Here is a great TED talk about work and motivation. Social Science is starting to understand what makes us happy at work.
He mentions the following as important to work satisfaction.
- Seeing the fruits of our labor may make us more productive.
- The less appreciated we feel our work is, the more money we want to do it.
- The harder a project is, the prouder we feel of it.
- Knowing that our work helps others may increase our unconscious motivation.
- The promise of helping others makes us more likely to follow rules.
- Positive reinforcement about our abilities may increase performance.
Which of these may be lacking across different fields? A cleaner, a programmer, a farmer, a manager, a teacher, a factory worker etc.
Is there any ways you can think of to increase these areas?
The Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs has a famous scene where Mr. Pink refuses to tip the waitress. He gives several arguments about why he believes this and it brings up the interesting question of why some jobs expect tips and others don’t. America, in particular, has rather high tipping by world standards, with 15% being standard in most of America, and in places like New York City the minimum expected tip can be as high as 20% of the bill.
- Why does tipping exist at all?
- What kind of work are we expected to tip and why? Why do you think tipping is more common in America?
- Do you get better customer service if tips are expected?
- Why is tipping taboo in certain place, for example you wouldn’t tip your doctor or even a service person at a fast food restaurant, why? Why would you more likely tip a taxi driver than a bus driver?
- An American friend was visiting in Germany and he left a tip to the waitress for her good service as is typical in the US. Apparently she thought it was too much, as though it were a gift of charity rather than payment for a service, and felt embarrassed by it and gave it back. Is there anything he could’ve or should’ve done instead?
- How would you feel if people tipped you in your job? Would it change how you performed your job?
Here are some interactive maps from simple.com about tipping habits in America. How do different regions compare to where you live?
Here is the scene from Reservoir Dogs (warning very strong language not suitable for all viewers):
This is for my students and readers involved in IT and programming. The article is about a new computer language called Julia. It’s considered by some to be the future of programming languages because most programming languages are dedicated to specific tasks, and one language can’t do all the things other languages can do, while Julia can. This is very different than natural languages, where any natural language can represent basically any thought from any other language, though there may be some grammatical and semantic distortions in imperfect translations.
- How would a universal computer language benefit programmers and IT?
- Why are programming languages so incompatible?
- Why can’t a natural language like English be used to program?
- How is formal logic related to both natural languages and programming languages and does this tell you something about the possibility of a completely universal programming language?
Here is a map compiled by the @Amazing_Maps Twitter account. When someone types “Why is [state] so …” Google autocompletes it based on what other people had previously searched. Many of them are predictable and others are rather unexpected, like “Why is Pennsylvania so haunted?”
What would be some other stereotypes of some countries or cities that you know of? e.g. Russia, Australia, Paris, China, Tokyo, Brazil, Canada, etc.
How would stereotypes change depending on the culture/ country where the Google search takes place? e.g. French vs British vs Chinese views of Germans.
How accurate are these stereotypes? Why do they exist? Are stereotypes necessarily negative?
How useful are they when judging a country or person? What else should we consider?