March 15, 2017

life

Posted in human nature, parenting, philosophy, stuff I think about at 8:45 am by weiszguy

Life: the slow process of realizing your parents were right about most things.

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June 18, 2014

hiring demographics

Posted in gender differences, philosophy tagged , , at 5:56 pm by weiszguy

If I ran Google, or Yahoo, or the government, or any other organization, we would hire the very best people we could find. In the engineering department, we would hire the very best engineers available. In accounting, marketing, and web-development, the same.

Race and sex would have nothing to do with the hiring decisions. Why would they? If we had a choice between two applicants, would we really choose the lesser of the two because that applicant came from a preferred demographic?

I don’t know if Google and Yahoo, et al, are actually being run this way. It’s possible they have hidden agendas we know nothing about. But if we assume they hire the best people, regardless of external factors, then why should we be upset about recent news that a majority are white males? They’re not hiring white males, they’re hiring engineers, accountants, and marketers.

http://qz.com/214558/google-diversity-in-technology/

If 47% of the U.S. workforce is female, but only 30% of Google’s employees are female, why would Google try to change that? Google isn’t trying to match the demographics of the U.S. workforce, they’re trying to get the best engineers, accountants, and marketers they can, right?

At least, that’s how it would be if I was in charge.

January 13, 2011

why I blog

Posted in blogging, philosophy tagged , at 6:43 pm by weiszguy

I blog because I need a place to work out my thoughts. Often I start daydreaming, if that’s the right word, and when I come to, I realize I’ve been explaining something very carefully, as if to another person. Sometimes this is something I understand very clearly, so my explaining was as if I was teaching something to a child. Sometimes the thing I’ve been explaining I don’t understand at all, and so my explaining was more like exploring.

In any case, I’ve had this conversation going on in my head, and I need to get this stuff out of my head while I still remember it, because it will quickly leave my head, and then be gone. I flatter myself that one day, I’ll have had something important going on in there. If that day ever comes, I want it recorded.

Readers
Do I expect people to actually read this stuff? No, I don’t. Occasionally I may say something that really hits home with someone else, but since I blog about such a wide variety of things, I don’t expect very much of what I write to hit home very often.

Writing
Am I just doing this to jump-start a wish to be a potential wannabe writer? No, I am not. I don’t want to write for a living and I’m not trying to gain a following.  I suppose if someone came to me with a lucrative book contract I’d have to think about it for a bit, but that’s not what I’m gunning for here.

January 3, 2011

lost drain plug

Posted in philosophy, theology tagged , at 6:47 am by weiszguy

We lost the drain plug for the kitchen sink today. Without it we can’t do the dishes.  While this was a matter for some joy in certain quarters of our house, I’m sorta bummed by the festering mess on the counter.

Can I learn something from this?  Where’s the life application?

Each plate is a life. The gunk on the plate is the gunk we each carry around with us. The water is our best effort to remove our gunk. But after the water has done its work, the gunk is in the water. It’s still hanging around. The drain plug is the only thing holding the gunk from going where it needs to go. Can the plate remove the plug?  Can the water?  Of course not, we need someone to pull the plug for us.

You could do better?  Take your best shot.

 

January 1, 2011

blogging is better that facebook

Posted in blogging, philosophy tagged at 8:50 am by weiszguy

Facebook is good for things like telling the world you just had a bagel.  But if you want to get any more detailed than that, Facebook is not the most ideal platform.

For the most part, I don’t care if you just had a bagel, and I can’t imagine you’re too interested in my breakfast either.  What I’d really like to talk about is meaningful, deeper stuff.  Anything really.  Everything from world-stage type stuff all the way down to deeply held personal thoughts and beliefs.

In 2011 I’m going to try to stay almost completely off of Facebook.  This move should reduce meaningless noise in my life, and probably in yours, too.  If I have something meaningful to say, I’ll say it here.  If I don’t have anything meaningful to say…

May 22, 2009

comparison

Posted in philosophy tagged , , at 5:57 pm by weiszguy

“Comparison is the root of all misery.  That and intestinal parasites.”

March 28, 2009

the value of books

Posted in education, philosophy, poetry, travel tagged , at 5:08 pm by weiszguy

Reading is priceless.  Books can take you anywhere – to new lands or new planets, in the past, present, or future.  You can experience more adventures than possible in real life alone.  Try sailing the seven seas, or exploring the center of the earth, or navigating the intricacies of Martian society.  Conjure up spells, ferret out unknown truths, or simply discover our own historical past.

I have run into variations on this idea countless times.  Every time someone is extolling the virtues of books, something like the above quote will come out.  Recently I heard it again in the movie Inkheart.  (A great movie.  See it.)

I too am a lover of books, and of reading.  But I shudder everytime I hear books beatified in this way.  It seems escapist, overly entertainment-oriented, and artsy-fartsy, all at the same time.  The purpose of reading isn’t so you can get away and have fun in la-la land.  These things are secondary to the real purpose of reading.  There is much more value in reading than travelling and having fun experiences.

  • From Frodo (Lord of the Rings) I learned the importance of diligence and a sense of mission.
  • From Ben Franklin I learned how far a person can go when given so little in life.
  • From John Grisham I learned the importance of being able to spin a good yarn.  And the futility of trying to live outside the law.
  • From John Carter (A Princess of Mars) I learned the value of superhuman strength and devastatingly good looks.
  • From Hester Prynne and Arther Dimmesdale (The Scarlet Letter) I learned the importance of staying within sexual norms.
  • From Mr. Wickham (Pride and Prejudice) I learned the value of social skills and norms and the danger inherent in transgressing them.
  • From Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) I learned how gratifying revenge can be, and how hollow.
  • From Jason Stevens (The Ultimate Gift) I learned that it’s not about me.  Nothing is about me.  And the sooner I can grasp that truth, the easier things will go for me.
  • From Stephen King I learned the value of following my imagination where ever it leads.
  • From Laura Ingalls Wilder I learned the vital importance of a strong family surrounding me, and the value of providing a strong family to surround my kids.

I could go on, but I hope my point is starting to emerge.  The value of reading is not in travelling to exotic lands.  The value in reading is how the story affects me.  How am I different – better even – for having read that story?  I have lived the lives of many people, just in the short amount of reading I’ve done.  I’ve learned something from all these lives, and I can apply these things to my own situation.

In short, I am a better person (I hope) because of the experiences in these books.  I do not have to make all the mistakes these characters have made, because, in a sense, I have already made them.  I can see the damage those mistakes have caused.  I can see the immediate and future effects of decisions those characters have made, and I can use that knowledge when I come to a similar decision point in my own life.

The fact that I got to travel to exotic lands is just icing on the cake.

April 24, 2007

people’s personal responses

Posted in blogging, church, philosophy at 8:20 pm by weiszguy

A couple of incidents recently have me wondering how much people care about other people’s internal thoughts.

In church Sunday, after a particularly meaningful worship experience, our pastor asked us to respond to God in some way.  We could write a letter to God, write a poem, draw a picture, or any of several other ideas for creative expression.  The tables had all the paper, pens, crayons, colored pencils, and other art supplies we could need.  I thought that was pretty cool, so I wrote a letter to God, describing my response to the worship.  But then we were asked if we wanted to share our responses with the audience.  Only a few people wanted to share, and I found their responses boring and unmeaningful.  My response, however, was articulate and full of emotional depth :)

Obviously, each person’s response to the service was extremely meaningful – to themselves.  Am I then, completely out-of-touch with the average person’s response?  Or is each person’s response so personal so as to be meaningless to outsiders?  Should I take more care to be concerned about other peoples thoughts?  Do other people care about my thoughts?

I am currently reading a book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal called An Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.  In it, in encyclopedic fashion, Amy describes the many facets of being her.  She discusses her emotional response to seeing her own name, for example, and describes the particular method she uses for drying off after a shower, and why she uses that method.  (Which is a very interesting concept for a book.  I might have to borrow the concept and improve on it a little.)

I have a mixed response to this book.  Sometimes, when she is discussing some bit of arcane trivia, I realize I’m much the same way.  Even if my thoughts are a bit different than her’s, it’s cool to realize I have thoughts on the same idiosycracy as the author.  Other times I just shake my head and think, “This woman needs help!  Who on earth would waste their time thinking about such equine effluvia, and why would anybody else care what she thinks?”

If you’ve read this far in a post this introspective and self-aware, you must have some thoughts on the subject.  Please share them in the comments.

April 10, 2007

The Way I See It

Posted in philosophy, Starbucks, stupid quotes at 10:50 pm by weiszguy

As I was sucking down my afternoon latte today, I noticed a quote on the side of the cup. The Way I See It, #226:

How would you rather spend your time: by tirelessly working to curtail our freedoms, or by joyfully celebrating our differences?

— Anthony Rapp — Actor best known for his role in Rent, and author of the memoir Without You.

Wait! Wait, let me try!

Would you rather pick rhubarb with your grandmother, or watch a movie about aliens? Would you rather study particle physics, or work out an arms treaty with foreign powers?

Nuts! Mine aren’t as good as Anthony’s! Anthony possesses the singular talent, so often lacking in mere mortals, of linking random and unconnected thoughts.

In all fairness, I suspect that what we have here is a textbook example of “quote taken out of context” syndrome. Anthony probably doesn’t mean to come across incoherent. But we can have much more fun if we assume he is a flaming liberal, incapable of distinguishing grossly differing concepts.

Is “tirelessly working to curtail our freedoms” really the opposite of “joyfully celebrating our differences”? Is curtailing freedom always bad? Is celebrating differences always good? Must the two be mutually exclusive? Supposing two things are different, why must we further suppose those things are also morally equal?