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links for 2010-02-16

16 Feb
  • Well, enough has been said about this movie to fill a thousand such customary intros, so I won’t bother. Suffice it to say that Taran Adarsh rated the movie 5 1/2 stars in a syndicated review that I can’t find the link to anymore. And, because I consider everything that man says with the seriousness of the impending 2012 apocalypse, it is with a heavy heart that I present this comic to you.
  • It has happened many times…that upon first seeing some of the bookcases at my house, a visitor has exclaimed, ’Wow! Have you read all of those books?’
    I call this a ’drawback’ because it’s an annoying question to have to answer. It assumes that a bookcase is a place to store books once you have read them, whereas in fact, to me it is much more like a toolbench like one keeps in the garage. It is not a depository, but a place to store things one uses often and repeatedly. Many of the books I own are, in fact, not the sort that one simply sits down and reads…Also, I frequently acquire multiple versions and editions of a single book in order to consult…
    Typically, when confronted with this question, based as it is on mistaken assumptions about the nature of private libraries, I have in the past tried to explain the above points to the visitor, and to do so in a way that is not patronising or condescending. Nevertheless, however well I may hide it, I am almost invariably annoyed.
  • No one can guard against every danger. In miniature, that’s the agony of parenting: They are their own little people, not objects you can lock up in a drawer. But that’s also the fun of it, of course.
    Thom Golden, the founder of the child safety association, made an interesting case for his profession. “If the parent is watching so intently that the child can’t do anything on their own free will,” he said, “then the child doesn’t learn how to do anything on their own, how to develop confidence in their own decisions.” Rather than a way to control your child, these safety devices are a way to let him or her be, he said.
    A nice thought. But when you hire a professional childproofer, it’s not the outlet protectors you’re shelling out for. You are, in effect, paying that person to do your worrying for you. A childproofed home isn’t 100 percent safe, and an unproofed home isn’t a deathtrap. But with an expert’s imprimatur, nervous parents buy themselves the right to relax a bit.
  • The organic aspect of biotechnology is an example. Ms.Shiva has been arguing for less pesticide use, less cultivation of water hungry crops and so on. Biotechnology has the ability to reduce pesticide use, breed more drought resistant crops and so on – but because of the corporate argument, it’s potential for organic farming is rejected . Ms.Shiva argues that using only traditional varieties, grown in traditional labour intensive ways, can supply all our needs and increase agricultural employment, but I simply cannot buy this.
    Organic food has a future in India, but its higher costs are a real problem. If nothing else, it’s labour intensivity ensures this…Across the country, the trend to urbanization is very clear – in a rather more democratic display…people are moving from rural areas to cities, and it is very hard to see how organic farming could supply the increased demand, with less labour, at affordable prices – without some help from biotechnology.
  • So, the theme of TED was “What the world needs now” and I think the world needs more Sarah. The world needs to take many things seriously and many things less seriously. The world needs to get its sense of humor back. It needs to allow people to express themselves without feeling the overwhelming pressures of society bearing down and being a social pariah.
  • TED costs $6,000 and is hard to get into (next year’s TED is already sold out, for instance). They never give away more than 15 press passes, too, which means that most of the world’s press corp can’t get in. This always pisses off people…
    I don’t have $6,000 and I doubt I’ll get invited next year for free and, even if I could gather $6,000, it’s sold out for next year anyway.
    Freaking elitists!
    But, let’s take the elephant head on: rich people can afford things you and I can’t…
    You should know that in 2008 I took a similar stance…That TED is unattainable for most people, and that it’s a closed society, etc. What did I do about it? I went to BIL, a free event that goes on at TED…
    But since attending I’ve changed my stance from the one I had in 2008. What is the one now? Jealous people should just keep their mouths shut. And I’ll include me in that stance.
    Truth is, TED has opened up its content to the world. More than 500 talks have now been shared on TED Talks.
  • This past week, along with several colleagues, I interviewed 39 candidates for a selective program at Stanford. Being on the other side of the table provides fascinating insights about interviews. Below are a handful of tips that might not be obvious. I wish someone had shared these with me when I was in my 20’s.
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Posted by on February 16, 2010 in Links

 

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