Monday, July 13, 2020

Global Job Site Has a Great Startup Story -- It's Jooble

Jooble is a job aggregator currently operating in 71 countries.
It seems to be an oft repeated story in the Tech Age. Young people see a problem, people their heads together, and create a solution. They forgot to think about all the barriers to making it work. They just do it. And what's the result? Amazing stories and what are now household names: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon.

A couple weeks back Anastasiia Skryzhadlovska contacted me to ask if I could put a link to Jooble on my blog here. It seemed necessary to first learn a bit more about this young company in the job hunt space and the story is actually quite thrilling.

The home office at Jooble.
EN: Before asking about the company, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Anastasiia Skryzhadlovska: In brief, I am from Ukraine, 19 years old. I finished a Ukrainian school with honors, participated in several international youth exchanges, which covered various topics, like sustainability, for example. In 2018 I was awarded a full scholarship to study International Baccalaureate in the Eastern Partnership European School in Georgia. This is where I got lots of international experience (by studying and living with people from more than 30 countries) and the essential skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and language skills needed for my work.

EN: How long has Jooble been around? Where did it begin and how?

Jooble founders Roman Prokofyev and Eugene Sobakarev.
Anastasiia Skryzhadlovska: Jooble was created in 2006 by two Ukrainian students, Roman Prokofyev and Eugene Sobakarev. Moreover, without any external investment, and just thanks to founders’ desire to make the job search process fast, easy and effective.

Roman and Eugene met in Kherson (Ukraine), at the physical and technical lyceum, where they studied together for 3 years of high school. During that time, friends accomplished a lot: won several math, computer science and physics Olympiads. They continued their education at the same faculty of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute--Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Working at different software development companies was also a part of their student years.

Once, when Roman was trying to find new employees for one of the companies where he was working, he came to understand that there was no good and effective service that could help him to do so. A programmer discussed this problem with Eugene, with the result that he and friends decided to create a resource which can make a job search fast and simple. This became the first version of such resource. Jooble was written in a dormitory. The students didn’t do any market analysis. They simply came up with the idea and started implementing it.

One of the main features of Jooble became its algorithm, which makes it possible to aggregate vacancies from other employment sites, recruiting agencies and other websites. That’s why it saves time and effort as much as possible: a job seeker should just enter one request and Jooble will quickly provide complete information about existing offers and choose the most suitable option.

Today, Jooble is ranked #2 among Top Employment Websites in the world! It works in 71 countries and continues to expand and improve.

Jooble proves the fact that an IT-company from Ukraine, developed by students, can achieve a great success on a global level!

EN: What is your roll with company? And how big is Jooble today?

Anastasiia Skryzhadlovska: I am a country manager for the United States. I have been working at Jooble for 1 year. In our team there are around 225 people working in the office and more than 200 working remotely. These are approximate numbers. We serve 71 countries and currently have 3 million visitors worldwide daily.

EN: Impressive. Thanks for your time and your story.

Are you currently looking for a career reboot? Or did the pandemic earthquake shake you loose from your job so that you're wondering where to go next? Two recommendations: Richard Nelson Bolles excellent job hunt manual What Color Is Your Parachute? and Jooble.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Breaking News: Fun Has Not Been Canceled at Art on the Planet

Watercolors with Anthony Sclavi
Though Cancel Culture has done a lot of steamrolling this year, and Covid-19 has cancelled a multitude of events and activities, there are pockets of our community where Art and Creativity remain a central part of our lives and have not been cancelled. One of these pockets is Art on the Planet in Superior.

Yesterday I received an email from AotP that began in this vein:

The last time we talked we promised that we would find a way for us all to get back to the "FUN" Art to be found in our classroom.... and we are thrilled to announce that art classes are absolutely available for private groups of 6 or less!!!

It appears that they have all the sanitization and social distancing figured out, so all you have to do is call to get set up. Contact Wine Beginnings* (715-392-8466) or message Art On The Planet ( to schedule any of these private classes:
Paint Pour Peel Jewelry ClassPaint a masterpiece with Checkalski Fine Art
Watercolors with Anthony Sclavi
Liquid Acrylic Paint Pouring
Rachel's Rustic Decor Sign-Making
Customize a Wine Glass Set with Checkalski Fine Art & Wine Beginnings
Color-Wash Cork Trivet Projects with Framing by Stengl
(*Art on the Planet shares building space with Wine Beginnings.)

Artists and artisans whose work is available 
at Art on the Planet:

Julie Abraham, Dennis Aho, Rebecca Aitken, Shelley Alvin, Jill Anderson, Lynn Anderson, Richard Anscomb, John Autrey, Kimberlene Ball, Pete Barnett, Kelly Beaster, Debra Berg, Chelsea Branley, Bridgette's Cadillac, Dave Brochu, Sue Brown-Chapin, Craig Bruce, John Buczynski, Reba Buczynski, Sabrina Bunnell, Valarie Burke, Joseph Carlson, Kyle Carlson, Deb Carroll, Scott Checkalski, Richard Chilton, Jan Chronister, Joleen Clendenning, Rebecca Couch-Iatonna, Denise Denu, Frank Doran Associates, Rachel Eisenmann, Barb Engelking, Ann Esala, Susan Fabini, Elizabeth Fedorowicz, Becky Foster, Mike Fudally, Jeff Fujan, Charlene Galazen, Jack Gergen, Cindy Gilbert, Shawna Gilmore, Jamie Goodiel, Anne Marie Gorham, Jack Green, Mary Gregg, Mary Lou Harris, Paula Hegg, Margie Helstrom, Joan Hendershot, Stanley Hendrickson, Laurie Hernandez, Cameo Hilliard, Celia Hintsala, David Hoad, Susan Holley, Thomas Holmstrand, Joan Holmstrand, Theresa Hornstein, Jan Jenson, Ronalee Johannsen, Dawn Karlon, Marge Kehoe, Lindsey Kilgore, Rachelle Kirk, Denise Kitchak,
Aaron Kloss, Jayson Knutson, Lashana Koivisto, Jessica Krueger, Cari Larson, Patricia Lenz, David Lesczynski, Ki Lindgren, Gretchen Lisdahl, Susan Litehiser, Don Little, Devin Lowney, Bill Lyth, Lee Makinen, Lauren Marmorine, Michelle Marquart, Steve Matheson, Donald Mattson, Sue Matuszak, Sarah Mayne, Martha Miller-Powell, Mary McMahan, Ryan Murphy, Kris Nelson , Janet Nelson, Rachel Nelson, Ed Newman, Susie Newman, Amanda Nindorf, Lydia Noble, Sheila Oak, Rebecca Olson, Kathie Otterino, Kathleen Patchen, Bruce Pauc, Sue Pavlatos, Emily Peterson, Holly Phillips, Laurie Pinther, Esther Piszczek, John Poldoski, Joe Polecheck Tom Postudensek, Michelle Purvis, William Ralph, Sue Rauschenfels, Cari Reder, Kathleen Rehm, Jamey Ritter, Pat Roberts, Gloria Roy, Madison Rupp, Dan Savoye, Patty Schafter, Dani Schmidt, Nancy Senn, Kat Senn, Margee Senn, Rachel Senn, Pat Shehan, Similar Dogs, Betty Steeg, Kristen Stetzer, Richard Stirling, Cassandra Stovern, Caroline Strezishar, Edna Stromquist, Kenneth Swensen, Michelle Swanson, Phaedra Torres, Judy Webb, Jamie Welch, Mary Jo Wiseman, Sandra Wojtoff, Dellwin Wright, Joseph Zastrow, Karen Zeisler

Zentangle design by Esther Piszczek
Paint Pour Peel Jewelry Class. You can do this.

FOR CURBSIDE PICKUP. Click on the Art2Go tab.

1413 Tower Avenue, Superior, WI 54880 
Gallery Hours - Wednesday - Friday: 11:30 - 6:30 / Saturday: 10:00 - 4:00

Friday, July 10, 2020

Global Warming Is Not the End of the World Says Says a Longtime Voice of the Green Movement

A few years ago I was surprised by a survey which showed the extent to which Climate Change had become the number one issue on peoples' list of concerns. I know that it's been talked about for decades and in the 90s some projected that the ice caps would be melted by now and all coastal cities underwater.

This past week I saw a Tweet from Michael Shellenberger regarding an opinion piece he'd written for Forbes which he intended as an apology to all the people whom his environmental activism had terrified. When I went to copy it for sharing here, Forbes had removed it. Did Forbes cave in to Cancel Culture?

That's what John Robson says in the National Post. The piece is titled Forbes falls to cancel culture as it erases environmentalist's mea culpa. Robson begins, "It’s big news when somebody prominent apologizes for being badly wrong on a major public matter, promises to do better going forward and urges others to do the same, right? Unless the person commits heresy like, say, Michael Shellenberger."

Robson lays out an in depth list of Shellenberger's Progressive credentials, just so those who know him not might see what a big deal this is.

One reason a lot of people want to put a gag on Shellenberger might be that the Democracts have all been piling on to this end of the world scenario, which will enable them to take drastic action should they acquire. the reigns of power. As I have written elsewhere, he who controls the narrative controls the people. The Green agenda would appear to no longer be about truth but about control.

This is what Reason is suggesting in it's latest barb by Nick Gillespie, 'Climate Change Is Real, But It's Not the End of the World': Michael Shellenberger. The Gillespie story puts the political angle front and center at the outset: "If there's one consistent message coming from activists and politicians pushing the Green New Deal and massive new subsidies for renewable energy it's that if we don't take radical action now, life on Earth as we know it will soon be irreversibly destroyed. Greta Thunberg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden all have claimed that we have less than a dozen years left in which to save the planet."

* * * *

Photo by RawFilm on Unsplash
The trigger for this media firestorm is Shellenberger's new book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,  in which he argues that science doesn't support doomsayers' claims.

Here are some facts that he underscores in the book, facts which have been repeated so often they've been accepted with the same legitimacy at the earth being round and 93 million miles from the sun.

• Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
• The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
• Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
• Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
• The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
• The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
• Carbon emissions have been declining in rich nations including Britain, Germany and France since the mid-seventies
• Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
• We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
• Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
• Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
• Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture

* * * *
It's easy to see why Shellenberger's message is controversial. If deforestation and deaths from extreme weather are declining, it weakens the motivations to dish out boatloads of dollars to enviro-groups whose primary function is to save Planer Earth.

This is precisely what Michael Crichton's disputed State of Fear was about. Fighting for a cause, even if the facts don't support the existence of the problem, is good business. The more you fan the flames of fear, the more people open their wallets. Fear moves people to action, which is why both the major political machines (Dems and GOP) are so fond of it as a fundraising tool.

* * * *
When I read about the dust-up at Forbes, it did enter my mind that Shellenberger's opinion piece may have been pulled because he was promoting his new book. It's a foggy matter, since someone decided to publish it initially. I recall a similar incident back in the 90s when an article was pulled from the magazine because of a sit-in in the publication's lobby in NYC.

How interesting that the center of the controversy takes place where the Media Messages are crafted. Ibsen's An Enemy of the People centered around a small town's newspaper. Orwell's 1984 likewise primarily revolves around The Ministry of Truth. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Waltzing With Bears

If you're anything like me, you sometimes like to listen to the same song several times in a row. For some reason I occasionally listen to the same song three, four or even more times in a row. Or in a variation, start my day with the same song, for weeks.

The same with reading books, though not always in a row. But I do read favorite books multiple times. Perhaps we’re comforted by the familiar.

As early as second grade I had a favorite book that I kept taking out from the elementary school library. I’d taken it out so many times over and over again that the librarian was concerned enough to comment about it. Interestingly enough, it was a story about bears.

That memory came to mind after I had watched and listened to a song on YouTube maybe four, five or six times in a row by various artists. The song was “Waltzing With Bears.” Afterwards I began to wonder what it is about this song that gives me such a kick. Maybe because it’s so frivolous.

Here are the lyrics. 

Waltzing With Bears

I went upstairs in the middle of the night,
I tiptoed in and I turned on the light,
And to my surprise, there was no one in sight,
My Uncle Walter goes waltzing at night!

He goes wa-wa-wa-wa, wa-waltzing with bears,
Raggy bears, shaggy bears, baggy bears too.
There's nothing on earth Uncle Walter won't do,
So he can go waltzing, wa-wa-wa-waltzing,
So he can go waltzing, waltzing with bears!

I gave Uncle Walter a new coat to wear,
When he came home he was covered with hair,
And lately I've noticed several new tears,
I'm sure Uncle Walter goes waltzing with bears!
[Repeat Chorus]

We told Uncle Walter that he should be good,
And do all the things that we said he should,
But I know that he'd rather be out in the wood,
I'm afraid we might lose Uncle Walter for good!
[Repeat Chorus]

We begged and we pleaded, “Oh please won't you stay!"
We managed to keep him at home for a day,
But the bears all barged in, and they took him away!
Now he's waltzing with pandas, and he can't understand us,
And the bears all demand at least one dance a day!
[Repeat Chorus]

Here's another fun version.  Loving the brogue.
And yes, I kinda relate to Uncle Walter a wee bit. Sometimes ya just wanna get away.
Have a fine day. 

John Gardner On Writing Fiction: Nine Quotes for Writers

John Gardner. (Public domain)
In my first first writer's conference in 1983 I took both the fiction and non-fiction (article writing) tracks, in part because I wanted to be a publishing freelancer and I also wanted to learn the craft of fiction. It was a life changing week for me and I have been a publishing writer ever since.

In the advanced article writing class, the instructor recommended reading Jack London's Martin Eden, advice which I dutifully followed up on. Years later I read it again, and though now a century old it still offers rewards for wannabe writers.

John Gardner was another author whose books were also recommended. The Art of Fiction and On Becoming a Novelist are considered classics. After finding one of these in our local library I purchased both for my personal library. I'd pretty much suggest that if you are a beginning writer, you do the same. That is, read all the books you can find in the library about the writing craft, then purchase the best ones for your own ongoing usage. (This formula works for advertising, marketing, entrepreneurialism and other pursuits.)

John Gardner was both a writer and a teacher. He wrote more than a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction including Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf tale from the point of view of the monster.

Gardner died in a motorcycle accident in September 1982, not yet 50. Like too many other artists, he died too young. Here are several quotes from the two books cited above. If you are serious about writing fiction, I commend both of these to you.

The Art of Fiction

"Though the literary dabbler may write a fine story now and then, the true writer is one for whom technique has become, as for the pianist, second nature."
J. Gardner

"... whatever the genre may be, fiction does its work by creating a dream in the reader's mind."
J. Gardner

"Thus the value of great fiction, we begin to suspect, is not just that it entertains us or distracts us from our troubles, not just that it broadens our knowledge of people and places, but also that it helps us to know what we believe, reinforces those qualities that are noblest in us, leads us to feel uneasy about our faults and limitations."
J. Gardner

"What the young writer needs to develop, to achieve his goal of becoming a great artist, is not a set of aesthetic laws, but artistic mastery."
J. Gardner  

"At least in conventional fiction, the moment we stop caring where the story will go next... the writer has failed, and we stop reading.
J. Gardner  

"When the amateur writer lets a bad sentence stand in his final draft, though he knows its bad, the sin is frigidity: he has not yet learned the importance of his art..."
J. Gardner 

On Becoming a Novelist

"It may feel more classy to imitate James Joyce... than All In the Family; but every literary imitation lacks something we expect of good writing: the writer seeing with his own eyes."
J. Gardner

"Detail is the lifeblood of fiction."
J. Gardner

"The study of writing, like the study of classical piano, is not practical but aristocratic. If one is born rich, one can easily afford to be an artist; if not, one has to afford one's art by sacrifice."
J. Gardner  

* * * 

* Philip Yancey was keynote speaker at the banquet. I had the good fortune of having a meal with him that evening.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Impediments to Sustained Attention

Several decades ago, while walking quietly through an old growth deciduous forest in Pennsylvania, I stopped to contemplate a chirping sparrow which was flitting from branch to branch in a young elm tree. The little bird hopped from this branch to that, chirped a few times and flitted to another.

This hopping about captured my attention so that I stood there quietly observing for the longest time. For some reason, and I know not why, it entered my head that my own thought life was like this little bird, flitting from this topic to that, bouncing about almost aimlessly, momentarily intent on this idea then leaping to another intense interest, ever flitting here and there, from this thought to another unrelated branch of thought.

What was the meaning of this? This was long before I'd ever heard the concept of ADHD, attention deficit disorder. And, the pattern has not really diminished all that much.

This Appalachian mountain memory was brought to mind by a lecture on Optimizing Brain Fitness by Professor Richard Restak in which he lists a set of impediments to sustained attention. These impediments, he stated, were:
1) Boredom
2) Emotional blunting or burn out
3) Sensory overload
4) Multitasking

The word that leapt from this list for me was multitasking, though each of the other items contribute to our inability to maintain focused attention for a sustained period of time. Prof. Restak says we are not really multitasking when we multitask, because our mind doesn't really do two things at once. We are flitting back and forth between the two.

Have you ever been to a party where you get introduced to new people but later can't recall their names? Once again it's a matter of focus. Our minds may be focused on "managing the room." Or we're distracted by everything else going on. If it is a business meeting, someone may hand you their card and later, if you wrote a note on the back, you will remember who the person was. That act of writing a note required a moment of focus.

In this lecture he also talked bout how to learn new material. Rote memorization is possible for short term quizzes, but long-term value is created when we involve ourselves more deeply in the information, by writing a paper about the topic for example.

"The most important principle for improving your memory is focusing your attention on what you are trying to learn." This is why disruptive behavior in a classroom is such a problem. It distracts other students and interferes with their ability to focus.

This morning I posted a story in response to a California decision to forbid suspensions in K thru 8th grade. In School Daze: Whats's Going On I took a walk down memory lane to my own grade school experiences in which I can't recall a single suspension taking place throughout my elementary school years in the 1950s and early 60s. Were there any students suspended for bad behavior in junior high when I moved to New Jersey? My memory may be faulty but in those days students listened to the teacher, obeyed when told to spit out their gum, and showed respect.

On one occasion my 5th grade teacher asked me (told me) to not put my pen in my mouth, which I did quite frequently evidently. I liked the taste of the metal, I think. At least that is what I said in the 500 word essay I had to write (as punishment) explaining why I kept putting my pen in my mouth.

As I look back over the meandering direction this blog post has taken, it's apparent I've lost my focus. And rather than drag you with me any further, let's turn the page.

Till next.

Extra Credit: What was your experience in elementary school? When and where?

Monday, July 6, 2020

Local Art Seen: Yes, Duluth Art Institute Is Open Aagain

From "The Long Journey" (detail)
Last week I saw an announcement that the Duluth Art Institute was opening up on July 1. Naturally I stopped in the next day and did a walk-through. This is a brief intro to some of what you'll find if you go.

Sue Rauschenfels: Sisterhood
Several of Rauschenfels paintings reminded me stylistically of
Carla Hamilton's colorful portrayals of people.
If you take the elevator to the DAI offices on the fourth floor of the Depot, the hallway where you emerge is called The Corridor Gallery. Sue Rauschenfels acrylic and water colors line the walls here. The theme is Sisterhood.

Either I never knew or had forgotten, but Rauschenfels is one of six sisters, hence the paintings have a more natural origin than I'd imagined.

The artist's statement speaks of the international interconnectedness of women across boundaries, and the challenges of connecting as well as the everyday world in which they live.

The Pike Lake artist is a member of the Lake Superior Abstract Group. You can find more of Rauschefels' work at 47 Degrees Gallery in Knife River, MN and Art on the Planet Gallery in Superior, WI.

Kari Halker-Saathoff: Odysseus & Penelope: The Long Journey
Halker-Saathoff's work appears to be a composite of several passions. As an artist, she works in ceramics and is also an illustrator, hence the unique form her works take.

The title is indicative of the origins for this collection of work. Most will recognize the influence of Greek mythology in general and specifically Homer's Odyssey. The artist's wife happens to be named Penelope, so that brings these stories closer to home. The art therefore reflects a merging of ancient stories with contemporary ones.

From the DAI show description: Halker-Saathoff describes Penelope’s situation, “Suitors invaded her home, ate her food, threatened her son, assaulted her servants, and pressured her to remarry. In resisting the suitors Penelope had to use all her resources, showing herself to be as courageous, wily, and brilliant a figure as Odysseus. The courage of her resistance is the inspiration for my interpretation and the struggle of women’s persecution and for equality are ever present.”

Emily Stokes: Reveal
I've always been fascinated by printmaking of all stripes and the unique manner in which Emily Stokes combines painting, drawing and digital imaging to produce her work is quite intriguing.

There are actually two kinds of things to see here in the Steffl Gallery. Her small mixed media panels on the walls, and also something akin to "books" that unfold in a systematic but unconventional manner. The work purportedly explores “how economic and demographic shifts impact traditions and how these shifts are revealed in the symbols around us.”

I myself found much of it to be elegant and distinctive iconography that begs to be examined more deeply. For this reason I recommend a leisurely unhurried visit to the gallery in order to have more time to engage those pieces that especially resonate with you visually or psychologically.

Stokes, who received her MFA at Arizona State (printmaking), teaches at Northwestern University in Orange City, Iowa.

Tia Salmela Keobounpheng: Bloodline
The artist works in a multimedia three-dimensional form so it technically falls into the category of sculpture. Two of the four pieces in this series are in the Mayor's Reception Room as part of the ongoing relationship between the DAI and City Hall.

Here is the beginning of her statement about the work: “Combining scientific and mythical concepts, I imagine the ways that my grandmothers are part of me despite the fact that I have no lived experience with them. What began as a quest to define the void that I perceive (they would have filled) has led me on a journey of uncovering history that is both fact and inferred.

A graduate of Central High School here in Duluth, her Finnish roots provide a foundation for a portion of her inspiration. Tia Keo lives and works in North Minneapolis.

* * * *
Emily Stokes
Sue Rauschenfels
Kari Halker-Saathoff
Odysseus and Penelope

For more in-depth commentary on these current exhibits visit the DAI's Current Exhibitions page.