[FoRK] So you think you can think? (So you think you can do?)

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sun May 8 15:42:32 PDT 2016

On 5/8/16 8:11 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
> On 5/8/2016 2:03 AM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> From the comments:
>> Jonathan Sweeney
>> Account Manager Sales Assistant at CDW
>> "Brings to mind a quote From Robert Heinlein: "A human being should be
>> able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship,
>> design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a
>> bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone,
>> solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a
>> computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
>> Specialization is for insects.""
> Plan a war?  If they want to do it badly. I guess the world needs sales associates too.
> http://roy.gbiv.com/untangled/2008/specialization

Thanks for pointing that out; I think I read it before, but needed a refresh.  It is a sentiment I share often, silently at least.  
I don't think it applies here though.  Heinlein was talking about having multiple competencies while Mr. Rainbow was pointing out 
that the highly competent in an area use specialist jargon allows for precise, concise, and efficient communication.  He also makes 
the point that this efficiency is needed when you are at the leading edge of an area and trying to push it forward without getting 
bogged down explaining concepts everyone in that realm already should know.  Roy's use of 'specialists' and 'specializing' there was 
clear, but muddled here.

I try to be a broad polycompetent, i.e. a polymath (the accepted general term with an unfortunate specific form while being 
non-specific on the competent vs. specialist vs. innovator spectrum) while also trying to be a polyspecialist in a subset of those 
areas and a polyinnovator in a couple areas, sporadically.  I mostly fail I suppose, but it keeps me busy trying.

One of my tasks today is to file for candidacy for the Sunnyvale City Council.  They have an odd situation where one member resigned 
suddenly, just a few days before a threshold that is forcing them to hold a special election, at a cost of $767K, for just that city 
council seat.  The term will only be something like 4 months until the next regular election.

> The resignation took his colleagues by surprise. "It was out of the blue," said Councilman Jim Griffith. "We always have 
> challenges and debates and differences of opinion, but nobody expects somebody to decide, "OK, I'm done."
> Whittum's departure came a week after his fellow council members chastised him for agreeing to give away Sunnyvale's rotating 
> voting right on the Valley Transportation Authority board this year. After that meeting on March 29, Whittum resigned as the 
> city's VTA representative.

> The next Monday, Whittum resigned as a council member, setting an inexorable clock ticking: Under the city's charter, the council 
> has 30 days -- until May 4 -- to declare his seat vacant.
> After that, it must call a special election within 120 days. The June election, which is already booked, was not an option.
> If there were a general election within 180 days of the declaration of the vacancy, the charter provides that the city could 
> consolidate the special election with the general.
> As it happens, that 180-day period runs out on Oct. 31 at the latest, eight days before the Nov. 8 election.
> So the city has to pay $767,000 for a special election on Aug. 16 for the three-and-a-half months remaining in the term. It is, 
> yes, a rump election.
> The same seat, with possibly the same cast of characters, will be contested in November, this time for a full four-year term.

> Greg

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