Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Manager's Dilemma

Scott Adams has summed up in this cartoon what I call the "Manager's Dilemma".

If an employee claims that with X resources he can make Y product, and a manager refuses to give those resources, then who is correct?  Without the resources the manager is correct by default, but that's not necessarily true is it?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trump / Putin Alliance to take on Islam

As Russians endorse Trump's policy speech more than Americans do, and Putin favours a willing partner,  it is entirely possible that this is the moment that radical Islam has a true enemy; one that isn't half-hearted in approach and merciless in response to savagery.  The USA hoped for a real partner in Europe, and perhaps it has an ally in the form of a former enemy.

As the proxy backers in the Middle East, all sides would be put on notice.

If so, Saudi Arabia and Iran must consider long and hard how they operate in the future. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An easy writer's guide to High School essays

My daughter was upset about how she was doing on an in-class written essay, and it reminded me of all the pain and suffering I went through in high school writing essays.

I really have a problem with English teachers in general because the topic they claim to know is for a lot of kids a very hard level of thinking. It's all too easy for English teachers to take a strident attitude towards what is really an exercise in conditioned reasoning.  It looks so easy and teachers can do it, so what is so hard about it?

Well, for one thing, kids are used to formulaic presentations, by the teachers themselves, so they often lack a lot of depth in the subjects they are expected to write on. What this means is that whereas an older person that has done it before and been criticized many times for poor writing can survive, early writers as I will call them suffer from a double whammy of lack of experience and lack of knowledge. It is hard enough when you don't have practice with long drawn out formats, but then to expect what is really advanced reasoning is silly. Oh, but the teacher points out that these are very easy subjects, and they are given ample flexibility to create points and make proper sentences. Well, yes, but you can't remember how confused you were back 20 years ago, either. And as English teachers get older, their viewpoints and their empathy both suffer from myopia.

Unlike math, English is very subjective and quite frankly most English teachers are failed writers themselves. Let me repeat that, English teachers washed out writing on their own, and they supposedly teach BY EXAMPLE, and mark students as if they were experts in the craft.  Can you see wherein lies the problem?

Now, do I think kids are coddled, yes.  Do I think kids that don't put in any effort should be punished? Yes. But unlike subjects where kids have a chance to get a right answer, they can be marked badly for stupid stuff like punctuation and spelling, whereas they are really just practising with the idea formation and format. They get poorly done, or incredibly polished examples that are not realistic and told, voila, reproduce it!  Except remember English teachers can't for their own skin reproduce the same level of work on new stuff now not what they've copied out for 20 years.  Exactly how is that fair?

What nonsense.

Now, if you have gotten to here and can still follow my train of thought, it's not because I did well in High School English. It's because I'm better at it that they are. It's because I'm 44 and I've written for nigh on 25 years.  That is the biggest reason why; practice, practice, practice.  I've probably written more than most English teachers have, and I'm not so strident to have all the answers. I have been forced to practice, and make mistakes and learn. 

Here's one secret; I write first and then edit later in soft copy. I can, because I'm not stuck in 1970's teaching methods.

Add insult to injury, the question formulation, "Relay the points under consideration" or "..." are really ham-fisted and unclear requests to ask you to write about a topic but made to look articulate. Garbage!  Ask kids in SIMPLE English to write because you want to see SIMPLE English back.You are not judging their internal thesaurus, you are inspecting their ability to make an argument; in English!

So here is a simple guide to English essay writing for those that don't have the experience:

1. Find out what the question is asking for in your essay; read through the essay question and parse it - take it apart into pieces that make sense - and come up with about 3 to 4 ideas that they are asking for (You see how I presented a step and then explained it all in one sentence, that is experience).

2. Jot down in point form the list of ideas you need to write on.

3.  Make a thesis that ties all of those points together in some way. A thesis is a central idea or topic or theme. What ties all those pieces together? So look at it and remember the story and try to come up with a common idea, common theme that fits the essay question you just parsed.

4. Leave a space for the introduction of about 5 lines. Below, write out bullet points for 3 body paragraphs, one for each of the ideas from 1.

5. Erase the bullet points. Write out each body paragraph. That is the best way to make each point and make it make sense as a collective is to do them all sequentially.

6. Based on 5, write a concluding paragraph.

7. Go back to the open space above the body paragraphs, and write an introduction based on all the work you have written.

There is an essay, not fancy but complete, that covers all the bases, gives you time to correct and format, and that will allow you to pass and destress in English class.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Splash and Dash: Applying Lonely Introverted Tech Workers' Psychology to Online Stimulus-Response

I had a tech blog that was getting no hits so I decided to try an experiment on a group of people that I understand quite well: introverted technology workers. I know a little about the general psychology of people that spend all day working in relative silence.  They tend to have high IQ and low EQ. They also tend to need to prove how smart they are to others; the problem is, that they
tend to also have other problems in their life that make it hard for them to
achieve those needs through normal means.

Then I read this article and it was clear to me how to exploit psychology to achieve an objective.
Someone’s inherent motivation to seek social contact can spring from either the positive reward of connecting with others or the negative emotional states triggered by feelings of loneliness. For most of us, the urge to connect with friends and family is a combination of avoiding the dejection of feeling alone blended with the uplifting feeling created by social connections. Many of our primal urges to be social—or to be a loner—may be driven by neural mechanisms beyond the locus of our conscious control.
Beyond the locus of conscious control. Like Cerberus at the gates of the underworld, they can't help but bark at intruders.

You see these people have a problem, while they are paid to make technology they work within an organization and their contribution is hidden by other areas like marketing or just their boss who takes credit for them. They are under-appreciated or undervalued or underpaid or all three and more. Some of them are unhappy and need an outlet but they can't take an overt action directly.

So in this what is clear that unhappy tech people that crave attention but can't go about it the right - socially acceptable - way still need attention even if they get it from other means. If I poke the bear in just the right way, then he will react in just the right manner. React subconsciously in the PREDICTABLE manner.  That is an advantage that might be exploitable.

So what they do is seek other means to achieve their needs; they take their technical knowledge into forums where their other personal attributes are not seen as a negative. Some of them become angry online trolls; they find outlets where their knowledge can be exploited for self-satisfying needs. They find things to correct, they make people ask them nicely for help and they lord their technical correctness over people that don't really care.  If you are struggling to understand what I mean then consider an example.  Think of the IT guy from Dilbert: Mordac the preventer of IT services:

Technical people use their one advantage to gain the other parts of life they don't control.

 No matter what your profession is, (with enough study) tacticians can beat you at your game because we study all games.  We understand tactics, we apply it to games. In this case I am employing a feint, or some laymen call it a "shoot and scoot".

Now when it comes to understanding knowledge, or epistemology, science people can be a little strident in their understanding. Try a lot. They learn some things, they see them working and convince themselves that's all, and then if someone suggests things that don't fit circumspection is the last thing most ponder.  Few of them have read Wittgenstein or Kant or Descartes. There are limits to knowledge, there is no absolute truth or beauty. But to someone that understands a limited bubble, and hopes that bubble is practically all, then to challenge THEIR bubble of knowledge is to make them upset. It confronts their nature. It disputes their world model. But it also gives them a reason to try and get attention to how smart they are.  Oh please won't anybody see how smart I am!

And even in the more mundane, if you make something that they find silly or pointless - because remember they are assured they understand all because they know a lot about a defined rule set - then they are smug enough and conceited enough to tell you all about how they think of your idea.

In either case it makes them respond if you challenge their knowledge bubble. It forces (subconsciously) the dog to bark. Eureka!

Think what happens when you bait lonely, unhappy, introverted people with a tidbit of incorrect, or partly correct, or just plain wrong information.

Now, pondering the right and wrong, the good and evil, the eightfold path and karma when it comes to exploiting a fact of science for an applied purpose,  I could determine that my method is wrong; incorrect. I decide to look at it as fulfilling needs on many fronts. I get hits I didn't otherwise get, and they got a chance to mock a person for their stupidity. So long as one doesn't engage in not-Right speech then one isn't really breaking the Eightfold path. I am providing a service, they get an outlet for anger and loneliness which generates a social connection they desperately need. And they are providing a service back.  Win-win.

So I tried a tactic I call splash and dash; I made a blog post that was controversial - it would stir negative feelings in lonely angry people and rouse them - and then I stood back and let them foam at the mouth.  The splash is something that confronts their technological syntax and gives them a reason to be mad and mock people. The dash is not confronting them.  I didn't fight them, I didn't mock them back or protest too much. I did hint at what they were doing and that's just a human weakness on my part I couldn't help spilling out.

The splash is the footsteps in water outside the underworld, and the dash is avoiding the angry maws of Cerberus in retaliation...

This was the result:

Quantitatively it was a success. Qualitatively I am not sure. I find that some of the most susceptible angry introvert tech workers visit here.  I don't plan to do this very often but who knows. I decided not to go into any details here because some of those people might make their way to this page, looking for more stuff to mock and then realise what happened. I try to follow the teachings of (some not the mystical nonsense) Buddhism, I try to assist global happiness enlargement. I don't plan to mock anyone for how I played them. I look at it as I made them happier with what they got.

So if you want to get hits and you need them from a technological audience, then consider a splash and dash posting. Understand that it is the lonely unhappy low EQ people that are responding and they can't help themselves. Expect they will be nasty and don't take it personally because the problems are not located in you, they are located in them. If you are fortunate, they will be invigourated with fervour and on the power of controversy they will perpetuate onto many other barking dogs all guarding the gates of technical knowledge.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Conversation with an ex-wife narcissist

My ex-wife is a narcissist and she refuses to cooperate because, frankly, she is incapable of the same reasoned compromise "normal" people can do.

She brings my daughter over without telling me, which is against the joint parenting agreement, and she doesn't tell me when the kids are sick, which is against the joint parenting agreement, and she tells me that she blocks my text messages and may read them days later. Again, which is against the joint parenting agreement.  Does she care? Not really because in her mind she's justified. And I'm lower than garbage.

So this is how a text traffic looks when I finally get fed up (in verbatim):

From me:

Hi. Darcy's glasses are at your house can you please drop them off?

Also. You didn't tell me kids were sick and when did you drop off rayleigh?

I'm on my way to get glasses with darcy

Ignoring me doesn't change the fact you didn't follow agreement. 

Ok. I'll show you how this works. Then I'm going to post this whole txt traffic online to show my family what I deal with. 

Narcissists don't like being outed but you gave me no choice.

Rayleigh is losing her phone. She made an agreement to communicate all issues, demonstrate being responsible and calling each Wednesday at your house. When she proves she meets agreement she will get it back. 

She will not be allowed to work until she earns phone back. You can try to twist her to live at your house but she knows who will pay for her university so best of luck. 

This was going to happen regardless of today. Her phone is gone now.

And now you've demonstrated exactly what I complain about and people can't believe. So thank you.
You can phone her at 403 XXX XXXX or email through Facebook she still has laptop.
I waited till basketball was over to give her enough time but she's proven she can drink but not be responsible.
No response as of 3 hours after I started.  I am being ignored. And she doesn't care about the kids, nor did she ask how they are doing healthwise.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

#PlayingIntoTrumpsHands Bill Maher is playing right into Trump's hands

If #DonaldTrump is a Democratic plant, then is #BillMaher a crypto-supporter of Donald Trump? 

This is exactly what Bill Maher should be saying if he wants to elect Donald Trump. All those stupid American voters that don't agree with Bill Maher on a good day will turn around and vote against a dictation from the left.  Maher thinks he is supporting #Clinton, but what's he's actually doing is making political ads for Trump.  The people that attack Trump lose, the Pope (Il Papi), President Obama, George Bush, Jeb Bush, Barbara Bush, and so on.  Hasn't he been paying attention.

When Trump responds "If Mexico doesn't want to pay for the wall, then the wall just got 10 feet taller" and the crowds cheer it means that emotion and not reason is driving his popularity Meeting anger with insults is fuel on the fire. So Bill Maher if you really don't want #TheFullTrumpian, then stop insulting the Republican base.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Religion is the last form of ideological fascism

Secular Bangladeshi writer murdered in the street

It must be painfully clear to the reasonable in society, that the last great refuge of ideological fascism, is religion.  Any religion, for any reason justifies evil against anyone that dares to disagree. If you hold agreeable religious ideals you are safe from death, if you disagree - by which extremists get to interpret as "insulting" the religion - then you are right for killing for speaking up or just not going along with religion.  Those that kill for religion are deemed to be pious instead of just shunned as awful evil murderers.  Why is this so?

Religion is the last tired form of human-manufactured dictatorship based on old nonsense and in contravention of free ideas, free speech, free society.  Society will not move forward until we remove the grip of religion.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Science in poetry

If mankind is to remember the basic ideas of scientific understanding, when few have access to the ideas daily, then we need to find ways to insert it into culture.

It's great to sing about bitches and bling. But it's more important to remind people about more than just social stuff. It would be a good and noble effort to work with artists to make a dent in culture.

Memes fight for survival like Dawkins argued in the Selfish Gene. Scientists must assist this meme adaptation. One way is to get people to sing and hum to the important ideas in science.