Observations of the Random sort

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lunchstealer
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by lunchstealer »

Offices allow spontaneous interaction that doesn't happen with remote work. Human brains work by connecting a lot of different information in a lot of different and not always obvious ways. Some of them are visual/spatial, so you see someone walk past and your brain processes that information and looks for connections to other information, and you may reprocess some information or be reminded of something that wouldn't have come to the surface in a solitary home-office situation. Endless meetings or that one guy who comes in and would chat for three hours straight if you let him are not usually helpful, but there are upsides to a well-constructed office setting with a good, collaborative team with good morale.

ETA: Another issue with remote work is low-urgency communication. The number of times I've said, "Hey, Rob, when you get a chance, can you come take a look at this, it's kind of weird," is pretty high, and sometimes that fresh pair of eyes spots something that you've been missing, and can break a logjam that might've taken you another 20 frustrating minutes to spot. But you might spend those extra twenty minutes rather than set up a Zoom meeting so you can share your screen and show the weird thing you're having trouble with. The barrier for walking down the hall to say, 'hey you got a sec' vs setting up a call is pretty high. IM systems like Slack or even just Google Hangouts can handle some of that, but not perfectly.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Highway »

lunchstealer wrote: 24 Aug 2020, 12:51 Offices allow spontaneous interaction that doesn't happen with remote work. Human brains work by connecting a lot of different information in a lot of different and not always obvious ways. Some of them are visual/spatial, so you see someone walk past and your brain processes that information and looks for connections to other information, and you may reprocess some information or be reminded of something that wouldn't have come to the surface in a solitary home-office situation. Endless meetings or that one guy who comes in and would chat for three hours straight if you let him are not usually helpful, but there are upsides to a well-constructed office setting with a good, collaborative team with good morale.

ETA: Another issue with remote work is low-urgency communication. The number of times I've said, "Hey, Rob, when you get a chance, can you come take a look at this, it's kind of weird," is pretty high, and sometimes that fresh pair of eyes spots something that you've been missing, and can break a logjam that might've taken you another 20 frustrating minutes to spot. But you might spend those extra twenty minutes rather than set up a Zoom meeting so you can share your screen and show the weird thing you're having trouble with. The barrier for walking down the hall to say, 'hey you got a sec' vs setting up a call is pretty high. IM systems like Slack or even just Google Hangouts can handle some of that, but not perfectly.
There's definitely more initial resistance, on both sides, from 'bothering' someone else remotely rather than if you can see them in their office or at their desk, but I think that's just more of an initial hangup rather than something inherent to remote work. I've found that it's pretty easy to have chat channels with other individuals and groups and to put low-urgency questions in there, and then from there it seems pretty easy for us (using MS Teams) to just do a voice call with screen sharing. And there are some things that work a lot better with the ability to easily share your screen.

Of course, then you get organizations that turn off chat functions because they think some people can't be trusted to understand that it's a saved, discoverable (legally) communication. That doesn't help with the one organization I work with.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Every once in a while I worry that chat gets saved, and that I'll say something in there that would be a problem if some megacorp decided to get litigious, but fortunately we don't work with government agencies and are about 10 steps removed from anyone who does, and the worst I can think of is that we could be caught in some OSS license violation, but again it would take a megacorp getting angry at us to even care. No OSS group would care about us.

But I work in a very visual space and setting up a Webex/Gotomeeting/Zoom would be required for some of the 'hey could you look at this' types of things I'm talking about, which is a higher threshold than just a chat ping. My day-to-day boss and main technical collaborator has been working remotely in a different time zone for 20 years, so it's kind of moot, but I'm having more trouble than usual trying to hand off additional work to another coworker because of these barriers to collaboration right now. It takes too long to fix misunderstandings.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Highway »

Yeah, this is a government organization that is worried about it.

I don't know what the usage limit for MS Teams is, but I find that it does pretty well with both chat and calls and meetings. You can actually do screen shares in chats, although I find it difficult to then also chat (haven't tried much). Easy to just call a person and then screen share. And if you need an extra person in, you can just invite them in.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Hugh Akston »

If the tensions between Greece and Turkey comes to blows, is there some kind of provision in the NATO treaty that allows the other signatories to bomb them both back to the Hellenic age?
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Hugh Akston wrote: 26 Aug 2020, 16:11 If the tensions between Greece and Turkey comes to blows, is there some kind of provision in the NATO treaty that allows the other signatories to bomb them both back to the Hellenic age?
I don't know about Turkey, but if Germany just stops buying Greek bonds, that'll have the same effect.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Warren wrote: 26 Aug 2020, 21:06
Hugh Akston wrote: 26 Aug 2020, 16:11 If the tensions between Greece and Turkey comes to blows, is there some kind of provision in the NATO treaty that allows the other signatories to bomb them both back to the Hellenic age?
I don't know about Turkey, but if Germany just stops buying Greek bonds, that'll have the same effect.
As for Turkey, Erdogan seems intent on taking it back to the Ottoman Caliphate.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by dead_elvis »

At first the headline had me rolling my eyes but on further thought there is maybe something to it. Coronavirus has certainly dispelled for me the pollyanish trope about a common enemy/cosmic event that unites mankind. I now assume that after the end of The Watchmen all the nuclear powers just launch at each other.

How COVID-19 is preparing humanity for first contact
Even in their advisory roles, the scientists involved have been subjected to an unprecedented level of scrutiny. The researchers also point out that while some scientists were acting as advisors to government, others were setting up alternative sources of advice, often in conflict with official recommendations.

This has forced the public to confront the uncomfortable reality that scientists do not always agree and can even be in conflict. When this happens, science can become dangerously politicized.

It’s not hard to think that a similar set of circumstances will emerge during a First Contact event. And that raises questions about the feasibility of a science-led response.

The most divisive question is likely to be whether to respond at all. There is no guarantee that an alien civilization will be friendly; it could represent an existential threat to humanity. On the other hand, contact could bring huge cultural, economic and technological benefits to humanity.

Hatfield and Trueblood conclude from all this that it is crucial that whoever ends up managing a First Contact event must have public legitimacy. “One possible way we believe this could be achieved is by having decision making driven by a team of scientists nominated by different jurisdictions (rather than nation states) with broad opportunities for consultation,” they say, adding that the ideal would be a publicly elected representative who already has experience with science.

Those kinds of individuals are few and far between. First Contact will be a huge event for humankind, one that unifies humanity in some ways and divides it in others. Our response, and the way it is handled, will influence our future in ways that are hard to imagine.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Seems like a great idea. Public elections always elevate the most qualified people into positions of power.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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If contact involves the aliens physically visiting Earth, the smart money says they're here to do some grocery shopping.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 29 Aug 2020, 17:41 If contact involves the aliens physically visiting Earth, the smart money says they're here to do some grocery shopping.
Or planning a new Hyperspace Bypass.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Resistance is futile.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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It's charmingly naive that they think humans will be guiding any first contact event. Unless we're the ones going out making contact, we'll pretty much be taking cues from whoever shows up. If they're benign. If not, we're looking at a Columbus Event.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Shem wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 01:37 It's charmingly naive that they think humans will be guiding any first contact event. Unless we're the ones going out making contact, we'll pretty much be taking cues from whoever shows up. If they're benign. If not, we're looking at a Columbus Event.
I am of the 'No FTL' school. We will be aware of each other for millennia, perhaps eons, before any face to whatever passes for a face meeting. And even then it'll just be some intrepid explorers out on the periphery of human occupied space. The bulk of humanity won't even know about it for thousands, or tens of thousands, of years.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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My wife bought these Weight Watchers-brand "potato stix" snacks that are "mac & cheese"-flavored. But since macaroni basically just tastes like starch, aren't they really just cheese-flavored?
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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JD wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 11:39 My wife bought these Weight Watchers-brand "potato stix" snacks that are "mac & cheese"-flavored. But since macaroni basically just tastes like starch, aren't they really just cheese-flavored?
I would think so. All pasta is just a high-carb delivery system for whatever sauce, cheese, etc. is giving it flavor. I mean, yeah, you can taste macaroni, but I can't seriously imagine anyone thinking "You know, what would really hit the spot now is a big bowl of pasta with absolutely nothing else."
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 11:48
JD wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 11:39 My wife bought these Weight Watchers-brand "potato stix" snacks that are "mac & cheese"-flavored. But since macaroni basically just tastes like starch, aren't they really just cheese-flavored?
I would think so. All pasta is just a high-carb delivery system for whatever sauce, cheese, etc. is giving it flavor. I mean, yeah, you can taste macaroni, but I can't seriously imagine anyone thinking "You know, what would really hit the spot now is a big bowl of pasta with absolutely nothing else."
Admittedly I have been known to eat pasta with nothing but a bit of olive oil and salt.

But yeah, looking at the ingredients on the "potato stix", I'm saying to myself "But what could they possibly add to make it 'taste like macaroni'?"
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Hugh Akston »

Mac & Cheese is less of a flavor profile and more of an emotional association with comfort food.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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JD wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 12:04
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 11:48
JD wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 11:39 My wife bought these Weight Watchers-brand "potato stix" snacks that are "mac & cheese"-flavored. But since macaroni basically just tastes like starch, aren't they really just cheese-flavored?
I would think so. All pasta is just a high-carb delivery system for whatever sauce, cheese, etc. is giving it flavor. I mean, yeah, you can taste macaroni, but I can't seriously imagine anyone thinking "You know, what would really hit the spot now is a big bowl of pasta with absolutely nothing else."
Admittedly I have been known to eat pasta with nothing but a bit of olive oil and salt.

But yeah, looking at the ingredients on the "potato stix", I'm saying to myself "But what could they possibly add to make it 'taste like macaroni'?"
I'd assume the flavor profile of the American cheese Kraft and competitors use, as opposed to other cheeses.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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JD wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 12:04 Admittedly I have been known to eat pasta with nothing but a bit of olive oil and salt.
Macaroni and butter was a very common dish in my youth. Usually, but by no means exclusively, amongst the lower economic households.

ETA
A quick google indicates that Buttered Pasta and Buttered Noodles are still in fashion.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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I cheerfully throw the better grade of canned tuna with olive oil on pasta for a quick meal.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Most pasta sauces are like a canned tomato stomping on a human face forever. If I want to enjoy pasta, I usually just pour some olive oil and herbs over it. Sometimes I'll add some imitation crab meat if I'm in a protein kind of mood.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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Hugh Akston wrote: 01 Sep 2020, 22:27 Most pasta sauces are like a canned tomato stomping on a human face forever. If I want to enjoy pasta, I usually just pour some olive oil and herbs over it. Sometimes I'll add some imitation crab meat if I'm in a protein kind of mood.
I used to make my own pasta sauce - admittedly, I used tomato sauce as the base - but I got out of the habit.

(Trigger warning for JasonL. Following recipe may cause offense.)

1) Sauté diced onion, mushrooms, and celery in butter. Add bay leaf and two or three cloves fine chopped fresh garlic.
2) In a separate pan, brown one pound ground beef.
3) Drain excess fat from ground beef and add to sautéed mixture.
4) Add three 10 oz cans tomato sauce.
5) Add chili powder*, basil*, parsley*, paprika* and 1 oz vinegar (* varies according to your personal taste.)
6) Simmer 30 to 40 minutes over low-medium heat

Makes 4 - 6 servings. I would freeze most of it for quick meals later.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

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I'm not sure which element of pasta sauce is doing the stomping. It's an unbelievable upgrade to always use good quality canned tomatoes like Cento or Muir Glen. Always whole peeled never diced. To prevent diced tomatoes from disintegrating out of a dice in the can a preservative is added that definitely conveys "canned" when you taste them.

Right now when tomatoes are ripe I like "tomato water" sauce, which is diced fresh tomatoes in a colander, well salted over a bowl and tossed with basil or other herbs. Let it sit. Salt will pull out tomato juice and it will drain into bowl.

Cook the pasta separately to less done than you want - usually take 2 minutes off package cook time. Reserve a cup of pasta water.

Aromatics including significant garlic in a pan with olive oil. Add tomato water that drained into the bowl to aromatics in pan. Add pasta and 1/4c of pasta water to start. Add pasta and toss. Add butter to form emulsified sauce. Portion out pasta and top with tomatoes and herbs. Grate some parm if you like.
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Hugh Akston »

JasonL wrote: 02 Sep 2020, 10:48 I'm not sure which element of pasta sauce is doing the stomping.
Cooked tomatoes are the Urkel of food. Once they show up, it's the Cooked Tomatoes Show.
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