I am a UX professional living in Austin Texas.

Published: 1 week ago

Ghostbusters & the Environmental Regulation Debate, 1997

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Thanks to Futility Closet for pointing me to this wonderful piece about Ghostbusters‘ substance as “a thoughtful introduction to environmental law and policy, suitable for discussion in a law school class.” Christine Alice Corcos’ “Who Ya Gonna C(S)ite”: Ghostbusters and the Environmental Regulation Debate (Copyright © 1997 Florida State University Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law) examines this and more.

The Ghostbuster facility is housed in a former fire station, in which the Ghostbusters also reside.[35] The surrounding area seems to have a mixture of small businesses and warehouses.[36] One may well ask whether the area is zoned for uses that include waste storage facilities. If not, the city might object that the facility is a public nuisance. The neighbors may argue that the Ghostbusters’ facility is a private nuisance[37] due to their strange activities including the comings and goings of various employees and visitors, the sirens on the Ghostbusters vehicle,[38] and the oddity of some of their clientele.[39]

Just go read it.

Published: 4 months ago

Paying for Commitment

“Instead of defining hours per week in contracts with employees, freelancers or virtual workers, you define a commitment level. You don’t care how many hours they work, when and where, or how they mix their private and professional lives. The only thing you care about is how much you can count on the contributions, effort and collaboration of your workers, in the projects to which they have been assigned.” –Pay People for Commitment, Not for Time or Results

Published: 4 months ago

On Sharing Experiences

“…the joy from an unusual experience fades quickly, but the sting of not fitting in because we didn’t share an experience with our peers—even a crappy one—lingers.”

Olga Khazan for The Atlantic

Published: 5 months ago

Macau’s Magic Squares

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Macau’s postal service is releasing a series of stamps based on magic squares. Full set will include the SATOR, and Dürer’s Melencolia. Below you see a Nasik 2D geo-magic square of order 3 (all the rows and columns are magic, but so are all six diagonals, including the four “broken” diagonals).

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Learn more about the stamps at the Macau postal service site.

Published: 6 months ago

In Defense of Being Angry at Work

“A series of studies highlighted in Human Relations journal (pdf) suggest that expressing anger in the workplace can actually lead to more people acknowledging a problem and getting it fixed. One study the authors highlighted found that negative emotional events in the workplace had a positive outcome 70% of the time. This doesn’t mean it’s bad to express positive feelings at work—those led to positive outcomes 94% of the time—it just means that a negative emotion doesn’t always lead to a negative outcome.”

Quartz

Published: 1 year ago

On Obituaries

“Not all obituaries are created equal. As a genre of occasional writing, some are composed without intimate knowledge of the deceased or deep reflection about their contributions. But the best of the obituaries written about these and other towering thinkers command our attention, for they invite us to reckon once again (and ever anew) with the political work and social location of what the historian Christopher Lasch referred to as the “intellectual as a social type.” Some are just a paragraph long; others go on for pages. But at their finest, obituaries of intellectuals attempt to resituate these thinkers and their ideas in the historical conditions from which they came and to which they spoke. And they invite us to recall how we put them to work in our own intellectual biographies.”

“Over Our Dead Bodies” –Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

Published: 1 year ago

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

“I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read.”

Please read Neil Gaiman’s piece in the Guardian.

Published: 1 year ago

Josh Marshall: Flipboard is a Scam Against Publishers?

Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo’s decision to pull out of Flipboard, Google Currents, etc.:

But say you find TPM on Flipboard, decide it’s great and add it to your viewing routine on Flipboard. Probably you just keep reading us on Flipboard. Clearly you like Flipboard or you wouldn’t be using it. So why would you start visiting TPM? You likely won’t. That may be great for you. It’s definitely great for Flipboard. But is it great for us? Not really. It boosts my ego, I guess. And more people may know about us. But where and how does that turn into our ability to convert that ‘audience’ into a revenue stream that allows us to create our product? I don’t think it does. Or it does in so in such a trivial and unquantifiable way as to be meaningless.

How does he know that users don’t connect the dots back to the site after using Flipboard to discover them? He’s basing a ton of his opinion here on that assumption. I know for my own experience, I love using tools like Flipboard, Feedly, etc. to discover new sites, and when I like them I add them to my reader, and I visit those sites and open those links and share the articles I like here and other places. Maybe the majority of users don’t convert in that same way. That said, I do understand his issue with the fuzzy logic around how things like reach and brand awareness are benefiting them when their goal is to find revenue streams to keep producing their work. I totally get that.

However, if you’re cutting off from your readers in an attempt to own every page view so your banner ads are more valuable (not saying that’s his plan, more so pointing out that the plan in general is a bit more traditional and focused on hard data like CTR and direct streams), you’re holding yourself back from real potential in terms of both revenue and reader growth. I don’t quite get it, despite understanding (and sympathizing with) large-scale digital news sites that are now struggling to manage million dollar solvency issues annually, much like newspapers scrambled to do years ago. It’s about a clear-cut cost-based analysis for Marshall, but I’m not sure he’s correct as he cuts off values that don’t ‘directly’ influence revenue.

Published: 1 year ago

How Richard Dawkins Coined the Word Meme

“Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain.”

Learn more over at Brain Pickings.

Published: 2 years ago

Kierkergaard & the Clown

A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.

Either/Or, Part I.

Published: 2 years ago

Woody Allen “What I’ve Learned”

It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.

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