Results tagged “creativity”

The Value of Dissension

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." Albert Einstein

There seems to be a fallacy in American politics and corporate life these days that conformity and blind acceptance of the prevailing BS perspective is the apex of social evolution. Nothing could (or should) be farther from the truth. The fact of the matter is that conformity and the oppression of dissent is a fundamental threat to the very foundations of this society. It undermines creativity and innovation, causing an erosion not only in social values but also in the ability to solve problems.

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." Albert Einstein

The prevailing problem, as I see it today, is that the powers that be believe their way is the only way, and that anybody who dares question that way is in fact threatening the basis of their existence. One need only look at the examples of oppression at the RNC in St. Paul earlier this month, or to the classrooms that are oppressed by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Taking NCLB as a prime example, we find that students and teachers are now almost solely focused on preparing for a single high-stakes test, to the degree that all "education" is rote memorization, with little or no time spent on extension.

Extension of learned concepts and facts is a vital component to being educated. It's not enough to know that 1+1=2, but to then be able to extend this to knowing that 1+2=3 and beyond. It's also the ability to see that 1+x=2 means that x=1, and then to be able to expand that to other topics, like multiplication, such that when you go shopping you can look at a package of 100, 250, and 500 napkins and calculate out the per-napkin cost to see which package is in fact the better deal (yes, I know, many grocery stores put this on the label now).

Awesome. It's so obvious, and yet so brilliant. There's tons of free code out there to setup such a tool, too.

How to Harvest Passwords
Just put up a password strength meter and encourage people to submit their passwords for testing. You might want to collect names and e-mail addresses, too.

Hat tip to guru Bruce Schneier for the find.

When Inflexible Meets Uncreative

It's a little after 5am local time and I've been up now for almost 2 hours. No, I'm not suffering from insomnia, nor am I trying to use myself in a sleep deprivation experiment. Rather, the security alarm in the apartment (for which I have no use) has decided to start beeping (rather loudly) about every 30 seconds. I'm sure they gave me directions for the darned thing when we moved in, but that was nearly 3 years ago, and I haven't the foggiest idea where they are.

So, the next logical thing was to call the after-hours maintenance hotline and have the on-call person paged. I say "logical" because the other option that occurred to me ranged between ripping the panel out of the wall to simply cutting the wires.

I called the maintenance hotline and the woman took my info and the nature of the problem and said she'd call maintenance. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. 30 minutes went by and no response. So, I called the hotline again, got the same woman, and she says "I'm sorry, this isn't on our pre-defined list of emergencies." !!!!!!! An alarm, for which I have no remedy, is going off at 3:30am and she won't page the on-call because it's not on her list. To make matters worse, she couldn't be bothered to call me back and tell me this. I had to wait 30 minutes and then call back to find this out. Putting aside the sheer failure in customer service, let's explore the fundamental problem here: inflexibility and a lack of creativity in finding a solution. This minimum wage drone had no motivation to help me.


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