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Monthly Archives: January 2017
1

The Case for “Alternative Facts”.

THE CASE FOR
“ALTERNATIVE FACTS”

 

Is there is such a thing as an alternative fact?

Aren’t facts by definition true?

 

If proven false then don’t they cease to be . . .

fact?

 

In the land before the internet I enjoyed court room dramas. Inevitably the prosecution and the defense would take turns interviewing their experts who would present competing evidence. With the internet it is possible for any debate to become a courtroom drama. You can find evidence, facts, and experts that support any believe or opinion. Now for the matter at hand I don’t care if Trump had more attendees or not. My first thought when I see a headline like that is that there isn’t much going on at the moment, (but they have to report on something). I don’t think crowd size at the inauguration is blog-worthy, let alone a press conference, but I believe what has happened here is a microcosm of the larger drama between the Trump Administration and the media. That is worth taking a closer look at.

It’s worth paying attention because in this case we have access to all the facts. That will not always be the case. We can look at the facts and draw our own conclusion. Kellyanne Conway believes this incident is a “symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this President often receives.” Is that what is happening here? Or do we have, as the Media tells it, a situation where government is brow beating reporters for telling the truth.

Recode does a fair job of covering the issue but there are some other sources I want to reference. It started with the Times reporting that fewer people attended President Trump’s inauguration than President Obama’s in 2009.

peak_obama_from_wash-monpeak-trump-from-wash-mon

The Times reports the images were both captured 45 minutes before the oath of office. The Times’ expert, Keith Still, estimates that the crowd on the National Mall on Friday was about one-third the size of Mr. Obama’s. He is a professor at Manchester Metropolitan University in England and a crowd safety consultant. He has consulted for the 2011 royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as the Saudi government on crowds for the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

I tuned in about 10 min before noon. There were performances and prayers just before the swearing in of Vice President Pence. According to the Times attendees were still entering the National Mall up until Mr. Trump’s speech. Better late then never. That is like showing up to a movie for the last 15 min. There obviously was room for them. Fox news provides some additional facts that support the Times’ narrative.

Then Spicer entered the debate. I find it odd that the White House held a special press conference on Saturday ahead of the first scheduled conference on Monday to address the matter. He made five points to refute the Times:

“This was the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the Mall. That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing, while in years past the grass eliminated this visual.”

“All of this space [from Trump’s platform to the Washington Monument] was full when the president took the Oath of Office.”

“We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural.”

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”

“This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.”

Each of these points have been proven false. I have the same question Chuck Todd asks Kellyanne Conway in the clip below,

Why send Spicer to the podium to litigate a provable falsehood? Mind you about the smallest, pettiest thing.

“Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods,” Chuck Todd tells Pres. Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway this morning. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/Ao005dQ13r

Kellyanne makes a great point, “Presidents are not judged by crowd sizes, they are judged by their accomplishments.” She follows up with the statement,

“I am about things that are quantifiable and important.”

But the Trump Administration’s actions tell a different story. Is she avoiding the question?

So is there is such a thing as an alternative fact? Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods. I want to make the argument that we should consider and even seek out facts that contradict our opinions and beliefs. We don’t need to rename them. They are simply fact.

If proven false they cease to be . . .

fact.

2

An Analog (Printable) Monthly Planner for Tech Professionals in 2017

WTF is a Bullet Journal?

An analog (printable) monthly planner for a digital world.

It is not about adhering to a system, it is about getting things done. Are you looking for a printable monthly planner for 2017? Probably not. I wasn’t. But now I’m trying out this new tool: a bullet journal. You can old school GTD with this tool. I wouldn’t consider it otherwise. David Allen, the creator of Getting Things Done (GTD) has said that all you need from your software is a good list manager. Bullet journals meet the need.  And if you are poo-pooing it because it’s analog . . .

. . . the cornerstone of almost every tech company today is a powerful analog task management system, stored on a whiteboard (or the nearest window), called Scrum.

 

Cliff’s Notes On Bullet Journals:

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Flexible enough to handle whatever I throw at it.

Fast enough that it doesn’t get in the way.

Track the past (Journal).

Organize the present (Organizer).

Plan for the future (Calendar).

 

20170101_191305

“Why opt for a print planner for 2017?”

I found this article to be really helpful:

bullet-journal-ven-diagram

  • You can use any notebook but dot-graph paper is the most versatile.
  • You jot down quick notes instead of writing long sentences.
  • It is a to-do list, planner, & organizer . . . all-in-one.
  • You use several symbols to distinguish between notes, events, and to-do items. (See image of key page below.)

That makes a lot of sense to me. It is efficient and effective to roll these three records into one.

 

 

 

 

 

“It took me less than an hour to set up.”

There are a half dozen pages you need to set up the bullet journal. It really took no time at all.

Symbol Key & Index Pages.

printable monthly planner for 2017 - symbol key and index.

You use several symbols to distinguish between notes, events, and to-do items. You can customize them for your own use. The key page documents what they mean for reference: a dot for tasks, a dash for notes, & circles for events. The reference helps because symbols can evolve between books. The index page organizes important pages for easy reference.

Calendar Pages.

printable monthly planner for 2017 - calendar

 

Year At a Glance Page & Book List.

 

printable monthly planner for 2017 - year at a glance

I will go back and fill out the year at a glace as needed. I realized that I don’t write so much these days. I noticed certain muscles in my hand cramping up.

Weekly Log (Sprint) Page.

printable monthly planner for 2017 - weekly log

The weekly log #IMHO is the key to this whole system. A month is too long, and days are too short. The obvious criticism is the systems greatest strength. You can’t maintain a large backlog. That is a huge strength of this system. An over-sized backlog results from the inability to say no. A bullet journal will force you to say no because you need to copy over (migrate) the backlog to the next sprint. It forces you to think about items before moving them over. it’s also a great motivation to complete the weekly sprint (so you don’t have to migrate it forward).

Daily Log.

printable monthly planner for 2017 - daily log

I use my daily log to track my gratitude, happiness, and food journals. I also choose items from my weekly sprint to work on. Did you notice I fold my pages? This helps keep my notes short and minimizes white space on the page.

 

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Other References I Found Helpful.

23 Bullet Journal Ideas That Are Borderline Genius

2017 At A Glance

Some updates for 2017