Thursday, March 29, 2012

Death squared

I find this experiment both very fascinating and deeply disturbing. They locked up a bunch of mice in a fixed space and provided their every need. As expected the mouse population exploded, many of the usual constraints didn't apply - there were no predators, no diseases, unlimited food and water. But as space became very constrained the population started to decline - they collectively lost interest in breeding. Very dystopian.

Makes me never want to live in NYC.

Student loans... for elementary school

I'm not surprised but WOW, this seems like a pretty bad decision. I wouldn't want to be paying off high school loans (either mine or my kids) well into retirement.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Existential Risk

Interesting piece in the Atlantic about how we're underestimating the probability that the technology we create will ultimately kill us:

I eat this stuff up, in particular his simulation argument. The idea being that exactly one of the following must be true:
1) All civilizations go extinct before reaching technological maturity.
2) All technologically mature civilizations lose interest in creating computer simulations detailed enough detailed enough that the simulated minds within them would be conscious.
3) We're living in a computer simulation.
Let's hope for #3... I think.

Facebook is trying to trademark the word 'book'

Apparently they've already got 'face'.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 Days Without Posting

I think that's a new record for me, after a very prolific January and February my blogging has definitely suffered. Recently I've had a lot going on and the world has settled down a bit of late so I haven't been as motivated to write. So I guess I'll write a little bit about myself.

Two weeks ago I was in LA for the first time - have to say I was quite impressed. I had this vision of a smog-filled, car-infested, suburban sprawl... and I was right. But there is so much more to it. Driving around there were certainly many neighborhoods with a great vibe. The people didn't seem any worse than the type you see in NYC. The weather was spectacular and the mountain scenery breathtaking. We went up to Griffith Observatory on a perfectly clear day, it was one of those times that really made me marvel at the incredible size and beauty of the world. I hope to go back there someday soon.

Then last weekend Abigail visited. WOW, what an incredible time! The whole experience felt like a vacation, it was 80 degrees and sunny the whole time. All the bars and restaurants had their outdoor seating set up, everyone was outside wearing shorts and t-shirts. It was like spring break in Chicago. And as for Abigail, there are only a few people I've met in my life with whom I get along so well. I don't know how it'll end up, a spectacular success or a spectacular failure, but I'm confident it'll be spectacular.

Just how big is our defense budget?

From the perspective of the entire Federal budget we only spend something like 25% on defense. But when compared with the amount of money other countries spend our defense spending looks ridiculous!

Just think of what we could be doing with all the money. We could cut our defense budget by $450 BILLION and still be spending more than TWICE as much as China. Crazy. As % of GDP we're on par with the most volatile region on Earth - the Middle East.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One of the most important articles you'll ever read...

I love the title: Why incompetent people are too incompetent to know they're incompetent

I'm sure Montaigne would have appreciated this as well.

Edit: Maybe the article isn't as important as I originally thought? But then doesn't my skepticism validate the author's point? I'm starting to see a paradox here...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Reflections on 2011

So I don't write much about what's happening in my life here but once again I've been reflecting on 2011. While the year certainly had its ups and downs I'm going to reflect on some of my favorite and most significant memories from the year - in no particular order.

First, lots of great parties in 2011:
Marcus' goodbye party: somehow we kept this secret from him. We got a keg of his favorite beer and practically everyone from work came out. Probably the best party I've ever thrown.
Chiditarod: bummed I'm not doing it this year because, despite the shitty shitty weather, it is such a unique experience. Between all the decorated carts, costumes it feels like Halloween. Plus the after party is a MESS, everyone is drunk, sweaty and there's a live band.
BSM Conference: yes falls under the party category since I went out with clients every night. Thursday I stayed up all night drinking with the South Africans, I get home at 6 am and decide its pointless to sleep so I go run 4 miles - in retrospect I was probably still drunk.
Emil's 10,000th Day Party: first of all celebrating your 10,000th day alive - phenomenal idea. And the party delivered - hanging out with old college friends, discovering Malibrew, getting nearly everyone to dance and making out in a hammock. Best party of 2011.
QRM Holiday Party: I swear, I have the best coworkers in the world. Whenever we hang out its a blast this was no exception. Plus the Elysian is swaaank.
Andre Party: How was this my first Andre party?? Nothing gets me in the spirit of the season like drinking Pink Andre from the bottle. Studio apartment was a great venue choice. And thankfully I avoided getting FADED.
Pat's NYE Party: He had me at the Masquerade theme. Add the fact we sang all the verses to Auld Lang Syne for each time zone. Then add a dozen college friends flying from out of town. Without doubt my best New Years.
Next, memorable trips:
Barbados: I spent 5 days in Barbados with family, despite being very difficult to get to the island itself is beautiful. Its very different from any other Carribean island I've been to. Its very safe, the locals and tourists all hang out at the same bars! I met a guy at an Irish pub who works at Ernst & Young in Barbados.
NYC / LCD Soundsystem: LCD Soundsystem was playing their last show ever at Madison Square Garden... NO WAY could I pass that up. Plus a trip to NYC is always fun. The show itself was fantastic and the trip had many other highlights - PDT, Hi Batman, Peculiar Pub and spending the night practically next door to where I grew up.
San Fransisco / Outside Lands: First time to California, first trip entirely by myself. While I was there I started this blog, I learned a lot about myself and overall had a fantastic time. Plus the atmosphere at this festival is perfect. The people are all super nice, the temperature in the 60's and they have a wine tent with wines from over 40 vineyards!
I'm On A Boat: Thanks to the Wagners for inviting me on their 4 hour long party cruise on Lake Michigan. It was such a great time, I need to do this again. Nothing says summer like swimming in Lake Michigan with a beer in hand yelling at some guy on a jet ski.
Deadmau5: Not a trip, but probably the most memorable concert experience of my life. The show is at the north end of Grant Park, we can see the skyline. The show is about to start, ominous clouds start rolling, one by one the buildings start to disappear, the trump tower, the aon center, seconds later it starts pouring. Everyone is instantly soaked but through the rain we hear the opening to Some Chords and everyone starts dancing as if the world were about to end. Unreal.
Las Vegas: I already wrote about my impressions of Vegas earlier. The trip was a lot of fun, but running into David Massant was one of those one-in-a-billion events. I still have trouble believing it happened.
Miscellaneous important memories:
Track & Trough Racing Team: Joining this group was great, lots of unique personalities on the team plus its awesome having 20+ training partners to keep pushing me.
Breaking Up With Stephanie: Long time coming I suppose, but still the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
Taking Every Friday Off: I didn't work a full week from mid-June through mid-September. If I lived somewhere warm I might never go to work...
New Relationships: Last August was the first time I was single as an adult. I've certainly met a lot of girls since then and dated several. The most significant one being Lauren. At the time it was quite ideal, we had some good times and I learned a lot from her. But sadly it wasn't right for me so I had to end it.
 Wow, quite the year. 2012 is already shaping up quite nicely.

Friday, March 2, 2012

And what if we don't listen to you?

Spain recently announced that they're not even going to try to meet the EU's required 4.4% deficit, instead they think 5.8% should be good enough. Over the last decade there has been no punishment for the Greeks, Portuguese and others who have blatantly disregarded the EU's rules about debt and deficits - so why should this time be any different? In fact the worse they act the more free German money they get. What could go wrong? And this is exactly why I think the EU bailouts are doomed to failure. If EU doesn't make an example out of someone, no one is actually going to follow the rules.