Annual Employee Review Bias

It’s good to know that it’s been long-recognized that the annual employee review system is more of a political tool than an objective means of job assessment, as pointed out in a literature review over at Overcoming Bias. I’ve come to dread the process, and it’s been a driving reason why my prior departures have been timed around review time.

This is one thing I won’t miss as I strike out on my own.

Keep CSS in sync with SASS with Git

I made this shell script for use as a post-merge hook in Git that I’d like to share.

Assumptions:

You are using the SCSS flavor of SASS; even if you don’t have SASS installed on the system you’re using this on, you have it and compass installed on a machine you have SSH access to.

Installation:

  1. You must create a symbolic link to this in your .git/hooks directory “ln -s /path/to/git/hook/in/source/control /path/to/.git/hooks/”
  2. Change theme_path to match where your .scss file is

The Most Interesting Questgiver in the World

Playing videogames still takes up my eyeball time these days. I’m derping around in the WoW beta on a baby monk that I’m leveling the whole way up. I thought I’d share a cute bit of Beta fun the developers have in the game at the moment:

WoW screenshot
The Most Interesting Questgiver in the World

The starter zone in Pandaria is closed for renovation, so the placeholder NPC has been updated to reflect that.

Salute to New York City

NYC Skyline

In memory of the events of 9/11, I’d like to share a quote from one of my favorite novels:

I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? … When I see the city from my window—no, I don’t feel how small I am—but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.

—Gail Wynand, from The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

The attackers chose their targets for symbolic reasons. They chose the World Trade Center in New York City because it represents the greatness of human achievement, which the quote above emphasizes by asking “What other religion do we need?” The war they fight against us is a war against every value I hold dear: life—supported by reason, productiveness, and self-esteem.

Fight for these values explicitly, and we’ve already won the war of ideas.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Shrunken World

I had oral surgery this weekend, for some gum tissue grafts. The discomfort from it is much like being sick. My world is smaller as a result.

I have to exert more concentration to be able to operate, which wears me out. I am withdrawing even more so into my crabby shell.

I’m not able to eat a lot, or even exert myself physically. I had a good stretch of exercising for the last few weeks. Something I’d fit in during raidtime breaks. I look forward to continuing my progress towards improving my fitness.

Once I get healed up from this surgery, I have another one coming in less than 6 weeks, for a frenectomy, to correct for what was causing my gums to recede in the first place. I’ve had one before, and it should be far less of an ordeal.

More Proof of an Education Bubble

Good Graph Friday: What’s rising faster than health care? College costs. I have extended experience with these increasing educational costs, since I’ve spent so much of my life in school. In graduate school, even though I had a tuition waiver and a teaching stipend, it was not enough to cover my living expenses, so I even had to take out student loans–most of which was squandered in my first marriage.

I can only speculate about the cause of the largest driver of this increase in educational costs. Shrinking state education budgets are the first suspect in my eyes. Another place to poke around would be the massive capital vanity projects taking place on college campuses these days, where some donor pledges only a fraction of the cost towards a new building. All I can offer are questions, since I do not have ready access to the sort of data that would let me explore what’s going on.

The experience of a freshly-graduated student in the humanities these days must be one of carrying a huge debt load, and very poor prospects in being able to handle it. Sure, there are programs to forebear the payments, but the debt burden from student loans cannot be shrugged off with a bankruptcy. They remain for life until paid off. What are the alternatives now?

Anecdotally, I knew of several promising young students who chose to start their college education at a community college, citing increasing costs at more prestigious places. This is another avenue worth pursuing, and even advocating for. I’m also beginning to see a lot more competitive private college programs being advertised, promising to offer a superior education at a fraction of the costs of the more established schools.