Tag Archives: Scientist

Ten Rules For Success Not A Myth

Adam Savage is a dude who knows about which he speaks.

A special effects master, a Maker, a knowledgable sort-of scientist, an amazing television co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, Savage is an all-round astonishingly good guy.

He spoke recently at a theatrical event for Makers, designers, engineers, eccentrics and anyone who wants to be around clearly odd folks like that in San Francisco. His topic was on how to succeed. Savage didn’t actually say succeed in what. But, after looking over the interesting assortment of suggestions he put forth, I’m thinking these ideas could apply just about anywhere.

I’m going to just run them here because, really, there’s not much I could add right now*. Thanks to boingboing.net, which originally ran the list.

1. Get good at something.
Really good. Get good at as many things as you can. Being good at one thing makes it easier to get good at other things.

2. Getting good at stuff takes practice.
Lots and lots of practice.

Everyone at the top of their field is obsessed with what they’re doing.

4. Doing something well and thoroughly is its OWN reward.

5. Show and Tell.
If you do something well and you’re happy with it, for FSM’s sake, tell EVERYONE.

6. If you want something, ASK.
If something piques your interest, tell someone. If you want to learn something, ask someone, like your BOSS. As an employer, I can tell you, people who want to learn new skills are people I want to keep employed.

7. Have GOALS.
Make up goals. Set goals. Regularly assess where you are and where you want to be in terms of them. This is a kind of prayer that works, and works well. Allow for the fact that things will NEVER turn out like you think they will, and you must be prepared to end up miles from where you intended.

8. Be nice. To EVERYONE.
Life is way too short to be an asshole. If you are an asshole, apologize.

9. FAIL.
You will fail. It’s one of our jobs in life. Keep failing. When you fail, admit it. When you don’t, don’t get cocky. ‘Cause you’re just about to fail again.

Work like your life depends on it…

*Which is not to say that I won’t find something to say in a a day or so, which I can almost guarantee will be the case. Check back tomorrow and see if I’ve recovered the power of voice by keyboard.

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Does Being A Celebrity Make Smokey Bear Smarter Than The Average Bear?

by Richard

The US National Forestry Service is running another series of commercials on the radio, starring the voice of Puddy on Seinfeld. These days he’s going by his real name of Patrick Warburton, he of the very, very deep voice.

The commercials run with a high-voiced civilian calling the park service, represented by a smug-sounding Warburton, already acting like he knows more than you dudes ever will. The civilian talks about an encounter with Smokey Bear (notice there’s no the there. The Forestry Service is really harping on that for some reason.), who talks about how people cause nine out of ten wildfires.

The civilian says something along the lines of, “I didn’t know that.” To reinforce that we should listen to Smokey’s advice, the Warburton character says, “That’s why Smokey’s famous, and you’re not.”

Yeah, seriously. They’re actually saying, not that we should listen to Smokey’s advice because he has long years of experience in the area of preventing wildfires, but because he is famous.

Do what the famous individual says, not because she is right, but because she is famous. As if being known by a lot of people, say, for being in a lot of movies, makes you some sort of expert on, say, insecticides on the skin of apples. I mean, no one would panic and start removing apples from school cafeterias just because some actress got out in front of a camera and said they were bad.

And Congress would never bring in celebrities to testify before a committee for no reason other than that they want the star power to gain attention.

Is our country really that shallow? Do we really equate fame with expertise, with knowledge?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

The equation runs something like this: If people know you, then you must know stuff and we should listen to you.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t run like this: You’ve studied your area of expertise for many years and are familiar with the ramifications of the situation, so we listen to you. Nope. If you’re that guy, then the people who don’t agree with your opinion start talking about how unqualified you are to talk and, besides, you’re just some pointy-headed scientist.

But that’s a whole other post about how people actually think you can believe the facts you want to believe and that makes your conclusion true, since it aligns with what you believe.

The takeaway is this: Don’t believe something just because someone famous says it. Do your own research. Listen to the experts, not the amateurs.

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Freaky Friday: Yeah, That’s The Ticket

by Richard

This is what I love about SCIENCE. They’ll investigate anything. Pair a couple of scientists up with a pollster and, well, boy howdy, you’ve got a recipe for pure delight.

Take, for example, this. According to a poll by the CareerBuilder website, at least 3 in 10 workers are phoning in phony excuses so they can miss a day (or so) at work. I say at least 3 in 10 because, really, even on an anonymous survey, who wants to cop to lying to their boss. Because, you know, bosses have ways, dude. They have ways.

Sometimes they’re not even sneaky about it.

Many bosses checked up on an employee, with 70 percent of them asking for a doctor’s note. Half called the “sick” employee at home, and 18 percent had someone else make the phone call. And, in a scene reminiscent of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 15 percent of suspicious bosses said they drove by the employee’s house or apartment.

Shouldn’t those bosses be, oh, I don’t know, actually bossing stuff around instead of checking up on us poor worker dudes? I’m just saying, is all. Of course, it might have something to do with the following.

More than a quarter of the 2,400 employers surveyed said they’ve seen an increase in bogus sick days, attributing the uptick to job stress and burnout caused by a continued weak economy. Sounding sniffly on the phone doesn’t always work, though, and that mental day off could cause even more stress. Sixteen percent of bosses said they’ve fired a worker for missing a day on the job without a proven excuse.

All of which goes to show, if you’re going to call in sick, you better have some sort of valid excuse. Or at least an excuse that will pass as valid. If only there were some sort of resource you could access from your home that would let you search for places where you can “doctor” up an excuse. Hmmmm. Wish there were a googleplex of them. If you know what I mean.

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