All posts filed under “Inspiration

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Must-read blog

If you’re looking for a fun, low-traffic post that is both thought-provoking, funny and simply a must-read, try Ironic Sans.

I’ve talked before about the plugin he’s made to “uncensor the Internet”, but he also posts random cool ideas like the Bulbdial clock here:


Another very cool recent post was on courtroom artists, of all things. He showed the pictures they’ve drawn and also the things they draw and paint outside the courtroom.

I’m a huge fan, and hope you check it out yourself!

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Somewhat weekly-ish round-up of cool stuff

  • First of all, get a load of this woman (Amy Walker). Talk about a talent!

  • This site should be your only source for your hamsters in a 12-pack (Ready to Eat), your koala bears and your baby seals:


  • If you want to have a better university educational experience, encourage your professor to lie. Huh?

    Well, read this post on the Overcoming Bias blog. Essentially an economics professor would lie to his students at least once a lecture, and they were responsible for discovering it. He started out with easy lies, but they got harder and harder as the term went on. Because students were looking out for errors, they were MUCH more engaged than they would have been otherwise, and had a much better experience.

  • Earlier this week I caught a documentary on Richard Rogers, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect. His famous buildings include the Lloyd’s of London building, the Millenium Dome, and Heathrow’s new Terminal 5. He’s a fascinating person, and strangely enough I’m just two degrees of separation from him. (Friend of a friend/colleague.) Plus, I row past his practice’s headquarters every time I’m out on the river; it’s on the riverbank near Hammersmith Bridge.

    Anyway, I found one particular project of his that I had never seen before: the Bordeaux Law Courts. The building looks completely and totally unsuited for a courthouse, yet when they dug into it, the building really did make sense. Take a look at it here:


    Check out more photos in this article and more on the project at the firm’s website. Very cool!

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There’s more to Obama than many people believe


I believe that Barack Obama is the best candidate to succeed George W. Bush as President of the United States. I wanted to highlight three recent articles on Barack that I found interesting. (Then again, it’s easy to find an article interesting when it shows “your” candidate in a positive light.)

Vanity Fair recently ran an article called Raising Obama, which discussed the important role that both his mother and his grandmother played in his life. Largely a background piece, it really focused on his family and his upbringing in Hawaii as well as the beginning of his political career.

Newsweek ran an article called Barack’s Rock, which discusses his wife Michelle and their relationship. She certainly seems like a strong woman herself, rising from a South Side of Chicago childhood to Princeton and Harvard Law School, only to be coaxed into community work through Barack.

While those are both interesting reads, there is one article that I found truly fascinating. It talks about Obama hopes to achieve through politics, and how his community organising has directly impacted his philosophy and the kind of campaign that he hopes to run. The kicker? It was written over ten years ago, as he was running for Illinois State Senate in 1995. Check it out on the Chicago Reader website here.

I think it is absolutely remarkable exactly how consistent Barack Obama has been in his political career, from when he first ran for office to his current run for the presidency. Certainly his scope has changed, but the philosophy is the same. In order to build a better life for our country and our society, we all need to become involved.

The popular criticism of Obama is that he’s just a great speaker, and hasn’t “done anything.” “All hat and no cattle.” That sort of thing. (Which ignores some very important legislative accomplishments both as a member of the Illinois State Senate and the US Senate, by the way.) These critics say that idealism won’t get the drug companies and insurance companies to give an inch on any health care bill.

I think there’s more to him here than many believe, and it can be shown in a short segment of a speech I found on YouTube. He speaks directly to how he will solve political problems as President; hope inspiring people to action, and that action overcoming tremendous opposition. Check it out here:

And with his recent winning streak, it looks more likely than ever that Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. I can’t wait, and am counting down the days.

(Flickr photo by an agent)

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Weekly round-up

Here is a weekend round-up of stuff I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while. Hope you find it interesting.

  • Ever wanted to buy or at least ride a Segway? If you don’t want to ride one across the United States like these guys, maybe you should consider building one yourself. Some UMich engineering students built one for $1750 in two months. Check out the video here (complete with cheesy music):
  • Another cool YouTube video here. Someone takes apart a common “Intelligent Design” argument by showing that in fact, it’s quite reasonable to expect a theoretical box of clock parts to assemble into a clock. It’s fairly straightforward math-wise, using genetic algorithms. I learned and used the same technique back as an undergraduate to calculate optimal satellite orbits in order to conduct “fly-bys” of particular planets within particular windows. Good stuff.
  • Great quote here.

    “I suddenly understood with great clarity that nothing in life—except death itself—was ever going to kill me. No meeting could ever go that badly. No client would ever be that angry. No business error would ever bring me as close to the brink as I had already been.”

  • If you have to use Outlook, first of all, I’m sorry for you. But to help ease your pain, try out Xobni. (Inbox spelled backward.) It will revolutionize the way you work in Outlook.
  • These are great rules to live by: (from Scott Berkun)