Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

What Motivates You?

Dan Pink explains it all for you. Think money’s the best motivator? That the bigger the reward, the better the performance?

Autonomy, mastery, sense of purpose: research shows that these oftentimes undervalued notions are greater incentivizers than simple cash. From studies on some smart kids at M.I.T. to the purpose-filled mission of the founder of Skype, the ability to work under one’s own direction–or the joy in accomplishing a task (no matter if it’s brain surgery or fixing a drain)–or the sense that our work results in more than a simple monetary equivalent: Pink notes that autonomy, mastery, and sense of purpose are far more powerful tools of motivation than either the carrot or the stick.

One of my favorite bits in Pink’s talk is the anecdote about software developers who are given free reign over their project, their collaborators, their time management–as long as they can present the fruit of their labor within 24 hours.

This lively animated video, courtesy of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, is only one of their fantastic archive (I love the British organization’s tagline: “21st century enlightenment”). Great ideas presented in a lively, eye-catching form.


Filed under: business, labor, pop culture, science, work, , , , , , , , , ,

Removing a Gay Joke Isn’t Censorship

Ron Howard says he won’t cut a derisive joke from his new film, The Dilemma, just because protesters want him to. Last month more than 2,700 people signed a petition seeking to cut the gay joke from the film’s trailer.

Lead actor Vince Vaughn has also defended the joke:

Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.

“Electric cars are gay,” says Vaughn’s character in the film.

I wonder if the gay kid and the school bully watching the film in Idaho realize that the joke’s meant to break any tension and bring them happily together.

How do we measure the impact of a careless quip like “That’s gay”? Dan Savage and Margaret Cho put in their two cents on gay jokes in The Daily Beast.



Filed under: censorship, film, gay rights, , , , , , , , , , ,

Homosexuality: Like Terrorism, A Disease, “Spreading Like Wild Fire”

Ugandan newspaper editor Giles Muhami has some pretty horrendous things to say about homosexuality: that it’s similar to terrorism, that it’s a disease, and that it’s “spreading like wild fire.” Be sure to protect your kids.

Muhami recently printed a newspaper article in his Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone (not to be affiliated with the U.S. magazine of the same name) that calls for gays and lesbians to be hanged.

For mainstream media to promote hatred and violence against any human is deplorable. In my travels through central and western Africa, I have listened to hatred and ignorant ideas about gays and lesbians; it’s even worse to see anti-gay opinions published in African newspapers as fact, irresponsible journalism unconcerned with the privacy of the gay and lesbian Africans named in these articles.

But even more than privacy or social ill, the negative reporting is a matter of safety for gay and lesbians. At least four people have been attacked since the article was published:

Carrying the headline “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos,” the article came out just days before the one year anniversary of the introduction of a controversial bill in parliament that would make homosexuality, which is illegal in Uganda, punishable by death in some cases.

I had thought the Bahati Bill–anti-gay legislation introduced by David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan parliament–had died down. Apparently, the hate against LGBT Ugandans (and supported by evangelical churches in the U.S.) is as present as ever.

Filed under: gay rights, hate, homophobia, world, , , , , , ,

My Kid’s Going as Robocop

It’s a relentless news cycle focused on all things Halloween. Longest lines ever at the costume shop! Horror movies with more guts and gore than ever before! And my favorite: best costumes for your dog. American excess and obliviousness at its best.

Still, it amuses me to run across one dad’s detailed account of making a robot costume for his son. And not just any robot, but a mini Robocop. Shot all over the city of Detroit with the assistance of cops, revolving doors, and futuristic locales.

Dad reports:

While we were talking, some Hollywood-type rushed over to take a picture of the kid with his camera phone. “I’m good friends with Peter Weller, the guy who played Robocop on the movie,” he said. “He’s gonna get a kick out of this.” The guy proceeded to e-mail the photo to Weller, so chances are the real Robocop has seen my little Robocop.

Who’s having more fun, father or son?

Filed under: consumerism, culture, family, humor, , , , , , ,

Gubernatorial Candidate: The Rent is Too Damn High

There’s a kind of beautiful randomness to New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan and his The Rent is Too Damn High Party. I don’t know how I missed this video last week. And I don’t know if McMillan’s schtick is semi-serious, unapologetically publicity-seeking, or some combination of both.

One thing I admire is McMillan’s succinct, hilarious platform on issues like gay marriage (“If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”). On SNL this weekend, Keenan Thompson did a spot-on impression. Perhaps best of all, the American Mustache Institute has endorsed his bid for governor (makes you wonder if they just like his mustache or support his politics too).

Look quick: this guy’s fifteen minutes of fame starts now.

Filed under: comedy, politics



» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
October 2010
« Sep   Nov »


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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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