TIME technology

Here’s Why the ISS Looks So Cluttered

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The ISS is continuously evolving as a vehicle on special missions

Answer by Robert Frost, NASA engineer, on Quora.

The ISS is kind of like my man-cave. When the house was being built I went in and pre-staged a few things. I ran speaker wire across the floor and taped it down so that the carpet would be placed over it. I told the contractor where I wanted the coaxial outlet for the internet and where I wanted the one for the TV. We moved in and I set my room up and everything looked crisp, clean, and smooth.

And then time went by. Suddenly, the 4.1 speaker setup wasn’t good enough and I wanted 7.1. And then a decision was made to move all of the furniture around. I abandoned my desktop PC and switched to a laptop. And then I got an AppleTV box and a game console. One powerstrip was no longer enough for all of the equipment. My internet provider made me switch to a cable modem that didn’t fit in the space I’d designed for the old one.

The ISS is about as old as my house. It has been continually inhabited for 14 years. Forty-two crews have lived and worked aboard the ISS. It is an evolving vehicle. Technology has changed. The equipment needed onboard has changed. Sometimes, the mission changes. For example, when ISS was designed, no one foresaw it having to support ventilation for some of the commercial visiting vehicles. The companies that built those vehicles didn’t even exist. So the mechanisms where they attach weren’t designed with internal plumbing for that ventilation, meaning ducts have to be fed through the hatch.

The ISS was designed so that most of its essential systems would be cleanly secluded behind panels. But just like in my man-cave where once it is built, it’s easier to run a cable down a wall rather than inside the wall, on ISS it isn’t practical to remove all of the panels and pull out all of the racks to install new cables. There are also complexities involved in doing so with regards to safety analysis. The inside of a rack has thermal control equipment designed to handle a certain heat load. Randomly putting power supply block and power converters back there would derail any of the previous analysis.

A lot of the equipment needed by the crew has to be somewhat portable and a lot of it requires cables for power and data transfer. The crew’s primary interface to the vehicle is through laptop computers. There are around a hundred laptop computers onboard and they each need power and data connectivity. There is a lot of other portable equipment that also needs such connectivity. For example, when a visiting vehicle is arriving, the crew need to use a control panel that can send commands to that visiting vehicle. There’s one panel that is used for the HTV and Cygnus vehicles and another panel used for the Dragon. That panel needs to be in the Cupola, where the crew are monitoring that vehicle, but the panel also needs to be connected to the communications box that is designed to communicate with the visiting vehicles. Sometimes that box is several modules away, so an umbilical cable has to stretch through the vehicle. One of them has to cross through seven hatches—which means it is actually seven cables connected together. The list of portable cables on board the ISS is 18 pages long.

Sometimes, malfunctions in hardware necessitate using jumper cables. For example, if a rack loses power, data, or cooling, we may need to jumper it to a nearby rack rather than lose everything in that rack.

Sometimes, new equipment has needs that were not part of the original ISS design. For example, we have to be careful about limiting the amperage through a utility outlet port (UOP), so sometimes equipment will be connect to power converters in parallel. Sometimes new equipment has different voltage needs, so external connectors are needed to drop the 120 v to 28 v or 16 v. There are over a hundred power converters onboard. Sometimes a piece of hardware is certified to only be used with certain power strips, but it needs to be used far from any of those strips.

A not insignificant reason is that the crew are very busy. When they connect a piece of hardware, they will do so to make it effective and to make it safe, but they don’t always have time to make it neat. They can’t really cut a cable that is a bit too long because that cable may be needed elsewhere, later, and they can’t run out to Home Depot every time they need a cable.

This question originally appeared on Quora: Why does the inside of the ISS and the space shuttles look so cluttered with wires and devices?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers

The Biggest Résumé Mistakes You Should Avoid

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Please don't go for the 'if you can't dazzle them with diamonds, baffle them with nonsense' approach

Answer by Heather Spruill on Quora.

Here are my main complaints:

Readability: Formatting that doesn’t help me read the content. If my eye doesn’t know where to go, either because you’ve crammed too much onto the page, or haven’t broken up your information into digestible sections, you’re making it hard for me. I have hundreds of resumes to review. If you’re throwing obstacles in my way before I even get to the part where I’m thinking about whether you’re a fit, you’re only hurting yourself. Use formatting to organize the data. Present a polished, readable product.

Organization: Content that is arranged in such a way that I have to work really hard to figure out whether you’re worth contacting. There are many ways to organize information about your experience – there’s a point where I’m going to want to see something chronological, and something that speaks to the relevant experience that qualifies you for the job. It’s fine—and often helpful if it’s thoughtfully done—to organize experience into relevant categories rather than listing individual responsibilities in a strictly chronological account of your life at work. Somewhere, however, you’ll need to list your prior employers, tenure with each, and jobs you had there. I need that part of the story. And I need to be able to easily differentiate your summary of skills from your work history. When you get too far afield with organization, and give me a non-linear, haphazard collection of facts, I begin to wonder if you’re a good fit before I even know what you can do.

Relevance: Content that seems arranged for some other kind of job than the one for which you’re applying. Your best bet is to hand me a document that demonstrates that you’re the most appropriate candidate for the position. If you give me an unedited data dump of everything you’ve ever done or thought, you’re leaving me to analyze you and do that work for you. I’m tired. Give me what I want, and spare me the details about your paper route, big projects that have no relevance to this position (or frame that information so its relevance is immediately apparent), and highlight the experience that makes you a good fit for my open position.

Substance: Content that’s all jargon with no indication of the scope or depth of your experience. In the interview, it’s going to become very clear that you either know what you’re talking about or you don’t. Please don’t go for the “if you can’t dazzle them with diamonds, baffle them with nonsense” approach. Instead, tell me what I need to know:

  • What did you work on?
  • How responsible were you for the design, execution, and outcome?
  • What was the scope of your responsibility?
  • How much technical skill did you have/need to do that job?
  • How much independent judgment did you exercise?
  • Did you progress to successively more responsible positions/assignments?
  • How well did that prepare you for the level of responsibility involved in the job to which you’re applying? Close match? Stretch? That’s what I’m asking.

When an entry-level applicant includes, “responsible for any and all aspects of…” on their resume, I assume that isn’t the case—they weren’t developing the policy, they didn’t have the authority to act independently…save me having to decipher, and be accurate. “Processed inbound customer requests” is not the same as “responsible for any and all aspects of customer service for the XX department.” Your boss determined the course, and you followed it—there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the same thing.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the main issues with résumés?

TIME society

Eva Kor: What It Was Like to Be Experimented on During the Holocaust

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Auschwitz provided no limit for Nazi doctors and researchers to experiment on human bodies

Answer by Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate, on Quora.

My twin sister Miriam and I were used in Josef Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz as ten-year-old girls. We were taken six days a week for the experiments. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we would be taken to the observation lab where we would sit for hours—naked—up to eight hours. They kept measuring most of my body parts, comparing them to my twin sister, then comparing them to charts. They were trying to design a new Aryan race, so they were interested in all these measurements. These experiments were not dangerous, but they were unbelievably demeaning and even in Auschwitz I had difficulty coping with the fact that I was a nobody and a nothing – just a mass of cells to be studied. On alternate days we would be taken to another lab that I call the “blood lab.” This is where they would take a lot of blood from my left arm and give me several injections in my right arm. Those were the deadly ones. We didn’t know the contents then and we don’t know today. After one of those injections, I became very ill with a very high fever. I also had tremendous swelling in my arms and legs as well as red spots throughout my body. Maybe it was spotted fever, I don’t know. Nobody ever diagnosed it.

As a guinea pig in Auschwitz, we had to realize that they could do to our bodies whatever they wanted and we had no control over what they put into us, what they removed, or how they treated us, and there was no place for us to go.

People often ask me, “Why didn’t you run away?” I am convinced those people know very little about Auschwitz. The barbed wire would electrocute you if you touched it. The whole camp was surrounded by that. Before you got to the high voltage fence, there was a ditch filled with water. So as you approached that fence, your hands were damp and you would be immediately electrocuted. At age ten, even if I succeeded to get out, where would I go?

Maybe I could have succeeded in running away when we were marched from Birkenau to Auschwitz I for some of the experiments. But as far as I could see when we were marching, that was all a military zone. Where on earth would I have gone if I escaped? I didn’t know how far I would even need to run. And of course, most of the time when someone escaped and they turned on the sirens, we would have to stand for roll call for two to four hours until the escapee was found dead or alive. If the escapee was found alive, they would be hanged in front of us. The lessons were very clear. If found dead, they would be brought in front of the group so we would know, nobody escapes from Auschwitz.

At age ten, I would not have dared to escape and I did not even think about it. That was so far from my mind. What I was thinking about every day was how to live one more day, how to survive one more experiment. I knew as the air raids were increasing, that this could not last for much longer. On the days when they would keep us for hours at roll call until the escapees could be found, I would often think, “Good luck – I hope you make it.” I never thought anyone did. I was lecturing in San Francisco about 15 years ago. They had about ten survivors who were introduced. One of them said, “I escaped from Auschwitz.” I was so excited! I went up to him and said, “Finally I know why I stood at roll call for so many hours – I am glad to know somebody made it.”

As twins, I knew that my sister and I were unique because we were never permitted to interact with anybody in other parts of the camp. But I didn’t know I was being used in genetic experiments.

I began lecturing about my own experiences in 1978. As I was telling my story, people would come up to me later on and ask about the experiments. Well, I remembered some details of my own experience, but I knew nothing about the bigger scope of the experiments. So I decided to read books about Josef Mengele, hoping to get more of an insight. But in all these books, it only had one or two sentences about him.

I was trying to figure out how I could get more information, and I was looking at the famous photo that was taken by the Soviets at liberation. I could see there maybe 100 children marching between those barbed wire fences who were liberated.

Here is a picture of me and Miriam, holding hands in the front row. I thought if I could somehow locate those other twins, we could have a meeting and share those memories.

It took me six years, but in 1984, with the help of my late twin sister Miriam, we found 122 “Mengele Twins” living in ten countries and four continents.

We had a meeting in Jerusalem in February of 1985.

We talked to many of them. What I found out was that there were many, many other experiments. For instance, the twins who were older than 16 or were of reproductive age would be put in a lab and used in cross-gender blood transfusions. So blood was going from the male to the female and vice versa. Sadly, they did not check—of course—to see if the blood was compatible and most of these twins died. There are twins in Australia who survived—Stephanie and Annette Heller—and there is a twin in Israel who was a fraternal twin—Judit Malick—and her twins’ brother’s name was Sullivan. I heard Judit testify in Jerusalem that she was used in this experiment with a male twin of reproductive age. She remembered being on a table during the experiment when the other twin’s body was turning cold. He died. She survived but had a lot of health problems.

The question is how many of these twins did survive? Most of them obviously died. I also know for a fact that Mengele did strange experiments on kidneys. Mengele himself suffered from renal problems when he was 16 in 1927. He was out of school three or four months according to his SS file. He was deeply interested in the way the kidneys worked. I know of three cases where twins developed severe kidney infections that did not respond to antibiotics.

One of them is Frank Klein, who lived in El Paso, Texas, after the war. He very much wanted to attend the gathering in Jerusalem, but he was on dialysis. He actually came with his nurse and very much hoped he would get a kidney so he could live like a normal person. He did get a transplant in 1986. I talked to him after the surgery and he said he was doing pretty good, but then three days later he died. The other twin whose name I don’t remember off the top of my head died also because of kidney failure problems.

Then, of course, my twin sister developed kidney problems with her first pregnancy in 1960. The problems did not respond with antibiotics. In 1963, when she expected her second baby, the infection got worse. This is when the doctors studied her and found out her kidneys never grew larger than the size of a ten-year-old’s kidneys. When I refused to die in the experiment where Mengele thought I would die (read about it here: What gives you hope during tough times?), Miriam was taken back to the lab and was injected with something that stunted the growth of her kidneys. After her third baby was born, her kidneys failed. In 1987, I donated my left kidney to her. We were a perfect match. At that hospital in Tel Aviv, they had been doing kidney transplants for ten years. None of them developed cancerous polyps except for my twin sister Miriam, in her bladder. All the doctors kept saying was that there had to be something in Miriam’s body that was injected into her that combined with the anti-rejection medication to create the cancerous polyps.

Other experiments I have heard of from survivors: Many twins who did not have blue eyes were injected with something into their eyes. Luckily Miriam and I had blue eyes. Mengele did some other strange experiments. Most of them were very much in the line of trying to understand how to make blue-eyed blondes in multiple numbers, the germ warfare experiments, etc. If one twin died, Mengele would have the other killed and then do the comparative autopsies. According to the Auschwitz Museum, Mengele had 1500 sets of twins in Auschwitz. There were only 200 estimated individual survivors. Everybody who has been researching that, including the Auschwitz Museum, said most died in the experiments and I agree. Dying in Mengele’s lab was very easy. I am one of the few I have heard about to be in the “barrack of the living dead” and get out of there alive.

I learned a great deal after the war in attending conferences, including one at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. This is where Mengele studied, and today it is called the Max Planck Society. They were trying to collect information about Mengele’s experiments. They invited several twins and a few other people used in experiments by Mengele. Here is a photo of me studying some of the vials used in experiments at Auschwitz.

Auschwitz was the laboratory for any experiments any Nazi scientists wanted to do. There was no limit on what doctors and researchers could do at these camps. So it was open season on twins and other human guinea pigs like us.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What was it like to be part of the genetic experiments on twins during the Holocaust?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Education

Mistakes to Avoid When Learning a Foreign Language

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If you're serious about learning a language, you need to start looking for excuses to use it

Answer by Judith Meyer on Quora.

Thinking that going to a class will teach them the language

The teacher can only present material. Good teachers will present the material in an interesting way and bad teachers will present the material in a boring way, but you still have to internalize the material afterwards. There is not nearly enough class time to do the memorization in-class, and in a group class there’s not enough time for everyone to get enough practise either. You have to study and practice outside class in order to be a successful language learner.

Not following their interests

The teacher and the coursebook are a starting point, not an end-all. Don’t limit yourself to it, seek out things that interest you in your target language (or from your target culture). Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: apart from songs, movies, TV shows, books and newspapers there are also viral videos, funny advertisements, memes, blogs, forums, women’s/men’s magazines, cartoons, comic strips, video games, MMORPGs, recipes and Q & A sites like Quora. You should start looking for this kind of content immediately. Refer to translations at the beginning and then wean yourself off them.

Balking at the language being different

There will be plenty of things that work differently in your target language than they do in English. Some of them may seem (or be) illogical. Rather than having a grudge, be happy that you get to explore these new ways of expressing oneself, ways that are hidden to monolingual English speakers. If languages were a 1 to 1 translation of English, they’d be boring.

Finding excuses not to use the language, rather than excuses to use it

There are a ton of reasons not to use the language you’re learning. Maybe your level is too low. Maybe you don’t know any native speakers nearby. Maybe it’s a small language that doesn’t have much content online. Maybe it’s a dead language. These are all reasons, good reasons even, but they shouldn’t matter to you. If you’re serious about learning a language, you need to start looking for excuses to use it.

  • Greet your friends with a fresh Latin “Salvete! Quid agitis?” next time you see them. It doesn’t matter if they don’t understand. Teach them.
  • Convince your family that kung fu movies are best enjoyed in the original Chinese.
  • If researching something for history class, use the French Wikipedia in order to get an international perspective.
  • Never comment on international news without having read a local newspaper.
  • Play on the Spanish WoW servers and consider it time well spent.
  • Plan a German movie week. Invite friends.
  • Invent reasons to talk to foreigners you see around town, e. g. ask a department store worker where a product is even when you already know, welcome tourists to your city or swap information on favourite places.

If a language doesn’t excite you so much that you’ll grab at any excuse to use it, maybe you shouldn’t be studying it. Come up with 10 reasons to study the language and hang it somewhere visible.

Thinking that language learning has to be strenuous

Many people think that they can recognize effective programs by how hard and strenuous, exhausting and uncomfortable they are. By forcing yourself through them once a month, you feel like you’re really investing effort into your target language. In truth, the most effective programs are often the ones that don’t take particular fortitude to slug through. Learning grammar is rarely joyful, but at least it shouldn’t be something you dread. A positive state of mind will help a lot in making things memorable. Don’t hesitate to switch textbooks or to use multiple sources at once. Use interesting, authentic materials as soon as you can. Use the language.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the common mistakes of language learners?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

How to Answer This Difficult Job Interview Question

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This question is almost always asked towards the end of an interview

Answer by Jason Ewing on Quora.

The best answer to this relies on you having done your setup work over the course of the interview. You need to have probed the interviewer for their needs. You need to have had a conversation about what the job and mission is so that you can tell them what singular quality about you makes you the best for what they need.

If you’ve nodded through the interview like a bobblehead, answering only what is asked, this question will doom you because you won’t know what to say.

If, however, you’ve done your part over the course of the interview to understand the company, the position, and their needs, then this becomes an easy question to answer.

“That thing you said you really need someone to do? I do that, I’ve done that before, I have proven success doing exactly that, and I can exceed your expectations doing that.”

I know that sounds generic, and it’s meant to because it’s more about the formula than about the specifics. When I ask this question, I want a candidate to give me something that makes them jump off the page… that will set them apart from the rest of the stack of resumes in the pile. The best answers leave me saying “If I don’t hire this person, I’m going to regret it.” Those answers always come in the context of how their skills and experience can be of direct benefit to my needs. Even if you’ve never done that, telling me how your skills will allow you to be successful doing that will help. But it needs to relate to how you best fit what I need!

This question is almost always asked towards the end of an interview, it’s an opportunity to recap just a little, to demonstrate you’ve been paying attention and to leverage the insight you’ve been able to gain about the company’s needs.

If you’ve done that, the question is easy. If you haven’t, then you’re doomed.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What is the best answer to the question, “Why you?” asked in an interview?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor Explains How to Stay Hopeful During Tough Times

Eva Mozes Kor, a twin who survived pseudo-medical experiments at the Nazi Auschwitz death camp by Dr Josef Mengele points to a wartime picture of her sister Miriam and herself on Jan. 27, 2010.
Eva Mozes Kor, a twin who survived pseudo-medical experiments at the Nazi Auschwitz death camp, on Jan. 27, 2010. JANEK SKARZYNSKI—AFP/Getty Images

"When we overcome one difficulty and one hardship, we can build on that when any other hardship comes along in life"

Answer by Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate, on Quora.

I have faced some very tough times. When I was 10 years old, my twin sister and I were used in medical experiments by Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz. He injected me with a deadly germ and a few days later he came to the sick barrack where I was sent. He never even examined me. He looked at my fever chart and declared, laughing sarcastically, “Too bad, she’s so young — she has only two weeks to live.” At that time I knew he was right — I was very ill. But I refused to die. I made a silent pledge: That I will prove Mengele wrong, that I will survive, and I will be reunited with Miriam.

For the next two weeks I was between life and death. I have only one memory — crawling on the barrack floor, because I no longer could walk. There was a faucet on the other end of the barrack. As I was crawling, I would fade in and out of consciousness. I just kept thinking, I must survive, I must survive. After two weeks, my fever broke and I immediately felt a lot stronger. It took me another 3 weeks before my fever chart showed normal and I was released from the barrack of the living dead and reunited with my twin sister Miriam. That event — surviving whatever I was injected with — serves to me as a very big source of strength.

When my son had cancer, I couldn’t get him to accept the fact that he had to fight for his life, that he had to make the choice to fight for his life. No one else could do it for him. I repeated to him the story of my survival in Auschwitz. He got mad at me and I just said, “Alex, when I was in Auschwitz, the doctors who were around me wanted me dead. I made the decision that I would live. Can you make that decision?” He got mad at me and hung up the phone — he wasn’t ready to deal with it. But he called me back two days later. Alex said, “Mom, I think I understand it. This is my Auschwitz. This is my struggle that I need to survive.” If the person who is suffering from cancer doesn’t even want to make the decision to live, no one can help them. My son is alive today.

The fact that I have overcome so much adversity in my life helps me to have hope during tough times. I believe if I could survive Auschwitz, if I could survive crawling on the barrack floor between life and death, I could probably survive anything. Basically that is the way we gain confidence in our ability. When we overcome one difficulty and one hardship, we can build on that when any other hardship comes along in life. I also like the fact that people who hear me speak can tune in and feel inspired. They see that I could do it, and they realize they can overcome whatever they are trying to overcome too. That is helpful to realize, that maybe each of us can help others overcome by sharing our stories.

You can also look for ideas on YouTube and the Internet for people who have overcome tough times. You will find a story that fits your situation. Then when you are inspired, DO something. Make a commitment to yourself. Make a promise and keep it close by. If you get off track, don’t feel guilty — we all do it. Just get right back on it.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What gives you hope during tough times?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

How to Give a Memorable Presentation

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Do not use PowerPoint as a teleprompter

Answer by Robert Frost on Quora.

The 10 Commandments of Presentations that I teach in my class on PowerPoint:

1. Identify and then tell the story

When we give a presentation, we are doing it to tell a story that has one or two goals. We are trying to inform the audience about something we know that they don’t, we are trying to persuade the audience to adopt a view that we have, or a combination of the two. We need to identify the beginning, middle, and end of the story that accomplishes our goals and then use the presentation to tell the story. A presentation should not just be a data dump. If our goal is just to provide data, then we would be better off cancelling the presentation and just sending out the data. The presenter is providing a perspective that the data cannot provide, by itself.

2. Do not present too much information

Dating back to Aristotle, speakers have known that an audience will only walk away remembering a few ideas from a speech. Aristotle called this the “Rule of Three”. Pick three ideas you want to present and present those. Each of those might be broken into three parts to explain, but don’t bother adding a fourth main point, because they won’t remember it. For a modern example, look at the Apple presentations given by Steve Jobs – they were always structured around the “Rule of Three”.

3. Do not add content unless it supports your main points

The slide is a canvas used to paint your story. There should be nothing on the slide that is not working to tell the story. Extraneous details in templates, graphs, figures, and tables should be removed. The process of absorbing and using information is called cognitive loading. Extraneous details use up cognitive load and make it harder for the audience to follow along and learn.

4. Do not use PowerPoint as a teleprompter

Do not read your slides to the audience. Do not fill your slides with everything you need to say. Do not make the audience question what value you, the speaker, is adding to the presentation. The slides are for the audience, not the speaker. If something is on a slide, it is because it is needed to understand what the speaker is saying.

5. Use PowerPoint to clarify and amplify your message

The purpose of projecting an image on the wall, adjacent to the person speaking, is to provide a visual representation of the topics being spoken of. The visuals are to augment, not repeat, the words of the speaker. Slides should convey graphically what words cannot. If the words are so straightforward that they need no clarification or amplification, then don’t use slides.

6. Do not use PowerPoint for reasons it is not intended

A slide is intended to augment a speaker – it is not intended to stand alone and serve as a document. PowerPoint slides should be viewed as ephemeral – only existing while the speaker is talking. A PowerPoint presentation is not supposed to be a permanent documentation of a topic.

7. Never give out copies of the presentation

PowerPoint slides support the speaker – they are not supposed to stand alone. When we get in the habit of handing out copies of our presentation, we get in the habit of designing our presentations to be handouts. If they become effective at standing alone, they become less effective at supporting the speaker because they become crowded and repetitive.

8. Prepare a dedicated handout

Rather than giving out a copy of the presentation, prepare a dedicated handout that includes a combination of the most important visuals from the presentation with the most important words from the speech. Written in full sentence narrative, this handout would be able to stand alone and would still make sense to the audience, three months after the presentation. For some presentations, this handout might be a simple as a one page summary of the presentation. For other presentations, it might be a full white paper that includes the supporting data that led to the arguments made in the presentation.

9. Involve the audience in the presentation

Whether your goal is to inform or to persuade, the goal will be more likely met if the audience has a participative role in the presentation. People don’t like to be talked to – they like to be talked with. Include questions for the audience. Solicit opinions and experiences from the audience. Turn the presentation into a guided discussion with visual support.

10. Ensure that the presentation is legible from anywhere in the room

Do not use fonts or graphics that cannot be comfortably understood from the back of the room. Most experts recommend not using a font size smaller than 28 points. If you find yourself needing to go below 28, you have too much text on each slide.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the points one should keep in mind while giving presentation on some topic through slides?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

5 Behaviors to Avoid When Interviewing for a Job

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As a candidate it's important to show confidence and smarts. However, competing with or arguing with the interviewer is rarely successful

Answer by Mira Zaslove on Quora.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years, mostly for sales and finance positions. These are a few red flags that stuck out to me.

Candidates who came in:

1. Bragging about offers they already had
I interviewed a candidate who came in to tell me he already had an hot offer from a heavily funded start-up. He said it immediately. I hadn’t even decided that I wanted to hire him, and already he was baiting me into a bidding war.

When candidates blatantly brag about other offers it signals that they aren’t committed to this particular job. It’s a red-flag that indicates they will probably accept another offer, using my offer as leverage. And if they do join, as a hiring manager, I worry that they will always be thinking “what if.” I’ve seen these candidates quit when the going gets tough, to take another “greener pasture” position.

It is not a bad thing to bring up another offer in the interview, at the appropriate time. Interviews are like a tennis match, and timing is everything. The interviewer starts by throwing the ball, and the candidate hits back. If you are a candidate with another offer, first nail your current interview. Then at the appropriate time, close with, “I am very interested in this opportunity. Please let me know timing for the next step, as I also have another offer I am evaluating.”

2. Looking sloppy
Candidates who come into the interview with wrinkled or dirty clothes, show the interviewer they aren’t putting the time in. First impressions matter. How formal you dress will depend on the company, but as a candidate the best thing to do is to pick an outfit that won’t draw attention. The focus should be on the interview, not on the clothing.

I once interviewed a candidate who came in wearing an overly casual, and wrinkled outfit. It looked like she was going to a yoga class. Her painted nails were chipping, and her hair was messy. Nevertheless, we ignored the red flag. She was a good candidate, and we hired her. She performed well, but quit shortly after joining. When she quit, she admitted that she had already been accepted to business school, and took the job for the training and some cash to tide her over.

As a candidate, I recommend ironing and picking an outfit the day before the interview. And try on the whole outfit, including shoes, accessories, and briefcase / bag. The last thing you want is to think you are ready, and then an hour before the interview find out your pants don’t fit, or jacket has a hole in it. Also, if you tend to be a person who sweats a lot, wear a darker colored shirt or a jacket.

3. Asking no questions
A good interview is a conversation, where both sides are engaged. The purpose is to discover if the position is a match. If the candidate asks no questions, it’s a red flag. It appears that either they aren’t interested, or believe they already know everything to know about the position.

As a candidate if you are really out of questions, let’s say you have already had an extensive round of interviews and are at the final interview, I recommend asking the interviewer something about their experience. Ask how they got into the market, the industry, or what most surprised them about the job.

If you are a candidate who tends to get nervous or forget things, it’s acceptable to have your questions written and bring them with you. I’ve interviewed candidates who brought a list of questions with them, and took notes.

4. Too aggressive
I once had a candidate say to me, “ok if you are so good, show me how it’s done. Sell me this pen.” I had not yet decided if I wanted to hire this candidate and found it jarring. After I gave my answer (If someone handed you a pen and said “Sell me this pen,” how would you go about it?), they proceeded to try to “one-up” me with an overly amped, full-press, standing presentation. It was too much. It was a red flag to me as a hiring manager. It’s difficult to train people who ask questions, not for an answer, but only to show how smart they are.

As a candidate it’s important to show confidence and smarts. However, competing with or arguing with the interviewer is rarely successful. Rather, it’s a red-flag indicating the candidate is “un-coachable.”

Similarly, we once had to rescind an offer we gave to a candidate for being overly aggressive when they received the offer. When the hiring manager gave them the offer, the candidate proceeded to tell them how “#$*#*# awesome they were going to be, and #$*#*# kill the market.” The candidate shouted very loud, cursing, and began furiously running around– distracting the whole office.

5. With an extra long commute
It’s a red flag if the candidate is late to the interview. Especially if it’s due to a long drive. I also worry if the candidate complains about the commute, parking, or traffic. I’ve had a few good people quit after only a few weeks on the job because the commute was just too much. Some people can handle the extra time or will move for the right opportunity, but many will be repeatedly late for work, or just quit.

As an interviewer or candidate, I suggest scheduling interviews at 8am or 9am. I’ve had people tell me, “when I came for the interview at 11:00am it only took an hour, but to get in at 8:00am takes me 2 hours.” Ideally the conditions set forth in the interview are representative of the job.

I also worry when candidates ask about working from home or setting their own schedule, when that is not the practice at the company.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are some of the biggest red flags in an interview?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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10 Signs You Might Have a Bad Boss

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Failing to delegate and demonstrate trust

Answer by Jason Ewing on Quora.

It’s so easy to be a bad boss… and the list of things that make a “Bad boss” is really, really long. Here are my top ten “Bad Boss” characteristics. The list is by no means comprehensive. Be warned, this is an exceptionally long answer.

  1. Be the person who thinks being a good “doer” automatically makes you a good leader. I see this in organizations way too often. You need a sales manager so you promote your best sales agent. Need an IT manager? Promote one of the best engineers. The truth is that being good at doing the job is not the same as being good at leading the people doing the job.Sometimes, you get both skills in the same person, but this is not always the case. Good doers can become bad bosses because they are good doers.Tasks seem very easy to them, and they may have difficulty relating to direct reports who are less competent. When you have someone who should clearly be doing the job stuck behind a desk failing to lead peoplethen you have a recipe for a Bad Boss.
  2. Mistake “leading by example” for “doing the tasks that your team does.”I’ve seen this one a lot from new managers. Employees say all the time that they respect a boss who rolls up their sleeves and gets in the trenches with them. There is a time and a place for that. What I see too often from new managers is that they spend too much time in the trenches. They get buried in the work of their team and they set themselves up for a host of failures. They don’t have the time to dedicate to actual tasks of leadership. Worse, they have difficulty stepping back from the work their team does to take the position of a leader. You set yourself up to be compared to your team, and they measure your aptitude based on your proficiency doing the same tasks they do. That’s not an accurate way to measure a leader, but it’s all your team is left to do. The team thinks your a “Bad Boss” because you aren’t as good of a worker, but your job isn’t to be a worker, it’s to be a leader.
  3. Set a bar that’s too high. Bad bosses do this in all manner of ways. You point to your star player and expect the whole team to be like that person. You only provide positive feedback for things that go above and beyond. You have an exceptionally low tolerance for mistakes. Standards are important and it’s vital to hold your people accountable. At the same time, people aren’t machines, and leaders need to be aware of that. Expectations should be clearly communicated, should be achievable, and the employee needs to have buy in to the expectation. If your employees feel that your standards are too high to achieve, they will stop trying.
  4. Burning the midnight oil at all times. I chase managers out of the office for staying late every night. Managers that are there every day before the staff shows up and are at the same time the last ones to leave every day have problems. There’s a time to dig deep, but it shouldn’t be every day. If you’re digging that deep every day, all the time, you’ve got problems. Either you’re not managing your time well, you’re not delegating well, you’re not managing your workload well (see #2, too much time in the trenches means not enough time for your own tasks) or something else is going wrong. What bad bosses don’t realize is that your team sees this. If you’re always there early and working late, it becomes a barrier to your team approaching you. They don’t want to trouble you with things because you’re obviously too busy. They may also feel guilty for not going above and beyond when clearly you do every day. Further, it can send a message that you don’t trust your team… clearly, you aren’t willing to let them work without you present. If you are in a position where you absolutely have to do this all the time then take your work home. Make a point of visibly leaving on time, take the laptop home and get to work there… your team won’t ever thank you, but they will appreciate it.
  5. Failing to admit responsibility or mistakes. Being a boss is hard. We’re human and we make mistakes too. When we make mistakes, it impacts our teams. There is nothing wrong with apologizing to your direct reports. If you cannot admit your mistakes to them (when confidentiality allows) then how are they ever going to feel comfortable admitting their mistakes to you?
  6. Mistake being liked for being respected. You know what’s easy as a manager? Being liked. You can win popular manager of the month every single month without ever being effective. Take the employee’s side every time. Accept every excuse. Grant every policy over ride. Be your employee’s champion! There are lots of things you can do to be liked but that isn’t the same as being respected. Good managers know when they need to be the bad guy. They know when they need to enforce discipline. When you hold your team accountable, they will respect you. That’s harder to manage than being liked. Liked is easy. Settling for being liked will leave your team in a horrible middle ground of performance where failures are tolerated and no one strives for excellence because of it.
  7. Mistake enforcing discipline for creating genuine accountability. It’s easy to become the tyrant. Write people up, threaten their jobs, and crack the whip! That’s easy. That isn’t accountability. This kind of leadership through fear inspires people to work hard enough to not get fired and to hope their mistakes aren’t caught. They disengage, and they don’t share their struggles for fear that exposing their mistakes will cost them their jobs. Again, if your people can’t approach you and say “I screwed up” without significant fear of reprisal, then their mistakes will surprise you when they are discovered and they will cost you more.
  8. Failing to delegate and demonstrate trust. I alluded to this in #4 but it’s deserving of a point in its own right. If you can’t delegate, hand off tasks, or otherwise demonstrate faith in your team, they begin to feel marginalized and replaceable. People need more than a paycheck to feel engaged at work, they need to feel like their work has meaning. More importantly, they need to feel that they have a way to contribute personally that has value. Bad managers may ‘hold back’ tasks because they feel that their employees already have ‘enough work to do’ but the truth is that giving them an additional responsibility sends a message that you have faith in their ability to execute on that responsibility. It gives them a reason to step up, and that’s important.
  9. Failing to engage with your direct reports on a human level. Managers need to interact with their team as human beings. While everyone tries to leave outside of work stresses at home, that isn’t always possible. If you haven’t connected to your team as human beings, you won’t understand the pressures outside of work that affect their performance at work. Saying “I don’t care what’s going on at home, just do your job” is a sure way to manage an employee out the door, to lose the respect of your team and to be a Bad Boss.
  10. Thinking you have all the answers, and that you have to have all the answers. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” It’s okay to say “I can’t answer that now, but I’ll go find out.” It’s even okay to say “I can’t make a decision right now, let me think about it and come back to you.” Managers who feel like they already know everything stumble badly when they don’t know what they need to. Managers who dispense uninformed answers not only cause mistakes that are their own fault (see #5) but at the same time, lose the respect of their team. Managers who make snap decisions to appear to be experts make costly mistakes.

Good leadership is harder than it looks. There are lots of well meaning paths that lead to horrible results. That’s why so many people have stories about their “worst boss ever.” I will freely admit to have wandered into many of those traps myself. Fortunately, I’ve had great leaders who have gone before me take the time to be the mentor I’ve needed. If I’m lucky, the tidbits above will help people avoid some of those very same traps.

This question originally appeared on Quora: How do you define a “bad” boss?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

Should You Choose Your Passion as a Career?

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Answer "what do I want to do?" in terms of career

Answer by Charles Tips on Quora.

“What do I want to be?” is a different question from “What do I want to do?”

According to Carol Dweck and some other psychologists, there are two kinds of people in this world–the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. For Virginia Postrel this was the stasists and the dynamists. The first mindset represents the be-ers. They say things like, “I’ve got to be true to myself,” “I’ve got to be me.” Naturally, these are the people who know and follow the passion that is their true calling, right? Wrong. Well, they may follow their inclinations but seldom to a higher level.

It is the growth/dynamist mindset who are the becomers. “I’ve got to be all I can be” or “the best I can be,” is their mode in life. You’ve got to follow your inclinations to higher and higher and higher levels to turn them into your passion. You’ve got to imbue your passion with a spirit and mastery easily recognized by others in order to turn it into a career. And then you can enjoy a quite lovely career. It is about self-actualization (The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).

Recognize that “what do I want to do?” poses a less threatening question than “what do I want to be?” Answer it first and let things fall into place. Answer “what do I want to do?” in terms of career, and then you are free to turn “what do I want to be?” into a more meaningful question… what do I want to be in terms of know-how, skills, morals, relationships with others and so on.

I hope my youngest son Keaton Tips will not mind me using him as an example. What did he want to do as a child? Watch TV. This actually caused me a good deal of anguish as I’d had a younger brother who escaped into a TV set every day after school. I barely got to know him. I personally don’t much care for TV. But Keaton watched it with a difference. The second time he’d watch a show, he’d recite the dialog ahead of the actors. Pretty soon his knowledge of children’s cartoons was encyclopedic. At 10 and 11 he’d say things like, “Oh, that’s the music playing in the background in that scene of Brave Little Toasterwhere…” or “Hey, they stole that line from The Simpsons in the episode where…”

As a kid, Keaton would try to tell us stories. But he was legendarily bad, the butt of many family jokes. Then, in his teens he learned to animate, and what a storyteller he was! It turned out his mind was so choked with details that he could not simply tell a story; he needed to lay out the whole sound and imagery for you.

And so now, just turned 26, he’s been a partner and creative director for three years in a San Francisco animation and motion graphics studio. He graduated college with six credits as special effects supervisor on feature films, including the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). He has met many of the most famous animators and graphic artists around, who are flattered at his thorough familiarity with their work and who recognize him as a peer.

All this because he watched TV like a sponge. Figure out what you love to do, and then do it with passion. You’ll be better for it.

This question originally appeared on Quora: Should someone choose their passion as a career?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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