Monthly Archives: October 2011


In Curiosity Is Critical to Academic Performance, curiosity was measured as a strong factor like conscientiousness and intelligence for academic success. Capacity and speed acquiring information, staying on task, and motivation to work with information are all good things. At the end of article, I found this interesting.

Employers may also want to take note: a curious person who likes to read books, travel the world, and go to museums may also enjoy and engage in learning new tasks on the job. “It’s easy to hire someone who has the done the job before and hence, knows how to work the role,” von Stumm says. “But it’s far more interesting to identify those people who have the greatest potential for development, i.e. the curious ones.”

For the members of my team curiosity is critical. We get the escalations of problems several layers of tiers below. Every problem we get should be something others found too challenging to solve or requiring information not available to them. Plus every problem requires informed decisions, meaning gathering data and determining that results are accurate. Expectations of the near impossible become the new normal every time we succeed. Plus delivering the near impossible usually means learning something new. These same academic performance factors help solving challenging problems.

Our interviews were designed to get a sense that candidates have enough relevant knowledge to be a foundation we can build upon and maybe some expertise the fill in our own gaps. Also, we ask questions about how someone worked on problems to get a sense that the candidate learned from past experiences and can find the information necessary to solve issues.

The technology landscape is constantly changing. Software upgrades mean things break or work in a new way. Leadership makes decisions which pull the rugs out from under us. Adapt or die. Curiosity is the only way to stay sane in such a world where what I know today may be irrelevant in a week.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

The origins of pleasure

Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

One interesting thing is the same wine from a more expensive bottle improves the taste. In college, my first experiment was looking at which soft drink people liked best: Coke, Pepsi, or Sam’s Choice. In a lot of cases, people would say they thought the drink was either Coke or Pepsi and so it was the one they liked best. In many of those cases it was actually Sam’s Choice. None stated they liked the cheap Sam’s Choice best. So I can buy the perceived expensiveness of something does help me like it better.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4