/blog > communication

tinfoilbaby

 Until recently, Charlie Veitch was a prominent  figure in the “Truther” movement, that granddaddy of all conspiracy theories, the one that asserts that the 9/11 attacks were in fact carried out by the US government. These are the folks who will tell you that the twin towers couldn’t possibly have fallen in the way they did without a controlled demolition via explosions; that there were no people on board the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon (not even a pilot — the plane was controlled by a robot), that there were no Israelis in the World Trade Center on that fateful day, as they were all warned ahead of time to stay away; etc. The dynamics of how people can come not only to believe such idiocy but devote their every waking moment to it are fascinating. But even more interesting is the process by which an individual can walk…

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hyundai-ix35-630

UPDATE: I thought  Ellis Jakubowski’s comment (below) warranted a response. This post wasn’t really about whether hydrogen powered cars are a good idea; however, Mr.  Jakubowski writes: Because pure hydrogen does not occur naturally, it takes energy to manufacture it. Okay, just a couple of quick thoughts here: 1. Pure hydrogen is hard to come by on earth (because it’s always mixing with oxygen and other elements), but it is in fact the most abundant substance in the universe. About 3/4s of the universe is hydrogen*. In fact, all of the energy we access on earth, whether it comes from fossil fuels, wind power, nuclear energy, whatever — ultimately derives from that big, bright fusion reactor you may see hanging in the sky on a sunny day. And guess what that reactor (which we affectionately call “the sun”) runs on? 2. You don’t really manufacture hydrogen so much as you…

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kidinhandcuffs

Sadly, this is not a headline from The Onion: Teacher Sues School over Suspension for ‘Weapons’ Charge: Showing Students Garden Tools Okay, so it’s not a joke. But it must be a mistake. That headline can’t be right. And in fact it is in error, but unfortunately the error doesn’t change the impact of the story. It seems they weren’t really garden tools: Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a civil rights lawsuit against a Chicago public school district on behalf of a second-grade teacher who was suspended after he displayed garden-variety tools such as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers in his classroom as part of a “tool discussion” in his class. Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students’ reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as…

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ggss

What’s better than reality? How about augmented reality — applications that interact with the world around us to provide startling new insights and capabilities. On this week’s edition of The World Transformed, special guests Jospeh Rampolla and Collin O’Malley join hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon to discuss the opportunities (and risks) represented by this amazing new technology. What happens when the whole world becomes a computer interface? Give it a listen… Listen to internet radio with The World Transformed on Blog Talk Radio About The Guests Joseph Rampolla has been a law enforcement officer for 18 years. In 1994 he received a Masters of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College in New York City. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law &  Society from Ramapo College of New Jersey. He became a police officer in 1995 and currently holds the rank of Captain for…

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giantspider

Monday I did a lengthy piece on how working parents should divvy up the housework and, perhaps as importantly, how they should communicate about it. I’m of the opinion that some tasks don’t divide up very well and that for many chores it’s better for one partner or the other to be primarily (or completely) responsible. This morning on Facebook a friend shared a photo that I think perfectly encapsulates this idea: My friend tells me that this photo does not originate with her, but with a friend, which is sufficiently far removed to put it into urban legend territory. No matter, the principle outlined is sound. In a good relationship, one partner captures the giant spider; the other partner kills the giant spider. Twice.Read More…

mr-mom-1

Alexandra Bradner, writing for the Atlantic, explores Some Theories on Why Men Don’t Do as Many Household Tasks.  She starts out asking working mothers to list all their “invisible” second-shift tasks — all the extra stuff they feel they have to do every day after work. She then asks men to respond to the list. She does not ask for a similar list from men, and in fact never seems even to consider the idea that men might do as much as women. It is assumed from the outset that they do not, and that their behavior needs to change. Personally, I would like to see this issue addressed a little differently. Rather than just running with her assumptions, Bradford might have asked both partners on either side of the relationship to present such a list. In comparing the two lists, everybody would probably learn something important. And, yes, maybe…

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cliff

In the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Epstein argues against the use of the term “fiscal cliff” on purely linguistic grounds: Fiscal cliff has by now achieved the status of a dying though not yet quite dead metaphor. The function of a metaphor is, by the power of comparison, to make one see the original object more clearly. Rosy-fingered dawn, wine-dark sea—Homer is the man for metaphor. The notion of a cliff, of course, suggests the suicidal. Gadarene swine, lemmings, and all that. “If thought corrupts language,” Orwell also wrote, “language can also corrupt thought.” Orwell believed that politicians were the arch fiends when it came to the corruption of language. But today they are nicely abetted by the media, which have a distinct taste for the trashy in language. They do love so to talk about being “embedded” with this or that battalion, or to report on the situation of…

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Translation-app

Traditionally, there are three great barriers to global communication: distance, language, and understanding.* The story of technological progress is the story of the dismantling distance as a barrier. The progress was slower at first, primarily involving incremental improvements to shipbuilding, but it really took off with the introduction of the telegraph. Then came the telephone, e-mail, Skype, Facebook, etc. In short: distance has been all but conquered. The next barrier is language. It need not be that significant a barrier as long as one party is willing to take the months or years required to master a new language or as long as you can find someone to intermediate between you. And now we’re closing in on technology provides a third alternative: An app offering real-time translations is to allow people in Japan to speak to foreigners over the phone with both parties using their native tongue. NTT Docomo –…

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doomedship

It’s a tragic story. A small fishing boat lost at sea comes within sight of a huge cruise ship. The men aboard the boat do what they can to attract the attention of people on board the ship and it works. Some bird watchers on deck note one of the men desperately waving a sweater. The image shown here is a photo taken by one of the birdwatchers from the deck of the cruise ship. They report what they have seen to someone who was an employee of the cruise line (although not necessarily a member of the crew) and even show him the boat. This individual says that the captain will be notified, but nothing ever happens. The cruise ship steams on. The lost fishing boat is not rescued for another two weeks, by which time two of the three men aboard have died. This matter is under investigation; the findings…

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smiley2

Over the last couple of days there has been a mini-burst of stories about the relationship between niceness and success. Narcissists rise to the top; mean people earn more money; nice people cut stress in the workplace; generosity is the ultimate survival skill. So who or what is right, here?Read More…