Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fungibility and gifts

Credit: Flickr / beggs
I have five hundred dollars sitting in my desk drawer, in a little red envelope. It was a gift to me. The money is mine to use. There is a part of me that refuses to do anything with it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A few thoughts on "The Internship"

The Internship, starring blah blah blah and produced by blah blah blah look it's a two hour Google PR piece okay.

My company paid for the entire office to go see The Internship. We took up three cinemas at Event Cinemas on George Street. We ate terrible food and laughed at all the serious bits and cringed at all the jokes. After all was said and done, this is what was on my mind:

The movie is absolutely a sugar-coated PR coup for Google. Despite all the major inaccuracies that portray company life and culture as far, far worse than it is.

I mean, sure, if any work environment was difficult to honestly insult, it would make sense for it to be a multiple-time best place to work. But man it's a little embarrassing seeing how shiny and wonderful a workplace they made Google seem.

(The having a beer with your boss line makes a little more sense now that I've seen it than how the trailer implied. One less thing to complain about.)

There was a wonderful (if obligatory) sports scene in which the main cast played an exceptionally rough, entertaining match of unnamed-game-with-Quaffles-Bludgers-Snitches-and-broomsticks... which, yes, is an obvious Twilight reference that they clearly avoiding directly naming for trademark reasons — fuck draconian enforcement of trademarks, incidentally; broomstick-sport is an utterly harmless non-brand-damaging example of fan culture at its finest.

Monday, June 3, 2013

[Reblog] Dignity, not disciplining

From child trauma support and resource site Aces Too High comes this article: Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 85%.

In short: zero tolerance approaches to misbehaviour may be counterproductive, causing additional stress for the students who are acting out and causing them more trouble in the long run.

Punishing misbehavior just doesn’t work. You’re simply adding trauma to an already traumatized kid.

Jane Stevens, Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline[...]. Aces Too High.

Indeed, once the external factors that lead to misbehaviour have arisen, that misbehaviour is practically a fait accompli, the completion of a cycle.

Severe and chronic trauma (such as living with an alcoholic parent, or watching in terror as your mom gets beat up) causes toxic stress in kids. Toxic stress damages kid’s brains. When trauma launches kids into flight, fight or fright mode, they cannot learn. It is physiologically impossible.


Depending on your view of education and developmental psychology, the message here may be either paradigm-shifting or completely unsurprising. There's a lot more inside the article; check it out here.