OK, so I don't have to go on with the cry over the commercialism of Christmas, and remembering the meaning of the holiday. Enough people make plenty of commentary on that subject. The fact that Charlie Brown was making the same comments 40 years ago (In a Charlie Brown Christmas) is as much of a litmus result to the continuing consumer gluttony that is our culture as anything I could say.
That said my morning reading included a post from Mashable Social Good, and I wanted to pass this along.
One of my favorite quotes "Be the change you want to see in the world.“ Mahatma Ghandi sums up an approach to the holiday season. Here's your chance to be the change.
There are a thousand websites that allow you to make charitable contributions to a variety of charities; some of them are listed in the post. The unique point to this idea is that a couple of them allow you to send e-cards or real gift cards that allow the person to choose their charity.
This is a wonderful way to make an impact on someone, and what a wonderful tradition to set.
I personally have three Non-Profits that are very dear to our family, should you feel compelled to contribute:
The Barnabas Journey: www.barnabasjourney.org
The Barnabas Journey is a non profit organization that sponsors workshops and life coaching seeking to create an environment of authenticity and honesty, recognizing brokenness and acknowledging pain in order to create community, growth and healing.
National Autism Association of North Texas Nagla Moussa, President email@example.com(972) 964-1669
The NAA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation www.komen.org
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is fighting every minute of every day to finish what we started and achieve our vision of a world without breast cancer.
My mamma taught me as a boy to avoid two subjects in social conversation, politics and money.
Generally, I try to avoid these two topics for a number of reasons; one, other people, and certainly the media, do a great job of covering these topics ad nausea; and two, I have plenty of other things to say without beating people over the head with my ideology.
I'm certainly not a radical activist, I care about animals (I love my dog Skipper, he's the worlds best friend), but I'm not a card carrying member of PETA. I believe that ALL people have rights and a voice, black, white, gay, purple, yellow, Christian, muslim, Taoist, and others; but I'm not a member of the ACLU.
I also believe that social care is not the responsibility of the government, but rather it's the responsibility of people and business (large and small), it takes a village. I have two children with severe disabilities so I have some experience with this.
Ok, I said all of that to say this... I ran across a website and magazine I really like, it's called GOOD (in caps) and can be found at www.GOOD.is, it seems a little random, kinda like the way BOING BOING started out. The tag line for the site is "For People Who Give a Damn."
I stumbled across the site during my morning news foraging and rand across an article on posthumously donating intellectual property much like someone would sign an organ donor card on their drivers license. (not that anyone would want the pick up the banner of the half baked ideas rattling around in my head).
But as I started to read through the site it has a number of topics that apperception to be fairly well thought out topics on everything from the history of political opinion in the US to a crowdsourced cookbook (fall edition BTW).
It seems a lite quirky, fairly approachable, and has some interesting topics.
I added it to my morning reading list, take a look, maybe you will too. Give me some feedback and let me know what you think.
I am a creature of habit. I have my morning routine. I get up at about 4:30am, I get up, and before I go run in the mornings, I read the news. Most of my recent blog posts and twitter updates are done during this magic hour before exercise.
I also love news aggregators, they allow me to customize the news the way I want to read it. I'm not forced to listen or watch content as specifically provided by a single news source.
If you use the iPhone or iPad my favorite among these is a little app called Pulse. It's now offered for free on the app store but it was really worth the few bucks I initially paid for the thing. I use Reeder for the IPhone and Outlook on my desktop, and plenty of other news aggregators, but Pulse is my favorite.
Pulse, developed but 22 and 23 year old Stanford students, Ahkay Kothari and Anit Gupta is simply a joy to use. Unlike other news readers Pulse provides a flowing headline experience with thumbnails from the news source.
It's what I would call a quality over quantity approach. Many news readers allow for almost unlimited news feeds in a list or headline approach to display, that's ok, but for me specifically I monitor about a dozen important news sources on a daily basis (I'll post on my choices for news in another post but in short they include local, national, technology, security, and productivity categories). There are others I touch but I have the critical few that I keep an eye on.
Pulse is what I was hoping Blancspot would be. I purchased Blancspot from the app store and have used it maybe twice, while it has a similar experience Pulse has, the sources in Blancspot are fixed and there's no real means of modifying the stream, many of the articles in Blanspot are stale and not refreshed. Blancspot is very much a get what thy give you. I just can't recommend it.
Pulse makes monitoring these sources both natural and easy to browse. Pulses strength can, for some, also be it's weakness. Pulse limits the number of sources to 20, so if you are a quantity type person, pulse may not be for you. Also, Pulse, because of it's layout, with thumbnails, displays headlines 9 (in portrait) or 10 (in landscape) at a time. But if keep an eye on a few critical sources, Pulse might just be the news aggregator for you.
Pulse is free with in app ads, and is available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
I read the following article in Psychology Today this morning and it struck a cord with me. A friend of mine once made mention of the concept of 'Big Hat, No Cattle', i.e. form over substance.
We are all prejudiced in some ways to appearances. It is a fundamental Darwinian survival instinct. We have the advantage over our other animal counterpart in that we have the ability to see it if we give the predisposition to prejudice our attention. Would qualify as prejudice to prejudice?
Anyway the article basically states four thing to watch out for:
1. Keep in mind that the image of professional doesn't imply professionalism. It simply means that the business or person is good at presenting an image.
2. Bigger isn't necessarily better. I learned this the hard way a couple of years ago when I engaged a project with a large well known telecom supplier, thinking that since they were the large 800 lb. gorilla in the market that they knew what they were doing. NOTICE: Big organizations are as dysfunctional, often more so, than small organizations.
3. When in doubt, check references. 'Nuff said.
4. Trust your own critical thinking skills. Don't give in to conventional peer pressure either by you superiors or peers. More often than not your 'smell test' of your skills. Keeping in mind than often decisions by others are often motivated by political or emotional reasons than facts.
We are all influenced by the cover of the book, but we should clearly look beyond it to really make informed decisions.