About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Completely Useless Information For The Day

Courtesy of Wired and David Blaine: How to hold your breath for a really long time (without dying) ((hopefully)).

I read this article. I'm not sure why. It left something out though, that I feel is the key issue for success in this venture:

Key point #1: First and foremost, don't die.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meg On The March

So Meg Whitman is boning up on what made the exceptions of Bloomberg and Romney (George, not Mitt), successful as both industrial leaders and political candidates. It seems those two stick out like sore thumbs among the crop of CEO candidates who tried and failed to win electoral support.

Funny, but my gut guess prior to reading the article was that it came down to two factors having nothing to do with money or platform: I'm thinkin' it's charisma and prior political engagement.

Sure enough, it seems that the reporter figured this out as well, although it is buried in the final third of the article. Romney was a huge ego with enormous charisma, who not only was a game changer in the biggest of big business, but spent years as a political activist and philanthropist before taking office. Bloomberg was a well established voice in political circles of discussion, and a longtime philanthropist and community activist prior to his buying the seat of NY Mayor.

And Meg? Hasn't voted much. Doesn't have any political history. Is pretty well unknown in philanthropic circles. Hasn't really got much in the way of personal charisma. Doesn't seem to have a passion outside of what her consultants are crafting for her.

Maybe $150 million can help her win hearts and minds. But I doubt it.

Money Can't Can Buy You Analgesia

"In a series of experiments, people who counted money felt less pain when their hands were dipped into scalding water. The soothing power of cash also helped them shrug off the emotional pain of social exclusion."
While this is a fascinating study, I wonder if the results would be at all similar, or even representable, in a different (ie non-corporate capitalist) culture. Pain is reduced for Americans by handling money; would the same be true of Cubans? Chileans? Ashanti? Zulu? Javanese? Keep in mind that the controlled population for this research was the student body of the University of Minnesota's Carleton School of Management. Not exactly a diverse cultural bunch when it comes to entrenched capitalism as a way of life, I'm guessing.

It seems to me that without that cross-cultural comparison, what this has proved is that direct contact with something considered a core value for life enhancement may decrease susceptibility to pain. And without those controls, the results are about as meaningful as saying that happiness makes you happy.

In other words, it ain't about the cash.