November 24th, 2008

group

Kelley School: Interesting Times




Meaning: We redefine "interesting" every day around these here parts.

And while we're quoting Serenity with its Mandarin expressions, consider the apocryphal "Chinese curse", "May you live in interesting times". The closest attested Mandarin proverb that means remotely the same thing is 寧為太平犬,不做亂世人 (níng wéi tàipíng quǎn, bù zuò luànshì rén, "It is preferable to be a dog in peace than a man in an age of chaos").

This is part of the David E. Kelley School of Advising series.

--
Banazir
language

Poll: Chinese Language and Chinese Posts

Poll #1303957 Chinese language poll

Do you read my posts with Chinese language in them?

No
6(33.3%)
Sometimes
8(44.4%)
Yes
4(22.2%)

Do you click on the links to Chinese characters?

Never
9(56.2%)
Only the ones for whole idioms or proverbs
1(6.2%)
Only the ones that show how a Chinese character (hanzi/kanji/hanju) is pronounced and written, or gives its etymology
0(0.0%)
Always
6(37.5%)

Do you know any written Chinese?

None
9(50.0%)
I can barely read and write a few characters in Chinese
3(16.7%)
I can muddle through some written Chinese sentences
4(22.2%)
I have a functional reading knowledge of Chinese
0(0.0%)
I am fluent in written Chinese
0(0.0%)
I can barely read and write a few characters another language that uses Chinese characters
2(11.1%)
I can muddle through another language that uses Chinese characters
0(0.0%)
I have a functional reading knowledge of another language that uses Chinese characters
0(0.0%)
I am fluent in another language that uses Chinese characters
0(0.0%)

Do you know any spoken Chinese?

None
9(50.0%)
Only bad words
1(5.6%)
I can speak a few phrases of Chinese
2(11.1%)
I can muddle through a conversation in Chinese (could ask directions to a bathroom, discuss the weather, etc.)
3(16.7%)
I have a functional knowledge of spoken Chinese (could ask directions on the street, translate for someone who can't speak at all, etc.)
1(5.6%)
I am fluent in spoken Chinese (a native speaker, or could be mistaken for one)
2(11.1%)


--
Banazir
language

Poll: Foreign Languages

Poll #1303990 Foreign Language Poll

What is your strongest spoken language, besides English?

Chinese
4(14.3%)
Hindi
0(0.0%)
Spanish
6(21.4%)
Arabic
0(0.0%)
Portugese
0(0.0%)
Russian
1(3.6%)
Japanese
0(0.0%)
German
2(7.1%)
French
7(25.0%)
Italian
0(0.0%)
Swahili
0(0.0%)
Other Slavic language (Polish, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, etc.)
4(14.3%)
Other Indo-European language (Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other Asian language (Wu, Javanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Telugu, Tamil, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other
4(14.3%)

Which of the following, besides English, do you speak?

Chinese
1(3.7%)
Hindi
0(0.0%)
Spanish
2(7.4%)
Arabic
0(0.0%)
Portugese
0(0.0%)
Russian
0(0.0%)
Japanese
0(0.0%)
German
0(0.0%)
French
1(3.7%)
Italian
0(0.0%)
Swahili
0(0.0%)
Other Slavic language (Polish, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other Indo-European language (Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other Asian language (Wu, Javanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Telugu, Tamil, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other
0(0.0%)

Which of the following, besides English, can you read and write?

Chinese
0(0.0%)
Hindi
0(0.0%)
Spanish
2(7.4%)
Arabic
0(0.0%)
Portugese
0(0.0%)
Russian
1(3.7%)
Japanese
0(0.0%)
German
1(3.7%)
French
2(7.4%)
Italian
0(0.0%)
Swahili
0(0.0%)
Other Slavic language (Polish, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other Indo-European language (Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other Asian language (Wu, Javanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Telugu, Tamil, etc.)
0(0.0%)
Other
2(7.4%)

Now, please comment and write something in a non-English language that you know.

OK!
20(100.0%)

Are you going to tell us what it means?

No.
15(62.5%)
Yes.
9(37.5%)


This was an incredibly difficult poll to write, as LJ only allows 15 slots per question. Eventually it became one of those "can't please everybody, might as well offend everybody" questions. I aim to (dis)please!

Collapse )

Is there no one else I've offended? Is there no one else?!

--
Banazir
determined

Yippee Ki-Yay, Motivator

So... how do you motivate your people? Or, how are you motivated by your supervisors and/or instructors?

I find that the following seem to help:

  • 1. Making them talk. Call it accountability, or call it peer pressure, but nothing motivates people like having to just get up and speak for two minutes at every week's group meeting, to say what you accomplished this week and what you're going to work on next week. I start the discussion part of every meeting (before or after the seminar) with a "go-round", religiously.

  • 2. Letting people know that you're there for them. It helps that I sleep less than most of my group members, so that when (say) masaga IMs me at 0500, I can often reply right away.

  • 3. Follow-through on "getting the ball rolling". If I ask person A to e-mail collaborator B (say, a recently-graduated Ph.D. student of some colleague C at Illinois, CMU, etc.), they will do so with reluctance. But if I then call B, or schedule a meeting among A, myself, and B (plus C if possible) when we are both going to be in town or meeting up with B at a conference, then A gets more interested. Sometimes this is due to the fact that people like attention and dislike feeling ignored, and sometimes it's due to the fear of looking bad in front of B and C.

  • 4. Making sure they come in and see me. This helps, both as a variant of #1 (holding them accountable) and to make sure people speak up and let me know what they are working on, or stuck on. Sometimes I can resolve impasses. This works more often for basic research and conceptual mental blocks, or for people needing a pointer to a tutorial, than for someone trying to correct errors in a program or to solve a very specific low-level problem, but even then, it helps to talk it over. For every type of problem, there's been at least one case where I've been able to lend some guidance.

  • 5. Rewarding them well. I pay undergrads a pittance (or "tippance" as yodge would say), but grad research assistants are decently paid, when they are actually employed on a grant. The main reward I'm able to offer, though, is the chance to get co-authorship (or, in the case of original work, first authorship) on papers.


Any other ideas?

A note on the title of this post: It comes from this, which many of you may recognize, and the use of motivator in television broadcasts as a minced oath, or euphemism, for the similar-sounding expletive in that clip.

--
Banazir
opportunity

Kelley School: If You Don't Have My Money...




Meaning: Put up, or shut up.

(One of zengeneral and masaga's roommates in their undergrad days was Jason Lamm, the third student who worked for me as a sysadmin. After I bought the four 1GHz Athlon XP Thunderbird systems that became known as the "New Elves" from a Russian distributor in 2001, Jason and I used to quote the over-the-top accent that Malkovich's Russian gangster speaks with. 2:22 - 2:41: "Yif ywuh steel dwohn't hef owull mai mahnee, thyin ywu are mayn!")

This is part of the David E. Kelley School of Advising series.

--
Banazir
vengeance

Browser Woes

I'm still trying to clean up Hirilonde and Osse and solve many other computer problems.

This week's bugbears have been mainly browser-related:

  • Google settings reverting spontaneously. Does anyone else have a problem when Google SafeSearch turns itself back on without your doing anything? I keep turning it off on Osse, and it keeps reverting. I can't imagine that this is due to any kind of campus or departmental policy, but it keeps reverting. For that matter, the number of hits to display on a page reverts along with SafeSearch.

  • Firefox tabs in WinXP Home SP3 freezing when backgrounded. Do you ever Ctrl-Tab away from a tab, or switch context (say, to Remote Desktop) and have a playing YouTube (say, a song) just stop?

  • Auto-completion failure. What makes form auto-completion stop working in Firefox? Sometimes I'll type and it will just not autocomplete any more, when it did just a day before. For example, it normally completes my "Tags" field in LJ, but right now it's not doing it. Is this a GDI resource thing? (I'm always out, or on the brink of running out, because I have so many Explorer and app windows open.)


Thanks to you all, as always.

--
Banazir