A slightly dissenting view of the cool and groovy Google office

I’ve seen these sorts of stories/videos about the offices that Google has around the world before:

They are inviting and cool and groovy and everything, and believe me, I’d rather work in a space like this than the shit-hole that is Pray-Harrold Hall. (BTW, if you the time, do follow that link to the “EMU Historic Tour” entry on Pray-Harrold. I think its pretty darn funny. Notice the “earlier”– presumably when they building opened in 1969– picture is not a whole lot different than the “today” picture, except that it looked a little more shiny in ’69. It’s like that on the inside– once shiny and new, and now kind of overcast and harshly lit. And the architecture style described as “International;” is that code for “Orwellian?”) Education at all levels might work better if it was a bit more playground-like, though frankly, I’d settle for just a window, a reasonable heating/cooling system, and a space that didn’t smell like old building.

But as inviting and cool and groovy and everything that this Google office actually is, I have to wonder if it would actually be a good place to work in the long-run. I am sure that someone has done some kind of study or analysis of this, how spaces in these “don’t be evil” corporations like Google actually are kind of, potentially at least, evil. One obvious draw-back of this design is that it’s set up this way so you never have to or want to leave– all the toys to play with, the slides, the exercise facilities, the free food, etc. Besides the fact that this is also the premise behind prison– though prison is obviously a lot less comfy and a lot less voluntary– isn’t this a problem for people who have families and lives outside of work? And don’t companies like Google want workers who have some kind of outside of work lives? Or if they don’t want those kinds of workers, isn’t that kind of a problem?

I have to wonder if I could get anything done in there. If I had to work there, I’d be the old man yelling “hey, turn down you damn X-box and stop playing ping-pong– I’m trying to freakin’ WORK here!” Damn kids…. And thank you, but stairs and elevators work better for me than poles or slides in going from floor 2 to floor 1.

This is not a headline from “The Onion”

Via elearnspace comes this link/news, “Morality under threat as science debunks our sense of free will.” Isn’t that just swell.

Actually, it seems a little more complicated than that to me. Here’s a passage:

Thirty students answered maths problems on a computer. A feigned technical glitch meant that they had to press the space bar each question to stop the computer from giving the answers away. Crucially, before the test, half the students read a passage from the late Francis Crick’s book about consciousness, in which he argues that free will is an illusion. These students pressed the space bar less often than the students who hadn’t read about free will – in other words, they cheated more.

Okay, but wait– what if the students who read this passage and “cheated” more weren’t so much cheating as they were saying “Oh yeah? I’ll show that Crick dude. I’ll do whatever the hell I want with this and skip the space bar. No free will, my ass!”

An odd Costco moment

I was in Costco today, which is a store I enjoy because they have good products, good prices (if you know what to look for, at least), and they are not Wal-Mart. I also like Costco for the samples. But today, I saw a, um “display” but not exactly a sample I was that interested in.

Dog food.

I kid you not.

This sample hawker was standing behind her table/podium thing, and on it was a single can of dog food, opened, with a plastic spoon sticking up in the middle of it.

I didn’t try any.

The origins of Superbowl Sunday

I’m not a huge fan of football, but I thought this little send up about the “Origins of Superbowl Sunday” on the Daily Kos was pretty funny. My favorite paragraph:

The saint whose career proved to be the best match for Super Bowl Sunday was Vincentius of Langobardia, commonly known in English as St. Vincent Lombardi. His early life is obscure, but he was probably born ~610 AD in Milan. He first enters history in 663 AD as a general in the armies of Grimoald, King of the Lombards. The Lombards had had many successes in Italy, but were facing an invasion by the Chiefs, a still pagan tribe from the East, led by their king Henricus Strammo. On account of Grimoald’s illness, Vincentius was charged with defending Lombardy from Chieftain depredations.

As I just mentioned to my father on the phone, I’ll probably watch the first half and if it isn’t a blow-out, maybe some of the second.

I’m sure there will be some fine commercials, but probably nothing like the best Superbowl commercial of all time:

Thanks to the Ypsi City Desk for reminding me about this one….

Now, why didn’t I think of that?

I was in the Food (W)hole today, picking up a few things after a satisfying (well, for me) workout at the rec center, when I spotted what seemed to me to be a just brilliant shopping idea. I saw a woman with a laptop open and sitting in that seat where the baby would ride. She was online (the Food [W]hole has free wifi) and in the midst of a chat session, but it just seems obvious to me that this would be a fantastic way to shop for groceries/plan a menu. Log in, check out some recipes, and plan your shopping accordingly. Potentially pretty cool, huh?

The year that was 2007

I will probably have to get ready to help Annette pack here in a bit (we get on a plane for home tomorrow morning), but since I’m sitting in front of the computer anyway, I thought I’d write a post about the year that was, more or less, at least according to my unofficial blog:

Well, you’ve seen the latest stuff from the holidaze if you’re looking now. Wow, that took longer than I thought. I’d better help pack. See ya next year.