Friday, November 6, 2009

Parents and children

  Isn't it odd that as children we never saw anything wrong with single word answers, or vague, unclear responses? Yet, as parents, We seem to always be digging for more information. Unhappy with answers like 'Nothing,' or 'I don't know,' we constantly ask more questions. 'What do you mean you don't know?' has to be one of our more used ones.

  And yet, as kids, those answers seemed perfectly alright. On the other side of things, at least we get to use the ever handy 'Because I said so!' line.

  Well, OK, we try not to use that one very much, reserving it for moments of extreme frustration or in the middle of the 'But why?' routine. We remember how those kinds of things bugged us as kids, and we do our best to give actual explanations to our kids, even if we don't think they'll understand. Sometimes, rather often actually, they surprise us and understand more than we think they will.

Maybe one day soon, they'll start giving us straight answers too!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Speaking of time management...

  I remember writing about how mis-communication can arise from a desire to hurry through conversations, not taking the time to listen and respond properly. How about not taking the time to communicate at all? Lately life has been spiralling right at the edge of out of control, time-wise. This has resulted in a cascade in my personal time-line, whereby events get pushed ast the time they should have been happening. The pressure brought to bear by this cascade was discouraging me from communicating at all, virtual or otherwise.

  Things are changing though, and I am taking steps to organize my time more wisely. This involves changing tracks to make my alarm clock more effective, and putting a stop to midnite reading sessions. I have been following quite a few blogs, tech-related and otherwise. While these have been interesting, I will be curtailing their time-commitment severely.

  So, all that to say: Stay tuned! I'll pick up the pace soon!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pet Peeves... Part One

  One of my all-time pet peeves has to be the continuing mis-use of the term 'Solar System,' even by those who really ought to know better. To hear scientists or leaders speaking of 'other solar systems' inclines me to want to lash out. There is only one Solar system. It revolves around the Star which we (Humanity) have labelled 'Sol.' Thus the term SOLar System.

  Any other system of planets orbitting around a star are simply 'Star Systems.' I'm sure that if there are any inhabited planets out there and I don't discount the possibility that it could happen, they most likely would have their own name for their home system. I highly doubt, however, that it would be Solar.

  Along the same lines, to label a product as being 'Solar' powered isn't entirely accurate. It is true that they receive energy through the medium of light, but that light does not necessarily have to come from Sol. I'm certain that any other star out there with a compatible wavelength would suffice to power these devices.

  I'm not pushing to re-label everything that has had the solar tag applied to it, simply putting the information out there that 'solar' only applies to things having to do with our star.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inaccuracies in Communication

  I think that a primary cause of a great many conflicts nowadays is the apparent inability to translate our thoughts into words. We mean to say one thing, but what comes out of our mouths can sometimes sound quite different. These miscommunications can lead to disagreements, which can lead to arguments, which can lead to all-out fights. It seems like people are in such a hurry to get on with their lives that they can not take the time to communicate properly with those around them.

  The pace at which we tend to lead our lives, with all of our activities, commitees, meetings and other time commitments, seems to push us into rushing through everything that isn't currently a top priority. It's rare, nowadays, to have a full conversation with anyone. We develope social 'short-hand,' methods of shortening conversations, ostensibly to save time but in reality it quite frequently leads to problems. Person 'A' begins a sentence, person 'B,' believing they know what person 'A' is saying, interrupts with a comment. Person 'A' interjects a comment into the middle of that, and you're off to the races, each trying to explain what they're really trying to say.

  Before you know it, the conversation is over, with neither person having quite completely apprehended what the other was saying. Wouldn't it be an absolute treat to sit down with someone for a meal, and have a conversation where each person actually listens to the other, and where each person takes the time to think about what they are trying to get across? A conversation where each person takes a moment to choose their words with care, in order to lead the listener to the point they wish to make?

  Really, that kind of conversation is a sign of mutual respect, a demonstration of self-restraint. Even though you may believe you know where your friend is directing the conversation, exercise good manners, listen to what they are saying, and think before you reply. Yes, it takes a bit longer, but ultimately, it's much more productive, once you get the hang of it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The English language

The English language seems to be broken. More and more often, I find my attention drawn to what people are saying and comparing that to what they actually mean. I am not talking about Geek-speak, LOL-speak, texting, tagging, etcetera, I'm talking about the person on the street who thinks that they are using words in an intelligible fashion.

The problem arises, I think, from the changable nature, the adaptability of english. People use words which they believe mean a certain thing, when in acuality, they mean something quite different.

Take, for example, the following sentences. 'That was such a great [insert event here], it was incredible. It really blew my mind.' In the first place, had your mind really been 'blown,' I don't believe you'd have enough cognitive function left to appreciate this article, and in the second place, if the [event] was not credible, then why are you saying it was great?

People use the word incredible to describe something that is wondrous or very highly thought of. That is not what incredible means, though.

Incredible - Not believable, not credible, beyond belief or understanding.

So, it seems that a person is trying to say how much they enjoyed an event, but what their words say is that the event was beyond understanding, not to be believed. This may sound like a good thing, but don't describe a witness' testimony in court as 'incredible,' unless you mean that they were not being truthful, of course!

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