Thursday, May 31, 2007

Miscellaneous and Fast

Dr. Helen has a simple question: Is your job killing you?

BusinessPundit has information on two new search engines.

Science fiction writers are using their creativity in the war against terrorists. [HT: Futurismic ]

Car nut? Check out the 1954 Moretti 750 Gran Sport.

Pepsi in India: From Crisis Management to Comeback?

Business Week examines how Pepsi is fighting to regain its reputation in India. An excerpt:

Villagers charged that PepsiCo—which has named India as a top strategic priority—consumes excessive groundwater in their parched communities. Even worse was the repeated claim that the snack and beverage company, along with rival Coca-Cola Co. (KO), were allowing pesticide residue from groundwater to get into locally made soda. The charges, first leveled in 2003, emerged again two months before Nooyi took over the top job. Pepsi's soda sales, which fell by double digits in India when the scandal first broke, took another big hit last fall. She braced herself as protestors smashed bottles on the streets while several states in India banned or restricted sales of soft drinks. Nooyi, now 51, was livid. "For somebody to think that Pepsi would jeopardize its brand—its global brand—by doing something stupid in one country is crazy."

Blog Changes

Due to the more than able assistance of Erica Johnson, you'll be finding various improvements on the blog. Among them are:

An actual RSS feed button so you can subscribe to the blog.

A button for Simply Hired that permits the posting of ads for jobs.

The blogger links will be updated and expanded. Some of the current ones are outdated and kaput and there are some neat ones that will be added.

Additional items that will be highlighted as they are finalized.

I'm honored by your visits. Many thanks for spreading the word!

Europe Declining?

Gerard Baker on Walter Laqueur's The Last Days of Europe. An excerpt:

The demographic problem is by now so familiar that it hardly bears restating. Mr. Laqueur notes that the average European family had five children in the 19th century; today it has fewer than two, a trend that will shrink the continent's population in the next century on a scale unprecedented in modern history.

The failure of Europeans to reproduce makes it vulnerable to internal schism. Too often Europe has reacted to the growing threat posed by extremists among its minorities with a tolerance and self-criticism that has bordered on capitulation. Meanwhile, social tensions increase, not least because of high emigration to Europe from Muslim countries and high birth rates among Muslim populations. No one has yet found a good way of integrating those populations into mainstream European society.

Even as the challenge from fanatical Islam has intensified, at home and abroad, Europeans have found new ways to abase themselves before it. Two years ago it was the Danish cartoons affair, in which too few politicians and opinion leaders defended the rights of the Danish newspaper that published them; last year it was the collective European cringe in the wake of the pope's mildly assertive remarks about the disconnect between Islam and reason; this year it has been the embarrassing spectacle of humiliated British servicemen fawning in front of their Iranian captors.

Web Site Frustrations

While in the process of updating our firm's web site - a task that is way overdue - we've been checking out the sites of other businesses to get ideas on what to emulate and what to avoid.

The latter category is easier to fill.

The following items are common sins:

  1. Design overcomes Function. Some cryptic sites are thoroughly confusing. Is it still loading? Are we supposed to click on the tree, the sidewalk, or the star in the corner? And how long do we want to mess with this?

  2. Mystery Firm. Can there be some basic disclosure here? Why do we have to click through to the third page before getting a hint of what this firm does? The operative theory of these sites: What cannot be disguised by design can always be hidden by jargon.

  3. It's Ego Time! Please stop telling us how smart you all are and instead explain what you can do for us.

  4. Where's Waldo? The location of the firm can - not - be - found. Anywhere. I checked.

  5. Failure to Answer the Obvious. There are three questions anyone seriously considering this business will ask. Not one is addressed.

  6. Rebel without a Client. Unconventional can be fun but some of these look like they were designed by Rip Taylor after a long night.

Have I ever committed any of these? Don't ask.

De Soto on the Importance of Property

If you take a walk through the countryside, from Indonesia to Peru, and you walk by field after field--in each field a different dog is going to bark at you. Even dogs know what private property is all about. The only one who does not know it is the government. The issue is that there exists a "common law" and an "informal law" which the Latin American formal legal system does not know how to recognize.

We have been working for eight years and have created a system that recognizes it. And we have been making it work in Peru. And we are about to finish titling 120,000 informal properties in Peru. We are now working on a report of our efforts: "Transforming Poor People's Land into Wealth," or "The Only System for the Titling and Registration of Informal Property." We are already moving from the theory of private ownership to how to create It.

Read all of the Reason magazine interview with the innovative Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto here.

Quote of the Day

As a young firefighter, [I] worked for such a company officer. He was smart, tough, and nice. He was Chairman of the Board of the business of our company and he minded that business. He had a crew cut and on one arm (very big) he had "U.S.M.C." and on the other "Mom." (Those tats provided a quick and accurate snapshot of him.) He hadn't gone to graduate school, so he talked in nice, short, understandable sentences. If he liked what you were doing, he told you to keep doing it. If he wanted you to start doing something, he told you to start. If he wanted you to stop doing something, he told you to stop. He listened to his crew, took care of us, and brought out the best in everyone. He was very patient with mistakes as long as they were new ones. Virtually everyone who worked for him got promoted (or else).

- Alan Brunacini

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Crowd Control and Ancient Rome

What can we learn about crowd control from ancient Pompeii?

Apparently quite a bit. An excerpt from the CSO article:

Limit Options. In crowd management, the maxim called Braess’ paradox states that more options equals decreased performance. That is, if you give people many routes to choose from, crowd traffic will slow down because of indecisiveness and selfish behavior when choosing one of the paths. Pompeii provides a stark example of avoiding Braess’ paradox. The entire stadium is serviced by just six stairways, all of which point in the same general direction—northwest. By the time a Roman would have to make a decision which way to go, the space has already opened wide.

Saving Chrysler

James Surowiecki, writing in The New Yorker, on whether Cerberus can save Chrysler. An excerpt:

A 2006 report by the Harbour-Felax Group, a well-respected automotive-industry analyst, concluded that in 2005 Chrysler’s health-care costs were about eleven hundred dollars more per vehicle than Toyota’s. But even if that gap were closed Chrysler and other U.S. automakers would be far less profitable and would be growing more slowly than their foreign competitors. Ultimately, American manufacturers sell too few cars for too little money, and have to offer too many incentives—thousands in cash back or low-interest financing—on the vehicles they do manage to sell. That same Harbour-Felax report found that, on average, Japanese automakers’ profits for 2005 were twenty-nine hundred dollars more per vehicle sold in the U.S. than those of American automakers. And most of that profit comes not from lower production costs but from the Japanese automakers’ being able to charge more, because their cars are better designed and more reliable, and because their mix of products is smarter. Honda’s revenue per vehicle, for instance, was twenty-six hundred dollars more than Chrysler’s.


Via Political Calculations, Charles H. Green has an extremely interesting post on bill-padding by law firms.

Be sure to read the comments, one of which is by David Maister, the noted consultant on managing professional firms.

I recall an ethicist who went to meet with a California law firm on the possibility of the firm doing some work for the ethicist's firm. As he left the very pricey offices, the receptionist offered to stamp his parking ticket. He eagerly produced it and noted that, given the price of parking in that area, was a very nice thing to do for clients. The receptionist smiled and said, "Oh, it's not free. We just add it to the bill." I wonder how often that was disclosed to the clients.

[P.S. Several comments were from consultants who mentioned how much of their work is not billed. At our firm, we've had a similar tendency to underbill. We know that over time that can add up to a sizable chunk, but we're also wary of going in the other direction. Much of the problem has been solved by using flat fees for projects and getting away from billing by the hour. Clients like the predictability and we like not having to monitor hours.]

Big and Successful

Back by popular demand:

Want to sell a lot of beer? Have one really big ad.

A very big ad.

[Rumor has it that the extras also work as consultants.]

Bold versus Effective

Raymond Chandler, known for convoluted noir plots and the wise-cracking private eye Philip Marlowe, once gave his secret for breaking any writer's plot problem: Have someone enter the room with a gun.

There is a temptation to use Chandler's technique in management situations: Reorganize. Fire a bunch of people. Bring in a hero. Let the floggings continue until morale improves. Do something dramatic.

Occasionally it works, but only if the situation demands a shock. In many cases, the bold gesture merely glosses over the deeper problems, many of them structural, that produced the crisis in the first place. Not all superficial actions are mild. Some wear hobnailed boots. Their boldness is only on the surface.

Most crises require a seriously effective decision maker, not a dramatic one. The two can converge but if forced to make a choice, the bland but effective leader is clearly the right one. The question is not what is bold or sophisticated (sophistication can be a cover for timidity) but what is effective.

Lethal Humility

If you're the sort of person who, whenever someone pays you a compliment, stares at the floor and starts mumbling about how it is undeserved, you should run off Rowan Manahan's story and read it once a day.

Or twice a day.

Quote of the Day

People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don't realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.

- Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oppression in New Zealand: Ad Agencies Weep

New Zealand has a law limiting the use of sex appeal to draw attention to a product?

I think Iran may have one of those too.

On the other hand, if they had a law restricting the use of spooky king masks in hamburger commercials....

Brave New War: The Fragility is Acute

In City Journal, Glenn Reynolds reviews John Robb's Brave New War: The New Terrorism and the End of Globalization. An excerpt:

All sorts of technological trends—from biotechnology to nanotechnology—work to amplify the lethality of individuals and small groups. But the biggest contemporary source of bad-guy empowerment, Robb rightly notes, comes from the vulnerability of our own modern systems and networks for electrical distribution, telecommunications, transportation, food distribution, and more, which are subject to swift disruption if critical nodes or resources are destroyed. Robb may overstate the prospects for devastating damage; system disruption has been a goal of air forces for nearly a century, but actually pulling it off in the face of efforts to reroute or repair has always been harder than anticipated. Still, the fragility is acute. Just-in-time inventory systems save on costs, but even brief interruptions in deliveries will cause production to shut down. Deregulated telecommunications systems tend to concentrate traffic into a small number of high-traffic trunks, again in order to cut costs; take out the hubs, the system goes down. And system redundancies, as well as extensive maintenance and repair capabilities, are often casualties of tight budgets. Ma Bell gave us fewer telecom services at higher prices, but her network was much more robust than those we enjoy now, so much so that—as Paul Bracken observed in The Command and Control of Nuclear Forces—her capabilities were tougher than those of most military networks.

gapingvoid Break

A classic from gaping

SuperStar (Plural)

A thought-provoking point from BusinessPundit:

Don't look for great individuals. Look for great teams.

In so many instances, we are focused on the wrong subject. A common mistake is to consider individuals and not relationships.

Remember the Sufi teaching: "You think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one makes two. But you must understand and."

Handling the Resentful

Liz Ryan on how to deal with the resentment surrounding your promotion.

I don't recall ever having to deal with resentment following my promotions..

Shock, on the other hand....

The Message

"I'd prefer that the project be handled via the Overton approach."

"I noticed that you used another approach on the project. As I recall, I said that I prefer that the Overton approach be used."

"Is there some reason why the Overton approach wasn't included in this new project?"

"Let me explain why I like the Overton approach. Here are the reasons...."

"Please remember that I'll feel very uncomfortable with anything other than the Overton approach on these matters."

"I'm afraid we'll have to let you go. You've repeatedly ignored my instructions on the use of the Overton approach."

Response: "What do you mean? You never told me that was an absolute requirement!"

Making Others Look Good

A person buys a sports car and then, rather than admitting that the decision was based on a desire to look youthful and attractive, starts chatting about the car's great mileage.

As the marketing folks say, we tend to buy on emotion and then justify our decision with logic.

Interpersonal relations are hardly immune from such games. Individuals may say that an advisor or ally is necessary to prevent lawsuits or facilitate good management but the real reason for the relationship is simple: People want to look good and the source that assists in doing so is both helpful and appreciated.

I know the power books urge people to grab credit in order to avoid being exploited but you can gain a great deal - both internally and externally - by helping others do well. When they succeed, rather than trying to parse the extent of your contribution so you can get your just due, it is often wise to stand back and let the other person get the applause.

Is this naive? Many would say so. My take is that you can gain a great deal of personal satisfaction in the process making others look good and, over time, people who don't constantly keep score of "Who owes them what?" have a habit of getting promoted.

Compulsory National Civilian Service a.k.a Civilian Draft

Former Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird is proposing a compulsory national civilian service.


Quote of the Day

Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm.

- Hippocrates

Monday, May 28, 2007

Miscellaneous and Fast

Eclecticity notes a prima donna problem in baseball.

Jessica Hagy (of the Indexed blog) on job descriptions.

Michael Barone on why border enforcement is important.

Tom Peters has put together a PowerPoint list of what he terms "iconic books."

Behind Memorial Day

Peter Collier on the stories behind Memorial Day. An excerpt:

What they did in battle was extraordinary. Jose Lopez, a diminutive Mexican-American from the barrio of San Antonio, was in the Ardennes forest when the Germans began the counteroffensive that became the Battle of the Bulge. As 10 enemy soldiers approached his position, he grabbed a machine gun and opened fire, killing them all. He killed two dozen more who rushed him. Knocked down by the concussion of German shells, he picked himself up, packed his weapon on his back and ran toward a group of Americans about to be surrounded. He began firing and didn't stop until all his ammunition and all that he could scrounge from other guns was gone. By then he had killed over 100 of the enemy and bought his comrades time to establish a defensive line.

Yet their stories were not only about killing. Several Medal of Honor recipients told me that the first thing they did after the battle was to find a church or some other secluded spot where they could pray, not only for those comrades they'd lost but also the enemy they'd killed.

Desmond Doss, for instance, was a conscientious objector who entered the army in 1942 and became a medic. Because of his religious convictions and refusal to carry a weapon, the men in his unit intimidated and threatened him, trying to get him to transfer out. He refused and they grudgingly accepted him. Late in 1945 he was with them in Okinawa when they got cut to pieces assaulting a Japanese stronghold.

Everyone but Mr. Doss retreated from the rocky plateau where dozens of wounded remained. Under fire, he treated them and then began moving them one by one to a steep escarpment where he roped them down to safety. Each time he succeeded, he prayed, "Dear God, please let me get just one more man." By the end of the day, he had single-handedly saved 75 GIs.

Quote of the Day

I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come - if alive.

- William Tecumseh Sherman, in a letter to Ulysses S. Grant

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Miscellaneous and Fast

Remembering Robert Palmer: Simply Irresistible and Addicted to Love.

Victor Davis Hanson on "containing" radical Islam.

True West magazine discusses "Rawhide," Sheb Wooley, Eric Fleming and some piranhas.

Portfolio on the search for a phone that will work well anywhere in the world.

A Daring New Business: Dickens World

OK, this is officially the weirdest theme-park ride I've ever been on. A woman who can only be described as a wench, dressed in a small white apron over a black dress that drapes to the floor, leads me onto a boat in a stinking sewer.

"Mind your step, darlin'," she says, flashing a toothy grin as I lower myself into my seat, wondering if the filthy, shadowy water that surrounds me will stain my new pinstripe suit.
Animatronic rats splash about in the sludge. The boat starts forward, suddenly and slowly, carried along by the gentle movements of the murky river, colored to look like movements of a different kind. We pass through the sewer, and then, courtesy of a conveyor belt, we're lifted above the rooftops of London as they would have looked 150 years ago. We fly over tightly packed houses, church steeples, and tall shop walls bearing slogans such as "Mrs. Beaton's Whooping Cough Tincture: Made from Syrup of Squills."

Then, whoosh, the boat plunges down a hill and splashes back into the murky stream (yes, water gets all over my suit; no, thankfully, it doesn't stain). We enter a dark, gray tunnel – "eerie" doesn't begin to describe it – and then a graveyard. Ominous creatures, including a crazed and wide-eyed undertaker and a pale, petrified woman wrapped in a shawl, lurk behind the wonky gravestones, seeming to plead with we boat-riders to reach out and help them.

Read the rest of The Christian Science Monitor article here.

Tu? Si vous voulez.

Daniel Johnson looks at the importance of formal language in France and Germany and the growing use of "tu" in France. An excerpt:

Tu or vous? Du or Sie? In English, the second person singular has long since ceased to be a source of political controversy—though in the days when Quakers insisted on calling their social superiors “Thee” and “Thou,” it mattered very much. In French and German, it still matters.

Newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised eyebrows in Berlin last week on his first official visit by presuming to tutoie Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor: “Chère Angela . . . J’ai confiance en toi.” (Dear Angela . . . I have confidence in you.) Frau Merkel, who addressed him as “Lieber Nicolas” (Dear Nicolas), responded with the formal Sie, at least in public. The French press noted the disparity and gently mocked Mr. Sarkozy—though not nearly as harshly as they did Tony Blair. Blair once dared to tutoie Jacques Chirac, who liked to stand on his dignity as a head of state, deserving deference from mere heads of government. The British prime minister was firmly put in his place. What sounded to British ears like Mr. Chirac’s pomposity was, however, approved of by the French. His Socialist predecessor François Mitterrand was once asked if he would mind if he were addressed as tu: “Si vous voulez” was his reply.

Marriott Family Values in the Hotel Business

In 1927, J. Willard Marriott and new bride, Alice, opened a nine-stool root beer stand in Washington, D.C. It grew into a restaurant chain called Hot Shoppes and much later became a hotel company. Their son Bill Marriott worked in the kitchen as a young man.

Last week, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the $11.5-billion-year Marriott Corp (Charts, Fortune 500)., Bill Marriott returned to the kitchen - this time as a volunteer, to prepare food for Washington's poor people at a nonprofit called the DC Central Kitchen. He was joined by about 25 Marriott employees. (You can watch Bill Marriott in a corporate video of the event on YouTube.)

Read the rest of Marc Gunther's Fortune magazine article
on Marriott family values here.

Thug Ethics

Stanley Crouch looks at the twisted ethics of a gangster culture. An excerpt:

As they display the gilded imbecility of "bling" while riding in the most expensive cars and living in gated communities, the rappers who promote the idea that informing to the police is some sort of sin have become another menace to society.

They have expanded upon their identities as buffoon thug minstrels so that they could now easily be considered the most dangerous Uncle Toms of the moment.

This may be hard for those who can never accept the idea of black people having anything at all to do with their group's oppression. The young are dazzled by the vulgar finery of the rappers while the black middle class is overly impressed by the riches of these young men.

Not Your Average Bike

Outside magazine evaluates some serious mountain bikes.

$5,500 for a bike is pretty serious.

Considerations in Decision Making

There are always more than three options to consider. Beware of the sandwich game in which an option favored by staff is put between "Do nothing" and "Do a lot."

Is the decision reversible? If so, make it quickly. If not, slow down.

Is a definitive solution possible or is the current situation as good as it will ever get? Don't seek a solution where one is not possible.

Will the appearance of the course of action significantly detract from its effectiveness?

What are the downsides? If you see none, look more closely and beware of rushing to discount the negatives.

Which has the worst case scenario: Action or inaction?

Who carries the greatest burdens and risks? Can those be lightened?

Which is more important: Speed or quality?

Is time a friend or an enemy?

Do you have a diverse pool of advisors or have you assembled people who are likely to produce only one diagnosis?

What do you want the decision to produce? What do you want to to avoid?

What options are closed and opened by taking a proposed course of action?

Is your plan of action overly complicated?

What are your fall-back plans?

Do you have the resolution, people, and resources for bold execution of the final decision? Bold execution of a relatively poor option may be better than shabby execution of a great one.

Quote of the Day

If you ever live in a country run by a committee, be on the committee.

- William Graham Sumner

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mapping a Phenomenon

Amid all of the hoopla regarding Star Wars, here's a nifty map from Wired magazine.

Great Moments in Advertising: Think Green

A classic essay from The Onion of the power of advertising:

I'm an experienced car owner. As such, I have what I consider an above-average knowledge of what constitutes a competitive rate for automotive insurance. The policy I have now is fair, but I could probably do better if I shopped around. Trouble is, I don't have time to page through the phone book or search for information online all day—I'm a busy professional. That's why I'm currently looking for a lizard who will explain the various policies to me and help me figure out which company has the best deal.

I feel no loyalty to my existing car-insurance provider. If a better offer were made to me by a lizard, I would have to consider it very seriously.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not interested in a lizard with a hard sales pitch. I don't want some slick, fast-talking lizard bullying me into a big commitment. I demand a refined lizard, one with class. He might even be British, or an American educated at British schools.

Discussing Basic Values

In ethics workshops, it is not unusual to notice the extent to which people hunger to talk about the ethical challenges they've faced in their careers.

They've often avoided discussing the topic out of fear that they'd be regarded as self-righteous or accusatory or as wimps, but the related issues continue to trouble them. They go through training on sophisticated management or technical subjects and yet wrestle with the most profound challenges. Many of those are related to the basics such as:

Honesty. On which occasions is it ethically permissible to lie? When is it trumped by caring? In which ways do organizations discourage honesty?

Courage. How do we define it? What is moral courage? How should we regard fear?

Caring. When does caring become cruel? When is it an excuse for weakness?

Loyalty. Which organizations and individuals deserve our loyalty and where does that obligation end?

Respect. What are its elements and to which extent should it be given to all individuals?

Civic Duty. What are our responsibilities as citizens in a representative democracy?

How do we handle nonethical values such as popularity, success, and wealth?

Some teams take time out to brainstorm management issues. If the leaders want to capture lightning in a jar, they might want to consider discussing the basics and how those relate to the team's performance and values.

Books for Memorial Day

John McCain gives his top five list of books for Memorial Day.

I'd add Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945, by Max Hastings. An excerpt:

Exceptional professional skills coupled with absolute ruthlessness rendered many German - and Russian - generals repugnant human beings but formidable warriors. The democracies recruited their generals from societies in which militiary achievement was deemed a doubtful boon, if not an embarrassment. The American and British armies in the Second World War paid a high price for the privilege of the profoundly anti-militaristic ethos of their nations.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Miscellaneous and Fast

Using Starbucks, Seth Godin illustrates an important aspect of entrepreneurship.

Should non-exempt employees get overtime for Blackberrying?

This is posted for countless cult members: The Elvis Cruise.

A man has been accused of trying to take 700 snakes on a plane.

Portfolio has links for the stylish CEO.

And yes, it may be strange but I'm still thinking of getting one of these for my home office.

The Long Arm

Overlawyered on the new view of justice:

Score another one for personal responsibility: 29-year old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock killed himself in April when he drove -- faster than the speed limit, drunk, on a cell phone, and not wearing a seat belt -- into a tow truck stopped on the side of a road. Obviously, we ought to blame... everyone except Josh Hancock for this. Three and a half weeks after the accident, his father has filed suit in St. Louis against: the restaurant where Hancock was drinking, the manager of the restaurant, the tow truck driver, the towing company, and (!) the driver of the stalled vehicle that the tow truck was assisting, for having the temerity to get his car stuck on the side of the road.

So far, he hasn't sued the Cardinals or Major League Baseball, but, while praising the team, his lawyer pointedly refused to rule out suing them.

Clearly, his father's attorney isn't all that creative; think of all the other people responsible for this accident:

  • The cell phone manufacturer; Hancock couldn't have been talking on the phone if they hadn't been so negligent as to invent it, or if they had placed warnings on the side of the phone about not using it while driving.

  • Hancock's girlfriend -- she was on the other end of the phone. Plus, he was driving to meet her.

  • The owners of the bar he was driving to in order to meet his girlfriend. If they had been closed, he wouldn't have been driving there; if they were easier to find, he wouldn't have had to give his girlfriend directions.

  • The car rental company; Hancock was driving a rented SUV... because he had just had an accident in his own car. If they hadn't rented him the SUV, he couldn't have been driving it.

  • Anheuser-Busch, it goes without saying; no alcohol, no accident.

  • The Cardinals, for not trading him to another team; if he hadn't been in St. Louis, he couldn't have crashed.

Want a Laptop? Think Thin

Neatorama has the details on the thinnest laptop.

Z-visa Anyone?

Mark Steyn on the proposed Z-visa:

The more you look at this bill the more it seems just the usual Beltway kabuki. Secretary Chertoff says in a time of war we need to know who's in the country. Okay. But is dumping a gazillion new applications on a sclerotic immigration system the way to do that? Mohammed Atta was the second most famous terrorist in the world and on the front page of every American newspaper but the then INS still sent him a valid US visa six months to the day after he died, and without even updating his address from that Florida flight school to Big Hole In The Ground, Lower Manhattan. And the excuse the agency made was, oh well, we're only issuing visas to dead terrorists not living ones - which Americans pretty much had to take on trust and which seems a distinction far less likely to be maintained once there's another 15 million in the system entitled to next-day service. If I were Mullah Omar, I'd apply for a Z-visa. The odds have got to be better than even.

George Marshall: Out of the Shadows

George Catlett Marshall was described as a military genius by his commanding officer in 1916.

Two of Marshall's early commanders said that they would gladly serve under Marshall's command.

Unfortunately, Marshall's career remained on the slow path. When he became a lieutenant colonel, he remained in that rank for eleven years. When he promoted to colonel, he was assigned to the Illinois National Guard; hardly a fast track to the top.

Marshall had the reputation of a person who continually impressed his superiors and associates but, for some reason, he did not enjoy a rapid rise.

Until 1938.

With the probability of war rising, President Franklin Roosevelt passed over 38 names of senior generals (four of whom were real contenders) to pick George Marshall for the position of Chief of Staff of the United States Army. The next month, President Roosevelt received this letter:

My Dear Mr. President,

Ever since your appointment of my husband - as your next Chief of Staff - I have wanted to write you. It is difficult for me to put in words what I really feel. For years I have feared that his brilliant mind, and unusual opinion, were hopelessly caught in more or less of a tread-mill. That you should recognize his ability and place in him your confidence gives me all I have dreamed of and hoped for. I realize the great responsibility that is his. I know that his loyalty to you and to this trust will be unfailing. It is with the deepest feeling of gratitude and happiness that I send you this note of thanks.

Very Sincerely Yours,

Katherine Marshall

The selection of George Marshall turned out to be one of FDR's best appointments.

Why did Roosevelt pick him? Historian Eric Larrabee notes that a telling difference may have been that Marshall had some very influential people, such as John J. Pershing and Harry Hopkins, pushing for his appointment.

Which always makes me wonder: What if they hadn't pushed? How close did we come to having the brilliance of George Marshall hidden in the shadows? How many large organizations today have similar individuals who will remain, as Mrs. Marshall put it, "hopelessly caught in more or less of a tread-mill?"

Quote of the Day

Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.

- Edna Woolman Chase

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quote of the Day

Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.

- Epictetus

Once They Go Up, Who Cares Where They Come Down?

Bravo to Henryk M. Broder on his Spiegel article about German indifference about Iran's effort to get a nuclear bomb.

An excerpt:

Udo Steinbach, director of the German Institute of Middle East Studies in Hamburg, recently described a rather different scenario. In an interview with an online magazine he said Europe should not feel threatened by Iran. "Europe," he said, "would certainly be the last target Iran would think of if it did in fact pursue aggressive intentions."

"Iran as a nuclear power," he continued, would only be a threat to "its neighbors, such as a secular Turkey and, of course, Israel."

The blithe sangfroid with which Steinbach describes the possible target coordinates of Iranian nuclear bombs is only surpassed by his naiveté concerning the consequences of such action. He seems to think that nuclear fallout, in a worst-case scenario, will make a wide berth around him and his institute. This mindset could also explain Germany's general apparent lack of concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, the planting of genetically manipulated corn triggers hysterical reactions.

Added note: For those who didn't recognize the headline, it refers to the song "Wernher von Braun" by satirist Tom Lehrer:

Don't say that he's hypocritical,
Say rather that he's apolitical."
Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun.

Miscellaneous and Fast

Psychology Today on the subject of intuition.

Victor Davis Hanson on whether the sky is falling on America.

Sad news: American Heritage, with a circulation of 350,000, is ending its print edition.

Fortune looks at FaceBook.

Francis Doehner on If The Beatles Were Born Today.

Credibility and Secure Borders

George F. Will on the credibility problem and immigration reform. An excerpt:

In 1986, when there probably were 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants, Americans accepted an amnesty because they were promised that border control would promptly follow. Today the 12 million illegal immigrants, 60 percent of whom have been here five or more years, are as numerous as Pennsylvanians; 44 states have populations smaller than 12 million.

Finding Time and Place

Many of us do not work on assembly lines but we act as if we do.

We rigidly stick to set office hours regardless of whether or not we are most productive during that period. We hold weekly staff meetings even if there is nothing to discuss. We judge people based on their "face time" on the job as opposed to their accomplishments. We glue ourselves to our office chairs when we'd do better work at the Starbucks across the street.

Our work days signal that a more flexible approach is wiser but we frequently brush that message aside and act as if we are punching a time clock. Although some jobs obviously require that we be in a certain place at a certain time, in many cases our restrictions are self-imposed.

This is a habit that dies hard. You can find executives who stick to brain-dead schedules out of fear that the boss might be watching and unfortunately, in many cases, their fear is justified. Being willing to work "to a different drummer" can carry a risk. It is a daily reminder, however, of what is truly important and why we are alive.

In Search of Pareto

Slow Leadership looks at the limitations of the Pareto Principle (a.k.a the 80/20 Rule).

An excerpt:

  1. Can you identify which actions make up the useful 20%? And can you do so in advance? We have to live forwards in time, so to be useful a principle has to be predictive.

  2. Going forward, will this useful 20% still contain more or less the same actions? If it doesn’t, repeating them won’t produce any benefit.

Quote of the Day

Efficiency is intelligent laziness.

- Arnold Glasgow

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When the Relationship is the Problem

A scenario:

An employee, who is reasonably competent, complains that she is not treated respectfully by an associate. Management checks into the matter, finds that both sides are to blame, and issues the appropriate warnings. The employee then starts openly jotting down notes after conversations and lets it be known, through the grapevine, that she is thinking of filing a harassment complaint. The associate also starts documenting and makes noises about taking legal action because of what he deems false accusations. The situation deteriorates as factions form and various co-workers begin to avoid any interaction with both note-takers out of fear that they will get roped into a lawsuit. Management is reluctant to take any action against either employee because it fears litigation.

The twist:

If management only had to deal with one employee or the other, there would not be a problem. Put the other person into the mix, however, and the chemistry is poisonous.

The flaw:

Management's mistake is adopting the traditional approach of trying to find a person to blame. Each of these people has individual merit. The problem is their relationship and that is also the key to the solution. Management should make it clear that it is not going to play the sucker's game of sorting out which individual to discipline when it is not an individual problem. They each have an obligation to make their relationship work for the good of the company. If they do not, then both of them should be transferred or fired because they failed in a crucial part of their job responsibilities: Working well with others.


Does that sound harsh? In my experience, the co-workers would have quietly cheered. They are tired of being dragged into a daily soap opera and forced to choose sides. Management rarely moves against both parties and often winds up defending having taken less severe action against one than against the other. When the relationship is the culprit, then more than one person must be corrected or removed.

Panhandler Pay Day

A "human interest" New York magazine story: A panhandler settles a case against the city and collects $100,000.

Some questions:

Will he turn his life around?

Wouldn't you love to have a business with these characters hanging around the front door?

Quote of the Day

Manage your own morale.

- Price Pritchett

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Clocky at ThinkGeek

When I started blogging, I mentioned Clocky, the robotic alarm clock that makes you chase around to shut it off and was surprised at the number of friends who revealed serious sleep problems. For some of them, it might be better named Heart Attacky.

The Name Game

Do you look like your name?

Consider this survey and whether we tend to remember names if they seem to fit the person.

Steve Jobs and "1984"

A neat video:

Steve Jobs walking on clouds as he introduces Apple's soon-to-be famous "1984" commercial.

[HT: Adfreak ]

Encouraging News

Chevy's concept car, the Sequel, becomes the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to go 300 miles without refueling.

Writing and "Low-Rise Indigenous Vegetative Material"

Writing in City Journal, John Leo takes on the problem of convoluted language:

But the institution that wins the coveted convoluted-language award is the government—any government, in any country. A U.S. document speaks of “ground-mounted confirmatory route markers.” Translation: road signs. In Oxford, England, city officials decided to “examine the feasibility of creating a structure in Hinksey Park from indigenous vegetation.” They were talking about planting a tree to get some shade. Joyce Kilmer’s famously awful non-poem reads: “Poems are made by fools like me/But only God can make a tree.” Today, Kilmer might have to write: “Versified and rhythmic non-prose verbal arrangements are fashioned by people of alternative intelligence such as myself, but only the divine entity, should he or she actually exist, can create a solar-shielding park structure from low-rise indigenous vegetative material.”

Playing on Your Emotions

Eclecticity has a shocking photo of a new gang technique.

Business Plan Competition

This contest had a few long-shots but also boasts some pretty creative stuff.

Check out the eight finalists (and the winner) in the 2006-2007 Business Plan Competition at The Wharton School.

Unfortunately, there is no word on what happened to the proposal for the massage parlor/bowling alley franchises.

NASA Critique: Big - Dumb - Slow?

Greg Easterbrook goes after NASA. An excerpt:

Here is a set of rational priorities for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in descending order of importance: (1) Conduct research, particularly environmental research, on Earth, the sun, and Venus, the most Earth-like planet. (2) Locate asteroids and comets that might strike Earth, and devise a practical means of deflecting them. (3) Increase humanity's store of knowledge by studying the distant universe. (4) Figure out a way to replace today's chemical rockets with a much cheaper way to reach Earth orbit.

Here are NASA's apparent current priorities: (1) Maintain a pointless space station. (2) Build a pointless Motel 6 on the moon. (3) Increase humanity's store of knowledge by studying the distant universe. (4) Keep money flowing to favored aerospace contractors and congressional districts.

The Untouchable

At some point, I'm not exactly sure when, he was tainted with the stigma of failure; an invisible brand that rookies might miss but which veteran employees would sense within a day.

No one ever explained to me just what his crime had been, but they whispered that there was an "event" that "ticked off upper management." Although Harold would not be fired, his sentence involved being kept close enough to the head table to see the food, but he would never be given a plate.

Some thought that was kind.

What baffled me was that throughout all of my dealings with Harold, he epitomized kindness and competence. I kept waiting for the gap in the tape; some seconds of wild raving followed by barking at the moon, only the moment of madness never came. Only once did he hint at his restrictions. We were discussing the culmination of a project and he softly noted, "Perhaps I'm not the best person to make the presentation to the top brass."

We both knew that his familiarity with the ins and outs of the proposal was far beyond that of anyone else on the team. Still, the unspoken message was clear: "I'm not going to carry this one and don't ask me why."

I don't know why he stayed on. If he expected a change for the better, then perhaps he was mad. My own sense is that he continued to accept the "punishment" because he'd transformed it into a protest. He would do his job extremely well to demonstrate, on a daily basis, that they could not hurt him.
His focus was solely on excellence and never on advancement.

He may have been the only free person in the entire company.

Quote of the Day

God gives the milk but not the pail.

- English proverb

Monday, May 21, 2007

Miscellaneous and Fast

BusinessPundit on the danger of freebies.

Frederick W. Kagan on the reason to win in Iraq.

Samar Srivastava on how small business can avoid scams.

Emily Bazelon on the theory behind Montessori schools.

Patrick Symmes in a 2004 article on life in Kabul.

Fiction Break

Great writing combined with the power of brevity:

It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were down South, in Alabama--Bill Driscoll and myself-when this kidnapping idea struck us. It was, as Bill afterward expressed it, 'during a moment of temporary mental apparition'; but we didn't find that out till later.

Read the rest here. You'll like it.

Dry Humor at the UN

Roger Bate looks at the new chair of the United Nations Committee on Sustainable Development:

The economic and human rights disaster known as Zimbabwe.

[Apparently North Korea wasn't available.]

"I believe the job has made a bigger person out of you."

Look over this survey from the United Kingdom on what constitutes permissible teasing at work and your co-workers may appear to be the soul of diplomacy.

One thing about such surveys: It's one thing to say that joking about blondes or bald guys shouldn't be that big of a deal - many of us are repelled by politically correct zealots - but another to engage in cruel behavior.
The male-female difference is no surprise. Among men, the ability to have a quick come-back is a treasured skill; a survival tactic honed through years of bantering.

Bad to the Bone

Rowan Manahan has an interesting post on how profit and loss thinking can lead firms into dangerous territory.

Two lines surfaced while I was reading this. I quote from memory:

1. "Before you tear down a wall you should find out why it was put up."

2. A line from the Old West about revolvers: "You ordinarily didn't need one but when you did you needed it real bad."

Math Site: Do the Numbers

At last, there is a site with all sorts of goodies for math freaks.

They've earned it.

[HT: Neatorama ]

Rules of Followership

  1. Always remember that few of us get to follow saints.

  2. Choose to be loyal or disloyal. Be either one openly and recognize there is no in-between.

  3. Hone your skills and make yourself indispensible.

  4. Don't withhold the full use of your talent.

  5. Be willing to disobey orders that are unethical or flat-out stupid.

  6. Don't weaken the team with petty conflicts and don't take conflict underground.

  7. Anticipate needs and problems and act to address both.

  8. Never turn in sloppy work.

  9. Match every problem with at least one serious solution.

  10. Squander neither resources nor time.

  11. Make your team members and your boss look good.

  12. Share credit.

  13. Take time to understand others.

  14. Share information but not gossip.

  15. Be discreet.

  16. Embarrass no one.

  17. Listen carefully for what is said and not said.

  18. Maintain a sense of urgency.

  19. Have a healthy level of enthusiasm.

  20. Dissent in a professional manner.

  21. Don't mistake your personal well-being for that of the team.

Quote of the Day

What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left.

- Oscar Levant

Sunday, May 20, 2007

To Wrap Up the Weekend: Gettysburg PowerPoint

Back by popular demand:

The Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation.


Kennedy, Kyl, and Immigration

Michael Barone gives some background on the politics behind the proposed immigration bill.

Capitalism's Cultural Contradictions

An excerpt from George F. Will's column on whether Sarkozy can save France:

Two decades ago, the sociologist Daniel Bell wrote about "the cultural contradictions of capitalism" to express this worry: Capitalism flourishes because of virtues that its flourishing undermines. Its success requires thrift, industriousness and deferral of gratifications, but that success produces abundance, expanding leisure and the emancipation of appetites, all of which weaken capitalism's moral prerequisites.

The cultural contradictions of welfare states are comparable. Such states presuppose economic dynamism sufficient to generate investments, job creation, corporate profits and individuals' incomes from which comes tax revenue needed to fund entitlements.

But welfare states produce in citizens an entitlement mentality and a low pain threshold. That mentality inflames appetites for more entitlements, broadly construed to include all government benefits and protections that contribute to welfare understood as material well-being, enhanced security and enlarged leisure.

[HT: National Review ]

Happiness and Unhappiness

Sunday afternoon approaches.

For many, it probably carries a tinge of melancholy as many reflect on wasted time.

And indeed that may be the opposite of happiness: Lack of achievement.

Timothy Ferris, in the book mentioned in a recent post, sees boredom as the opposite of happiness. He pushes people to identify things and dreams that will bring excitement to their lives.

And yet there can be genuine satisfaction in work that may not be exciting but which provides a solid sense of achievement. ["Sense" is an important factor. Some people are great achievers and yet fail to acknowledge their accomplishments. The result is unhappiness.]

Breaking projects into small parts is an important strategy for achieving happiness. If you simply carry around a list of large projects, you have a daily reminder of things to depress you. You won't accomplish large projects every day and will seldom if ever complete several. The large projects will rest on your shoulders like giant ravens and caw at your lack of achievement. If you have a list of small tasks, odds are you will end the day with a few achievements checked off.

They may not have been exciting achievements, but each will carry a small glow.

Quote of the Day

We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge.

- Rutherford D. Rogers

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Miscellaneous and Fast

Some business groups are attacking the new immigration bill.

Fortune writer and author Stanley Bing has a blog. [HT: BusinessPundit ]

Teri Robnett has a nifty post on how to monetize your blog.

Rebecca Mead talks to Kelly Bare about the multimillion dollar wedding industry. [Be sure to read this if your wedding blessing was from Broken Arrow.]

Good Times at The Beeb

Edward B. Driscoll Jr. reviews a book on the bias of the BBC. [HT: Arts & Letters Daily ]

An example of an "objective" BBC interview can be found here.

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is getting a lot of attention in the blog world. Here's a detailed review of the book along with a collection of reader comments that are both pro and con.

I'm currently reading the book and, so far, am taking it as a time management guide more than a life changing strategy. A number of the book's techniques are ethically questionable but the author's main point of focusing on the truly meaningful and breaking out of a rigid work schedule will, for many readers, make enormous sense. He also does an excellent job of outlining how some goals that may have appeared unattainable may well be within reach.

Is Ferriss a snake oil salesman? My answer is "Only if you let him." His book is well-written, amusing, and an enjoyable read. It has some thought-provoking observations, such as how playing it safe can put you in the most competitive market of all. Readers of management books will recognize a certain overlap with Richard Koch's The 80/20 Principle but that's all to the good.

If you feel as if your career has turned into a treadmill and you aren't the type who thinks that reading a self-help book will put you into a Rolls-Royce in two weeks, you'll probably find The 4-Hour Workweek to be both fun and helpful.

Math and Marx

If you think that teaching math involves, well, teaching math, then you've missed the folks who also want to teach "social justice."

An excerpt from the City Journal article:

New York City’s Department of Education insists that the radical math conference was perfectly appropriate. In fact, as I recently learned, the whole affair got rolling with the assistance of the DOE, which gave a financial grant to the conference’s principal organizer, Jonathan Osler. Osler is a math teacher at El Puente Academy, a small “social-justice” high school in Brooklyn. In 2005, he and two math teachers from other schools applied for the DOE’s Zone Teacher Inquiry Grants Program. Their application proposed “the creation of a system to bring together NYC math teachers to share ideas, curriculum, resources, and experiences integrating issues of social justice into math classes.” Some of the social justice issues that math classes could explore: “Check-cashing locations ripping off poor people. H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt ripping off poor people. Foreclosure agencies ripping off poor people. Issues of joblessness, homelessness, incarceration, lack of funding for education, excessive funding for war. . . . The list goes on and on.”

Commute Time

For American commuters, the future is looking slow and long. An excerpt from US News & World Report:

People have been complaining about congestion since the time of Julius Caesar, who banned some traffic from downtown Rome. But in America, the 50-year-old Interstate Highway System is showing its age, more people are on the roads, and traffic has grown dramatically worse. Americans spent 3.7 billion hours in traffic in 2003, the last year for which such figures are available-more than a fivefold increase from just 21 years earlier. The amount of free-flowing travel is less than half what it was in the '80s, and the average commuter now loses 47 hours to congested traffic every year.

Disconnect. The issue mainly boils down to population growth outpacing road building. America has about 70 million more people than it did a quarter century ago, but highway miles have increased by a little more than 5 percent in that time. The Department of Transportation estimates that the demand for ground transportation-either by road or rail-will be 2½ times as great by 2050, while highway capacity is projected to increase by only 10 percent during that time.

Stacking the Deck

Seth Godin has a short and thought-provoking post on the importance of putting your products or services in the path of people who are likely to say "Yes."

If this is so obvious, why don't more firms do it?

True Crime Stories

I'd add: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi.

Quote of the Day

He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

- Proverbs 15:15

Friday, May 18, 2007

Disney's (Somewhat Dated) Version of the Future

James Lileks gives some quick takes on his family trip to Epcot. An excerpt:

Here’s what I wrote in my notebook about 11 minutes after entering:

"It’s the Good For You Disney World. If life is high school, then the Magic Kingdom was designed by theater majors, and Epcot was designed by AV geeks with taped glasses and well-thumbed copies of sci-fi novels in their briefcases. This is a compliment, sort of. It tries like hell not to look like a 1968 vision of The Future, but the previous incarnation as a big Object Lesson still makes up the bones. When you see a monorail crossing in front of a building that could have come from the ’64 NY World’s Fair, you have a direct line into the way Walt (see, I’m calling him by his first name now) saw the Future. It’s odd – the man so instrumental in nailing down for All Time a certain way in which we see the Past was also a visionary, to use the tired word. But his descendents had to slather the Future with au courant accoutrements to keep the attention of the present."

Ah, I love the smell of half-baked ruminations in the morning! Smells like . . . pretention. But I'll stick by that first impression.

Subordinate Status in the Islamic World

Christina Hoff Sommers explores the oppression of women in the Islamic world and concludes that American feminists are AWOL. An excerpt:

Take psychology professor Phyllis Chesler. She has been a tireless and eloquent champion of the rights of women for more than four decades. Unlike her tongue-tied colleagues in the academy, she does not hesitate to speak out against Muslim mistreatment of women. In a recent book, The Death of Feminism, she attributes the feminist establishment's unwillingness to take on Islamic sexism to its support of "an isolationist and America-blaming position." She faults it for "embracing an anti-Americanism that is toxic, heartless, mindless and suicidal." The sisterhood has rewarded her with excommunication. A 2006 profile in the Village Voice reports that, among academic feminists, "Chesler arouses the vitriol reserved for traitors."

But Chesler is right. In the literature of women's studies, the United States is routinely portrayed as if it were just as oppressive as any country in the developing world.

Peer Pressure and Performance

Trizoko sees the positive performance perks of peer pressure...provided your peers are performers.

[Say that rapidly five times.]

Forever and a Day Stamps

Nathaniel Rich looks at the new "forever stamps" and says "No deal."

Java Crunching

Feeling jumpy?

Political Calculations blog has a handy calculator so you can determine just how many cups of coffee you should drink in the morning.

It even factors in how many children you have and how many hours of sleep you need to avoid being rude to telemarketers.

Culture Break: Hopper Time

It's Friday.

Time for a culture break. The New Yorker has a slide show on the art of Edward Hopper.

True, it may cause some of you to stare at the wall in a depressed funk...but nonetheless it's great stuff.

I especially like the office scene.

Chronicles of Wasted Time

Meetings that are held for the sole purpose of being able to say that a meeting was held.

People required to be at their desks for an 8 to 5 schedule when their jobs don't require their presence throughout that period.

Up and comers with records that are sparse on achievements but long on being seen in the right places.

Managers and employees who spend a large chunk of their work days trying to look busy.

Executives and managers who can immediately increase the productivity and morale of their associates by spending more time on the golf course.

Job descriptions that have only a remote connection to the actual job.

Human Resources departments that regard employees as adveraries and nuisances.

How many of these are in your organization?

Quote of the Day

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

- Bill Gates

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dangerous Praise

There's an old ground rule for managers: "Correct in private. Praise in public."

The underlying assumption is that praise is an unmitigated good. Praise, however, has its limitations. Here are some of the dangers:

Culture and Shyness. Employees from some cultures are embarrassed by public praise. Calling them out at a staff meeting will not be welcome. You may also have extremely shy employees who would prefer a private acknowledgement of their good work.

Praise as a Put-Down. Praise must be carefully worded so it does not come across as an indirect jab at another employee. "Marie's reports are far and above the best research I've seen in years" probably won't be well received by the other researchers.

Back-Handed Compliments. Praise should be pure and unmixed. Beware of inserting qualifiers and conditions and by all means avoid inserting criticism. If you do the latter, that is the only thing that will be remembered.

Ulterior Motives. Any language that indicates an ulterior motive will completely negate the effectiveness of the praise. Beware of the timing.

Overstatement. An overdose of flowery compliments can utterly destroy a relationship. Instead of building a bond, it will damage the speaker's credibility and create a barrier.

Inflationary Praise. Start praising everything and everyone and before long your compliments will be meaningless.

Dream Jobs

Outside magazine has assembled some ideas on dream jobs from some, shall we say, creative characters. Here's one from the famous Jack Handey:

My dream job would be professional corrector. I would go around correcting people and things. For instance, if I saw you skiing down a mountain and I didn't think you were skiing very well, I would yell out a correction, like "Hey, man, ski better!" Or, if you were fishing, I might call out, "Hey, don't just stand there. Catch a fish!"

For yelling out a correction to someone, I would get $500. For just shaking my head derisively and smirking, that's only a hundred. (So, whoever's paying me for this, you're getting a bargain right there.) I would also offer more detailed corrections, although I wouldn't actually do those myself. I would farm them out to a subcorrector. I would only be a general corrector.

Leaving with Style

This is a crucial and yet much fumbled step in many careers.

Computer Crimes: First Quarter

David E. Kaplan of the Bad Guys blog has a list of the Top Computer Crimes of the First Quarter of 2007. An excerpt:

Virus Transmitter Nabbed by FBI: In February, Richard C. Honour of Kenmore, Wash., pleaded guilty to releasing malicious computer viruses that infected DarkMyst and other Internet Relay Chat systems. Until the FBI showed up at his door, Honour got his kicks by inviting fellow IRC users to click on a movie link, which downloaded malware and created backdoor access to their computers.

Get a rope.