How They Do It Better

An interesting article in U.S. News & World Report about the lessons we can learn from the rest of the world. There’s some really interesting stuff.

My favorites: European urban planning, Dominican Baseball fanatics, German prostitutes as aides to the elderly. Least Favorites: Finnish charging rich people more for traffic tickets, French people have more meaningful conversations at dinner (?), UBER-Budget Airlines.

30 Valuable Lessons That Americans Can Learn From the Rest of the World:


Carribean/Latin America:

South Asia:

Central Asia: How They Do It Better


Root beer float sizes

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Root beer float sizes
Ok, I just want to lay down a rule, right here in public, for all the world to see. If you fill a 12 oz. glass with Vanilla Ice Cream before you even put the root beer in, that is not a “small” root beer float, and other people should not be obligated to finish it. This is a deep koan on so many levels.

Posted at 10:01 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 08/09/2006 10:34 AM PDT
Wow…number one…this is so out in left field as to be interesting, and I just don’t know what to say, but two:

Koan is not a word you hear often…is that your “word of the day” that you promised to use in everyday discourse?

Posted by Johnny @ 08/11/2006 07:30 AM PDT
I saw it in the Reader’s Digest and I just had to try it out. I can’t say but I least I know how it is spelled.

passing thoughts

If there were no dogs in this world, what would man have to kick?

I make a living training rats to perform a behavior and studying their brain. If I am using simple stimuli and behaviors that rats can perform, a motivated rat will surprise most people with his intelligence. When I have a problem with training animals it is often because they are too smart, not because they are too dumb. Often smarter rats are harder to train because they think of strategies to game the system for a maximum reward with minimal effort, attempting to bypass the task for free food and/or water. The other day a rat chewed through a cable in his box that wasn’t secure, I had to put him up for the day (free food and water for him!.

When I find faculty or secretaries mosey in to work at 10, I think of them as “chewing the cable”. The same goes for graduate students.

For the sake of the English language and American productivity, instant messengers should be banned (even Google Chat).

Often it seems scientists have a low “eq”, or emotional intelligence, which makes it tough in many social situations to interact with others. Certainly I feel I am pretty low on the EQ. I think having ethics and morals automically handicaps your EQ (which is not to say scientists are any more ethical and moral than most). We can’t all just giggle through life like the Dalai Lama.

I recently saw two Kurosawa films recommended by Rothell: Red Beard and High & Low. Very interesting in that they are classic films which reinforce age old Japanese (and Asian) culture and traditions. What defines the American culture? If Christianity and the idea of self-governance are absent, what fills the vacuum? Commerce? Socialism? These days directors have to “challenge” traditions, especially in America.

Posted at 09:05 pm by Johnny B

Posted by Hemonster @ 05/05/2006 11:19 AM PDT
I am a Rat…

Lost as a goose

It’s that time of year again, when all of the Canadian geese come back up for the summer. Often we have a flock that just hangs around in various places. Can’t hunt ’em, which is a shame. Sometimes I feel like chasing after them Wile E Coyote style. Occasionally they get stuck in the parking lot of the mall, lost as, well, geese. Sometimes I can really relate to these guys.

Posted at 12:13 am by Johnny B

Illegal immigrants II

Mexicans are now performing powerbombs from the top rope that American’s won’t do.

Posted at 02:05 pm by Johnny B


In general I am skeptical of any self-proclaimed architects of the last fifty or so years. Many of them tend to be irascible socialists, and it shows in their work. For example, a new architecture building was built for the University opposite of the Football stadium. Everyone I know has the same impression, it is garish, and the million dollar tiles on the exterior look like they will drop from the sky at any moment. The inside is bare concrete straight out of Cold War Romania. Here is a picture of an astutely designed set of benches outside our tuition, state, and federal tax supported University. I know I am proud, because I sure couldn’t have designed benches any better than that.

Posted at 08:40 pm by Johnny B

Michael Steele

Once you get past the stupid headline, “Why is Michael Steele a Republican”, this NY Times piece is pretty engaging, and Steele comes off as an affable and able campaigner, for what it is worth.

Posted at 08:26 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 03/28/2006 09:09 AM PST
Hey man…you got the happiness address in the Steele link.