posted 2 days ago on metafilter
How can our organization stop people from feeling simultaneously guilty and oversubscribed?I'm a member of a newly formed activist group on campus. Here is a thing that happens nearly every week: I get ready to go to our meeting. I have a vague sense of how busy the upcoming week is, and an even vaguer sense of how much time I have to commit to group activities. Say this week it's 10 hours. I go to our meeting, and various projects are proposed (tabling, research, etc.). I volunteer my time for those projects until it seems like I've committed to approximately 10 hours of work, and then I stop raising my hand. However, projects keep being proposed, and other activists keep volunteering for them, and soon it seems like the person sitting next to me is volunteering *way* more time than me - say, 20 hours - and they are feeling overwhelmed. "Can't someone please help me out with this?" they plead. I feel guilty, so I raise my hand and volunteer an extra two hours of my time, which isn't quite enough, but is still more than I meant to commit - so I leave the meeting feeling simultaneously guilty (because I know my friend is taking on more than her fair share of the burden) and stressed out (because I'm taking on more than I intended to.) If this continues to happen, the negative feelings ratchet upward, and soon I start avoiding meetings, either because I'm doing too much and I'm burning out, or I'm doing too little and going to meetings makes me feel guilty. The problem isn't so much that the work is distributed unevenly, which seems inevitable, but that people are, for various reasons, feeling obligated to do more work than they want to do -- there's an absence of both clarity and control. I have some ideas about how to solve this problem, but it seems to me that this must be a problem that plagues every single group that depends on people volunteering their time, and I'm curious about what kind of accepted solutions are out there. I'm planning to present on the topic next week, and ideally I'd like to discuss suggest multiple possible approaches. 1. Is there a keyword or phrase that is used to describe this problem that I could use to do some research on it? I think it'd be cool to mix in some management "theory" along with practical suggestions. 2. Do you have solutions to this problem that can work for groups without an established hierarchy/leadership? I'd be particularly interested in solutions that worked for groups like Occupy. Thanks so much!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time [New York Times] With Intensive Swim Lessons, a Man Attacks His Fear of Water "Traumatized by childhood incidents, Attis Clopton was deathly afraid of water, so he attacked his phobia by enrolling in a program of swimming lessons."

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Next week I have my final interview for a caseworker position with ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program). If they want to hire me, I'll have a tough choice to make - and it's even tougher because I don't know anyone who works for the program (or even in similar programs). Can you give me some idea about what it's like to work there, or in similar positions?Some background: I am currently employed by a small not-for-profit agency in a job that has a lot of great perks - plenty of vacation and personal time, great co-workers, fantastic clients, a lot of autonomy in my role, flexible hours, and an amazing reputation in the community. The negatives are that the pay is awful (and hasn't increased in many years), there's no chance for advancement because it's such a small agency, and there's no way I'll ever be able to afford to retire on this salary. I will need to leave this job at some point in the future, for all the reasons noted, but it's not urgent that I get out immediately. I could stay there for another year or two without suffering. I really enjoy the good parts of my job. That said, there are seldom any job openings of interest in my community and most of them pay poorly. I think that the good things about ODSP are the salary (starting at 1.75 times what I currently make), the normal business hours, not being reliant on funding applications coming through in order to keep the job, the possibility of being able to retire someday, and ....what else? I've worked for plenty of big for-profit companies, the kinds that have pensions and HR departments, so I know what that environment is like (almost the opposite of where I am now) and I suspect that ODSP is more like those jobs than the small, friendly place where I'm currently employed. I imagine I'd be essentially chained to a desk, have little autonomy, have little personal time/vacation time, and ... what else? I will ask questions at the interview but I know that they're not going to grumble at me and tell me all the positives/negatives of the position - so I'm looking for some real info from anyone who's worked for ODSP or similar ministry/government positions. Please tell me ANYTHING you think I should know. Some starting points: 1. How big of a culture shock would it likely be for me to move into a job at ODSP (or similar) after several years working in a small, not-for-profit? 2. What are the perks/drawbacks of working for ODSP (or similar)? 3. Is there still job security in a job like this? It's unionized, but I've heard some rumblings about working for the government not being as secure and stable as it was in the past. 4. Is there a chance of advancement from a caseworker job with ODSP? Can you move around/upward? 5. Bonus: They've asked me to bring my references to the interview and stated that they must include my current supervisor. My current supervisor has no idea I'm looking, let alone interviewing, for jobs. I would prefer that she not know until I've decided what I want to do. Any advice? Throwaway email: zeeveebee@gmail.com

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I am in the UK and have a UK amazon account. My recipient is in the US. How should I send her books? The books are available on the US website - can I save money and shipping by having them sent from the US? if so how can I do that from my UK amazon account? Thanks, I fail at googling this!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Most cheap non-rechargeable AA Batteries (typically from China) go flat very quickly. About 15 years ago, typical batteries seemed to last about 4 times longer (my subjective opinion). I want long lasting batteries, what is a good type, what should I look for, what terminology "alkaline?". Thank you.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I am saving to go to Europe to do a masters degree. I am interested in International Relations, International Law, Human Rights, and European Affairs (history and institutions of the EU, European Law). I'm Australian but I also have UK dual nationality. I am starting to investigate programmes but am finding it hard to narrow down the options and find the best one for me. My question is: how do I work out which master's programmes have the best/ worst reputation?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I am in desperate need of a new laptop but I don't want to spend much money. I need the laptop for editing PDF documents.I download about 50 PDFs each week (student papers, most just a few pages of text) and use Adobe Acrobat to put comments in each file. Can Chromebook do this? Is there anything out there for less than $300 that can handle this type of use?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I have a PC with three hard drives running Windows 7. It recently started crashing to BSODs and being unable to reboot (I would press the power button and be presented with a blinking cursor for the next 1000 years) so I ordered recovery discs from ASUS, resigned myself to losing everything on my boot drive, and inserted them into the optical drive.Lo and behold, through some mistake in my drive letter designation, the new OS was installed on a different hard drive than the original Windows installation. Thus, all my old program folders are still intact. However, I still have to reinstall programs in the new C drive to get them to work. My question, therefore, is how to recover my old Firefox configuration (bookmarks, mods, add-ons, etc.) from the old drive, plug it into the new Firefox folder, and be able to access Metafilter without actually having to type in the URL window.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Flestrin minimus, a US citizen by birth and also a British citizen by descent by way of being the legitimate son of a British father, is planning to travel to London to visit family and study. He has a valid US pasport and has applied for a British passport, BUT said British passport has not yet arrived (it turns out that allowing 40% longer than the 10 week estimate was not enough extra padding). So, he has a US pasport, a one-way plane ticket and time constraints. How best to proceed?Should he: Tell the airline that he's a British citizen, so they let him on the plane without a return booking, and bring birth certificates etc. to prove it to UK immigration if challenged. Buy an unrestricted UK->US ticket for the putative "return leg" of a round trip and change it/get a refund later, if asked just saying that he is visiting family (which is true). Do something else*? No doubt the British passport will arrive shortly after he departs and we can send it on to him. If he has entered the UK on a US passport, will he need to exit the UK on his US passport then reenter on his British passport (say, a day trip to Calais) some time in the next six months to keep everything square? Is there anything else to consider? Oh, just to cover all bases, he's been to the UK a bunch of times before as a tourist on his US passport, but because of his pending application HM Passport Office (and hence possibly UK immigration) now has details of his dual citizenship linked to his US passport number. *I suppose he could try to apply for a student visa, but if he is even eligible it muddies pools: I'm not sure there's still time, it's an extra, unnecessary expense, and it's likely to cause confusion with the university etc. when he magically changes into a British citizen a week or five later.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Katherine G. Johnson: NASA Mathematician (via) also btw... -Katherine Johnson: NASA Pioneer and "Computer" -Katherine Johnson: National Visionary -Katherine Johnson: A Lifetime of STEM

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
How did something as loud as a bell—something which is experienced so much more often, and more powerfully, by hearing than by sight—become dumb? A dumbbell originally referred to equipment simulating a bell rope that did not make a noise, used for practicing bell ringing technique and developing strength. [T]he possible combinations presented by eight bells (40,320 changes) would [...] have taken over thirty-seven hours to fully work through. Katherine Hunt writes on the history of change ringing, in which multiple bells are rung in varying orders without repeating the same pattern. See more Youtube videos.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
A dear friend (female, early 30s) is at the end of her battle with cancer. Our circle of close friends is spread out all over the country. We've been sending gifts, visiting, pooling money together for cleaning and dog walking, etc for a year. But we're in the final month or two, she's in pain (just now starting to turn to palliative care) and I'd love some ideas on how we can support her and her husband.There is a Facebook group where people are constantly posting little supportive messages. We all have signed up for stem cell match programs, etc. 1. We've been sending books and art and stuff, got her an iPad, Netflix, etc. There is a current fundraiser that has raised thousands of dollars already and we've had a few other thousand dollar+ fundraisers. Are there things we should be sending now that would be more useful for both her and her husband? 2. Should people try to visit? She has been refusing visits from friends that live nearby, but when they show up, she grudgingly receives them. We all worry that if we fly to her that it will be difficult and overwhelming for her. She will say no if we ask. Her husband is probably too distraught to make a decision. If we try to visit, should we go in small groups or alone? If we visit, what can we do when we are with her? 3. How can we talk about this realistically with her - both online and on the phone and in person if a visit can happen? Do we pretend that she is not dying and try to talk about other stuff? 4. There is a broader circle of people that have been donating money, sending support, etc. but only a dozen of us know really how bad it is (in our friendship circle, obviously other spheres of her life have people that know too). She did not tell us directly - she is pretty vague right now in her posts to the Facebook group - but her husband tells one of the closer group and then we all know. What is appropriate in terms of letting the outer circles know how bad things are? I assume that they would want to know, but what's appropriate in terms of her privacy? When there have been downturns in the past, I've quietly sent an email to one or two key people in the broader circle and assume that they'll tell their close people quietly too. Should we do this again? Anonymous out of respect for her privacy.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm employed now but have been job-searching for a few months. I've finally found a company that I'd like to work for. The disappointing part is, the final offer they've made is for a lower salary than I'd wanted; after crunching the numbers, I would be earning the same as what I earn at my current job, with no title change. Is it a good idea to move to a new employer for equivalent pay, if the only discernable difference between the two is that the new job seems more interesting?One wrinkle: The base salary in the offer is subject to review after 4 months, at which point it's likely I'd get a significant bump in pay. If I stay at my current job, I stand a good chance of being promoted within the next six months, which would come with a slightly smaller pay jump than what I could potentially get at the new job after 4 months. I'm not unhappy at my current job, but I'm pretty bored and feel kind of unmotivated due to several beloved coworkers leaving, and the lack of interesting work of late. But my current work environment is mostly great, and I have a lot of flexibility - not to mention I've built up seniority after several years here. Overall, both companies pay below market for my field, but both have decent benefits (health, 401k, vacation and bonus policies are very similar). I really like the people at both companies, and the work environment at the new place seems nice too -- it's kind of eerie how similar the two companies are, so I honestly don't know if the risk of leaving is worth it. Is the new job offer worth taking, knowing that the work might be a little bit more interesting than what I have now, or should I stay, or try looking for something better?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm getting a really nice queen-size bed in a few days and I want to outfit it with top-of-the-line, premium pillows, sheets, covers, blankets, and a world-class mattress pad. What's the best that money can buy?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Confessions of a Fat Bastard: Texas Monthly's Daniel Vaughn on the life of a full-time barbecue writer. "Since Texas Monthly named me the nation's first and only full-time barbecue editor in March 2013 (previously), my health has been a topic of international discussion. My job requires that I travel from one end of the state to the other eating smoked brisket, one of the fattiest cuts on the steer. And I can't forget to order the pork ribs, sausage, and beef ribs. Of course my diet is going to raise eyebrows. Including those of my doctor."

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Just went out to the family car to find it has a flat battery. Such a lovely day outside, I really don't feel like jump starting it, and I don't need it today. However, I was speaking to my father (who's overseas, I'm house sitting) and he'd prefer I do it today as car batteries shouldn't be left in an uncharged state as doing so does damage. Is this true?Additional details: the battery has probably been flat for about four days now -- I just haven't used the car. Its also a brand new battery. It's going to be a little difficult to jump start the car as it will need to be pushed out of the narrow driveway (a two person job). Tomorrow I can get a couple of friends to help.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Looking for another source of public domain images? Yahoo research fellow Kalev Leetaru has extracted over 14 million images from IA public domain book scans, and so far 2.6 million of them have been posted to the Internet Archive Book Images photostream, where they have become part of The Commons. More info from the BBC and the Internet Archive blog post.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I recently graduated and I've been working as a Jr. Engineer for a few months now. I realize now that this is not a career/field I want to be in and have been strongly thinking about going back to school to get a Computer Science degree. The problem is that I have 35k in loans from my previous degree and I need to make a decision soon. Am I being reckless for wanting to do a career change so soon? Hello everyone, I recently graduated with a degree in engineering and I've been working as a Jr. Engineer for a few months now. I've always felt like engineering wasn't right for me (at least my field specifically) and working a few months into my job has concreted this sentiment. I've been falling asleep on the clock, dreading waking up in the morning and I can't wait to get out once it's time to go home. After some self-reflecting I realized that I've always been forcing myself to study in university and never found engineering to be enjoyable. I also realized that my old passion in high school (programming and tech-related things like computer hardware) was what I should have gone into. In fact, the course I enjoyed the most in university was the one programming course in my first year. I've been eyeing going back to school to get a degree in Computer Science as I also want to learn the theoretical side to programming. The problem is, I have about $35,000 in student loans that I need to pay off from my previous degree on top of rent/car insurance/gas. My current job provides a steady paycheck to pay off those loans but I know I'm being underpaid for someone in my position while working longer hours than most of my friends. My irregular work schedule (8am to 7pm, Monday to Thursday) prevents me from taking any night classes and I haven't been able to find any weekend courses in my area. I have strongly been thinking about quitting my job, moving back to the city and working part-time/going to school part-time. I have to make a decision soon as my 5 month "probation" is almost up and given the project-based nature of my company, I need to make a clean break. At the moment, I have a few thousand dollars in savings I could temporarily live off of. If I go back to school my loans/interest build-up would freeze until I graduated again but I know that I'll be adding on more debt for another degree. Others have suggested taking another job in the same field but the job market is kind of dead in my area (i.e. Ontario) and it has become apparent I don't want to do engineering (Chemical, Environmental, project, etc.) I hate my life right now because of my job (the stress bleeds into every aspect), I'm in the middle of nowhere and I'm filled with regret. I want to act fast before I become complacent with where I am all because of a steady paycheque - I've watched too many people fall into this cycle while mitigating their stress with things like drugs and alcohol. Am I being too reckless by doing this? Do you have any suggestions or personal experience with a drastic career/educational change like this?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
There have been a few punctuated instances in health. I'm struggling to find a non-fiction article about when [I think] cataracts suddenly became curable and the experiences of those that had newfound eyesight.There is an anthology of non-fiction, it was a thick paperback with a black cover as I recall. It was assigned for a journalism class more than thirty years ago. The collection had a bunch of great stories [or reportage] but one story about fiixng cataracts [I think] was particularly poignant. The Surgery was to repair vision and the surgery had become available all at once. It detailed a patient who, upon having their vision being newfound and difficult to interpert would throw a shoe to estimate distance because they could understand distance via that means - their newfound eyesight signals were difficult to integrate with their former means of navigation.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
In the music video for Camera Obscura's song "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken", a film clip is shown from about 2:01 to 2:25. What film is it from?Thanks, MeFites!

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I moved to Seattle a few weeks ago, since then I've had difficulties with swollen feet and ankles. It's a little worrying. Should I be worried?So, I moved to Seattle for health reasons, mostly because I appeared to be allergic to New Mexico and we hoped the change of weather, altitude, and allergens would help. Well, my breathing is a lot better, but holy hell! My feet have swollen up like balloons! At first it was, like, only at night, and I thought that was due to lack of furniture (no place to put my feet up) but now it's constant. I can hardly wear my shoes because my feet and ankles are so swollen. They're very tender too. They feel bruised. I had some swelling in New Mexico, which my doctor didn't seem to be very concerned about, but nothing like this. It's kinda scary. Every once in a while, my hands will swell up too, but that doesn't last. I haven't changed my diet in any significant way. I'm exercising more now than I was in New Mexico because we're in an apartment and I have to walk the dogs rather than let them out into the back yard. Plus I have a little extra energy to do so now that I'm not fighting for every breath. I'm drinking tons of water and other fluids (mostly coffee). I'm overweight because of the thyroid problem, but I'm losing weight -- yay for more exercise! I have arch supports in my shoes for when I'm walking. It's not even remotely possible that I'm pregnant (I no longer possess the necessary plumbing). Before I left New Mexico, I had the veins in my legs checked for a different reason - something about backspacing - they said my veins were "beautiful" and functioning normally. I've also had my heart checked recently and it appears to be working normally. I have hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, and some other comorbid issues. But what I guess I'm asking is, should I be worried about this? Most websites say "no". But it's uncomfortable and getting to be quite painful actually. And if I shouldn't be worried about it at this point (three weeks in), at what point should I start to become concerned? Also, YANMD, but any idea why my feet would react so violently to moving to Seattle? I'm in the process of finding a doctor, but it's not an easy thing when one unemployed.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm reading the travel writings of Nicolas de Nicolay and... he refers to a stone equestrian statue with rider, painted green, in Malta ca. 1550 which he claims is "larger than la Rustique in Rome". The only thing I can imagine is that he's referring to the Marcus Aurelius statue on the Campidoglio, but that's strictly a guess. If someone can nail down another more informative cite, I'd be indebted.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Entomology request about pint sized long lived termites - images insideWe have some visitors from Thailand that took several months to emerge. Image 1 the bug These 2 to 3 mm critters showed up in this lovely piece of wood carving - but it's been 5 months since we've been back. The carving I have no idea what type of wood this is, it's stained. Has the weight of Bass wood but comes from Chiang Mai or Burma. Any hope of saving the carving or do we just burn it?

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
I'm in a tricky situation with a car accident.We were at a red light on a two lane one-way street. I was behind a semi with a left turn signal on. The light changes and he completely changed into the right lane (in which you can only go straight, or turn right) and I had a completely clear left lane within seconds. He appeared to be heading straight ahead and I decided I was free to go straight. I take this route to work every single day. Just seconds before I am about to clear the intersection, I see the cab coming right at me with no choice but to hit it in the left lane. I was about a foot away when the front of his cab rams into the front corner of the passenger side of my vehicle. This was my first ever accident and the shock drove me to tears in an instant. I understand he had a turn signal, but him completely clearing my lane lead me to believe he decided to go a different route (straight). I was basing this on what I knew about how the lanes worked in town. When the police arrived, I barely saw them. The officer spoke to everyone else before speaking to me. When I spoke, he shushed me and told me he had control of my lane even though he left it, that I "shot at him" while my speed was under the limit and I had a completely clear lane. I told him he appeared to be going straight and the appearance of how he was driving for several feet looked to be straight ahead until he turned the cab right in front of me out of nowhere. I understand trucks make wide right turns, but this was a left and he could have looked out of the window and saw me there. I was cited for passing on the left when the tail of the truck was in the right lane and this was a looong truck. In fact, he was very far over and not angled into the left lane whatsoever. Now I may have judged the situation too quickly, but he did not yield to a completely clear traffic lane. So while I can acknowledge my defensive driving was off, he did some things that weren't right either. The sign posted says you can't turn left in that lane. He didn't yield to the right of way, while I simply drove forward at a green light under the limit. I want to believe I have a case and I am frustrated about this whole thing. I don't believe this person who nearly killed me and totaled my car should get away scot-free. My accident made front page news and I talked to a lawyer in town who said he didn't get it at all and he said it could clearly be seen what had occurred. Everyone is so divided on opinion but only I know what my intent was and it was not to pass him.

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posted 3 days ago on metafilter
Mathematician Zachary Abel builds impressive Mathematical Sculptures from office supplies and other household objects. Via this mildlyimpressive reddit post: I made a ball out of binder clips (130 binder clips, "decently heavy") whose poster sadly has not yet followed up with instructions. Instructables has a less-impressive 60-binder-clip ball, which may still prove to be a challenging build: "My fingers have now just recovered to the point where I can post a comment", "O.M.G.!!!!! I am SO FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".

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