The benefits of age

Havard Business Review’s Dan Pallota quoted from Julia Moulden’s book, RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50: >

  • I can tell the difference between a customer who has a legitimate gripe with my company and one who is an alcoholic or has anger-management issues. At 25, I thought it was all and always about me.
  • My bullshit meter is highly attuned because I’ve heard a lot of bullshit. At 25 I was naive enough to believe most of what everyone was dishing out.
  • I have the confidence to know that if I don’t understand some new business idea you’re pitching to me it’s not because I’m stupid. It’s because you’re not communicating it well. At 25 I was more prone to point the finger inward.
  • I know that business construction projects cost about twice what you budgeted them to cost. At 25, I was continually shocked and unprepared when costly problems popped up or snags set projects back months.
  • I know that being nice to people and being a good leader are two different things. At 25 I was nice to everyone. And not the best leader.

I suggested in the comments this addition: > My peers and I outnumber everyone else. At 25, people over 50 were few and far between which let me do a lot without someone looking over my shoulder and judging my work. Which is really a defining difference between Boomers and Millennials: Millennials are coming of age with a lot more older people around then when Boomers came of age. But I’ve also disagreed with Dan Pallota before. The population pyramid image is from here, which looks like it may have been copied out of a newspaper.

Mediation Journal, Version 0

I earlier posted a picture from a project I was working on for journaling media usage. Below is the book I got back from POD (I used Lulu and am quite satisfied). I still have a few changes I want to make before I consider it “finalized”: increasing the gutter size (the gutter calculator is clearly configured for reading, not writing), optimizing the half-tones and gradients (I printed a test scale in the back of the book), and redoing the cover (I don’t think I had the DPI set properly for the only rasterized image I used in the entire project).

Also, after reading this piece by Kelli Anderson on documenting work, I’m trying to take better project and process photos. I took these photos on my porch, in 20° weather—but the natural sunlight made it worth it.

Assessment of needs-assessment needs

One of my AmeriCorps members asked for resources on technology needs-assessment surveys and I came across some varied approaches. Above is from the US Department of Education hosted An Educator’s Guide to Evaluating the Use of Technology in Schools and Classrooms. Below is from the National Center for Technology Planning’s “ Perceived Educational Technology Needs Survey” [PDF] (the Center appears to be more a guy then a center). Both appear rather aged, though I like the latter one better.

Note to the respondent: Please keep this questionnaire in your possession for the survey interval in your usual work location while performing your customary duties. Make entries to the items as appropriate responses occur to you. Your responses will help inform the technology planning process about the best application of technologies in your teaching situation.

  1. Do you ever, or often, think, “there must be an easier way to do this?” If so, please list and describe as many of the things or situations as you can to which this statement would apply:





5. [Note: All of the following questions repeat this format, but the phrase “If so, please list and describe as many of the things or situations as you can to which this statement would apply: #1-5” is omitted for brevity ]

  1. Do you ever, or often, think, “I could do this faster if only…”
  2. Do you ever, or often, think, “I wish I had a helper to help me do…”
  3. Do you ever, or often, think, “I wish I had a computer or other device so I could…”
  4. Do you ever, or often, think, “I wish I or my students could contact someone right now to tell them…”
  5. Do you ever, or often, think, “I wish I or my students could contact someone right now to find out…”
  6. Do you ever, or often, think, “I wish my students had improved computers or other technological resources available so they could…”
  7. Do you ever, or often, think, “I wish my students had more computers or other technological resources available so they could…”

Please use the space below to state in your own words any suggestions, recommendations, or concerns you have for the use of computers, networks, or other advanced technologies for your work or for your students, your school, or the school district. Thank you for providing this information.

Adding hyperlinks to print publications

I am very impressed with how Marcus du Sautoy’s The Number Mysteries integrates hyperlinks into the book using URL shorteners and QR codes (above). Contrast that with Dan Cederholm’s Handcrafted CSS _(which is still an excellent book). _The latter was published August 2009, the former August 2010.

De nada, Una Pequeña Casa

My former-roommate Alex (the guy in the middle) is spending his winter vacation in Mexico volunteering with One Small House. I donated to the project and they’ve been awesome in thanking me. > During the week of December 26-31, 2010, a group of volunteers from the United States will work with the community of Lazaro Cardenas to build them a new, free health clinic. Currently, this small community is receiving its health services from a trailer that is inadequate to handle their needs. With the support of donations, One Small House and its volunteers will help ensure that this community receives the quality health care it needs.

Mediation journal pieces

This is a set of images from a self-journaling project I’m working on based around my media-consumption habits. A few months ago I designed a self-journaling worksheet for Angelina, and she really liked the use of a blank face for the critical-reflection process—so that’s one part of it. I just sent off Version 0 to be printed; I’ll post some photos when it arrives.

Boston Bike Crash Map in the News

Boston’s Metro newspaper ran a page 2 article on the Boston Bike Crash Map the Boston Cyclists Union and I created. Also in the news:

This is a stunning example of what a non-profit can do with government statistics, Google Maps, and a very dedicated volunteer.

Among other concentrations, it shows a dark line of bruised elbows, broken fenders, and worse stretching from the Back Bay to Allston along Commonwealth Avenue, right past our studios at WBUR.

Proposals to change the tax-deductibility of donations

The New York Times yesterday gave a breakdown of proposals to change how donors calculate donations in their taxes:

All three deficit reduction proposals from the blue ribbon panels would eliminate the deduction in its current form.

One of the panels, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform would give taxpayers a tax credit worth 12 percent of their donations — but only if they contributed 2 percent or more of their adjusted gross income to charity.

Another plan proposed by a panel of three liberal-leaning organizations — Demos, the Economic Policy Institute and the Century Foundation — is similar, suggesting a 25 percent tax credit for all charitable gifts.

The plan philanthropic experts find the most intriguing, however, comes from the Bipartisan Policy Center panel, which suggests borrowing a system of subsidizing nonprofits similar to the one used in Britain, called Gift Aid.

Under that proposal, nonprofits could claim a tax credit worth 15 percent of any charitable gift they received, effectively giving the donor a partial match. For instance, if a donor makes a charitable gift of $100 to a charity, the charity could apply to receive an additional $15 from the government.

I’m partial to this proposal from the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (via Gift Hub):

For many years, PPP has suggested a conceptual alternative to the charitable deduction. PPP’s plan addresses the current goal of simplifying the tax code, while supporting a robust nonprofit sector that can compensate for reduced government services. Rather than a deduction from income, we propose that charitable contributions be treated as an adjustment from gross income. Since the donor never receives the benefit of income which is contributed to charity, the amount contributed should be considered unavailable for taxation at all. Far from the “tax expenditure” that the [National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform] suggests, allowing charitable contributions as adjustments to income would provide a fair and accessible incentive for charitable giving to all Americans.

And of course, don’t forget the background context of rising inequity, a lapsed estate tax, and the models of individually-determined giving versus democratically-determined (ostensibly) government grants and earmarks.