Fil ponders 1 year post-MS

From his blog:

I quickly noticed a pattern in the advice I received: the vast majority (90%) of people told me to do what they did. If they quit, then they recommended that I quit. If they stayed and the company and climbed the corporate ladder, then that was the path for me as well.

The idea that people convince themselves of their current work situation (or relationship, or car, or political beliefs) to maintain sanity--cognitive dissonance--is something I've observed a lot since I've learned of it.

'Tis good to ponder such things.


Lessig moves from noble fight to more noble fight

From Lessig's blog:

We've all been whining about the "corruption" of government forever. We all should be whining about the corruption of professions too. But rather than whining, I want to work on this problem that I've come to believe is the most important problem in making government work.

Lessig's work on free culture has been profound. (This remix of a 2002 presentation is amazing.)

Here's hoping he'll have a more profound impact on the culture of corruption.


I am Seattle Traffic (.org)

I went to a meeting at work today about the future of the 520 bridge.

While waiting 10 years doesn't sound all that good, I did pick up a brochure I found very entertaining and enlightening. The source:  


I love people who are proactive about these types of issues.

The "Tenets of Traffic Zen" I found quite inspired. My favorite: Merge Gracefully.

All vehicles involved in a merge are ideally traveling the same speed with enough gap to fit each other perfectly. Think of it as teeth in a zipper. If one of the teeth of a zipper stuck out and waited until a few other teeth on the side passed, it would not work. Likewise, you must not stop when merging (unless all others are stopped as well). You must let others in. They need but one car length, and you have plenty to spare. Allowing them in front of you will mean they will not have to be confronted by a less enlightened driver, which could cause you grief you have no control over. Even if the merge happens behind you, you are being selfish, and you would not wish the same upon yourself.

Brilliant. Kudos!


SIFF 2007 Redux

Last time I went to a SIFF film (I think) was in 2000, when I was an intern out here.

This year, thanks to some friends, I went to see two films.

Bad Faith (Mauvaise foi in French) was pretty good. Jewish girl gets pregnant by her Muslim boyfriend. They have to tell the parents. Hilarity ensues.

Outsourced was done by some guys in Seattle. Quite funny. It was cool to have my buddy Dhruv there, since he "got" all of the jokes and references. Seattle call center manager has to go to India to train his replacement. Hilarity ensues. Good flick. Check out the trailer on YouTube.


Diamonds Are a Girl's Worst Friend

Great article from Slate.

I've heard this analysis before, but it's put succinctly here (emphasis mine):

...behind every Madison Avenue victory lurks a deeper social reality. And as it happens there was another factor in the surge of engagement ring sales—one that makes the ring's role as collateral in the premarital economy more evident. Until the 1930s, a woman jilted by her fiance could sue for financial compensation for "damage" to her reputation under what was known as the "Breach of Promise to Marry" action. As courts began to abolish such actions, diamond ring sales rose in response to a need for a symbol of financial commitment from the groom, argues the legal scholar Margaret Brinig—noting, crucially, that ring sales began to rise a few years before the De Beers campaign. To be marriageable at the time you needed to be a virgin, but, Brinig points out, a large percentage of women lost their virginity while engaged. So some structure of commitment was necessary to assure betrothed women that men weren't just trying to get them into bed. The "Breach of Promise" action had helped prevent what society feared would be rampant seduce-and-abandon scenarios; in its lieu, the pricey engagement ring would do the same. (Implicitly, it would seem, a woman's virginity was worth the price of a ring, and varied according to the status of her groom-to-be.)


I'm right clicka

My buddy Beau and some friends have made the tech cult video of the summer: Mac or PC.

Check out the web site.

(While Beau plays geeky very well, the dude is an insane hip-hop artist. Check out their MySpace page.)



Awesome graduation address by President Clinton

So I gave a graduation address a few weeks ago. I thought it was pretty good.

There is good and then there is great.

President Clinton gave the graduation address at Knox College this year.

Absolutely amazing.

[Via Think Progress]