Monthly Archives: December 2017

Common sense is cultural 

Common sense is not so common. At least not in the sense that what we think are common sense behaviors are universal agreed upon across all of humanity. 

An example: In a western culture, we tend to value the individual, so we think it common sense that we do things that benefit us. In an eastern culture, they tend to value the group, so they think it common sense that they do things that benefit the group.

We also are mired in groupthink that our tribes have the only correct values in humanity. So, the values of others occasionally cause conflict when members come into contact. A friend was upset about something neighbors did. One of the comments from someone sharing the friend’s values was that it is just common sense not to behave the way the people from another culture did. I wanted to reply that from the perspective of the other people, it is common sense to behave in this offensive way.

I did not because it was only going to make them defensive and cause unnecessary anger. People strongly defend their values. My questioning their values would be counterproductive. And having brown skin would lead to saying if I am not willing to share these values, then I should go home.

The funny thing? Best I can tell, all my ancestors going back 100 years were born in America. I just am introspective enough to try and understand how people work. And that leads me to consider other perspectives and give people some leeway. Given my Baha’I Faith upbringing, this consideration is just common sense.

From Common sense is cultural  published December 29, 2017 at 01:13PM.

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Common sense is cultural 

Common sense is not so common. At least not in the sense that what we think are common sense behaviors are universal agreed upon across all of humanity. 

An example: In a western culture, we tend to value the individual, so we think it common sense that we do things that benefit us. In an eastern culture, they tend to value the group, so they think it common sense that they do things that benefit the group.

We also are mired in groupthink that our tribes have the only correct values in humanity. So, the values of others occasionally cause conflict when members come into contact. A friend was upset about something neighbors did. One of the comments from someone sharing the friend’s values was that it is just common sense not to behave the way the people from another culture did. I wanted to reply that from the perspective of the other people, it is common sense to behave in this offensive way.

I did not because it was only going to make them defensive and cause unnecessary anger. People strongly defend their values. My questioning their values would be counterproductive. And having brown skin would lead to saying if I am not willing to share these values, then I should go home.

The funny thing? Best I can tell, all my ancestors going back 100 years were born in America. I just am introspective enough to try and understand how people work. And that leads me to consider other perspectives and give people some leeway. Given my Baha’I Faith upbringing, this consideration is just common sense.

From Common sense is cultural  published December 29, 2017 at 01:13PM.

Whoever smelt it deals with it

In my opinion, the person who discovers a problem deals with the problem. A law enforcement officer sees someone aim a gun at another. The LEO is off duty or out of jurisdiction. Societal expectation is the LEO will intervene.

The same applies to me being an employee. If I discover a problem, then it is my responsibility to intervene as best I can. If I have no access to the systems or skill to do anything, then I should inform those who can and provide the information I know to best aid them in assessing the problem. If I do have the access, then I should work the issue as best I can. It might technically belong to someone else or another group, but if I have been given access to the systems and have the skill, then I should deal with it.

Even if I lack the access or skill, then I still feel like the issue is still MINE until it is resolved however that is. My responsibility becomes to find the person who can deal with the situation. I am not absolved just because it is not something I can do.

I thought maybe this came from my work at a university, but I am not so sure. I feel like I held this attitude even early in my work there. I would help other students anywhere I was. I did the same in high school, such as stores where as a customer I fixed misshelved books or items put in the wrong place. Anyhow it came about, I feel responsible for ensuring things are working around me.

From Whoever smelt it deals with it published December 19, 2017 at 07:25PM.

Automate Yourself Out Of A Job

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At VSU, my boss got a promotion when his boss retired. Then a shuffling of jobs gave me a promotion, but it also sent my old job to another group. That left the web services group going from 2.5 full-time positions down to 1.5.

We did not have that much free time. If anything in the early 2000s, the responsibilities were growing which is how we ended up with 2.5 people. My only way to restore sanity was by automation. Admittedly, I love scripting and schedulings, so my approach to things at that time was to write scripts to handle jobs. The change gave more motivation to ensure that anything that could be automated was. Or I would drown in the work.

What made it hard was, even as I automated these jobs, more things were coming to the web. The needs grew faster than I could develop the tools to handle it. It was a fantastic experience, though.

From Automate Yourself Out Of A Job published December 18, 2017 at 05:12PM.

Sports Announcers & Hot Hand

It seems fairly common for sports announcers to contradict themselves. One minute, “Team X cannot catch a break,” and the next, “Everything is going their way.” During the first case, they were up by a sizable amount but a few chances in a row went bust. They were never at risk, but eventually, the other team just got exhausted trying to catch up and the game ended in a rout.

Basically, these are people who are believers in the Hot Hand Fallacy. Worse, they perpetuate it by extolling it to anyone who listens. It seems all over sports.

Successful teams or individuals often are described as always are even though they do sometimes lose. And those who are normally winners suffering a loss seems shocking even though over the course of a season it is more normal for even the best teams to lose from time to time. Teams are always trying to get better, so the mix of who is most competitive changes year to year. So, the advertisement thing to prevent financial gambling seems to apply to sports:

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

It applies over a season, between periods, and between plays.

From Sports Announcers & Hot Hand published December 17, 2017 at 11:45AM.

The Importance of Student Workers to A University

Gille believed that [UGA] Transit could not succeed without its stable of student employees. She said the campus-centered transportation is best fulfilled by students who are on campus nearly every day, not individuals in the community who rarely otherwise come in contact with the University of Georgia campus. It’s easier to acclimate hundreds of students to campus driving routes than to find the same number of non-students willing to learn the routes. The Importance of Student Workers to A University

My first day at Valdosta State University as a student, I also applied for and got a job working in the library. (Yeesh, I think that means I’ve been working for the same employer-ish for 22 years.) I loved the public and school libraries growing up. And I did some of my research for the middle school science fairs in the college library. I love books, so why not?

My final summer, they hired me a temporary staff to fill-in at the reference desk. Normally, a faculty member librarian did that work, but I was being entrusted to do when they were at half capacity. That seemed to seal the deal: I would go to library school for my master’s degree and become a librarian. (Fate intervened by running into my future boss the next fall who convinced me to come work in IT.)

As staff at VSU IT, I supervised a handful of students near the end. They were invaluable for keeping Web Services running. Yes, they were cheap labor. They also hopefully learned some skills that made their careers. Student labor is what made the school operate. Hiring good students is just as important for any staff position because they represent the university, they do the work that allows it to run, and they ensure the quality of almost anything except maybe the professor vocalizing to a classroom. Students do not get the respect of staff, but they for many areas are most of the staff. The departments might not exist without student workers.

 

From The Importance of Student Workers to A University published December 14, 2017 at 07:02AM.

Weird addressing

Email addresses are weird.

Web addresses run from broadest to most narrow scope, which makes total sense to me. http is the protocol basically informing the computer how to handle the request. (Back in the 90s, we more commonly also saw ftp and mailto and gopher as protocols in links.) Next is the computer address which ideally would have been ordered Top Level Domain (TLD), site domain, hostname, so for example this site would have been com.ezrasf.www. Next is the folder tree down to the file location. Finally, is the file name.

Similarly, email addresses should have been designed as protocol, TLD, site domain, username. So, you could reach me at mailto:com.ezrasf/blog. Instead, the username at server address is what we got. It works, but it has bothered me that it does for a decade and a half.

From Weird addressing published December 13, 2017 at 07:43AM.