rebeccaamytodd

Poking things with sticks since 1977

Want to learn about Net Neutrality?

You should. I do not claim any expertise, but in my effort to understand this I’ve come across a few fabulous sources.

I advise starting here. Vi Hart has a way of making complex topics accessible through her blend of art and narration. The analogy she uses in this video worked for me and made the concept understandable. Bonus points for using sound educational strategies – Vi contextualizes this concept through using a common experience – ordering online. In terms of comprehension strategies, to me this is a text-to-self connection, and also serves to ‘activate prior knowledge’. Generally, we find new information easier to comprehend and retain when it is connected to something we’ve personally experienced. Why I’ve chosen this as your first exposure to this topic.

Juice Rap News is one of my preferred media outlets. Perhaps the issue that concerns me the most is open access to information. I’ve some grave concerns that “The News”, as we’ve come to accept it, is usually generated by for-profit companies supported by paid advertisers. This does not sit well with me, not at all. I try to seek out other sources for information, and thanks to the interwebz, I can usually find them. As I do rely on such digital sources to educate myself, the notion that the internet itself could become a place that prioritizes the information from bigger, mainstream outlets and throttles the feeds of smaller sources causes me some fairly grave concerns. We are already inundated with information from these sources, and it does take active effort to seek out alternative channels for information. This is, of course, the beauty of the internet – it has liberated information from the clutches of a few major players and allowed other sources to share their perspectives.

Thankfully, this week marked the end of our Fortnight of Ignorance. Since the start of Last Week Tonight on April 27th, John Oliver’s take on the weekly world news has become indispensable to me. I urge you to check him out. The show makes their key clips available free on the YouTubez – how awesome is that? You don’t need HBO to catch up. Each week, he focuses on one main issue in a larger segment to both inform and entertain the audience. How he managed to make his clip on capital punishment both simultaneously emotional and hilarious is a credit to his writers and his presentation style. He gives the same treatment to Net Neutrality in this clip from last night. John and his staff have created a fabulous clip here – I mean, the line “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring” is brilliant enough, don’t you think?

I am closing this post with this clip for good reason. John has also provided us with an actionable take away – the FCC has openly solicited feedback on their plan. I simply can not phrase it any better than John, so here’s a transcript from this episode. Will our efforts make a difference? Cynic RAT says no, Pollyanna RAT says it can’t hurt (jeez, that’s my positive perspective? Yikes.)…

“The FCC are literally inviting internet comments at fcc.gov/comments. And at this point– and I can’t believe I’m about to do this – I would like to address the Internet commenters out there directly.

Good evening, monsters. This may be the moment you’ve spent your whole lives training for. You have been out there ferociously commenting on dance videos of adorable three-year-olds, saying things like, “every child could dance like this little loser after 1 week of practice.” Or you’ve been polluting Frozen’s “Let It Go” with comments like– “Ice castle would give her hypothermia and she dead in an hour.”

Or — and I know you’ve done this one — Commenting on a video of this show, “F*ck this *sshole anchor…. go s*ck ur president’s d*ck… ur just friends with the terrorists.” Now, I don’t know, I don’t know what any of that meant, but I don’t think its a compliment. But this is the moment you were made for, commenters. Like Ralph Macchio, you’ve been honing your skills, waxing cars and painting fences. Well, guess what? Now it’s time to do some f*cking karate. For once in your life, we need you to channel that anger, that badly-spelled bile, that you normally reserve for unforgivable attacks on actresses you seem to think have put on weight, or politicians you disagree with.

Or photos of your ex-girlfriend getting on with her life, or non-white actors being cast as fictional characters! I’m talking to you, “RonPaulFan2016”! And you, “OneDirection4ever”! And you, “OneDirectionSuxBalls!” we need you to get out there and, for once in your lives, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction! Seize your moment, my lovely trolls!

Turn on caps lock and fly my pretties! Fly, fly, fly!!!!”

Comment here: fcc.gov/comments on Proceeding 14-28

Or email the FCC at: openinternet@fcc.gov

#FlyTrollsFly “

How did Amal get George to propose?

A love song to soundtrack your read

I do not follow celebrity gossip- in fact quite the opposite- I try my best to know nothing about them. Yesterday, a trusted source on Twit posted a link that caught my eye. The headline didn’t reference The Cloon, but a UN lawyer. I read it, and it was well written- it didn’t even mention George by name. It focused on the career of Amal- a woman I quickly came to respect in a few scant paragraphs. An extremely accomplished and passionate person, I admit to a bit of a crush myself.

My colleague B always has opinions I respect, and seems to understand the RAT’s eye view on life. We discuss the news, how George always said he wouldn’t marry again. B says something to the effect of “she sounds like a successful and fascinating person, and obviously George would be attracted to someone who shares his interests and intelligence. No wonder he changed his view and decided to marry her. They will make a formidable couple.” – I am parrot-phrasing, but this was the sense of it. Positive. Understanding. Happy. We had a little giggle about life, and how it’s so easy to make sweeping statements about yourself, then something happens, and everything changes.

We also had a brief chat about relationships. I split from my Wasband almost three years ago. Since then, I’ve become privy to something rather terrible.

Why are you single?

Seriously. People ask me this with surprising frequency. Even while I am on dates with people, they ask me this.

See, I don’t really find it all that confusing. I guess I only thought there was one reason to be with someone- you’ve met this amazing person that excites you so much you need them in your life. Simple. And, apparently, my Pollyanna nature shines through in this perception.

I never considered togetherness to be the ultimate state of being. I never played wedding as a little girl- I played astronaut. I never fantasized about the names of my future children- I fantasized about the names of all the far off places I would visit someday. In fact there were a few months when I was three, after seeing Em Striker Back (as I called it) in the theatre that I demanded my family and nursery school teachers call me not Leia, but Luke Skywalker.

Securing a partner has never been a goal for me. I strive to keep my goals focused on myself, as I have found that setting goals for others is an exercise in futility. I keep my eyes on my own page and work to make myself the best RAT I can be.

But it does lead to some confusing conversations. In my simplicity, I had assumed that we all agreed the only reason to form a partnership was being wildly in love with this being and needing to form a life together. Apparently, I was wrong.

How did Amal get George to propose? 

Last eve, watching some TeeVee before bed, my show runs out and, distracted by my book, the next show begins. The worst sort of tabloid TeeVee imaginable. Scramble for the remote, try to turn it off before I accidentally have filth inflicted upon me, and fail. Their headline?

“We will look at how Amal GOT George to propose

Really, E-talk Daily, REALLY?!?

This form of sexism bathes both sexes in a terrible light.

Women are trying to trap men with marriage

That’s just a part of what this statement conveys. It suggest, nay, states that Amal, a multi-lingual lawyer for the UN, active in many social causes, really just wants a man. It implies that there is no possible way that she was happy being single and doing work that she passionately believes in. That all that time, she was really plotting to dupe some man in to marrying her. Because that’s what every woman wants, right? To be a wife.

Again, this objectifies the notion of marriage in a way that I am not at all comfortable with. If your goal is to have this thing called marriage, and that goal supersedes the desire to find a true partner with whom you want to spend your life, you should probably have a talk with your therapist. Having a marriage doesn’t solve your problems. Quite the opposite…

Now please do not read this as disrespect for people in happy marriages with partners they adore, children they love, and a partnership that works. I’ve nothing but respect for that sort of commitment. I am so fortunate to have so many strong couples in my immediate family and circle of close friends. I know how much work it takes to make that sort of union work, and I know that in many ways, single life can be easier. But those I know who have these good, strong relationships all say the same thing- it isn’t easy, even when you are with the person you adore.

To prize the notion of marriage above your partner, though, is sad to me. I do not understand this mindset, so please forgive me if I speak erroneously. To my eyes, needing to be in a relationship simply because you do not like being single is both unfair to yourself and your partner. I know that personally, I would not want someone to be with me simply because they don’t like being single. That I can be reduced to an object that helps abate someone’s loneliness hurts me. I don’t want to be someone’s “good enough for now.” I only want to be someone’s “My life is not as wonderful without you in it.” If you struggle with loneliness, adopt a pet. Volunteer. Get a hobby. Don’t occupy someone else’s time and prevent them from meeting their true partner just because you are not comfortable enough with yourself to be single.

Men only marry because it is what women want

This is the flip side of this discussion. The statement that Amal had to GET George to propose states that the only reason a man would ever want to get married is because a woman has forced it upon them. How terribly sexist and sad.

Men have feelings. Men fall in love. Men get all silly and cute and infatuated, just like women do. Imagine that.

It also says something much worse to me- that men aren’t all that smart. Saying that women trap men into marriage says that men are stupid and easily manipulated. That men are too dumb to see what these manipulative women are doing to them. That sort of rhetoric hurts us both.

I see way too much of this. Next time you are subjected to a commercial on the TeeVee, have a look. Often, women are presented as nagging, eye-rolling bitches and men are lazy and stupid. Rarely is there an ad that portrays true equality to my eyes. And as much as I take agin the way women are portrayed, it’s the portrayal of men that breaks my heart.

I’ve three great male friends that I’ve had in my life since I was 15. So that’s 22 years now… whoa. All three are vastly different, and yet all three have many similarities. They are all wonderfully smart. Not in the same ways- however you want to break down the notion of intelligence, myself I like Gardner– my three men would have very different profiles.

I’ll tell you what they are not, though- stupid. All three have insights that help guide my life. When I have an issue, I turn to at least one of them. Sometimes, I get all three perspectives and blend them into something that works for me. Sometimes, I disregard the advice I’ve sought and do my own thing. But I respect and honour their thoughts, even when I disagree.

I’ll tell you another quality my guys share- they are all really romantic. Together, including myself, we’ve gone through five marriages and three divorces. Not once were any of us tricked into marriage. We all entered with the best of intent. We all thought we’d found that one person who truly gets us and would add value to our lives. Some of us were wrong. Some of us were right. All three of my friends proposed out of love. Not because some evil bitch tricked them.

All three of my friends wanted kids. They didn’t let this goal supersede their need for a solid partner. Sure, we’ve made some collective mistakes- who hasn’t? These three men are wonderful fathers. They live for their children and families, and they never say they are “babysitting” when they are actually “parenting”. And certainly they’ve never once suggested that they were trapped into marriage by their wives, or ex-wives. They all take full responsibility for their own actions, even when the situations don’t play out as anticipated.

When I hear the suggestion that men have less interest in marriage and families than women, I think on my three friends, and I know this to be patently untrue. Beyond being false, it’s damaging. It is damaging to the people in bad relationships who are trying to find their way out. It is damaging to the people in good, solid unions that are there because they really want to be. And even worse, it is damaging to the young who are still trying to figure out the role that a romantic partnership will hold in their lives.

So how did Amal GET George to propose?

They fell in love.

 

Lindros Leave- Lessons Learned from my 8th Concussion

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#1 – perhaps stop the head smashing behaviour. Of course, where’s the fun in that?

#2 – once you’ve had more than, say, 5 concussions, it becomes quite challenging to count how many concussions you’ve had. It took all of Team Todd to come up with the 8 I’ve had (thus far).

#3 – when the doctor says recovery will take at least a month, they probably mean it.

#4 – when the doctor says “no screens”, they probably mean it. 

#5 – when the doctor says “no reading”, they probably mean it. 

#6 – when the doctor says “no thinking hard”, they probably mean it.

#7 – deciding that, because the doctor did not specifically prohibit writing, you should manically scrawl half-baked ideas at the hipster coffee shop is a quick route to a massive migraine.

#8 – when you can’t read or have screens or do physical activity, sitting on the porch talking with the other retired gentlemen is as exciting as your life is gonna get.

#9 – when a big tree branch falls, this provides fodder for conversations with men of all ages – from the group of 7 year olds that created a fort in said branch and treated me to entertaining rounds of “watch me!” while they played, to every young adult man that has ever owned a chainsaw telling me how he would chop it up, to the old timers telling me how the city has failed us in the maintenance of the city trees, I got days of excitement out of that branch. Luckily.

#10 – your brain controls your emotions. I know, right? Having a brain injury really fucks with your mind. Bursting into tears at the coffee shop trying to place my order or losing my shee-it trying to accomplish a small and simple task, I learned that even RAT-brain cannot operate as normal when injured. 

#11 – having an injury that you cannot SEE makes it really, really hard to be easy on yourself (if you are anything like me) and makes it hard to explain to others.

#12 – I am so fortunate to have a family that immediately dubs me Lindros, while also checking in with my recovery. 

#13 – I am so fortunate to have friends who understand this whole process and normalize it for me. You may be a botanist, Dr. May, but your thoughtful and level-headed support through this has been indispensable. Thank you as well to Joe and others who shared stories of head-injury recovery – of course, if you know me at all, you will understand that irrational emotions has been the most challenging aspect of all of this. 

#14 – I am so fortunate to have a workplace that cares for my health. My colleague Ashley drove me to emergency and worked to reply to all of my customers for me while I was away, and my boss Matt has put my health and recovery before the demands of the workplace. As someone who is prone to pushing myself a bit, he’s been the voice of reason, reminding me to follow the doctor’s orders. As in…I am back at work today, suffering, and he is pushing me to go care for myself.

#15 – I am SO fortunate to be Canadian! I was seen at emergency within about an hour, and my family doctor made time to see me before he left on vacation. I’ve received the best care I could imagine, without having to worry about getting stuck with a bill later. 

#88 – Dancing around the kitchen in excitement, full of PetroPower-y goodness, is, apparently dangerous to my health. Yet I shall not contain my excitement, injury be damned. Some things are worth knocking yourself senseless over. 

Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

If you are not following Joe’s blog Trial of the Century, I would encourage you to check him out. A wonderful thinker and clear communicator, I always love to see some new thoughts from Joe.

Trial of the Century

I made a lot of money last year.

I don’t have any of it, but I made it.

A significant amount went to the staggering cost of living in San Francisco for close to a year.

Another large chunk went to friends and family for various reasons – art and music projects, trips to see relatives, etc – in other words, I gave it to people who were engaged in growing their careers / passions, their families, and their hearts.

I also tipped more frequently / in higher amounts than I ever have, gave money to charitable orgs, and regularly bought food and other items for folks living on the street (most of the time I do these things quietly and quickly – there’s a more nuanced point about why, which I’ll get to later).

Then, about a month ago, I was laid off. While it wasn’t my favorite moment…

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Visual Literacy – Which of the Thousand Words Do You Mean?

nerdalinger

This is how I read fiction for fun

I am a semanticist. I love language and words. I collect them. My fiction books are flagged and highlighted, often to mark exciting phrasings. I know that one of my favourite phases ever crafted in the English language lives in the first paragraph on page 17 of Ondaatje’s In The Skin Of A Lion. I know that I first learned “inchoate spate” from Heinlein, and “Hoist with his own Petard” from Vonnegut.

Tied to my love of language, perhaps, is a desire for precision in communications. I feel a great difference between ‘hate’ and ‘dislike’, for instance. To me, they are not synonymous. And I don’t care what The Googles say, literally and figuratively do NOT mean the same thing.

I’ve written before about the flip side of this struggle – how I find visuals to frequently be murky. Emoticons, for instance, boggle my mind. I wrote about that more extensively over here in my post on Spin Sucks, and I am not going to rehash all of that here and now.

Today, I was in a wonderful webinar presented by Richard Binhammer and hosted by Spin Sucks Pro. Richard’s different presentation style really resonated with me, as did his message. What really grabbed my attention was his discussion around Visual Literacy.

I’m not a neuroscientist (surprise!), but I have a strong fascination with how we create meaning on the neurological level. Our brains store and link disparate pieces of information, which we retrieve almost instantaneously, through the development of physical neurological pathways. We store the image of an apple alongside our memories of the apple- the taste, the crisp sound of the first bite, the time I lost my tooth in a Macintosh at school, the way way spell the word graphophonically, in English and any other languages we speak.

To say, then, that a picture is worth a thousand words could be quite true, or could be a vast underestimation, depending on our personal experience with the subject matter. Exactly what those thousand words are will vary from person to person.

To stick with apple, perhaps I like them and perhaps you don’t. Showing us each the same image of a lovely ripe Honey Crisp will resonate differently with each of us, then. The way my mind has already made it a ‘Honey Crisp’, my favourite sort of apple, is proof of this. The way my brain has also been shouting “Pomme de rue!!!” and then began singing me “Long Time Running” is further evidence of how vast and varied the potential neural pathways, all from a simple word: Apple.

So yes- your visual may in fact be worth a thousand words, more or less. But which of those words do you actually mean? Assuming that the thousand words my mind relates to a subject and what yours connects could lead to misunderstandings. Unlike written words which have generally agreed upon definitions easily accessible through dictionaries, images do not. 

As I endeavor to use more images to connect to visual learners and support my text, I would also encourage you to consider how to use text to bring clarity to your images. And if you are in need of a non-native speaker of the visual language, I’m here for you. Just don’t expect that I will understand you if you speak in hieroglyphics. 

 

In Which RAT Admits her Addiction to High Geekery

 

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One of my favourite book sellers in the Dirt Mall

I found myself bookless this weekend, a terrible state of affairs for me. For me, this means I have two choices – go to one of my favourite used bookstores and search for a random read, or head to the big box store and search out a specific title. I do not do libraries, a story for another time.

I went on the site for the local Indigo, and saw that they had a single copy of this book I’ve been seeking. Actually…the site has claimed they’ve had a single copy for a while now. A week or so ago, I went to grab it, and it simply wasn’t there. A wonderful book clerk came by, and spent a long time searching the shelves, out front and in the back, to no avail. She explained it had only recently arrived in stock, so perhaps it was not shelved yet – fair enough.

I return, still seeking that very specific title. It’s book two in Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series. I’ve tried to grab it at my used stores, but as it’s a recent title, I’ve had no luck finding it. The site says it is in stock, and so I venture out into the night (by which I mean bright, sunny summer afternoon, but that’s not the mood I am trying to set), and hope that the prodigal book has returned to its assigned shelf space.

I go first to where I think it should be located – in the fantasy section alongside Scott’s other books. There are two copies of book one, one of book three, book two still noticeable absent.

“Fuck.” I say aloud, startling no one (apparently, even the other fantasy reading attic dwellers realized that this was a day to be outside, not to be burying your head in a book…)

RAT problem solving mind kicks in. Perhaps, I muse, the people stocking the shelves struggle as much as I do with the signage that clusters Science Fiction and Fantasy under one heading over multiple racks, even though the shelves themselves are segregated into fantasy alphabetically on three shelves, and Sci Fi alphabetically on the others. I’ve already congratulated myself on cracking this case, saunter over, find the Sci Fi writing Ls…and nothing.

“Fuck.” I proclaim again to the empty shelves.

Ahh…but here’s the answer – some of the SF/F books that are a part of series are clustered together on end displays of the “If you enjoyed GRRM, here’s something to stop you poking your own eyeballs out while he FINALLY finishes book six” sort. Perfect! This is obviously the spot to find Lynch’s series, and I’ve already decided I’ve no concerns busting open a boxed set for the book I want, because of the anxiety this has produced.

A bit full of myself for solving this problem that their own employees could not, I head to the end display to track down Locke Lamora.

He’s. Not. There.

There’s a boxed set of Abercrombie, all of the GRRM books in various forms, Card’s Ender’s series (that’s SF, breaking their own signage rules, but I’ll allow it).

“Fuck.”

There’s no Lynch.

“I’m visibly defeated” I tell myself, causing myself to slump dejectedly about the aisles, awaiting someone to notice me and bring me my goddamned book. Drama, that’s what this situation needs, some moping, some stomping, some sighing. All fruitless.

“Enough of this victim mentality!” brain shouts at me, somehow still holding out hope. “To the terminals!”

I look again, and the plot thickens. Not only is there a mysteriously absent book two, there are two copies of book one that are not where they should be! This, obviously, changes everything. I am no longer seeking a single missing tome – I am on the trail of a serial book thief. Or book hider. Or….uber fan? Hmmm…

Brain say to me – “self, there’s no way all three books are independently missing. They must be together. But where?”

I start to ponder, and realize there are other themed end displays, other potential locales! Ahh smart thinking, brain.

A digression – recently, I went and looked at the setting for my Google ad profile. It told me that “based on the sites I visit” I was male. This surprised me not at all. What I do online is basically – visit the AWOIAF page to see the new Westeros conspiracies (could V actually be D? Who is the Azor Ahai?), search out different top lists of Fantasy and Science Fiction works to see what I should read next, and learn as much as I possibly can – usually about Science of some description. And so, Google sees me as male. Interesting, that.

Bearing this in mind, I go to the display table marked “Gifts for Geek Dads”. Clearly, I’ve made the right choice. The table is covered in my kind of books, from Michio Kaku’s latest to weighty fantasy tomes and a mix of Science Fiction classics. Perfect place for Lynch.

Not gonna lie, I was fairly smug. I’d outsmarted Indigo and their damn useless book terminal, I’d overcome shoddy signage, I’d outfoxed those other readers who’ve purposefully stashed books they wish to return and grab later. A triumphant shout of glee poised to escape my lips, I reach to grab my book…

“Fuck!” The other geek dad searching the table was visibly startled by my proclamation. He shuffles off to the GOT swag table, keeping an eye on me. He must have taken agin my Lannister looks, damn Northerner.

Dejected, I wander back to the assigned section for Lynch. Wait, there’s suddenly a book betwixt one and three! The heavens opened, an errant sunbeam wending its way to the shelf, to illuminate…

“Fuck!” Some heathen shoved a Lunt amidst my Lynchs.

I decide to give up. Obviously, Red Seas Under Red Skies is a book for another day, and dammit, I am wasting this day in a bookstore when I should be on my porch, reading books. I know Rothfuss has a new one coming out… like GRRM, as he SHOULD be finishing book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles, instead he’s penning other adventures. Luckily for Pat, he’s written about one of my favourite minor characters. To the Rs and The Slow Regard of Silent Things!

Which, of course, is absent.

To the bloody terminal.

Pre-order, November release. This does NOT help my bookless situation. Anxiety is getting pretty dang high by now – now there are multiple tales that exist somewhere about friends I love that I cannot access.

Mope. Sigh. Shuffle.

RAT’s Pollyanna brain refuses this situation – there are three missing books dammit, if you can’t find them no one can!

I check the available data against my assumptions thus far, and I realize I’ve made at least one critical error, perhaps two. I’ve assumed a) that the person stocking the books understands this is fantasy and not run of the mill fiction, and b) that they know it is aimed at adults and not teenage boys, a common problem with much of what I read (right, Google?).

Armed with this new data, I head off again, certain that I’ve solved the Mystery of the Missing Missives (because alliteration).

To the regular fiction section! And somewhat inevitably, to disappointment – no Lynchs there, either. I am beginning to think that Locke Lamora himself placed these books on the shelves, he does love a good jape.

I steel myself to broach the Young Adult section. Not because I am embarrassed to be there or concerned about fraternizing with children, but because I am highly susceptible to protracted series about misunderstood teenage protagonists of all descriptions. I carefully keep my focus and scan the shelves there. I almost get sucked in by a few different authors – I never did finish the Pendragon series – but manage to escape the section without getting waylaid.

About to concede defeat and go purchase something familiar and be done with this horrific experience, I have a brain wave – the section where staff recommends books to customers. Surely that book clerk I see walking around in the bow tie MUST read the books I do and would therefore want to highlight them to other readers! Clearly, that IS the solution.

I flounce over there, because at this point, I am now really ridiculously thrilled with myself that I would be able to think through such a dilemma and come out the other side successful, book soon to be clasped in my hot little hands, soon to be sipping my Bucks on my porch in the sun while I catch up with Jean and Locke.

There were many quality suggestions on that rack, but not a Lynch to be seen.

I swear rather a bit more vehemently now, attracting the attention of Bow Tie. He looks up from the terminal, startled, tells me he will be back to help me in just a moment, and leaves to help another customer. Dejected and alone, I realize I have just one available option – Heinlein.

Morosely, I drag myself back across the store to the terribly misleading Fantasy/Science Fiction racks and snag myself The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, which somehow I have not read.

At the check out, the woman kindly tells me I can order the book and have it delivered – yeah, I know. I still enjoy the process of going to a brick and mortar store, wandering about, smelling books, sometimes finding a new friend (I ended up with my first Jose Philip Farmer last time I couldn’t find Locke), sometimes reconnecting with an old pal (how had I not read Cat Who Walks Through Walls? I mean it has my man Lazarus Long!).

Here I sit, a few days later, almost done my Heinlein, still seeking Locke Lamora. Do I just break down and order it? Try another book store? The woes of a book nerd addicted to High Geekery. Le sigh.

 

 

Guess which country does the most good for the planet?

I’m still crushing on you, Iceland.

ideas.ted.com

The Good Country Index measures how much each of 125 countries contributes to the planet. Announced at the TEDSalon in Berlin, the Index features some unexpected winners — and even more surprising losers. (Sorry, USA.)

gci_index The top ten countries in the Good Country Index. (Click to view at larger size.)

Irish people, rejoice! It turns out, your green land is the “goodest” country in the world. That’s right. The “goodest.” At least, that’s according to Simon Anholt, who’s spent the past two years compiling an index to determine which of 125 countries contributes the most to the common, global good.

“I wanted to know why people admire Country A and not Country B,” Anholt said in a phone interview before he unveiled the full Index at the TEDSalon in Berlin on Monday, June 23. “To cut a long story short, I discovered the thing people most admired is the perception that a…

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Winnie the Pooh vs. Eyeore: What kind of leader are you?

Colleen looks at the role of positivity in leadership- and quotes Winnie the Pooh!

Thinking is Hard Work

“What day is it?”, asked Winnie the Pooh
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet
“My favorite day,” said Pooh”

— A.A. Milne

This quote on a A- frame street sign made me smile today. There is a huge amount of research that suggests that positive moods, affect or approach to the world has a multitude of benefits from better relationships to better health.  Studies show that successful entrepreneurs are more likely to have a positive outlook – they kinda have to, in order to persuade investors and employees to go along for a risky ride.

In her blog, Rebecca Amy Todd recently posted  What does your TweetCloud Say about You? She noted that most negative tweets are often about venting, which is counterproductive, and honestly doesn’t feel good. I started thinking about why I like a positive view of the world. Have you ever had a friend who is always in…

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The Creativity Crisis

This post really made me think.

Thinking is Hard Work

Children have become less creative over the past 20 years according to Hee Kyung Kim (2011).  The study included of over 40 years of data from the Torrence Tests of Creativity, it showed that all but one aspect of creativity are decreasing, including fluency, originality, elaboration, and abstractness.  Only resistence to premature closure of creativity is stable. Children’s strengths are also decreasing over the past 20 years:

children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle. (Kim, 2011, p. 292)

With the decrease in elaboration scores, over the past 30 years

1) people of all ages, kindergartners through adults, have been steadily losing their ability to elaborate upon ideas and detailed and reflective thinking; 2)…

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What does your TweetCloud says about you?

my cloud

My TweetCloud 2014

I saw someone tweet a link to a service called TweetCloud. It analyses your tweets in a given time period and gives you your most mentioned words.

Fascinating syntactical analysis. And really, semantic too. The general feel of my words is very positive- exactly how I want to represent myself. When I do catch myself about to tweet something negative, I ask what my possible intent for that message is. Usually, the negative statements are just to vent and complain, and really, who needs more of that?

I think all of my words represent my tweeting style quite accurately. The only reason ‘sucks’ made the list is I often share content from Spin Sucks- it is not a word I usually employ.

What does your TweetCloud say about you?