Victor Rozek's award-winning and thought-provoking "Out of the Blue" column was consistently one of the best things to read in any IT publication on the market. We are pleased to add his voice and thoughts about the computer industry and the world at large in this column, which runs once a month in The Four Hundred. That's Victor above with his other half, Kassy Daggett.
April 24, 2017 Victor Rozek
“I should sell my tongue and buy a thousand ears.” – Rumi
Rumi would not do well on social media. Not much listening going on there. We are a culture of speakers. From the advent of email through the current suite of thumb-enabled apps, all are designed to amplify the mouth. From sea to shining sea, we have become one long declarative sentence fragment.
Let’s face it: Most of us speak because we want to be heard. Only a priest in a confessional begins a conversation in anticipation of listening to someone blather on about their dysfunctions. But that’s the …Read more
March 27, 2017 Victor Rozek
It is quite possible that two of the most unexpected and consequential events of recent times had their origins with a student in Warsaw. Perhaps if he hadn’t been accepted to Cambridge University, the fates of two nations would not now be spinning off in unforeseen directions. But he was, and in Cambridge, the ripples of his fascination with psychometrics grew into an unintended tsunami. His name is Michal Kosinski, and there are a lot of people angry with him.
Psychometrics is the reality-based branch of psychology, at least in so far as it is data-driven. It is rooted in …Read more
February 27, 2017 Victor Rozek
For those of us accustomed to ingesting information in scraps, the Lincoln-Douglas debates would have been a month’s worth of forced-feeding. Lincoln, the challenger, and Douglas, the Senate incumbent from Illinois, jousted seven times in seven cities adhering to a format that would shrivel today’s sound bite-spouting politicians, and overwhelm voters with truncated attention spans.
The first candidate would speak for a solid hour, followed by a 90-minute rebuttal, topped-off by a 30-minute rejoinder from the first speaker. Three hours of political debate; three hours of issues and remedies, analysis and inspiration, with speakers erudite enough to keep audiences engaged …Read more
January 30, 2017 Victor Rozek
Blitzkrieg is a German term meaning “lightning warfare.” It describes a rapid, overpowering mechanized strike. Armored columns pour into enemy territory with overwhelming speed and numbers, crushing any opposition.
While this concept is now well integrated into modern warfare, in September of 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, it was revolutionary. Portions of the Polish border were still defended by cavalry, matched against waves of tanks and heavy armor.
A year before the invasion an industrialist received the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Nazis: The Grand Cross of the German Eagle. He received it for his support of the Nazi …Read more
December 12, 2016 Victor Rozek
It was a known problem 16 years ago. And for 16 years it was largely ignored, even though it poses a direct threat to representative democracy. It is a problem well understood by IT professionals and cyber security experts, and it haunts the entire spectrum of computer-dependent users from the military and political establishment, to corporations and the public. It was the subject of debate, accusation, and investigation during the recent election, and it has the power to cast doubt on its legitimacy.
The problem: Through neglect or deliberate intent, computers that decide elections have been allowed to remain vulnerable
November 28, 2016 Victor Rozek
The grand paradox of humanity’s quest for wisdom is that the truly great questions have no definitive answers. Age-old questions such as: Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? And does the recent election prove that God exists, or that He doesn’t? These are the eternal questions that haunt us and rob us of sleep. But once in a while, like the proverbial blind squirrel bumping into an acorn, we stumble upon an elusive answer.
The question in question is: What single quality in a spouse will be most useful to advancing your career? It’s a deliciously
October 31, 2016 Victor Rozek
It was Fitzgerald who is credited with making what is surely one of the more self-evident observations in history. Namely that “the rich are different from you and me.” To which Hemmingway supposedly replied, “yeah, they have more money.” It didn’t actually happen that way, but small matter. The exchange–more literary than conversational–stuck in the popular imagination.
Different though they may be, the rich have the same essential needs as their less affluent brethren. Like the rest of us they crave connection, but that craving is informed by a fear of being taken advantage of. That, in brief, is the
September 19, 2016 Victor Rozek
She was born nearly a century ago in a little town in West Virginia with the unappealing name of White Sulphur Springs. There, the well-healed gathered to escape the summer heat and soak away their ailments at a resort that employed her father. She would not have been welcome there as a guest, however. She is black.
At the time, educational opportunities for black children in her county–those who could even contemplate such lavishness–ended with eighth grade. So her parents were forced to find a high school she would be permitted to attend, the nearest being about 120 miles away.
August 22, 2016 Victor Rozek
I went to a wedding last weekend and it was everything a wedding should be: beautifully located, attended by scores of family, supported by legions of friends, and replete with that singular optimistic naivety that believes in happily ever after. While it would be foolish to marry without a firm belief in the prospect of future happiness, regrettably “happily ever after” has a shelf life for about half of all married couples. There’s a fair chance that at some point during the career of a married employee, divorce will bring an unexpected end to what might have been.
August 8, 2016 Victor Rozek
It’s no secret that attractive people have an advantage when interviewing for a job. Studies show that appealing people are assumed to be more intelligent and better educated. They are believed to possess superior motivation and greater capability. If hired, they will almost certainly earn more money than their less attractive counterparts, and are more likely to be promoted. It’s a form of genetic favoritism, amplified by the preferences of the observer. And while a face may no longer launch a thousand ships, it sure can quick start a career.
Although many forms of discrimination have either been legally banished