Collected Quotes March/April 2012

My main page on quotes is Quotes to Make You Think. Additional ones can be found under the Quotes tag.


When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. — Jimi Hendrix

Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. — Rumi

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. — Maya Angelou

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. — Barbara Kingsolver

Thanks to all the friends who shared quotes: Myk

New Page: Teeshirts

I'm blogging this
I'm blogging this.

I added a new page, Teeshirts, to this site. It joins my other pages: ReadingAbout Me, and Quotes to Make You Think. It documents my teeshirt collection from sites like Thinkgeek, Woot, and Threadless.

Yes, I already track my shirts with photos tagged with the term “teeshirt” on Flickr or Teeshirts I Own Pinterest board. Unfortunately, people do not seem to use Flickr much anymore. So much like Reading which is a page on my blog duplicating what I am doing with Goodreads, I’ll occasionally update the local blog version.

TED Talk: I Share Therefore I Am

Human relationships are rich and they are messy and they are demanding and we clean them up with technology.
— Sherry Tuckle

Technology is the great deceiver. We can use it to craft how we present ourselves to others.

Unfortunately, we lose the connections. As a university campus webmaster, I most preferred meeting in person. Phone was second best. Email only was least. At the time, I thought it a James Borg thing that 93% of communication is non-verbal (words). Email only interactions usually suffered from misunderstandings. People with whom I had single meeting were more understanding and less problematic.

Now days, I think oxytocin generating trust is responsible. Email is just text and misunderstandings happen when the reader has assumptions to mistrust the writer. That meeting in person creates the necessary trust.

Technology does enhance our relationships when used to augment in person interactions not replace them.

If the above video does not work, then try Connected, but alone?

How to Fit Reading Into Your Schedule

My reading list Some people identify me as a reader. Fifty books a year sounds way beyond them. Even ten books a year can seem unattainable.

Lifehacker’s How to Fit Reading Into Your Schedule and Actually Finish the Books You Want to Read is an okay start. Its suggestions:

    1. Schedule a Daily Reading Time
    2. Organize or Join a Book Club with Deadline
    3. Set Up a Special Reading Area with No Distractions
    4. Know When to GIve Up On Books You Hate and Find Books You Love

My daily reading times are at meals and before going to bed. A friend organized a monthly book club. My home is my castle. I have a post, Cull and Surrender, on giving up on bad books.

My additional suggestions:

    1. Always have a book. I have a book everywhere I am likely to have free time such as on my bed, in my living room, and in my car. Probably most helpful is having the Kindle app on my phone. My phone is a device I am likely to have everywhere I go, so I no longer have an excuse about not having a book with me.
    2. Find your space. I can read easier in a moderately busy restaurant or with the TV in the background than I can in a totally quiet room. Identify whatever the environment that works for you and find ways to spend time there.
    3. Set specific goals. More is pretty nebulous and not inspiring. One book this month is specific, in a short time period, and probably doable.
    4. Small chunks are better than a whole book in a sitting. People who study reading retention say smaller sessions work better than sitting through a long session. Best practices for teaching is to break lessons up into small chunks. I usually set an expectation for myself in any particular setting for how much I want to accomplish. So, if I am eating lunch alone, then I will take a book and decide I want to finish 20 pages in that half hour. I might decide I want to stay for an hour and finish a chapter or two.
    5. Make reading a priority. Athletes, musicians, and any expert gets good by spending thousands of hours training. Even when they have small amounts of time, they use it doing something to progress. Reading more works the same way. Any free time, even a few minutes, can help make progress.
    6. Track goals. Knowing that I am behind in fulfilling a goal helps me find more time anywhere I can. For a yearly goal, I check my progress quarterly. Because I start the blog post about it a month ahead, I see how far behind I am and double the amount I read to get ahead. I use Goodreads for tracking, but I also post to this site under Reading.
    7. Talk about the books. Books are a valuable ice breaker. As people associated me with reading lots of books, they develop expectations that I finish them about once a week. I have found myself devoting a few extra hours to finish a book just so I can have a new one started before I see them.
    8. The habit is what is important. Every kind of book has benefits. Fiction improves empathy. Non-fiction improves understanding of the world.
    9. Leverage curated lists to reduce decision fatigue. My best lead on books is seeing a friend rate it highly on Goodreads. I also find them through crowdsourced best lists or various web sites who recommend them. Goodreads has a list tool where users vote on books.

Dodos, Maltese Falcons, and the Art of Obsession

Kudos to Lindsey for recommending this. I had watched it before he said something, but I was surprised that I had not posted it on this blog because…

I.

LOVE.

THIS.

TALK.

I’m not this obsessive when I get interested in something. Like Adam though, I never feel I know have or done enough.

MythBusters co-host Adam Savage gives a fast-paced presentation on personal obsessions. Savage explains how his fascination with dodo bird skeletons eventually led to his designing of an exact bronze-cast replica of the titular statue from the 1941 Humphrey Bogart movie, “The Maltese Falcon.”

TED Talk: Trial, error and the God complex

A conversation with the father/grandfather of family friends was about the need of intellectuals in politics. If he meant intellectual as in a natural philosopher which we typically refer to now as scientists, then I would agree. Then again, I really like the flow of try, analyze results, and determine if successful or not. Also, the idea of double blind testing and other measures to achieve objectivity. These are all things rarely seen in politics.

But then again, some people want a leader who is certain. Someone whose bearing means to them they have a handle on the situation to improve things. Never mind that confidence under pressure does not equate to making well reasoned or even successful decisions.

Prom Signalling

“Prom season spending is spiraling out of control as teens continuously try to one-up each other,” said Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education for Visa. “It’s important to remember that the prom is a high school dance, not a wedding, and parents need to set limits in order to demonstrate financial responsibility.”

From Average prom cost tops $1,000 per teen.

Actually, just like a wedding, it is an opportunity for parents through their kids to exploit signaling theory to communicate they are doing fine financially to members of the community. Some economists complain of similar signalling such as cars that cost more than a house, expensive clothes, and elaborate parties. I seriously doubt children, even teenagers, force their parents to buy things the parents are not willing to buy. Otherwise there would be lots more boys dying in 100+mph car wrecks because they got a muscle car. (Boy do I love to use strawmen.)

Plus, prom is a status war. This year’s people have to out spend last year’s. You want to show you are doing better than the previous year’s people. This is because prom is a replication of debutante balls. But again, I think it is the parents outspending each other not the kids.

This may be the one time it is good for me not to have children.

An Open Mind

1. A mind willing to consider new ideas. (source)

Tuesday I had the bounty of serving on a trial jury. Perhaps even more so for being chosen to be the foreperson.

Many people gave me advice for how to get out of serving on the jury. None of it I memorized because I was kind of excited about serving on one. Television and movies distort the reality, so getting to see how they really work was something I wanted to experience.

A coworker decided as a well educated, state employee, minority race, with no criminal record, there was no way I would not be picked. He did not warn me as the sole male on the jury foreperson was a given.

One of the items in the charge by the judge given to us jurors was to keep an open mind. The importance of this is that we as a jury have to have a unanimous decision. A single member in disagreement invalidates it. This is what makes it hard. In our civil trial case, two members went strongly one way and another two members went strongly in an opposite way. Hearing the first two’s arguments the latter two shifted some but not all the way. Nor were the first two going go budge. So at an impasse, I realized it was not going to go anywhere, so I asked a bit about having an open mind to change the frame of the discussion. Then I took some votes on the items I thought we were all in agreement to show that of the four points we already agreed 100% on three. It was only the last point that was in contention. So when I asked about splitting the difference being reasonable, everyone agreed it was.

I think playing the “open mind” card helped. I asked one person about how she knew her position. She knew from the beginning certain things. So everything one lawyer said confirmed everything she thought. The opposing lawyer’s statements were all wrong. I responded that stance was the antithesis of having an open mind. I started to use an example with her as the victim, but the conversation shifted before she could respond. When it came back around to the possibility of splitting the difference, her response was that it was reasonable couched in trying to have an open mind. Everyone shifted their positions to meet in the middle.

In the end, the process hurts. There is no reasonable way for everyone to be completely happy. In any direction we as a jury chose, someone is hurt by our decision. This, I think, is the key insight we as citizens ought to learn and keep in mind for when we vote on representatives. We are picking people who have to make tough decisions about how to represent us and sometimes chose to vote for things we dislike. Though to represent us, sometimes that means having an open mind to speak for the people. All too often elected politicians claim a mandate to vote their will over the peoples’.

TED Talk: The Lost Art of Democratic Debate

When I go to a party, I would much rather to find a discussion about something ideological than anything else that tends to happen at them like drinking alcohol, dancing, or losing my hearing. Also, I should do a better job apologizing after the fact when in the heat of the moment I take a contrary side because no one else will. It is all about teasing out of others what is the essential nature of things and people.

If the video above does not work, then try The Lost Art of Democratic Debate