Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Babble and (Minor) Temptation

Fascinating reading, this: How Toyota Conquered the Car World. Fascinating on a number of levels, e.g., business (marketing, management, manufacturing, and process), gear-head (history and product), and Toyota’s impact on the US auto industry. You’ll enjoy this article even if you’re familiar to the point of overload with Toyota and its concepts, such as kaizen. Good stuff, indeed.

Curious note: Word accepts “kaizen” without flagging the word as misspelled {try it!}. Toyota has even made a believer out of Bill Gates!

We ALL do it… And there’s (ahem) truth in this WaPo article:

Feldman's experiments show that stern-faced judicial proceedings about perjury are as remote from the realities of human behavior as President Bush is from the Nobel Peace Prize. For one thing, lying plays a more complex role in human relationships than the black-and-white legal view recognizes. It is also so commonplace in everyday life that putting people on trial for lying is somewhat like putting them on trial for breathing.

Experiments have found that ordinary people tell about two lies every 10 minutes, with some people getting in as many as a dozen falsehoods in that period. More interestingly -- and Libby might see this as the silver lining if he is found guilty -- Feldman also found that liars tend to be more popular than honest people. (Ever notice how popular politicians somehow change their minds on controversial issues such as the war in Iraq at the exact moment that public opinion on those issues changes?)


Now most of the lies that Feldman is talking about do not involve national security and stakes as high as war. They are mostly designed to please others -- "It doesn't look like a toupee at all," "The muffins were great," "What an adorable baby!" -- and as harmless bouts of self-promotion, as in, "Yeah, I used play lead guitar for the Police," and, "Nelson Mandela was telling me the other day . . . ."

“The check’s in the mail…” “She didn’t mean a thing to me!” “No, it doesn’t make you look fat.” And so on. Lying as a fact of life, in other words. I’ve told my share, but none lately (that I can think of. Right now. At this moment.). It’s an interesting sort of dichotomy: as I’ve grown older I’ve both softened my bluntness as a function of respecting other people’s feelings, and yet feel empowered to be truthful, even if and when it hurts. I suppose it’s my own personal brand of “situational ethics.” And in that sense I’m just the same as everyone else, nu?

Psycho-babble in the NYT:

Flaming has a technical name, the “online disinhibition effect,” which psychologists apply to the many ways people behave with less restraint in cyberspace.

In a 2004 article in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior, John Suler, a psychologist at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., suggested that several psychological factors lead to online disinhibition: the anonymity of a Web pseudonym; invisibility to others; the time lag between sending an e-mail message and getting feedback; the exaggerated sense of self from being alone; and the lack of any online authority figure. Dr. Suler notes that disinhibition can be either benign — when a shy person feels free to open up online — or toxic, as in flaming.

The emerging field of social neuroscience, the study of what goes on in the brains and bodies of two interacting people, offers clues into the neural mechanics behind flaming.

Neural mechanics, my @ $ $. How about simple stupidity? Or the fact that some people are just idjits, on-line or off? Not to belabor the point, but I’ve found that people generally act the way they’re pre-disposed to act. Nice folks will be nice and a-holes will be…well…A-holes. Just sayin’.

So…I get these love-notes from Amazon about once a week (Buy! Buy now! Based on your past purchases, we know you’ll like this! Free shipping!). Today this comes in the mail. And I’m sorely tempted. A digital SLR has been on my wish-list for quite some time now and I’ve been doing the usual “analysis,” to wit: “is it really better than what I’m using now?” “what does an SLR do that my G5 doesn’t?” and, of course… “is it worth the money?” That last question always stops me dead in my tracks, especially considering that I’d spend about $1,350.00 after adding a lens and a usable storage card (read that: at least 1GB), at the very least. Still and even…I’m SO tempted!!

Today’s Pic: The other-worldly landscape of Porcelain Basin in Yellowstone. As you can tell from the (grainy, first-generation digital) pic, I was virtually alone the day I went. I don’t believe I encountered another soul during my meanderings down the elevated walkway and across the basin. Why? Because it was about 40 degrees that day. So…I could dawdle all I wanted without fear of blocking the path for others. Brilliant colors, brilliant day.

May, 2000.

And now it’s off to the laundromat. Arrrrgh!


  1. I really dislike liars - maybe it comes from my childhood where we were not ever allowed to call someone a liar because that was such a bad word. I can't imagine "ordinary people tell two lies every 10 minutes, with some people getting in as many as a dozen falsehoods in that period." Where do they find these "ordinary people"? They must be the same people they poll on the popularity of the President. I never get polled or experimented on.

    Good luck at the laundromat.

  2. Dad,
    Definately worth it... but buy it on E-bay! We just bought a Nikon D 50 for $800 with an additional lense (300 mm), case, tripod, memory card and filters. We bought a SANDISK 2 GB card for $40 at Staples (ultra sd card... supposedly faster processing for quick pics).
    I think it's a good deal, especially if Alisa's happy. We owe you lots of pics... we're getting closer to delivering.

  3. Hi Buck,

    I recognized you also from Mike's blog...thank you for dropping by mine today with your kind comment.

    I get these thingys from Amazon too since I am a longtime customer. That Canon does look sweet! But as your son said, check around on Ebay and Buy.com. Sometimes those two sites vastly undercut Amazon, even though I do love Amazon so...LOL.

    Enjoying your blog. Promise I'll be back.


  4. Lou sez: Where do they find these "ordinary people"? They must be the same people they poll on the popularity of the President.

    LOL! Agreed, Lou!

    Sam sez: Definately worth it...

    I still haven't made up my mind. My G5 has all the manual control I want (and need) to be "creative" (as far as that goes...) and the picture quality is just about everything I could ever ask for. So...the jury's still out and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

    I did some research on the D50 last nite and was suitably impressed. Now let's see some output!!


    Both you and Carol make good suggestions about price, if and when I get off the dime.

  5. I've been a little low and slow on any type of output since finishing school. I've been milking the vacation angle for all its worth. I've added "Send Dad pics" to my daily list... that's not saying much these days, but it's something. I've been knocking things off the list every day. Slow and consistent progress is my mantra these days.

  6. I'm more interested in that great photo of Porcelain Basin. I can almost feel the air, Buck. And I can sure smell it, too! Quite a place.

  7. I would love an SLR too. Especially since my point in shoot started making funny noises yesterday. Not a good sign.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.