Links for November 13th

  • Harvard Business Review: Put Your Best People On Your Most Boring Challenges
    I agree completely with this suggestion that the exciting work shouldn't be saved for enthusiastic, capable employees. The most interesting, important, effective work that I've done professionally was working on tasks or projects that were considered boring. This summer the FDA asked me to advise on how to improve the efficiency of the process by which they approve breakthrough medical technologies. I declined, and instead spent some time advising them on how to overhaul the process by which everything *else*—all the boring stuff—gets approved. Why? Because those were the changes would have the most impact—turning something slow and mediocre into something efficient and extraordinary. They were a little baffled by my interest, but wound up being excited by my proposed changes. I hope they implement some of them.
  • New York Times: Homework and Jacuzzis as Dorms Move to McMansions in California
    Suburbia is famously unable to be modified to suit changing use patterns. While an urban block can be refurbished cyclically (factory becomes loft apartments becomes attorneys' offices becomes factory), a McMansion can't be divided up into apartments and is rather unlikely to become an office. But college kids have figured out that they can split up the enormous houses among a half-dozen roommates, living well for $250/month. The neighbors, having believed they were buying into a homogeneous community of middle-class, middle-aged people, are apparently less than thrilled.
  • Daily Progress: UVa replaces weapons policy
    Ken Cuccinelli published a July opinion that held that university weapon bans couldn't be policies, but had to be regulations, and thus UVA couldn't ban guns. As best as I can tell, a "policy" is a rule created by the university, but a "regulation" is one that's created by the board of visitors and published in the Virginia Register. So UVA has turned their policy into a regulation, and will publish it in the Virginia Register. Problem solved.
  • Rotten Tomatoes: Jack and Jill
    Adam Sandler's new movie has a 2% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is summarized as such: "Although it features an inexplicably committed performance from Al Pacino, Jack and Jill is impossible to recommend on any level whatsoever."

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “Links for November 13th”

  1. It’d be brilliant if UVA sued Ken Cuccinelli to recoup the cost in man hours that the board and their staff had to put in to remedy his attention grabbing, short-sighted opinion. No doubt he would resort to the privileges of sovereignty to avoid any lawsuit, and it’s unlikely any pay out would make up the cost of his other legal windmill battles against the University. I guess that reference was being a little unfair to Don Quixote.

  2. As much as we all prefer to live is separate houses or at least separate apartments in the same complex, I think with so many people facing homelessness, a option involving separate living quarters and joint common rooms, kitchens, laundry and perhaps even bathrooms might be something we need to look at.

    I know of at least one large house that is run by a non-profit that houses 6 families at one time with this kind of arrangement.

    It just seems like such an arrangement though not ideal could be a way to at least temporarily house people for a small sum.

    Actually I would think it is possible for someone to make money building and renting out such housing units.

    Do they still have boarding houses anymore?

    Once more, this is not an ideal setup. But I’d think it would be better than sleeping in ones car….if you have a working car that is.

    Would the health dept. allow this?

  3. The best thing about horrible movies like Jack and Jill is that while you have to pay about $10 to sit through the movie, the reviews are much funnier than the movie itself, and they’re all free.

    From the Boston Herald: “Guess what’s playing in movie critic hell?”

  4. We may also take note of the fact that one of the few positive reviews of “Jack & Jill” (in fact it might be the ONLY positive review — I’m having a hard time verifying that, from the way RottenTomatoes’ site is laid out) is from the infamous Armond White.

    If you’re not familiar with Armond White, he’s the film critic for the New York Press, who has garnered a lot of attention in recent years for his often contrarian, unpopular, and occasionally downright baffling opinions on contemporary film.

    Notably, he was the sole critic to give a negative review to “Toy Story 3” (reportedly inviting the harsh internet ire of those who would have loved to see it get a 100% perfect Rottentomatos rating), while in the very same month writing an enthusiastically positive review of “Transformers 3” (a film about which we might generously say that his peers were… somewhat hesitant in their praise.)

    Anyhow, Armond White just loved the heck out of “Jack & Jill,” which may have been the tipping point for those who have been arguing all along that Armond White just writes the exact opposite of what every other high-profile film critic in the country says just to provoke people and get attention. (and as much as I’d like to give most critics the benefit of the doubt, his detractors certainly do have a persuasive mountain of evidence on their side!)

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