Monthly Archives: January 2012

Easy

Work gave me a new computer. An internal group does the initial setup and hand it off to me to do the rest. This has been the easiest setup I have had ever. (It would be easier on a Mac.)

At my previous job, I would get CDs with the operating system and other software and install it myself. Letting someone else install this for me was a test in professionalism for me. With my third machine, I no longer care that I am not in control and even rationalize it as more efficient.

After work and dinner I started installing some of the software I like to use. Chrome, Tweetdeck, and instant messengers automatically synchronized by pulling my data from my account. Lastpass, Dropbox, and Keepass gave me easy access to setup accounts. I dreaded having to find my various configurations, credentials, and data files to get everything working.

Still, I put away the new toy after lunch because email mysteriously stopped downloading. A window asking for my password (the one workstations said I would not need to enter at work) was hidden going through the Alt+Tab list. Windows 7 is waaaay different from WinXP. Of course, I had been using WinXP for 9 years. Change is hard. Change is good. (Maybe.)

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

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Information Diet

Do we consume too much information? I might. Lately I have thought about reducing the amount of following I do. Typically I hit this point when I realize it takes me all weekend to catch up. To be fair I reach this point by getting all caught up over a long weekend and seeking out new stuff.

  • 40% the blog or news feeds (over 100),
  • 40% Facebook friends (remove over 250),
  • 40% Tumblr following, (remove 45),
  • 40% Twitter following (remove 100),

Then there are the potential stoppages:

  • Stop following tags on WordPress.com, Tumblr, Blogspot, Flickr.
  • Stop using some social media sites entirely like Google+ or Diaspora.

Given my social preferences, I have lots of time to spend online.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

Stories

Those who enjoy thinking are mentioned at the end of this quote from Why Stories Sell: Transportation Leads to Persuasion as most vulnerable to being persuaded by a story. Reading Oscar Wilde is fun if only because he puts in so many entertaining quips from his characters to comment and persuade the reader. I feel transported back to college where my friends were challenging my ability to keep up with the craziness of who did what, when, how to who.

Stories work so well to persuade us because, if they’re well told, we get swept up in them, we are transported inside them.

Transportation is key to why they work. Once inside the story we are less likely to notice things which don’t match up with our everyday experience.

For example an aspirational Hollywood movie with a can-do spirit might convince us that we can tackle any problem, despite what we know about how the real world works.

Also, when concentrating on a story people are less aware that they are subject to a persuasion attempt: the message get in under the radar.

Two sorts of people who may be particularly susceptible to being persuaded by stories are those who seek out emotional situations and those who enjoy thinking (Thompson & Haddock, 2011).

Drew Westen at Emory University has a good New York Times piece on how President Obama failed to keep up the grand story he built transporting people into building a better America during the campaign. He needs to resume telling it or start a new one to convince the American public he should be elected for a second term.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

Weekly Roundup for Jan 20, 2011

This is my first attempt at something like a weekly roundup like I said I should try in To Blog Or To Share?. Hopefully I can maintain it.

  • Martin Luther King Jr on education:
    1. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the ligitimate goals of his life. Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking… We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.”
  • More quotes:
    • Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
    • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
    • Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • Apple to announce tools, platform to “digitally destroy” textbook publishing

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

SC Not The End

It bothers me that some news media personalities claim former Governor Mitt Romney only needs to win in South Carolina to wrap up the nomination. He needs 1,144 delegate votes to win outright. He has 6 to 13 depending on which estimate one uses on how Iowan delegates will be distributed. He has 7 from New Hampshire. If he wins South Carolina, then he will get 13-25 more delegates depending on which congressional districts he wins. That would put him at around 26 to 46 delegates. With 2-4% of the needed delegate count does not sound wrapped up to me. It sounds like a long way to go.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

The Enemy’s POV

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

From the Martin Luther King, Jr. entry on wikiquote.

At brunch yesterday, the point was being made to me over and over that if climate change advocates could ask deniers, “What would it take to convince you?” and give that data or answers, then that would spark the necessary dialogue to help both sides understand each other. Running across the quote above, it struck me as quite funny and unsurprising that I would be on the wrong side of MLK.

As though proving my point, my repeated argument that ideology trumps facts according to studies fell on deaf ears. False information (such as a misleading negative campaign ad) agreeing with a person’s ideology followed by a retraction or fact checking tends to result in strengthening the false info. The recalled “facts” are those necessary to defend conclusions. It appears to work this way for both liberals and conservatives. The mechanics appear to include remembering the false information because they agree and not the correction because they disagree.

Even before I ran across this through to the present, I try to expose my self to Libertarian, Republican, Green, and Democrat information sources. I find myself dismissing some things and then armed with the ideas above feel bad about having done so. So I dig for more information and sometimes find I was wrong. Doing this is hard. It is far easier to just assume I was already correct. But then I am an information glutton.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4