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Tuesday, 01 November 2011 01:53

Critical Thinking

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The current class I am taking is called "Critical Thinking". I thought the "definition" below was interesting:

Critical Thinking: The art of thinking about thinking while thinking in order to make thinking better.

From the textbook: Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life
by Richard Paul and Linda Elder

My brain hurts.

1. Use "wasted" time.

We all waste at least some time in the course of our daily lives. We don't always manage it well or use it productively. Why not capitalize on the time you routinely squander by using it to practice thinking about your thinking? For example, say you regularly get stuck in traffic on your commute home from work or school. Instead of stewing behind the wheel while distractedly listening to the radio, you could use the time to mentally review your day, evaluating your thinking for its strengths and weaknesses.

2. Handle one problem per day.

Each day, choose one problem in your life to think through systematically. Identify its elements in order to figure out the logic of the problem. Ask yourself, what exactly is the problem and how can it be formulated as a question?

3. Internalize intellectual standards.

Every week, incorporate one of the following universal intellectual standards into your thinking:

  • clarity
  • accuracy
  • precision
  • relevance
  • depth
  • breadth
  • logic
  • significance
  • fairness

For example, say you focus on precision for the week. Try to notice whenever you are imprecise in communicating with others. Be alert to when your position in an argument lacks specifics. When you read, be conscious of the absence of details offered by the author to support a point.

4. Keep an intellectual journal.

Compose a certain number of journal entries weekly. Use the following entry format:

  • Describe only events or situations you care deeply about
  • Describe one event or situation at a time
  • Describe your behavior with respect to the event or situation (What did you say and/or do? How did you react?)
  • Analyze exactly what was occurring in the event or situation. Your analysis should plumb beneath the surface.
  • Assess the implications of your analysis. (What did you learn? What would you do differently if you could relive the event or situation?)

5. Practice intellectual strategies.

Choose a strategy from among those outlined in Chapter 17 (on strategic thinking) of Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life. Apply it. As you do, record your observations on what you learn about yourself and how you can use the strategy to better your thinking.

6. Reshape your character.

Select one intellectual trait (e.g., intellectual humility, courage, empathy, etc.) each month to aspire toward. Focus on what you can do to cultivate that trait in yourself.

7. Deal with your ego.

Be conscious of how your behavior is driven by egocentric thinking. To sharpen your observation of your own ego in action, consider daily questions like the following:

  • Did I behave irrationally in order to get my way?
  • Did I try to impose my will on others?
  • Did small things make me irritable?

The first step is to identify egocentric thinking in action. Once you do, you can strive to replace it with more rational thinking. The path from egocentricity to rationality is systematic self-reflection.

8. Redefine the way you see things.

How one defines a situation - the meaning one ascribes to it - drives how one feels about it and acts in it. Be mindful that nearly any situation can be defined in more than one way. This fact presents you a prime opportunity to make your life more constructive and fulfilling.

Many situations in our lives that we define negatively could be redefined positively. When we transform a "con" into a "pro," we gain rather than lose. So practice redefining the way you see things. Convert negatives into positives, mistakes into learning opportunities, and dead-ends into new directions.

9. Get in touch with your emotions.

Work to identify the causes of negative emotion in your personal experience. Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • What, exactly, is the thinking that leads to this emotion?
  • How might this thinking be flawed?

10. Analyze group influences on your life.

Contemplate the impact on how you act of social groups to which you belong. Analyze what behavior is encouraged and discouraged, respectively. What does any given group expect, or even require, you to believe? What are you proscribed from doing?

Recognizing how one's social memberships influence what one thinks and how one behaves is vital to one's development as a critical thinker.

Thursday, 27 October 2011 02:25

Finding Your Career

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I happened across this short article when doing some studying for a class. Thought it had some pretty good career advice! I feel pretty lucky, like I have found my career "Sweet Spot" as a geek.


Finding Your Career "Sweet Spot"

By D. Quinn Mills

We increase the likelihood of advancing in our careers if we can bring together what motivates us (our passion) and what we are good at (our capabilities). We call this intersection in a person's career one's "sweet spot."

Unfortunately, it may prove difficult to find our sweet spot because we may not be good at something that we feel passionate about. There are areas that some of us may have passion for - art, music, dance, sports, food, entertaining - but it is often more difficult for a person to develop a full-fledged career in these areas.

One way to help bring the two together is to try to obtain the skills and capabilities necessary to succeed in something that we're passionate about. Sometimes we rush to find a job that is in our sweet spot, but cannot, because we haven't the skills to match to our passion. In such cases, it's better to invest the time in acquiring the skills necessary to do well in something we care about, and then look for the perfect match.

Many people go into consulting early in their careers for this very reason. In consulting a person can pick up a wide variety of skills, and develop abilities and personal contacts that will help one get a position in a particular industry.

Looking for job passion

Another partial step that may be possible for many of us is to find an element of our jobs that we are passionate about. For example, a manager in a health services firm might not be particularly passionate about the administrative work, travel, and internal politics, but he might have considerable passion about saving lives with the company's medical devices.

In some instances it may take a long time to find a career that matches our sweet spots. But as long as we keep this goal in mind as we pursue our career paths, many of us will eventually come across a job that comes close to our own personal special intersection of passion and competence.

For some of us there will never be an intersection of passion and competence in the work environment. But all is not lost.

First, many people take jobs that have no relation to their passions. They expect to dislike the job immensely, but instead end up loving the job. Why? Because of the people and the teams they work with, because of the positive culture of the firm, and because of the energy of the place. While they may not be working in an industry whose products they love, they've found passion for their jobs nonetheless.

For many of us, finding this sort of passion at work, regardless of the industry, might be a more plausible way to embrace our sweet spots. In this situation, the sweet spot is a working environment that motivates us.

For example, a young man has spent a bit of time working in a capital markets role. Although he doesn't love the hours or sometimes the companies he works with, he does enjoy the excitement of doing a deal. The fun he has - and the enjoyment he receives from the environment - compensate him for the parts of the job that he doesn't enjoy as much.

D. Quinn Mills is the Alfred J. Weatherhead Jr. Professor of Business Administration emeritus at Harvard Business School. He consults with major corporations and teaches on subjects of leadership, strategy, and financial investments.

Copyright © 2007 D. Quinn Mills


Friday, 11 February 2011 02:29

Something new

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I have an idea for a new, probably boring, geek feature for my site. As part of my research for this idea I ran across this Password Tester! Try it out! It is pretty cool! This item is actually on the Computer Tips & Trix menu. There is a link to the original site at the bottom of the page, if you want to get a copy for yourself!

Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:39

More updates...

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As I learn new things, I have made a few adjustments to some of the features on the Humor & Fun menu.

1. The Baby Namers: I have added cookies so it remembers your last name and also remembers the list of names you like for about 30 days after the last addition, or until you clear the list. I also added a little image on the top right that will allow you to switch between the girl namer and boy namer without revisiting the menus.

2. The Name Bander: Like the Baby Namers, it will remember the list of names you like for 30 days after the last addition, or until you clear the list.

3. The Random Nonsense Generator: It will allow you to backup and see the last sentence if you clicked too soon. This is just a toggle. You can go back one and return to the current one. You may also go back one, then just continue on. It also allows you to save a list of the ones you like for 30 days after the last update. I have added quite a mix of stuff to it, some may end up sounding naughty by coincedence and some may be naughty on purpose. Some may be weird and because of the mix, some may simply be nonsensical rubish. Keep clicking and remember you can click on the version line below for details about how much is in the each list.

4. Evil Overlord and Shakespearean Insulter: The only real changes to these is it no longer does a page refresh to get to the new stuff. However, Shakespeare does not talk every time now. Only when you first connect to the page. (Watch the image, he doesn't mean it...).

More to follow! Laughing

Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:28

We are BACK!

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Some of you may have noticed our site was down for nearly 24 hours. We run this site on a server at our house and we have to register with a "Dynamic DNS" service to allow the connection to our server because of how our ISP handles internet access. This is why there is the :4763 after our site name. Anyway, the company we WERE using announced six months or so ago that they would no longer provide this service once our agreement ran out. They are getting out of THIS business, it was not anything we did. We are SO controversial after all... Innocent It was just our time, our agreement expired. It just took some time to get our site name transfered to a now hosting company and get everything reconfigured to point at our server. GOT'ER DUN!

Actually, it might be my imagination but I THINK it the site comes up a little faster now. Maybe that is my imagination and it will change after the shiny new wears off.

Friday, 24 December 2010 16:56

An Actual Craig's List Personals Ad

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I don't know if this is truly a Craig's List ad, but it IS truly entertaining. So, here it is for your reading pleasure... Reminds me of how easy it is to get a conceal carry license down South. I used to have one when we lived in Alabama!


To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah night before last. Date: 2009-05-27, 1 :43 a.m.. E.S.T.

I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.

First, I'd like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn't expect you to actually crap in your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket... The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason.. My girlfriend had just bought me that Kimber Model 1911 ....45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening.

Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head .... isn't it?!

I know it probably wasn't fun walking back to wherever you'd come from with that brown sludge in your pants. I'm sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again].

After I called your mother or "Momma" as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you'd done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station, -- on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 150 gallons and was extremely grateful!

I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go's, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!] I then threw your wallet into the big pink "pimp mobile" that was parked at the curb .... after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver's side of the car.

Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Ma Bell just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what 's going on with that? Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA's office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target. The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc.); In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you ....... but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime.

I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you've chosen to pursue in life.. Remember, next time you might not be so lucky.

Have a good day!

Thoughtfully yours,

Saturday, 20 November 2010 18:49

It is a "warm "day in Montana!

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I think winter MIGHT be here. Check this out; 2:49pm on Saturday November 20th. We have a 25.1 MPH wind out of the North. The temperature is 3.7F and wind chill is -19F. BRRRRR! Think I will head out for a ride!!!
Tongue out


Now if you notice, the weather station says partly cloudy... Does this look partly cloudy to you???

Looking SouthLooking North

Saturday, 13 November 2010 22:46

Just my luck

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Dark and Stormy KnightIt all started with a dark and stormy knight. He rode out of the foreboding castle on his way to who knows where. His valiant steed carried him at a blistering pace toward his destiny. Upon reaching his destiny, he discovered that fate's plan for him wasn't nearly as exciting as he thought it would be, so he reigned in the stallion and returned to the castle in a funk.

I was the poor punching bag that crossed his path on the drawbridge...

Thursday, 11 November 2010 03:47

A challenge

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Here is a sort of puzzle I ran across a few years ago. I thought I would post it again. It IS solvable but I don't remember what the result is. It COULD be "entertaining" or not...

SO, click Read More... and see the challenge... Cool

Click here for a printable version!


If you get it sorted out, click here and tell me what it says... PLEASE?!?!?!

(Don't post the answer as a comment in case anyone else wants to try... K?)

Tuesday, 02 November 2010 00:00

What? A BLOG?

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Well here we go. bandnamer

For the last couple months I have been debating with myself about the usefulness of Facebook. To me, it seems like most of the “attraction” of Facebook is that it has some silly games and quizzes... And to be totally honest, a couple of my Facebook "friends" annoy and nauseate me no end and I don't think I need the frustration. You might wonder why I don't just de-friend them... It is like a sick fascination; I constantly wonder what stupid shit they will come up with next. UGH! It is a train wreck in progress, updated a line or two at a time in a public forum... Another annoyance with Facebook is that I don't visit that frequently and when I DO, all the controls are moved around so I don't know how to use it anymore. I DO have a handful of people on there that I consider my friends and that I want to stay in touch with, but really, I feel there are better ways to keep in touch with them; like maybe a phone call or an email. For the most part though, Facebook seems like a pretty fair waste of time with no real value.

Besides, I have my OWN website. I don't need to go somewhere else to stroke my ego. My ego fluff is right here and here is JUST FINE!

So, I’ve decided I will TRY to wean myself off of Facebook and start a blog on MY site. All my stuff is on MY site anyway and I am really not that difficult to find (CHECK GOOGLE I am probably not far from the top...). I have a GUEST BOOK, a PHOTO GALLERY and some content items I'd like to think are entertaining. Anywho, thanks for reading my first post! I am going to give it a go! (please bear with me while I work some quirks and bugs out of my installation.) Embarassed