More condom-wear from a fashion show in China

Condom DressKirsten forwarded me more great dresses and other wearables from a fashion show at the 4th China Reproductive Health New Technologies & Products Expo in Beijing July this past summer.

Condoms of all shapes and sizes were used to make dresses, hats and even lollipops. Models fought through extravagant soap bubble special effects to show off tight-fitting wedding gowns, scaly-looking evening dresses, outrageous bikinis and other garments made entirely of condoms.

I wrote before about a dress made of condoms this new article shows several great examples of condom wearables. mentions that the show was organized by China’s largest condom manufacturer to promote the use of condoms in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

condom, hiv, aids, fashion

Every IT worker needs a spelling alphabet

If you’re in IT or any other field where you have to say and spell things like URLs, user names or worst of all passwords over the phone you know how frustrating it can be when the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t quite understand the words and letters you’re saying! This problem stems from the tendency we have to use visual clues (lip reading) to interpret what we hear.

Despite the ubiquity of email and chat tools sometimes you have to do business over the phone (especially as passwords should never be sent via email.) Thankfully this problem was solved a long time ago by radio operators by using a common spelling alphabet.

The most popular spelling alphabet is the NATO phonetic alphabet (seen below) which uses familiar and easily distinguished words.

Letter Code Word Letter Code Word
A Alpha N November
B Bravo O Oscar
C Charlie P Papa
D Delta Q Quebec
E Echo R Romeo
F Foxtrot S Sierra
G Golf T Tango
H Hotel U Uniform
I India V Victor
J Juliet W Whiskey
K Kilo X X-ray
L Lima Y Yankee
M Mike Z Zulu

I’ve decided to keep a printed copy of this chart at my desk so I don’t have to worry about coming up with awkward words every time I need to spell out a password. If you want one too here’s my printable version.

alphabet, spelling, nato, passwords

You find it in the strangest places…

Humor me for a moment and read the following statements:

“If there are any competent Asians, I failed to meet them.”

Asian or Arab origin people are incompetent. My point is proved by the fact that they have always been slaves and will remain in such conditions. The west has always dominated the east.

I know what you’re thinking, there’s a lot of shit out there on the net, but would you believe that this racist garbage is tolerated on the forums of Oracle’s own website?

And if you think the statements above are bad (or you think I have somehow taken it out of context) you should read the whole thread. It’s amazing that (allegedly) educated professionals can be so ignorant.

More amazing to me is that Oracle doesn’t pursue and remove these posts. After all, for every person who will speak up against this racist crap there are ten who will just leave with a bad taste for the people who host the content.

oracle, racism, racist, prejudice

Competitive team building

Alex Kjerulf, the Chief Happiness Officer has a (typically excellent) article pointing out the top 5 reasons why most team building events are a waste of time.

Companies today want their employees to cooperate more, to work well in teams, to share knowledge and to work to achieve success together. That is why it makes absolutely no sense to send them on trainings that are mainly competitive in nature. Even when these events let people work together in smaller teams, competing against other teams, the focus still ends up being on competition, not cooperation.

There’s a simple reason why these events are almost always competitive: Competition = instant passion. Setting up a competition activates a primal urge in many people to win at all costs, making them very focused and active – which looks great to the organizers.

But there’s a huge downside to this – which means that not only are many team building events a huge waste of time, they can be actively harmful to teams.

Alex goes on to point out the top 5 problems with competitive team building events. For a less competitive approach to team building I encourage you to consider the following:

First, try to take the pressure out of it for all the reasons Alex mentions in his article.

Second, try to keep it loosely structured. For example, a trip to a baseball game is great because it gives everyone a common experience but also leaves plenty of time to chat and get to know each other.

Third, involve everyone! You’re not going to get everyone all the time but it’s important to do things that everyone is able to do. It’s fine to encourage people to go slightly out of their comfort zone, but don’t plan an event that you know certain people won’t go to.

Fourth, have at least some of your team building/social events during work hours. Lunches can be a great opportunity for this. The important thing is to involve the people who may not make it to after work events.

You can’t force people to have fun, but you can certainly give them the opportunity. Honestly the best team building experiences I can remember have been practical jokes – always in the best of humor of course. It may seem unlikely, but you’d be surprised how many people want to help when you say you’re going to fill the CEO’s office with balloons!

team building, office, work, leadership

Gift ideas from

It’s almost November, and that means it’s time to start thinking about holiday shopping! OK, I know holiday shopping can be stressful and I think it’s nothing short of stupid how people swarm to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving, but it should be fun and shopping online definitely helps!

Anyway, we’re here to help. Dee points out a couple great gift ideas in this article. This one has to be my favorite:

Hillary Clinton Nutcracker

Yup, the Hillary Clinton Nutcracker. It’s only a shame there aren’t more products like this for our presidential candidates, but I guess we’ll have to take what we can get.

clinton, hillary, hillary clinton, gift, holiday, shopping