Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

See You at the Opportunities Conference

I will be doing "Really Simple Strategies to Help You and Your Clients Stay Updated Online" which is Session 304 on the Wednesday morning (5 May).

Trying to be More Creative

I seem to remember that Rob Straby included stuff in one of his CDP courses that was intended to make us more creative.

Heaven knows he tried.

For anyone who feels s/he could use a boost—and I know I do—here's an item from Psyblog: Boost Creativity: 7 Unusual Psychological Techniques.

Mentioning Hobbies in Résumés

Here’s what Professor Jim Bright has to say about the results of mentioning various hobbies and other activities on résumés. (Don’t bother to mention reading or travelling.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Engineering design, industrial design, marketing

If manufacturing can be made to survive in Canada for a few more decades then there are some extremely interesting careers to be had in it. The introduction to this Open University “Learning Space” called Manufacturing (T173_2) does a fairly good job of clarifying the roles and interactions of engineers, industrial designers and marketers in the manufacturing industry. The main point I would disagree with is that there is no room for employing industrial design expertise in differentiating (apparently simple items like) screwdrivers! As a matter of fact, whenever I buy hand tools like these there are lots of factors that I consider.

If you’re curious about industrial processes this is a good place to start reading about those too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day Tribute: Lise Meitner

Not having studied much physics I was unaware of who Lise Meitner was, or of the central contribution that she made to the understanding of nuclear fission, until I heard an interview with the actress Jenny Agutter, who had come to admire Meitner too. Now that I do know about her I expect that others will be mentioning her on this occasion too.

I can believe that she was remarkable enough for having had the insights that she did in nuclear physics. When you take into account the discrimination that she met as a women, her shyness in youth and, not least, her need to flee the persecution by the Nazis as a Jew her achievement is stunning. Far from being embittered or hardened by these experiences, however, she refused to apply her intellect toward the task of building the atomic bomb.

That's one way that she is often shown—that photo at the right—when she was a lovely young woman. And, here's how she looked as represented by actress Emily Woof in “Einstein's Big Idea” on the American Public Broadcasting System.

The programme is somewhat misleading. Meitner was born in 1878 and this video takes up her story from 1938, when she was about 60. I knew that others would be writing about Meitner; I wanted to say something a little different about her and others like her, if possible. It is this. Here is how she would have looked in 1933 (from Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) just a few years earlier. She would not have looked like she was 35.

What I wanted to say is that older women, like Lise Meitner, are capable of amazing things.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Clients with Possible Mood Disorders: Advice for Career Developers

The lady I am interviewing in these videos is Karen Liberman, Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Associations of Ontario (Canada). I have had to split the interview into two parts to fit the constraints imposed by youtube.

As suggested by Karen, here's where you can get your Check Up from the Neck Up. And here's the MDAO site. I can only thank Karen once more for agreeing to provide this helpful information.

Video camera and related equipment kindly supplied by Niagara West Education and Learning Resource Centres. Thank you!

Anyone can produce a video like this (when the interviewee is this helpful and good): do your video cropping and cutting using Avidemux (free), then use storage space on youtube (free).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Excellent Talk About Social Networks

“Social scientist Nicholas A. Christakis visits the RSA to explain how our social networks influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, behaviour, politics, and so much more. It transpires that your colleague's husband's sister can make you fat, even if you don't know her. And a happy friend is more relevant to your happiness than a bigger income. Our connections - our friends, their friends, and even their friends' friends - have an astonishing power to influence everything from what we eat to who we vote for. And we, in turn, influence others. Our actions can change the behaviours, the beliefs, and even the basic health of people we've never met.”

Connected: The amazing power of social networks and how they shape our lives”, from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Including one every so tiny mention of where one should be within a network to be best positioned for job leads.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cognitive Fluency / Power of Simplicity

I have referred to the topic of cognitive fluency before.1,2 Although many of us (me included) might hope to impress others with our “rich” backgrounds we would be better off simplifying. Here’s more on this subject: 8 Studies Demonstrating the Power of Simplicity.

1Something Else Against Immigrants
2Use Arial Font to Disguise Typos in Résumés

Review of psychological grief theory

It has been suggested that the loss of a job is accompanied by grief that can be similar to the loss of a loved one. I notice that the February 2010 issue of History of Psychology includes an article about grief. For the abstract to “Grief as pathology: The evolution of grief theory in psychology from Freud to the present” by Leeat Granek, see Jacy Young's 17th March "New HoP Issue Now Online".

Monday, March 15, 2010

What a Field Day for the Heat

Every once in a while somebody dusts me down either because I'm not perceived to be an 'authority' about something or other or because I suggest accessing a source that is not perceived to be 'authoritative'—such as Wikipedia. I think that people who make these criticisms want to find that their questions have been answered by someone in a tenured faculty position. In spite of these (continual) criticisms I'm more or less aligned with the two guys you see on this chunk of video, which is from the first episode of Dr Aleks Krotoski's television series "Virtual Revolution".

The excerpt ends by blending into the signature notes from the slightly anti-authoritarian little Buffalo Springfield number from forty years ago, "For What It's Worth." That's me, I'm afraid. From where I sit there's no such thing as authorised truth. Even when you read research papers written by university researchers that have studied something up and down the proverbial Wazoo you still have to make sense of what is being offered for yourself—if indeed you can. And beyond that you need to consider applicability to your own situation and various other factors. The principle holds for everything you hear or read: in my opinion, you will need to develop your own truth-testing skills and make up your own mind.

Yet, it is worth looking for guidelines about how assessing the trustworthiness of web sources. I finally happened upon some today as part of a tutorial for mathematics students, on one of those sites that provide "deep" searches of the web: intute. If you know of better or more thorough ways guides for assessing quality please let us all know in the comments.

Incidentally, Krotoski's television series is in three parts. I enjoy listening to podcasts in which she participates too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Perfect Parody

Here's how a lot of computer users must sound to the cognoscenti to whom they go for assistance. Really twists the knife.

Jesse Brown's Search Engine podcasts on TVO are almost invariably brilliant, incidentally.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Need I Mention? ... Excellent Source of Job Descriptions

The best source that I know of for job descriptions is available at O*NET Online. Although the content is based on American standards and practices most of it is readily adaptable for use by Canadians.

To be offered access to some alternative job descriptions just key in the name of the occupation in which you are interested in the form in the righthand column of the screen (as shown in the screen image) and click ‘Search’, then select the most appropriate option.

I think you’ll find that there’s amazing value here.