Category Archives: Uncategorized

“…the overt and discrete habits of mind necessary for autonomous, self-directed learning.”

The TI-83 Plus had helped me cultivate many of the overt and discrete habits of mind necessary for autonomous, self-directed learning. And even more, it did this without resorting to grades, rewards, or other extrinsic motivators that schools often use to coerce student engagement.
The Atlantic: Go Ahead, Mess With Texas Instruments

Articles like this make me wish I had glommed onto programming much earlier than I did.

Stack Ranking

The stack rank was a zero-sum game—one person could only excel by the amount that others were penalized. And it was applied at every level of the organization. Even if you were in a group of three high performers, it was very likely that one of you would be graded Above Average, one Average, and one Below Average. Unless your manager was a prick or an idiot or both, the ordering would reflect your relative skills, but that never came as too much comfort to the hard-working schlub who just wasn’t as good as the other two. . . This was my problem. I had three reports, A, B, and C, and they neatly fit into three categories: C was good, B was great, and A was fantastic.
Slate.com: Tales of an Ex–Microsoft Manager

I can see why, at least on paper, stack ranking has appeal if only because because the process creates an easy visual with which to gauge performance and relatively distribute rewards. In practice, however, stack ranking is invariably demoralizing by turning hard work into a pointless exercise, and should be abandoned immediately by everyone.

Seamus Heaney

So (and all great sagas should begin with “so”), I can’t stand poetry except in very rare instances. I like song lyrics but not poetry. A bit weird of me, I know, but that’s the way things worked out, and certainly not for a lack of trying. When I saw Seamus Heaney’s photos all over my favorite news sites, I didn’t know who he was so I paid little (actually, no) attention. I finally relented in reading the umpteenth article about him and his significance.

Heaney’s interpretation of Beowulf was my first and is still my favorite, particularly when I feel like getting my Scandinavian on. His starting the poem with “So.” made me laugh out loud which led (again in my own weird way) to the parenthetical I used to start off this post to also start off the sometimes super-long emails I find myself stuck writing.

Does this mean that I will grab a copy of some of his poetry and read it? Probably not, but I will always enjoy reading Beowulf. RIP, Mr. Heaney.