Carnegie Month: P1C1Pr1 “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain”

I’ve been sporadically listening to How to Win Friends and Influence People for a couple months.  I listen to it whenever I drive and am not listening to the radio.  The thing is, though, is that I walk to work, walk to get groceries, and I live with my girlfriend.  So I don’t do a lot of driving.

But, I really like what I’ve heard so far from this book.  So this month I’m going to do a principle each day.

P1C1Pr1 means Part 1, Chapter 1, Principle 1.  I don’t know if that is useful information or not yet, but we’ll see.  The important part is that I just remember the principles and apply them daily and ideally consecutively.  For this project, though, I think I should go for one principle per day and just focus on that principle.

Today I should have neither criticized, condemned, nor complained.  I’m solid on not complaining.  If I say something, I know that in my head it makes it more real.  So if I don’t complain, then whatever I would be complaining about is not as bad.  An example is work being super busy.  If I get home to my girlfriend and say “Work sucked, we were sooooo busy” then it hurts me that much more by reliving it via complaining about it.  So I tend to not complain.

Condemning is a different story.  Apparently the difference in condemning and criticizing is that condemning is publicly or behind-their-back, whereas criticizing is to their face.  I tend to condemn rarely, and usually heavily dosed with “This person is awesome, but they just need to work on this one specific thing…”  Today I did precisely that.  More on that later.

I try to rarely criticize.  Chipotle, where I work, uses the term “elevation”, meaning helping a person do something the by-the-Chipotle-book way.  Is it criticism?  What is the border of criticizing and teaching?  Carnegie writes about positive reinforcement being the way to go.  I try to do that as much as possible, but if someone is just off the mark, what do you do?  Is it different if a person asks for help?

My favorite quote from this principle was: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be under-standing and forgiving.”  I definitely understand this.  It’s my immediate reaction to correct somebody when they don’t ask to be corrected, when the utility of them being right is not relevant to the task/conversation at hand.  I need to work on that.

I definitely need to work more on all this at Chipotle.  I need to find out how to teach without criticizing and condemning.

At home, I should never criticize, complain, or condemn.  I don’t think I did tonight.  But I’ll keep an eye out next time.  I’ll also just do better tomorrow at focusing on the next principle.  And that principle will be:

“Give honest and sincere appreciation”

An Ode to Okoge

I grew up eating a lot of rice.  I’ve always known the delightful taste of the rice that has been in the pot for a little too long, the rice that has met Maillard.  Japanese call it okoge, and until today, I thought they were the only culture that had a name for it.


But when my coworkers at Chipotle were huddled over this nearly empty pot of rice, sprinkling salt and a little oil on it, I learned differently.  They call it concón.  Most of my coworkers had never heard of it.  Upon one coworker’s first taste, he said that it’s just like popcorn.  That made me wonder if a little sugar would be any good on it.

So tonight I looked concón up and found that nearly all the rice eating cultures have a name for this culinary treat:

Colombia: pega/pego
China: guoba
Dominican Republic: concón
Iran: tahdig
Japan: okoge
Korea: nurungji
Puerto Rico: pegao

“Netflix and chill” and Sensory Deprivation Tanks

I like everything about this article.  Making use of Google’s new power of searching tweets, semantic analysis of winky emoticons, and containing the phrase “antecedent verb phrase”.  And it taught me a new way to innuendo “I want to have sex with you.”

I had never heard of Sensory Deprivation Tanks until seeing a Facebook friend post this article today.  Fascinating.  I had heard of John C. Lilly, the credited inventor of these tanks, through a Radiolab podcast.  I’ve looked up float chambers in my area and I will start saving my money.  I wonder if it is anything like being in an anechoic chamber?

Websites That Use Their Data as/for Primary Research

My last post was about a research study Ok Cupid did with the data they use for their business.  I was intrigued by this type of research, so I am working on a list of websites that do this.  To find the sites, I’ve just been searching: (site name) research.  The first result tends to be that site’s research realm if they have one.  So far, here’s the list:








And here are the websites I’ve found that don’t have a dedicated research area, but they do publish research article/s:

Tinder – “Most Right Swiped Campuses 2015”

Lastly, here are the websites I searched that I couldn’t find any in-house research published.

What is the average amount of time held in shopping cart for different categories of products (are books held longer than video games?)?  How many people scroll down to view the ratings on products they eventually buy?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to read the insights of editing patterns?  Are any seasonal?  What articles were heavily edited once, but no longer are as controversial?  Are editors more accurate the more they edit or are there diminishing returns?  What is the most viewed article that has the least edits?

What’s the average time spent/videos watched in “related video” syndrome: when you click video after video?  What’s the ratio of site viewers there in search of a video vs. already has a link?  What demographics browse YouTube channels the most/least?  What videos are more popular with older people than younger?


OK Cupid: Field Sociology

I love when websites use their data as field research and publish it on their sites.  I know PornHub does it and so does OK Cupid.

This OK Cupid article analyzes three attributes (facial attitude, photo context, skin) and busts four myths of profile pictures.  The researcher used data from relatively medium attractive people (the majority of people on the site) and disregarded the least and most attractive people.  He also apparently wrote an entire book, which I have just added to my Kindle Wish List.

Myth 1: “It’s better to smile”

Turns out, it’s only better to smile if you are female and smiling directly into the camera.  “Men’s photos are most effective when they look away from the camera and don’t smile.”

Myth 2: “The MySpace Angle is Busted”

Turns out the “‘Myspace’ Shot” is “the single most effective photo type for women.”

Myth 3: “Guys should keep their shirts on”

If you have abs, take that shirt off, especially if you are young.  If you are 31, though, your ab pic is only attracting 0.2 more “women per attempt” (of contacting a woman through OK Cupid).  The downtrend apparently “continues with age.”

Also, normal clothes get more women per attempts than dressed up.

Cleavage shots for women increase contacts, and cleavage shots help the downtrend in contacts for older women.

“Body + cleavage pics” and “pics taken outdoors” graphed against each other converge at age twenty-five.  So, at 25 you are as likely to have an outdoor pic as you are to a body + cleavage pic.  After 25, you become more and more likely to have a pic taken outdoors.  Before 25, the opposite.

The type of picture that garners the highest “chance a message leads to an actual conversation”: a picture of you “doping something interesting.”

Myth 4: “Make sure your face is showing”

Turns out, a face is not as important as something interesting.

South America

John Oliver’s favorite running joke on his Last Week Tonight seems to be the location of South American countries, and our

Before tonight, I could identify Brazil on a map, but that was about it for South America.  That’s pathetic.  There are 414.3 million people that are estimated to live there, and I can’t even identify most of their countries.

So, I Sporcled it up.  Now I can identify every country in South America.  Suck it, John Oliver.

Even better, I looked up the etymology for each of the countries.  Click on the link for the etymology, read on the right for my notes.

Argentina: Ag: silver
Bolivia: Simon Bolivar: liberator dictator
Brazil: red wood
Chile: possibly native word that meant cold/end
Colombia: sooooo, is it acceptable that I just now realized who it’s named after?
Ecuador: equator, equal, and equate are all from the same Latin root
Falkland Islands: after Falkland, Scotland (folk + land)
Guyana and French Guiana: possibly indigenous “respectable”
Paraguay: after the river, which was possibly after a chief that met the Spanish,  water (para) + born (guay)
Peru: river
Suriname: indigenous people
Uruguay: after the river, apparently possibly bird (uru) + tail (guay).  But the website said, in the Paraguay entry, that guay meant born.
Venezuela: Little Venice

Skyfall Paintings in M’s Office

I just rewatched Skyfall.  Q and Bond’s first conversation includes an analysis of a naval painting, an analysis analogizing Bond himself.



The painting is a wooden warship being hauled to the scrapyard by a steam powered ship; Bond is shown throughout the first half of the movie as past his prime, ready to be retired.

At the end of the movie, when the new M is revealed, I noticed another naval painting.  There is no discussion on screen of it, but the symbolism is inescapable: the painting is of a glorious line of wooden warships, ready for battle.

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

One of my college English professors, Dr. Preussner, was big on an interesting aspect of symbolism: “what symbols are significant to the characters within the story?”  The symbol of the first naval painting is significant to Bond and Q, as it is to us.  The symbol of the painting at the end is lost upon the characters within the story; that symbol is solely ours.

Nevertheless, I assumed it was a relatively simple symbol: Bond is nearly past his prime, but then he shows that he still has what it takes, and is clearly ready for more.  But there’s even more.

Judith I Bridgland investigated this Skyfall symbolism scrupulously in her article on 14 November 2012



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