On disfluencies

Your Speech Is Packed With Misunderstood, Unconscious Messages, by Julie Sedivy: Since disfluencies show that a speaker is thinking carefully about what she is about to say, they provide useful information to listeners, cueing them to focus attention on upcoming content that’s likely to be meaty. […]   Experiments with ums or uhs spliced in or […] » about 300 words

David Halberstam On Competition

Speaking at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism last month, David Halberstam struck the chord of competition journalists must struggle with. As a newspaper man who started at the smallest newspaper in Mississippi and worked his way up to the New York Times, where he won a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Vietnam War, he […] » about 300 words

Beat Box Bush and DJ Cheney

Bush speech mashups rock. From Google Video:

So, you wanna learn how to beatbox? GWB is back with another amazing performance. Surprisingly he is actually very good.

Previously: State of the Union? Not good.

Also, note the tags on that video, and the way somebody snuck “????? ??? ? ???” past the filters.

Education America

Today I discovered (thank you Ryan) Kareem Elnahal’s speech as valedictorian of Mainland Regional High School and I discovered new hope, new faith in our country’s future. When high school students can step up and speak truth to power, as Elnahal did so well, I become a believer in the strength of human spirit. “We […] » about 1000 words

Donald Norman — Everyday Things

I was especially young and impressionable when I discovered Don Norman‘s The Design of Everyday Things, but I still claim it’s required reading for anybody who’s read more than one post here at MaisonBisson. That’s self selection at work, but let me put it this way: unless you’re the only consumer of the things you create, then you need to read this. Now.

I feel foolish to have only recently discovered Norman’s website and essays. It’s there that I found he’s giving the commencement address today at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering Professional Masters Programs. He summarizes his prepared statement thusly:

If you work very hard, perhaps you too can get a silly hat like this (wearing my silly racoon-tail hat from the University of Padua). What is the moral? Take your work seriously, so someone might award you the hat (and the honorary degree that goes with it). But, as the hat illustrates, never take yourself seriously: strive to do things that matter, that make a difference, but have fun while doing so.

It’s cutesie, but I kinda like the message, and not just because today is also my birthday and I’m especially susceptible to schmaltz. Eh…