Tetrapods and Signalling

Here are two small things I wanted to throw out there.

First, there is this – a bunch of pictures of tetrapods. Tetrapods as I found out were designed to remain stable even in waves. When they interlock they are porous so that they can dissipate the strength of waves without being themselves moved around. The Japanese designed them for their beaches. Boy, the Japanese are smart.

Then there is a point about overthinking things, which I do routinely. For example, I try to grade papers really fast and provide tons of comments so that my students take me very seriously and assume that they can’t get anything past me. This has many advantages, the biggest one being that it makes people think much harder before writing things down in their papers because they know I will ruthlessly scrutinize it. This makes their papers better and grading easier. However, some people are just impervious little cues like that. They just take in stride as a benefit to their life. “Boy, that was fast” they think and go about their business, never drawing the inference that I’m a grading machine and that I pour over their every word.

In short, we can speak or we can indirectly signal with actions, tone  and other cues, but when the people you are working with don’t pick up on cues, you’re forced to be very explicit about everything which not only makes things less fun, but it makes communication harder too.

To connect this with a theme on this blog, we should be aware that when we use facebook or email, we lose out on a lot of our signalling capacities further dulling our conversations.



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