My folks owned a Ford Pinto wagon that eventually came to me. The story about how I got it and what happened to it are lost to my late teen/early 20s memory gaps. The picture in this post is the closest I could find. I don’t even remember what year the car was or what year I got rid of it.
But that Pinto broke in a way that I very much remember.
I never wanted a tattoo. It isn’t that I had anything against them. I remember seeing them as a kid. It wasn’t very often but some of them were pretty cool. But I never had a drive to get one. Until now…
Large numbers are interesting. The following quote about a hedgehog sneezing is a good example. The article at the link uses that as a starting point and goes large. Really large. Makes the brain hurt a bit to try and grasp it and doesn’t really serve any useful purpose outside of math research…but it is an interesting read if you can make it through.
A recent Mega Millions lottery had 1-in-175,711,536 odds of winning. To put those chances in perspective, that’s about the number of seconds in six years. So it’s like knowing a hedgehog will sneeze once and only once in the next six years and putting your hard-earned money down on one particular second—say, the 36th second of 2:52am on March 19th, 2017—and only winning if the one sneeze happens exactly at that second.
The Golden Casket factory in Greenock produces thousands of tonnes of confectionery each year.
Managing director Crawford Rae gave the BBC a behind the scenes look at the production line, where sweets such as toffees, sour plooms and humbugs are manufactured for sweet-toothed customers around world.
This seems like an appropriate link for Halloween. Even though we don’t have these candies on this side of the Atlantic, it is always fun to see this much chocolate or sugar in one place at one time. The video is less than 2 minutes long.
Did you know the current martini glass is much bigger than they were back in the “3 martini lunch” days? But then, even the small ones are at least a shot of booze, so that would still be ridiculous.
The PBS Ideas Channel talks to Brooklyn bar owner Ivy Mix about all the different kinds of glassware that cocktails are served in. The most interesting bits are about how factors other than taste influence how people enjoy drinks, as with wine. Men in particular seem to have a difficult time enjoying themselves with certain types of glassware and drink colors.
In the last few years, some bands have been bringing up audience members during a concert to play a song. I don’t know if they do anything to make sure the person knows how to play but I have seen videos of people that didn’t know how to play and the road crew pulls them out immediately. But sometime it works out.
The Foo Fighters are one of those bands that does this. The featured video today (link) has an audience member who was well prepared. He even had his own pick ready when he put the guitar on.
While the band, and especially Dave Grohl, know how to put on a show, there is a joy that I believe is real when they realize how well Kiss Guy can play. And how much Kiss Guy clearly enjoys being up there with them.
Part of what is appealing to me is watching people that haven’t played together before, play something. Watching them work together. The section in the middle and the end are not part of the record so Kiss Guy couldn’t just have been playing from the original recording.
They were making it up around the prearranged song. And that is part of the magic for me.
Unknown Fan ready To step up on the big stage Impressing the Band
The entire Music Is Magic playlist can be found here.
We are flooded with data and we don’t understand most of it. While the below HBR tip of the day has specifics about communicating outside the company, I think that the basic concept — helping people understand the data — is a fundamental part of being a Business Analyst.
The standard mantra you hear is “too much data, not enough information” or “information is data made actionable”. These sayings are all getting at the fact that looking at data does not convey everything that we can learn from the data. Understand what is being looked at, understand the limitations of the data, understanding the assumptions in the data, understanding the cleanliness of the data. That is critical to having a business leverage the data they have.
But data can steer you wrong if you don’t know the information around the data.
When someone is looking at a report, is it easy to see the metadata? When someone looks at a spreadsheet or a PDF output of some sort, can they see where the data comes from and what assumptions are in place?
It is easy to simply slap a report out for the requester to get what they want. Too often, the requester and the report writer miss the fact that someone else is going to use this report six months from now and not have the same background the requester had. Or think differently from the requester.
So when writing reports or creating spreadsheets or otherwise presenting DATA that is meant to be understood, consider adding this information (automatically updated, of course) to them:
metadata (date of data, all the parameters, specified and implied filter and sort parameters)
Where did the data come from? Can you provide a link back to the original data for detail reports?
What are the calculated fields and what are the calculations?
Who is responsible for the data?
Who do I talk to if I have questions?
Do the field names make absolute sense to everyone looking at the report?
Here is another tip, this one is from Harvard Business Review:
Help People Understand Your Data by Making It Relatable
People can’t use data to make decisions if they don’t understand what the numbers mean. To help colleagues wrap their heads around a data point — how big or tiny it is, how important it should seem — compare it with something concrete and relatable. When you’re talking about lengths of time, frame your data in terms of flights between cities, TV episodes, or how long it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn — whatever your audience will know. When you’re talking about size, use places and things that are familiar to listeners. For instance, if you were trying to show a San Francisco audience what 1 million users really looks like, you might mention the San Francisco Giants baseball field, which has 41,915 seats: “Our users would fill the stadium almost 24 times.” Articulating figures this way can keep the narrative from getting lost in the numbers.
My son plays the sport called Ultimate. He got involved in college when he lost interest in soccer and baseball — his two high school sports. I had heard about it, but didn’t know a thing about the sport. It was some sort of game that involved a frisbee and was like soccer, basketball, and football.
Naturally, I expressed interest in seeing one of his games. His response was clear: “No parents.”
Explored the West Side on this ride. It’s a place I’ve been many times to eat, drink and celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but sporadically on my bike. Therefore I’m familiar with many of the main roads on the West Side – Concord Street, Cesar Chavez Street, Smith Avenue, and of course Robert Street (with which I’m so well acquainted that I call it Bob Street.) But the bulk of the West Side is new to me and stocked with discoveries.
It takes some pedaling, and a stop or two, to get to the
West Side from my house. One pause of note was on Benhill Street, a
Mac-Groveland thoroughfare that curves down among the bluffs and has gorgeous
and large old homes.
With that in mind, for my first column on cooking and science for The New York Times, I decided to undertake my greatest egg-peeling experiment yet, and I have finally come up with some answers.
Ninety-six volunteers came through my restaurant, Wursthall, in San Mateo, Calif., in August to peel and taste more than 700 eggs, cooked with various methods, making this — as verified with a cursory search online — the largest-ever double-blind egg-boiling-and-peeling experiment in the history of the universe. (If anyone from Guinness is reading, I have pretty extensive documentation.)
How many of us have stood by the sink cursing at the hard boiled eggs that won’t peel easily? Ok, if not actually cursing, then grumbling. In my limited survey, 100% of people who have cooked and peeled hardboiled eggs have not been successful in peeling all the eggs cleanly. All have grumbled out loud about it while peeling.
Finally someone scienced this and gives us answers. Yes, answers, plural. No silver bullet here…
I subscribe to the Havard Business Review (HBR) Management Tip Of The Day. About half the time, it is something that is applicable to my situation. This particular one hits both my work and my writing. The underlining below is mine.
HBR Management Tip Of The Day When You’re Learning, You Should Feel Uncomfortable
Being a beginner at something can feel awkward and embarrassing, especially if you’re used to being an expert. But those feelings are the inescapable growth pains that come from developing and improving. To get used to the discomfort, know that it’s brave to be a beginner. Exposing your weaknesses and trying new things takes courage. You can make the challenge a bit easier by looking for learning situations where the stakes are low — maybe a class where you’re not expected to be an expert or you don’t know anyone else. If it helps, tell fellow participants that you may mess up whatever you’re about to attempt. Your willingness to take risks may inspire others to do the same. And whatever you do, don’t stop learning. Keep pushing yourself, especially in the areas where you are accomplished, so you can get even better. If you are willing to feel embarrassment and shame, and even to fail, there’s no end to what you can do.
As with many others, a large part of my difficulty with writing is the “I suck” thoughts that keep coming into my head. It is a constant battle to ignore those and just write. However, to some extent, it is true — I do suck. But I need to remember other things that are true.
I suck now when compared to my future writing skills.
The majority of people, when they start something new, suck compared to how good they are after they have been doing it for a while.
Comparing myself to those that have already paid their dues, put in their time, built their skills, it not a smart move. Should a high school gymnast compare themselves to Simone Biles? Should a new writer compare themselves to Maya Angelou? Of course not, they should compare themselves to how good they were last month and the month before. Learning from others is very good — comparing yourself to others is self-defeating.
Put in the time to learn a new skill, be patient with yourself, and, as the above tip says, don’t stop learning.
Hard to start writing You’re your own worst enemy Be patient and try
I’ve never seen the details of how they work. You can see the rings on the ball where it scrapes the edges of the pen body and scrapes off the ink. Seeing the ink move from the ball to the paper is cool also.
It was a Good Friday. Both literally and figuratively. I was sure about the literal part as we were heading up North for Easter, and it was Friday, so, you know, Good Friday. The figurative part was going to depend on whether I could pull it off.
Joyce and I had been dating for a year. From the beginning, it was clear that there was a strong connection. We both had messed up our first marriages so we had some experience with not so good connections.
I had realized that this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. A heart the size of an ocean, competent in everything she tries, and, well, lets just say that other things were awesome also.