You never know what Google Street View will find — some of it is pretty funny and some of it is downright embarrassing. Some random surfing today brought me to this article posted by the Telegraph in the U.K which also includes a slide show of more than a dozen street view images that have been pulled from the service following complaints or requests since the service went live recently in the U.K. and other European cities.
Not sure if the image with Paddington Bear in Trafalgar Square was pulled — I found it cute and appropriate. But then again, there is some question about whether Paddington was actually stalking the Google cam team.
How fun that they built in a Where’s Waldo game to the Street View as well — and even cooler that Waldo was found!
Of course, many questions could be (and have been) raised about privacy and the “Big Brother” aspect of street views… but that is a whole other post for a different day.
March 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm Janie Hermann
[Note: this was a Toastmasters speech I gave last year, slightly revised for your reading pleasure.]
It has long been suspected, but scientific studies prove it: Sleeping around the office is a great way to make it to the top.
If you don’t believe me, consider this: A study released by the National Sleep Foundation says that taking afternoon naps increases your productivity.
A Survey of American workers supports this finding with 40% reporting that daytime drowsiness prevents them from doing their best work.
But Napping doesn’t just improve our productivity, it may even save our lives.
Consider this: Fatigue has widely been cited as a contributing factor to both the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents. The Pepsi syndrome? I think not. The ambien syndrome, maybe… You know a few well-placed nap rooms at our nuclear facilities could make the difference between active workers and radioactive workers.
Sleep deprivation has also been cited as a contributing factor to numerous railroad accidents. Engineers need to spend less time on their feet and more time on their… caboose.
There are many studies that show a marked loss of alertness in the afternoon. Did you know that more accidents occur between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. than in any other 2 hour span? And when you consider how many drunk people are bumping into things at 2 am on Saturday night, that’s a truly sobering thought.
So on one the hand we have the possibility of sleepy employees and train derailments and nuclear destruction, and on the other hand we have alert employees and an attentive, productive workforce. And yet Nap enthusiasts still find employer resistance to catching a little cubicle snooze. Why?
Why why, why?
Because the poor, sweet, gentle, nap has been unfairly stigmatized as the luxury of the rich or the indulgence of the lazy. This was probably epitomized in the classic Seinfeld episode when George Costanza worked so hard to conceal his dirty little napping secret: A nap chamber custom built into his desk. But as dumb and lazy as George Costanza was, he knew enough to avoid the stigma of the nap!
Unfortunately, the taint of napping in the workplace is all too real, so nap rooms may not soon be coming to an office near you.
But fear not fellow dozers, nodders, sleepers, and snoozers, all is not lost! Recent research in the field of creativity suggests that a mere BREAK in the “attentive activity” can lead to clearer, more creative thinking.
Scientists who have spent millions of dollars and years of their lives studying the phenomenon call this an “incubation hypothesis.” You and I call it “taking a break.”
According to the “incubation” hypothesis, it is best if we incubate once or twice a day for a period of 10-20 minutes and we should engage in no activity during this incubation. The incubations’ only function is to divert our attention from work, thus releasing our minds. We are thereby enabled to freshly engage in our tasks and do better creative problem solving when we return from the “incubation”.
I think Archimedes would wholeheartedly agree with the incubation hypothesis. In Greek probably, but he’d agree.
You remember the story of Archimedes? Eureka! Archimedes made a major scientific discovery while soaking in the tub. It’s suggested that Isaac Newton discovered gravity while lounging under an apple tree. And Frederick Banting, who dreamed how insulin could be used to control diabetes – and won the Nobel prize for his discovery-would certainly agree that a little shut-eye can work wonders.
So why do most employers still frown on napping and slacking? Maybe nappers need to get the research into the hands of a good PR firm. I can see the billboards now: Save a life, take a nap.
There is at least one major American company seems to get it. Google!
Google permits their employees to spend 20% of their time on non-work related activities. Stacy Sullivan, Google’s HR Director says,
“We want to take as much hurry and worry out of people’s lives as we can, because a relaxed state of mind unleashes creativity. Everybody’s on flextime here, so we don’t reward face time or working super-long hours. We just measure results.” And as we all know, the results at Google have been pretty good. Hey, maybe George Costanza had it right after all… Maybe sleeping our way to the top really is the way to go.
I will leave you to ponder: To drowse or not to drowse, That is the question.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a great deal of work to do so I’d better get back to my desk and, uh, nod off?
January 30, 2009 at 1:48 pm Peter Bromberg
Confession: I don’t get Facebook. I try to get it. Really I do. But my experience has been, well, kinda like this:
May 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm Peter Bromberg
If you were in a band with a bunch of other librarians, what would you call it? Would you refer to your profession in the title?
Personally, if I were to be in a rock band with fellow librarians, I would go with:
The Dewey Decibel System
If it were an alternative band, I think it would favor:
Mending Potter’s Spine
So, let’s have a little fun this Friday; what are some great band names you can come up for the profession?
April 11, 2008 at 11:14 am Tyler Rousseau
PEW Internet and American Life Project has a quick 10 question test for people to see what kind of technology user they are.
When looking at the different types of users, I was pretty suprised to see that the American population was well dispersed between the 10 different categories.
My results pegged me as an Omnivore, which comprises 8% of the general population. The provided description was pretty accurate, the only big miss being that I do not own a Blackberry/iphone.
But I will…. oh yes, I will. bwahahahahahaha!
February 8, 2008 at 11:43 am Tyler Rousseau
I really love this magazine, Mental Floss, that we get here are the library… in fact, it says right on it… “Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix!”
Actually, my director loves it too and so do some others around here so it is quite a trick to actually get your hands on it. I think if I ever have to I will end up subscribing to it…
Anyway, they also have a mailing list and they sent out this Quiz of the Week: Discontinued Ben & Jerry’s Flavor or Band I Found on MySpace!?
It’s pretty funny and I love the way they have the answers for you after you take it, complete with links to actual bands found on MySpace!😉
I only got 5/10 though. My director got 8/10! WOW! How well can YOU do!?
June 22, 2007 at 3:03 pm Amy
This really has nothing to do with libraries, but I found it amusing… and it is interactive between an agency and the public, which is social and so sort of related to my interests in social software and technology and libraries…. and, anyway, it’s Friday, so… check this out:
You can vote on which Star Wars character will have his/her/their/its own sheet of stamps! You can vote once a day and you can vote for different characters each time. I’m not a big Star Wars fan even, but I have been having fun voting and I’m leaning toward Yoda myself!
Apparently, the USPS hasn’t been too keen on getting the public’s input in the past – according to the site, this is only the second time in history that fans will make the decision about which stamp will be issued.
The choice is in your hands. Time is running out.
April 20, 2007 at 11:15 am Amy