Sep 4, 2015

10 Ways to Beat Your Boss

Somebody told me: 'start every blog-post with blood!'. I do, sometimes. They get twice as many clicks as the others. Or mention sex. Five times as many clicks.
A combination of both (last post)? One seems to annihilate the other or was it the mention of 'science'?
Some years ago, when everybody claimed that GooglePlus was the Big Thing and Facebook was evil, clicks were still the most important reputation-currency in the virtual world. Shady companies sold 'likes', 'friends' and simple clicks to bolster your ego-metrics.
And in those days I wrote a little snippet about one of the then upcoming blog-sites, which I hated and adored. It stood out in the deluge of self-help sites which babbled about 'ten ways to beat your boss' (and they did not mean physically). This guy essentially wrote about 'ten ways to beat your boss' - and he meant it. Physically.
It was amazing how he built a reputation by an incredibly honest and direct style of writing. He gives away his books for free, he tells you everything about e-publishing, he does not hide. He got thousands of clicks a day then, it must be close to a million a day now. He now sold probably hundreds of thousands of books, has podcasts, lectures, gives speeches, is back to financial advise, interacts wildly on twitter. It is an empire.
I dared to write slightly critical about his blog years ago.
And he contacted me.
He thought I was injust. My blog had about 30 clicks a day - 21 from myself and five from my mother. Still, this huge communication genius seemed genuinely hurt by *one* person on the other side of the atlantic possibly not loving him. And for this and the fact that he told me so, I admire him even more.
I thought I'd tell you.

Sep 2, 2015

blood, sex, science

Not too long ago journalists were absolutely clear about what scientists have to deliver to get their science-stuff into the magazine: catch-phrases, blood, sex, pictures. They were bossing everybody around. Obey or go away.
They called it science-journalism but it was annoying, damaging crap. The public was fed a shale derivative of science. It never really went away because it takes some time to deflate the Ego of those know-alls. But then it got worse. A new breed of smart-*sses was angrily demanding: Every scientist should be blogging! Yeah, right. Those autistic geniusses from the basement of the engineering-department were supposed to chatter about their passions? Oh, and Twitter! Use Twitter! 140 characters are enough! And let the public devise your next research project; they must be involved - being tax-payers, lalala... That has gone by. Finally we are told that professional science-communicators are hip.
Now we are talking.
It took them only about 25 years to discover that.

Aug 18, 2015

Big Think is Dumbing Down

Summer is here, the weekend in sight, temperatures around 30 degrees (Celsius that is. Do I have to calculate the Fahrenheit for you? Celsius=((Fahrenheit minus 32) divided by two) plus 10 percent. ok?!) - so, temperatures around 30 degrees centigrade slow everything down, nobody wants to move, and except for a few hours a day the brain is idling at best. What better to do with a useless brain than to click on BigThink? Go there and you will find an astonishingly perfect mix of bubbly scientoid superficiality and esoterics. Breathtaking dreamed-up scenarios of thinking robots, brain-transplants (whatch out, brain, I might swap!) and other huge topics dealt with in the typical absolutely mind-numbing mushyness.
'Hey Bill Nye, Could a Black Hole Have Created the Big Bang?'
Yeah, hey, Billy-boy-buddy, whaddaya think? Think Big! That's how physics is done, right? This is science communication - you bet. Think with your hormones, be awesome, wow me. So, could a black hole have created the big bang? hm? His answer: maybe yes, maybe no and "That'd be pretty cool, we think". 
(oh, right, Bill Nye is portrayed as 'Television host and science educator' - one more reason to trash your TV, and one very good argument to mistrust education).
Why is knowledge transfer so often misunderstood as actively dumbing down? The arrogance of such 'science educators' (in BIG air-commas) is unbelievable. The kids out there are much smarter than that and deserve better.
Now back to the beach.

May 20, 2015

free falling

A friend told me he got up with the sun this morning, happy. reading, scribbling - having a coffee and listening to the world slowly waking up. He biked to the office with his brain impatiently humming, his heart beating happily. He caught himself whistling stupid songs. A whole, wonderful day was before him. 

And then he found someone has put this on the desk.

He didn't care.

He said.

But: Was it there yesterday? Was it simply on a scrap-paper he picked up somewhere?
It must have been.
He must have overlooked it.

But if not: Who put it there? Who has access to his office? What is this person trying to say?

Certainly it was just a scribble he inadvertantly picked up. Right? yes, sure.
(....But what if not?)