Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Which I Take the Ice Bucket Challenge

You've probably seen, or heard of, or read about the so-called ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease after the eponymous baseball player who died of the disease in 1939.

Grandma Winn—my mother's mother—was diagnosed with and ultimately succumbed to ALS. Fortunately, she was in her late 80s before it set in.

Deb's uncle Darrell, however, was not so fortunate. He never saw his 50th birthday.

With ALS on both sides of the family, you could say Deb and I have a vested interest in promoting efforts to find effective treatments or a cure or both.

That's why, silly as the challenge itself may seem, I support the ice bucket challenge. It has, after all, produced a remarkable outpouring of contributions, to which I gladly add my own.

Your own contributions are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'll Call You . . . Not!

"I do not think it means what you think it means."

Am I missing something, or is there a secret rule in HR Land that dictates that "I'll call you either way no later than Tuesday" actually means "I'm definitely not going to call you. Ever. You will not be proceeding in the interview process, and you will not work for us?"

I'm confused.

Bonus: 50 Nate Bucks to the person who correctly identifies the movie quote source.

Not legal tender in HR Land

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's Christmas in August

August is always an exciting month for me since it's the month when the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), also known as FairMormon, holds its annual conference.

The anticipation of reading the presenter's remarks rates right up there with how I felt as a kid waiting to open my presents Christmas morning.

So far, two of the presentations have been posted, with more to follow in the coming days and weeks as the volunteers at FairMormon transcribe the presentations.

Of course, all the presentations of past conferences are available too to whet your appetite.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Winds of Change

From left to right: Hawaiian islands, hurricane Iselle, and hurricane Julio

There is reason to rejoice here in Hawaii, and it doesn't only have to do with recently being missed by two storms, Iselle and Julio.

Let the games begin.

Friday, August 8, 2014

"It’s about Cold Memorization and Mathematical Probabilities"

The great Nigel Richards (right) and some other guy,
presumably important in the world of competitive Scrabble

Ok, all you Scrabble mavens, this one's for you.

I enjoy Scrabble as much as the next man—za, anyone?—but Oliver Roeder's article makes a clear case as to why I'll never be one of the game's greats:
A good competitive player will have memorized a sizeable chunk of the 83,667 words that are two letters to eight letters long. A great player will know a lot of the 29,150 nine-letter words as well.
And that's just the good competitive player, to say nothing of the elite.

Though, truth be told, because we didn't have a TV in the house when I was a kid (except on special occasions like the Olympics), I did develop a habit of reading from the set of encyclopedias on our living room bookshelves. And even today I do enjoy the periodic perusal of my Samoan-English dictionary.

But that wouldn't be enough to develop the chops to compete with our whiskery wordsmith, as Roeder points out.
For living-room players, Scrabble is about language, a test of vocabularies. For world-class players, it’s about cold memorization and mathematical probabilities. Think of the dictionary not as a compendium of the beauty and complexity of the English language, but rather as a giant rulebook. Words exist merely as valid strings with which to score points.
It's a nice thought, really, but I think I'll just keep looking for a regular day job, with the occasional weekend test of vocabularies.

Friday, August 1, 2014

More Star Wars Statistics

The picture of dignity

In keeping with our recent theme of applying statistical analysis to the Star Wars saga, we here note one pundit's brilliant observation that reviled character Jar Jar Binks has a greater approval rating among Americans than does our current Congress.

The comparison is apt, if unscientific: Binks himself served as a Galactic Senator.

Never mind that he was also instrumental in granting Chancellor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, emergency powers leading to the Senate's eventual dissolution and the subsequent establishment of the Galactic Empire.

What do they say, life imitates art? Or is it the other way around?

Ask Me How I Really Feel

The above meme basically sums up my current experience

I'm not prone to swearing, but near as I can tell the English language doesn't contain enough execrations to describe how I really feel about this execrable practice the chaps in HR Land have foisted on the rest of us.

I'm reminded of the "It's a clinker!" scene from the holiday cult-classic A Christmas Story, where Ralphie observes how his father, a particularly gifted wordsmith, "wove a tapestry of obscenity that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan."

If it's true that Mr. Parker's tapestry hangs still in the starry skies above the lacustrine feature at the Mitten State's western border, then I think he said enough for the both of us.