Lifes Worth Knowing

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Lake Vostok: Update

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Lake Vostok: Update

Back in a February 2012 edition of the Weekender, we covered the fascinating story of the Russian drill team that was drilling into Lake Vostok to look for life that had been trapped under the antarctic ice sheet for millions of years. This is what they found (so far)

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Thoughts on a Passing

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I was awake when he passed away, but of course I didn’t know it at the time. I was stuck in that kind of sleep purgatory where you desperately want to sleep but the relief never comes. I rarely have trouble falling asleep, but I lay there watching the minutes rolls by, 11:50…midnight…12:15… I don’t remember exactly when I fell asleep.

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The End of Childhood

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

It’s a funny thing isn’t it? That moment when one of tethers that connects you to some small part of your childhood becomes severed, and just like watching a balloon drift out of reach and into the clouds, you can lose a part of yourself into the fog of memory. We all have these moments when a concrete part of our past is lost. Whether it is seeing your parents move away from your childhood home, or getting rid of your first car, or realizing that all of your favorite TV shows only run on TV Land or Nick at Night anymore. Losing a touchstone to your past can be a traumatic experience. This past week I had to deal with one of these moments, but at least I was able to share my sadness with the country.

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The Weekender

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Silence is deafening. One of the more interesting stories that broke over the past couple weeks was the revelation that the most popular episode ever of This American Life was largely fabricated. In January Ira Glass ran a radio version of Mike Daisey’s one man show called “the agony and ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” Which focused on the working conditions of the Chinese workers that assemble Apple products. I remember hearing the original broadcast and being stunned at what I was hearing, but it came to light that Mike Daisey fabricated much of his story, and lied to the producers at This American Life to get them to run his story. When they discovered the deceit, they brought Mike back on the show to have him account for himself. What transpired was one of the most intensely gripping radio programs you will ever hear as Ira’s anger is barely contained under his professionalism and Mike leaves long stretches of dead air that just make your skin crawl.

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What’s an Apology Worth?

In Current events, David Gregory, Government, Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich, Obama, Politics, Uncategorized on March 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

What is an apology worth?

It is a question that has recently taken on presidential implications. The Republican candidates have really enjoyed themselves painting President Obama as an “appeaser-in-chief” that regularly apologizes for America. Whether he is bowing to a Saudi, or blaming America for the banking crisis, Republican hopefuls have repeatedly made it clear that Obama’s brand of humility is unbecoming of the leader of the free world.

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The Weekender

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Coolest. Story. Ever. (for nerds) Robert Krulwich brings us an awesome piece about Australian “tree lobsters” which were found only on one island near Australia. Turns out, rats from early explorer ships got onto the island and wiped out the entire population of these huge insects. Then in the 1960s, two climbers were on a tiny speck of cliffs in the middle of the ocean (seriously check out this picture)

and found some dead tree lobsters. It wasn’t until 2001 that scientists made it to back to the island, and they found an autonomous population of tree lobsters living under a SINGLE BUSH on a cliff 200 feet above the ocean. No one knows how they got there, or how they survived. Read the whole post for the full, fascinating story.

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Lake Vostok: Updated

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2012 at 10:14 am

This was discussed in last week’s edition of the Weekender, but now there is an update on Lake Vostok. The Russian team successfully breached the ice barrier…or as the eloquent Russian news service put it, “penetrated the prehistoric waters of Lake Vostok under the ice through a deep ice borehole.”

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The Weekender

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Speeches that were never delivered. This great article over at the Atlantic looks at two doomsday speeches that never had to be given. Eisenhower had a very short, but eloquent remarks prepared had the D-Day invasion been pushed back into the English Channel – a probability that the General considered highly likely. The other speech is the one that Nixon had prepared if there was a malfunction during the moon landing that would’ve stranded the astronauts in space. Nixon’s never given speech was beautiful; “For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.” It kind of makes you wonder about other speeches that never had to be given…I wonder if Kennedy had one prepared for the Cuban Missile crisis, or if Obama had one prepared for the raid on Osama.

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The Hidden Cost of Everything

In Economics, Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

Imagine a world where everything mattered, and where everything had a price. A world where the actual costs of our actions weren’t hidden, but where on full display.

There is a concept in economics known as externalities, which are costs that are not part of the price of a good. The most commonly referenced externality is pollution. If a shoe factory just dumps it’s waste into a river, the factory is not paying the cost of it’s actions, and neither are the people that are buying the shoes. The cost of the pollution is paid by those downstream who have their drinking water degraded. This is clearly a negative externality – a cost that is not paid by those engaging in the economic transaction (buying shoes in our example).

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The Weekender

In Current events, Economics, Fascinating, Interesting, Politics, Uncategorized on January 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

“Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, no straight thing has ever been made.” The most influential work of literature I had ever read was Isaiah Berlin’s essay “The Pursuit of the Ideal” which holds (at its essential level) that the biggest threat to humanity is absolutism in any form, because humanity is far too complex to fit into one mold, whether it be religious or political. I recently stumbled across this website, aptly called “crooked timber” which is basically what lifesworthknowing is…except with really smart authors.

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