Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Singularity is Near: Epoch Theory

Epoch 1. Physics and Chemistry

This epoch starts at the beginning of the universe (for example, the Big Bang). In this epoch, information is mostly held in subatomic structures such as particles and atoms. That is, the most complicated stable objects in the universe do not exceed the molecular scale in size or complexity.

Epoch 2. Biology and DNA

This epoch starts with the beginning of life on Earth (or elsewhere), suddenly giving rise to more complicated, yet stable, organisms that are capable of growth and self-sustainment. However, in this epoch organisms do not change within their lifetimes as evolution takes thousands of generations. Moreoever, in this stage, genetic information is stored in DNA molecules.

Epoch 3. Brains

The evolution of life gradually produced more and more complex organisms, necessitating the need for fast central control and thus giving rise to the evolution of brains. With brains, organisms can now change their behavior dynamically to suit changes in the environment and can also learn from past experiences. Evolutionary information is, in this stage, stored in neural patterns, with the meme emerging as the primary information unit.

Epoch 4. Technology

Evolution of brains culminates with the evolution of humans, which possess the ability to create technology. In this stage, technological designs are also subject to evolution and information is held in hardware and software designs.

Epoch 5. The Merger of Human Technology with Human Intelligence

This epoch, which Kurzweil argues we are in the process of entering, is where technology reaches a level of sophistication and fine-structuring comparable with that of biology, allowing the two to merge to create higher forms of life and intelligence.

Epoch 6. The Universe Wakes Up

After mastering the methods of technology and biology, Kurzweil predicts that human/machine civilization will expand its frontiers into the universe, gradually (or perhaps explosively) consuming the contents of the cosmos until the universe reaches a 'saturated' state where all inanimate matter has been converted to substrates for computation and intelligence, and a truly universal super-intelligence takes form.

For more on the Singularity is Near go to:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Last Mimzy

Theory of the Holographic Universe

Holographic principle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The holographic principle is a speculative conjecture about quantum gravity theories, proposed by Gerard 't Hooft and improved and promoted by Leonard Susskind, claiming that all of the information contained in a volume of space can be represented by a theory which lives in the boundary of that region. In other words, if you have a room, you can model all of the events within that room by creating a theory which only takes into account what happens in the walls of the room. The holographic principle also states that at most there is one degree of freedom (or 1 Boltzmann constant k unit of maximum entropy) for every four Planck areas in that theory, S\le A/4.

Reasons for the holographic principle

Given any finite, compact region of space (e.g. a sphere), this region will contain matter and energy within it. If this energy surpasses a critical density then the region collapses into a black hole.

A black hole is known theoretically to have an entropy[1] which is directly proportional to the surface area of its event horizon. Black holes are maximal entropy objects [2], so the entropy contained in a given region of space cannot be larger than the entropy of the largest black hole which can fit in that volume.

A black hole's event horizon encloses a volume, and more massive black holes have larger event horizons and enclose larger volumes. The most massive black hole which can fit in a given region is the one whose event horizon corresponds exactly to the boundary of the given region.

Greater mass entails greater entropy. Therefore the maximal limit of entropy for any ordinary region of space is directly proportional to the surface area of the region, not its volume. This is counter-intuitive to physicists because entropy is an extensive variable, being directly proportional to mass, which is proportional to volume (all else being equal, including the density of the mass).

If the entropy of ordinary mass (not just black holes) is also proportional to area, then this implies that volume itself is somehow illusory: that mass occupies area, not volume, and so the universe is really a hologram which is isomorphic to the information "inscribed" on its boundaries [3].

Limit on information density

Entropy, if considered as information (see information entropy), can ultimately be measured in bits or nats. One nat corresponds to about 1.44 bits, and 1 nat corresponds to four Planck areas [3]. The total quantity of bits is related to the total degrees of freedom of matter/energy. The bits themselves would encode information about the states which that matter/energy is occupying.

In a given volume, there is an upper limit to the density of information about the whereabouts of all the particles which compose matter in that volume, suggesting that matter itself cannot be subdivided infinitely many times; rather there must be an ultimate level of fundamental particles, i.e. were a particle composed of sub-particles, then the degrees of freedom of the particle would be the product of all the degrees of freedom of its sub-particles; were these sub-particles themselves also divided into sub-sub-particles, and so on indefinitely, then the degrees of freedom of the original particle must be infinite, violating the maximal limit of entropy density. The holographic principle thus implies that the subdivisions must stop at some level, and that the fundamental particle is a bit (1 or 0) of information.

Some scientists may argue that the most rigorous realization of the holographic principle is the correspondence by Juan Maldacena. However, J.D. Brown and Marc Henneaux[4] rigorously proved already in 1986, that the asymptotic symmetry of 2+1 dimensional gravity gives rise to a Virasoro algebra, who's corresponding quantum theory is a 2 dimensional conformal field theory. The AdS/CFT correspondence of Maldacena on the other hand is also known as the Maldacena-Conjecture which is due to the fact that it still lacks a mathematical proof.

Variations of the holographic principle

There are variations of the holographic known as the strong and weak holographic principles.

The Strong Holographic Principle

The strong holographic principle states that the information which an outside observer can derive from the surface of a black hole is directly proportional to the surface area of the event horizon. The "strong" version of the holographic principle states that an observer derives information from something through its surface which acts like a "screen" of sorts through which to view that information. However there is still a particle behind the screen projecting the information it holds onto the "screen" or surface.

The Weak Holographic Principle

The weak holographic principle states that all the information entering the event horizon of a black hole is encoded on the surface of the event horizon of that black hole and is proportional to the surface area of the event horizon. Unlike the "strong" version the weak holographic principle states that there is no particle behind the "screen" and that the physical processes of the universe can be wholly described by the "screens" or surfaces through which the information is observed.

Explanation of the Holographic Principle by Micheal Talbot

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Future of Engine Thermodynamics: The Twincharger

Inside VW’s New “Twincharger” TSI Engine

The TSI Twincharging systems

VW’s goal for its new dual-charged (“Twincharger” in VW marketing-parlance) engine (earlier post) was to combine the low-end power boost provided by a mechanically-driven compressor (supercharging) with the higher-end increase provided by an exhaust turbocharger (turbocharging) to enable the downsizing of the engine for a given application while maintaining the driving experience for consumers.

Put another way, downsizing delivers comparable (or better) performance with lowered fuel consumption and emissions.

The first instance of this new Twincharged TSI engine family is a 90-kW (121-hp) 1.4-liter model that delivers a torque corresponding to a 2.3-liter engine, but with 20% less fuel consumption. Compared to the 2.0-liter FSI engine in the Golf, the power and torque gains are clear, although the decrease in fuel consumption is more modest. (See chart below.)


Golf GT 2.0 FSIGolf GT 1.4 TSITSI %
Displacement 1,984 cc 1,390 cc -30%
Cylinders 4 4
Compression 11.5:1 10:1
Boost Pressure 2.5 bar
Power 110 kW (148 hp) 125 kW (168 hp) +14%
Torque 200 Nm 240 Nm +20%
0–100 km/h 8.8 s 7.9 s -10%
Maximum speed 209 km/h (130 mph) 220 km/h (136 mph) +5%
Fuel consumption 7.6 l/100km 7.2 l/100km -5%
Fuel economy 31 mpg US 32.7 mpg US +5%
CO2 182 g/km 173 g/km -5%

Super-and turbo-charging systems are designed to force more air into the cylinder, thereby enabling more combustion and delivering more power—but also consuming more fuel than a comparable naturally-aspirated engine. However, the increase in fuel consumption of a charged engine is more than offset by the overall decrease in fuel consumption resulting from using a smaller engine.

For example, the 1.4-liter TSI is 39% smaller than the 2.3-liter FSI, but consumes 20% less fuel. As long as a downsized TSI is used to replace a larger FSI, there is a net gain in efficiency.

As a starting point for developing the Twincharged family, VW selected the direct-injection FSI from its EA 111 engine series as used in the Golf.

The basic FSI 1.4-liter engine (1,390 cc) is a 66-kW (88-hp), four-valve, four-cylinder engine. Note that the Twincharger 1.4-liter TSI offers 36% more power than its FSI cousin of the same displacement: 90 kW vs 66 kW.

To support the twincharging concept, VW engineers had to deliver a new, highly-resilient gray cast-iron cylinder crankcase to withstand the higher pressures, a coolant pump with an integrated magnetic clutch and supercharging technology.

VW also modified the injection system, introducing its first multiple-hole, high-pressure injection valve with six fuel outlet elements.

The injector, like that in the naturally-aspirated (non-charged) FSI engines, is arranged on the intake side between the intake port and cylinder head seal level.

To support the wider variability in the quantity of fuel needed across the range of operation (from idling speed to the 90-kW peak power output) to optimize the twincharging, VW increased the maximum injection pressure to 150 bar.

For the compressor, Volkswagen engineers chose a Roots-type supercharger (also known as a “blower”). Unlike some other types of supercharger, a Roots supercharger doesn’t actually compress air within the device. With two counter-rotating lobes, it moves a fixed volume of air per rotation (“fixed displacement”). Compression occurs in the intake manifold.

Roots superchargers can deliver a large amount of boost even at low engine speed. The main disadvantage is that they create a lot of heat.

Air flow through the VW Twincharged TSI. Click to enlarge.

The compressor and the turbocharger are connected in series. A control valve ensures that the fresh air required for a given operating state can get through either to the exhaust turbocharger or the compressor.

The control valve is open when the exhaust turbocharger is operating alone. In this case, the air follows the normal path as in conventional turbo engines, via the front charge-air cooler and the throttle valve into the induction manifold.

The compressor is operated by a magnetic clutch integrated in a module inside the water pump. Under turbocharging conditions, the clutch disengages the compressor.

The maximum boost pressure of the Twincharger is approximately 2.5 bar at 1,500 rpm, with the exhaust turbocharger and the mechanical supercharger being operated with about the same pressure ratio (approx. 1.53). The compressor alone delivers a boost pressure of 1.8 bar even just above idling speed.

A conventional exhaust turbocharged engine without compressor assistance would achieve only a pressure ratio of about 1.3 bar.

The more rapid response of the turbocharger enables the compressor to be depressurized earlier by continuous opening of the bypass valve. Compressor operation is restricted to a narrow engine map area with predominantly low pressure ratios and, therefore, low power consumption.

In practice, this means the compressor is only required for generating the required boost pressure in the engine speed range up to 2,400 rpm. The exhaust turbocharger is designed for optimum efficiency in the upper power range and provides adequate boost pressure even in the medium speed range.

For acceleration, an automatic boost pressure control decides if the compressor needs to be switched on to deliver the tractive power required, or if the turbocharger alone can handle the situation.

The compressor is switched on again if the speed drops to the lower range and then power is demanded again. The turbocharger alone delivers adequate boost pressure above 3,500 rpm.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thank God for Evolution

Former Evangelical Minister Has a New Message: Jesus Hearts Darwin

The Rev. Michael Dowd is preaching a surprising message: Evolution is real and science points to the existence of God.

For the last five years, the author and former evangelical pastor has lived out of a van with his wife, crisscrossing the nation to deliver the good news.

His latest book, Thank God for Evolution, drew endorsements from five Nobel laureates and dozens of religious leaders. With the battle between science and religion at a fever pitch, it couldn't come at a better time. Just last week Texas papers reported that a curriculum director had been fired in October for forwarding information about an evolution lecture to friends and colleagues.

Dowd wasn't always an evolution proselytizer. Presented with an evolution textbook on his first day of biology classes at Evangel University, he stormed out and told his roommate that Satan had a foothold in the Christian school. But after encountering the teachings of Catholic eco-theologian Thomas Berry, Dowd embraced what's known as evolutionary theology.

Wired News spoke with Dowd by phone about science, religion and his belief that "a holy understanding of evolution will usher the world's religions into their greatness in the 21st century."

For the rest of the article go to:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

FOUND ON CRAIG'S LIST - what an awesome answer...

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy.
I'm not from New York . I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 432279810

Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament.
Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity…in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold…hence the rub…marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful"
as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way.
Classic "pump and dump."
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 the greatest collection of incredible ideas...

WORLDCHANGING... Change Your Thinking

Talking to God...

I met god the other day.

I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?

Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise....

To continue reading the short story go to

from The Ragged Trousered Philosopher

Sunday, November 25, 2007




Transcendentalism, in philosophy and literature, belief in a higher reality than that found in sense experience or in a higher kind of knowledge than that achieved by human reason. Nearly all transcendentalist doctrines stem from the division of reality into a realm of spirit and a realm of matter. Such a division is made by many of the great religions of the world.


Philosophic Development and Applications

The philosophical concept of transcendence was developed by the Greek philosopher Plato. He affirmed the existence of absolute goodness, which he characterized as something beyond description and as knowable ultimately only through intuition. Later religious philosophers, influenced by Plato, applied this concept of transcendence to divinity, maintaining that God can be neither described nor understood in terms that are taken from human experience. The doctrine that God is transcendent, in the sense of existing outside of nature, is a fundamental principle in the orthodox forms of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

The terms transcendent and transcendental were used in a more narrow and technical sense by Scholastic philosophers late in the Middle Ages to signify concepts of unrestricted generality applying to all types of things (see Scholasticism). The Scholastics recognized six such transcendental concepts: essence, unity, goodness, truth, thing, and something (Latin ens, unum, bonum, verum, res, and aliquid).

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant was the first to make a technical distinction between the terms transcendent and transcendental. Kant reserved the term transcendent for those entities such as God and the soul, which are thought to exist outside of human experience and are therefore unknowable; he used the term transcendental to signify a priori forms of thought, that is, innate principles with which the mind gives form to its perceptions and makes experience intelligible. Kant applied the name transcendental philosophy to the study of pure mind and its a priori forms. Later German idealist philosophers who were influenced by Kant, particularly Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, and Edmund Husserl, described their views as transcendental. Consequently, the term transcendentalism came to be applied almost exclusively to doctrines of metaphysical idealism.


Transcendental Literature

In its most specific usage, transcendentalism refers to a literary and philosophical movement that developed in the U.S. in the first half of the 19th century. While the movement was, in part, a reaction to certain 18th-century rationalist doctrines, it was strongly influenced by Deism, which, although rationalist, was opposed to Calvinist orthodoxy. Transcendentalism also involved a rejection of the strict Puritan religious attitudes that were the heritage of New England, where the movement originated. In addition, it opposed the strict ritualism and dogmatic theology of all established religious institutions.

More important, the transcendentalists were influenced by romanticism, especially such aspects as self-examination, the celebration of individualism, and the extolling of the beauties of nature and humankind. Consequently, transcendentalist writers expressed semireligious feelings toward nature, as well as the creative process, and saw a direct connection, or correspondence, between the universe (macrocosm) and the individual soul (microcosm). In this view, divinity permeated all objects, animate or inanimate, and the purpose of human life was union with the so-called Over-Soul. Intuition, rather than reason, was regarded as the highest human faculty. Fulfillment of human potential could be accomplished through mysticism or through an acute awareness of the beauty and truth of the surrounding natural world. This process was regarded as inherently individual, and all orthodox tradition was suspect.

American transcendentalism began with the formation (1836) of the Transcendental Club in Boston. Among the leaders of the movement were the essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, the feminist and social reformer Margaret Fuller, the preacher Theodore Parker, the educator Bronson Alcott, the philosopher William Ellery Channing, and the author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau. The Transcendental Club published a magazine, The Dial, and some of the club's members participated in an experiment in communal living at Brook Farm, in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, during the 1840s. Major transcendentalist works of the American movement include Emerson's essays “Nature” (1836) and “Self-Reliance” (1841), as well as many of his metaphysical poems, and also Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854), which is an account of an individual's attempt to live simply and in harmony with nature.

"Transcendentalism," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007 © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My first friend ever getting shot and saved by a bullet proof vest in Iraq

Soldier Saved By Bullet Proof Vest - Watch more free videos

The following is a letter of appreciation from PFC Stephen "Doc" Tschiderer, U.S. Army

Dear Point Blank,

First let me say thank you for saving my life!! I am forever grateful!!!! My name is PFC Stephen Tschiderer, and I am currently deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. Yesterday, July 2, 2005, I was on patrol and while providing security around my Humvee, I was shot by a sniper. This sniper was using a Draganov sniper rifle with AP rounds. The round struck me at an angle and did not come through the SAPI plate. Enclosed are some pics of the plate and what the round did to me, which thanks to you guys is only a small mark. My family and everyone that knows me sends our thanks and keep up the GREAT work.

PFC Stephen “Doc” Tschiderer
E Troop 101 CAV 256BCT
Baghdad, Iraq

CNN interview at...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Next Best thing to being Superman: The New Vampire 2 Wingsuit

The suit was designed to slow your free-fall from 111-139 mph to 37-59 mph thanks to the lift created -- allowing you to fly around and enjoy the view longer. It costs $1,250.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The World's Best Driving Roads...

Top Gear takes a Porsche, a Lamborghini, and an Aston Martin racing car out to find the best driving road in the world.

The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the greatest driving road in the world. Stretching for 7.3 miles and climbing nearly 4,000 feet, it boasts 60 corners and a surface so smooth that it would flatter a racetrack. It could easily be described as the eighth wonder of the world, but almost nothing is known about its creation.

From Forbes; the roads showcased as the world's finest are not based on our opinions; they are based upon the opinions of experts, including automotive executives and chief engineers. We asked for their opinions with no qualifications, allowing them to call certain roads their favorites for any reasons they chose.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Single Greatest Thing I have been doing in my life... The Mental Catch-22

"The only way not to have to write things down is to write them down so you remember them well enough not to have written them down."

Fold up a piece of computer paper in half 3 times (roughly 2"x3") and keep it in your back pocket. Keep a pen in a front pocket or where ever is comfortable and you will never forget an idea, phone number, etc ever again. Go over your list at the end of the day and throw the items on a to-do list (your computer, calendar, etc), the peace of mind that you will get from knowing you have your information than not, will make your life just that much better. If you always have ideas running through your brain like I do, you can fill up the piece paper before it starts to fall apart and it gets pretty interesting to see where your brain has been going... after a while you will notice you remember things without even looking back at the paper just because you wrote them down, hence the Mental Catch-22. This article couldn't prove it more,

FYI- Try and transfer the info fairly frequently since you will prob forget the paper in your pants and toss them in the wash, the paper eventually falls apart from being folded so many times or just plain leave it somewhere and can't get it back...

On a unique side note,, weird but interestingly true.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Easy Way to Save Water and Energy Everyday: Take a Navy Shower

"A ten-minute shower takes as much as 230 L (60 US gallons) of water, while a navy shower usually takes as little as 11 L (3 US gallons); one person can save 56,000 L (15,000 US gallons) per year."

Space Parachuting: Skydiving from the Edge

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

A mix of The Singularity is Near Epoch Theory and God's Debris
-Thank You for the find Ramik

Saturday, September 1, 2007

SkreemR: Great Web-Browser MP3 Search Site

Use with and download music sans P2P software (limewire, etc)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

List of Books

List of Movies

List of Music

  • Skid Row - Youth Gone Wild
  • Avalanches - Frontier Psychiatrist
  • Notorious B.I.G. - I Got a Story to Tell
  • Fedde Le Grande - Put Your Hands Up For Detroit
  • Tragically Hip - Fireworks
  • The Chemical Brothers - The Salmon Dance
  • Smashing Pumpkins - Eye
  • Madonna - Push
  • Yves Larock - Rise Up
  • Snoop Dogg - Boss' Life
  • Mark Ronson - Stop Me
  • OK Go - Here it Goes Again
  • Less Than Jake - Bridge and Tunnel Authority Remix
  • Groove Armada - My Friend
  • John Legend - Save Room
  • Bob Sinclar - World Hold On (Acoustic Version)
  • Fat Freddy's Drop - Roadie
  • DJ Marky & XRS - LK
  • Enur ft Natasha - Calabria 2007
  • STS 9 - Tokyo
  • Zion I - Revolution
  • Geto Boys - G-Code
  • Jack Johnson - Cookie Jar
  • Mattafix - Gangster Blues
  • Aesop Rock - No Regrets
  • Champion - Keep on Riding
  • Grits - Ooh Aah
  • Zoe Keating - Fern
  • Daft Punk - Voyager
  • Agoria - Les Violons Ives
  • Hande Yener - Romeo
  • Edwin Starr - War
  • Outkast - Rosa Parks
  • Mos Def - Speed Law
  • Faitnless - Insomnia
  • The Stranglers - Golden Brown
  • Jimi Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner Woodstock '69
  • Phish - Gin & Juice
  • Bonobo - Ketto
  • New Order - Confusion
  • John Butler Trio - Mist
  • Andy McKee - Art of Motion
  • Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
  • Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Zeitgeist "The Spirit of the Age"

Talk about learning something new everyday...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Career Advice by Scott Adams

Last night I met a script supervisor. She works with directors to make sure a movie has the right continuity, and one scene fits the next. It’s a fascinating job, hobnobbing with top directors, writers, and celebrities. No two assignments are the same. How do you get that kind of career? She earned a degree in anthropology and just “fell into it” through a series of events.

I know the feeling. I majored in economics, got an MBA, worked at a bank, then a phone company, and became a cartoonist.

For every person who studies something specific, such as the law or medicine, and actually ended up in that sort of career, I think there are five who let chance pick their careers. That works out more often than you’d think, but you can’t recommend it as a career strategy. Instead, I recommend a general formula for success. Allow me to explain.

If you want an average successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:

1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.

I always advise young people to become good public speakers (top 25%). Anyone can do it with practice. If you add that talent to any other, suddenly you’re the boss of the people who have only one skill. Or get a degree in business on top of your engineering degree, law degree, medical degree, science degree, or whatever. Suddenly you’re in charge, or maybe you’re starting your own company using your combined knowledge.

Capitalism rewards things that are both rare and valuable. You make yourself rare by combining two or more “pretty goods” until no one else has your mix. I didn’t spend much time with the script supervisor, but it was obvious that her verbal/writing skills were in the top tier as well as her people skills. I’m guessing she also has a high attention to detail, and perhaps a few other skills in the mix. Probably none of those skills are best in the world, but together they make a strong package. Apparently she’s been in high demand for decades.

At least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal. And it could be as simple as learning how to sell more effectively than 75% of the world. That’s one. Now add to that whatever your passion is, and you have two, because that’s the thing you’ll easily put enough energy into to reach the top 25%. If you have an aptitude for a third skill, perhaps business or public speaking, develop that too.

It sounds like generic advice, but you’d be hard pressed to find any successful person who didn’t have about three skills in the top 25%.

What are your three?

For More info check out,

Monday, July 30, 2007

No one can ever be bored again...

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