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Archive for January 2009

My Stroke of Insight: a brain scientists personal journey

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The Experience

“My entire self-concept shifted as I no longer perceived myself as a single, a solid, an entity with boundaries that separated me from entities around me… Everything in my visual world blended together… I could not perceive three-dimensionally.  Nothing stood out as closer or farther away.  If there was a person standing in the doorway, I could not distinguish their presence until they moved… In addition, color did not register in my brain as color.  I simply could not distinguish it.  But in this shifted perception, it was impossible for me to perceive either physical or emotional loss…”

So what is this?  A religious experience?  The effect of a hallucinogen?  No.  It is the experience of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist, as she experienced a stroke and lived to write about it.

I pleaded, Remember, please remember everything you are experiencing!  Let this be my stroke of insight into the disintegration of my own cognitive mind.

And this is what you will find in Dr. Taylors book:  My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

The Event

The book “My Stroke of Insight” is a fascinating book.  It’s the personal story of Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained Brain neuroanatomist, as she experienced, recovered from, and analyzed her experience of having a stroke.

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Written by frrl

January 30, 2009 at 9:23 am

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

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On Being Crushed: The Value of Adversity. Or, taking advantage of defining moments

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writerThis story from the Associated Press is getting a lot of attention.  The story is short and you can read the full text below.

At issue is a girls basketball game where the ending score was 100 points to nothing.

The losing team, Dallas Academy,  was “crushed”, “trounced”, “hammered”, “clobbered”, “obliterated”, “thrashed”, “wasted”, “pommeled”, “flogged”, and “driven into the ground” – not just defeated.

And now the team that scored the 100 points to zero victory, Covenant School,  has “winners remorse” – they are sorry – they want to forfeit their victory.

Why should this be?

The new ideology – Apology for Success

Why should anyone apologize for a victory?  Why should anyone apologize for success?  Ifone is winning, then why should one “back off”- stop their winning pursuit in an endeavor – why is this the “right” thing to do?

The story by the AP seems to drift toward an implicit idea that “winners” need to be mindful of the competition and “back off” if the performance or accomplishment gap becomes too wide – a sort of achievement self-governance that sets limits based on the (lack of) attainment of another group of people.  Is this idea and behavior of benefit to society in general?  Since the context is high school, and high school is where many values takes shape, maybe this is a more important issue than it seems.

The winning school wants to forfeit the game and apologize.  Why?

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Written by frrl

January 24, 2009 at 7:16 am

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

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Long Live The All American Five. Or, Recovering a Piece of Radio History

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“Watching” the Radio

Right now, in 2009, radio and “wireless communication” is ubiquitous and part of the landscape.  As such, no one really notices it.  It is a taken for granted reality of everyday life.

aa5_jackbennyIt’s hard for modern people to put themselves in the position of people in the early 1900’s when radio was a new invention.  Imagine, hearing voices and music from across the country, or across the world – without wires.  Instant communications.  You don’t have to wait for the newspaper to find out what was going on. Entertainment?  Sure.  Turn on the radio and hear Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, The Great Gildersleeve, The Inner Sanctum, Sam Spade, The Shadow,  GI Journal, and hundreds more.

It’s always interesting see pictures from the 1930’s and 1940’s of a family sitting in the living room “watching” the radio.  Watching the radio as if someone was talking directly to them – from hundreds or thousands of miles away.  And that is exactlywhat it was – astrounding.

Recovering the Past

I can only imagine that some folks who collect old broadcast radios have some sort of appreciation for this era.  When you get that radio from the 1920’s to 1940’s one can imagine how many families sat in front of that radio listing to music, news, or entertainment.  Perhaps, in 2009, that family has passed away.  But the radio, which you have in your hands right now, just may remember.  On that radio from the 1940’s perhaps they heard the call to buy war bonds.  Or, that was the radio on which they heard the start of the D-Day invasion, or the end of the war.

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Written by frrl

January 22, 2009 at 7:15 am

Hands-off Electronics: A little bit of Monica. A little bit of Erica

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Read our related article: Hands-on Electronics – Signal tracing a simple transmitter

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Hog Heaven at the Mailbox

The good times just keep on rolling. 

Going out to the mail box I found a white envelope from CBC International.  I expected more of a box – but an envelope is what I got.  “You go to war with what you got.”  OK, I get it.

There was my copy of  The ‘Screwdrivers experts’ Guide: Do it yourself CB repair and modifications by Lou Franklin ( K6NH )

Could it get better? Yes, it was personally signed by Lou.  “Best Wishes, Lou Franklin”.  I am in hog heaven.

Economic Stimulus

You might think this posting is from our “We wasted our money on this so you don’t have to department.  Well, yes it is.  In these tough economic times you have to “spread the wealth” for the good of the country.  So I made this discretionary purchase – it was my patriotic duty.

But really, I wanted to see what was in this book – I could not find it in my local public library system.  This book is a companion to another book by Lou Franking “Understanding & Repairing CB Radios for the Professional Technician”

Why is there something rather than nothing?

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Written by frrl

January 18, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Take a Break. Play the Bailout Game and save the United States

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Written by frrl

January 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

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Diagnostic Tool for Teams: What type of team do you have?

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Diagnostic Tool for Teams: 
What type of team do you have?

thewisdomofteamsFor your back pocket.

As a team leader or a team member it’s always good to have some models in your back pocket either as a diagnostic tool or as a prescriptive advice. 

Way back in 1993 a book was published that served as sort of a primer on building high performance teams.  It is still in print and the advice is still good 16 years later.

Everyone works on a team at one time or another.  If you are a team leader or a team member it’s always good to make a self-assessment of where your team stands on the performance and effectiveness curve

All Teams are not what they seem.  Some teams that call themselves teams may be Working Groups, or Pseudo Teams, or Potential Teams – but not Teams in the true sense where they, according to the authors,  are able to deliver  high performance and high effectiveness to the organization in which they are embedded.

Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith, after a couple of decades of on-the-ground consulting experience put together a taxonomy of 5 types of groups working together –  from Working Group to High Performance Team.  They plotted each of these type of “assemblies” of people onto a grid of Performance Impact and Team effectiveness.

Here are the five types

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Written by frrl

January 15, 2009 at 3:44 am

Poetry Slam or News Conference: The Political Theater of Rod Blagojevich

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greenmilllogoIf any of the readers of this blog get to Chicago, or if you are in or near Chicago, then I would highly recommend the Green Mill Jazz Club

Of special interest is the Sunday Night Poetry Slam with Marc Smith.  The Uptown Poetry Slams has been going on for a very long time – since about 1986.  Marc Smith is masterful as MC of this event.  No substitutes, please.

I thought I was at the Green Mill Uptown Poetry Slam when I heard Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich at his news conference today when he started quoting poetry.  Today, the Illinois House voted to impeach the Governor.  In his response, Blagojevich quoted some poetry.

We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,”  Ulysses – by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Famous Green Mill Jazz Club

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Written by frrl

January 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Commentary and Opinion

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