Archive | Misc.

Not Sure What to Read in the ‘New Yorker’? Subscribe to this Email Newsletter

2015 10 03 nyer

An email newsletter* I recently discovered and am loving: “The New Yorker Minute.

It’s a weekly rundown of the gems in each issue — and a guide to what you can skip.

Each Wednesday, subscribers receive a summary of material in the week’s issue, broken down into sections like “read this,” “window-shop these,” and “skip without guilt.”

There are also pointers regarding short stories, poetry and cartoons.

*Longtime readers know I really love email newsletters — and send out a weekly one myself.

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Brian Eno’s Favorite Books; AeroPress Inventor; Creepy/Cute kangaroos; Creepy/Cute Drones

Those are among the links I shared in the 25th edition of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, which just went out to subscribers.

Sign up here and never miss another dispatch.

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Productivity Tip: ‘Iterate Toward Perfection,’ But Forget Perfection Exists

Matt Might, whose account of having a disabled child I mentioned previously, also has an interesting post on productivity tips for academics.

The advice can be applied to people working in many professions, though, not just academia.

I really like this bit:

Iterate toward perfection

Treat perfection like a process, not an achievable state. Perfectionism is crippling to productivity. I’ve known academics that can’t even start projects because of perfectionism. I know some academics that defend their lack of productivity by proudly proclaiming themselves to be perfectionists. I’m not so sure one should be proud of perfectionism. I don’t think it’s bad to want perfection; I just think it’s unrealistic to expect it.

The metric academics need to hit is “good enough,” and after that, “better than good enough,” if time permits. Forget that the word perfect exists. Otherwise, one can sink endless amounts of time into a project long after the scientific mission was accomplished. One good-enough paper that got submitted is worth an infinite number of perfect papers that don’t exist.

Yes.

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Moving Account of Having a Disabled Child — and What’s Important in Life

This post from University of Utah Computer Science professor Matt Might is very much worth reading.

Might saw a question on Quora from a 16-year-old who said he wanted to have a successful career in computer science or medicine, but feared getting married and having a disabled child.

Might wrote:

First, your question is trivial to answer: to minimize the risk – to zero – that you’ll have a disabled child, don’t have a child.

Any attempt to have a child will incur risk, although you can take measures described in other answers to lower it.

But, let me tell you a story – my story.

I am the father of a “disabled child,” yet I’m a professor in computer science at the University of Utah, and also currently a professor at the Harvard Medical School.

Hopefully I’ve just dispelled your fear that having a disabled child is not compatible with “a strong career in computer science or medicine.”

In fact, what if I told you that much of what I’ve done was the result of my having a disabled child? Because I too (naively) believe in love, and love my wife and son dearly?

Read the whole thing.

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Ann Friedman’s Visual Guide to Dealing with Criticism

2015 07 22 matrix

Journalist Ann Friedman created this excellent graphic, which she calls the “Disapproval Matrix.” It helps determine how you should deal with criticism based on who’s giving it.

As she writes:

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you.

Sounds like good advice to me.

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Businesses Pressured SC Gov. to Push for Confederate Flag Removal

Following up on my post from Tuesday

Here’s an interesting, behind-the-scenes bit from a WSJ story on how businesses pressured South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to ditch the Confederate flag:

Ms. Haley came under significant pressure to call for the flag’s removal from leaders of multinational and South Carolina businesses after the shootings, according to people involved in the discussions. Michelin North America, based in Greenville, S.C., was among companies calling for immediate removal of the flag.

“We are ready to support our elected officials as they take the necessary steps to do so,” Michelin CEO Pete Selleck said.

Top elected officials, including the governor, business and nonprofit leaders, made frantic calls and emails over the weekend, according to people involved. One of them was Chad Walldorf, co-founder of a barbecue chain called Sticky Fingers and the chairman of the state Board of Economic Advisors. He said he made dozens of calls from vacation in Colorado. “There was a very widespread consensus in the business community to get the flag down,” he said.

Mikee Johnson, chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, also began lobbying to bring the flag down. “I felt like it was going to be a turning moment in the state’s history,” said Mr. Johnson. “I told [Ms. Haley] she’d get overwhelming support from the business community if she took that action.”

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