ObviousWas reading an article on popular science called Science Confirms the Obvious. Among the items confirmed was the idea that too many meetings rendered an employee unproductive.
3. Too Many Meetings Make You Grumpy
The Study: “The relationship between meeting load and . . . well-being of employees,” Group Dynamics, March 2005
The Findings: Ever get the feeling that you’d get more work done if you weren’t constantly attending meetings to discuss all the work to be done? Two social scientists from the universities of Minnesota and North Carolina hypothesized that meetings are analogous to “hassles,” defined in stress-research literature as “annoying episodes in which daily tasks become more difficult or demanding than anticipated.” The psychologists analyzed diary entries from 37 meeting-prone midlevel university workers over one week. They found that days chock-full of meetings left employees feeling stressed, exhausted and burned out.
Why Bother? Employers take heed: Since beleaguered workers may perform poorly, be tardy, or quit, the authors suggest that “organizations be sensitive to the number of meetings employees are required to attend.” Managers could create “formal guidelines” for meeting necessity (presumably not drafted at a meeting).
Bringing down the houseKeeping up with the gambling theme, I wrote about Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House for the Prose Portal. The book tells the story of MIT students playing blackjack and taking casinos for millions of dollars.
Let's play some fuckin' cardsI'd written before about the movie Rounders, and how it's got me hooked on poker back in college. Last week, while playing poker with a bunch of high school friends, Mike McD's words still rang in my mind.
PistonsSports Guy wrote his top picks for the NBA's MVP, and while discussing his choice for number 8, Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups, he masterfully compares the Bad Boys to the cast of "Lost":
8. Chauncey Billups
The best player on the best team this season. But can you really call anyone "the best player" on a team that works solely because they play so well together?
For instance, "24" wouldn't work without Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer; nobody else could play that part. But "Lost" relies on a number of quality actors, all of whom play a role in the show's success to varying degrees: Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Kate and Hurley (that's their starting five). Personally, I think Sawyer is the best character, not just from an acting standpoint, but from an entertaining/interesting/dramatic standpoint). He's the Rasheed Wallace of the group, someone who doesn't need to carry every episode, brings a ton of stuff to the table and takes nothing off (and they're both funny as hell). As for the rest, Locke is probably Ben Wallace (does all the little stuff); Kate is Tayshaun Prince (the token chick/fifth man); Hurley is Rip Hamilton (totally underrated, always rises to the occasion); and Billups is Jack (the leader of the group).
So here's the question: Does the show work because of Jack, or does it work because of the group as a whole? Obviously, it's because of the group. Well, the same goes for the Pistons; calling Billups a bonafide MVP candidate demeans the contributions of everyone else involved. Would they slip that much with Jason Terry in Billups' spot? Probably not.
(Of course, if Jack ends up taking down The Others, and Billups takes down every contender this spring, maybe we have to re-evaluate.)
The psycho momentAfter dinner last Saturday, my friends from high school and I were chilling out over beers and buffalo wings. Over the whole evening, talk hovered mostly in the adult realm -- careers, money, relationships, mortgages, and engagement rings, which was probably more responsible for my feeling light-headed then than the two bottles of Super Dry I had.
Why asking her out is terrifyingIs ka-torpehan an evolved trait?
It seems that men find the act of asking a woman out to be very strongly associated with fear. Indeed, one often hears of a man who can brave enemy bullets in battle, and can shout down his boss in an argument, who turns into a timid wreck when faced with the task of approaching the woman he fancies. I believe that this is an evolved instinct.
Thaksin resignsWorking late on some stuff for GMA News, I noticed a breaking item about Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigning after mounting pressure from Thai opposition.
IndependentEmpire Online lists the 50 Greatest Independent Films. While it's sure to spark debates among film buffs about the movies as well as the definition of "independent", the list contains some of my favorite movies. I bolded those that I've seen. Also a good list to keep handy on your next trip to the dee-bee-dee, dee-bee-dee stores.
The Prose PortalAbout a month ago, Mika came up with the idea of starting a book review blog. Of course I was on board as soon as I heard about it, and so now we have The Prose Portal.
TeenybopperLast night I finished reading this young adult book by Jerry Spinelli called Stargirl. I started reading the book as a sort of dessert after getting through Waiting for the Barbarians, a novel by acclaimed South African author JM Coetzee that was an allegory for the cruelty of civilization as well as a tale about the human face of heroism. It was also a 150-page book that felt like it was 1,500, so the lightness of Stargirl was certainly very welcome.
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The story so farSeptember 2004