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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

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Do you like your job? What do you like or dislike about it?

Maria was cutting my hair, and I asked if she liked her job. She said very much, quite exciting to cut hair. Asked what she liked about it, she said she enjoys working with the different textures of hair, fine, medium, and thick. Unexpected and interesting answer.

I hope she was being straight with me, if she actually dislikes cutting hair possibly she would not want to say it to someone whose hair she is now cutting?

Also interested in how you feel about jobs you've had in the past.

If you don't like your job, is there anything you could do to make it better?

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    Dec 17 2013: JOB? ... do you like your JOB? ... the word alone in this question brings out a feeling of something I hate. A JOB is something one HAS to do but dislikes doing. Yes, that is a personal opinion and you are free to feel otherwise. I have not had a job for near twenty years, my income, however, has risen and may continue to well past the assumed norm of retirement age. I love the old saying, "it's only WORK (or a JOB) if you would rather be doing something else."

    I am happy to say that I do something I love and apparently others love what I do. Perfect symbiosis! I cannot suggest too strongly to ask yourself this question: "what, if I could chose, would I be doing right now"? ... think carefully and answer honestly ... then figure out how to make a living doing it ... that opens a door for many good and bad jokes ... take the closest off ramp from that road and get serious ... do what you love, love what you do and others will feel the passion and support it in ways you cannot imagine!

    My path is creating art ... choose yours ... love life!
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      Dec 18 2013: that's excellent, David, I hope it will encourage any who might read you. Why is it that we have to say what you are saying, this strategy of asking yourself what you would do if you could choose, shouldn't it be easily evident to everybody? Prior to 20 years ago, were you less happy? How did you change, or what prompted the change?

      Apparently you love copper? What is it about the material? You must love pennies?

      What are some of aspects of being a professional artist that people who have never been one might not know about?
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        Dec 18 2013: I was not doing things prior to 20 years ago that I hated, but they did not sustain my creative curiosity like my copper work has done for me. Funny, is it not, I have returned nearly to the Bronze Age and feel right at home. Of course I have the option to dip toes into the 21st Century at will ... best of all worlds!

        Yes I love pennies, real ones that is. Have a stash but doubt it is a wise way to hold value. Periodically they are shifted to other metals ... too weighty, matey.

        As a professional artist (can hardly believe that title is applied to me) is the greatest thing I can imagine. I work at home (often do not leave the property for days) do something I love and people give me money. Can you find a problem here? I love where I live, how I live, who I live with (one great wife and one fine dog) and accolades are adequate to massage my ego regularly.

        You have to have a controlled ego to do this. Meaning this; if you don't have some level of egoistic thinking, you probably won't be comfortable taking your work to town, shows, clients, etc. If you apply too much ego inappropriately, you will be sorely disappointed. The beauty of art is that we do not agree on what art pleased our own sensibilities. I cannot, therefore, expect everybody to love my work. It is up to me to find those who do ... The best part is that I get to do what I love and fortunately, many, or at least enough, also like what I do. Good questions and I hope to encourage others to consider this life path. Find what you love, live where you love, love who you are with and life is very, very sweet!

        Don't do it because it is easy, it is not easy, just fun and fulfilling. Thanks for the questions.
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          Dec 19 2013: Your work is beautiful.
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          Dec 19 2013: you're a good writer, David. Do you keep any journal of your experiences, perhaps you could write a book, or published essays, or a newspaper column?

          Those are good facets I hadn't thought of, a lot of artists probably do work at home. I wonder why some jobs require that you go to a central location to work, for example, if you made clothing you might go in most cases to a factory to make it, but in theory you could have the equipment at home to make it? Maybe it just takes too much equipment and most can't afford to buy the equipment?

          Yes, you would have to have belief in your work to sell it. Can you say how an artist looks at his or her work and judges it worthy, that's kind of hard to put into words, isn't it? It's a beauty of form, or a novelty in the idea? You do both originals and commissioneds? Can you say where you get the ideas for originals?

          If it's not easy, what would you say are the difficulties?
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          Dec 19 2013: David,
          I share your sentiments regarding "job", and I call my life adventures "work/play". I do what I love and/or love what I'm doing. I have, for 60+ years, figured out how to make a living by genuinely having a life and loving it all.

          In my humble perception and experience, there is ALWAYS something interesting, intriguing, beautiful, enjoyable, etc., about an action/interaction, and there is certainly ALWAYS the opportunity to learn something new:>)

          I agree with Fritzie.....your work is very lovely:>)
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        Dec 19 2013: You pose intriguing questions and they are fun to "TRY" to answer. Any artist who believes he or she HAS the answer may not be completely in touch with my reality. I cannot condemn others sense of reality - I cannot know what that is. I can tell you that copper has a level of permanence which appeals to my intention to "leave something good when you go" - something which will last. An epiphany moment in Rome many years ago, sitting in front of the Pantheon one beautiful evening, I noted that the durability of that amazing building ... over 2,000 years old. My carpentry expertise back in California at that moment will not be discoverable in a few hundred years, perhaps a lot less.

        Walkng the streets of Rome the next day, passing buildings with copper features of many types, it was clear that most were old to ancient. It was a feeling I could not shake ... that's the short version ... the rest may come out in that book you suggest.

        I would love to write and many have suggested it. I believe that there is a vast difference between a decent blog posting, a witty email and writing a book. The same level of passion I put into my copper is required to do justice in a book project. It is a heavy project and it would compete with copper. So far, copper is winning.

        Inspiration comes from every source imaginable. From walking down the street to catching a glimpse of something on the Telly. One of my firm beliefs is that the main difference between the artist and everybody else is that the artist sees things differently. Could expand, but my word allotment is waning.

        I never "KNOW" what others will like and as arrogant as it may sound, I don't care. I have to create for me, then find those who see it similarly. At first going to shows was like standing in a crowd having left your clothing at home. Not everyone will like what they see. Some did ... Whew!!!

        Getting exposure is the hard part. Passion breeds luck. Luck favors the prepared. Follow ur heart!
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          Dec 20 2013: Is it fair to say that the reason copper will last is because it is "hard," David? But is there something alienating about hardness and metal materials, as a general rule we don't like hard and cold, we like soft and warm, don't we? But I may be misperceiving?
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      Dec 19 2013: You might like the acronym I've heard:
      JOB - Just Over Broke.
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        Dec 19 2013: hahahaha.... interesting wisecrack!
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        Dec 19 2013: seems a little bitter, Arkady, I want to get rich, not just over broke.
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          Dec 19 2013: The acronym comes from people like David who believe that one can never get rich working for others.

          By the way, why would you want to get rich? What's in it? There is a multitude of conversations on TED talking about how "rich" have to "pay their share", social justice, equality, etc. Do you want to be despised, frowned upon, taxed, and feel guilty that you are "more fortunate" than others? (Just kidding.)

          But seriously, just getting rich does not sound like a worthy goal. I think, one has better chances getting rich pursuing other goals like David.
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        Dec 20 2013: I suppose when someone is rich, it means they are doing whatever they are doing with excellence. So I want to do excellently? But I don't think you can put out high quality if you don't have high quality coming in, or am I wrong?
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    Dec 16 2013: When I was about nineteen, I decided to make a life of working toward solutions to important problems, particularly those connected to poverty and restricted opportunities. Across a range of jobs, both formal and volunteer, over a long career, I have always known what I was working for and been grateful for the opportunity to apply my energy and whatever talent I had to it.

    This does not mean every effort succeeded, but when problems are hard and lots of people are working on them, one has to be ready to try some things and see them not work as intended, then get back in the saddle and try something else.
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      Dec 16 2013: What specific jobs did you do?
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        Dec 16 2013: I have done both teaching and policy work, each in multiple settings. I am particularly invested in meeting the needs of people who are typically underserved in normal schooling.

        And you? What have you been involved in principally?
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          Dec 16 2013: do you mean that you did ordinary teaching but deliberately chose poor communities to do it in? Or.....? It sounds rather noble, did it feel noble?

          F, I would assume you enjoy TED conversations. What do you enjoy about it?

          I have done many jobs. I have reviewed books for a half million readers. Driven taxi. Picked grapes. Motion picture-TV extra. Part of the reason I've done so many is that I've been fired from many, always for the same reason, being bad at office politics, or lacking "common sense." I would suppose the criticism has been fair.

          As life went on, I got most interested in dairy and more of a self-sufficient lifestyle that would be based around owning cows and living off the milk. It's hard for me to get into this lifestyle because I lack a wife, having so far been unsuccessful at romance. I have the impression that you really need a spouse to do self-sufficiency, although so far I can't articulate why. Maybe it's a demanding life and you need someone to help with the challenges? Do you think my feeling is correct, that you need a spouse to live that more self-sufficient life?
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        Dec 16 2013: I have taught across the spectrum of the population, from the highly diverse urban classroom with many languages spoken, to programs specifically for homeless youth, to students at elite universities, to high school drop-outs returning to community college as adults, to recent refugees illiterate in their own native tongues, to gifted kids, in online settings and courses, and at central locations drawing young people from the region... I am committed to sharing what I am, what I have, and what I can do, and teaching in various contexts is a life's work that allows me to give continuously in this way.

        In answer to your question about your self-sufficiency, I do not know whether being a diary farmer is a life that required a spouse, but I am sure self-sufficiency does not. Robert Winner lives a rural life, I believe, with his family and might have better insight.

        In terms of self-sufficiency, we probably all know people who are unmarried and lead a self-sufficient life. I know, for example, a handyman/jack-of-all-trades of sixty years of age who lives alone in a rural setting, can build or fix anything, rides his motorbike, plays gigs with bands, is on the board of a food coop, brews his own beer, is a gourmet cook, and so forth.

        While Colleen was married, for, I believe, twenty-four years, she is no longer and leads a self-sufficient life in part by exchanging things she can do for things she needs from others, like wood for her woodstove. While I have heard no mention of a cow, that she grows most of her own food to me qualifies as farming.
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          Dec 16 2013: what subject, or subjects, have you taught?

          Well, a cow or a goat. A friend couple lived in Colorado and wanted to produce their own milk. They bought a cow, but it produced too much milk. They sold the cow, bought a goat, and that was okay.

          One concern as a single person having a goat is having to leave the goat alone to go do other things. One fears goat rustlers, around here Latin families sometimes kill a goat for celebrations, so they might grab it.

          Do you raise any food of your own, that might be exciting to get your hands into the soil?

          I will ask Colleen. Once she mentioned a dream meal of salmon, wine, and veggies, but of those I think she might only produce the veg.
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          Dec 16 2013: Hello Greg and Fritzie.....I heard my name!!! LOL:>)

          Getting our hands in the soil is VERY exciting.....gardeners know the best dirt! LOL

          You are correct Greg....I only produce the veggies.....never made wine.....and have certainly tasted quite a bit of it....joyfully:>) I have a couple fishermen friends who generously give me salmon and other fish, and if their catch is not good, I find salmon and other varieties of fish at the supermarket:>)
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        Dec 16 2013: I have taught math, microeconomics, public policy analysis, research methods, science, psychology, and problem-solving generically.

        I don't grow food.
        • Dec 17 2013: Pardon me for jumping in. I wanted to share that I'm jumping feet first into an Aquaponics project.....growing fish which directly feed your veggies. I've a good friend who is tutoring me through the project. Fresh fish. Fresh veggies. Look into it if you've a chance. :-)
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          Dec 18 2013: Fritzie, what are the aspects of teaching that people who haven't taught might not know about?

          Do you think most people are happy in their job, or do you feel qualified to say? If we found that most people are unhappy, that would be rather depressing, wouldn't it?
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          Dec 30 2013: care to say which of those was your favorite subject to teach, and why? I think of all those I would most enjoy psychology because it involves one's dealings with people.
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        Dec 17 2013: Scott, do you have some sort of allotment (you are in the UK, right?) where you can locate this?
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        Dec 17 2013: Greg, For a guy with a BA from Stanford your job success is rather checkered. Since your employers have been honest or at least up front with you and told you the reasons they let you go ... an you agree ... do you have any interest in working to resolve those issues. It has been my experience that employers who care about you as a person are more honest and concerned .... they saw your potential but also saw what is preventing you from achieving that potential.

        I am not so sure that having a wife is the key to success. Getting married to have someone to share chores does not sound overly romantic. To share a life with, love, respect, and make memories to be shared in a continuing and growing relationship sounds better.

        There may be a connection between your job success and your romantic success ... You may (or may not) want to examine what is missing or could use adjustment to bring them both in alignment. There is no 50% - 50% in a relationship ... it takes work and 100% from both of you.

        Hope that you accept this the way I intend ... but sometimes it take a professional to help you overcome these issues what ever they may be.

        Good luck ... and I wish you well.

        Bob.
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          Dec 18 2013: yes, getting fired is traumatizing, but I always gave my best on every job so it's not that bad. Hopefully I learn and do better, I haven't been fired for a while.

          Mmm, well, of course one wants to love one's spouse. I'm thinking that one can get love from one's friends and friendly acquaintances, an awfully big part of marriage is working together, isn't it?

          In terms of my overall career arc, I'm okay with it, Robert. And I keep seeking romance, I suppose all one can do is seek, is there ever a guarantee one will find?

          I've had about 500 sessions of psychotherapy. I do believe it has helped me and would recommend it to others. I probably don't feel the need for it now, and I believe my therapists would concur.
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        Dec 18 2013: I think you could do an internet search about job satisfaction to get a more reliable picture of how people feel about their work. The answer will be different in a snapshot taken now than if you took such a snapshot ten years ago and may be different depending on where people live.

        I would expect most people find their jobs to have some pluses and some minuses. Further, depending on a person's temperament, some see the positive aspects in their lives more vividly and others focus on the negative.

        I think people who do not teach a classroom of kids full-time who are different from their own kids do not have a sense of what a teacher needs to do to meet the diverse needs before her. It is much easier to teach one on one or to teach a small group of your kids' friends a fun subject than it is to teach, say, a full-sized urban classroom in a neighborhood affected significantly by poverty and crime.

        Many people, I believe, think they would make great teachers, who would probably fare poorly in a real classroom full-time, because they actually do not have the skills or patience for helping students learn the fundamental content of a course of study. While respecting kids and doing fun activities is an obvious part of the job, there is more to effective teaching than that.

        Also kids vary surprisingly in how well they retain material, even if one is working with them one-on-one and supervising lots of hands on experience with the idea.
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        Dec 30 2013: I taught each subject to different cohorts of people, and the experience was as much connected to the subject as to the students and where they wanted to take the learning from the course into their own lives. I have no favorite among them for the contexts in which I taught them, except that I moved away from teaching science. I taught a lab course for one year at the secondary level and was too worried always about kids' burning themselves and so forth.
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          Jan 11 2014: I wonder why you would be worried about kids burning themselves but other teachers aren't.

          Fritz, this conversation is nearing its end. In my separate websurfing, I stumbled upon a talk that made me really think of you. It is the commencement address by Laurie Anderson at her own alma mater, School of the Visual Arts. She does talk about her own college teaching experiences, plus some general observations on the artist's life. So I include the link here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zthU59YvuqY I did look to see if Laurie has ever given a TED talk, and I couldn't seem to find one, surprising?
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        Jan 11 2014: Thank you for the link. While her speech would have been too long for TED and perhaps a bit low key for the format, what she offers, as many speakers do, is a point of view. Another speaker on another day might have a different point of view, and her not truly taking a posture of persuasion but more of sharing reflects the possibility of other angles that might fit as well, depending on the artist's temperament.

        I happen to be reading Miro's letters, and while any actually creative person will live a life of exploration and experiment, one can see Miro had too much intensity to walk the path she walks and yet for him, his process and attitude was a more liberating creative fit.

        People too are creatures of their time and place.

        Amy Tan's TED talk presents a creative view and process that is different and unusual.
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          Jan 11 2014: what was his process and attitude?

          You're saying miro's wildness was a product of his time and place? And laurie's mildness a product of hers? How so?
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        Jan 11 2014: Not his "wildness." He was, in fact, a very disciplined, extremely hard working person.

        He was deeply influenced by his being a Catalan at the time of the Spanish Civil War and often was in exile. There is a strong sense of urgency and rebellion underlying his work. As an example, he exhibited next to Guernica at the 1937 International Exposition.
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    Dec 20 2013: Which job you mean Greg? Do you mean the job I am paid for or the job that brings me recognition or the jobs I do for others?

    If you mean the job I do for a pay, I’d say I like the way I love and hate it at the same time. This is the job I never thought I’d do but am doing now anyway and have become good at it and may be I’d do the same job after I am officially retired.

    My job is to predict how a river will behave in short and long term when someone intervenes with it. Depending on the intervention my organization may spend from millions to billions. My predictions are about 60% correct now, and in my job that is considered good enough. But many times I was happy when my predictions went wrong.

    I love my job because it lets me be intimate with rivers. I see rivers as live, beautiful and wild beauties that I can hardly fancy at this age. I hate when I need to predict ways to tame, cut or shore them up.

    And rivers taught me to do jobs that I can always do without having to be paid. Those jobs involve lives, stories, laughter and cry of many many people and I wish I keep doing those jobs till I die.
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      Dec 20 2013: well I was thinking of the job we get paid for or devote most of our time to and have the most expertise in. What point are you trying to make, Pabitra, that we have many jobs besides what we get paid for? But in a certain way you do get paid for everything you do, don't you?

      Sounds like mostly a beautiful job. Is it really so disappointing when you have to tame them or shore them up, after all taming them leads to a lot of good things for a lot of people? Truthfully I don't know if I've ever been to a wild river, is there really such a thing? What do you see when you look at a wild one?

      The last paragraph sounds very interesting but I'm afraid I don't immediately see how rivers taught you about lives, stories, and so on. Do you mean by being exposed to the people who lived by the river? Can you share some of their stories? I have heard that the Chinese government is rather cavalier about forcing people to move when they need to alter the natural landscape, how about the Indian government?

      How is your conversation on humor going? I think sometimes how the word "humor" is like "humid," having to do with being wet? So maybe it's no accident that the river expert is funny? Do you find other people in your field have an exceptional sense of humor?

      I would have guessed you did some less nature-connected job, this job is exciting enough that I'm surprised you haven't mentioned it before? Do you like to talk about it? Maybe people start peppering you with questions like I'm doing? But it's fun to answer questions, or it gets annoying? Are you actually going to the rivers, or are you in the office mostly? If you're going to the rivers, you're traveling all over India? To other countries?
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        Dec 20 2013: Oh, so many question, my friend ! :) But I like your asking me, you appear to be uninhibited :D
        You are right that I get paid for all the jobs I do, the money is the least of the pay backs.
        The river that I work in is part of one of the largest estuarine delta system in the world and it is known as Hooghly. Here is the place.
        https://maps.google.co.in/?ll=21.943046,88.133698&spn=0.775738,1.234589&t=h&z=10
        If you zoom into the dolphin shaped accretion island named Nayachar in the middle of the river where she started to funnel out to the sea you may see the dark beak of the dolphin. That's the area where I planted roughly 45000 mangrove saplings in 1992 to 1994 that are now 40 feet tall and proudly waving in the sea air. In the late eighties I walked into the island, then just a mudflat, a 28 year old civil engineer from a city and hardly knowing from this place I shall embark on a journey in a strange river country spending almost 10 years in wilderness and see life unfolding in way I never imagined.
        Oh rivers can be very wild you know and at least twice she almost made me drown in wild love :) But she also took me to places and showed me people who are the most wonderful, proud and profoundly sad.
        I was trained to dam her up, stop, bend and make her behave the way civilization demands. I tried and failed. It was in one part because you can never chain her free spirit and in other part because I saw the complete futility of working against such a magnificent nature.
        My masters in environmental sciences never taught me to feel the loss when parts of such beauty dies in harness, it also never taught me to deal with the pain and anguish of the people who live off her with a strange sense of transience.
        I sure have many stories, of my adventures into rivers and forest, of my Muslim crew of the vessel I 'captained', their selfless love for me and attempts to feed me beef (bless my Hinduism!) and of my beard and straw hat that I sported for years. :)
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          Dec 21 2013: Thank you, Pabitra. What do you like most about a river, is it the water, the vegetation, the animals, the humans who live around it? Are the people living by a river different in some way, can you put your finger on it? Do you live by a river, if not why not, surely you could have moved to one?

          I see beauty in water, it captures my imagination. These days if I go swimming in the ocean and some salt water gets in my mouth I allow myself to drink it, that is different from my younger days when I would spit it out.

          Now wait a second, you're saying you only worked on one project in your whole career, and that you failed to accomplish that project? How did you keep your job?
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    Dec 19 2013: An interesting and positive conversation here. Thanks to all who have traded thoughts with me. Colleen, most recently, made my heart sing. I love your attitude Colleen! We know of the awful things surrounding us, the media throws it in our face by the second. Few headlines read, "Artist Is Having A Great Life" ... those few of us who would gravitate to that story immediately do not sustain the talking heads.

    Yes, keep finding those learning moments in everything you see and touch... it's there and it is not only the artist mind which, as I said earlier, sees things differently, it is there for everybody who is willing to remove all blinders. If you look for trouble it will find you, look for peace, beauty and joy ... it too will find you.

    This is a great way to approach the coming happy days no matter ones beliefs or leanings.

    With nearly a month to go on this thread, I will be looking for more to love. All boats rise with this tide.
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      Dec 20 2013: Thank you David,
      When your heart sings, it causes my heart to sing more....I love your attitude as well David, and I think it is contagious:>)

      Yes...."stuff" gets thrown at us, and it is all part of the life adventure. Check out this other conversation and see what our young wise friend Mingkun Wan has to say about this. Hope you don't mind Mingkun:>)
      http://www.ted.com/conversations/22147/what_do_you_think_are_the_top_1.html?c=795520

      I wholeheartedly agree....if we focus on and look for trouble/problems, that is exactly what we will find. When we focus on beauty, joy and peace.....it too will find us.....well said David:>)

      All boats rise with the tide........reminds me....
      "The winds of Grace are blowing all the time, it is up to us to raise our sails"
      (Ramakrishna)
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      Dec 20 2013: David, I appreciate your expressions of happiness. You must be an optimist, are you optimistic about the world in general or just optimistic about your own life?

      Would you mind saying more about the artistic mind and how it sees, I believe you didn't fill us in on that previously because your words were low. I believe some reading this would enjoy knowing how to see more artistically because they could use that in their own lives. But perhaps you don't want to reveal your secrets?
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    Dec 15 2013: musician - life is sweet.

    took me a long time to get here though.

    i like the nervous energy i get leading into a gig. the immediate and unique communication that happens between performer and audience is addictive and cannot be reproduced in any other way.

    no white-board meetings, no pointless paperwork, i'm my own boss and i love singing.
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      Dec 16 2013: Thank you, Scott. Any idea why some people are reasonably comfortable performing on stage and others are inhibited?

      Where have you gotten an impression of pointless paperwork? I would think businesses cannot survive unless they are fairly stripped down and doing relevant paperwork.
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        Dec 16 2013: it's partly an ego thing - doing your thing in public.

        part of the instant kind of communication i mentioned - people applaud your work (if you're any good). i always like to imagine a plumber getting a standing ovation after fixing a broken toilet and other such jobs that are worked everyday to no applause.

        the dynamic between a performer and audience can be highly energised. i've played some pretty intense (in a good way) gigs with my band and the buzz from that situation is massive and, like i say, difficult to reproduce anywhere else.

        all the paperwork i have been involved with is largely pointless and time-wasting but i have really only worked in teaching which is very different to private business, i imagine.

        plus, in New Zealand, there is bureaucratic overkill for some reason (i think this is a growing issue around many countries).

        but i never use contracts or anything but i do deal with invoices and receipts and that stuff but i like to keep it to a minimum :)
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          Dec 16 2013: well, plumbers do get a lot of appreciation and thanks, but it's true, they don't work in front of a crowd. But it's curious, while I appreciate and enjoy musicians, could we say that what a plumber does is more crucial, or can you rank those, Scott? Or maybe musical performance is more important than plumbing, maybe musicians inspire a lot of creativity out of their audiences? (I'm just asking myself why some musicians are better paid than plumbers.) Any musical performance is more intense than plumbing in the sense of being brief and the musician doesn't perform 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year.

          Can you put your finger on what makes one rock singer better than another? Because rock singers aren't necessarily gods of technique? Maybe it's just a feeling that's hard to put into words?

          Yes, I've heard that is intense. What would you say that dynamic is that is different from singing alone at home?

          Can you say more about time-wasting paperwork? I've worked many different jobs, both public and private, and generally the paperwork seemed pretty reasonable.

          I have worked as an extra in TV and movies, and that's a pretty nice buzz. Maybe it is that performance, high-visibility thing. It's very tiring, you get home and you're exhausted although mostly you sat around that day.
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        Dec 16 2013: 'performing' in public increases the nervous energy and I guess for some people that's closer to anxiety than for others.

        i chose the example of plumber because i do think the trades are generally more necessary than entertainment, although you can argue that entertainment is very important in it's own way.

        plus, there are memes doing the rounds on facebook, etc, about musicians being worth more than a few free beers, etc. one of the common ones i have seen is a letter to a bar owner who expressed shock at the price for a 5 piece band - the response is for the bar-owner to ask 5 plumbers to come in and work "after-hours" and see how much they charge - a terrible and inaccurate analogy but typical of the "musicians are worth more" memes out there.

        i think there are some musicians making big coin but that is directly related to their exposure and popularity. as a band who has not "made it", we certainly struggle to get paid 'big' money but for me, it's a lifestyle thing and not really a fast road to riches. if i wanted loads of cash, i would have gotten into corporate banking.

        it's hard to say what makes one singer better than another because it's pretty subjective. to me, it's about performance of the song, the songwriting and FEEL. Neil Young, Dylan, The Band, The Kinks are all huge influences for me. these guys write brilliantly and perform equally well without being ironed flat through over-used production techniques or dressed up to appropriately 'fit' an audience's perception of the genre.

        Neil Young is well-known for doing whatever he wants and to hell with the record company. Geffen rejected his album "Old Way"s" for being too country and told him to do something rock n roll. Neil recorded "Everybody's Rockin" with a band called the Shocking Pinks. He took Geffen literally and created an old-style shoo-wop rock 'n roll album as a "f-you". it's quite hilarious. Geffen then tried to sue Neil for not being Neil Young enough. Neil won
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        Dec 16 2013: singing at home is enjoyable - i do it a lot to keep the rust away and learn new songs but there is a strange dynamic between an attentive audience and performer (if the audience ain't listening then it's the performer's job to make them).

        there is communication of a sort - not usually spoken but often visual - facial expressions, dancing, clapping, stamping, smiling, yelling and whistling. this can go both ways - silence at the end of a dismal performance, booing (very rare).

        and then, in the middle is heckling which can be positive or negative or neither, just an interaction. i enjoy this because it helps you to develop a rapport with an audience by responding in an entertaining manner, it means the audience is engaged one way or other and is never scripted or planned - part of the attraction of live performance.

        but what i like the most is the immediacy of the "feedback". you know, before the song is even finished, whether it's going down well or not. when it's not going well, it often gives me a rush and the desire to pick it up which often leads to taking it "to the next level" as people say.

        as for paperwork, i've been subjected to unnecessary paperwork, double handling and so on but i frequently find it too far removed from the real job (in my case teaching). in NZ, a teacher seems to be judged more on their planning than their ability to communicate effectively with their students.

        it's frustrating because, even though there is a digital revolution happening in schools, it never seems to be utilised to streamline the bureaucratic side of things. in fact, in my last teaching job, we had to enter and handle data both digitally and on paper - this double-handling increased the workload for no reason other than ye olde tradition and did my head in. sorry about the verbose response :)
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        Dec 16 2013: oh, forgot to mention:

        dress code - you can wear what you want - tatty shoes and jeans to formal functions; ridiculous trousers; ostentatious shirts; sunglasses inside; over the top hairdos (if you have hair), etc.

        drinking on the job - it's not only expected but encouraged and one universal perk of being in a band seems to be free drinks and often meals.

        outspokenness - you are often allowed to be a little more crass than in other walks of life. also, you aren't required have any religious or political affiliations although you can if you want.

        girls - this is like money. there isn't really any until you're famous but it can make it easier to break the ice if a girl you want to strike up a conversation with has been watching you all night on the stage.
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          Dec 17 2013: thanks, Scott. Well, I think I was starstruck, I was thinking of the famous musicians who make a lot such as Jagger and McCartney. When I look around on the web, it looks like the average musician is making about as much as the average plumber. It's kind of interesting, when you think of a famous musician, it would seem no individual fan spends much more on one in a year than the fan spends on plumbers. For example, if I go to see the Rolling Stones once in a year, and buy one Rolling Stones record, I might spend $100 that year on the Rolling Stones. And I might spend $100 that year to plumbers. But apparently what the Stones do is unique enough, fulfilling enough, that scads of people spend that $100 on them, so they make a lot.

          Appreciate the description of how it feels to sing. So what would you say is being communicated, or what is the dialogue, is it only a dialogue of emotion, is there an intellectual dialogue? Would you say it fulfills a different part of you than TED conversations, which is primarily intellectual?, or are TED and rock singing somehow related?

          I have heard that belly dancers are also afforded a particular freedom to speak in the countries where they are common. Wonder why musicians and dancers get this leeway?

          Do you dance as well as sing?

          You had to enter what sort of data both on paper and digitally? The same data twice? This was due to what tradition?
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        Dec 17 2013: i think the big, famous musicians have an advantage in that what they produce has strong emotional bonds for their fans. they also have the advantage of being able to garner a huge audience so they can command huge profits - if they are well-known enough.

        the communication thing is hard to explain but i guess it's partly to do with the way people seem to enjoy being part of a big crowd.

        for the wild dancers, it's physical and emotional and possibly a release of sorts.

        there are those that sit back and watch intently - often because of the lyric so i guess that could be intellectual.

        there's also a shared love of music which is evident - i have had many guys come up quietly after a gig to say how much they liked one of the covers and they turn out to be huge fans of that particular musician. this usually leads to long discussions about music and bands.

        I often select cover songs that have some meaning to me - sometimes they are songs that are slightly subversive or roll a bit against the grain. often, they are just clever use of words or a wry and insightful observation on people or life. so it's definitely an intellectual thing for me. in fact, i would say that i am a writer and performer, not a musician as i am not highly technical or knowledgeable about music or the guitar.

        i'm not sure if you could say that rock singing and TED are related but i think there are elements to rock n roll that most people can relate to.

        i think musicians and poets have always been allowed to get away with breaking social boundaries - i suppose it could be like lancing social boils in some ways - giving people an outlet in an appropriate setting. some one said to me once that they enjoy conversing with musicians as they tend to be more clued up as to what is going on. i'm not sure that's true.

        i do not dance but it's only because i can't.

        the paperwork thing is due to the changeover between hard copy and digital and will get better.
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          Dec 18 2013: well, Scott, would you say you have intellectual interests? Do they coalesce around any certain topic, or topics, or are they all over the place? When you taught, what were you teaching?

          How is it that someone can't dance, you aren't paralyzed? Maybe you should take a dance class? Dancing is a lot of fun.

          I'm wondering if musicians are allowed to be more crass. Maybe we allow anyone to be crass if what they're saying holds water? Can you give some examples of where you were crass, and what you think the connection was to your being a musician?
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        Dec 19 2013: definitely intellectual but also emotional and physical. the combination of these things is a heady mix.

        i like the pop song because it strikes me as being the perfect way to communicate an idea or a thought or a sentiment.

        it's poetry but better than traditional poetry - that's why i write songs rather than poems.

        i like the 'ruggedness' of rock - that i can be a bit looser than in other situations because it's an appropriate setting. people kind of respond to it - if no one is dancing, i will often remind guys that dancing counts as foreplay in an attempt to entice people onto the dancefloor. it often sparks a bit of debate too when a guy yells out "yeah" in response and his girlfriend whacks him and says "no it doesn't!".

        my main interest is popular music - bands and generally the 60's era of music.

        i can dance but don't often do it. i swing my elbows and knock my knees together a bit when i'm singing and playing guitar but not really dancing. i jump up and down a lot too. maybe shuffle around while the other guy plays a lead. it is fun. but you probably won't find me on a dancefloor.

        swearing a bit on the microphone is not unusual but we tend to keep it to a minimum and limit it to certain situations - otherwise it loses effect and lowers the tone.

        come to think of it, we're not often blatantly rude but oblique and make use of the double entendre. like i say, humour helps loosen up a crowd. you also learn to do it mostly because the guitarist is tuning up or the drummer is taking off his skivvy or something else is going on and you need to fill the silence (which is deafening if you're on the stage).

        but there's also the idea of the saturnalia - that time when social norms were stood on their heads and more liberal speech and action was allowed for a short period. i think we all need to step out of our regular shoes and cut loose every now and then. this is my job, hence my thankfulness for being able to do it
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          Dec 19 2013: thanks, Scott. You know, you're an excellent writer. Are you keeping a journal of your musician experiences, perhaps you could write published essays or a book or a newspaper column.

          You know, you're right, a song definitely has an idea aspect. It has never occurred to me to discuss with anyone the ideas I was hearing in songs, but I'm going to look for opportunities to do it. But one weakness I see of using songs for intellectual nourishment is that often one is drawn to hear the same songs over and over, but really doesn't one get the ideas in the song the first time one hears it, it doesn't continually provide new ideas the way, say, talking on TED does?

          What ideas are you putting in songs, or emphasizing? Are you a 'cause' writer, do you find causes you'd like people to get behind, like no nukes, and try to write a song to persuade them?

          Well, I mostly like dance for the exercise, I think it's a way to exercise that feels very good. I find I can dance anywhere, for example, as I type these words I can roll my belly in the chair in a belly dancing type motion. I like to dance (mildly, keeping the feet in one place) whilst waiting in line at the grocery, waiting on the corner for the light to turn green, and so on. It's an idea I'm trying to popularize, that you can dance anywhere, any time, with or without music, but it may be a losing battle. Most people seem to feel like life is a little more boxed up, like there are situations where you dance, at a nightclub at 9PM with a band, and there are situations where you don't, in line at a minimart at 10AM.

          One hopes in general a performer likes his audience and is not too inclined to be rude. Sometimes there is a way to be rude that positively advances the situation. I would say people accept rudeness from anyone if the rudeness is appropriate to the situation. It could be that performers can make a better judgement as to when to apply rudeness because they have.....
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          Dec 19 2013: these intense communicative experiences as you say.

          The idea of dancing anywhere is somewhat covered in Sara Bareilles's video "Brave." Have you seen this video, what do you think? http://www.vevo.com/watch/sara-bareilles/brave/USSM21301304
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        Dec 19 2013: i'm a fairly uptight guy which is why i don't dance but is probably the same reason i have been drawn to performing in a band as an outlet.

        i rely on the "muse" thing when writing - i feel as though ideas and thoughts bubble away for some time and eventually manifest as a song. it's a strange process because sometimes, it does feel as though the songs come from nowhere.

        i have an idea, often a title or a good line and then build the song around that, so most songs are idea driven - they start with an idea anyway and once you're started, the rest is relatively easy.

        i don't write too many love songs or if i do, it's not really a love song, it's just disguised as one. mostly i write about things i see around me and try to put my spin on it.

        songwriting keeps you sharp because you cannot dither and drivel on too long.

        i always like my audience - by rude, I mean risque; a little blue not offensive or ill-mannered. most audiences that i've come across are generous with their attention and response. but at times, a belligerent audience is good because it forces you to utilise all your stage-craft to win them over.

        it's simple really - let yourself go and give it all and people respond because they can see you are being quite straight with them - as opposed to striking poses and living out cliches.

        as for dancing, i can see how it would be a great release for people and i agree, it should be done more often and in less 'expected' situations - the world would be a better place if everyone sang and danced more often.

        my band will be making a music video soon for a song called Pagan Games. it's really about this idea of forgetting everyone else's expectations and just let yourself go. we're going to be dancing and frolicking for the camera so I guess I'm going to have to learn some moves.
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          Dec 20 2013: Scott, do you care to talk about what it is to be fairly uptight?

          I wonder how some musicians rise to the top? I'm thinking they may be more demanding. I have read the Beatles were very demanding in the studio, they weren't satisfied to be just good enough, they kept going til they got what they really wanted. Would you be comfortable that way, being demanding and really going until you got exactly what you wanted? Or do you settle for good enough?

          It's hard to think someone could attract an audience if they disliked their audience. Most people want to be liked. But people might like it if you placed a demand on them sometimes too?

          One thing that depresses me is people who can only loosen up via a narcotic such as alcohol. Scott you said you like being able to drink, is it something you have to have, or can you forego it?
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        Dec 19 2013: cool video.
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        Dec 21 2013: too self-conscious to dance with others around.

        as for musicians rising to the top, there should be good music (but this is not a requisite) but there needs to be a management/marketing team that knows what they are doing. it is a very rare thing for a musician to make it to the top solely on the strength of their music - sad but true.

        the Beatles stand apart from other bands because of their sheer talent as well as the effect they had on popular music. their songwriting is brilliant and their vocals very, very tight - you can hear some amazing vocal-only recordings on youtube. they are a great example of feel over technique (though McCartney probably covers both) - neither Ringo nor John were virtuoso players on their instruments but that doesn't matter - it's that rock thing again.

        i don't think any performer actually dislikes their audience - although you see with people like Kurt Cobain, the fake side of the industry - all the idol worship and myth that springs up around the great bands - can be what they hate.

        popular music can be art or business - it's rarely both. when it is, that's when you get Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc.

        audiences can be like bands - good and bad. there are music lovers and music consumers. music consumers are a recent phenomenon and they are a result of the internet's effect on music dissemination. these are the people that think a band is like an iPod and demand the song they want to hear and expect it now. they also often expect bands to be able to play anything and everything. rather than enjoying the listening experience. i don' t give those sorts of audience much regard.

        i don't need alcohol to 'relax' but it is one of the perks/dangers of the job. it can be an artificial lift to help boost your energy - this can be helpful when you're playing a song for the millionth time - and it can easily become a habit. if i'm honest, that's all part of the attraction that performing with a band has for me.
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          Dec 21 2013: Scott, is it just luck when a band gets a good management team? But surely there's something you can do to increase your chances of getting good management, research various firms or ask other bands?

          I wonder how the Beatles got good vocal tone? I'm sitting here trying to emulate them and it seems when I push my lips forward and form a tightly pursed hole to sing through, it does sound more like them, but I lose the ability to pronounce words as clearly. Maybe with practice I could pronounce clearly.

          Never quite got why people wouldn't want to be idolized.

          popular music can be art or business--you mean it can be art or it can sell a lot and make a lot of money? Can you say at all what makes something art, Scott, I know it's a hard question?
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        Dec 21 2013: in New Zealand (population 4.5 million) there aren't enough management groups and there just isn't a big enough market - it's DIY until you crack it but it takes a set of skills that musicians often lack.

        many managers groom young performers and mold them into a marketable product. that's how Lorde made it to the top - she has been groomed since age 13 and very obviously targets an american audience.

        for a band, you can hope to get someone with management skills who likes the band and foresees a great future - these people, like bands, probably have to work for peanuts to begin with until the band has achieved some kind of popularity - these people are rare.

        In The Beatles early years in Hamburg, they were playing 6 days a week playing for 8 hours at a time. that kind of practice leads to perfection. McCartney and Lennon also had fantastic voices that complimented each other just as much as their songwriting.

        enunciation and mike technique count for a lot - it takes a bit of practice to get comfy on a microphone. My biggest struggle vocally is to not sing in an american accent - this is very easy to do as most of the pop music we hear is sung this way because the roots of rock n roll are based in the States.

        The lyric has always been the main attraction for me but also the way the words are sung - vocalists I like are David Gilmour/Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Neil Young, Damon Albarn (Blur), Ray Davies (The Kinks) and pretty much anything by The Band (Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel are incredible in my opinion).

        Neil Young is a good example of not liking fame - here he is talking about fame:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxe_mqdj89g

        songwriting is an art when it's done with the focus on the song and the music and not necessarily meant for an audience to hear.

        music is a business when a market is targeted and a group is groomed to appeal to that market. this is why we get so much fluff and paint-by-numbers pop music in the mainstream charts.
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          Dec 24 2013: well, how would you feel about being famous, Scott, is it something you would like?
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    Jan 12 2014: Yes, I watched a mother breastfeed her baby. So mother's breastfeeding is the best for the baby not the cow's milk, that's why we can't say if we like mother's, we should like a cow's milk, do you understand ? And because parents can decide how to raise the baby, when they decide to feed the baby with milk, the baby cries but can do nothing only to adapt to drinking cow's milk!

    Chinese have different food traditions and habits. We have different demands of food's and drink's taste from yours. We eat rice and you eat bread. When I eat bread, I want to drink some milk.
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      Jan 13 2014: well, Yoka, I haven't gotten to taste human breastmilk while I've been an adult and I can't remember what it tasted like when I drank it as a baby. But doesn't it seem that of all the foods in the world after you go off your mother's breast, the closest thing to human breastmilk is going to be animal mother's milk? Therefore, if you agree that drinking human breastmilk is a good experience, and the closest you can get to it after you stop being a baby is drinking animal milk, I would think animal milk is the closest you will get to enjoying your food like you did as a baby. I actually can't believe animal milk is too different from human milk, in both cases it is the mother's body trying to prepare a delicious, healthy meal for her baby.

      Also, it's hard for me to believe cow's milk tastes bad because in some countries it sells very well, if you visit a market in the states you will see much cow's milk for sale, so people must like it and buy it. Just not sure why China is different.

      I have heard that Chinese might not drink cow's milk because of Buddhist influence, Buddhism might teach that it is wrong to take away the baby cow's milk. But do Chinese eat a lot of beef, because if they are eating beef it shows they are not so sympathetic to cow, if they are willing to kill the cow to get the beef what is the difference to taking the milk, in both cases you are hurting the cow.

      If you like to reply, conversation closes in two days.
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        Jan 13 2014: Since you don't remember the taste of breast milk either, I'd like to tell you that in China, some people in north also drink horse milk and some people never drank it can't get used to its taste(Why don't American drink horse milk or pig milk or other animal's milk?). So different breast milk have different tastes. It's just as that some people like blue , some people like red and some like white. It's not bad or good.

        Humans are cruel because they like to eat all kinds of meat to get nutritions or satisfy their tastes. You have the choice to drink milk living without eating beef.

        Does your friend have any evidence to show buddhism is discouraging people to drink milk? Why is cow's milk?
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          Jan 13 2014: well, here people mostly drink cow milk, plus a little goat's milk. I don't know why they don't drink the milk of other animals. But to me, Yoka, an animal's milk is the closest you can get to human milk after you stop being a baby, so I say animal milk is the best of all the food for people past the age of being a baby, from being a toddler all the way to old age.

          No, when I look online, it seems that Buddhism discourages eating meat, but milk is okay. So I guess that doesn't explain why Chinese don't drink much milk.

          So far I don't believe we have explained why Chinese don't drink much animal milk. I had a Korean friend here who said he considered milk "weak" food, but I don't know what he meant, and now I have lost touch with him. If the topic interests you, you can ask your family and friends why the Chinese don't drink much animal milk, or perhaps you can find a food scholar who knows the answer. I'm going to keep asking myself.
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        Jan 14 2014: "So far I don't believe we have explained why Chinese don't drink much animal milk."

        Yes, you should ask yourself , others' answers are just for fun and reference. Believing yourself is important sometimes~!

        Take care~!
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          Jan 14 2014: Thanks, Yoka. When I said I'll keep asking myself, what I meant is maybe you will ask other people, and I definitely will ask other people. No, I've already asked myself, but I haven't got the answer. I think it could have something to do with certain countries trying to fight against the people getting obese. For example, with the people in China, maybe they think if the people eat both meat and milk like they do in the u.s., they will get fat like we are here in the U.S. So they only eat meat. But the country could go the other way, if they're going to cut out either meat or milk, they could cut out meat and just drink milk.

          Could it have something to do with sex? Maybe people think if you eat flesh you will understand flesh better and be better at sex. But I think milk could be good for sex, maybe the sex would not be as animalistic, more cultured?

          Well, if you get an answer and you care to share it, let me know through my profile.
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    Dec 20 2013: So far I like it that's why I am with it.
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      Dec 21 2013: So what do you do, Salim, is it something you've done a while?
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        Dec 22 2013: Hi Greg
        Yes I am quite long with it. For long I am in a job where I need to get things done by influencing people. It's all about managing people, understanding them as person, also learning the drivers of motivational factors people. It also exposes me continuously to ever changing dynamics of technology , economics as well as how these shaping up our desires. Moreover it has been opening up continuously, opportunity to learn.
        That's why I am yet to be bored with it :)

        Well downside of it is , at times it is challenging to allocate enough time to my family.
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          Dec 23 2013: Salim, I'd like to ask you some more questions, I see from your profile that you're in marketing, but I'm still not sure exactly what you do. Do you write ads? Do you survey customers to find out their needs and wants? Or something else?

          When I know more about what you do, I would like to ask why the job provides continuous learning, and if you think that makes it different from other jobs. And also what it is that makes for long hours.
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        Dec 23 2013: Hi Greg
        Thanks for your interest in me and for taking the trouble of checking my profile to know me :)
        Though since last 4 years I have moved to a "Jack of all trade" kinda role but before that for long I had been a marketer, which really still, I am passionate about.

        Look , by certification I was not a marketer rather accidentally I became marketer as I entered into the job market after completing my university studies. So far as I am aware of myself , I feel I am a "Love it or leave it " kinda person if I can't leave it, try to fall in love into it. As I was exposed to marketer I fell in love into it , so need to think to leave it.

        Reason of loving it was , it's a journey of continuously fathoming people psyche which evolves with social , economical and technological reason. It's a matter of continuous learning to remain successful. As individual marketer working in team I did what you already mentioned and more, from understanding needs/wants/motives of customer/consumers to short and long term plan for my concepts to satisfy customer/consumer needs creating a win win situation. Later as I moved be the leader of my marketing team , I had to influence my team to do the same. Moreover this also exposed me to different market, in different geography , culture and economy so always I need to learn. I any great innovation fails to reach people if it marketers fail.

        As I am still passionate about my job it makes me to spend long hours. Last not least , it's individual choice whether one will be happy or unhappy with her/his job or not. My feeling is , as we spent most of our time with our job related activity one need to love it otherwise most of her/his time of life will be a boring one.

        Have a good day :)
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          Dec 30 2013: so as a marketeer how do you come to understand needs/wants/motives of customer and consumers?
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        Dec 30 2013: Keeping my own and teams' curiosity & learning agility alive and up.
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          Jan 11 2014: so what motivates you to market a product, Salim? Do you really believe in the products you are marketing, do you think they will make people's lives better? What do you do when you don't believe in a product but you still have to market it?
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    Dec 19 2013: No, No, No, just "staying busy" is a ticket to a doomed life. For instance and for the most part, except for massive agribusiness, farmers love what they are doing and they work at home. I know that is a depleting commodity, but the essence remains true. I know that some will not break into the world I have enjoyed, but I will never stop telling people to find what they love and make a living doing it. Is that possible for everyone? Probably not ... on the other hand, I know people who passionately love their JOB. It is not up to me to pass judgment on that choice and good for them for feeling that way.

    I don't see this as a zero sum game. What I do believe is that many more than currently exist, can do what they love, be in a world that they are comfortable in and flourish. Look at auto racing. I once drove race cars and had a blast doing it. Family and others discouraged that life. What a pack of morons! Look at the tens of thousands now making a fine living in auto sports of all types. From mechanics, to suppliers of specialty bits and pieces, engineers, drivers, body men and women, and on to infinity. TV has a few dozen car shows now and that isn't because cars are dumb ... nope, they are objects of passion for a huge number of people and I applaud each who have made a life with cars. It makes the selfish side of me want to grab everyone who tried to discourage me and shout, "SEE"!!! I don't ... it won't fix anything, but when a kid tells me he loves cars, I tell him, "just do it" ... sorry Nike.

    It is the fear of failure which has to be overcome. Failure is a step toward success. Fail and learn. I fear that many take on too much responsibility too early in life and are forced into a "fear of failure mode" which inhibits their ability to take a chance ... no one ever got rich without taking a chance. BTW, "rich" in money is not the goal, Wealth of life style and happiness is - for me at least.

    Thanks for inspiring me ... copper calls!
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      Dec 20 2013: but are there really people who are just staying busy, David? I prefer to think everybody is trying to do something they consider worthwhile, am I naive? Even cleaning bathrooms can be quite fulfilling if you do it with care and love. Martin Luther King said if you're going to be a streetsweeper, be the best streetsweeper you can be, sweep streets so that all heaven will rejoice in the quality of your sweep.
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        Dec 20 2013: I love naivete', it keeps a glow in one's heart when reality might dash us against the rocks. Yes, I do think there is something naive about your desire to want to think that everybody is trying to do something they consider worthwhile, but that judgement can only come from my own point of view. I cannot get into their heads to know if that is truly their emotion or just a projection of it based on a will to believe that everyone is happy.

        The number of violent actions we see and hear about on a continual basis makes me think that a lot of people are truly not happy or comfortable in their own skin. I cannot support that with evidence, it is purely my opinion.

        When I ask people my favorite question, "what would you be doing if you could be doing it right now", one in a hundred say, "I love being at work". Then I revert to another favorite, "It's only WORK if you would rather be doing something else. Now, let's be serious, it may be my own naivete' to suggest that EVERYBODY can be making a living doing something they absolutely love, but it is the direction I want to urge everybody to point toward.

        MLK was not wrong, however, you must consider his position in the world and those to whom he was primarily speaking at that moment. That should not diminish the impact of his words, but it may temper them in some applications.

        As to copper and durability ... it is a very soft metal, it survives due to the natural reaction which turns it green and many other colors. That layer of corrosion which we deem "beautiful" is actually a natural protection from further deterioration. Beauty and self preservation in one ... sweet!

        I teach copper forming in my shop and one of the things a student first learns is about the perils of fabricating things from metal that anneals (softens) with heat. The second lesson is how it hardens with work (hammering). At the end, they learn how to accelerate the color using safe (when handled correctly) chemicals.

        What's not to love
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          Dec 21 2013: Thank you, David. Well you're right but the number of people who do violence are still a distinct minority? For example we have 300 million people in the U.S., and three million in jail or prison.

          For some it might be a necessary and somewhat good experience to go to jail. For instance I was talking to a fellow who went to jail for hitting his girlfriend, he said he deserved to go to jail and it was somewhat good for him in that he learned some discipline, being in jail was like being in the military he had to get up at six AM, shower and dress, and get on with his day. Although, come to think of it, what was his day, just sitting around watching TV? Still, he felt something good came from it?

          Well could we say that most people would rather sit and stroke a kitten than a piece of copper? So the texture of copper may be a little alienating, but perhaps I'm wrong?

          Well, if I could do anything right now I'd be having sex, so perhaps I should be a gigolo?
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    Dec 19 2013: I love it, in fact it almost got me started on a longer rant than is proper for this venue. The really short version is in telling you of my belief that, in ways too complex to summarize here, there is a concerted effort in the econosphere (my made word) which says, "Keep 'em Busy, Broke and Entertained" ... Subtitled, "You Got 'em Where You Want 'em" ... Actually I have been "Just Over Broke" and sometimes a ''SAP" (Super Awful Poor) ... still, I would not get a JOB for any reason I can think of just now. Thanks for the chuckle ... it put a smile on my kisser.
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      Dec 19 2013: Yeah, but the fact is, David, for everybody to have enough to eat, clothes to wear, roofs over their head, an awful lot of people have to stay busy, don't they? Farmers keep growing food not because someone is manipulating them, but because people need food?
  • Dec 15 2013: Design engineer. I like parts of my job. I like being able to create and provide solutions to problems.
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      Dec 16 2013: Care to share some creations and solutions you've come up with?
      • Dec 18 2013: Patent 6,579,136
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          Dec 20 2013: is this about cooling a boat engine, Robert? What is your interest, are you a boater?
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    Dec 15 2013: I'm retired so now I work full time passing on what I am in the process of learning. It is really the same as what I have been doing all my life I just have a little more time to do it. I love my job, I have always loved my job.
    "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life"- Confucius
    As soon as I finished 12 years of useless public education and finished my term as a Mormon slave, I entered computer programming school for two years where I did more teaching than learning. I was kicked out of class twice for correcting the professor and then asked if I would teach. (I found that humorous as I was already teaching the best students on break, at night and on weekends - but I had higher aspirations) What I like about computers is they are limitless only bound by our imagination. The same fascination I found with the mind, my mistress. "My mind is my mistress"- Keith W Henline
    Bob Dylan said “What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
    By that definition I am a success.
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      Dec 16 2013: Hi Keith!
      Good quote by Confucius. Apparently my mother was on the same page, because she always used to say....do what you love, and/or love what you're doing:>)

      She also encouraged really exploring life with gratitude and joy, with intention to learn and grow, so I have followed her advice throughout my life adventure. She also sang this song a LOT...

      Look for the silver lining, whenever clouds appear in the blue
      Remember somewhere, the sun is shining, and so the right thing to do, is make it shine for you.
      A heart full, of joy and gladness, will always banish sadness and strife
      So always look for the silver lining, and try to find, the sunny side of life.

      Computers are bound by our imagination, just like everything else in the life adventure....in my humble perception and experience. That being said, I have loved every "job" in the life adventure:>)
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        Dec 16 2013: Nice song Colleen I am sure your mom was a very wise woman, "by there fruits shall ye know them". "Computers are bound by our imagination" since our imagination has no bounds that would mean computers have no bounds either, wouldn't you say? Opps, you just did and I agree.
        The part most people have trouble with is input devices like eyes and ears and movement... all of that is coming sooner than we think. As for imagination and cognitive reasoning well how do you think Watson and other computers are already beating the pants off our best and fastest thinkers. The next sixty-five years are going to be exciting and I plan on being around for most of it.
        I will be moving this week to an apartment one block from a college and I will be exploring what they have to offer, I may even do some more lecturing. It is a great spot one block to my bank, college, library, park, Home Depot, Walmart, lone sharks, Albertsons and Mexican food. I'm in heaven...
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          Dec 19 2013: Yeah Keith.....I like the song too....it seems so simple and clear:>)

          I agree....we are only limited by what we perceive to be limitations:>)

          Enjoy your new heaven Keith.....actually, based on your comment, it sounds like you are already enjoying it with your imagination:>)
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      Dec 19 2013: how do you learn, Keith, is it the typical ways, reading, talking to people? Are there any atypical ways to learn?

      One thing I like to do is call in to talk radio shows and talk on the air with the host and guests. I think you learn something by calling in and participating that you don't learn if you just listen to the show. Have you appeared in media in any capacity?

      I'm a smart person, but I have such a block on what quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity are, which I notice you've spoken to. I wonder why people block on one topic that way?
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        Dec 19 2013: Well Greg I also had the block you mentioned about Quantum mechanics but I was curiosity and I have never been afraid to learn new things. I think the foremost reason was wikipedia and the way you can just ask any question in a search now and get a pretty good answer. It was not always that way. Anyway I just started reading first about the terms and then about general theories. Youtube is also a valuable source of knowledge because people make so many videos that explain and show you at the same time how to do things or how things work. I don't know if you read my profile or not but there are not many things I have not dabbled with. The information is there and it is free so I just do it. The best way to get me to do something is to tell me I cannot do it. There is no substitution for hard work so I study constantly. My latest adventure was quadcopters and after some research I went down a got one for $50. I kept learning and crashing and studying some more until I figured out where I wanted to go with them. I can't afford the equipment I want yet but I do know about what it will cost and where to get it so I am looking forward to that. Meanwhile I wanted to test the limits on the one I had so I just put the petal to the metal and flew it straight up until I could barely see it at which point it was out of my transmitter range. It then started heading north and I never saw it again. It was a beautiful sight, like setting a captive bird lose, it just flew away into the wild blue yonder, worth every penny of the $50 I spent.

        By the way here is a 15 video I remixed to explain Quantum mechanics without all the BS just basics:
        http://youtu.be/X4sa1LemVXA
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          Dec 20 2013: and why did you want to know about quantum mechanics despite the block?
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        Dec 19 2013: To get more to your point of learning I am a autodidact. My two most important resources are research mostly through the internet and experience, I just do it. Some of the most profound things I learn come from the sub-conscience which is always working in the background and when it has the answer it get's my attention and lays the knowledge out like a dinner meal. Lot's of times this occurs at night while I am sleeping so it wake's me up and I go write it down or start working on laying out the solution on my computer while the full impact is clear. It is not uncommon to see my lights on at any time of night and it is not uncommon for me to get one of these inspirations and then work for two or more days straight until I am exhausted. I submit problems to my sub-conscience and then wait for an answer. I submitted one particularly hard question about why the world had gone nuts way back in 1967 and finally the answer came in 2010, forty-three years later but the answer was worth the wait.
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        Dec 20 2013: Lose patience? In the case of "Why is everyone in the world crazy?" it is a very very difficult problem that many of our brightest minds have tried to answer, unsuccessfully, for centuries including Einstein who referred to it here: "A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?". Some people think it is a joke, it is not. As difficult as the problem is the solution is simple and even a child understands the answer.
        As to Quantum Mechanics it was curiosity and my stubborn insistence that there is no problem that can not be solved. Curiosity is the gift that keeps most of us going against all odds to overcome even the most difficult of problems.
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          Dec 20 2013: if you encountered someone who didn't seem to have any curiosity, Keith, how would you promote it in them?

          Same question on patience, if you encountered someone without patience, how would you try to promote it?
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        Dec 21 2013: Greg I use the rewards system
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          Jan 13 2014: what are the rewards you offer?

          Keith, I see this conversation is close to closing. If we don't get to talk again, thanks for talking.
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        Jan 13 2014: Knowledge is it's own reward, a satisfaction of accomplishment. Often when you figure out a truth, a principle or one of natures laws, it has a profound impact on the mind because the sub-conscience scans over the information you already have which includes questions and suddenly many things make sense to you. Like putting together a puzzle, the pieces start to fit together and you become more aware that all things are connected. So if I can quide a student to their own "ah haa" moment then I have done my part. The first thing a good teacher should realize is they cannot teach anything, that is something a student must do for themselves. The teachers job is to expose information to the student in a way that peaks their curiousity.
        "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." - Albert Einstein
        "Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life"- Linus Pauling

        If none of this works for you, try chocolate.
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          Jan 13 2014: I was just trying to figure out if the rewards system could be extended to people who have broken the law and gone to prison, I guess we assume that for most people just staying out of prison is enough of a reward, and incentive, for not committing crimes? But maybe it's not? I recall asking my neighbor, who had served seven years for second-degree murder, if he cared about his freedom, and he said he did not.
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    JB E

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    Dec 24 2013: I can honestly say I do not like my job, and the reasons for not liking it are probably all too common. I fell into the job due to demand and money as in my boss demanded I do it, and paid more money to do it. My true passions were never fulfilled due in large part to perceived social pressures a mistake I vowed to not let my kids replicate.
    I think in the beginning I found enjoyment in the field but soon began to see the industry attracted toxic people and fostered a sort of implied logic that deception of the customers was part of the job. I also found the value of the work was not recognized by the public and this forces an adversarial relationship with the customers. In my attempt to find a place in the industry that minimizes all these factors I found myself in an unfulfilling role supervised by a person who at the most shows psychopathology and at the least has narcissistic personality disorder.
    At this point I'm sure your wondering what exactly I do, commercial HVAC mechanic and I'm sure no one would suspect so much drama with a seemingly mundane job. People don't realize how important the job is until their systems fail, they don't realize how expensive they are until they must pay for them, and since they are not fancy or shiny or well known the money spent seems a waste so when people are forced to pay they get mad and think they are being gauged. In order to make a profit companies are forced to make up ridiculous promotions and make ridiculous claims to set themselves apart and then they imply to the employee to lie and not perform the tasks sold.
    What can I do to help myself you ask, I can get out of the business and find something else to do. The problems that make the job miserable are endemic to the industry and nothing I can do to mitigate them. So when I am able I plan to make a break and try doing something I have done in the past that I enjoyed remodeling homes and flipping them.
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      Dec 25 2013: Thanks, JB E. What I'm asking myself is what is a person paying for when you do an HVAC repair for them? Does the job involve a lot of physical effort, or......?

      I'm sorry, I can't exactly understand what that means, "to lie and not perform the tasks sold," can you clarify?
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        JB E

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        Dec 25 2013: sure, first HVAC work is physically laborious in that the equipment can be heavy, the tools are heavy, it can also require you to physically get into tight spaces or very high places. It can also be dangerous requiring the technician to work on live high voltage or active combustion exposing the tech to CO and explosive gases. It's also quite technical in that the technician must know many trades, plumbing, electrical, physics and chemistry. In the commercial field where I work everything is much larger and must be done on rooftops where the equipment is located. I have minimal contact with the actual customer and I deal mostly with the managers, I choose commercial work for this reason.
        When companies sell service work they sell these maintenance contracts where they tell the customer we will do this or that and sometimes they will actually sell a huge long checklist of things the technicians are supposed to physically check, but because the competition for jobs is so great and the customers value the work so little, the contracts are sold at very low hourly costs. The actual cost to go out, climb on someone's roof, rope up a bunch of filters and belts and tools, then go threw a long checklist of electrical readings, refrigeration pressures, and physical checklists, far out weighs what is paid in reality so the companies put pressure (implied) on the technicians to cut corners or to not do the tasks altogether. In some cases the checklists they sell the customer involve doing things to the refrigeration system that actually could damage it, like running compressors in temperatures below zero or hooking up gauges to systems that are brand new repeatedly when its unnecessary, introducing atmosphere and contamination in the systems.
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          Dec 26 2013: thanks, JB E. Now you were saying that when customers have to pay, they get mad and think they are being gouged. Is it a case where you present the bill to them and they get mad directly at you? But now you're saying you rarely deal with the customers but generally with the managers, so I don't have a clear picture of the situation. Who are these managers you're talking about, I would imagine you sometimes work on buildings that have many businesses within them, so are you talking about the building manager? But then maybe you also work on smaller buildings that only have one business within them, in that case it's the manager of the one business? Is it these managers you're presenting a bill to after the work is completed? And they're getting mad at you?

          I was thinking one way to deal with people who are mad about a bill is to communicate exactly what you did for them, that's why I was asking what exactly they are paying for. If I were dealing with someone irate about a bill, I think I would express a little sympathy for them, they say "this bill seems high," I say "I know, but these systems are complicated, it takes a lot of knowledge and effort to fix them," by tacking that little "I know" on at the front you show at least an appearance of sympathizing with them, even if you don't really feel sympathy. I might throw in something about what they can do to maintain the system, clean the filters, etc. Any of this work for you?

          One thing that's kind of funny is even if the systems aren't shiny and visible, people still know they're vital to their business and difficult to fix, so I'm thinking if they appear to get mad at you about your bill, they may be playing with you, maybe they're just pissed off at life and taking it out on you?
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          Dec 26 2013: As far as the deceptions you mention, well, as long as the customer isn't getting mad at you and saying "you didn't do everything on your checklist," what do you care? In the end, the customer does get about what they pay for, is that correct, even if they don't get what's presented on the surface? Isn't that the main thing, to get what you pay for? It's not like the customer could have gotten a better deal anywhere else, because you say every company is doing it.
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    Dec 22 2013: Thanks Colleen, this is a delicate fence to straddle. My personal optimism is not based upon the reality of what I know and have studied and I hate to tackle Greg's optimistic stance to say, "look here, we are doomed", when his optimism is so strong.

    The many, many sources which I could point to that give me reason to doubt the outcome of the direction as a nation and a world is vast. Greg, if you are a happy guy, and it sure sounds like you are, why would I want to throw water on your thoughts? I don't and my choice is to drop this line.

    I did not mention my view of the money side of the world and other than to remind you of the golden rule (dem dat gots da gold makes da rules) I will not point out the grim reality of the power that the mega wealthy five hundred or so families in the world hold over us all. (books abound on the topic)

    If you sail along believing good things are happening you will find more good things around you. I fear you may be missing certain other things, but another truth is, I believe, people attract that which they project. You project a pleasant and affirmative presence and I bet you find goodness in people. I would not want to do or say anything to change that. Good for you, keep that spirit soaring. I would suggest that you keep, somewhere in the back of your mind, this conversation. When "ugly" surfaces, remember that if was just an inch under the water all along.

    Early in this thread, (or was it another ... sorry, I forgot) I mentioned one of my favorite sayings (not most loved, but favorite none-the-less). It is a little saying which points to how the mega wealthy look at the rest of us .... "Keep 'em Busy, Broke and Entertained".
    Cheers
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      Dec 22 2013: Hi David,
      I do not perceive it as a "fence to straddle", because part of the definition of optimism is: "an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome".

      My optimism is not based only on the reality of what I know and have studied either. It is based on my willingness to be a part of the solution...inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events...anticipate the best possible outcome.

      For example, about 15 years ago, when I started participating on local and regional planning and permitting boards, we saw a lot of development with very little concern for the environment. I consistently stated that we can experience development, with consideration for our environment which sustains us.

      Back then, people called me "anti-development", which is not true at all. At the same time I was encouraging environmentally friendly development, I was also serving on the state Economic Progress Council. Within the past 10-15 years, we (our state) is indeed becoming more environmentally friendly with laws to support that effort. Glad they finally came around to my thinking!!! LOL:>)

      What we focus on expands, and when the majority of people are focusing on some of the same things, we move toward those goals. I do not believe that change takes place just as a matter of fate. If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

      You say...."When "ugly" surfaces, remember that it was just an inch under the water all along".

      I say..."To stave off drowning, dive down, embrace it...the sea will spit you back, astonished!"
      (David Brendan Hopes - "A Sense of the Morning - Nature Through New Eyes")

      Greg asks..."Do you like your job? What do you like or dislike about it?"

      We can also ask...Do I like our world? What do I like or dislike about it? What am I going to do about it?
      Each and every day we have the ability to change one little thing in our corner of the world:>)
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      Jan 11 2014: David, I kind of left you for a while. You had asserted a concern about the future of the environment. I started looking for surveys of environmental scientists to see what they thought about the future of the environment, but I didn't do too well. I did get that most believe there is global warming and people are contributing to it. But what I don't know is if scientists believe we are doing enough to fight global warming. But I still wonder if you're not encouraged by certain movements, the electric car keeps getting developed and popularized, solar and wind power become a little more common every year. It makes me sad to think you're depressed about the future of the planet. Is there anything that would give you optimism? What would that be?
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        Jan 11 2014: Earlier I mentioned not wanting to pursue this thread. It was not for a lack of interest in communicating with you or anyone, but rather, it was and is due to my extreme difference of opinion regarding our future. I have low expectations of the human race and even less hope. "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" to name one book (and there are plenty more) will give you a hint of the underlying debauchery which the giant corporations and countries will go to for greed.

        I submit to you that underneath every bit of good news you can discover there is a smouldering pit of over powering greed and manipulation which will be our undoing. Today, minutes ago I learned that our own Governor of California is Pro Fracking. What!?!?! ... are you kidding me??? Who "bought" him??

        We are willing to mess with our water supply for greed ... we are doomed, pure and simple!

        Compressed, here is another of my rules. The 5-90-5 rule: 5% of the people are filthy rich, greedy and manipulative without a soul or concern for ANYTHING but money and power. At the other end, 5% are equally intelligent, maybe more, and are aware of the direction we are heading, but hold little wealth and therefore have no power. In the middle, the 90% ..... bah, bah, bah, Sheep ... blindly wandering and (as I said in my last post) they are 'Busy, Broke but Entertained'.

        Would I love to have a different view? You bet! I can't own a better view ... I read history, study human traits and believe whole heartedly that we, as a race, have written our own epitaph in the sands of time running to the bottom glass in an ever shorter supply.

        Keep looking for a way out of this mess and I hope you find it. I do, I to keep looking, I keep finding reasons to have little to no hope.
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    Dec 21 2013: Greg, I am talking far less about violence performed by others on others than I am about the pathetic way we all treat our planet ... we are fouling the nest rapidly and to our own extinction ... but that's another conversation ... a kitty is indeed softer and more favorable to our tactile sensibilities ... that too could take us down another interesting pathway ... copper is soft by comparison to other metals ... for instance, you cannot (easily) do repose' work in most other metals ... silver and gold are of course very workable, but value and cost suppresses that as a common medium ... copper is generally seen with warm tones giving a "soft" look to it ... you might say if falls gently on the retina

    when filling our an application, when it ask your sex, do you always write "yes" ... lousy joke, but to your point about becoming a gigolo, I actually have no problem with that except where anyone has been drawn into the act outside of their will ... yet another topic for a different venue

    jail cures far less than it schools ... that is supportable with solid evidence ... OK, we have strayed a little ... that in and of itself is never a bad thing, but with respect to all others, we probably need to focus on the "JOB" question originally proposed and our reasons for loving ours (or not)

    BTW, if partaking in TED conversations was lucrative, I might never get away from my keyboard ... the stimuli for my gray matter is a treat ... money would make it my favorite "JOB" ... in which case, it would not be work and just to pull the wagons back into a circle, remember, "it's only "WORK" if you would rather be doing something else"
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      Dec 21 2013: thanks, David. Well, you seem like an optimistic person, am I right? But isn't there cause to be optimistic about the planet, there seems to be a large and increasing awareness of being good to the planet. I'm thinking of things like organic food; recycling programs; the way Southern California has cleaned up its air; we've resuscitated the L.A. River. I would have to imagine some similar things are happening in your neck of the woods.

      Thinking about a kitty's softness would take us down what interesting pathway?

      No, I check horribly repressed on the sex section. I suppose a gigolo is performing a service. I wonder if it breaks prostitution laws? Actually, there are some occupations for someone who likes sex, I would think musician and actor, maybe personal trainer, model perhaps? Maybe painter, Picasso did well with the ladies? I love your emphasis on doing what you want to do, David, one wrinkle might be for people who flit a bit from one thing to another in what they like, how would you advise them what one thing to settle on?

      I would think a big part of jail is keeping most of us scared to commit crimes so we never go there. It's a bit like a police car that cruises a neighborhood and never catches any criminal but prevents crime simply by its presence. And I would think many people who end up in jail find it so unpleasant that they never go back. But do you have any ideas how to prevent recidivism and rehabilitate, it's okay to go off-topic I think if it's a worthy subject.

      Do you think artists are mysterious? Why is that? I appreciate your sharing with me as you've pulled up the veil of mystery.

      Well, one thing I like about TED conversations is being able to do it when I want and not when I don't. Perhaps if you were on a regular work schedule it wouldn't be as fun? But even if you can't directly make money from TED convos, I do think you can take what you learn here and use it to make money elsewhere.
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        Dec 21 2013: Optimistic, only slightly ... maybe in a different "TED conversation" I might expand my reasons for limited optimism ... as to my own life ... I am waaaaay blessed but that only slightly tempers my belief that we are desperately fouling the nest. All that you mention is true, many things have been improved ... more, unfortunately have gotten much, much worse ... our soils are sadly depleted and by now, almost beyond repair, our oceans are cesspools in too many places ... the "blister pack" mentality which has promoted over-packaging of everything, has polluted landfills to death ... yes, recycling is getting much better, but if you become aware of the people dying from exposure while performing recycling tasks in third world countries, it is hard to remain optimistic.

        Carl Sagan may have said it best when he spoke these words: "We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces."

        When the power grid fails, and it will, see how quickly things implode in a world now completely subservient to technology ... no water, no fuel, no food ... a recipe for certain and massive calamity ... if we believe that technology cannot fail us then we will remain wildly and foolishly optimistic and are completely unprepared for self sustenance and preservation ... I am not a "prepper" and do not believe in that as a solution ... if you have so much stuff that you need to protect it with fire power, you have made yourself the biggest, richest target and the second and third strikes will be bigger than anything you can prepare for ... for me, I'll see what I can do with ingenuity and desire to live ... I may be among the first to go, but I won't be killing others to survive in a world that is not fit to live in anyway

        whew, further off topic ... maybe we start a new thread?
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          Dec 22 2013: thank you, David. Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm generally an optimist, so I probably emphasize all the good things. Our soil is depleted? Well, we keep producing food for billions of people, and the food isn't inordinately expensive, so it can't be too bad. Oceans cesspools, I don't really know, I haven't seen any of these "cesspools" with my own eyes, and I slightly distrust what others tell me. Overpacking I had never thought of, although businesses certainly have a stake in not overpacking, all packaging costs them money and takes profit out of their pockets. Whether people die recycling products well one hears that but I do think the media looks for stories to overblow to sell papers.

          I would think billions of people have some understanding of science and technology, sounds like Carl was being dramatic?

          I have some doubt that the power grid will fail because I see that energy is not inordinately expensive, that tells me we are able to produce energy without inordinately taxing anything.

          I base a lot on what I see around me locally. The environment is nice here. Is it not where you live?
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          Dec 22 2013: David and Greg,
          I hope you don't mind if I pop in here for a comment regarding our power grid. I generally stand on the optimistic side of things as well Greg, and I also like to be informed.

          Vermont is making a sincere effort to put alternate energy sources in place, and we are experiencing success with that goal to some extent.
          http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/23007

          Wind towers and solar are being installed more and more. However, often, the wind turbines are shut down because they are producing more power than the grid is capable of accepting. I believe the infrastructure of the grid across the country is challenged, and needs to be upgraded if we are going to use alternate energy sources. Here, they are planning to upgrade the grid whenever new sections are added, or work needs to be done on existing sections. How long that will take nobody knows, but at least there is awareness and a plan in place. If this was happening in the whole country, perhaps the grid would NOT fail, but I'm not sure if there is that much awareness throughout the states.

          We are indeed "taxing" the grid Greg, and I believe your perception that energy is not expensive and easy to produce may be some of the ideas that keep people from conserving. The environment is nice where I live, and I'd like to work toward keeping it that way.

          I agree with David that to be "wildly and foolishly optimistic" and completely unprepared is not so useful. Being an optimist with a plan may be more realistic?
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    Dec 20 2013: And for sharing fun with you all, I'd like to attach a piece of news with the pictures about the roof villa(with plants and a rock garden) built illegally by a professor in Beijing used as a karaoke which has been knocked down recently. I'd like to hear what you think of it.:)
    http://bbs.ejinqiao.com/Topic/420172.htm
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      Dec 20 2013: it's kind of pretty, isn't it, most everything in the photo is gray but the green softens the look and makes it alive. But it looks dangerous to me, like you could somehow fall off or it could go over in an earthquake. What do you think of it, Yoka? How much do earthquakes affect people in China, do you have big earthquakes, and are your buildings strong enough to withstand them or do they fall over and people killed? Here we are doing something called rebar where you take old buildings that weren't built that strong and add some steel I believe in between each floor that makes them stronger.
  • Dec 20 2013: I just retired last year after many years in the computer industry.

    What I liked working in the industry:

    1. The ability to do hardware, software, networking, graphics, user interfaces, etc. - I was able to reinvent myself
    2. Doing research,
    3. develop ideas,
    4. design hardware, software, systems, to solve problems
    5. working with great people,
    6. solving problems, fixing bugs,
    7. maintaining the hardware, software, systems
    8. watching the manufacturing of the product
    9. watching people using what I had designed

    What I hated:
    1. Working with sales, marketing, and legal (necessary evil)
    2. Working upper mgmt people who did not understand technology
    3. Working upper mgmt people who did not understand how projects work
    4. Working with people who were incompetent but thought they were geniuses
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      Dec 20 2013: working in the computer industry you were somewhat on the cutting edge of human development. Did it feel that way, was it exciting to feel in the vanguard?
      • Dec 20 2013: I think it was like any other bleeding edge research area except it just kept changing so quickly from the beginning and it seems to be accelerating. I was at a lecture/dinner where Jay Forrester stated it took them 9 months to decide to use binary arithmetic as the basis for the computer. It was fun trying something no one had tried before with sometimes great success or great failure.

        It was fun and still is. If you are interested, check out the SCC chip from intel. Think it will not be produced but it is interesting move in technology.
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          Dec 22 2013: Where were you based, Wayne, was it in the so-called Silicon Valley? Or by now the computer industry is more spread out? Did you talk to fellow workers about whether they liked their job, what was your impression?

          Is it an elite job to do research and develop ideas, doing so would have put you high up in the rank of jobs? Is there a lot of pressure there? What distinguishes people who get to do elite jobs from people lower down in rank?
      • Dec 22 2013: Nope did not like working in Silicon Valley - was offered many jobs there. Started in New Jersey ended up in Mass with a stop in Southern Cal in between when computers were hot in that area (Santa Barbara, Orange County, and San Diego)
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          Dec 30 2013: what did you dislike about Silicon Valley, wayne, I was in that area between '78 and '90 attending Stanford, seemed like a good area.
      • Dec 31 2013: Less than 5 minutes ago: I did not dislike the work, the companies, some of the bosses I did not like but the main reason was the feeling and traffic, did not feel right for my family. Probably would have made more money but money is not everything. I was tempted several times.
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          Jan 11 2014: is your sense that Silicon Valley is the center of the computer revolution in the U.S., or the world? There are some important companies there, such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. What was it about Silicon Valley that didn't "feel right"?
      • Jan 12 2014: It is the center of software today. not sure about hw. When I was looking, Oracle, Sun, Tandem, Amdahl, HP were the big players. There was SRI also for research. Apple was also a big player but Steve Jobs did not like me and I did not like him.

        I think the innovation centers are everywhere, Israel, East Europe (probably Russia), Asia (Korea, China, Japan), Canada, and other parts of the US. The big companies are buying them - check out the companies that Google, Amazon, Apple,HP, Intel, are buying.
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    Dec 20 2013: You can hire some people to help you if you don't have a spouse. And that can creates more jobs to help people too.

    We here actually can jump over the firewalls via vpn to access to all the foreign websites, which I didn't mention. Becuase I think on the contrary, I can enjoy more freedom from being addicted to the internet. And since I have chances to talk to foreigners, I can be kept informed about some foreign news and know about some true things. In addition,I can still reach many other websites which haven't been blocked.

    I'm the type who doesn't like milk very much. I think maybe because we drink tea a lot. And there're other beverages that taste good. During meals, we have very delicious soups. And I personally think there's some strange smell in the raw milk, furthermore my stomach is a little allergic to too much milk, I prefer yoghourt more. But I know milk is very good for my health, so I sometimes force myself to drink milk everyday. And traditionally,milk here is more expensive. I've heard that it's more expensive than that in Europe.
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      Dec 20 2013: Yeah, I don't think I would trust those people to guard my goat, they don't have the same stake in making sure noone steals her as a spouse.

      If you aren't an IT trainer, perhaps you are training attorneys in aspects of the law?

      Yoka, you do have a version of YouTube in China, correct? Is it called Youku? Do you go on it much, what do you think of it, what do you watch there?

      I am sorry you don't like milk. Were you breastfed as a baby, probably you liked milk then? By the way, can you tell me some about your parents, I can't recall if you've ever said. Here in the U.S. we have a big push now towards breastfeeding, doctors and the government encourage women to breastfeed as it is good for baby's health, physically and psychologically. Do you see a similar push in China, or, how are people on breastfeeding?

      I would think nature and evolution design milk to taste good. After all, the parents want the baby to be happy, and if the milk tastes good, the baby is happy, if it doesn't taste good, the baby is unhappy. Also, nature wants the mother and baby to bond, if it tastes good they will bond, if not they won't. And of course evolution wants the baby to be healthy, so milk should promote health of baby. But wouldn't these same characteristics mean milk is good for adults, too, our taste should not change that much, what makes us healthy should not change that much?
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        Dec 24 2013: "I am sorry you don't like milk. Were you breastfed as a baby, probably you liked milk then? "
        I think your question is a little weird,do you remember what happened when you were an infant? Can you tell me the difference of the taste between milk and breast milk?:)


        By the way, do you know soya milk? Many Chinese people traditionally drink it at breakfast( with steamed buns or Chinese twisted cruller ).
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          Dec 24 2013: Well, my mother and I have talked sometimes about her breastfeeding me as an infant, Yoka, that's how I know about it. You've never asked your mom if you were breastfed, if you haven't it is a reasonably interesting topic. Do you have children? Did you breastfeed them?

          I would think infants do like milk, as for example they do turn away from sour things. Here is a biologist who studied infant's reactions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Steiner As I say, I don't think our taste buds change much as we grow, therefore if we liked milk as infants we should like as adults.

          Yes, we have soy milk. I don't like the taste as much as cow's milk. Cow's milk is probably closer to the experience of drinking milk from your mother as it comes straight from an animal rather than being assembled in a laboratory.

          Do you drink the soy milk? Do you like it? Better than the cow's milk? If you drank large quantities like me, perhaps you would prefer the cow's milk?
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        Dec 24 2013: As I've said before, we're different kind of people. I'd like to make it clear that I wouldn't liken my mother to a cow. And as an infant,it can't make its own choice and drinking breast milk is one of the natural inclinations of a baby. I don't see much sound logic that if you like human's breast milk, you should like a cow's milk.

        I think I have answered all that I can answer you. Hope my information could help you to better understand why Chinese people don't drink milk as much as you do.
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          Dec 24 2013: Well, I wasn't emphasizing likening people to animals. I was saying that milk from an animal is more like milk from a human being than soy milk is. You do know what soy milk is, right, Yoka, it's made by people from soy beans, sugar, and water.

          I believe babies do have a choice, they turn away from something that is sour. So when they don't turn away from their mother I would think that shows they like the taste.

          No, I'm afraid I haven't gotten much understanding. I think you said you dislike the taste, but you did not say what you dislike about it?
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        Dec 25 2013: I think you had mentioned breast milk before I mentioned soya milk. When you 're deadly hungry you'll eat everything possible if you haven't anorexia.

        "No, I'm afraid I haven't gotten much understanding. I think you said you dislike the taste, but you did not say what you dislike about it? "
        You may neglect what I said in my former posts.
        Take care.
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          Dec 25 2013: Well, I suppose when you're hungry you'll eat a lot of things, Yoka. But there would be signs that you don't like it, wouldn't there, you would hesitate to go to it, or you would often stop while eating, or you would make a sour face. I don't think babies do any of these things, they drink breast milk happily and peacefully?

          Yes, I'm sorry, you did give more reasons that I forgot about. But one thing about them is, other countries also have many delicious foods and beverages, yet the people drink more milk than in the Asian countries. Did I give you the list from Wikipedia where they put countries in order by the amount of milk drunk per person, starting with the most milk. No Asian country shows up until number 75. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_milk_consumption_per_capita

          I'm guessing that if you gave a baby a choice between a breast that was dispensing milk, and one that was dispensing tea, it would go to the one dispensing milk. Milk feels nicer in the mouth, doesn't it, a little thicker and more substantial than tea?
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        Dec 30 2013: I think you're really talkative in your way. And I'd like to make a clarification that those are MY answers according to your questions. Different people may have different answers, please ask other people until you get your expected answer.

        Adults are definitely different from babies. When we are born, the best drink(should be food) is the breast milk. Not because it's delicious but nutritious so that it's good enough for baby's growth as well as for mothers-- you've mentioned in your past posts.

        We don't feed babies tea, we use the substitute of breast milk--- dispensing milk instead because of its nutritions too. And the fact is babies' always like to cry when they are upset. Sometimes because they are hungry, sometimes they want to have a relax etc. Do you think people always follow the babies' wills to raise them? But when the babies grow up, they have their own awareness of ego and become much more independent. They may have more choices to select. That's very natural and necessary.

        After all, there're many people who like drinking milk in the world. It's not bad.
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          Dec 30 2013: well, I haven't gotten to watch a mother breastfeed her baby, have you, Yoka? I imagine the baby sucks rather eagerly at the milk, that would say the baby likes the taste, if it didn't like the taste it would suck but only reluctantly? It makes some sense that the milk would taste good, after all the mother's body makes the milk from the food the mother eats, and most likely the mother eats food that tastes good. But I would also think evolution favors the milk tasting good, for example nature would like the baby to drink a good portion of the milk to be healthy, and hence nature makes it taste good?

          What is your point when you say babies always like to cry when they are upset? It's true, but I can't see what it has to do with the subject? But often when a baby is crying, if it sucks the milk it will stop crying, that might show the milk tastes good?

          True, when you grow up you have more choices what to eat, but I say the first food is the best food. I tend to think the breastmilk reflects the mother's love, and therefore it is the best, you would agree that mother's love is wonderful? You know, if I think about it, Yoka, the pure taste of milk is not that much better than meat and vegetables. But by being so much water it's very refreshing, in that sense it is better food. Also, by being liquid, I believe it hits your taste buds in a very pleasant way, it comes into your mouth and you immediately taste it all over your mouth, it's not like solid food you have to chew to get the flavor.

          I definitely am asking other people. I guess we can say that in China it is the tradition not to drink much cow's milk. The question is how did the tradition begin?
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    Dec 20 2013: “ Well, the only kind of trainer at a legal firm that I can find on the web is an IT trainer, ” What website is so obsolete?:)
    Thank you for sharing your story of your family. I wish you and your family "Merry Christmas" in advance.

    Probably it's due to the western media and some Oscar Chinese movies which describe the poor and old China that makes you think "But then my dad died young at age 65 (well, that is young in the U.S., maybe it's average in China?)". For example,I 've checked the news of the visit from the British Prime Minister --Mr. David Cameron to China in CNN's November's news, but found nothing reported. But it's a fact. And before that I saw a thread here arguing about the western report on the violent event in Beijing.....
    Here is the link for your reference about Chinese people's new average life span. In Shangahai, I've heard for female it's 82 and for male it's around 75.
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2102.html
    China:
    total population: 74.99 years
    male: 72.96 years
    female: 77.27 years (2013 est.)

    the USA
    total population: 78.62 years
    male: 76.19 years
    female: 81.17 years (2013 est.)

    "Here in the U.S. we have a small "urban farming" movement. It is a case where people who live in cities feel a wish to raise some of their own food, they think it is psychologically healthy. So they get permission, for example, to keep some chickens..... "
    Yes, we Chinese also have this kind of service here. No business chances would be neglected. You can invest on a piece of a farmland and ask other people(pay some money) to let them take care of your crops and you can go there whenever you like . It's said you can also break into other people's land to enjoy the fun of stealing some crops sometimes.Just like the pc games with some rules. Roof plants are also popular here but may cost a few years to be spread widely.
    I can see your great passion in developing dairy business. I'd like to say...
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    Dec 17 2013: Yes, I like my job very much. It provides me a lot of satisfaction: creation and autonomy, reasonable workload with good working evironment both in hard and soft surroundings. And my company isn't very far from my home and our boss is kind to his employees.
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      Dec 17 2013: I apologize, Yoka, I believe you said what your job is but I have forgotten. Are you a teacher? What are you teaching?

      Here in the United States some jobs traditionally have come with "benefits," which might include medical insurance, although that may all be changing now due to "Obamacare." How does medical care work in China, are there health insurance companies?

      Not sure what you mean by hard and soft surroundings.
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        Dec 18 2013: I don't accept your apology because I haven't said what my job is. :)
        " soft surroundings" means the climate in the company and more related to people.
        "hard surroundings" means the hardwares of the office, the environment and the office equipment.
        Maybe they are Chinglish.:)

        Usually people like me working in a legal company will have medical insurance paid by both company and ourselves. The personal part will be deducted from your salary and turned over to the social medical funds. We all have a social medical ID card if we pay for the medical insurance. And when we go to the hospital, we use this card to pay for the treatment and the medicine. We have to pay some money in advance if there's not enough money in your personal medical account. And if it's reimbursible, there'll be the number of money written on the invoice"reimbursible", you can apply to your company ( freelancers: the government )for the money later on with the invoice. Different people may have different percentage of getting reimbursement.
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          Dec 18 2013: I'm glad you are happy. What exactly do you do at the legal company? Is it something you trained for? Do you see yourself rising in the company, are you ambitious?

          Do you think most people are happy in their job, or do you feel qualified to say? It is quite difficult to say isn't it when you think of how big the world is and how many people there are.

          So basically health coverage is provided for everyone through the government ultimately, there are no separate, private health insurance companies?
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        Dec 19 2013: I'm sorry I don't like to stray off the topic and talk more about my privacy. I can tell you I'm a trainer and I think the climate of a company possibly influences people's working mood more or less. I used to work in some big Japnanese companies but I don't think people there were working happily. The atmoshpere there is a little intense and unhealthy. It doesn't matter if someone doesn't agree with me on this.

        We have commercial health insurance products in Shanghai too. It seems nothing is impossible during our economic progressing, espcially in the economic center--Shanghai.

        I still remember you said you didn't have any job due to your health problem. You get your allowance from your mother, right? So why did you start this thread?Do you like to be a freelancer? What job do you like to take up most? What do you value most of a job?
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          Dec 19 2013: Well, the only kind of trainer at a legal firm that I can find on the web is an IT trainer, meaning you would teach people at the firm how to use different software? I'm quite surprised, Yoka, that that would be a full-time job, it must be a big firm? So you like to teach, eh?

          Well, I do some work for my mother, Yoka. Basically my parents started out with very little, worked very hard, and ended up with a very successful business of owning and managing apartment buildings. But then my dad died young at age 65 (well, that is young in the U.S., maybe it's average in China?) So my mother ended up with a very big business and a big house to run alone, so she can use some help.

          I started this thread because I enjoy learning and one interesting thing to learn about is people's work. I do believe it's valuable to learn how other people do things because even if you want to do a goal that is different from another person's goal, you can take something, some idea or technique, from how they accomplished their goal and use it to accomplish your different goal.

          I have done many different jobs, but eventually I decided I would like to have some cows and live off the milk, not necessarily sell the milk. But it's hard to do this when you are single like me, I think you need a spouse. For example, what if I have to leave the cows alone to go somewhere, what will prevent someone from stealing them? It seems to me this would be a satisfying job because it's pretty interesting to deal with living creatures, and challenging to keep them happy, healthy, and producing food. Plus I think milk is the most delicious, healthy, and wholesome food.

          Here in the U.S. we have a small "urban farming" movement. It is a case where people who live in cities feel a wish to raise some of their own food, they think it is psychologically healthy. So they get permission, for example, to keep some chickens.....
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          Dec 19 2013: in cages on the roof of their apartment building and get the eggs. Or they grow vegetables on the roof. Do you see anything like this in China? Do you yourself grow any of your own food? Do you wish you could, would you see any value in it?

          Yoka, I can't remember if I've asked you this question, so I'll ask again, I have been trying to ask many Asian people that I meet. Why do you think Asian people drink less milk than other groups? Here is an entry from Wikipedia that shows milk consumption per capita (per capita means per person), and you see that the first Asian country doesn't show up until number 75 down the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_milk_consumption_per_capita

          I have also been trying to interest the medical establishment here in my country in investigating an idea I have that living almost entirely on milk could help with many diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, and so on. As you know, I have been living almost entirely on skim milk for the last five years, and it helped me a lot with eye disease. I think for the same reasons it helped my problem it could help others with other problems. I have been emailing for about eight months with NIH (National Institutes of Health), which is the largest government health research organization in the U.S., about researching it, and they are considering it. Here is a YouTube video I made about it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScBdrL-E-Sg Oh wait, Yoka, you can't see YouTube, can you? Do you have any interest in seeing it? I was having this discussion with people about how anyone can see YouTube in China if they buy VPN, which is totally legal: http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_x_li_a_tale_of_two_political_systems.html?c=788560 You might like this TED talk also.
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    Dec 16 2013: Greg, I am retired three times and my schedule is six Saturdays and a Sunday. It is rough but I am determined to make it work for me .....
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      Dec 16 2013: what are the challenges and the ones you met how did you do it?

      What jobs have you done in your life, Robert? Did you like them, and what about them?
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        Dec 16 2013: Retired from the military, General Dynamics, and the State of Arizona, Still involved on law enforcement, coaching three sports, writing for the local paper, school board, man tracker for the Sheriff, search and rescue, CASA, Civil emergency response team, and politics.

        Guess I'm just lazy.
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          Dec 18 2013: Glad you're still busy. But it is different than when you were in the paid work world, isn't it, at least you might not feel as much pressure to perform since you're not collecting a paycheck?

          The career you had, Robert, were the things you were doing kind of similar over the long haul, in other words, working in the military and for General Dynamics sound like they could be similar in that General Dynamics does some military work, but I don't know what you were doing for the state? What were the satisfactions of your career? What were the downsides? Anything you'd go back and change?
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        Dec 18 2013: "kind of similar". After a fashion. But thing evolve .. new equipment ... new procedures ... new challenges ... very little is static.

        I think the big killer is routine ... I have a selection of things I do and some are physical and some are pure mental, and some combine both. I have always found a way to see some fun and challenge in all of my tasks. I enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

        A lot of it is mind set. If you see a job and immediately see it as a "bad" job ... it will be. If you see it as a challenge and something that needs to be done ... you can take pride in the accomplishment then it is no longer a chore.

        I always look for ways to improve, grow, and learn in any position I was in.

        I avoided office politics. The absolute worst activity (other than harassment) you can fall into ... there is no where to go than down.

        The best is working with kids.

        Take care. Bob.
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          Dec 21 2013: I see you currently coach three sports, Bob. Is that a lot of exercise? If not, do you find a way to exercise, what is it?
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        Dec 22 2013: I try to keep in good shape ... round is a shape isn't it .... I am about five pounds over what I like to maintain. I do exercise with the kids and have a regular work out routine. I once exercised for strength and endurance ... I now exercise for muscle tone, circulatory, and respiratory maintenance.

        I once worried about what shape I was in ... I now am concerned what condition my condition is in.
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          Dec 22 2013: care to say what your workout routine is, Robert? It might be useful and inspiring to others reading.

          Appreciate the general principles of how to feel good about the work you do. Did you ever feel like you had to "fool" yourself, you knew you didn't want to do something, but you told yourself you liked it? Do you think people have to do that sometimes, how often?

          If you like, tell me about the specific jobs you did in the military, General Dynamics, state of Arizona. I enjoy hearing about others' work, it broadens and deepens my knowledge of the world and life.
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        Dec 22 2013: As for a work out routine for us seniors ... it is all about individual needs and desires. The best all around is swimming. For any exercise for those of us at the 70 / 80 mark I think that a good warm up routine is essential. A good brisk walk is healthy, ride a bike, during the winter mall walk if you have one, exercise with spouse or friend ... the most important thing is to talk to your doctor and consult with a health and diet professional.

        As for jobs .. we each have our own way of knowing when it is time to leave or for a change. For me it was when I lost the urge to get up and go in .. it was no longer either a joy, challenge, or fun.

        The government having redesigned the work week to 30 hours has sent us back to depression mentality .. if you are lucky enough to have a steady job do what ever you can to keep it.

        If you go to the National Debit Clock and look at the Official unemployed and then down one block to the actual unemployed you will see a big difference. All of the people that are still working less than 30 hours a week are considered employed ... it is a big number game to make the ones in office look good when the facts differ. We should always do our own math. Don't buy into the leap of employment this month ... that a suckers game ... they are all seasonal temps at minimal wages and no benefits. Just another math trick to make those in office look good.

        For everyone who believes 100% what any politician tells them ... there is a village somewhere that is missing a idiot.

        So, Greg, even if you have to fool yourself into going to work these days ... do it.

        Thanks for the reply.

        Bob.
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          Jan 11 2014: Bob, what do you mean "if you have to fool yourself into going to work these days....do it"? You mean if you don't like your job, do it anyway because of the tight job market? Does that contradict what you said above that you would leave a job when you lost the urge to get up and go in? But maybe those were better times?
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        Jan 11 2014: The key word is "these days".