Otherwise everything would seem clever, and the word would not have clear meaning. If I understand correctly, you are saying that the way you distinguish the cleverness of some people can be done without having it relate to the non-cleverness of others; I suppose my confusion is that, to me, this sounds like someone being considered tall without other people being considered short. Can you elaborate a bit?
  7. I suppose what I was trying to say is that clever isn't a blanket term. When something a preschooler does is called clever, it is not meant in the same way as when a doctor does something clever or a crow does something clever; the cleverness of crows, preschoolers, and doctors are distinct from eachother because the word is relational. So even if a kid thinks they and their schoolmates are both clever, the question has to be, "OK, your whole group is clever; but clever in relation to what other groups, and what is your connection to those groups?"
  8. Clever is a relational term; someone is clever in comparison to others. So thinking of yourself as clever is not necessarily arrogant, but it raises the question of why exactly you have surrounded yourself with people whom you consider stupider than yourself. One fairly obvious answer is that you could be mistaken -- in that case, the claim of cleverness could be arrogance. It isn't the only answer, but it is one worth considering.
  9. Finding out what former residents of a house are up to can be a nice way of building out the history of a place. Of course, sometimes that history is a sad one. As far as helping debt collectors track down the former homeowners, there isn't any responsibility -- that one is up to your discretion.
  10. OER Commons for lesson plans and The Internet Archive for primary sources are two good places to browse.
  11. I could see a use for segway to mean the actual opening to segue rather than the act itself, sort of like how someone can go for a drive on Gofora Drive. On the other hand, from a clarity perspective I think it's probably best for one spelling to just supplant the other -- English has too many "a lighter lighter is a match's match" type opportunities to begin with. :) They are fun to say, but rough to use.
  12. ​ ​I'm not the grave-digger, but I would argue that reviving old threads shouldn't be considered universally bad. The Great Books curriculum is basically one giant zombie thread, after all. ;) ​ ​For context, this particular piece of netiquette is related to technical issues in old message board systems. Reviving old threads placed a greater burden on the back-end database. At the time, many of the questions people asked were technical ones, like "How do I get X version of Y software to run on Z machine?" People would answer that specific question definitively, and then people would resurrect the thread with a related question, like getting a new version of the same software to run on a different machine, jumbling together the questions and answers to distinctly different but related topics. ​ ​With more conversational topics of long-term concern, however, I don't think there's any problem with resurrection -- the topic remains unanswered definitively, and the question has not changed fundamentally. By being able to continue the conversation rather than start over again and again, it's possible to see the development of thought over the years. (Not sure if resurrecting old threads causes database complications anymore.)
  13. 80s synth is also having a minor revival. I think it started humorously, in a Kung Fury kind of way, but it seems to have generated new bands who are genuinely excited about that 80s B-movie soundtrack sound. :)
  14. Has he taught karate to younger kids before? If not, it might provide perspective on what exactly he would end up doing if he follows that route. Some people find that while they enjoy practicing, they do not enjoy teaching. You might also see if he could volunteer at his instructor's dojo doing the more menial tasks -- sometimes it's easy to forget that someone running their own space has to be willing clean the mirrors and mop the floors.
  15. Any time there is a financial incentive, there will be people who care more about the money than about the long-term consequences to others they've never met. It's like how companies figure out whether to do something that might get them sued; they calculate the odds of being sued, multiply it by the financial damages of the lawsuit and lost sales due to negative publicity, and then compare it to the odds of not being sued multiplied by the amount of money they'd make from the sketchy practice. Then they go with whichever one has the highest return. ​ ​Often in complex issues there are no heroes -- people who make more money promoting one side promote that side, while the ones who make more money promoting the other side promote the other side. Each side will of course claim to be champions for the truth who only care about your well-being. :) ​ ​Identifying problem ingredients is particularly complicated -- most prepared foods are not simple, especially after being modified to maximize sales and shelf-life. Even if you have the ingredients list in front of you, it's not always the whole story, as there are many processes and practices which change a food in some significant way but which aren't really new ingredients -- unless you are familiar with how the food brand is made in particular rather than how the food is made in general, none of those practices will be obvious. ​ ​Something as simple as "ground beef, ingredients: beef" may have an incredibly complex history. ​ ​I find that the best way to make good food choices is to focus on the supply chain first; if I understand why and how something in particular is made, it makes it easier to put the ingredients into context.
  16. This isn't a 100% new idea -- many states' public universities originally had free tuition. So I imagine that in many ways it would return to how it was like back then -- a set of influential-but-expensive private schools for the rich (probably the Ivy League again), and free public school education for the rest. Not ideal, but a system that worked out fairly well for some time. For free college to work there would need to be a strengthening of public-private partnerships between companies and universities -- otherwise there will be no increase in hiring to offset the increased taxes. On the one hand, it seems a little unfair for companies to socialize the costs of training their employees while they privatize the profits, but it seems like a better solution than the current system of using debt to outsource training costs to people who may never be selected to work in the field they went into debt to enter. Whether the quality of education changes will largely depend on if the accrediting bodies are willing to be strict. There is always a temptation to turn student money into administrative jobs for friends and relatives rather than to reinvest that money into improving the caliber of graduate. When left unchecked this tends to cause tuition and enrollment to go up, but educational quality to go down. Private universities have some resistance to this because many follow an endowment model; if their graduates don't financially succeed, or succeed but feel it was in spite of their education rather than because of it, then the endowment will go away and with it the administrative jobs -- this provides incentive to non-educators to make sure that a good education is prioritized.
  17. Clothing appropriateness is U-shaped; when you are young, wearing whatever is OK because you look good in it and you don't have much to lose. When you are old, wearing whatever is OK because most of the people who would have thought it was inappropriate are dead, and you are likely at a point in life where you are financially secure enough that you don't have to do every little thing to appease people with power and money. It's really only in the middle-ground, where you are just old enough that paying your bills depends on making a good impression, that it becomes an issue. :)
  18. Every so often I will place an order with Upton Tea Imports -- great for black teas.The paper catalog isn't bad, either -- the owner has been slowly writing a history of the American tea industry, one chapter a catalog. :) ​
  19. It is important to keep in mind that this is just a new variant on a very old conversation, though. :)
  20. Jobs that most people are reluctant to take due to grossness or lack of respectability will take vampire teeth, the same way that ex-cons and people with face tattoos can get work at the slaughterhouse or picking up garbage, provided they are the cheapest qualified choice. ​High demand jobs in boom-bust fields will also hire vampire teeth, the same way that companies hire engineers with no people skills and programmers with no fashion sense, for similar reasons to the garbage-grabbers and slaughterhouse workers. ​Unfortunately, when people are asked to imagine "a good job", they often imagine a job where you are paid a lot of money to work in an office environment for a company people have heard of, during the day, doing something that seems important and impressive but isn't technical or boring, that allows travel but doesn't require it, where you have authority over others but aren't expected to micromanage them, and are ultimately not required to take responsibility for any company-wide problems or risks while still getting a share of the credit; the storied entry-level "Senior Vice Consultant" role. :) ​​​ Risk-averse HR people and hiring committees are the ones who generally control roles like that, and they generally dislike anything that requires them to stick their neck out, including vampire teeth. I suppose if "will not hire" is the answer for vampire teeth, a low credit score, working well independently or as part of a team but not both, 3 glowing references but not 4, and having 11 months of experience in a skill rather than a year, I can see the temptation of choosing the fun route to "will not hire", though. :) I think the best way to see it is as a negative perk; work is available, but there are fewer options and they are for less money, sort of like how people with pets can still find places to rent, but there are fewer options and they are for more money. I suppose much like pet ownership, it's all about determining if the long-term satisfaction outweighs the inevitable disadvantages.
  21. I always thought it was how the carbs were prepared, rather than the carbs themselves that were the culprit. Growing up I ate a lot of "al dente" spaghetti, cooked by the pound to fit proportionally on my family's super-sized plates; a deceptively large pile of chewy spaghetti unencumbered by fluid or fiber can really pack a lot of calories into a single meal without seeming to. :)
  22. I think for dramatic effect they used an exaggerated version of the past in Back to the Future. If they were to make the film today, I suspect they'd use the 80s as half-remembered from TV-reruns and kitschy 80s movies, jumbled together to form a world that never existed in reality -- making it seem like a very different place from today.
  23. I had the most luck switching from condensed foods. Oatmeal instead of granola. Noodle soup instead of spaghetti. Stew instead of jerky. Also, going for the whole-grain version of something when available. Tea instead of soda seems to help -- not sure why, as it's not really any less sweet the way I drink it, but I seem to end up drinking less of it.
  24. ​Ah, maybe I misunderstood -- I thought the post was about a civil war in Europe, not across it. Meaning that they had heard one of Europe's many countries was having a civil war, and they were trying to find out where it was.
  25. ​ ​I suppose I should amend that to say that it isn't clear to me. :) I think of a group like the Kosovo Liberation Army. Once having 45,000 members and responsible for a portion of the former Yugoslavia now recognized as the country of Kosovo by the U.S. -- but that's certainly not the way Yugoslavia saw it; the KLA was seen as a terrorist group, and accused of drug trafficking, kidnapping, using children to commit violence, and other crimes. ​ We also have a group like Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. Once having 60,000 members and responsible for a portion of Colombia almost a third of the country's size before U.S. intervention -- but that's certainly not the way Colombia saw it; FARC was seen as a terrorist group, and accused of drug trafficking, kidnapping, using children to commit violence, and other crimes. Despite engaging in similar tactics, one group was seen as participating in civil war, while the other was not. Maybe it's just my lack of deep familiarity with the two groups, but the sore thumb that makes one group's actions civil war and the other group's actions not isn't so obvious to me; any advice?
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