Archive for the ‘Worth Discussing’ category

#  Perceptions of China vs USA →

January 10th, 2014 at 18:29 // In Worth Discussing 

A bit old news, but as I’ve said I’m a big map fan. The Washington Post has a very cool map of the countries that are more favorable to either the US or China. Some notes:

  • Pakistan’s strong favor for China wasn’t something I’d have immediately guessed. It makes sense that there are few fans of the US there, but I wonder if low-level India-China tensions push them further in that direction.
  • In South America, Venezuela’s favor for China doesn’t surprise me. Argentina’s does a little.
  • All Israeli neighbors seem to prefer China. If Israel didn’t exist I feel like that might be different.
  • Western Europe’s favor for the US is largely predictable, but why the favor slips toward China in Greece and Turkey isn’t obvious to me.

Comments are open, if you have any other notes, or explanations to some of mine.

(via @Amazing_Maps)

#  100 Beautiful Words →

June 25th, 2009 at 18:25 // In Worth Discussing 

I’m pretty sure I’ll find fault with any such list that fails to include the word “marshmallow,” but Robert Beard’s is an interesting list.

(I think I also have to object to all words — especially French imports — with silent letters.)

(via kottke)

And because I haven’t done it in over a year, any nominations?

#  Improving Call Centers →

March 7th, 2008 at 10:28 // In Worth Discussing 

Think that the only monitoring of your call to customer support is that it “may be recorded?” The Economist says that may not be the case.

Aneesh Nair, head of the Academia, a call-centre training school in Bangalore, says context data may also include information gleaned from news reports. Storms, sporting events and transport strikes, for example, can affect callers’ moods and purchasing dispositions, he says, and can be used to provide tips to agents. “Demographic mapping” features provide additional information about the products callers are most likely to buy based upon their location, time of call, and whether they are calling from a land-line or a mobile phone.

The next step, beyond analysing the context around a call, is to examine the call itself, using “word spotting” software to evaluate the performance of the agent and the reaction of the caller. There is strong demand for quality-control software, says Donna Fluss of DMG Consulting, a specialist consultancy based in West Orange, New Jersey, because call-centre managers are only able to listen to a few calls per agent each month. Word-spotting software allows managers to monitor agents much more closely.

Soundly quite nearly Orwellian. Am I the only one to think so? (Comments are open.)

#  Aren’t Pole Taxes Illegal? →

January 8th, 2008 at 10:24 // In Worth Discussing 

The answer is no. Poll taxes were abolished by the 24th Amendment. Pole taxes remain legal. And Texas now has one.

THERE is a new price to be paid for looking at naked women in Texas. On January 1st the state’s strip clubs began imposing a $5 surcharge for each visitor. The “pole tax,” as it is commonly called, is expected to bring the state an additional $40m in revenue each year. Most of the proceeds will go to programmes that support victims of sexual assault.

So I want to know, is this good government or and insane idea from the Texas’s legislature?

#  An Elevator-Testing Tower →

January 3rd, 2008 at 12:34 // In Worth Discussing 

Mitsubishi has built a tower 573 feet (173m) tall that serves no other purpose than testing the really fast elevators that are needed for really tall buildings. I can’t decide if it’s a massive waste of material or a necessary cost of building land-use-efficient building. Have an opinion?

(via Boing Boing)