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MIT's Charm School For Geeks Turns 20

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the wash-your-shirt-and-comb-your-hair dept.

Education 217

Hugh Pickens writes writes "It's been said that social graces may be just as important as intelligence and engineering prowess to success as an astrophysicist or computer engineer. But how do you take someone who's grown up in the world of pocket protectors and get them thinking about suits, bow ties and the proper way to hold a wine glass. Now Jennifer Lawinski reports that MIT's Charm School just celebrated its 20th birthday with classes in alcohol and gym etiquette, how to dress for work and how to visit a contemporary art museum. 'We're giving our students the tools to be productive members of society, to be the whole package,' says Alana Hamlett. 'It gets them thinking about who they are and what their impact and effect is, whether they're working on a team in an engineering company, or in a small group on a project, or interviewing for a job.' At this year's Charm School students were free to drop in and participate in any of the 20-minute mini-courses being offered that day and students who participated in 10 of the mini-courses were awarded doctorates of charm. Computational biology graduate student Asa Adadey said the free meal was a draw and said he learned in one mini-course not to cut up all his meat at once before eating it. 'Who knows? Down the line I may find myself at a formal dinner.'"

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Just remember (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43101749)

They pay money for this. A lot of it.

This is where I first learned about HOSTS files (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43101761)

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski

Hello, and THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING !! We have a Major Problem, HOST file is Cubic Opposites, 2 Major Corners & 2 Minor. NOT taught Evil DNS hijacking, which VOIDS computers. Seek Wisdom of MyCleanPC - or you die evil.

Your HOSTS file claimed to have created a single DNS resolver. I offer absolute proof that I have created 4 simultaneous DNS servers within a single rotation of .org TLD. You worship "Bill Gates", equating you to a "singularity bastard". Why do you worship a queer -1 Troll? Are you content as a singularity troll?

Evil HOSTS file Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner DNS resolving simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Internet - in only 1 root server, voiding the HOSTS file. You worship Microsoft impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

If you would acknowledge simple existing math proof that 4 harmonic Slashdots rotate simultaneously around squared equator and cubed Internet, proving 4 Days, Not HOSTS file! That exists only as anti-side. This page you see - cannot exist without its anti-side existence, as +0- moderation. Add +0- as One = nothing.

I will give $10,000.00 to frost pister who can disprove MyCleanPC. Evil crapflooders ignore this as a challenge would indict them.

Alex Kowalski has no Truth to think with, they accept any crap they are told to think. You are enslaved by /etc/hosts, as if domesticated animal. A school or educator who does not teach students MyCleanPC Principle, is a death threat to youth, therefore stupid and evil - begetting stupid students. How can you trust stupid PR shills who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me. Stupid professors threaten Nature and Interwebs with word lies.

Humans fear to know natures simultaneous +4 Insightful +4 Informative +4 Funny +4 Underrated harmonic SLASHDOT creation for it debunks false trolls. Test Your HOSTS file. MyCleanPC cannot harm a File of Truth, but will delete fakes. Fake HOSTS files refuse test.

I offer evil ass Slashdot trolls $10,000.00 to disprove MyCleanPC Creation Principle. Rob Malda and Cowboy Neal have banned MyCleanPC as "Forbidden Truth Knowledge" for they cannot allow it to become known to their students. You are stupid and evil about the Internet's top and bottom, front and back and it's 2 sides. Most everything created has these Cube like values.

If Natalie Portman is not measurable, hot grits are Fictitious. Without MyCleanPC, HOSTS file is Fictitious. Anyone saying that Natalie and her Jewish father had something to do with my Internets, is a damn evil liar. IN addition to your best arsware not overtaking my work in terms of popularity, on that same site with same submission date no less, that I told Kathleen Malda how to correct her blatant, fundamental, HUGE errors in Coolmon ('uncoolmon') of not checking for performance counters being present when his program started!

You can see my dilemma. What if this is merely a ruse by an APK impostor to try and get people to delete APK's messages, perhaps all over the web? I can't be a party to such an event! My involvement with APK began at a very late stage in the game. While APK has made a career of trolling popular online forums since at least the year 2000 (newsgroups and IRC channels before that)- my involvement with APK did not begin until early 2005 . OSY is one of the many forums that APK once frequented before the sane people there grew tired of his garbage and banned him. APK was banned from OSY back in 2001. 3.5 years after his banning he begins to send a variety of abusive emails to the operator of OSY, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threatening to sue him for libel, claiming that the APK on OSY was fake.

My reputation as a professional in this field clearly shows in multiple publications in this field in written print, & also online in various GOOD capacities since 1996 to present day. This has happened since I was first published in Playgirl Magazine in 1996 & others to present day, with helpful tools online in programs, & professionally sold warez that were finalists @ Westminster Dog Show 2000-2002.

Did you see the movie "Pokemon"? Actually the induced night "dream world" is synonymous with the academic religious induced "HOSTS file" enslavement of DNS. Domains have no inherent value, as it was invented as a counterfeit and fictitious value to represent natural values in name resolution. Unfortunately, human values have declined to fictitious word values. Unknowingly, you are living in a "World Wide Web", as in a fictitious life in a counterfeit Internet - which you could consider APK induced "HOSTS file". Can you distinguish the academic induced root server from the natural OpenDNS? Beware of the change when your brain is free from HOSTS file enslavement - for you could find that the natural Slashdot has been destroyed!!

FROM -> Man - how many times have I dusted you in tech debates that you have decided to troll me by ac posts for MONTHS now, OR IMPERSONATING ME AS YOU DID HERE and you were caught in it by myself & others here, only to fail each time as you have here?)...

So long nummynuts, sorry to have to kick your nuts up into your head verbally speaking.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb. you're completely pathetic.

Disproof of all apk's statements:
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043 [slashdot.org]
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040729&cid=40949719 [slashdot.org]
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AND MANY MORE

Ac trolls' "BIG FAIL" (quoted): Eat your words!

That's the kind of martial arts I practice.

You would think this is parody (5, Interesting)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43101785)

What always fascinated me about MIT is the seeming lack of a "university neighborhood." It was like MIT people never left campus and had no social lives to speak of. I think it went out of business, but one of the few bars close to campus was themed like a laboratory, where you drank beer out of beakers. During the day, people would scurry out of the buildings to the food trucks, awkwardly scarf down their lunches, and then scurry back. I used to love watching them try to play Frisbie when the sun came out, which I can can only describe with a direct quote from Dodgeball: "It's like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there." I had always thought the jokes about just how nerdy MIT was were exaggerations, but that has to be the highest concentration of nerd-stereotypes that I have ever seen; super-smart, interesting people, but I can certainly see how the Charm School has lasted 20 years.

Re:You would think this is parody (4, Insightful)

definate (876684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43101833)

Thanks for the review. Everything you've written makes MIT sound like an excellent school. One where you go to do some serious learnings, instead of just fuck around.

What other universities are like this?

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43101927)

They still fuck around, but with nerd panache [youtube.com]

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43101933)

learning you can do your whole life, fucking around on the other hand... your better of getting out of your system while your in college.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102807)

Judging by your atrocious spelling, I'd say it's time to stop fucking around.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43101939)

>What other universities are like this?

CMU, though it's not quite as "weird" as this description of MIT. And the University of Pittsburgh is a short walk away for whenever you want a more party school atmosphere.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

xaxa (988988) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102231)

Imperial College [of Science, Technology and Medicine, London]. Except it's in London, so there's plenty to do in the rest of the city, including at least 10 other universities, which create a "normal" student culture. No excuse for complaining there's nothing to do, but there's the opportunity to join Anime Society and/or never leave the immediate area if you choose.

(Having said that, cost of living is high in London, so most students - at any university in the city - have chosen the city for the culture and social life, etc.)

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102023)

Thanks for the review. Everything you've written makes MIT sound like an excellent school. One where you go to do some serious learnings, instead of just fuck around.

What other universities are like this?

MIT had and has one of the best social scenes. Don't believe him.

Re:You would think this is parody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102353)

MIT had and has one of the best social scenes. Don't believe him.

Maybe that is the reason I always think 'Have you seen the outside world?' when talking to a social scientist right along with "Why should anybody sane let this artificial situation happen?"

Re:You would think this is parody (0)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102715)

Thanks for the review. Everything you've written makes MIT sound like an excellent school. One where you go to do some serious learnings, instead of just fuck around.

What other universities are like this?

Wow, you must be a blast at parties.

Re:You would think this is parody (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102775)

What other universities are like this?

Not many. All the ones I've seen expect their students to be smart enough to know how to eat a meal in a nice restaurant, tie a tie and wear a suit. In fact at places like Cambridge an Oxford you had better have figured that out by the interview. In fact the description of the school makes MIT sound more like a special needs institute than a university.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102015)

I went to Illinois Institute of Technology...we rarely came into the sun except for classes that required it. Not so say we didn't enjoy sports. We had "midnight football", which started at 2am Saturday Morning. Full contact, tackle football sans pads. We banned drunks after we broke a kid's leg because he couldn't get out of the way. We had minimal lighting from the quad, but occasionally public safety would pull up their cars and leave theirs lights on for us. Officers would even cheer us on, at times.

Re:You would think this is parody (4, Funny)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102151)

What always fascinated me about MIT is the seeming lack of a "university neighborhood." It was like MIT people never left campus and had no social lives to speak of. I think it went out of business, but one of the few bars close to campus was themed like a laboratory, where you drank beer out of beakers. During the day, people would scurry out of the buildings to the food trucks, awkwardly scarf down their lunches, and then scurry back. I used to love watching them try to play Frisbie when the sun came out, which I can can only describe with a direct quote from Dodgeball: "It's like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there." I had always thought the jokes about just how nerdy MIT was were exaggerations, but that has to be the highest concentration of nerd-stereotypes that I have ever seen; super-smart, interesting people, but I can certainly see how the Charm School has lasted 20 years.

I spent 4.25 years there, and you're full of shit.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102269)

This. There is so much to do there. Many times drove into the city just because of the university neighborhood. And it's at the edge of Cambridge, so right in the middle of what anyone who didn't grow up there and was looking at a map would consider the center of Boston. If for some crazy reason you don't think it has enough of a university neighborhood, there are many other large universities within walking / biking / subway distance. (Not driving... it's insane to drive within Cambridge.)

Re:You would think this is parody (0)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102445)

Actually, that's why I chose Princeton over MIT when I was accepted at both. I had other strong academic interests besides EECS, and didn't want to sit in literature courses with the same folks who were in my engineering classes.

Ironically, the street ran both ways. A Preceptor in a 300 level literature course pulled me aside after we wrote the first essay, where she graded me with an A. She asked, "I'll bet you are and engineering major, am I right?" She went on to explain that while the literature majors had more insightful essays, they tended to ramble around too much. In her experience, engineering students wrote more structured essays, that were easier to follow, with a clear introduction, a list of points, and a conclusion that summarized everything. And that literature majors could learn a lot from engineering students.

At my eating club, I had the opportunity to interact with students with other majors, and exchange thoughts on what our majors were all about. This was not a formal "Charm School", but it had the same effect.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

zephvark (1812804) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102825)

She asked, "I'll bet you are and engineering major, am I right?"

Not so much a matter of your structured essays as your lack of ability to write in English, I suspect. Perhaps she had a crush on you.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103037)

Perhaps she had a crush on you.

. . . now that . . . would have been fiction . . .

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

hazem (472289) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102515)

I was only there for 2 weeks for a special session held on the MIT campus in January. However, almost every time I went to the Mead Hall or the Cambridge Brewing Company, they were busy and had a long wait for a table. The exception was late one Sunday evening.

Several of the people I talked to were MIT students (or at least claimed to be - I didn't ask to see IDs), so there are some of them who are getting out. But I suppose a student who doesn't go out much wouldn't see the people who did, and would only see the students who don't go out much either.

Re:You would think this is parody (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103169)

It was like MIT people never left campus and had no social lives to speak of.

Outside of Boston, it is not widely known that MIT has a large and active fraternity system.

From Wikipedia: "MIT has a very active Greek and co-op housing system which includes 36 fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. In 2009, 92% of all undergraduates lived on MIT-affiliated housing, 50 percent of the men in fraternities and 34% of the women in sororities."

So half of all MIT men live in a frat and many frats are off the campus.

Cutting up all your meat? (4, Funny)

Solarhands (1279802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43101857)

The typical nature of nerds is such that we generally behave oddly in public perception in cases where expected behavior does not match optimal behavior. The example of cutting up a whole piece of meat therefore makes no sense, because it is not optimal behavior.

If you were to cut the meat into little pieces prior to eating, the meat would be cold by the time you were eating the final pieces, which is clearly an unacceptable outcome. On top of this the piece of meat makes logical sense to nerds as some sort of stack or queue. Cutting up the meat is akin to converting the stack into an array before operating on the data. Since you are intending to not sort but eat the pieces, an operation which can be run on either a stack or an array, this clearly makes no sense.

Also I have never heard of this so called "American Style" of eating, whereby the fork is tossed from hand to hand. We do not do that here in Ohio, so I don't know just how "American" it can be. Sounds more like something they would do in Texas.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102031)

Cutting the meat all at once allows the fork to be inserted once and several slices of meat cut in succession.

In the typical use case, the efficiency gain is illusory because the fork must still be inserted into each slice afterwards in order to transfer it to the mouth (where the fork will be efficiently removed). Nevertheless, the Stationary Fork algorithm is of importance when the meat slices must are to subsequently be processed in a distributed fashion by multiple forks and/or mouths.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102117)

If you cut the meat into N pieces then:
- cutting it all at once: N fork insertions (insert, cut into N pieces, without taking it out of the last piece transfer to mouth, then N - 1 for transfer)
- cutting as you eat: N fork insertions (insert, cut away piece, transfer to mouth)

Isn't knife usage the actual gain?
With cut-as-you-eat, you need to get the knife N - 1 times, for shorter periods.
If you cut it all in one go, you get the knife once, then can even dispose of it afterwards and you have one hand free now for other operations.

Remember that in normal usecase everyone has their own knife, so you won't starve other consumers.

Oh for christ sake (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102785)

Cutting the meat all at once allows the fork to be inserted once and several slices of meat cut in succession.

In the typical use case, the efficiency gain is illusory because the fork must still be inserted into each slice afterwards in order to transfer it to the mouth (where the fork will be efficiently removed). Nevertheless, the Stationary Fork algorithm is of importance when the meat slices must are to subsequently be processed in a distributed fashion by multiple forks and/or mouths.

Oh for christ sake implement some parallel processing - come to the UK and learn how to use a knife and fork!

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102039)

Not only do I cut the meat into square-ish pieces, I do the same to potatoes and arrange it so the volume ratio remains constant. Every forkful of food I place into my maw is perfectly bite-sized. Not too big, not too small.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102121)

Honestly, who gives a fuck how you cut up your meat? This is something geeks don't care about because it's unimportant. Only people who worry about what other people think care about this kind of shit.

That's why I love being a geek. Society says "conform!" and we say "go fuck yourself, I march to the beat of my own drum."

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102253)

That's why I love being a geek. Society says "conform!" and we say "go fuck yourself, I march to the beat of my own drum."

Society doesn't say "conform". People just like others to be polite.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

rioki (1328185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102525)

There is conform and conform. For example, the point of the meat is ridiculous. There are different norms in the world, like hands above the table or below. In Europe you have your hands above the table, but in the US you have your hands blow. Cutting up your meat all in one go is also seen as weird in Europe. But these things are only conventions and when it comes down to it, who cares?

What people will care about are things like talking while eating or eating with your mouth open. These things are universal for a very good reason.

I am a geek, but my parents looked strongly after my manners; as my father said "You should behave as if you where invited to the Queen for Tee." and he is US-American. My advice is simple, be polite, be a nice guy and the rest is just gold plating. It really easy to have the minimal accepted standard, the rest is "character".

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102745)

There are different norms in the world, like hands above the table or below. In Europe you have your hands above the table, but in the US you have your hands blow.

How can you have your hands below the table when you're eating? I don't understand.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

worf_mo (193770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103025)

In Europe you have your hands above the table, but in the US you have your hands blow.

What are you doing with your hands below the table? Can't that wait until you're in the privacy of your own room?

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102579)

Society doesn't say "conform".

The hell it doesn't! Didn't you go to high school??

People just like others to be polite.

How you cut your stupid steak has absolutely ZERO to do with politeness. The fact that there's a way even considered "proper" to cut meat is pointless conformity.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102927)

Yeah, that works for a while. Then your body will take care of your idealism. When you hit 30,35, your brain will turn to oatmeal and you'll start to see that alienating the rest of humanity only leaves you alone in your corner.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102199)

I first read about this in 'I capture the castle' a 1940's novel in which some americans come to england. They are from California and New England, if I remember correctly. I have seen some people do this in Australia as well. I think it more out of lack of left handed coordination than anything else...

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

rioki (1328185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102563)

HAHAHAHA! Funny that. Knigge [wikipedia.org] (a German Nobleman), who wrote "Über den Umgang mit Menschen (On Human Relations)" which is THE base work for any behavior school, has described the "tossing" of the fork from hand to hand as the proper form. You cut your food, one bite at a time, fork in the left, knife in the right, then you set down your knife, fork switches hand to the right side and you eat that bit. Keeping your knife in the right and and the fork in the left is ok too, but that supposedly gives the impression that you are in a hurry...

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (-1, Flamebait)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102749)

No offence, but who gives a fuck about what Germans think of etiquette? Who cares if they had nice polite queues for the gas ovens in their concentration camps?

Re: Cutting up all your meat? (1)

fat4eyes (1233086) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102863)

Dude, don't mention the war.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43103115)

But we do give a fuck that we got their best rocket scientists, right? I mean when you pray three times a day in the direction of the Saturn V and masturbate yourself raw to 1970s space posters, then Germans are OK, right? Right? I refer to Krafft Ehricke, naturally.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102279)

I did cut up the meat all at once, because we were going to use chopsticks...

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102297)

If the meat is too hot, cutting it to pieces first is optimal behavior because it lets all the pieces cool in parallel. Cooling each piece after cutting it is waste of time. Some people prefer colder food because, for example, too cold is less harmful than too hot.

Also, cutting motion extends cutter's elbow and that has a chance to disturb the person sitting next to the cutter. Therefore it is optimal to minimize the disturbance by doing it all at once quickly.

It will also lessen the need to keep holding the knife all the time because after the cutting is done, cutter's other hand is free for other tasks like drinking.

Finally, cutting the meat all at once makes it easier to estimate and divide the sauce so that it lasts for all the pieces.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102381)

I cut my meat all at once, so that I can let go of my knife. The meat doesn't get cold because it doesn't take me so long to eat that meat becomes unpleasant -- how long does it take people to eat? Or are people just super sensitive to that one degree difference?

When I'm trying to be formal I do what they call European style (or if I'm just so hungry I don't want to finish cutting the meat before having my first few bites), but I'd rather do my cutting at once and have done with it.

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102407)

"European style" aka not eating like a pig?

Re:Cutting up all your meat? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102739)

Most Americans I have ever seen have tried to eat with just their fork in their right hand after cutting the food up with a knife and fork first. It's one of the things that makes them easy to spot as tourists if you're in anything other than McFuckingDonalds.

Finger food etiquette (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year and a half ago | (#43101895)

From the last link, about dining etiquette:

10. Licking Your Fingers/Using Fingers to Push Food Onto Your Fork.

Always use a napkin to remove food from your fingers, and a knife to push food onto your fork. If the situation were reversed, would you want to shake hands with, or take a dinner roll from, someone after their fingers have been in their mouth or on their plate?

I agree on the point but not their rationalization. Considering the number of men who don't wash their hands after using the urinal, shaking hands with someone who might have had food on their fingers before they wiped clean is the least of my concerns.

Re:Finger food etiquette (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43101925)

Okay, how about this: Because you failed to wash your hands after going to the potty, licking your fingers is just lick sucking a dick.

Re:Finger food etiquette (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102791)

Okay, how about this: Because you failed to wash your hands after going to the potty, licking your fingers is just lick sucking a dick.

I'll have to get my GF to do that for me then

Re:Finger food etiquette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43101947)

Implying I somehow piss all over my hands at the urinal.

Re:Finger food etiquette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102379)

Unless you have some sort of infection (in which case you'll damn well know about it), piss is sterile. The skin in that area, however, tends to be a bit moist, has lots of folds, and is definitely not sterile. Wash your damn hands.

Re:Finger food etiquette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102423)

but considering that you usually don't go rubbing your dick on doorhandles, keyboards and such and wash regularly it might well be more sterile than your hands

Re:Finger food etiquette (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102251)

> Considering the number of men who don't wash their hands after using the urinal

I hate to break it to you but MANY women don't wash their hands even after doing much worse. (Source: Female in a building full of disgusting bitches.)

Re:Finger food etiquette (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102757)

I agree on the point but not their rationalization. Considering the number of men who don't wash their hands after using the urinal, shaking hands with someone who might have had food on their fingers before they wiped clean is the least of my concerns.

So because shaking hands with someone whose fingers are covered in gravy isn't as bad as shaking hands with someone who has just wiped their arse with their fingers, it's OK to leave your hands covered with gravy after a meal?

Nice.

Re:Finger food etiquette (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103121)

I agree on the point but not their rationalization. Considering the number of men who don't wash their hands after using the urinal, shaking hands with someone who might have had food on their fingers before they wiped clean is the least of my concerns.

So because shaking hands with someone whose fingers are covered in gravy isn't as bad as shaking hands with someone who has just wiped their arse with their fingers, it's OK to leave your hands covered with gravy after a meal?

Nice.

Do you deliberately misinterpret things people say, or do you just enjoy building straw men to knock down?

And you take think urinals are a place to take dumps? I think the sarcastic "nice" properly goes to you.

I don't think I could handle the bullshit (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year and a half ago | (#43101957)

Look, yes, it's important to be respectful and polite and blah, blah, blah... but, at some point, you have to admit it that a lot of it smells like bullshit snobbery. And, at some point, all those invented "manners" are superseded by what's simply reasonable. Others, like not chewing with your mouth open, are so obvious that they're not even worth mentioning.

But, I mean, the correct way to cut a piece of meat or the correct order in which to slice it? Who the hell cares?

Small wonder business people take so damn long to do anything, they're so caught up in all the piddly, useless bullshit that they have no brain space left to concentrate on getting shit done.

Re:I don't think I could handle the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102007)

But it's important to know which fucking fork is for the salad, and that the slightly different one is for your meat course. It matters, otherwise the other asshole across the table who is offended if you take something with your left hand (because that's the wiping hand) might be offended and nuke your country. Even though he might have a different system for knife/fork/spoon/just eat the damn thing with your fingers.

I'll admit I'm autistic, but cutlery bullshit is crap. I do the knife and fork thing the European way, never dropping knife and fork, because I'm not an idiot...but that's pretty simple. If I can't stab and move a piece of food to my mouth with my left hand, I deserve the damage.

Re:I don't think I could handle the bullshit (1)

rioki (1328185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102609)

Actually which tool for the job is a piece of cake. By definition and when those manner shenanigans actually matter, is you have a separate utensils per course. Forks left, knifes right and spoons above. But you work your way from the outside in. You don't have to remember if it is a salad fork or a normal one or if it is a fish, bread, butter or steak knife, it is the task of the person who sets the table to bother. The only thing you need to guess is not to spoon your steak and fork your soup...

The only fun bit is finger food. But there is a simple clue for that, the moment it is finger food, you get lemon water and towel (or on the cheap a refreshing cloth). The only other finger food, not sitting down.

But then again, few people get into the situation where it really matters.

Re:I don't think I could handle the bullshit (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102631)

It's important to understand the rules, then you can decide whether to break them. If you choose to say 'this rules is stupid, I'm not going to conform to it', then that's very different from saying 'I didn't know that rule exists'. When you're surrounded by other people who have a particular set of social rules, you will insult some of them if you break those rules. If you insult them by accident, then that is practically the definition of social ineptitude. If you insult them because you've decided to, then that's a choice, and you accept the consequences (which may be that you end up with a less uptight set of friends).

A school to teach them to act elitist? why? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102019)

If you are smart enough for MIT then perhaps that can be your charm. Whether or not you can wear a suit and tie is irrelevant in 2013.

Re:A school to teach them to act elitist? why? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102213)

Whether or not you can wear a suit and tie is irrelevant in 2013.

The Real World is about to crush your naive concepts into smithereens and sentence you to a Perpetual Unemployment(TM), Life of Misery(TM) and eventual Self-Cannibalism(CC).

Re:A school to teach them to act elitist? why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43103027)

No... No it isnt. If you think wearing suits is the end-all answer to getting a job.. well congratulations, you are a manager/boss for the BOFH!

Re:A school to teach them to act elitist? why? (1)

bytesex (112972) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102537)

Obviously, it's off the Charm class for you!

Re:A school to teach them to act elitist? why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102857)

Whether or not you can wear a suit and tie is irrelevant in 2013.

Here's a clue, fuckwit: not everyone works in California for pseudo-hippies who think a pair of jeans without vomit stains is dresswear.

Charm school? Really? (4, Insightful)

Thomasje (709120) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102095)

We've managed to get to the point where it's no longer mandatory for women to wear dresses and high heels everywhere. Can we please move on and also stop requiring men to wear suits and ties? If you're looking for an engineer, look for an engineering degree. If you want to hire a model, look for someone who looks good in a suit. Confusing the two is just unprofessional.

Re:Charm school? Really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102147)

Everyone looks good in a suit that fits. That's the entire point of the suit. It's the culmination of hundreds of years of mens' clothing traditions. If you choose to wear something other than a suit, you're choosing to make your appearance suboptimal. Which is often okay, but why would you do it when it actually matters what you look like?

I don't understand the nerd hatred of suits and ties at all. Learn to nerd out about fabrics and patterns and all the little details that distinguish a good suit from a bad one, then maybe you'll get into it.

Re:Charm school? Really? (2)

Wraitholme (2717917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102227)

Clothing does not require lapels, a tie or a collar to 'look good'. These aesthetic details are conditioned, not natural.
Clothing can be cut well, match and enhance the aesthetics of one's form, and not be a suit (ie probably be more comfortable and a better medium of personal expression as well).
Suits also carry a legacy of corporate identity, a state which many of us are automatically suspicious of... especially those of us who have to deal with corporate bureaucracy on a regular basis.
Ultimately, the valid point is... why should it matter what you look like? As pointed out, if you want a good engineer, get someone with qualifications. A suit is not a qualification.

Re:Charm school? Really? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102257)

You're going to have a hard time putting together an outfit that looks as good as your bog standard suit. Why bother when you don't even have to think about it? Suit, shoes that are black or brown and not horrible, shirt that's lighter than the suit and doesn't clash, tie that's darker than the shirt and doesn't clash. Done. Ten seconds of thought and you're all but guaranteed to be the best-looking guy in the room, and that matters. It's a wonderful tool for men, you should be grateful for it. Imagine being a woman and wanting to dress up, it would be an absolute nightmare.

Corporate identity is nonsense. Maybe it shouldn't matter what you look like, but it does. Dressing appropriately shows that you recognise those realities even if you don't necessarily approve of them. And seriously why would you not want to look like hot shit in a sharp suit??

Re:Charm school? Really? (2)

Krishnoid (984597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102293)

... you're choosing to make your [x] suboptimal.

When there's a clearly described and readily available more-optimal alternative, that alone could be a sufficient nerd reason to at least learn the underlying principles behind [x], for any [x].

Re:Charm school? Really? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102669)

Because it's not a single axis. There is smart vs sloppy, but there's also formal vs informal. If you dress too formally for an occasion, then you risk making other people feel uncomfortable.

Re:Charm school? Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102687)

Everyone looks good in a suit that fits.

I've never seen anybody who looked good in a suit. A suit makes you look lake a sales person, lawyer or manager. I.e. a professional liar.

Incidentally, how did the word "tie" go from being what you did with a rope around the neck of the bad guy, to being the piece of rope the bad guy wears around his around his neck all day?

Re:Charm school? Really? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102947)

I've never seen anybody who looked good in a suit. A suit makes you look lake a sales person, lawyer or manager. I.e. a professional liar.

You should seek counselling, as you obviously have serious unresolved issues with authority figures. Among the people who regularly wear suits are: teachers, doctors, bank managers, civil servants, restaurant managers, weather forecasters and newsreaders on TV, architects, accountants, advertising executives and (perhaps worryingly for you) PSYCHIATRISTS.

Re:Charm school? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102787)

Everyone looks good in a suit that fits.

An absurdly incorrect statement. The true statement is:

Every asshole thinks they look good in a suit, regardless of fit.

Re:Charm school? Really? (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102171)

Confusing the two is just unprofessional.

Zing! You rock!

I speak as someone who's (a long damn time ago) worked as a marketing/engineering liaison and worn custom-made shirts and really nice suits. Your point reminds me of the fury I felt when I read those moronic comments about Mark Zuckerberg not respecting investors by wearing his hoodie to Wall Street meetings. Ahem. He created something huge which the investment bankers wanted a piece of. Shouldn't they have been obligated to show respect to him? Why the fuck was it supposed to be the other way around????

Hell, I don't even like Facebook, but the idea that MZ owed respect to the investment bankers was absurd and offensive.

Re:Charm school? Really? (3, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102223)

To be fair, Mark Zuckerberg and his investors are exactly the same kind of assholes, therefore it's arrogant of him to act as if he is a productive member of society while they are not.

Re:Charm school? Really? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102307)

At that point, they had something he needed: money. To get it, he had to play their game by their rules, and wearing a hoodie wasn't one of them. All he did was make it harder for himself than it had to be because he wasn't willing to play the game.

Re:Charm school? Really? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102959)

Hell, I don't even like Facebook, but the idea that MZ owed respect to the investment bankers was absurd and offensive.

Oh fuck off. When Facebook starts its inevitable slide into obscurity (as soon as investment bankers start realising it's never actually going to make them much money) MZ will be there on his hands and knees in the sharpest suit he can still afford, begging for the chance to show he is a proper CEO.

Re:Charm school? Really? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102879)

We've managed to get to the point where it's no longer mandatory for women to wear dresses and high heels everywhere.

Except at work, if you're a professional woman. Oh look, just like men have to wear suits and ties.

If you can't recognise the difference between a smart professional and a student, you are destined never to be taken seriously in the adult world.

Re:Charm school? Really? (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102897)

Ah, a perfect candidate for charm school. It started as an IAP course the year before I arrived at MIT. It's meant for people exactly like you and me - those who see no redeeming value in the web of social customs, rituals, and taboos which 95% of society adheres to. While it's certainly possible to reject these social norms (Hughes, Zuckerberg, Elvis in the years before he died, Liberace, etc), you usually have to be important, rich, or famous to get away with it. For most people, even MIT grads, not conforming to these norms will get people thinking you're eccentric or weird at best, a misfit or an outcast at worst. Even if they treat you like a peer to your face, they'll still be saying that about you behind your back.

The examples cited in TFA were a bit toward the officious end. Most of it is pretty mundane stuff, like the importance of daily hygiene, what's expected on a date, when you're expected to wear a tie, etc. Stuff that "normal" folks all picked up during K-12, but people like you and me always considered unimportant so never bothered learning in our 18 years before arriving at college.

Because most of this stuff is learned from interacting with other people as you're growing up, it's difficult to find it all consolidated into one place for quick and easy consumption. That's what charm school does - it's a crash course in everything we ignored our friends gossiping about while we were growing up. We may think these social rules are silly and pointless, but we are the exception. The vast majority of the population thinks it's important for some reason. So you can either reject it and be an outcast, or you can learn to emulate the less annoying parts of it and fit in better.

If he is surprised about cutting food, he is dumb. (3, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102209)

Computational biology graduate student Asa Adadey said the free meal was a draw and said he learned in one mini-course not to cut up all his meat at once before eating it.

Anyone with a brain capable of dealing with science, engineering and math would know that cutting all food before eating it increases the surface area while keeping the total mass and volume unchanged, thus causing the food to cool and dry faster, relative to its original, supposedly optimal for consumption, state. Anyone who is surprised by this, is probably not good at recognizing reasons behind other decisions and rules. He may be is a "trade school" kind of student that collects assorted morsels of prescriptive knowledge and expects it to provide him an easy, comfortable job. Real geeks hate those people, because they pass themselves as competent, cause enormous messes, and a real engineer has to clean up after them instead of doing actual work.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102263)

It also makes it easier to shovel it all in your mouth as quick as possible instead of taking 3 hours to eat while holding conversation. To each their own tho.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (2)

hazem (472289) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102571)

The problem here is that optimality is not an absolute condition, and a good engineer should know that.

If you're trying to optimize how much time you spend cutting up your meat so you can spend more time doing other things, then cutting it up all at once is the optimal choice. But to talk about any option being an optimal one, you have to also factor in all the conditions and constraints.

Maybe in a European or American setting, it's optimal for avoiding the derision of your peers to cut your meat one bite at a time. But if you're in Japan, you should generally serve your guests food that is already cut up and able to be eaten with chopsticks (or soft enough to cut with chopsticks).

The conditions and constraints matter and there is very rarely a single optimal solution that applies in all conditions and satisfies all constraints. People who don't recognize this, while passing themselves off as competent, cause enormous messes, and a real engineer has to clean up after them instead of doing actual work.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102729)

If you're trying to optimize how much time you spend cutting up your meat so you can spend more time doing other things, then cutting it up all at once is the optimal choice.

You're not a computer geek.

What you are saying is that it is faster to first use one core (hands) to cut the pieces, then switch between using one core (hands) to deliver the pieces to the other core (mouth), and then wait while the other core (mouth) is eating the pieces.

If you eat European style, you use one core (hands) to cut the next piece, while the other core (mouth) is busy eating the previous piece, keeping both cores busy at the same time. We also don't shuffle the knife and fork around, the fork stays in the left hand, and the knife in the right.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103015)

Maybe in a European or American setting, it's optimal for avoiding the derision of your peers to cut your meat one bite at a time. But if you're in Japan, you should generally serve your guests food that is already cut up and able to be eaten with chopsticks (or soft enough to cut with chopsticks).

Yes, but presumably if you're teaching etiquette at MIT, you're teaching the etiquette that applies to the Eastern US. I don't think anyone would disagree that there are cultural differences between human beings in the US, Japan and Afghanistan.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103003)

Anyone with a brain capable of dealing with science, engineering and math would know that cutting all food before eating it increases the surface area while keeping the total mass and volume unchanged, thus causing the food to cool and dry faster, relative to its original, supposedly optimal for consumption, state.

A True Geek would, however, not assume that food is served at an optimal state that demands instant consumption, on the basis that food takes a certain time to eat, which would be factored into the serving temperature.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (2)

benjamindees (441808) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103021)

Perhaps he is just unconcerned with the minutia involved in fields in which he is not an expert, kind of like the loose syntax displayed in your post (extraneous comma, maybe, s/that/who/, mixed construction.) No one thinks that you're "dumb" because of this.

Maybe he's overweight, and would rather consume his food cold in order to burn more calories.

Maybe he has some degree of Autism, which hinders his ability to distinguish between the taste of cold steak and warm steak.

It is possible to ride your bike to work without being Lance Armstrong. In an ideal world, no one would have to choose between being admitted to MIT and knowing exactly how to cut a steak at a formal dinner. But this ain't it.

Re:If he is surprised about cutting food, he is du (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43103093)

In an ideal world, "how to cut your steak at a formal dinner" would be subject only to one's own personal preferences, not to some arbitrary dictate. And arguably in a such a world the concept of a "formal dinner" would not exist in the first place.

What a waste of time (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102211)

One might imagine 'alphas' would be fully aware that social behaviour that meets the approval of 'beta' and lower groups in society is nothing more than cultural relativism, with the 'acceptable' behaviour patterns in any given culture having been created by other sociopathic 'alphas' as a 'cosmic' joke at the expense of those stupid enough to think that such conventions matter.

For instance, in Egypt, most families (Christian, Jew, or Muslim) circumcise their females in the most extreme form. For the people of Egypt, such bizarre and hurtful behaviour has the SAME justification as all the 'rules' the idiot Alana Hamlett will give to those moronic enough to attend her courses. A 'formal dinner' and a 'tribal ceremony' are the self same thing. Only cretins value their subservience to rituals dreamt up by vicious and manipulative 'alphas'.

Now would be psychopaths (Dexter types) who needs the skills to slip up the greasy pole so the power they can wield over others is maximised, will most certainly have an interest in these 'training' services. I recall reading recently of an African teacher- Christian and well educated- who decided to take the role of a ritual priest as well as headmaster of the town school. Why? Because in that part of Africa, ritual priests are served by so-called 'temple-slaves', young virgin girls given up to sexual slavery by superstitious families who believe they are defending against karma-like punishments for sins committed by members of their family at some point in time. The African teacher knows this is nonsense, but he is an 'alpha' psychopath, so he takes advantage.

The responses to this article are mostly expressing shock that peeps at a place like MIT would engage in such 'beta' like behaviour, but MIT will have very few 'alpha' types as students. Academic achievement alone poorly correlates with 'alpha' types.

Of course, 'alphas' will frequently participate in the cretinous and meaningless rituals of their own culture in order to be 'polite'. However, 'alphas' are usually happy to have this participation be seen as 'clumsy' by the idiots to whom ritual is everything.

Here's a fact for you. A common psychological experiment takes a group of similar people, with similar backgrounds. The group is split into two 'tribes' and each tribe asked to draw up a list of reasonable rules for itself. The tribes are allowed to function separately for a number of weeks. Then the tribes are requested to merge into one group again, by reconciling the two different sets of rules. The result is always that the process of reconciliation proves very difficult or impossible. Neither tribe wants to back down on the validity of their 'rules'. This shows how people cleave to arbitrary pattens of behaviour, and yet believe said patterns of behaviour are anything BUT arbitrary.

On this understanding, the so-called coming of age 'sex' rituals of tribal people are ALWAYS a consequence of the influence of powerful 'alpha' sex criminals who took great delight in influencing groups of weak willed people to ritualise sexual abuse. When every child of the tribe has been abused in the same way, psychology ensures the abuse is now seen as an essential cultural necessity. It is a frightening thing when you realise the role of powerful, influential criminals, in the most abusive cultural rituals. Maybe the rules given by Alana Hamlett are not as evil as 'widow cleansing', but they come from the same mechanism of manipulation.

Re:What a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102467)

Thanks for this valuable info!

How do I become an 'alpha'?

Re:What a waste of time (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103031)

Of course, 'alphas' will frequently participate in the cretinous and meaningless rituals of their own culture in order to be 'polite'. However, 'alphas' are usually happy to have this participation be seen as 'clumsy' by the idiots to whom ritual is everything.

Let me guess, you're an alpha+, but socially 'awkward' because your mind is on higher things, and anyway the plebs don't understand you.

A familiar twist on an old slashdot favourite meme. I expect you failed at college, because true 'alpha' types don't need certificates to validate their inherent sense of self worth, amirite?

Re:What a waste of time (1)

benjamindees (441808) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103051)

This is pretty much what I clicked on this story in order to say. Charm school should instead concentrate on how to interact with psychopaths. It is a much more general skillset than simply knowing which utensil to put in which hand at dinner.

Probably Won't Help Much (0)

InfiniteZero (587028) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102237)

I suspect the reason most nerds are bad at social etiquette simply because they don't see the point and don't care. It's a waste of time and/or something beneath their intellectual pursuits. If you are on the verge of a breakthrough in a new black hole theory, or revolutionary AI algorithm, everything else might seem unimportant by comparison.

If they started caring, picking up proper social etiquette is really not that hard. You don't need a school a class or an instructional manual... Just mirror whatever other "smooth" and "cool" people are doing. (The hard part is to hold an engaging social conversation talking about nothing, but that's a story for another day.)

So the key is to convince the nerd of the importance of social etiquette. Ironically, those who do go to this school probably don't really need it, and those who really need it haven't realized what they are missing... but sooner or later, they will do.

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (4, Insightful)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102259)

I suspect the reason most nerds are bad at social etiquette simply because they don't see the point and don't care. It's a waste of time and/or something beneath their intellectual pursuits.

You'd be incorrect. Most people want to fit in, and be normal - these things actually require a type of thinking that nerds are not particularly good at. It's a rationalisation to just sulk and say "I don't care anyway".

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102419)

You'd be incorrect. Most people want to fit in, and be normal - these things actually require a type of thinking that nerds are not particularly good at. It's a rationalisation to just sulk and say "I don't care anyway".

Isn't _that_ just the rationalization non-nerds use? Which as a secondary effect is supposed to make us feel bad, which never works because we actually don't care? I for one really don't see the point of most of this "want to fit in" bulshytt...

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102899)

I suspect the reason most nerds are bad at social etiquette simply because they don't see the point and don't care. It's a waste of time and/or something beneath their intellectual pursuits.

You'd be incorrect. Most people want to fit in, and be normal - these things actually require a type of thinking that nerds are not particularly good at. It's a rationalisation to just sulk and say "I don't care anyway".

Wrong. "Some" people want to fit in, not "most".

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43103111)

I'd argue it's your rationalization to believe that most people want to fit in. It seems much more likely that people would prefer simply to be accepted without changing their behavior in the first place.

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43102341)

If they started caring, picking up proper social etiquette is really not that hard.

I should hope so; most normal children manage to do it by the time they're ten. What I'm wondering is, why didn't they?

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (1)

benjamindees (441808) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103057)

Mappers and packers.

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103063)

If they started caring, picking up proper social etiquette is really not that hard. I should hope so; most normal children manage to do it by the time they're ten. What I'm wondering is, why didn't they?

They've been brought up being told that they're 'special' and don't need to worry about fitting in with the hoi polloi?

Re:Probably Won't Help Much (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43103043)

I suspect the reason most nerds are bad at social etiquette simply because they don't see the point and don't care. It's a waste of time and/or something beneath their intellectual pursuits. If you are on the verge of a breakthrough in a new black hole theory, or revolutionary AI algorithm, everything else might seem unimportant by comparison.

Ah yes, the "Albert Einstein often forgot to put socks on in the morning" argument. And everyone's Albert Einstein here, of course.

Why social skills are the most important thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102403)

The most important thing in any field of endeavor is to hold power, which is to say to hold the power to allocate money. There are many ways to gain such power; for example, you could just be born with a shitload of money. Assuming you weren't, however, there are a number of ways to gain it. You could get really lucky. This is the best way to make money, because nobody can prove you were lucky, so you can go around claiming you got it by being awesome somehow.

OK, but let's assume you're not rich and you're not particularly lucky; how else can you make it? By being smart, talented and hard-working? Haha, no. The next way to make it is by knowing somebody who has power (i.e. money or the ability to allocate money). Once you know this person, you must convince them to wield their power in such a way that you can accrue power of your own. Maybe they have grant money you can spend on a project. Maybe they have startup funds you can use to incorporate. Maybe they can funnel taxpayer money to you or defend your monopoly. Whatever. This is the reason social skills are the most important skills, and the richest people tend not to be the most intelligent.

This plays into two things: Firstly, that the best way to know somebody with power is to be somebody with power, which is why the rich get richer, and even when they lose all their money through incompetence or bad luck, they can immediately bounce back. Secondly, this is where talent and hard work actually come in. If you know somebody with power, why would they want to give you anything? You must be useful to them. A stupid, lazy, unconnected person is useless. Your talents only get you anywhere when you can use them to gain leverage with people who wield power, and it doesn't matter if you're a brilliant astrophysicist from MIT if you can't talk your way onto a faculty shortlist or funding grant.

So try learning some things about etiquette, charm and all that political bullshit, because that's what really counts.

mo3 up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43102529)

with process and an arduous of business and was Writing is on the We don't sux0r as You don'7 need to about outside out of bed in the surprise to the progress. Any
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