26 May, 2012

A rant of sorts

There is so much that puzzles me about the US election process, politics, and economics. This particular election's elephant in the porcelain shop seems to be the government's failure to have increased taxes on high income earners. Nick Hanauer goes on this rather eloquent rant about this topic.

It is interesting how he tries to interject statical facts into his argument in a peripheral manner. Almost as if to say, "numbers are good, but common sense is better".

22 May, 2012

Jacqueline Novogratz: someone to follow

Jacqueline Novogratz has been one of my heroes for a few years now. If you listen to her words of her Gettyburg College commencement speech, it will be easy to understand why.

What I like about her advice to the young graduates is how she tries not so much to inspire, but to make evident the necessity to live a meaningful life, to make hard choices, to welcome the challenges, and to pick yourself up every time you fall.

She is someone to follow during these times. I only hope some of those graduates who attended the ceremony do.

(If you wish to read the speech, here is the text.)

19 May, 2012

Grabbing our Attention

I've been wanting to write you about the marvelous science channel of The Guardian called the Newton Channel.

I'm trying to sit down and look and make notes on one of the videos every month. It is one of the many projects I am doing this year (and thus explains why I am sadly not blogging so much) to focus more on quality than quantity of information. Over the last five or six years, I have been addicted to information gathering.  That is why this video is appropriate in explaining this need. Here is the video description:

"You can have too much of a good thing … or not enough. The hormone dopamine is responsible for the cravings of addiction, but when levels are abnormally low it causes the muscular twitches of Parkinson's disease. Studying dopamine has also revealed a fascinating distinction between the brain mechanisms that underpin 'wanting' and 'liking' – a finding that has implications not only for our understanding of human nature, but also for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia."

Please do watch the video. It is excellent food for thought.

If you wish to partake in a good study program, perhaps you should consider making up your own curriculum. The LifeHacker website collected information on all sorts of online self-study courses.

For example, Professor Benjamin Caballero offers a course on the Principles of Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins University.

One of the other projects I have been working on for about two years is learning visualization techniques.  The idea behind developing one's own visual language is to ease information assimilation, differentiation, and recall.  This sounds so very formal and serious a pursuit, but actually it is returning back to childhood, to a time when self-expression was not only limited to spoken and written words.

13 May, 2012

Dare you not to tear up

Good advertising campaigns are few and far between. Here's one, don't you think?

12 May, 2012

The Politics of Gaming

It is hard to explain why, but I thought this video by Jay Cheel intriguing. Maybe it is because I have quite a few friends like the fellows in the film. They spend hours of each day or their weekends playing board games or online games. Scrabble or Settlers of Catan, it is not important; they just need their daily or weekly dose.

What is interesting is how the game brings out the bad in people's behaviour. It almost seems as if part of the appeal of the game is being able to heckle and tease the other players.

I've never liked playing games of any sorts (exception Solitaire) and so the film presents a fascinating world without awakening anyany wish to get involved in it.