Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, May 08, 2020

Four Things

Or: Feeling tired one morning, Gus bails himself out with bookmarks. Enjoy!

1. Over at Hacker News, someone said, name one idea that changed your life. Here's a good one:

Favor interrogative-led questions over leading questions.

A leading question attempts to get the listener to agree or disagree with a premise you feed to them.

An interrogative-led question often begins with the words: who; where; what; when; why.
I know someone with a tendency to give answers based on what he thinks the asker wants to hear. I'm using this on him the next time I need a real answer to a question.

That said, it occurs to me that it can be interesting to do the opposite, and find out what someone thinks you'll want to hear...

2. Here's another good comment thread, from Hacker News, this one set off by an article on signs that a business will probably fail. Within is good advice for those times when one is bursting at the seams with ideas to try:
One suggestion that has worked for me to stop me working on dozens of ideas at once is to write them down in detail in an ideas diary. This seems to take away most of the desire to start working on the idea right now.
It also records them for later, in case they have merit. Someone else elaborates on a further benefit of this approach:
The good thing about this approach is that when you review them (after a certain amount of time) you lose the personal attachment to the ideas.
I'd put this a little differently: You gain psychological distance from the delay.

I'll note here that what first drew me to Hacker News was the wide variety of interesting and thought-provoking materials its readers would post. I used to check the site multiple times every day, until I decided I was spending too much time browsing. I wrote a program to collect the links for me several times a day so I could look at all of them in one sitting every day or so.

Eventually, I realized I was visiting the site anyway to look at comments, and revised the script to also include a link to the comments for each article. Now, I often go to those first to see if something really is worth reading.

3. If you like maps, you may enjoy this map of Pangea with modern national boundaries superimposed on it.

The Coliseum was designed to look like a circus tent and had the tacky paint job that implies when I lived in Jackson. I believe it was painted differently at some point. In any event, I must say that this image nearly succeeds in making it look like a handsome building. (Image by Ken Lund, via Wikimedia Commons, license.)
4. Mental Floss put out a pretty decent list of "25 Things You Should Know About Jackson, Mississippi," where I grew up.

Being a rock collector then, I knew about Item 13:
Seventy-five million years ago, present-day Jackson sat on a volcanic island. Roughly 2900 feet below the intersection of East Pascagoula Street and I-55, a long-extinct volcano has its origins. Today the Mississippi Coliseum, a 6500-seat multipurpose arena, sits on top of its caldera.
I was wrong about the location of the volcano then. I had gotten it into my head that a shopping center on a hill near my home was the site.

-- CAV


Jennifer Snow said...

I find that you generally need to use leading questions when someone has asked YOU a question and you have no clue what the heck they're even asking because they don't even know enough to word the question sensibly. So you wind up having to ask them "do you mean THIS?" "does it look like THAT?" until you get them to reveal that, say, the "box" they're talking about is the USB hub.

I have a very difficult time taking anyone seriously who can't be bothered to learn and use the actual names for things, because it feels like they spend a lot of time outsourcing their thinking to other people. If you can't even properly categorize things, you CAN'T think clearly about them.

Gus Van Horn said...

For some reason, this reminds me that one of the first things to do when the technologically-impaired complain that a computer "isn't working" is to make sure: (1) The building has power, (2) the computer is plugged in, and (3) the computer's power switch is in the "on" position.