Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Animal Shelter

I thought of a way to improve an animal shelter around Austin. I want to make the dogs much more individualistic so that people won't just see a giant list. I want to do some gonzo advertising.

I emailed one of the shelters today. I really hope they let me help the pets.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

LOST twits

I started some Twits for the LOST characters. If you want to contribute, there are emails for you to submit your own twit.

Here are some characters:

John Locke
Miles Straume
The Island (Yes, it twits.)

I'll be adding more characters and try to get this thing going. Hopefully it'll be fun.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Criticism Part I

Recently I noticed a flaw in one of my teacher's tests. While it was pretty obvious to me, I started questioning whether or not I should point it out. Did I not see everything? Was I missing some information? He knows better than me, right?

These questionings stemmed from me being unsure of myself. I wasn't questioning the validity of the flaw, but the status that he and I held. I was the student and he was the knowing teacher.

Once I realized this, I sent it as respectfully as I could and I got this back:

"Dear [Rabbit B.]

Thank you for this thoughtful criticism. I've considered what you say and believe you may be right. My not entirely groundless skepticism has perhaps led me to underestimate my students and even my own teaching. Your message alone is evidence of that.

Anyway, I'm going to incorporate changes into my exams next term that will follow your suggestion, probably by way of introducing a large essay question into the final and making it count for a substantial portion of the exam grade. I may make other changes as well.

Again, many thanks for this. You've done a good thing by writing."

If you see a flaw, point it out. As long as you're sure the person isn't prideful or vain, what could go wrong? If you're right, it'll help them. If you're wrong, it'll help you understand. Don't be afraid of statuses or whether you're experienced enough to offer criticism. Helping someone is much greater than the small risk of being wrong.

You'll be doing a good thing.

Note: If the person is vain/prideful, make sure they're not in a position to hurt you. "Never outshine the master."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Destruction and Creation

Recently my computer crashed. I have no idea how, but it's not a big deal. Most of my important things are hosted online. One important thing that did get erased, however, was the template to the website I'm creating.

It wasn't much. I strive for simple. Very little graphics. Very few links. Minimalism in coding. I wasn't upset, but now am really happy it happened. By having it deleted, I've been able to concentrate what goes on behind the scenes of the website, dealing with PHP and the databases. I've reorganized the table system and am learning the language. I've made leaps and bounds in progress in something I thought I'd have to pay an expert to help me with.

Destruction of what I have was simply a new reason to move forward and create.

What can you destroy that would make you do more? Why don't you do it?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Westboro Baptist Church and Organization

The Westboro Baptist Church sucks. They exude pure hatred and ignorance. Sadly, most of them are brain washed and it's terrible to see their children learning from their examples. However, no matter how much I hate them, I still can't help but see opportunities for them to take advantage of technology and organize better.

Recently they tried to cross the Canadian border and protest at Tim McLean's funeral, but they were stopped.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church's founder, Fred Phelps, had this to say:
"They won't let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot," she said. "They'll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won't know who we are. They'll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts."

This is a step in the right direction
if they want to organize and avoid being stopped. If you're going up against a large opponent, it is better to be small and break up and try to squeeze through. It's impossible to stop everybody.

Also at the funeral, if they fear retaliation, they shouldn't go into it clustered. Organizing and mobilizing with cellphones/twitter/any mass communication device could keep detection to the minimum. They could go to the funeral, avoid detection and find the best possible spot. At the right time, thanks to the communications device, they can converge and protest effectively.

In unrelated news, I need to stop examining things.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rules for Radicals and PR

Rules for Radicals was good. Except for the last chapter he delivered an objective, brilliant guide for tactics. There was a lot of great information in here, but I think this quote would be perfect for PR people to keep in mind when contacting people:

"Communication for persuasion, as in negotiation, is more than entering the area of another person's experience. It is getting a fix on his main value or goal and holding your course on that target. You don't communicate with anyone purely on the rational facts or ethics of an issue."

Alphabetized Quotes


"The possibility of destruction is always implicit in the act of creation. Thus the greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself."
-Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. Pg. xxiv

"We must first see the world as it is and not as we would like it to be...It is painful to accept fully the simple fact that one begins from where one is, that one must break free of the web of illusions one spins about life."
-Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. Pg. 12

"A major revolution to be won in the immediate future is the dissipation of man's illusion that his own welfare can be separate from that of all others. As long as man is shackled to this myth, so long will the human spirit languish. Concern for our private, material well-being with disregard for the well-being of others is immoral according to the precepts of our Judaeo-Christian civilization, but worse, it is stupidity worthy of lower animals."
-Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. Pg. 23

"The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means."
Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. Pg. 26

"Communication for persuasion, as in negotiation, is more than entering the area of another person's experience. It is getting a fix on his main value or goal and holding your course on that target. You don't communicate with anyone purely on the rational facts or ethics of an issue."
Saul D. Alinsky, Rules For Radicals. Pg. 89

"Learn to search out the rationalizations, treat them as rationalizations, and break through. Do not make the mistake of locking yourself up in a conflict with them as though they were the issues or problems with which you are trying to engage the local people"
Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. Pg. 112

"All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new."
Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. Pg. 116

"What we [The Boomer Generation/Earlier] thought was the rising tide of common culture actually turned out to be less about the triumph of Hollywood talent and more to do with the sheepherding effect of broadcast distribution."
-Chris Anderson, The Long Tail. Pg. 5 [Economics | Internet Specific]

"Far too long we've been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to brain-dead summer blockbusters and manufactured pop. Why? Economics. Many of assumptions about popular taste are actually artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching---a market response to inefficient distribution."
-Chris Anderson, The Long Tail. Pg. 16 [Economics | Internet Specific]

"The theory of the Long Tail can be boiled down to this: Our culture and economy are increasingly shifting away from a focus on relatively small number of hits (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve, and moving toward a huge number of niches in the tail. In an era without constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare."
-Chris Anderson, The Long Tail. Pg. 52 [Economics | Internet Specific]

"In today's Long Tail markets, the main effect of filters is to help move from the world they know ("hits") to the world they don't ("niches") via a route that is both comfortable and tailored to their tastes. In a sense, good filters have the effect of driving demand down the tail by revealing goods and services that appeal more than the lowest-common-denominator fare that crowds the narrow channels of traditional mass-market distribution."
-Chris Anderson, The Long Tail. Pg. 109 [Economics | Internet Specific]

"When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surely. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me." -Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"Not to be constantly correcting people, and in particular not to jump on them whenever they make an error of usage or a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something, but just answer their question or add another example, or debate the issue itself (not their phrasing), or make some other contribution to the discussion-- and insert the right expression, unobtrusively."
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"Optimism in adversity...
A personality in balance: dignity and grace together.
Doing your job without whining."
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"It would wrong for anything to stand between you and attaining goodness--as a rational being and a citizen. Anything at all: the applause of the crowd, high office, wealth, or self-indulgence. All of them might seem to compatible with it---for a while. But suddenly they control us and sweep us away.
So make your choice straightforwardly, once and for all, and stick to it. Chose what's best.
---Best is what benefits me."
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"Be your own savior while you can."
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"Choose not to be harmed --- and you won't feel harmed.
Don't feel harmed--- and you haven't been."
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"The best revenge is not to be like that."
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations

"Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it?"
Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations


"It seems like lately I've been debating a lot of people over whether intelligence dooms you to a life of misery. It seems most people agree on this, citing 'ignorance is bliss' and arguing that you have a greater capacity to appreciate how miserable life is if you're really smart. I find this to be insanity. If an intelligent person has a greater capacity for sorrow, then it stands to reason that they also have a greater capacity for joy."


"What is essential is that the cost of advocating unpopular causes be tolerable and not prohibitive."
Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman. Pg. 18 [NOT CATEGORIZED YET]

"One man's freedom must be limited to preserve another's...'My freedom to move my fist must be limited by the proximity of your chin.'"
Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman. Pg. 26 [NOT CATEGORIZED YET]


"But below 150, Dunbar argues, it is possible to achieve these same goals informally: "At this isze, orders can be implemented and unruly behavior controlled on the basis of personal loyalties and direct man-to-man contacts. With larger groups, this becomes impossible."
Malcom Gladwell, The Tipping Point pg. 181 (Buisiness | Management)

"transactive memory"
"Wegner argues that when people know each other well, they create an implicit joint memory system -- a transactive memory system -- which is based on an understand about who is best suited remember what kind of things."
Malcom Gladwell, The Tipping Point Pg. 188 (Memory)

"When we became bigger, that's when we should have paid more attention to the details and kept good buzz going, so when people said you guys are sellouts, you guys went mainstream, you suck, we could have said, you know what, we don't. We had this little jewel of a brand, and little by little we sold that off to the mainstream..."
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point Pg. 215 [Marketing | Business | Niche]

"The Stickiness Factor says that there are specific ways of making a contagious message memorable; there are realitvely simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it makes."
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point Pg. 25 (Stickiness | Modify)

"The key to getting people the change their behavior...sometimes lies with the smallest details of their immediate situation. The Power of Context says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem."
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point Pg. 29 (Context | Modify)


"Chiefly among these inappropriate value judgments: the designation as 'good' or 'evil' of things that in fact are neither good nor other words, not the objects and events but the interpretations we place on them that are the problem. Our duty therefore is to exercise stringent control over the faculty of perception, with the aim of protecting our mind from them."
The Meditations' Intro, Gregory Hays. Pg. xxvii
[Life, economics and strategy]


"So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me... I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive...And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
-J.K. Rowling, Harvard Graduation


"...issues of complexity still loom large, as we will see---but the new tools enable alternate strategies for keeping that complexity out of control."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

" undertaking...activities that are enabled or improved by social tools. The rungs on the ladder, in order of diffculty, are sharing, cooperation, and collective action."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
Pg. 49
[Sharing: Posting your material. Cooperation: organizing with people. Collective Action: The rules which the group must abide by]

"When enough people are eating, everyone feels comfortable undefunding the group's tip, even if only unconsciously"
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg. 53 [Group Think]

"In particular, when a profession has been created as a result of some scarcity, as with librarians or television programmers, the professionals are often the last ones to see it when scarcity goes away. It is easier to understand that you face competition than obsolescence."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg. 59

"Most user-generated content isn't 'content' at all, in the sense of being created for general consumption, any more than a phone call between you and a relative is 'family-generated content.'
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg. 86

"...[people have] a preference for fairness that is more emotional than rational. This in turn suggests that relying on nonfinancial motivations may actually make systems more tolerant of various participation."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg. 134

"The problem the Times suffered from was simple: no once cared enough about the contents of the Wikitorial to defend it, much less improve it."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg.137

"When the site was small, she [founder of Flickr] and the other staffers would not just post their own photos, but also comment on other users' photos."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg.264
[Engage people who are important.]

"lump of labor" fallacy. This fallacy is the assumption that there is a certain amount of work in society, a lump of labor, and that any labor-saving device must therefore make society worse off, because people will be thrown out of work. In fact, changes like the printing press destroy some kings of jobs but create others, and they benefit a much larger swath of society."
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Pg. 297


"The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug."
-Mark Twain