Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Bit of Neighborly Advice

Guest post by Rita Skeeter, award-winning journalist and ultra-reliable source for all the dirt you've ever wanted to read.

Whilst slumming in the dismal wasteland that is Muggle television, I came across an ad by Autism Speaks called Neighbors, which makes the rather astounding suggestion that providing more therapies to autistic children would result in their having more friends. This can be done, according to the ad, through insurance mandate legislation.

Now, some therapies ought indeed to be made more widely available. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can be very helpful to many children. In magical society, it's a matter of considerable importance to ensure that our little ones are provided with these therapies at an early age, if the need arises. After all, the study of witchcraft and wizardry can be quite difficult if one cannot hold magical objects firmly and recite spells clearly. If a young Hogwarts pupil stumbled over the words of an incantation, she might end up turning her hair into snakes, or something equally unpleasant. Even after the spell was reversed, I found it dreadfully scaly and hard to comb for weeks afterward. But I digress.

To be nothing but Muggle pretenders, Autism Speaks and Dr. Lovaas certainly have an overinflated idea of their own abilities. If there really were some sort of alchemy that could magically transform anyone into a friend, well, we'd all be drinking tea and playing friendly games of Quidditch with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and I expect I'd be out of work. Granted, there are love potions and such, but they soon wear off. Turning people into true friends is a matter of time, effort, and shared interests—not of aping their mannerisms. There are no shortcuts or magical behavioral charms.

Besides, we all know why some children have no interest in befriending certain others, don't we? It's the same reason why so many witches and wizards from our most illustrious families have no use for Mudbloods—plain, simple, old-fashioned prejudice. There's no way to magically transform intolerance into something else by putting its targets in behavioral therapy for several hours a day, either. If the goal really is that all children should be friends and play happily with each other in their neighborhoods—well, they're going to have to be taught to accept and appreciate diversity, rather than excluding and abusing those who are different.

As long as we are on the subject of teaching children not to abuse others, if your little horrors—er, I meant to say little darlings—are the sort who like to stomp on insects, you should teach them to show kindness to all God's creatures. Even a beetle can suffer a nasty case of post-traumatic stress when it comes within millimeters of being squashed by a little boy's wretched smelly shoe. Especially if the beetle just happens to be an Animagus—not that I would have any firsthand experience of shape-shifting, of course…

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  • Well said Rita.

    It seems people put all their efforts into fixing people so they aren't diverse and seen by the public as undeserving of kindness instead of reevaluating how people are judged.

    As I've heard your friend ABFH say many times: (loosely paraphrased) Since the public's standards of judgment is subject to change, the one who is judging can easily become the one who is judged.

    By Blogger Ed, at 1:52 PM  

  • Thelma right enjoyed this. Good work, "Rita." :-)

    By Blogger Thelma, at 8:11 PM  

  • HA! That was great.

    How about teaching kids not to bully kids who are different? Why is it always the kids who are different who need to change in order to make more friends?

    Though I must admit meeting new friends is difficult. Very hard. especially if they don't have a tolerance for difference

    By Blogger Lyn, at 11:54 PM  

  • Welcome back, Rita! I thought you'd forgotten about us Mudbloods. You make a good point that parents should teach their kids not to harm insects, pets, and critters. They could easily teach them to appreciate them, if they took the time.

    By Blogger Clay, at 1:37 AM  

  • Brilliant!

    By Blogger Attila the Mom, at 7:14 AM  

  • What would we Muggles do without you and abfh to give us your words of wisdom? And about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, he wouldn't even be known as that. If we were all friends, one participant in the Quidditch games would be a kind, grandfatherly patriarch named Tom Riddle. Kind of a far cry from an evil man who killed hundreds of people and made seven Horcruxes, don't you think?

    By Anonymous Sadderbutwisergirl, at 10:07 PM  

  • Ed, Thelma, Lyn, and Attila: Thanking you all most graciously.

    Clay: I've been busy turning some of the greedy corporate executives who caused the recession into winged swine. They all thought they'd be held accountable when pigs fly, so it seemed quite appropriate.

    Sadderbutwisergirl: Shhh! Anybody could be reading this blog, and You-Know-Who doesn't like it when people tell his secrets!

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 11:05 AM  

  • Maybe we need to distinguish between therapies/treatments that *help* ASD kids and families (such as relieving anxiety and sensory issues), and therapies/treatments that *cure* (read: change) ASD kids and families. The big funding draw is still genetic research, even though 20 years of that has come up empty. What are they planning to do anyway, a gene-ectomy? This isn't helpful.

    By Anonymous Nancy, at 12:14 PM  

  • @Rita Skeeter: I don't see why he would be reading a Muggle blog, but I guess we can't really take our chances. Especially because we Muggles are unarmed and unable to defend ourselves from Unforgivable Curses.

    By Anonymous Sadderbutwisergirl, at 11:43 PM  

  • I've been busy turning some of the greedy corporate executives who caused the recession into winged swine. They all thought they'd be held accountable when pigs fly, so it seemed quite appropriate.

    Nice work, Rita! I will always applaud anyone who hangs greedy corporates like that by the privates! Winged swine? That's being nice if you ask me!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:29 AM  

  • Rita, these greedy corporate executives will collapse their own companies to make as much money for themselves as possible. This is why they do things the way they do.

    Multitasking is the most inefficient way to accomplish anything at all. http://cubedemon.blogspot.com/2009/05/workplace-value-being-able-to-multitask.html The best case of multitasking the time it will take to do the tasks will be the same. The worst case is multitasking will be more inefficient than monotasking.

    The execs don't care though. Phil is being kept out of the workplace due to greed. The execs and government heads want to make money for themselve and only themselves.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 7:03 PM  

  • "Multitasking is the most inefficient way to accomplish anything at all. http://cubedemon.blogspot.com/2009/05/workplace-value-being-able-to-multitask.html The best case of multitasking the time it will take to do the tasks will be the same. The worst case is multitasking will be more inefficient than monotasking."

    Cube's demonstration of this was mathematical, and was an excellent discourse on how inefficient 'multitasking' is. Looking at the same thing from a psychological point of view, the issue becomes clearer still: multitasking diverts attention from one target to another one constantly, and it takes time to direct and concentrate attention onto any target; so that is time that gets taken up twice in every shift of attention, because you have to disengage from one attention target and then to engage with the next. In time-efficiency terms alone, multitasking is very likely to be inefficient since it involves so much dead time. Re-engagement with a previous target takes time, too; and isn't any quicker to do than engagement with a different target. So the time lost per target is substantial, especially if attention shifting is required quickly and often.

    The term multitasking is actually from the computer engineering world, and refers to the design of a central processing unit so that it can handle many actions at once... so, for example, the 6502 processor had one accumulator (analogous with the working memory) and the Z80 had about eight such accumulators, two of which could be linked together to give the possibility of working with data-words of 16-bit word-length (both these two processors' accumulators and internal data buses were set for an 8-bit word-length). The 6502, having one accumulator, have to be programmed to deal with tasks sequentially, and having to shelf one task whilst using the accumulator to operate on another task; the result of the previous task would be kept in a location in memory and recalled later for further work. This processor was great for handling long runs of a particular task. The Z80, on the other hand, was able to do a lot more tasks simultaneously, because of the additional accumulators: it could multitask, because it was designed to. The 6502 was not designed for this.

    Humans are not developed enough for that sort of thing outside of our own heads; we're busy inside the brain with as much multitasking as the rain can deal with.

    The term was picked up on by those infantile bollockses that run companies and particularly the HR departments... without them really understanding what it was about. Says a lot about them, doesn't it?

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E., at 5:30 AM  

  • The whole idea of multitasking is to save money because it allows a cut in staff, David. And you reviewed that well when you spoke of "multitasking diverts attention from one target to another one constantly, and it takes time to direct and concentrate attention onto any target". That's bad at any time, but it's especially bad for us Aspies.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:56 AM  

  • My question is are they really saving any money at all? I bet they're losing money.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 9:11 AM  

  • They save money but sacrifice quality; it's profitable until the customers stop buying.

    For instance, rumor has it that when the Weasley brothers started their magical products shop, they tried to save money by manufacturing love potions on the same production line as the Portable Swamp. This saved labor costs, but naturally, the distracted multitasking workers made more mistakes. One customer reportedly became quite irate when his love interest ended up with a swamp in her boudoir...

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 10:57 AM  

  • There isn't really any proof that multitasking is inefficient for the things it is used for. It shouldn't be ignored what sets of circumstances can be involved in overall jobs to be done, which could explain why multitasking would increase efficiency. Why would a business use multitasking if it was less efficient and therefore wasteful of money? It isn't inefficient just because some individuals can't do it.

    By Blogger lurker, at 3:29 PM  

  • Billy, I disproved multitasking through mathematics. Billy, Do I have to add the actual quantam(switch time) next.

    It's right there in your face Billy. What more do you fucking want? Even if no quantam existed it would come out to be the same as mono-tasking. This is the best case. Guess what the worst case is going to happen most of the time.

    Even you had to concede that Billy. Now you're retracting Billy? WTF? What more do you fucking want Billy?

    Billy, Multitasking is a fad and you're truly aggravating me. You're denying reality itself Billy. I just disproved multitasking to you. David and Phil was right. You're a troll who likes to start crap up.

    By the way Billy, I did give you credit for your correction. This proves you're much more intelligent and functional then you think you are.

    Rita, if you notice the quality of products has gone down everywhere in many different products.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 4:51 PM  

  • Rita

    Who are the CEOs saving money for? For the whole company or themselves and certain select groups of people in the company

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 4:56 PM  

  • Cube Demon, they save money for themselves and the shareholders, until they run the company into bankruptcy and depart with a golden parachute. Then the creditors take whatever is left of the company and the shareholders get nothing.

    Multitasking saves money only when the workflow is variable and unpredictable. The purpose of multitasking is to prevent idle time when there is not enough of a particular task to keep the workers assigned to that task busy.

    However, keeping everyone busy at all times can end up being very inefficient. Manufacturing expert Eliyahu Goldratt explained in his book The Goal that it often results in excess inventory of some products and shortages of others.

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 5:52 PM  

  • Cube, what if there are jobs in which there are at least a few tasks to be done, but that the total amounts of time needed to do some of those tasks are small compared to the amounts of time needed to do the primary task. Suppose the other tasks need to be done repeatedly throughout any day, but the total amount of time spent on them is relatively small and couldn't make up an entire workday.

    What if some of those tasks can't be done at chosen times after the others are completed, such as if they involve receiving and sending information and/or objects periodically, possibly including such tasks that may need to be done after a certain amount of the primary task is done?

    I don't think it would be efficient to have a separate employee handle the shorter, periodic tasks, if it involved having that person stay at work for the entire day, while instances of the task come up infrequently, leaving a lot of time in which no work is done by that employee in between, like handling phone calls for instance.

    Even though there is time spent in transitioning from one task to another, there may be extra time to be lost without some multitasking arrangement. I don't think multitasking really applies to assembly line/manufacturing jobs.

    By Blogger lurker, at 8:12 PM  

  • Oh shut up, Cresp! I thought we'd seen the last of you! You have no idea what you are talking about!

    Assembly lines indeed....irrelevant as usual. Get lost and do something with your real life, will you?

    Cube Demon - ignore him. You know how he gets you worked up with his negativity and contempt for one's self esteem. Don't fall for it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:45 AM  

  • Cube, I'm with Phil on this...

    Lurker... get a life. And stop trying to ruin ours.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E., at 7:33 AM  

  • Billy, Rita answers alot of your questions. Click her link.

    The Goal

    Billy I have the feeling you're not going to listen to reason anyway.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 7:52 AM  

  • Rita

    What made you decide to talk to us particular muggles?

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 7:54 AM  

  • Cube, that business model seems cogent, but it doesn't address multitasking and I'm not sure if it applies to the kind of work situations that I refer to. Like I said, I don't think multitasking applies to assembly line type of jobs. Usually, the only times I see requirements for multitaskers in advertisements for jobs, is when they're for office/white collar jobs.

    By Blogger lurker, at 1:00 PM  

  • Cube Demon: I enjoy a lively conversation.

    David and Phil: If you please, I'll be the one to decide whether there is a need to shut someone up, either with a Silencing Charm or by other means.

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 1:37 PM  

  • Billy can you give specific examples of what you're talking about instead of vaguing it up.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 11:42 PM  

  • Suppose a job includes tasks that involve processing paperwork/entering data, as well as doing some kind of summaries of that data handling, putting away files, making copies, answering phone calls, and answering colleagues' questions.

    I doubt many of these tasks can be done all at once at chosen times. Exchanging information may have to be done along with the schedules of other individuals who are only ready to exchange information at certain times, which may mean that phone calls and questions could come randomly throughout the day. Suppose the summaries of the data handling have to be done after a certain amount of the paperwork processing is done. Suppose that copies have to be made in some rare instances of paperwork, and in other instances, of certain summaries in which many copies would have to be made.

    There may be some choice of when to do the putting away of files, but that it may be better to do some of it periodically for minutes at a time, if the total amount of files of the day to put away is large and could be unmanageable to leave on the desk to be done all at once.

    If all of these tasks besides the primary task of processing paperwork/entering data require a relatively small part of time in total, it wouldn't be efficient to have separate workers to do each of those tasks, as they may have to spend some time without tasks on hand to do, and even if such workers could be equitably paid based on the total amount of repetitions of tasks done, those workers couldn't afford to spend entire workdays in which tasks are there to be done only infrequently.

    Even if one or two workers could be assigned a few of the smaller tasks each, they still may end up multitasking to some extent due to the times at which the instances of the tasks must be done. During the time in which a copying machine is making many copies, the worker could answer/make a phone call, exchange information with a colleague in another way, or maybe something else.

    By Blogger lurker, at 1:14 AM  

  • Billy

    These are my questions for you.

    1. Why aren't the summaries a part of the processing and entering data? Why wouldn't these summaries be apart of the paperwork itself and be it's own field?

    2. It sounds like you combined data entry work with secetary type work? Why not seperate the two? Why are these two things combined? This makes no sense.

    3. Why have all this physical paperwork anyway. Why not have it stored in a SQL server or an oracle database or something. If you need to print anything you can print from your computer. This is file database instead of a relational database and it's inefficient.

    4. Let's say you need this physical paperwork. Why wouldn't you just keep it at your desk in a basket and a half an hour - hour before you leave is considered clean up. You make sure everything is put up neatly. You make sure all trash is in the trash can. Make sure your desk is nice and neat.

    If it's unmanagable to keep at your desk then keep a basket on the floor hidden somewhere and put stuff there until you need to refile.

    Again, why have all this physical paperwork anyway? Why not update to a RDBMS(Relational database management system) system. You could keep all of this on a server as well. This means the person has to do less getting up.

    5. With the copying, I will concede that one. You may have to make copies sometimes. It doesn't take but a second to do anyway unless it's 1000 copies or something. You're right if the copying machine is occupied then yes you should do something else. I am in agreement.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 1:42 AM  

  • 1. Some of the figures for the summary may be within the paperwork, but other figures for it may not be necessary for the paperwork, and that type of information may need to be sent for others to look at on a separate form, possibly to someone within the same office.
    2. It may not necessarily be ordinary data entry. It may require specific skills and knowledge and be linked to similar tasks. There may need to be a secretary if there is enough work that a secretary would do, to keep one busy throughout the hours.
    3. It probably would be stored that way. There may not be much paperwork. I agree it could be done with databases as you said. But copies with copying machines may still need to be made.
    4. I think that is a possibility, if there is enough space to contain the paperwork before it is filed away.

    By Blogger lurker, at 2:21 AM  

  • "Usually, the only times I see requirements for multitaskers in advertisements for jobs, is when they're for office/white collar jobs."

    It's required for ALL non service jobs now. If you have to be trained in any way, they won't hire you. I've seen it, and Phil/Timelord is a victim of it. Assembly lines are done by robots.

    By Blogger Scratcher, at 2:22 AM  

  • Witchcraft practice maybe misinterpreted in a negative way but what others don't know is that it gives value in all complex diversity.
    Tools & Gifts For Your Spiritual Practice

    By Anonymous BellBookCandleSupply, at 3:51 AM  

  • David and Phil: If you please, I'll be the one to decide whether there is a need to shut someone up, either with a Silencing Charm or by other means.

    Okay, Rita, but I do maintain that he's dangerous. Here's why (and adjust by removing the line break);


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:44 AM  

  • Oh, and there should be a slash between "as" and "unfriendly".

    And isn't that spam above my last post?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:59 PM  

  • Yes, it's spam, but I left it there because it amused me. The world could benefit from more appreciation of both witchcraft and diversity.

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 10:11 PM  

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