April 21st, 2006

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Things that make you go hmm . . .

Hmm . . . so earlier this week we got this resume that included a link to a personal blog. Really? I think there are definitely times when you can do this, and it's okay (i.e. when you have a professional blog vs. a personal one), but it's definitely a fine line - this particular applicant's site includes an academic section, a flickr stream, etc. It's actually got a pretty solid design, and shows some knowledge of CSS and working with WordPress, but there's still a lot of personal stuff . . . i.e. she talks about taking her cat to the vet, her cooking escapades, etc . . . I'm not sure that's the impression I'd want to make (and if I weren't a tech person, her design skills and things would be lost . . . )
  • Current Music
    C.M. - Dream Universe (marino s. mix) (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno
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TV-Turnoff Week

So, next week is TV-Turnoff week. There are some good fact sheets, as well as research. For those of us without televisions, this isn't a big deal . . .

I think that even though I remember debating with my father about watching TV when I was a younger (we used to not be allowed to watch more than a half-hour a day or something like that), in hindsight I'm glad . . .
  • Current Music
    Redd Square - Don't Stop (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno, Hi-NRG... w
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Oh the wonders of the internet

So, remind me to sue the government next time I shoot myself in the foot.

More details at the Smoking Gun, including the video where the DEA agent shoots himself in the foot soon after saying that he was the only one in the room professional enough to carry the Glock.

Of course, thanks to the internet, this video made the rounds . . . whee!
  • Current Music
    Redd Square - Don't Stop (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno, Hi-NRG... w
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Word productivity

I was reading this article titled Ten things every Microsoft Word user should know, and noted that I try and do most of this already. Much of it is similar to web publication, and when you're trying to separate content from presentation. On the web, you use style sheets, in Word you apply styles.

While I realize most people don't use styles/headings/etc, I've found in the long run, it really does save time and energy. I had to recently reformat a 60 page document. The original author had apparently used styles, as when I turned on the formatting codes, I could see all these Word Perfect tags, but they hadn't translated over into Word. Since I was in a time crunch, I faked it, and turned out a crap document, but if the styles had been available, it would have been so much easier . . .
  • Current Music
    Aalto - Rush (super 8 vs. orkidea remix) (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Tec
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More fun research . . .

Believe it or not, sex cues ruin men's decisiveness . . .

Interesting tidbit from the article - "The men's testosterone levels were also tested - by comparing the length of the men's index finger compared to their ring finger. If the ring finger is longer, it indicates a high testosterone level. " A cursory look at my fingers suggests my ring finger is just barely longer (like a millimeter).

The study's results were "that people with high testosterone levels are very vulnerable to sexual cues." No real surprise there . . .

The whole time I was reading this article, I was thinking about Justin . . .
  • Current Music
    Euphonic - Sleepwalker (original vox mix) (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Te
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Data driven

Earlier this week, I wrote a draft of a letter that was going to go out of our office to coalitions across the state. My supervisor had made some changes to the letter, and she was all apologetic when giving me the criticism. This sort of made me laugh, as I remembered during my VISTA Leader interview the question was asked along the lines of how you handle feedback/changes/etc, and I responded that I loved it, that the criticism helps me, and I realize that I don't see all the angles . . .

Of course, she was just doing what we teach to our members when giving feedback. We teach a feedback cycle that involves starting with a positive, then giving constructive criticism, and ending on a positive note. Pretty standard stuff, but it still makes me laugh.

I'm much more like Werner Vogels, wanting solid data to support things. I truly like criticism, but make sure you can back it up with data, even anecdotal, and not just "but it makes me happy!"
  • Current Music
    Ferry Corsten - Indigo (original mix) (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno
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Cool use of tech . . .

So, the Century Council has this interesting anti-drinking campaign they're running for prom season. You can go to their website, fill out a form, and have it send a text message saying "Make the right choice, stay safe, don't drink under 21."

While I'm not sure how effective this may be, it's nice to see organizations embracing tech, and trying to figure out ways to reach teens.
  • Current Music
    Ferry Corsten - Indigo (original mix) (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno
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I really like student perspectives . . .

While I like to think that I'm pretty in tap with youth, and youth culture, it's always interesting to read student essays. This one titled Why Ninth Grade Matters – a Student’s View is well written with the voice of youth.

It's written by a guy who realized he wasn't going to graduate half way through his senior year, and he's now recognizing that blowing off stuff freshman year wasn't the best idea. He realizes that in the end, they were all decisions he made, but wonders why he slipped through the system. Why didn't the school do something about the student who was failing - "I used to think about this when I would be riding the bus home after second period. Does the school even KNOW that I cut out? Do they care? I knew that I would keep on doing what I was doing until somebody stepped in and stopped me."

He goes on to describe how once he transferred to another school, and how it was eye opening to get called out on it - "WHOA! Never before had any school cared so much about why I had cut class."

The guy ends up taking the California High School Proficiency Exam instead of graduating.

Biggest takeaway? The personal attention matters - students tend to get lost in the system, and sometimes, all it takes is a simple reality check. Not just a detention or something, but really pointing out the consequences . . .
  • Current Music
    DJ Sammy - Sunlight (pulser remix) (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno, H
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Youth activism

Interesting article about how youth got involved with the immigration protests. It's awesome to see civically engaged youth.

It's also interesting to read about how these protests helped some of these students with their cultural identity
"I've always been proud to say that I'm Hispanic," said Rafael "Ralph" Tabares, 17, a Marshall High School student and an organizer of his school's walkout. "But on Saturday, I thought: Whoa. We can do something. And we can do it right."
Tabares had some foresight though, and "even ordered classmates to put away Mexican flags they had brought to the demonstration — predicting, correctly, that the flags would be shown on the news and that the demonstrators would be criticized as nationalists for other countries, not residents seeking rights at home."

The critical role of MySpace in organizing the student walkouts in California really speaks to how the internet has changed communication. Estimates are that 40,000 students walked out throughout the week to protest the proposed reforms. The second page of the article looks at how two students used bulletins posted on Sunday afternoon to organize a walkout for 8 AM Monday morning. They had no idea how well it would work, but through the viral nature of MySpace, it spread to other schools, people stepped up to leadership roles to coordinate efforts, with a total of 1,500 students from various schools walking out and marching 10 miles. How cool is that?

Sort of ties in loosely to National Youth Service Day. Much like last year, we're seeing a lot of volunteer apathy, and no one is really excited about the event, but the real reason I'm seeing a connection is we don't have youth involvement. There has been token representation at the meetings with a few youth at one, and then some different ones at others, but there's no ownership like what's demonstrated in the above story. It's very much an AmeriCorps event, catering to youth, not a youth-driven day. Of course, meeting where we have people referring to youth as "kids" when there are teens there, and people not directly asking the teens present about their thoughts/opinions didn't help matters. (Most teens aren't going to jump in to a conversation among adults about planning a service day . . . )
  • Current Music
    PlaneT HiLL - Sympathy (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D - European Trance, Techno, Hi-NRG... we