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Michael J. Coffey
Works at Ardea Coaching
Lives in Seattle, WA
3,282 followers|759,352 views


Michael J. Coffey

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National Bow Tie Day
Again, I've practically made it through the entire National Bow Tie Day without realizing that it even is #NationalBowTieDay  .  Time to go put on a bow tie!
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Michael J. Coffey

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13th century insult discovered etched into the walls of Nidaros Cathedral. LAURENSIUS CELVI ANUS PETRI translated into “Lars is Peter’s butt.”
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Or perhaps it was done by a 19th or 20th century British public schoolboy with just enough time and Latin to leave this graffiti...
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Michael J. Coffey

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There can be no better license plate for a car like that...
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Yeah, I bet they have a lot of trouble with people in wheelchairs climbing that wall and tromping through the bushes...
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RARRR!! [stomp stomp stomp]
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Michael J. Coffey

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Is my partner developing super strength? He just broke the end off a screwdriver bit using only the power of his bare hands.
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"Bits." #ISeeWhatYouDidThere  
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No wonder I'm blazing through my favorite ink--apparently my Metal Falcon came with one of the largest-capacity converters on the market.  My pen's an ink tanker!
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Ah - that makes sense. I must have 4 different pens that I'm not using right now because they're out of ink. I haven't been good at prioritizing that.
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Everything in the proper order.

Via +Michel Alexandre Salim 
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Have him in circles
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Michael J. Coffey

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Damn You, Ballpoint Pens
Since getting my first fountain pen, I've been a huge convert, for all the reasons +Yonatan Zunger mentions in his commentary, as well as mentioned in the associated article.  Since switching, I've caught myself looking for excuses to hand write things, instead of the ballpoint version of looking for excuses not to.
Much like the changing physical design of the phone affected its use for calling people, the changing design of the pen has affected handwriting. You may not realize this, but it's significantly harder on the hands to write with a ballpoint pen than with a fountain pen.

I was personally very aware of this when I was a physicist, since most of the work I had to do was writing and working through page after page of equations, which to this day isn't easy to do on a computer. So it was pens and notebooks all the time, and I became extremely particular about which ones I used: a pen which either had too high a resistance or which dried too slowly, or paper that didn't absorb the ink well, and my work would actively suffer.

(Quite seriously: if your hands hurt too soon, you can't write for hours on end. If the ink smudges as you write -- especially if, like me, you're left-handed -- everything is a lost cause. If the paper doesn't absorb the ink and dry enough for you to flip pages in the notebook, you're lost. Any of these things take time, energy, and concentration, and you simply can't vanish into the flow of the science.)

This article isn't about doing science, but about how the ballpoint pen changed handwriting -- but it's through the exact same process. The various methods of cursive weren't popular primarily for their aesthetics; they were practical methods of writing quickly and legibly. As anyone who remembers having to do this in school can attest, that's always been kind of strange, because with modern pens, Palmer-method cursive is much slower and harder: people tend to develop their own semi-script handwriting for when they actually need to write day-to-day. (Except for handwriting enthusiasts who are doing it for fun)

So when you see the lack of handwriting, instead of crying "O tempora! O mores!," realize that what you're seeing isn't simply a move to computers: it's the evolution of the pen itself.

Via +Patricia Elizabeth 
Thicker ink meant it didn't smudge as easily as its predecessor, the fountain pen—but it also made writing by hand more physically demanding.
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I just heard a review of the Pilot Metropolitan as potentially the best "first fountain pen."  If you get one, though, I'd also get a converter (usually only $5 or $6) so you can use bottled inks as well as cartridges, opening up a gazillion more possibilities.
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Apparently, Seattle is giving up on the idea of pretending it's in Arizona or Nevada or somewhere, and will actually behave like Seattle for a few days.  

Of course, we've beat pretty much every heat record that's possible (number of consecutive X+ degrees days, total number of X+ degree days in a year, hottest June/July/August ever in recorded history, etc).  Now climate change can work on the lakes and rivers which haven't quite yet hit record low flow points, although we are in a severe drought, we haven't broken all those records yet.

And it's not just this year.  As the article puts it, "...we've had about 5 years' worth of 80 degree days over the past three years!"

Can we please do something about climate change?
Really, it was only a matter of time... With this summer's heat claiming record after record after record, you had to assume some of the last stragglers to cling to the weather books were doomed. The last big one finally gave way Wednesday.
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Very true, +John Biggins.  Seeing as that Seattle is a coastal city, I've looked at sea rise maps.  The house is probably high enough we won't be underwater, but it kind of depends on how much of the ice caps melt.  The economic center of the city, though?  Atlantis.
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Michael J. Coffey

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I could live with these.

H/T +Kurt Attard 
Russell's Ten Commandments. I'd like to see these on a courthouse lawn. Read below.

1: Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2: Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3: Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.

4: When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5: Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6: Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7: Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8: Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9: Be scrupulously truthful, even when truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
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Go vaccines!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that the entire African continent has been free of wild polio cases for the past year, thanks to a dedicated vaccine campaign. This means that no one has been infected with the virus anywhere in...
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They have domesticated polio there?

Just kidding.  This is great news.
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Michael J. Coffey

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While I wouldn't want the vomiting robot I shared a few days ago, I might want me a noodlebot...
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I suppose they still count as "hand-shaved" noodles, given that the robot has a hand...
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More tea is better than less tea; some tea is better than no tea.
Hello!  If you're interested in circling me, here are a few of my more intense interests so that you can get me situated in the right circles:
  • Tea
  • Education
  • Science
  • Books/Libraries/Publishing
  • Language (German, Latin, Mandarin, Welsh, ASL, and others)
  • Chocolate
  • Comparative Religion
  • History (European and Chinese)
  • Business/Marketing
  • Humor
  • Sci-fi/Fantasy/Steampunk (aka "Myst")
  • Genealogy (historical and genetic)
  • Technology, particularly "green" tech
  • Brains and other neuroscience
Things I am not interested in:
  • Cars
  • Sports
  • Cats
My educational philosophy tends toward implicit and divergent learning, and formative assessments. 

My favorite fictional character:  Sherlock Holmes

In the universe of Myers-Briggs, I'm an INTJ but only slightly introverted, so I sometimes come across as an ENTJ.  This means that I expect you to call me on anything I say that's inaccurate, and I'll probably return the favor as well.  Cite your sources and we can all be friends.  In the words of educational researcher Andreas Schleicher, "Without data, you are just another person with an opinion."

In the world of the Clifton Strengths Finder, my signature themes are:
  1. Strategic (always looking at alternate paths to a goal)
  2. Input (more, more, more data!  Give me more!)
  3. Connectedness (everything influences everything else and it's important to keep these connections in mind)
  4. Futuristic (continually extrapolating current trends to predict future states)
  5. Activator ("Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action." --Disraeli)

The purpose of my life is to think, teach, question assumptions, learn, and play.

Joined Google+ on 30 June 2011, as
Bragging rights
I was the first person to successfully challenge Level 1 and Level 2 of the Specialty Tea Institute's certification program.
I'm an educator--mostly about tea, business, and social sciences, but other things as well.
  • Ardea Coaching
    Digital Strategist, 1999 - present
    Helping new business owners with their online marketing through website testing, planning social media strategy, and analysis of web traffic.
  • Tea Geek
    Owner, 2006 - present
  • Washington Women's Business Center
    Business Assistance Officer, 2011 - 2014
Basic Information
Other names
Michael Coffey, Tea Geek
I've come here a number of times and recommend the combination--tibs, the spicy lentils, and whatever other vegetable strikes your fancy. It seems like a little hole in the wall, but the owners are very friendly, and it feels almost like they're feeding you at their kitchen table. (Plus, they have a range of spices, packages of injera, and other interesting items for sale to live up to the "grocery" part of the name.)
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: GoodService: Very Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
Floating Leaves is perhaps the best place in the U.S. to find top-notch Taiwan wulong teas. The owner cultivates relationships with tea farmers and experts throughout Taiwan, and regularly has competition-winning teas available. However, even beginning tea drinkers are welcome to come in and learn about what makes each tea special... often by sitting around the tea table with regulars and discussing different samples.
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
2 reviews