Building on failure

12 06 2009

Adam Savage, one of the two heads of the show “Mythbusters”, talks about his job, and how two major failures have affected and shaped everything he has done since them. Very interesting and thought provoking.

Adam’s failures.


MIT Open Course – Intro to Philosophy

30 11 2008

MIT has a number of neat and interesting courses – professor’s notes & lectures – which they call Open Courseware. This link is to their Intro to Ancient Philosophy, a course given by Berkeley Professor Alan Code in the 1980’s.


14 10 2008

An interesting column in the NY Times about people rejoicing in the unhappiness of others. In this case it isn’t you and I and our concern about our jobs and our bank accounts, our retirement and our 401(k), the joy and glee is in the demise of the once great and wealthy who have been instrumental in bringing on this economic crisis. In specific he mentions Hank Greenberg’s fortune plummeting from $15.8 billion to $911 million.

On balance, Mr. Greenberg developed his fortune over 40 years of leading the insurance company AIG from being relative average to a position of leadership in the industry. After the board forced him into a position in a backwater in the company they began investing in the sub-prime market – over his strenuous and sometimes public objections. So, much as we might enjoy seeing some of these fat cats being reduced to dining on cat food with the rest of us, Hank Greenberg’s reduction to comparative poverty is the fault of others.

Yes, you could make arguments that he could have moved his fortune to other investment tools, and indeed you would be right. But a man who spent his life building a company has a hard time leaving it.

You could also argue that if he felt the board was acting improperly he could have voted his displeasure with his pocketbook, and again you would be right.

But you also have to admire a guy who stands with his people, and falls with his people. And when his fortune imploded, he complained not about his own fortune, but for the losses his people suffered.

DISCLAIMER: I really have nothing to disclaim: I have never worked for AIG or any of its subsidiaries, nor am I related to the Greenbergs.

Life, or something like it

29 08 2008

I saw this graffiti on life and thought it was pretty funny.

Then I thought about it and thought it was sad. How hollow. But, regrettably, all too often how true. What are you doing to be different? To make a difference?

Unknown web sites

23 08 2008

Well, obviously someone knows about them or we wouldn’t be able to share them with you.

Maybe this should be little known websites with some big potential, but that is a bit on the wordy side – not a good sound bite.

But instead of working through a list of ways to say it better (and flowers won’t help here), here is PC Magazine’s Top 100 Undiscovered Websites.

A few of the ones that caught my eye include:

  • Coding Horror on coding horror stories
  • Web Designer Wall on trends and tutorials
  • Phone Arena on phone technical info, review, opinions (which I need because I’m in the market for a new phone)
  • Gazelle where you can buy and sell electronic gadgets (help defray the cost of being an early adopter, or get a good deal on a slightly use almost breaking edge piece of technology)

And the list could go on and on for, well, 100 sites! The variety is really quite broad.

Bite Me: How snakes got their fangs

1 08 2008

Ah! To be back in school where these kinds of questions received some respect!

But seriously, how did snakes get their fangs? Which came first, the poison or the hollow teeth? What about the retractable teeth part, when did that come in?

This article from LiveScience attempts to answer that very question of how snakes got their fangs.

Meet My Attic

1 08 2008

is the title of a series of articles from the Washington Post on organizing those really messy places in your home. In this case it’s the author’s attic; in mine it would be my garage and basement. (Which are not entirely my fault, I hasten to add!)

Regardless, most of us need help getting organized and cleaned up: where to start, how to proceed, just general encouragement along the way. This series has been very helpful, and I am slowly applying their principles to some areas of my life and house, and will soon be expanding that to the dreaded garage and basement areas.