Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Review to Dale Carnigie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

To view the pesentation/speaker notes click here.


My take away from Dale Carnegie's timeless classic "How to Win Friends and Influence People". This is one of the premier books to anyone interested in bettering themselves. Mr. Carnegie shares his business experience to demonstrate how to motivate and inspire people. This book is a treasure trove of simple yet often forgotten wisdom in how to relate to people.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Video Response to TEDTalk by Geoff Mulgan on Studio Schools

To listen and view the talk I'm discussing you can view it here.

My thoughts on Geoff Mulgan's TEDTalk on "Studio Schools". I'm not sure how this is much different than trade schools or vocational schools. I never understood why these weren't incorporated into the basic curriculum instead separated out as something of its own. These skills seem like necessities for engineering. I share my thoughts on how I would do education.


In summary: take a scaffolding approach and demonstrate the evolution of technology through history. This teaches engineering, math/science, problem solving, and history. The course would walk through the major technological inventions throughout history and require students to build them from scratch just as the inventors did. They then can see the limitations and the reason for the evolution of the technologies. This would also strongly solidify a foundation for students to understand where we came from and where we can go. The same concept could be applied to any evolutionary trait such as language, religion, philosophies, anthropology, etc.


We must involve, i.e. engage our students and not silo their education. Reminds me of the old adage: "Tell me, I'll forget; Show me, I'll remember; Involve me and I'll understand"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Video Response to Intelligence Squared's debate on "Should Airports Use Racial and Religious Profiling?"

To view the podcast I'm discussing you can view the debate here.

My thoughts on Intelligence Squared's debate on the motion "Should We Use Racial Profiling?" More specifically, should we profile based on religion and/or race when screening people at airports or other security checkpoints. Would doing so just force those we are trying to catch to change their approach? This seems like a weak argument since criminals are always trying to be two steps ahead of those they are trying to victimize.


This emotionally driven argument stems from the concern of obtrusive and/or abuse on those innocent of any crimes which is a legitimate concern but obtrusions and abuses will result regardless of the policy. The issue of "profiling" or "stereotyping" always arises from this concern but we fail to balance this with asking "why do profiles or stereotypes exist?" More often than not, it is not an issue of bias but statistics. We are statistical machines (albeit, poor ones) but we subconsciously make biases based on experiences and over time develop a statistical probability and associate a corelation. In this case, we are discussing Muslims. The perpetrators of most of the terrorist attacks have been Muslims with a distinctive "look" i.e. All male between ages 18-40 with an Eastern dissent. It seems foolish to limit ourselves from this "intuition" of further examination of these suspects.


We must however balance this with rationale and not extend our security policies to abuse everyone equally nor overly inhibit the freedoms of those not accused of any crime.  This however is for another debate how on effective our security policies even are. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Video Response to Freakonomics podcast on "The Upside to Quitting"

To listen to the podcast I'm discussing you can download the mp3 here.

Sometimes you just got to know when to quit. This episode looks at lives of a prostitute, a ball player, a navy seal, a musician, and an Amish who all decide to quit.  "Fail and fail early" is the take away. I share my personal experience with quitting in finding my major in college.


How do we know when to quit? I was raised to try it "for a season". In sports growing up you only play a "season". This means you only play for a few weeks or months usually during one of the seasons e.g. spring, summer or fall. Often I would play baseball in the spring, soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter. By the time I got to high school I realized I wasn't cut out to play baseball or basketball so I focused my energy on soccer which I was at least decent at.


I once even did a stint with Cross Country, which for those unfamiliar with this sport its basically crazy people running really long distances. My father thought it would be good for me. I was an ok distance runner but found it difficult to find enjoyment in a sport where I threw up after every race. I wanted to quit but my father told me to "finish the season". I did. I actually gave it one more try the next year but decided it wasn't for me after that. Trying something for a "season" taught me not to quit or give up too early, taught me patience and perseverance, and mostly endurance. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Video Response to Common Sense with Dan Carlin's "Stirring the Pot"

To listen to the podcast I'm discussing you can download the mp3 here.

My thoughts on Dan Carlin's Common Sense podcast on joining the tea party and occupy wall street forces and overcoming the plutocrats. Could they join together on the issue of government corruption? Is the Tea Party too far gone right and too in bed with the Republican party to work with anyone else? Is there any hope reconciling two polar ideologies? On the right we have the Tea Party arguing we have enough taxes and we should not increase taxes even on the rich to pay down our debt or despite the fact they have been MUCH higher in the past. On the Left we have union groups who don't want to cut anything  even if it means keeping deadbeat employees who not only don't contribute but are harmful and a drain financially and on the morale of the others. See Waiting for "Superman" and the impact of the Teacher's Union on schools.


So what can be done?! Well, vote for me for president in the 2020 election. I've got to start really early to build my voter base! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Video Response to Intelligence Squared's debate on "Are Men Finished?"

To listen and view the debate I'm discussing click here.

My thoughts on Intelligence Squared's debate on the motion "Are Men Finished?" This was to my knowledge the largest change in opinion from an audience. I agreed with the motion from the beginning because honestly I saw the writing on the wall in college.  Perhaps the first half of humanity was dominated by men due to brawn but the second half will be dominated by women due to brains.


The caveat is child rearing. It may be that an equilibrium is reached as men and women stop competing against each other and disregard current social taboos  or it could end by men rebelling and invoking violence and destruction on all of society.


What about the Christian view on family? Doesn’t it say women shouldn't work? Not according to the famed "Perfect Wife" as described in Proverbs 31:15-18

15 She gets up while it is still night;

   she provides food for her family

   and portions for her female servants.

16 She considers a field and buys it;

   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;

   her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,

   and her lamp does not go out at night.


Didn't the Bible say women were made to be "helpers" of men? (Genesis 2:18-20)  What does that even mean? Doesn't it suggest men are lacking in some way if they need "help"?


Aren't women to be subjected to men and to obey them?  *sigh* God has given men the responsibility to lead and love their wife. We must end our chauvinism and pride and do what we were commanded to do.