Friday, July 03, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Long Weekend Edition

It is a long weekend for most people here in the US, as we head into the patriotic extravaganza that is our July 4th holiday. We'll be spending it a bit unusually- we're packing the kids off to my parents' house for a week, and won't even be with our kids for the holiday. Oh well, as Pumpkin likes to inform us, they're half Kiwi, anyway.

Perhaps we should make a huge deal out of Waitangi Day next year.

Anyway, I am not talking the entire day off, but I am planning to stop working early.  And so, your links list will be somewhat random this week. Here goes:

This is a really interesting essay about why we shouldn't build "addictive" apps. It is also a reminder that the systems we build are the results of our decisions, whether conscious or not, and we always have the option to try to make better decisions.

Don't assume everyone who disagrees with you is a jerk. I basically agree with the main point of this article, and do think that it is best to aim for a civil discussion and try to understand why the person on the other side thinks differently than you do, without demonizing that person. I struggle to reconcile this general belief/desire with the fact that sometimes the person on "the other side" is arguing that I'm not equal, and/or won't actually discuss the issues at all. So I guess I think I shouldn't assume the other person is a jerk, but that I have to be free to respond appropriately when the other person proves to be a jerk.

Speaking of jerks: I don't think I should have to learn how to cope with verbal abuse. I think that people who routinely resort to verbal abuse should not be tolerated in any workplace. They can change. I have seen it happen when it was made clear that their behavior would result in them losing a job. (Thanks to the reader who sent that article along! I'm not sure if you want to be named publicly or not...)

Somewhat related: it is on me to build my racial stamina. Sometimes, we need to have conversations that make us feel uncomfortable, and accept that the other party has every right to be angry.

Back to speaking of jerks: why do people care where other people pee?

Another reader submission: the study of women in color in STEM that was referenced heavily in What Works for Women at Work.

Back when I was reading up about labor and delivery, I remember reading that we didn't really know what triggers labor. We still don't know the full story, but we're learning more.

And speaking of labor... did you see the story about the California woman who got lost in the woods, gave birth, was attacked by bees, and started a wildfire?

This tweet about that link (from a local reporter) made me chuckle:

How a woman is transformed into a cover model. The gif in this tweet is a bit mesmerizing, and also disturbing:

And while we're doing tweets with embedded gifs:

And finally, a couple of promotional links for things I'm working on:

I'm trying out an idea for short (and inexpensive!) seminars on focused topics. First up, how to run better meetings. The price is already low, so there is no discount for signing up early this time: just the knowledge that you're helping me stop worrying about whether I'll hit my revenue goals for the course!

I've got the page for the next release from Annorlunda Books up! Unspotted is the story of the elusive, endangered Cape Mountain Leopard, and the man who has made it his mission to save them. It will come out in August, and I'll have the preorder page up soon. In the meantime, I'm looking for some advance readers- sign up if you're interested.

Oops, almost forgot the closing laugh. XKCD has a great answer for those annoying "what's your greatest weakness?" types of interview questions.


  1. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Related to the "don't assume people who don't agree with you are jerks" idea, Hank Green has been tumbling a series about how, yes, some beliefs actually by definition make you a jerk. Not using those words though, more like, dude, if you think having a homosexual lifestyle is a sin, you're intolerant by definition. (You can have those beliefs, but you don't get to complain about people calling you intolerant.) And intolerance has real negative effects on people who are being discriminated against or shunned, so it is kind of a big deal.

    1. Anonymous6:01 AM

      Added, wow, that abuse article is *terrible*.

    2. I guess it's kinda of a good guide for "how to stay sane" when your work place has verbal abusers, but you don't want to switch workplaces? And also is based on the assumption that you cannot have a discussion with the abuser to dissuade them from the behavior, and cannot appeal to a higher power to address the issue.

  2. I care very much where people pee. I want them to pee in toilets or (if they are able to) urinals. If they are hiking, I want them to pee off the trail. I want them not to pee anywhere I am likely to stand or sit or lean. For example, I once saw a guy pee on the back of a bus bench. I would have preferred he not do that. I would also like people who are homeless to have better access to bathrooms, because they are people and should have the same privacy the rest of us do when peeing.

    Other than that, no, I don't care at all. And I certainly don't want the government monitoring my bathroom use, or anyone else's bathroom use. Ewww.

    1. I would prefer that the government spend money not on monitoring bathroom use but on, say, building and repairing bridges. You know, helping us not die.

  3. Zenmoo7:09 PM

    I don't know - it wouldn't be very Kiwi to make a fuss of Waitangi Day. Just put your jandals on, head to the beach, maybe eat a pie and then in the evening watch the current Prime Minister get heckled at Waitangi & congratulate yourself for not being an Aussie. That should cover it ;-)

  4. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Ugh, the president of my company is a verbal abuser. In that situation you have to either learn to cope or get out. I've used a number of the coping mechanisms listed in the linked article.


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