Monday, April 21, 2008

Advice to future students

Dear English 304 Blossoms,

Congratulations on finding an opening for a business writing course. Rest assured that you have chosen a wonderful teacher and that the information and knowledge you will attain is very applicable.

If I could give you any advice for this class, it would be to stay on top of things. You will find you have a number of small assignments that may be easy to forget about. I would recommend working on these assignments soon after you receive them. They won't take long. Get to know people in your class, and the group project will be much more enjoyable. As far as the actual business writing goes, just make sure to keep things brief and clear. If you do these things, you will do well in the class.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ethics research

My ethics research group covered the topic of eugenic sterilization. We focused particularly on the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell. In the case, the state of Virginia was seeking to perform asalpingectomy on Carrie Buck, who had mental disabilities. It was an attempt to eradicate mental retardation in future generations. In the official Supreme Court document of the case, Judge Holmes delivers an opinion in which he refers to those with mental disabilities as feeble minded, defective persons, and imbeciles. He hardly refers to them as actual humans.

It is interesting and disheartening to read his entire opinion. He again skirts around the fact these people are humans and justifies their sterilization by arguing they would eventually starve due to their incompetence if they continued to exist. This opinion was upheld by the court.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ethics article

The LRN ethics covered research that suggests many American workers are distracted by ethics-breaking at their jobs, leading to less productivity. My big issue with the article is that it was vague about ethics-breaking. It suggest 75% of American workers were distracted by ethical lapses, but it did not really define how severe of an ethical lapse that may be or even give a generic example. If the researchers see an issue such as one employee stealing a few paper clips from another as an ethical lapse, then the 75% sounds low. If they define it as something more severe such as an employer embezzling company funds, then the 75% figure is a little more alarming. The methodology of the researchers came across as well grounded, but I always wonder whether or not those willing to take surveys over the phone are really representative of the average American. Most normal people I know hate responding to callers wishing to take over-the-phone surveys. If I was being bothered by someone acting unethically at work, I might first approach him or her personally about the matter, depending on the severity. If it was a more serious matter or repetitious, then I would approach superiors. I would not want to take a 'not my problem' attitude.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Paper & the Web

I have never considered the difference or similarities between writing on the web and on paper. The obvious similarities are that each involves the critical thinking required to write anything, a consideration for your audience. However, when writing on the web, your audience can be anyone who is anywhere. This is likely the most important aspect of web writing to consider. When writing on paper, your audience is somewhat controlled, especially if it is not being published. On the web, your audience could be anyone. If one is going to transfer writing from paper to the web, he or she must consider the broader audience. It may also need to be formatted in a way that makes it more readable on the web. Most web articles do not stretch as far as text on an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Dangers of Idleness

After returning from Spring Break and often covering up potential awkward silence with the obligatory, "How was your break?", I have come to the conclusion that boredom and idleness are some of the most dangerous states of mind. Most everyone automatically says their break was great. This is often followed with, "I laid around on the couch and did nothing!" If you delve a little deeper, you discover these people were actually bored out of their minds, but "there was just nothing to do..." The only thing I can equate with this weird contradiction is a McDonald's value meal. They seem so wonderful and delicious at first, but then you feel depressed the rest of the day after eating. I was fortunate enough to work four 10-hour days over the break and spend Friday and Saturday working around the house, and it really wasn't a bummer. I don't intend to sound self-righteous for having been productive, but I will take that kind of week over watching re-runs of That 70's Show any day. It may be because I'm mildly OCD, but I believe much satisfaction comes from expelling some "virtuous energy" as a mid-19th century Presbyterian minister put it. There is always the danger of becoming a workaholic and rest is certainly a necessity, but I think our culture is a little too infatuated with the holiday, the weekend, the couch, and the snooze button. I'm guilty of hoarding all of these, but I hope I never find myself saying, "There's nothing to do", and if someone whines that same verse to me, I hope I can be patient enough to suggest there is plenty to be done without giving them a swift kick.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cheating on a Resume

is not a good idea. If I ever cheated on my resume and was accepted to whatever position to which I was applying, I would walk around the work place like a small puppy that just killed one of my owners best hens. If I was really good, I'd probably go around like the bully in A Christmas Story, but eventually Ralphie would find my soft spot and have me on the ground crying. The article touched on these two fears in a more professional manner. I want my employers to know what they're getting or not getting if that be the case. Lying on a resume would be such a burden, especially if it dealt with a particular skill such as design software in the architecture field. Either you know it or you don't. I suppose it could be easier to get away with the subtleties but, I'm sure due in no small part the Holy Spirit, the guilt and fear would really get to me. I hope I can always offer an honest resume without shame. I hope determination and diligence will see me meet and even surpass what one may expect from reading that resume.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Most Memorable Presentations

I regretted to learn that I missed the chicken showing presentation. It's very likely that it would have been my most memorable presentation, but as it is, I cannot say that for sure. Of those that I did see, Jim Palmer's presentation on alcohol at sporting events was my most memorable. Jim's presentation wasn't necessarily flashy; rather, the information he presented was interesting and relevant. I never knew that individual schools and conferences might have completely opposing alcohol policies or that the NCAA only made suggestions concerning those policies. It was also interesting and somewhat predictable to see how allowing alcohol consumption at particular universities led to more criminal incidents than when those same schools banned consumption. Jim's handout was also successful in giving a lot of information in a concise matter.