Workplace news you cannot use

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I collect data points constantly, and I index them by topic, and I always hope that they will come together in an interesting, useful way. Lots of times, that doesn't happen, and I just have to throw ideas away, because I have a rule for myself that I have to be useful in every post.

But today I'm trying something new. I'm doing a post that is useless to you. Here are four ideas I was just about to toss out as incurably useless, but instead, I bring them to you:

1. Law firms are making concessions for women.
One of the top law firms in the world, Allen Overy, just announced they are letting people become part-time partners. This would be news if no one had tried it before. But many firms that have already done this in response to the extreme brain drain in the legal profession due to women leaving law firms because they are so inflexible.

So now there is the idea that there can be a part-time partner. Fortunately, like most things in workplace reform, Gen X-ers have already been the guinea pigs. My friends, in fact, have tried this. And it turns out that if you give a lawyer a part-time job, she ends up working 50 hours a week instead of 80, and gets part-time credit, which isn't exactly encouraging.

2. People live together instead of getting married.
This is not news you can use because you already know it. This is what I said to Hannah Seligson, who asked me to write about her new book, A Little Bit Married: How to Know When it’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door.

I like Hannah. She wrote a great piece for the Daily Beast, about the orgasm gap between men and women. I also like Hannah because when I told her that I thought her book was not news, she exhibited a charming relentlessness about publicizing her book, and she told me:

– Co-habitation is a bigger step in the marriage direction for women than men.

– Women are ready to get married before men, even when they’re already living together.

This mostly seems like things have not changed. In fact, the most surprising thing about this news is that women are earning more than men, and men have seen a generation of women with fertility nightmares from putting off having children in favor of building their career, yet still, nothing changes in the marriage equation.

So I don't know about this book. I'm not sure how useful it is. And I think a book on the orgasm gap would have been more useful, but maybe Hanna’s got a few orgasm pages tucked into this book…

3. Texting while driving is bad.
Already 19 states prohibit texting while driving, so that's gotta make you think twice about doing it in the other 31. Also, it's clear that even if you're great with just one-finger on the keyboard, texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk.

I would never drive drunk. But I text in car all the time. I tell myself not to, and then I do just one more quick one.

Which is why this falls into the category of news you cannot use: Texting while driving requires the same rules for oneself that driving drunk require. We each self-police, and it's an issue of self-respect, but also, a social contract with the other people on the road that we will not endanger each other's lives.

You decide where you are and then no amount of scaring you changes you. So, I read the data, and then I texted that very day. I know I'm a terrible person. But I'm not ready to make the change.

4. Pig sex is on the demise.
The farmer went to grad school for pig genetics, and he has a lot of pigs on his farm. The farmer buys boy pigs to impregnate the girl pigs. But the last batch of boys he bought did not know how to have sex. They would mount the girl pigs, but their penis didn't go in where it was supposed to. The farmer tells me that so much of pig reproduction is by artificial insemination now that farmers aren't breeding for pigs who know how to have sex. This is amazing to me. Though I cannot think of how to use the knowledge in any work except farm work.

Okay. So we're at the end of my post. I thought it would be fun to write about stuff I wish was useful but it is not. I thought it would be fun to break the rule that I have to be useful. But you know what? It wasn't fun.

My blog is about me doing something nice for you, and then, in turn, you doing something nice for me, by talking about what I want to talk about. But if I am not trying to be useful to you in some way, then I'm not really in a relationship with you. I’m just writing like it’s my diary.

There is something really fulfilling about being useful. So here’s my tip: You should be useful to readers each time you post. It feels better. For everyone.


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129 replies
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  1. Angela Connor
    Angela Connor says:

    Your blog is always useful to me. No matter what you write about, there is always something in it that resonates. That’s what makes you such the gifted writer. Now I have to run upstairs and tell my husband that there are actually pigs that don’t know how to have sex. He loves random facts so he will likely share that at work tomorrow. I will too. See, useful still…
    Angela Connor

  2. Laura Atkins
    Laura Atkins says:

    Recently learned of a bumper sticker making the roads in Alabama…
    Honk if you love Jesus, text if you want to meet him.

    Sums it up nicely, I think.

    • Sarah
      Sarah says:

      I do love Jesus, and I love that bumper sticker too. That says it perfectly. Except that the texter may not be the dead one, which is really sad.

      Texting on straight roads out in the middle of nowhere, or in incredibly slow traffic in the middle of a gridlock, might be tempting for texters.

      I don’t have texting on my phone, but dialing a phone number is just as bad, even if shorter.

  3. Jim C.
    Jim C. says:

    That’s interesting and somewhat unsettling information about swine. It seems to me that a bit TOO MUCH selective breeding has gone on with domestic animals. Now we get boars who can’t succeed at intercourse. We get pedigreed bulldogs that can only give birth by caesarian, because the puppies’ heads are too big, and collies that have been bred to have such narrow heads that now they have eye problems. We get domestic turkeys that are too stupid to get in out of the rain.
    Enough is enough.

  4. econopete
    econopete says:

    The information on orgasms was fascinating for me. Sadly, I can’t use that information to get a girlfriend.

  5. bayley
    bayley says:

    what method do you use to collect and organize your data points? I’m always picking up random tidbits that i’d like to make sense of, too, but i never know how to hold on to them.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I used to use Excel. It’s a good way to organize things but a cumbersome way to store URLs. Now I use Gmail because it’s all searchable. I mail myself URLs and label them in the subject hed. Then I have a sort of searchable database of ideas, and I delete the ideas from my system when I think they’ll never fit anywhere.


  6. eddy
    eddy says:

    Nice. Good to know about the swine sex thing. Going to drop it in conversation at my next dinner party.

    Re: texting. I, too, fight the urge, even though I know it is extremely dangerous/foolish. I have to find that bumper sticker Laura Atkins mentioned. Genius.

  7. Mel
    Mel says:

    You were useful AND educational to me today :) Thanks!! I will have to talk to my dad about the pig breeding issue. We live on an Angus Beef farm. I wonder if he has noticed that problem with our cattle.

  8. Elaine
    Elaine says:

    If this is the level of information you’re texting about, dear god, stop. Texting while driving is the most self-indulgent, irresponsible, idiotic thing you can do. Are you stupid? Because there’s really no excuse.

  9. Kathy Holiday
    Kathy Holiday says:

    This has been a very useful blog alright. This is your open diary for us. We get a glimpse of who you are and at the same time, get something new. Now, about that pig sex thing, maybe the farmer doesn’t know how to distinguish a “potential breeding male” to those who are not capable of having sex. Here in our country, we have ONE dominant pig male that would give a offsprings to all the female population pigs. :)

  10. Gerty
    Gerty says:

    I think what this post has illustrated is that it’s great to have rules. Tried and tested rules that you stick to, like a formula for success. Your personal rule to be useful to readers has served you extremely well and earned you a loyal following.

    I like the fact that you broke your rule for this post. That is the useful message for me today. To remember that its ok to break the rules occasionally!

  11. Jess @OpenlyBalanced
    Jess @OpenlyBalanced says:

    I actually found #4 to be quite useful, and I don’t work on a pig farm or for the pork industry. It’s a real life example of the unintended consequences of systems manipulation. If you manipulate a system to maximize specific results, you sometimes end up with systems that don’t “work” in other, crucial ways.

    I used to be a big car texter. I stopped when one of my favorite TV show characters was killed off in a car crash. Oddly enough, the death was not related to cell phone use in any way, and was only peripherally related to the car accident itself. Our brains work in weird ways sometimes.

    And this is the part where we all talk about what you wanted us to talk about :).

  12. Mitch
    Mitch says:

    I’ve texted while driving. Maybe 10 times in 7 years. Mostly at stoplights while the light is red. The couple of times I’ve done it going at 40 or 50 mph, I did a quick 1-letter and back on the road, quick 1-letter and back on the road… so that basically I was no more taking my eyes off the road ahead than I would to look over my shoulder before getting in the passing lane.

    I’m not endorsing texting while driving. But I think that there are different ways that people do it, and I would venture to say that these gray areas are where people give themselves permission… kind of like Penelope and I do. :-)

    Penelope, I appreciate you bringing up things honestly that people get herky-jerky about. Dogmatic “never do that!” responses don’t really add anything to the discussion. Frankly, the “never do that!” axioms only make things more necessary to talk about. Your brazenness shines through even on a leftovers post, and it lights the way. Thank you.

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      I’ve driven drunk. It’s ok. I’m a better driver than most people. And I only drink beer, not vodka.

      See, that sounds pretty dumb.

      Put down the phone and drive. If you need to text that badly get off the road.

  13. J
    J says:

    “There is something really fulfilling about being useful. So here’s my tip: You should be useful to readers each time you post. It feels better. For everyone.”

    I’ve honestly never actually found any post you’ve written really, practically useful [I’m sorry, I don’t get all this Gen-X Y Z Q W A B C stuff, it’s like reading lines of code], but I’ve always found them entertaining.

    That’s why I come back, not because I find the information applicable in my life.

    [Out of all the stats the pig sex one is probably the only one I’ll remember by the end of the day]

    So I must disagree with the last para or so of your post I’m afraid.

    A useful blog may not always be a blog you’d subscribe to.

  14. W J P
    W J P says:

    Your equivocation about texting while driving is the most morally repugnant thing you have said in your blog since you suggested that abortion was a right just because it is legal by some of our state governments.

    Texting and driving must stop.


    You have no right to tell someone texting is wrong and then say, wink-wink, you still do it because you just can’t seem to make yourself stop.


    I like you and your blog. But your ego is making a choice for you that is wrong. There is nothing in your career or personal life that is so important that it has to be accomplished by a text in the middle of traffic. If you think otherwise, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. For hell’s sake pull over to the side of the road and do your damned texting.

    People are dying, my friend. Please stop.

    Other than that, have a nice day.

    • Sara
      Sara says:

      Based on what you’ve written here, the concept of “rights” eludes you.

      In a state where abortion is not prohibited by law, a woman does, indeed, have the right to it.

      In a country where free speech is guaranteed by law, a person does, indeed, have the right to say “I think this behavior is bad, but I am going to do it anyway.”

      What you mean is, “I disagree with you.”

      Now, I do understand that there are large swaths of Americans that truly believe X should not be a right, because they disagree with the idea, but it’s not actually the same thing.

      • Depakote Lawyer
        Depakote Lawyer says:

        “Although I already know people are living together instead of getting married – the reminder that it’s true makes me sad in my heart. Is this really a more successful model for people than marriage?

        I just can’t allow myself to enter into a “half-way” contract with a man – €“ like let’s pretend we’re committed to each other, when really we’re not. Maybe I need security in my life more than most people, but I just couldn’t handle it. I don’t want to join my life to someone in a temporary way.”

        Sara, I mean no disrespect when I say this, but I think you have it all wrong. To me, it seems like a safer way to ease into a marriage (living together prior to marrying), if for no other reason than to see if you can actually stand being around that person all the time. Living with your significant other is much different than just being with them a lot. When you live with someone, you learn a lot more about them just when you thought you knew it all. Are you coming from a religious stance on this? I am not quite sure why you are against two people in a loving, committed relationship moving in together as the step between partnership and marriage. In my opinion, when couples do this they save themselves from having to go through a painful divorce, or worse, having children who have to go through that with them when they have lived under the same roof for a couple years and realize they made a big mistake and can’t stand each other. This country was founded by puritans, and as we have evolved we have seen over the course of history the end of people getting married at 17 or 18 just because they didn’t want to disappoint their families, but really wanted to be intimate with their partner without being looked upon as a sinner. I will say it is a double edged sword, as now when two people marry they may jump into it faster because divorce is so prevalent and widely accepted in today’s society where it didn’t used to be, so they feel it isn’t permanent because divorce is always an option. Would you rather see people getting divorced more often, or people living together out of wedlock? I think you need to cool down with emotions and keep your eyes on your own paper, don’t worry about what other people choose to do with their lives, and especially their relationships. You are entitled to your beliefs, even if they are dated, but you shouldn’t expect anyone else (outside of your church) to feel the same way.

  15. Becky
    Becky says:

    Although I already know people are living together instead of getting married… the reminder that it’s true makes me sad in my heart. Is this really a more successful model for people than marriage?

    I just can’t allow myself to enter into a “half-way” contract with a man – like let’s pretend we’re committed to each other, when really we’re not. Maybe I need security in my life more than most people, but I just couldn’t handle it. I don’t want to join my life to someone in a temporary way.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Hi Becky,

      I find this comment really interesting. I sort of agree but sort of disagree. Personally, I’ve lived with someone twice (and am still unmarried, though I currently live with my fiance). If something happened and I re-entered the dating scene, I don’t think I would live with someone again except if we became engaged. My fiance and I were lucky to realize we wanted to get married after we moved in together, but I don’t think I’d want to take the chance of breaking up post-move-in with someone else.

      Before my fiance I lived with someone I did not see myself ever getting married to. That was terrible. When we broke up I was in a bad position money-wise and I wondered why I had bothered moving in with him. But on the other hand I think living with him made me decide he wasn’t for me much faster than I might have if he just took me out Saturday nights.

      My other thought is that in my province, after living together for a year you are considered common law. So, tax-wise, you are as good as married. You can go a step further and sign a document stating you are partners if you wish to remain unmarried but want to be recognized as life partners (with the legal rights that entails.)

      I have no real answer on this one, even having been on the going-to-marry and not-going-to-marry sides of the living together fence. I think maybe the living together as “trial period” culture is misguided. Not because it’s not helpful, but because it’s very painful and trying. I feel like there must be an easier way to evaluate a partner. But if you’re just against marriage for whatever reason, or on a long road to marriage…living together is a good alternative.

      • Dana
        Dana says:

        I think simply- many people do not need a piece of paper or a white dress to be committed to one another.

        I lived with my husband for 5 years before we got married. We choose to get married after ten years of a committed relationship when we began discussing having children and moving across the country. Not to prove our commitment to one another- but to ensure that we were tied to each other legally as we moved into a new stage of our lives. At that point it just made sense. We weren’t pretending up until the point that we signed a piece of paper. Putting so much importance in a ceremony, well that- that is what “makes me sad in my heart”.

        Keep in mind, a lot of marriages end in divorce. That piece of paper isn’t the security that you are looking for. Only the right person can provide that whether you are married or just living together.

  16. KMS
    KMS says:

    At least there’s a link among some of those items. It sounds like there is an orgasm gap for girl pigs too. :D

  17. Ron Hawkins
    Ron Hawkins says:

    My friend was killed while texting in his car, not to mention the other car he hit was written off, and that driver suffered a few broken bones..Maybe you should rethink the whole texting while driving thing?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I have found that the first step to rethinking something is to come clean about it publicly, and see how it feels to talk about what I’m really doing in my life: Does it still feel okay when it’s public?

      And the comments section today is probably the tipping point for me taking the step to stop texting while driving.


  18. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    But then if we're in a relationship with you, we recognize that you cannot always be on top form, so we allow you those days where you just post those "diary" entries – Ž¯not that this one was that way at all. Don't be so hard on yourself.
    The pig sex was pretty fascinating. The link to how women are earning more than men in big cities: interesting.
    And the texting one: so super important. I know you can try to say that it's useless, because you are going to continue thinking of it in some distant, abstract fashion that's not relevant to you, but I think that's just lame laziness. This may not help the imagery at all but has anyone seen the movie "Seven Pounds?" C'mon now. Do you really want that on your chest?
    You're a mother. You should at least be able to see it in those terms. It's one of those classic don't-miss-it-till-you-don't-have-it-anymore scenarios. Next time you wake up in the morning, try to remember how lucky you are that your mind does not immediately go to that person you killed because you had to text: "Running late. I'll be there in 5 minutes."
    Really. There's no reason you cannot pull over to say that. It takes an extra two minutes at the most. And two minutes of inconvenience compared to a lifetime of crushing guilt? Next time you text while driving, you're admitting that you'd be okay with the latter.

  19. Amy Vachon
    Amy Vachon says:

    I think that #1 is useful – or at the very least, hopeful. Even if it’s been tried many times before, publicized news about part-time law partner possibilities brings us one teeny-tiny step closer to the corporate wake-up we really need to fit our work and family needs together (whether we’re lawyers or not). And I’d much rather work 50 hours and get part-time credit than work 80 and get all the credit in the world. Becoming partner is not all that it used to mean, my lawyer friends tell me, and most part-time lawyers can make ‘enough,’ together with their home partners, to support their families.

    And the texting idea is also useful. I hadn’t thought before about how MUCH it resembles the decisions we make about driving after drinking. This gives me more pause before clicking those buttons than other things I’ve read recently on the topic.

    So, thanks, Penelope!

  20. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    To this:


    I would add, “and if not your own kids, somebody else’s.”

    Unplug for a minute, mama. Enjoy the unconnectedness. There’s nothing to text about that can’t wait, and if there is, you can always pull over.

    I enjoy your blog, and I care about you, and I would hate to pop over one day and read about the wreck you had while texting.

  21. JR
    JR says:

    The Butterball turkey you had for Thanksgiving was a product of artificial insemination. Today’s commercial tom turkeys are so huge, they can barely walk, let alone mount a hen.

  22. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    I find it interesting that there are now billboards telling me not to text and drive. Thank you for diverting my attention from my phone to a place that 50 feet away from the road. I wonder how many drivers have lost control of their cars or failed to notice a mandatory merge while reading the driving instructions for the nearest Cracker Barrel.

  23. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Turkeys don’t know how to have sex anymore either. Or how to nest. Turkeys are bred in incubators and fertilized with machines. Barbara Kingsolver describes how her male turkeys would do their tail-feather mating dance to the watering can instead of to the females.

    More useless information.

    • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
      Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

      @Nancy You know, I don’t think it’s so useless. I think we should all know more about the food we eat and maybe make some changes. The Barbara Kingsolver book you mention, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, is excellent.

  24. Becky
    Becky says:

    A book about a trend of people CHOOSING to live together instead of getting married might be useful.

    I’ve lived with my partner for 8 years. We don’t have any intention of getting married, but we are peer pressured about it all the time.

  25. stillinpain
    stillinpain says:

    i’ve been the victim of a text-and-run. was crossing a crosswalk and had the right of way, but some idiot decided texting while driving was more important, and coasted through the light. still dealing with the medical bills.

    anyone – yes, anyone – who texts and drives deserves the worst that could possibly happen to them. put down the damned phone. there is NOTHING so important it cannot wait until you reach your destination…and if it is, pull over and contact whomever.

  26. Marc KS
    Marc KS says:

    I would argue that item #1 isn’t an example of law firms becoming more flexible, but moreso an example of law firms realizing that with the GLUT of graduating lawyers they can afford to offer jobs that pay far less despite only requiring marginally fewer hours.

  27. Karen
    Karen says:

    +1 to factory farm turkeys also being part of the non-breeding set. In addition, Temple Grandin makes the point that pigs bred for lean are also meaner, temperamentally. More likely to eat their young, and each other.

    I don’t get texting while driving. Perhaps because I’m old enough to not fully get texting, and old enough to know people who have killed other people while driving drunk. That’s a hard problem to get over. Won’t be long before we have the same sentencing for DWT as we do for DWI/DUI.

    We just lost a mother and one child locally for cell-phone-driving through the level crossing at the same time the train arrived. The baby survived, protected by the baby seat.

    Kill yourself, fine. Kill your own kids, not my problem. But please don’t think you’ll be welcome at the funeral if you kill someone I know.

  28. T
    T says:

    Remind me never to drive in Wisconsin. I never texted in my car. I’m glad it’s a skill I never mastered, however, I did drive and talk on my phone. I’ve since pledged to change that and I have to admit it’s hard, but I remind myself that people lived without phones in their cars for years and managed just fine. It can wait. If people don’t like that you didn’t pick up your phone, that’s their problem.

  29. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Hi Penelope!

    Although you just wrote a post that was essentially useless from a certain perspective, I think you hit on a very interesting point with the exercise itself.

    Something that I have been encountering in my life is that it’s often very difficult to force ourselves to just do something or not to do something–to superficially change our patterns of behavior. You touch on this a little bit with the texting. You know, statistically, that texting is dangerous while driving. However, you haven’t internalized that danger. You don’t FEEL that texting is dangerous, so there is no reason for you to change your behavior, because the underlying belief has not changed.

    I believe that this same principle applies to this post. You believe that posting useless items is not appropriate behavior for sundry reasons. At the same time, you were tempted to do it anyway…so you did. While this created what you deem an unfulfilling experience, you were also able to reinforce the belief that you need to post things that were “useful,” making it much less likely that you will break one of your personal behavioral rules in the past.

    I think that it makes it much easier to fight back an occasional urge to do something when I have given in, allowed myself to recognize what I hate about the experience in the first place, and then use that memory the next time the urge comes around. Instead of telling yourself “I want to do this, but I shouldn’t” it becomes more about “I don’t want to do this in the first place because last time I did, it kind of sucked.” Maybe some of us don’t need this kind of reinforcement, but I find that my life is a lot easier when I am not constantly FORCING myself to do things, but instead acting in concert with my inner person.

    At any rate, I’ve been reading your blog for a year now, and this was the first post I’ve actually responded to…so go figure. :)

  30. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    The occasional “useless” post is just fine with me. I don’t read your post for their usefulness anyway, because most don’t really apply to my situation.

    I doubt I’m the only one. So feel free to write interesting, useless stuff on occasion. You are still meeting your readers “needs”. After all, we don’t make sure that everything we say in every relationship is useful. It’s hardly a relationship if we must.

  31. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    I like this post because I do the same thing–I collect information, because you never know when it’s going to wind up being useful. Sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes I’m able to pass it along to someone who can use it, but hadn’t found it.

    I agree with your assessment about some of this info. It doesn’t seem new, so I’m not sure why people are putting it out there, except that too many of us are not aware that we aren’t really innovating. So maybe there’s something in that. Do enough research to know whether or not you’re innovating.

    The pig sex bit, though, seems like a natural lead for a post about what we lose or give up in pursuit of particular goals. It brings to mind Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and Michael Pollan’s books, and from there you could go into other technologies. That’s not inherently new, either, but it could be presented in a way that gets people’s attention.

  32. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    You really think people come here for USEFUL information? That’s your Asperger’s, I guess.

    We come here to read something interesting, have a discussion, connect with other readers and commenters, and get a sense of virtual community around shared interests with other smart people.

    So, this post was great, except for the end where you shit on it. :)

    I actually think the law firm thing is REALLY interesting and useful, as it shows how completely out of whack some sectors of employment still are, in thinking that job = life. I, too, know female lawyers who work “part-time” at 40-50 hours/week, then go home and do all the child rearing and housekeeping. These are the lawyers who should start their own firm, keep their own hours, and get paid for the time and effort they put in, not for the gap between the time they put in and the time their employers expect of them.

    [ / steps down off soapbox ]

  33. Tara
    Tara says:

    I know it’s scary, Penelope, but your pig sex fact is going to go down in history. Who can resist telling this to everyone they know? See, all your blogs are useful.

  34. Jens Fiederer
    Jens Fiederer says:

    You might enjoy Mary Roach’s book “Bonk”, which has an entire chapter on pig sex (mostly artificial insemination, stimulated by the presence of boars paraded around to get the sows in the mood).

    Things I learned:

    Pig ejaculation takes a long time, on the order of minutes.

    Pigs are the only known species aside from humans to stimulate the female’s breasts during copulation.

    The shape of the generative organs is rather odd.

    If the sow experiences orgasm during insemination, probability of a successful impregnation increases (by 6% if I remember correctly). The Danish government sponsored an educational program to help their farmers satisfy the sows, providing us educational materials (posters, videos) that are hilarious to those of us who don’t truly appreciate just how economically important not missing a fertile month can be to a farmer.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Love this comment. The Farmer can’t stand reading the blog anymore — it kills him to read the mean comments, (like the McDonald’s post, for exampel.) Which means that he won’t read this comment, and I will surprise him with the Bonk book, and he will be thrilled with the pig chapter.

      Thanks for the tip.


  35. Julie
    Julie says:

    Gee, who knew? I’ve lived in the Pig Farming Capital of the Universe (that would be Iowa) for most of my life and didn’t know that about pigs. Maybe they just need a little music? It works for me. (snort).

  36. Jennifer Chuong
    Jennifer Chuong says:

    Despite what you say at the beginning of your post, I would bet that somewhere your collection (or even in a previous post) you have a data point – or at least a story – about people who capitalize on information/resources other people have thrown out as “useless” – or people who, in a strange place at a strange time, suddenly needed some previously “useless” knowledge they had filed away. It seems like the surplus availability of knowledge on the Internet, and the fact that we’re testing multiple ways of taking in (both strategically, with searches, and casually, with, say, RSS feeds) – are expanding our understanding of “useful” knowledge.

  37. Erin
    Erin says:

    There’s always SOMETHING useful about your posts. For example, I read Hannah Seligson’s orgasm article because of your post, which I never would’ve heard of otherwise. And it IS amazing that pigs don’t know how to have sex anymore! Sometimes it’s useful just to learn a new thing or two. Thanks for posting :)

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