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Showing posts from May, 2016

How Many Men Go On A Flying Raid

How many men go on a flying raid?Let’s say it’s a bomber raid from Britain in the middle years of World War II.They had ‘thousand bomber’ raids. A thousand bombers would head out from Lincolnshire or wherever and fly to a target in Germany. Each plane had a crew of somewhether around five or seven depending on the type of aircraft. So that’s five or six thousand men launched into the air on a night-time raid.

The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini in 238 Words

ReciprocityWe are more likely to be persuaded to do something when it involves repaying an obligation. Example of giving a mint to customers in a restaurant
ScarcityPoint out the benefits - tell them what's unique about what you are offering - show them what they stand to lose by not taking up the offer
AuthoritySignal to others what makes you a credible, knowledgable authority before you attempt to influence them. Get someone to praise you. That someone can even be related to your business (e.g. receptionist who refers to your expertise) or likely to benefit from it.
ConsistencyOnce someone is persuaded to make small voluntary,active, public contributions towards something, it is easier to then get them to do something bigger towards that goal, which they do to be consistent with their own model of themselves.
LikingWe prefer to say yes to people who are similar to us, who pay us compliments, and who cooperate with us. Do these before negotiating or talking about business.

Tools To Prune and Trim Your Writing

I have more writing apps than a person should rightly have - including Ulysses, Writeroom, and Byword.Ulysses is where I keep everything - notes, books I’m writing, references.Writeroom is for when I want a black page with nothing else on the screen.Once I have finished writing I paste the text into the Hemingway app, which nudges my writing with on-screen prompts. It tells me to cut down a sentence, get rid of an adverb, think about using a shorter word for a longer one.I bought the desktop version for the princely sum of $5.00 a while ago. Now it is out with version Two, which was a free upgrade.If you don’t want the desktop version and are happy to use the web version, it’s free.I recoiled when I first read that ‘adverbs are nature’s way of telling you you used the wrong verb.'Now I am getting used to looking for stronger verbs.The Hemingway app highlights the words and sentences it thinks you ought to look at - adverbs in blue, long sentences in yellow, horrible ones in red.On…

Ernie Pyle - American War Correspondent

Ernie Pyle was an American war correspondent during World War II. He was very well known across a great cross-section of the American public - a real celebrity in his day - and very well liked.In his newspaper columns and in his book Brave Men, published in 1944, he describes the minutiae of army life in wartime from the perspective of the common soldier.He described the way the war machine works - from engineers pulling captured tanks off the line with giant earth moving machines, to bomb loaders preparing bombers for a mission, to cooks cooking up thousands of meals for the troops.The book describes the push from North Africa and up through Italy, then the waiting period in England before D Day, and then the invasion and the battle through France.Here’s an example of those small touches of detail that he describes. American soldiers were stationed in London in the lead up to D Day, and the US Army established rules for one-way foot traffic for soldiers when walking along the pavemen…

Jeremy Corbyn's Missing Article On Palestine

Re: Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom.
Jeremy Corbyn's website says there are no references to Palestine and no links to articles on Palestine. There were, though. Why are the articles no longer there?
Here is the text of the article and the link to the WayBack Machine that shows the article as it was on 24 August 2015 and 23 September 2015
Filed under:
The Middle East erupts once again as the running sore of the illegal occupation of Palestine continues.
The Road Map, promoted by Bush and enthusiastically supported by the British Government, is in tatters and is not a guide to anything. The construction of a wall, a medieval response to the cause of a people denied their own self determination and nationhood, is not so much illegal as immoral.

The wall, which the BBC insist on referring to as a “security fence”, does not follow the 1967 borders but is a fur…

Usability Testing - If I Don’t Know In An Instant What The Site Is About

The reason for usability testing of websites is to get the site seen through the eyes of someone who is not familiar with it, and to see what they make of it.I think anyone could do a lot worse than read a great book on the subject. It's Don't Make me Think by Steve Krug.If you want to dip your toe in the water, you can do usability tests at Five Second Tests and Feedback Roulette.You can have your site looked at by other visitors and you give back to the community by testing other people's sites.Doing tests on Five Second Test taught me one big lesson, which is that if I don't know in an instant what the site is about, then those five seconds go by in a flash while I am trying to figure it out.I just don't 'see' anything else on the page. Well, yes I see a large photo of someone or a big headline - but if I don't know what the site is about then the rest of the page is just an annoyance.The explanation of what the site is about could be a simple tag li…

Postal Vote EU Referendum 23 June 2016

Any bets on what the turnout for the referendum will be? And which side will be the more galvanised to get out and vote?23 June - An interesting choice of date.I can picture people in a room in Whitehall arguing about the most favourable date for the referendum. What facts and statistics did they consider?UEFA European football Championships in France: 10 June – 10 July 2016British holidaymaking season - June, July, AugustSchool summer term - early June to late July - so parents with children will be more likely to be in the UK and able to vote.If You Want A Postal VoteIf you are in Scotland and you think you might be out of the country on 23rd June, you can apply now for a postal vote.It is a two-stage process.Contact the Electoral Registration Office and request an application. You can do that now and they will send it out straight away.The voting forms themselves are due to be sent out on 11th and 12th June. There is a chance that some will be sent out earlier - around the 3rd June…

Daniel Burd: Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas

Daniel Burd was a Canadian High School student who in 2008 isolated two bacteria (Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas) that at the correct temperature ate almost half of a plastic sample within six weeks.He won the first prize at the Canada Wide Science Fair and a $20,000 scholarship.In an article in The Record (article no longer there), Burd is quoted as saying:
The inputs are cheap, maintaining the required temperature takes little energy because microbes produce heat as they work, and the only outputs are water and tiny levels of carbon dioxide -- each microbe produces only 0.01 per cent of its own infinitesimal weight in carbon dioxide.
I have googled repeatedly for Daniel Burd since then and haven’t found anything more.

Tales Of The French Autoroute

A nice thing happened quite a few years ago when we were traveling through France. We were on an autoroute heading south, and we sped along, passing through the various toll booths. And each booth had a plastic hopper into which drivers would throw coins to pay the toll.The plastic hoppers were a good idea, because they made the whole process of going through the booths much quicker. The machine would total up the coins, and if the amount was correct, it would whisk the driver through.So my wife and I would sort through our coins and collect whatever was needed, ready for the next toll booth. I was driving a right hand drive car so I was on the 'wrong' side to reach into the hopper into which to throw the coins.So my wife threw the coins into the hopper and off we sped to the next toll booth down the autoroute.My younger daughter was very young at the time, perhaps three years old. She was intrigued with the way we deposited the coins, and asked whether she could do it at the …

Do You Know The Name Of This Play?

I saw on TV about three or four years ago in the UK.It was a re-showing of a much older performance. The original may have been made for TV or it could have been a filmed performance of something that was originally a stage play. The setting was a 'civilised' party with the hosts and with guests that arrived and interacted.I would say it was set in the 1960s - in an apartment or house with contemporary furniture - an aspiring middle class setting.It maybe had an American feel to it - like it was set in the USA - modern apartment - maybe not.From memory, the whole play may have been silent - as in, no spoken words - just gestures and expressions or perhaps the characters mouthed words.In the play we get to see into the psychology of the individuals - jealousy, fear, arrogance, disappointment - all of it under a veneer of civility.The way people moved around in it, it was almost like a ballet - the whole thing was very stylised and intended to be insightful and realistic about t…

Hostage In Beirut

On Radio 4 the interviewer Sue MacGregor interviewed John McCarthy, Brian Keenan and Terry Waite - all of whom where kidnapped at various points and held hostage in Beirut in the 1990s.John McCarthy was a BBC journalist and Brian Keenan was a teacher in the International School in Beirut.John McCarthy was held in solitary confinement for four months and then was in a cell with Brian Keenan and they then spent the next four years together.Terry Waite was an envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury and he was himself a hostage negotiator until he was taken captive.He was held for over four years in solitary confinement and then another year or more with John McCarthy and Brian Keenan before they were all released, one after another.Terry Waite described how, when he was in solitary confinement, he eventually was able to ask one of the guards to let him have a book to read.The man spoke no English and brought him Great Escapes, a title which Terry Waite thought was funny but not a book he …