links for 2010-09-26

  • how to hold 1 on 1 meetings as a manager
  • On September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was the officer on duty when the warning system reported a US missile launch.  Petrov kept calm, suspecting a computer error. Then the system reported another US missile launch. And another, and another, and another. What had actually happened, investigators later determined, was sunlight on high-altitude clouds aligning with the satellite view on a US missile base. The Soviet Union's land radar could not detect missiles over the horizon, and waiting for positive identification would limit the response time to minutes.  Petrov's report would be relayed to his military superiors, who would decide whether to start a nuclear war. Petrov decided that, all else being equal, he would prefer not to destroy the world.  He sent messages declaring the launch detection a false alarm, based solely on his personal belief that the US did not seem likely to start an attack using only five missiles.
  • The lemmings that plunge to their deaths in the 1958 Disney documentary "White Wilderness" were hurled ingloriously to their doom by members of the crew, as a Canadian documentary revealed. Palmer writes that Marlin Perkins, host of television's "Wild Kingdom," was known to bait animals into combat and to film captive beasts deposited into the wild, and that the avian stars of the 2001 film "Winged Migration" were trained to fly around cameras. Palmer asserts that manipulation pervades his field. Game farms, he writes, have built a cottage industry around supplying nature programs with exotic animals. Much of the sound in wildlife films is manufactured in the studio. Interactions between predator and prey are routinely staged. "And if you see a bear feeding on a deer carcass in a film," Palmer writes, "it is almost certainly a tame bear searching for hidden jellybeans in the entrails of the deer's stomach."
  • A liberal arts education helps us think with greater subtlety, even if it does not improve our performance on subsequent standardized tests.  I see an impact here even on the lesser students in state universities.  It also helps explain how the U.S. so suddenly leaps from having so-so high schools to outstanding graduate schools; how many other countries emphasize liberal arts education in between? Liberal arts education forces us to decode systems of symbols.  We learn how complex systems of symbols can be and what is required to decode them and why that can be a pleasurable process.  That skill will come in handy for a large number of future career paths.  It will even help you enjoy TV shows more. For related reasons, I believe that people who learn a second language as adults are especially good at understanding how other people might see things differently.
  • Ferriss says don't eat anything with gluten in it. I should try this for a week or so

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