Friday Four

Friday, February 14, 2014

1. Even nearly a century after it ran, you probably know about Burma Shave's roadside ad campaign. But did you know the campaign attracted pranks, which included ridiculous prize offers? The company dealt with these just as creatively, culminating with its response to a series of signs that read:

FOR 900
Check the Futility Closet for more details.

2. I'll definitely try the CiteULike citation/paper management service after seeing Matt Might recommend it and reading the following (among other things) from its FAQ:
Collecting material for a bibliography is something which appeared to require an amazing amount of drudgery. All the existing options seemed to require more effort than strictly necessary to transfer the citation details for the article currently open in my web browser into some sort of permanent storage. I'm sure with a lot of practice I could have got the process down to twenty seconds or so, but that twenty seconds just presented enough unpleasantness of flipping between browsers and external applications, copying and pasting details, and opening downloaded "citation export" files that I was far less likely to actually do it. I'd need amazing amounts of self discipline to consistently bookmark everything I ever read on the off-chance that I might want it again. Unless, of course, it just involved clicking a button on the browser and having it all magically happen.
The service appears to deal smoothly with either BibTeX or End Note, which is also a big winner for me.

3. They weren't quite "stress interviews", but I've had a couple of job interviews over the years that came close to crossing that line. So it was that I appreciated what Nick Corcodilos had to say about that practice:
Employers use interviews to judge applicants by watching their every little move. Interviews are often so intimidating that applicants forget to do exactly the same. The interview is your chance to see whether the employer is putting its best foot forward in a tightly constrained time-frame. If the employer can't pull it off, then they're not worth working for. [italics added]

4. Heh! First there was "range anxiety", and now there's "charge rage":
The growing popularity of environmentally friendly [sic] motoring in America has led to a new phenomenon, "charge rage", as the owners of electric cars compete for places to plug in their cars. [bold in original]
I was wrong! Electric cars are good for something: turning "angry leftists" against each other!

-- CAV

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