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    Entries in off topic (22)

    Friday
    Apr042014

    Off Topic: Grunge Songs, Ranked

    In an ongoing experiment to discover if there is indeed a correlation between a blog post's lack of meaning and insight and it's popularity, I present to you for your consideration the definitive ranking of 'Grunge' songs.

    20. Glycerine - Bush

    19. Spoonman - Soundgarden

    18. Change - Candelbox

    17. Plush - Stone Temple Pilots

    16. Heart Shaped Box - Nirvana

    15. Malibu - Hole

    14. Even Flow - Pearl Jam

    13. Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog

    12. Man in the Box - Alice in Chains

    11. Cover Me - Candlebox

    10. Cumbersome - Seven Mary Three

    9. In Bloom - Nirvana

    8. Pretend We're Dead - L7

    7. Violet - Hole

    6. Alive - Pearl Jam

    5. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

    4. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

    3. Jeremy - Pearl Jam

    2. Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots

    1. Would? -  Alice in Chains

    Have a great weekend!

    Friday
    Feb212014

    OFF TOPIC: Breakfast cereals, ranked

    Long week + terrible winter weather + me fighting a bad cold = not much left in the tank for a Friday. 

    So with that said, I give you the completely biased and unscientific, yet definitive ranking of cold breakfast cereals:

    100. Shredded Wheat

    99 - 21. A whole bunch of forgettable and unimportant cereals.

    20. Rice Krispies

    19. Cheerios

    18. Corn Flakes

    17. Rice Chex

    16. Honey Bunches of Oats

    15. Raisin Bran

    14. Life

    13. Golden Grahams

    12. Corn Pops

    11. Cocoa Pebbles

    10. Apple Jacks

    9. Alpha-Bits

    8. Honey Smacks

    7. Frankenberry

    6. Lucky Charms

    5. Frosted Flakes

    4. Wheaties

    3. Count Chocula

    2. Froot Loops

    1. Cap'n Crunch

    Have a great weekend!

    Friday
    Nov082013

    Off Topic: Honest Slogans

    It's Friday, you're beat, probably slacking off a bit at the office today (it's ok, I won't tell anyone).

    It's a grind for sure. If I really wanted to I could make us all more depressed about work by running some charts showing corporate profits continuing to reach new all-time highs, while wages and median family incomes remain at about 1983 levels. 

    But I won't bum you out about that today. It's almost the weekend.

    Instead, I want you to have a laugh or two courtesy of Honest Slogans, an amazingly simple and funny site that re-imagines many of the most famous and iconic corporate logos and taglines with what people really think about the companies and brands.

    I will embed a few of these 'fake but ring pretty true' logos below, but you really should head over to Honest Slogans and have some chuckles do some competitive research.

    I have to lead with what is seemingly every HR and Talent Pro's favorite company, LinkedIn:

     

    How about a blast from the past but is still, shockingly still breathing, The Yellow Pages:

     

    And one more before I close up for the weekend. You know that Motel 6 will always 'leave the light on for you'. Did you ever wonder why?

    Good stuff.

    Have a great weekend all!

    Friday
    Aug022013

    Off Topic: False Memories

    I received an email yesterday from an HR industry person who I have met in person on at least three occasions in the last few years. In the (very pleasant and cordial note), this person indicated how he was 'looking forward to meeting me in person' at the upcoming HR Tech Conference this October.  

    Yep, I'm looking forward to it as well pal. Maybe we can spend a few minutes reminiscing about the other three times we've met for the first time.

    Whatever, I don't really care that much except I will probably, if I do meet this person again, play it off like we've not met before either, in order to avoid further awkwardness.

    But the exchange made me think about memory more generally, and then, (since unlike my 'friend' who can't remember the three times he's met me before), I have fantastic recall, I thought about this recent piece from the MIT Technology Review - Scientists Make Mice 'Remember' Things That Didn't Happen

    Check out what some of the weird scientists at MIT are up to:

    Scientists have created a false memory in mice by manipulating neurons that bear the memory of a place. The work further demonstrates just how unreliable memory can be. It also lays new ground for understanding the cell behavior and circuitry that controls memory, and could one day help researchers discover new ways to treat mental illnesses influenced by memory.

    In the study, published in Science on Thursday, the MIT scientists show that they can modify a memory and have a mouse believe it experienced something it didn’t. Susumu Tonegawa, a neuroscientist at MIT, and members of his lab used mice that were genetically modified to allow for certain neurons to be activated with a flash of light; the technique enabled the researchers to activate a memory that caused a mouse to believe it had experienced electrical shocks in a particular box, even though no such thing had happened there. “The process of memory is nothing like a tape recording,” says study co-first author Steve Ramirez. “It’s really malleable and susceptible to the incorporation of new information.

    This is all kinds of awesome, and not just because it basically validates most of the premise of Total Recall

    More from the MIT piece:

    More broadly, neuroscientists are increasingly exploring human cognition at its molecular and cellular origins. Someday, this deeper understanding could lead to better or novel treatments, such as memory implants that replace lost memories or novel drugs to boost beneficial memory reconsolidation.

    Implants to replace lost memories?

    Memory reconsolidation?

    Sounds like some great new tools for performance improvment plans everywhere.

    But there is one more bit from the MIT piece that might explain that email I received yesterday from the guy who can't remember meeting me: 

    Neuroscientist Sheena Josselyn agrees that the results imply that false memories are not as uncommon as many think. “At some point, we shouldn’t really trust our memories, because some things we remember happening didn’t really,” she says.

    Ah, so maybe that is it. Maybe I am the one who has got it all wrong here and my email pal is right.

    Maybe my 'memory' of our three previous meetings is what can't be trusted. Interesting.

    I also remember a time when I had a full head of wavy brown hair too, I hope it doesn't turn out that didn't really happen either.

    Have a great weekend!

    Friday
    Jun212013

    Off Topic: Infographic - Just shut off your stinkin' car already

    What a week.

    SHRM Annual for the first half of the week, then a really gripping and emotionally wringing NBA Finals Game 7 last night. I am pretty much done I think.

    But not so much that I can't spare 5 minutes to share the infographic below courtesy of iturnitoff.com about the costs, and really wastes, of excessive automobile idling.

    I can remember back in the day being told something about how starting a car uses as much gas as a couple of minutes of idling the car - a calculation certainly invented to justify a few Dads of those times wanting to keep the heat or air conditioner on while sitting in the car listening to the end of the ballgame on the radio.

    Check the below inforgraphic for the details of the costs of idling, then I have some comments after the jump:

    From iturnitoff.comThe one element of the infographic that really stood out to me, and the only reason I decided to post it today, is the call-out of the Drive Thru lane as a leading cause of engine idling, and the corresponding pollution, cost, and wastes associated with the practice.

    I hate the Drive Thru lane.

    You have to talk into a clown's mouth, there is almost no chance the person on the headset is paying any attention to you, and chances are pretty good your order will be messed up - but you won't be able to do anything about it because by the time you realize the error you'll be 5 miles down the road.

    I often stop at a local Bruegger's shop near where I live to get coffee and bagels in the morning. Invariably, there is a line of cars snaking around the shop, clogging up the Drive Thru lane. 

    I always park and actually enter the shop, where there is never more than one or two folks in line ahead of me, and since I know all the workers in the shop so well, (from actually going in the store and talking with them so frequently), my order is often already being assembled before I even have to ask for it.

    I am in and out of there in a couple of minutes and meanwhile the line of SUVs and Minivans has maybe, collectively, inched forward a car length or two. Look, I get why people like the Drive Thru. We sometimes have kids in the car, the weather is nasty, or parking is not convenient. But most of the time it is just an excuse to stay in our little cocoons by ourselves a little longer.

    And that is cool, that is a valid reason. I don't always feel like talking to the guys in Bruegger's either. But that decision, that choice to remain tuned out, well that comes with a price measured in wasted gas, wasted time, and wasted opportunity to get to know the folks that live and work in your neighborhood.

    Ok, that's it. Rant off. Time for more coffee.

    Have a great weekend!