Archive for February 2nd, 2012

Ten minute movie for your enjoyment

| February 2, 2012 | 1 Reply
Ten minute movie for your enjoyment

Today, at my daughter’s school, I saw the following ten minute move called “The Lunch Date.” I won’t say anything more, other than I highly recommend it. Enjoy.

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Can solar storms knock out earth’s power grids?

| February 2, 2012 | Reply
Can solar storms knock out earth’s power grids?

Are solar storms capable of knocking out earth’s power grids? It has happened, and it could happen again, according to this article in IEEE Spectrum.

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National Geographics Science Photos of the Year

| February 2, 2012 | Reply
National Geographics Science Photos of the Year

Here are National Geographic’s Science Photos of the Year. Many stunning photos here, though the the breast cancer photo is also haunting. Take a look.

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What really motivates us

| February 2, 2012 | 1 Reply
What really motivates us

A lot of businesses (and government organizations) are faced with the problem of how to motivate employees in general, and in difficult economic times in particular. I read Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us last night and had one of those face-palm “wow” moments. I can’t call it an epiphany because it came from the book, but I can say that something “clicked.”

Dan Pink summarizes his observations:

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements:
(1) Autonomy: the desire to direct our own lives;
(2) Mastery: the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and
(3) Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Pink spoke on this at TEDGlobal in 2009.

I recommend the book to anyone in a management (I prefer “leadership”) position.

As his subtitle suggests, you may be surprised.

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Quiet as a mouse?

| February 2, 2012 | 1 Reply
Quiet as a mouse?

I’ve sometimes heard the cliche “Quiet as a mouse,” but we’ve had a couple mice in our house lately, and they aren’t very quiet. Lots of scratching and gnawing. If you have mice, you often know it with your ears. I would suggest changing the phrase to “Quiet as a quiet mouse.”

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ACLU sues Obama for assassination secrecy

| February 2, 2012 | Reply
ACLU sues Obama for assassination secrecy

Glenn Greenwald reports:

The ACLU yesterday filed a lawsuit against various agencies of the Obama administration — the Justice and Defense Departments and the CIA — over their refusal to disclose any information about the assassination of American citizens. In October, the ACLU filed a FOIA request demanding disclosure of the most basic information about the CIA’s killing of 3 American citizens in Yemen: Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan, killed by missiles fired by a U.S. drone in September, and Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, killed by another drone attack two weeks later.

The ACLU’s FOIA request sought merely to learn the legal and factual basis for these killings — meaning: tell us what legal theories you’ve adopted to secretly target U.S. citizens for execution, and what factual basis did you have to launch these specific strikes? The DOJ and CIA responded not only by refusing to provide any of this information, but refused even to confirm if any of the requested documents exist; in other words, as the ACLU put it yesterday, “these agencies are saying the targeted killing program is so secret that they can’t even acknowledge that it exists.” That refusal is what prompted yesterday’s lawsuit (in December, the New York Times also sued the Obama administration after it failed to produce DOJ legal memoranda “justifying” the assassination program in response to a FOIA request from reporters Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, but the ACLU’s lawsuit seeks disclosure of both the legal and factual bases for these executions).

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Texting teenager euthanized

| February 2, 2012 | Reply
Texting teenager euthanized

The Onion reports:


Brain-Dead Teen, Only Capable Of Rolling Eyes And Texting, To Be Euthanized

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Free market war

| February 2, 2012 | Reply
Free market war

Given that those of us who oppose America’s wars can’t stop these wars no matter who we vote for, it’s time to privatize these wars. It’s time to use the good old free market approach touted by so many American warmongerers. I propose that we pass a law requiring that all American wars must be completely paid for–no more wars on the American credit card. Here’s a second new proposed rule: Only those citizens who are in favor of starting any new war (or continuing any existing war) will be forced to pay for it/them.

Let’s see how this new system would work in the case of the War in Afghanistan, which is costing the U.S. $2B/week (= $100B/year). Let’s assume that there are 250,000,000 adults in the U.S and that 1/3 of those American adults (about 83 million) want to continue with this absurd military action in Afghanistan. Since I can’t stop that war regardless of how I vote, I should at least not be made to pay for it. Those seeking to continue that war would be forced to pay all expenses related to that war. $100 billion divided by83 million = $1,204 per year for each hawkish American adult. That’s $100 per month for each of you warmongers, and you will be made to pay in advance in this fantasy approach to funding America’s wars.

[More . . .]

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