Photo of the day

From a HuffPo gallery of a very friendly young male cheetah:

This is the heart-stopping moment a photographer came within inches of a young cheetah who stuck his head through her sun roof. Australian Bobby-Jo Clow, 31, was on safari in Tanzania when the juvenile cheetah started heading toward her vehicle with his sibling. She snapped away as the young male dangled his paws in front of her face and smelled her hair before his mother called him away into the wilds of the Serengeti National Park. But not until Bobby-Jo, a full-time elephant keeper at a Tanzanian Zoo, had leaned forward enough to capture the perfect shot, causing the cheetah to hiss and bare his teeth. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)
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Two monitors?

Yesterday in the office was one of those rare days I felt like I would have actually liked to have two monitors.  One to get work done on; one to to function as a TV to watch the NCAA tournament.  I was explaining to my wife how there was extra technology money a few years ago (separate budgets!) and a whole lot of people got a 2nd monitor whether they really needed/wanted it or not.  I declined.  Anyway, nice column by Farhad Manjoo calling into question the idea that two monitors leads to an increase in productivity.  He strikes me as spot on:

The research supports this. One study commissioned by NEC and conducted by researchers at the University of Utah showed that people using a dual-display machine to do a text-editing task were 44 percent more productive than those who used a single monitor.

But for most people, the time spent juggling two windows or scrolling across large documents isn’t the biggest bottleneck in getting work done. Instead, there’s a more basic, pernicious reason you feel constantly behind — you’re getting distracted…

Ms. Mark’s research, based on observations and digital tracking of office workers, has found that our workplaces are bombarded with distractions. Studies show that office workers are interrupted every four to 11 minutes by external distractions including phone calls, email and people who stop by your desk to chat about the weekend.

All such disruptions are costly. It can take workers as much as 25 minutes to regain focus after being interrupted. And constant interruptions create a stressful workplace.

“The second screen can also be an inviting entry-way for self-distraction,” Ms. Mark said. That’s because it’s an ever-present, available canvas calling out for you to fire up a web window and find solace in the latest thrills on YouTube.

Sounds about right to me.  I get distracted enough on one monitor (hmmm, wonder if anybody commented on my blog lately?) that two monitors would probably only exacerbate this.  Now I can convince myself that I’m productive due to only one monitor.  Now, if I could just stop checking email and facebook every two minutes.  (But, maybe it would be every one minute with two monitors).

Quick hits (part 1)

Never posted a quick hits last week.  Friday night (when I usually work on them) at the ACC Tournament and busy weekend of soccer, etc., plus a busy week.  Anyway, I’ve got two weeks worth of hits now.  My goal is part 1 for Saturday morning with part 2 to follow on Sunday.  Enjoy.

1) Totally intrigued by this speed reading app.  It really does work.  Though, I have a hard time imaging myself using this for more than a few minutes at a time.  The Atlantic throws some cold water on things.

2) Really enjoyed this story about the SAT overhaul.  Seems like this will generally be a more meaningful test.  Glad this will take effect in time for my oldest son in a few years.

3) The physics of the new World Cup soccer ball.  Probably better than the last ball.

4) There really is just too much good television these days.  David Carr.

5) Federal judge rules that college faculty don’t have the right to proselytize while teaching.  Damn, there goes next week’s lecture on lobbying.

6) Really amazing first-person account from one of the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre (shared on FB by a VT professor friend who had some friends/colleagues among the victims).

7) Maybe buy local isn’t so great when it comes to meat.

8) It ain’t easy going from being a political reporter to working as a wage slave in a Sporting Goods store.  Nice essay.

9) If the moon were only 1 pixel.

10) Can a rubber hand make you less racist?  Yes.

11) I didn’t actually know about the “thigh gap” till I read this.  Interesting.  And awesome in the “photoshop fail” sense.

12) Robert Reich on America’s “great U turn.”  Good stuff.

13) More evidence that we are just stupid to expect our teenagers to start high school so early in the day.

14) Love this gallery of awkward photos of cats and dogs with furniture.

 

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