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January 22, 2015

Nine Bad Habits To Avoid In Your 2015 Work Life

By Geoffrey James

With a new year coming, this is an excellent time to expunge work habits that irritate coworkers and make you less effective.

"Achieving success requires more than just doing the right thing," says Geoffrey James, contributing editor and award-winning blogger at Inc.com and author of Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. "Success also means changing the behaviors that hold you back."

Here are nine habits you can do without in 2015:

1. Doing the bare minimum.
If you accept a task, you owe it to yourself and to others to make your best effort. If you don't want to do something, have the courage to refuse the task. Doing a half-*ssed job is just being passive-aggressive.

2. Telling half-truths.
Honesty is the best policy. However, if you're afraid to speak the truth, it's cowardice to tell a half-truth that's intended to mislead but leaves you "plausible deniability." Either tell the whole truth or tell a real lie—and accept the consequences if you're found out.

3. Finger-pointing.
Few human behaviors are more pointless than fixing blame. In business, it's usually irrelevant who's at fault when something goes wrong. What's important is how to avoid making the same mistakes again.

4. Bucking accountability.
Finger-pointing is common in business because some people aren't willing to admit their mistakes. If you're going to take credit for your accomplishments, you must also take credit for your failures. The two go hand in hand.

5. Hating on successful people.
When you direct your hate at success, you're telling yourself that being successful means being hated. Since nobody in their right mind wants to be hated, you'll subconsciously sabotage yourself so that people will continue to like you.

6. Schadenfreude.
Taking a secret pleasure in the failures of others makes your own success less likely. You end up gloating over what other people did wrong, rather than doing whatever it takes to make yourself more successful.

7. Workplace gossip.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." When you spread gossip, you're identifying yourself as small-minded and also showing that you can't be trusted to keep secrets.

8. Creating your own stress.
While work may be stressful, you make it worse when you fail to disconnect on a regular basis. Rather than answer yet another email, take a walk, read a book, or listen to some music. Turn off your phone when you go to bed; whatever it is, it can wait.

9. Giving or accepting flattery.
An honest compliment is always welcome, but flattery truly gets you nowhere. When you flatter, everyone knows that you're brown-nosing. Similarly, when you accept flattery, you're marking yourself as gullible and self-absorbed.

Adapted from Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know by Geoffrey James.

About the Author:

Geoffrey James is a veteran business journalist who now writes a daily column for Inc.com. His latest book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, won the following praise from Publishers Weekly: "The author's pithy and frank style matches his title...a quick, impactful primer for anyone wanting to be more effective on the job."

For more information, please visit www.geoffreyjames.com.

Will Clue Found At The British Museum Lead To Lost Colony?

By MARTHA WAGGONER

Associated Press

Raleigh, NC (AP) A clue discovered just a few years ago on a centuries-old map has led researchers back to a North Carolina site in hopes of discovering whether the men, women and children of North Carolina’s ``Lost Colony’’ settled there.

``If we were finding this evidence at Roanoke Island, which is the well-established site of Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony, we would have no hesitation to say this is evidence of Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonies,’’ said Phil Evans, president of the First Colony Foundation. ``But because this is a new site and not associated with Sir Walter Raleigh, we have to hesitate and ask questions and learn more. It’s not Roanoke Island. It’s a new thing, and a new thing has to stand some tests.’’

In 2012, researchers with the foundation and the British Museum announced they had found a tantalizing clue about the fate of the Lost Colony, the settlers who disappeared from Roanoke Island in the late 16th century. The clue was on the ``Virginea Pars’’ map of Virginia and North Carolina created by explorer John White in the 1580s and owned by the British Museum since 1866.

Attached to the map were two patches, one of which appeared to correct a mistake on the map. The other—in what is modern-day Bertie County in northeastern North Carolina—hid what appears to be a fort. Another symbol, appearing to be the very faint image of a different kind of fort, is drawn on top of the patch.

Illustration: North Wind Picture Archive

The American and British scholars believed the fort symbol could indicate where the settlers went.

The map prompted archaeologists with the foundation to re-examine artifacts they had found years earlier on private land near the site. That re-examination encouraged them to dig for more artifacts in 2012 and then again in 2014, said Nicholas Luccketti, an archaeologist who has surveyed and excavated Virginia sites since 1974 and has been on the foundation board since its inception in 2006.

Although they haven’t found a fort, they have found enough artifacts of the correct time period to cause excitement, he said. ``It’s fair to say it’s a site of very great interest to us,’’ he said, adding the owner is cooperating with the dig on land near the confluence of the Chowan and Roanoke rivers in the western Albemarle Sound.

The impetus for the excitement isn’t very exciting in and of itself: mainly broken, everyday pottery that shows that people lived there, Evans said. ``That’s why domestic wares are interesting to us,’’ he said. ``It tells us people were there long enough to break stuff. ... We’re getting these types of wares in sufficient numbers that we think people are there and they’re doing something and they’re there for a good bit of time,’’ he said.

One reason for caution is that other people once lived on the site so the researchers must be certain that the wares aren’t associated with them, Luccketti said. ``Right now, we don’t think so,’’ he said.

White drew the Virginea Pars map—which was critical to Sir Walter Raleigh’s quest to attract investors in his second colony—and other drawings when he traveled to Roanoke Island in 1585 on an expedition commanded by Sir Ralph Lane. In 1587, a second colony of 116 English settlers landed on Roanoke Island, led by White. He left the island for England for more supplies but couldn’t return again until 1590 because of the war between England and Spain.

When he came back, the colony was gone. White knew the majority had planned to move ``50 miles into the maine,’’ as he wrote, referring to the mainland. The only clue he found about the fate of the other two dozen was the word ``CROATOAN’’ carved into a post.

Evans hopes that people don’t expect a bombshell discovery that confirms the site as the home of the Roanoke colonists. Such confirmation would involve ``taking lots and lots of little pieces of information, analyzing and evaluating them against other colonial sites, the history we know, the map evidence we know and then building it piece by piece,’’ he said. ``I’d be very surprised if we hit any one thing and said, `This is it.’’’

X-ray Used To Decipher Scrolls Found At Herculaneum

By FRANK JORDANS

Associated Press

Berlin (AP) Scientists have succeeded in reading parts of an ancient scroll that was buried in a volcanic eruption almost 2,000 years ago, holding out the promise that the world’s oldest surviving library may one day reveal all of its secrets.

The scroll is among hundreds retrieved from the remains of a lavish villa at Herculaneum, which along with Pompeii was one of several Roman towns that were destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79.

Some of the texts from what is called the Villa of the Papyri have been deciphered since they were discovered in the 1750s. But many more remain a mystery to science because they were so badly damaged that unrolling the papyrus they were written on would have destroyed them completely.

``The papyri were completely covered in blazing-hot volcanic material,’’ said Vito Mocella, a theoretical scientist at the Institute of Microelectronics and Microsystems (CNR) in Naples who led the latest project.

One of the papyrus scrolls

Previous attempts to peer inside the scrolls failed to yield any readable texts because the ink used in ancient times was made from a mixture of charcoal and gum. This makes it indistinguishable from the burned papyrus.

Mocella and his colleagues decided to try a method called X-ray phase contrast tomography that had previously been used to examine fossils without damaging them.

Phase contrast tomography takes advantage of subtle differences in the way radiation— such as X-rays—passes through different substances, in this case papyrus and ink.

Using lab time at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, the researchers found they were able to decipher several letters, proving that the method could be used to read what’s hidden inside the scrolls.

``Our goal was to show that the technique is sensitive to the writing,’’ said Mocella. In a further step, the scientists compared the handwriting to that of other texts, allowing them to conclude that it was likely the work of Philodemus, a poet and Epicurean philosopher who died about a century before the volcanic eruption.

The next challenge will be to automate the laborious process of scanning the charred lumps of papyrus and deciphering the texts inside them, so that some 700 further scrolls stored in Naples can be read, Mocella said.

Scholars studying the Herculaneum texts say the new technique, which was detailed in an article published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, may well mark a breakthrough for their efforts to unlock the ancient philosophical ideas hidden from view for almost two millennia.

``It’s a philosophical library of Epicurean texts from a time when this philosophy influenced the most important classical Latin authors, such as Virgil, Horace and Cicero,’’ said Juergen Hammerstaedt, a professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Cologne, Germany, who was not involved in the project.

``There needs to be much work before one can virtually unroll carbonized papyrus because one will have to develop a digital method that will allow us to follow the layers,’’ he said. ``But in the 260 years of Herculaneum papyrology it is certainly a remarkable year.’’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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