Monday, October 26, 2009

More female programmers

From Recycled Knowledge
by John Cowan
Hilarious pair of comments:
hotaru said...
> We can't afford to constrain ourselves on what size or shape or color the bodies are that house those brains.
you say this, but you think we should prefer female programmers over male programmers?
jcowan said...
That comment is both accusatory and inaccurate (I think and say no such thing). I can take accusation or inaccuracy, but the combination is poison.

Wired plug board for an IBM 402 Accounting Mac...Image via Wikipedia

Not enough is said about the time spent unlearning bad habits in computer science training.
More female programmers: "

I tried to post this comment to a public site, but failed repeatedly. The topic of the original post isn't relevant to my comment, which was in response to a comment that read, in its entirety:

Why would we would want more female programmers?

My answer:

The world needs more effectively mobilized brains. We can't afford to constrain ourselves on what size or shape or color the bodies are that house those brains. Also, diversity is good in itself: it improves flexible response, and it's silly to throw away a cheap source of diversity.

A major U.S. university with a strong CS program (I am contractually prevented from naming it) that had female CS undergraduate admissions in the single digits year after year was able to raise their admission to the same rate as other engineering programs by changing just one thing: they no longer gave people who already had programming experience preferential admission. There have been no changes in the overall performance of the student body in the years since.

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Bob Sutton: Selecting Talent: The Upshot from 85 Years of Research

This is interesting, hiring and Aptitude or IQ. The issue is that testing has to be based on the job description. Yeah, I have over-estimated my ability to interview people. Even a hokey test would be better than just an interview, to at least force me to think hard about who I wish to hire.

Students taking a test at the University of Vi...Image via Wikipedia

IN A WORD - One word answers the question "Is Employment Testing Legal?", that word is "YES". However, the "yes" must be qualified as long as a Professionally Developed employment test is administered according to the test developer's intended use. For example, it is legal to test accounting applicants with a math test, however, it could be considered a discriminatory practice to screen custodial employees with the same math test as the math competency for an accountant is very different than a custodian. It isn't the test that is "legal" or "illegal", it is the APPLICATION of the test that makes the difference! APTITUDE TESTS - One type of employment test is the Aptitude Test. Some employers want to test an applicant's knowledge of a particular subject that pertains to the job for which they are being considered. This is perfectly legal, and when applied properly, can be a valuable tool. Be sure and consider the following, however, before administering any Aptitude or I.Q. test: Be sure the test is "Professionally" developed. You can read more in the links below about a Supreme Court decision that requires Aptitude and I.Q. tests to be "professionally" developed. (See Griggs vs. Duke Power.) HIRE SUCCESS™ On-line Aptitude Tests have been professionally developed by one of our consultants with a Doctorate Degree in Education. If you are considering other tests, ask for the credentials of who developed the test. If you find that a computer programmer or sales manager developed the Math, Spelling and Vocabulary tests, for example, be very cautious before using such a test.
Bob Sutton: Selecting Talent: The Upshot from 85 Years of Research: "

The upshot of this research is that general mental ability (IQ and related tests) was the best predictor and work sample tests (e.g., seeing if people can actually do key elements of a job -- if a secretary can type or a programmer can write code ) were the second best of the 19 examined. Here is the rank order of the 19 predictors examined:

1. GMA tests ('General mental ability')

2. Work sample tests

3. Integrity tests: surveys design to assess honesty ... I don't like them but they do appear to work.

4. Conscientiousness tests: essentially do people follow-through on their promises, do what they say, and work doggedly and reliably to finish their work.

5. Employment interviews(structured)

6. Employment interviews(unstructured)

7. Job knowledge tests: To assess how much employees know about specific aspects of the job.

8. Job tryout procedure: Where employees go through a trial period of doing the entire job.

9. Peer ratings

10. T & E behavioral consistency method: 'Based on the principle that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. In practice, the method involves describing previous accomplishments gained through work, training, or other experience (e.g., school, community service, hobbies) and matching those accomplishments to the competencies required by the job. a method were past achievements that are thought to be important to behavior on the job are weighted and scored.'

11. Reference checks

12. Job experience (years)

13. Biographical data measures

14. Assessment centers

15. T & E point method

16. Years of education

17. Interests

18. Graphology (e.g., handwriting analysis)

19. Age

Certainly, this rank-ordering does not apply in every setting. It is also important to recall that there is a lot of controversy about IQ, with many researchers now arguing that it is more malleable than previously thought. But I find it interesting to see what doesn't work very well -- years of education and age in particular. And note that interviews, although of some value, are not an especially powerful method, despite their widespread use. Interviews are strange in that people have excessive confidence in them, especially in their own abilities to pick winners and losers -- when in fact the real explanation is that most of us have poor and extremely self-serving memories.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dignity begins when boasting ends

This is brilliant. From:
Subhashita Manjari
(A Collection of Sanskrit epigrams)
Remind myself when my wife says I make as ass of myself every time I speak for longer than 2 minutes 45 seconds, or start speaking without pausing for at least 1 minute 45 seconds.
Dignity begins when boasting ends: "

Devimahatmya MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, Biha...Image via Wikipedia

चतुरः सखि मे भर्ता यल्लिखति तत् परो न वाचयति । तस्मादप्यधिकं मे स्वयमपि लिखितं स्वयं न वाचयति ॥

'My husband is very clever. Nobody can understand what he writes', says a lady to her friend. Her friend replies, 'My husband is even more clever, he himself can't understand what he writes!'

en: Guru Nātyāchārya Vidūshakaratnam Padma Shr...Image via Wikipedia

'We rise in glory, as we sink in pride, Where boasting ends, there dignity begins'
Share this impressive verse of ancient wisdom! Share this feed. Read more

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Python News: PSF adopts Diversity Statement

What do I think about diversity statements? The Python Software Foundation has published and endorsed one:
The Python Software Foundation and the global Python community welcome and encourage participation by everyone. Our community is based on mutual respect, tolerance, and encouragement, and we are working to help each other live up to these principles. We want our community to be more diverse: whoever you are, and whatever your background, we welcome you.
Also see: For additional resources on efforts to promote diversity within the Python community, please see the main diversity page.

17th century painting from Hasht-Bahesht palac...Image via Wikipedia

Diversity/multiculturalism is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
I am for diversity/multiculturalism, now, in western culture, because there are too few natural experiments in effective living. More natural experiments by different cultural, national, religious, social-sexual groups lead to better outcomes.
Society would give more people happiness, fulfilment, health, reproductive opportunities in the absence of pain and anxiety if more people copied the best of other cultural, national, religious, social-sexual groups.
I take exception to the use of the word "tolerance". To tolerate one thing, you must be intolerant of forces in opposition to that thing. "Tolerance", taken by itself, is meaningless, unless the form of the corresponding intolerance is unspecified.
As a human, I have a built in bias against other cultural, nationalreligious, social-sexual groups. I strive to rise above these biases, and act accordingly. I am intolerant of those who would act against other cultural, religious, social-sexual groups, for their own benefit or comfort. I also take exception to the use of the word "diverse". There are some forms of diversity I value, and other I do not. I would not appreciate diversity that welcomes motivated stupidity, motivated sloth, motivated controversy, and motivated egoistic criticism and . I feel strongly that those who practice motivated stupidity, motivated sloth, motivated controversy, and motivated egoistic criticism should feel unwelcome. ("motivated is important here, I don't mean those who do so out of understandable ignorance, or who are incapable of constructive communication because of situational stress.)
The diversity I value are, again, cultural, national, religious, and social-sexual, for the reasons stated above. Not that anyone should care, I just wanted the exercise of making my thoughts more precise.

Communication major dimensions schemeImage via Wikipedia

I have a terrible temper, and act like a lout, many times. I hate communities that rate politeness over technical correctness, but I cannot defend my loutish stupidity. I don't mind getting called out - I deserve it.
Python News: PSF adopts Diversity Statement: "

On October 12, 2009, the board of the Python Software Foundation voted to adopt a Diversity Statement.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Note to self - don't be such a sissy-pantz

I am such a weird bundle of anxieties, I am *always* too risk-adverse. With regards to attraction and romance and love, better to be sorry than safe.

slow down, slow down, slow...Image by Victor Bezrukov via Flickr

With regards to sex, realize it is what humans do when they get nervous about emotional vulnerability and intensity. When things get scary because of emotional vulnerability, people have sex as a way of avoiding those scary feelings. Holding off on sex is a guaranteed way to have more emotionally honest relationships. This explains why men and women leap into sexually physicality. Don't fool yourselves ladies - to a first approximation, a man and a women have sex at the exact time that a women starts feeling uncomfortable with the potential emotional intensity. It is a way to regain the power in this situation. Emotional intensity and vulnerability - better to be sorry than safe.

The Pioneer plaque.Image via Wikipedia

Ugh, what the hell? Can't I answer a Plinky prompt in a straightforward way? Ignore me, I am just too full of myself.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free Will and Sloppy Dualism

Very thought provoking post by Mark C. Chu-Carroll, talking about sloppy thinking with regards to "free will". Sloppy Dualism on Bad Astronomy : Good Math, Bad Math

Lightning over Pentagon City in Arlington, Vir...Image via Wikipedia

This is what I call "sloppy dualism". Classic dualism is the belief that there are two separate parts to our beings: bodies, which are physical, and spirits, which are something else. Phil has been very clear in the past: he utterly rejects religious beliefs in "spirits" or "souls"; dualism is just religious nonsense. But the implication of what he's saying tries to sneak dualism in by a back door. It's almost like a "god of the gaps" argument; a "free will of the gaps" kind of dualism. He's claiming to argue in favor of a purely scientific universe, with no room for the supernatural. But he tries to sneak a little bit of space in to the fuzziness of how things work to make room for his own free will.
Mark calls me out, because I have been guilty of allowing my concept of "free will" to have more latitude than I allow my concept of "God". Some very good comments:
I agree with you on dualism and the criticism of Phil. There's no reason that certain things like consciousness and free will should be 'special'. Certainly the same laws of physics fundamentally apply to everything and I don't think any special exceptions are necessary to explain choice; emergence is sufficient physical explanation for me. So I'm not seeing the need for invoking anything extra, either by claiming materialism but making exceptions, or claiming dualism. As far as I can see my position requires me to admit that free will is (probably) an illusion, but I don't have a problem with that. The world is complex enough that I wouldn't notice the difference.
Posted by: Archena October 2, 2009 3:34 PM
There are different contexts in which will is discussed. It makes a lot of sense in the context of human intent, a context in which Phil's will was free, because he was working absent coercion or threat. It makes much less sense in the context of physics, where for the most part, its proponents cannot even define what free will means. They simultaneously want it to be non-random but also not a function of the state of the person who makes a decision. The problem is that there isn't much conceptual space between those alternatives. In the context of physics, the opposite of deterministic is probabilistic. And while it is quite likely that we are not fully deterministic systems, given that physics isn't fully deterministic, the involvement of the random flip of coins doesn't help the philosophical case for a mystical free will.
Posted by: Russell October 2, 2009 12:17 PM I ended up with a much more skeptical, cynical, and limited concept of "free will". I still think it is best studies across the species, across time periods on the order of a decade, and in spoken in terms of morality and abstraction and action.
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Phony Contrarianism, Reactionary Agenda

Interesting essay on the Economist website Contrarianism's end? | Democracy in America |

Makes the point that what is called contrarianism is usually reactionary, and provides comfort and cover for the entrenched and powerful.

Cover of Cover via Amazon

Contrarianism generally lines up with the 'perversity' column in Albert Hirschman's typology 'The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy'. Here's the thing: as history progresses, things change. And societies try to adapt to those changes. Experts come up with solutions to the problems the societies face. Those solutions often entail discomfiting established interest groups. And the solutions the experts come up with almost always entail some degree of perverse counterreaction, some kinds of problems or inefficiencies or whatever. It can be very interesting to focus on those counterreactions; it can generate fascinating, eye-grabbing journalism. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, the counterreactions aren't as big as the first-order effects of the solutions. The minimum wage may price a few people out of the labour market, but it mostly raises low-income people's wages. Raising marginal income taxes does slightly lower rich people's incentives to generate income, but it mostly raises government revenue. In other words, the little contrarian thing is almost never anywhere near as important as the big first-order thing it rides on. And as journalism has come increasingly to focus on contrarianism, it has become less and less adept at actually describing the world.

There was a time when I encountered contrarian arguments like those made by Mr Levitt and Mr Dubner and thought, hm, that's really cool. In recent years, when I encounter such arguments, my tendency has been to think, yeah, that's probably a lot of hooey. If journalism is about to affect a turn away from contrarianism, it's none too soon.

The web lets previously marginalized voices of considered compromise to be heard. So phony contrarianists can be called out.

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Battling Models of Reality

Great point by Andrew Gelman, on having your models of reality travel in groups of two or three. Winston Churchill on statistical modeling:

Winston ChurchillImage via Wikipedia

Winston Churchill said that sometimes the truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies. Similarly, for a model to be believed, it must, except in the simplest of cases, be accompanied by similar models that either give similar results or, if they differ, do so in a way that can be understood.

In statistics, we call these extra models 'scaffolding,' and an important area of research (I think) is incorporating scaffolding and other tools for confidence-building into statistical practice. So far we've made progress in developing general methods for building confidence in iterative simulations, debugging Bayesian software, and checking model fit. My idea for formalizing scaffolding is to think of different models, or different versions of a model, as living in a graph, and to consider operations that move along the edges of this graph of models, both as a way to improve fitting efficiency and as a way to better understand models by making informative comparisons. The graph of models connects to some fundamental ideas in statistical computation, including parallel tempering and particle flitering.

P.S. I want to distinguish scaffolding from model selection or model averaging. Model selection and averaging address the problem of uncertainty in model choice. The point of scaffolding is that we would want to compare our results to simpler models, even if we know that our chosen model is correct. Models of even moderate complexity can be extremely difficult to understand on their own.

SVG version of :Image:Area.Image via Wikipedia

A minor criticism: a model cannot be "correct", or else it isn't a model anymore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pride, as a word in common usage, is a mess of the constructive and the destructive

This is less about the "inappropriately named", and more about *smooshing* two distinct concepts into a single word. [In case you were wondering, Flickr has a lot of picture of "Gay Pride" instead of "Pride, the moral concept". That is cool, who am I to say that this fine fellow in the photo doesn't have much to be proud about ;-)

2009 Los Angeles Gay Pride

Pride, as the word is used in the United States (probably other places too, I really don't know), covers two concepts that are very much at odds (1) Holding yourself to a higher moral and ethical standard than you expect others to follow, and working to meet that standard (2) Preservation of a tender ego, with pettiness, oafishness, hypocrisy, rage-full violence, and self-indulgence Bleh! More duty under sense of pride, and less prideful thumb-sucking and insult-hurling. Bonus word:

Pederastic erotic scene: intercrural sex betwe...Image via Wikipedia

Virtue, as a word, *smooshes* together these different states of being: (1) active duty under a sense of the right and the just (2) fear of getting caught in a transgression, out of pure cowardice and cravenness (3) laboring under pack-mule-like habitual action - having no mental capability to choose to commit a transgression, or even imagine one [Added after honest self-reflection... (4) being too creepy or ugly to attract a partner to commit a transgression. My whole undergraduate career at UCLA, I was completely unnoticed by the lady-folk. I was chaste, and not by choice.] There are too many people wearing the badge of virtue, who are too cowardly or stupid to act otherwise. But I guess, if the social world called everything with a skeptical and cynical eye, everyday life would be unbearable. It is just a shame that such important words lose their real meaning. There is no shame in being a tiny thing, trying to shoot for the moon. That is how I feel. I am sure my life is laughable, but why not aim high? Is there anything more contemptible than a tiny thing, aiming low? Better to be laughable than contemptible. Uh, as usual, I went overboard. Forget I said anything. My Baby-Love would point out to everyone how short I fall when it comes to living. And who am I to say my Baby-Love is wrong? [Back to work]

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hell is a great place to make friends, see you in Hell!

If you are like me, you are going to hell. To burn for eternity. Might as well make the most of the social opportunity, to network and meet and greet as the devils burn your feet complete.

Hell, painted by Hieronymus Bosch part of The ...Image via Wikipedia

I have sinus pain behind my right eyeball, and above my nose, so I am in a fairly wicked mood right now. My social anxiety makes any group of people very stressful, sometimes. So I don't feel competent to straightforwardly answer this Plinky prompt. Any time spent around people in a group, and no matter how well it goes, I really need a lie down afterwards, to recharge by my lonesome.

:Image:Religious syms.png bitmap traced (and h...Image via Wikipedia

I was just joking about hell. I don't wish anyone to go there. I am not conventionally religious, so all I can do is ask you to do is follow your heart. If I ended up in hell, I guess I would be pretty surprised. If I ended up in heaven I would be pretty surprised. The people who spend the most time talking about hell are very negatively judgmental about people who I like and admire, so in that regard I may have an easier time socializing while I am burning in hell. If I was in heaven with Southern Baptists, that would make it worse for the Southern Baptists, so I don't mind going down to the Hot Place if it will prevent ruffling feathers. I honestly don't enjoy making the conventionally religious uncomfortable. I grew up Evangelical Lutheran, and I like what I received from that moral education, even though that is not where I am right now.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Voidspace Techie Blog -

My comment on Fuzzyman's '' module.

Google File SystemImage by lukedbaker via Flickr

Voidspace Techie Blog - Comments: "your '', backed by a native file system for persistence, could solve a lot of problems with untrusted users supplying filepath input. Twisted's 'filepath' module tries to do this on a limited basis, but your as a level of abstraction between the untrusted user filepath input and the actual native file system would do this more comprehensively. Also, persistence backed by Google BigTable, etc. Great work!"
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

I eat month old Twinkies from Super Market

I like to collect layers of fat around by belly and waist. Junk food from the supermarket helps

I don't collect anything. Oh wait, I have some books from the early 1900s. I think I got them from or a marketplace vendor of Amazon. I got them because I could not get J. B. S. Haldane Possible Worlds and Other Essays and Augustus De Morgan A Budget of Paradoxes and early edition of 1936 How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

J. B. S.Image via Wikipedia Anyway, don't really collect old books. I throw my books on the floor, so I am the worst at preservation. I like going to the grocery store and buying:

Example of an American grocery store aisle.Image via Wikipedia

Oberto Original Beef Jerky Pringles - they have this crazy Hot Wings flavor - Pringles Extreme Blazin' Buffalo Wing Candy - the sour puckerific stuff - like Sour Patch Kids and Sour Patch Xploderz
Sour Patch Xploderz™ - Nutritional Information XPLODERZ NUTRITION FACTS Serving Size (40g) Amount Per Serving Calories 140 - % Daily Value* Total Fat 0 g - 0% Sodium 20 mg - 1% Total Carbohydrate 33 g - 11% Sugars 21 g Protein 2 g - 4% Vitamin A - 0% Vitamin C - 0% Calcium - 2% Iron - 0% Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. *Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When Powerful Feel Incompetent, they Bully

Great write up by David DiSalvo on Neuronarrative blog. When the Powerful Feel Incompetent, the Rest of Us Feel Their Wrath:


You’re sitting at your desk when the phone rings. It’s your boss and he wants to see you in his office. You’re not sure why – nothing in particular comes to mind that would put you in his crosshairs. In fact, you’ve actually been doing a great job lately. Even your boss’s boss mentioned that you were doing outstanding work in a staff meeting the other day, right in front of everyone, including your boss. What could possibly be the problem?

You walk into his office, sit down, and are immediately awash in the most inappropriate display of yelling you’ve ever seen in the workplace. It’s hard to follow all of the criticisms he’s throwing at you, but you make out “incompetent,” “unresponsive” and “careless” amidst a caravan of expletives. The source of the criticism, you finally realize, is a small error you made in a report—something likely no one else even noticed. How could that bring on all of this?Or…is that really the source of this reaction? Then you remember the look on your boss’s face when his boss sung your praises in the staff meeting. Suddenly this makes sense—he was threatened, and now he’s found one thing to aggressively nail you on. It’s no surprise that power and aggression often move along the same track. In particular, the threat of losing power is like striking a match near the aggression gun powder keg. Studies have shown that the perceived need to protect one’s power kicks ego defenses into high gear, loaded with enough aggression to regret for a lifetime.This is, of course, personality specific. ... A new study in the journal Psychological Science took on this question from an intriguing angle: could it be that a lack of perceived self competence triggers aggression among the powerful? Power increases the degree to which people feel they must be competent, to fill the demands that come with a high position and to hold onto the position against would-be challengers. If someone in power doesn’t really think he or she is competent enough (or fears they might not be and thinks someone may eventually see through them) then any perceived threat could spark an aggressive reaction – or so this study wanted to test. ...

Taken together, the findings from these experiments (including the fourth, not described here for sake of post length) point to a strong conclusion: people in positions of power who do not perceive themselves as competent are far more likely to aggressively lash out against others. The result is ironic, because we typically think of those who attain power as being especially competent – how else can they get so far? But what this study suggests is that power may enhance self critique of competence, and the more someone questions whether they really have what it takes to be in power, the more threatened they’ll feel by any number of situations and people, and aggression too often follows.

I have been guilty of this, at work [hangs head in shame].

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gideon Bible - helping some, but I would change the book...

I am just going to free form this one. Just in the last 24 months I gots a better grasp on things, from things I have read. It could easily fit inside one book. I think it would help a different sort of person than the ones who may find comfort in a Gideon Bible. If you collected the prescriptions and techniques of morality and virtue and ethics from these fine Greeks and Romans...

Diogenes sitting in his tub.Image via Wikipedia ... if you collected their ethics and life philosophy, you would really have something. Forget their crazy science and cosmology - all stupid. Get a recent book - scholarship on these fine fellows only really began in earnest in the 1970s. ... and Plato and Aristotle can go stick it. Forget those two gas bags and everything they blubbered about. Socrates, alone, is of limited value as well - read what the Cynics, Stoics, Epicureans developed based on his example, because that is more comprehensive and usable. Besides, we don't have access to Socrates, we only have Plato's Socrates.

Cover of Cover via Amazon

You could do worse than start with: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy By William Braxton Irvine Read Larry Winget: you can do worse than start with "It's Called Work For A Reason" Here is a book free on Google Books Self-help: with illustrations of character and conduct By Samuel Smiles, [ ], there is a nice write up by Charles Petzold [ ]. Dale Carnegie's _How to Win Friends and Influence People_ . Why not? Why make yourself miserable in human relations by not using these effective techniques? The Buddha had some solid info on eliminating human suffering. In huge block letters I would put on the first page:

The School of AthensImage by edlimphoto via Flickr

(1) NOBODY IS COMING TO RESCUE YOU! (2) NO INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT IS COMING TO BRING CLARITY. (3) YOUR BEST TOMORROW LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE TODAY, EXCEPT WITH A LITTLE MORE WORK AND A LITTLE LESS SELF-PUNISHMENT. (4) YOU WILL PROBABLY BE ALIVE 15 YEARS FROM NOW. YOUR BEST TODAY IS PAYING FORWARD FOR YOUR FUTURE 15 YEAR SELF. That is enough of this foolishness. Anyway, I have to scrounge up a few bucks to match the 1.5 billion Gideon's Bibles that are out there, for my book. Coming to a hotel nightstand drawer near you.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Managers and manager-speak: This struck a nerve...

This post hit too close to home, and struck a nerve - about vapid manager-speak, like:
  • "At the end of the day"
  • "actionable"
  • "teaching opportunity"

Elbert HubbardImage via Wikipedia

and every managers favorite parable - "A Message to Garcia" by Elbert Hubbard [see ] Very snarky list of Management Speak and translation into plain English:
Management Speak Compilation - InfoWorld's Bob Lewis
I have been prone to "manager-speak", I am ashamed to say. I just had to take the opportunity to defend my shabby behavior in comment...

Wundt group of reseachImage via Wikipedia

Managers and manager-speak: what is a "manager," anyway? - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science: "

...whether knowing that someone uses management jargon in their speech gives you information on how likely they are to be a manager...

Why? Because...

1) In paternalistic cultures, leaders are expected to project confidence, and lack of understanding is rarely punished. So rattling off canned phrases is effective for managers, because it is very unlikely to get called on it.

2) Without whips or waterboards, managers are expected, with only their voices, to do the impossible - motivate another person to do something that is against that person's instinct and habit. Against futility, they can only run off their mouths. Again, canned phrases help.

A manager that didn't avail himself to canned phrases would be such an eerie, uncanny creature it would likely be fired or chased down an alleyway with pitchforks or torches. It would creep out upper management and employees alike.

This is my excuse, and I am sticking with it. Manager speak is a good tool to dazzle people with bullshit, just long enough to make a quick get-away to a place where you can hide from the problem.
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