A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

MLK Day 2019

A former flatmate of mine inspired a tradition of reading (and watching) a speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year is “What’s your life’s blueprint?”, which King delivered to students at Philadelphia’s Barratt Junior High School (!) on 26 October 1967. Here are a partial transcript and a full recording of the speech.

The following themes in the speech stand out to me.

Importance of self-worth. Interestingly, and perhaps indicatively, King lists as “number one” a “deep belief in your own dignity, your worth, and your own somebodiness”. This encouragement seems just as relevant today, to all people, as it was in 1967. Also interestingly, in the recorded speech King uses this point as a platform to call attention to and discredit the stigma attached to physical appearance, to attack skin-lightening cosmetics and hair-straightening processes. It is perhaps a measure of the partial social progress we’ve made that today, King’s line “I am black but beautiful” would likely by default use the conjunction “and” in place of “but”.

Power of education. Acknowledging the students’ “economic plight” and challenging living conditions, King exhorts them to “stay in school”. He adamantly believes in the power of education to improve one’s life, by preparing one to walk through the doors of opportunity that he saw beginning to open to more and more people.

Commitment to excellence. King comes across as a fatalist, with references to “discover[ing] what you will be” and “your lot” in life. Let’s leave this aside for now. King goes on to urge listeners to do not their best, not their people’s best, but the best job possible, to “do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it”. I’m not sure how to understand this call, in light of the tension between what one is currently doing; what one wants to do; and what circumstance and society permits one to do, at a particular moment in history. Full disclosure: My thinking on this point is further clouded by ideas in David Graeber’s book Bullshit jobs: A theory, which I recently began reading.


Quantum computing

More or less random references related to the subject.

  1. Why quantum computers will be exponentially faster than digital computers“, by Singularity Hub Staff (Singularity Hub, 2017-09-18). A two-minute video giving a broad, fuzzy comparison of classical versus quantum computing. Helpfully, this short video does dispel the idea that quantum computers will do everything classical computers do, just faster; it points out that the algorithms run by the two types of computers matter very much in this comparison of speeds.
  2. IBM warns of instant breaking of encryption by quantum computers: ‘move your data today’“, by Tom Foremski (ZD Net, 2018-05-18).
  3. Schrodinger’s encryption: What the CISO needs to know about quantum cybersecurity“, by Davey Winder (Forbes, 2018-10-12).

Read : 2019-01-18

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Driverless cars tap the brakes after years of hype“, by Tim Higgins (Wall Street Journal, 2019-01-17). The new (more realistic?) target deployment date: 2019. (Source: Kyle Vogt, CTO of GM’s self-driving unit, GM Cruise)
  2. The art of decision-making“, by Joshua Rothman (The New Yorker, 2019-01-21). Deciding versus opting, and limitations of economics’s conventional decision-theory model.
  3. I think I’ll buy some Tesla today, but no, I’m not crazy“, by Stephen Guilfoyle (Real Money, 2019-01-18). Being cognizant of ones prejudices is good advice.
  4. College requires students to run a half marathon” (Runner’s World, 2019-01-17). 3:01 video.
  5. Watch the football game between Army and Navy” (Runner’s World, 2019-01-17). 3:13 video.

Read : 2019-01-16

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The 5 years that changed dating“, by Ashley Fetters (The Atlantic, 2018-12-21). A look at how Tinder and other online dating apps have changed our perception and practice of relationships. I found this article inquisitive and well written.
  2. Cybersecurity companies will soon have millions of jobs they can’t fill. Here’s the tactic they’re using to close the talent gap“, by Michelle Cheng (Inc. Magazine, 2018-10-17).
  3. Economists reconsider how much governments can borrow” (The Economist, 2019-01-16).
  4. Ocasio-Cortez should worry markets, Horizon’s chief global strategist says“, by Sibile Marcellus (Yahoo Finance, 2019-01-16).

    [A] brash New Yorker, skilled at self-promotion, with a modest understanding of how government works — and a passionate base of supporters.
    —Greg Valliere

    On Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Or is it Donald Trump? Both?

Read : 2019-01-15

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Los Angeles teachers begin strike“, by Nour Malas & Ian Lovett (Wall Street Journal, 2019-01-14).
  2. Maybe we have the cybersecurity we deserve“, by Roger A. Grimes (CSO, 2018-12-20). By “deserve”, Mr Grimes means “demand”. The two-sentence summary following the title sums it up well.
  3. Our cellphones aren’t safe“, by Cooper Quintin (NY Times, 2018-12-26).

Read : 2019-01-14

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The perils of short-termism: civilization’s greatest threat“, by Richard Fisher (BBC, 2019-01-10).

    If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future.
    –Elise Boulding, Sociologist

  2. 3 timeless rules for making tough decisions“, by Peter Bregman (Harvard Business Review, 2015-11-02). Ironically, the third “timeless” rule is “use a timer”.
  3. Biology lab strips James Watson of all honorary titles after ‘reprehensible’ race remarks“, by Tom McKay (2019-01-13).
  4. Using mantras to build powerful mental strength“, by Alex Mathers (Medium, 2018-12-27).
  5. Underrated“, by Stephen Curry (The Players’ Tribune, 2019-01-09).

    We were ‘cool, how you hoop and everything…. but I’m going to need that Philosophy paper’ athletes. We shared a practice court with the volleyball team.

    No shame in sharing a practice court with the volleyball team.

  6. 184 mph on a bicycle: How Denise Mueller-Korenek set the world record” (Wall Street Journal, 2019-01-12). Yikes! Wicked fast!

Read : 2019-01-13

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The lifesaving food 90% aren’t eating enough of“, by James Gallagher (BBC News, 2019-01-11). Fibre. Researchers from the Universities of Otago and Dundee recommend 25 – 30 grams per day.
  2. CES takeaway: As internet of things grows, chipmakers stand to benefit“, by Eric Jhonsa (The Street, 2019-01-11).
  3. Never take a bad work day home again, using these 3 steps“, by Mary Halton (, 2019-01-07). Adam Fraser recommends creating a “third space” — a buffer zone between work and home — to take agency over how you show up at home. Use your third space to reflect, rest, and reset.
  4. It’s not you, it’s us“, by Barbara Patchen (stoked, 2018-08-03). We become like those around us — call it “emotional convergence”, “adapting for the relationship”, etc. To live meaningfully, the author suggests that we (1) routinely critically evaluate our routines; (2) intentionally adopt, point out, and discuss our roles; and (3) empathise!

Read : 2019-01-11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. How to sell your unwanted stuff“, by Nicole Spector (NBC News, 2019-01-06). A few platforms and pieces of advice for selling personal items online.

Read : 2019-01-10

Today’s selection of articles, or, a look at how media presentation biases our perception of a given event:

  1. Trump walks out of shutdown talks, calls them ‘total waste of time’“, by Rebecca Ballhaus, Kristina Peterson, & Natalie Andrews (Wall Street Journal, 2019-01-10).
  2. Trump storms out of White House meeting with Democrats on shutdown“, by Nicholas Fandos, Michael Tackett, & Julie Hirschfeld Davis (NY Times, 2019-01-09).

For the record, I am inclined to agree with the president: A “negotiation” in which both sides show up already having made up their minds is a total waste of time. Unfortunately for the president, in this case, he is one of those sides. (Unfortunately for the writer of this blog, no one cares about this record.)

Audio speaker setup

References for setting up an audio speaker system.

  1. Speaker placement for home theater“, by Kramer Crane (Crutchfield).
  2. Speakers: Where do I put them?“, by Darryl Wilkinson (Sound & Vision, 2010-02-01).
  3. How to place your speakers to maximize your home theater experience“, by Jason Fitzpatrick (How-To Geek, 2017-07-10).
  4. The art of speaker placement” (SVS).
  5. How to position your speakers perfectly“, by Tom Davenport (CNET, 2011-11-16).
  6. Speaker coverage angle“, by Nathan Lively (Soul Sound, 2015-09-02).