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F*** yeah fluid dynamics – On blenders and cavitation

20 Mar


The fluid dynamics of a commercial-quality blender amount to a lot more than just stirring. Here high-speed video shows how the blender’s moving blades create a suction effect that pulls contents down through the middle of the blender, then flings them outward. This motion creates large shear stresses, which help break up the food, as well as turbulence that can mix it. But if you watch carefully, you’ll also see tiny bubbles spinning off the blades. These bubbles, formed by the pressure drop of fluid accelerated over the arms of the blades, are cavitation bubbles. When they collapse, or implode, they create localized shock waves that further break up the blender’s contents. This same effect is responsible for damage to boat propellers and lets you destroy glass bottles. (Video credit: ChefSteps; via Wired; submitted by jshoer)

Bach and forth… music on a mobius strip

19 Mar

The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visualized on a Möbius Strip

February 11th, 2013


The most impressive of Johann Sebastian Bach’s pieces, musicophiles may have told you, will knock you over with their ingeniousness, or at least their sheer complexity. Indeed, the music of Bach has, over the past two and a half centuries, provided meat and drink to both professional and amateur students of the relationship between ingeniousness and complexity. It’s no mistake, for instance, that the composer has offered such a rich source of intellectual inspiration to Gödel, Escher, Bach author Douglas R. Hofstadter, well beyond having given him a word to fill out the book’s title. Listen to the first canon from Bach’s Musical Offering, and you’ll hear what sounds like a simple beginning develop into what sounds like quite a complex middle. You may hear it and instinctively understand what’s going on; you may hear it and have no idea what’s going on beyond your suspicion that something is happening.

If you process things more visually than you do aurally, pay attention to the video above, a visualization of the piece by mathematical image-maker Jos Leys. You can follow the score, note for note, and then watch as the piece reverses itself, running back across the staff in the other direction. So far, so easy, but another layer appears: Bach wrote the piece to then be played simultaneously backwards as well as forwards. But prepare yourself for the mind-blowing coup de grâce when Leys shows us at a stroke just what the impossible shape of the Möbius strip has to do with the form of this “crab canon,” meaning a canon made of two complementary, reversed musical lines. Hofstadter had a great deal of fun with that term in Gödel, Escher, Bach, but then, he has one of those brains — you’ll notice many Bach enthusiasts do — that explodes with connections, transpositions, and permutations, even in its unaltered state. Alternatively, if you consider yourself a consciousness-bending psychonaut, feel free get into your preferred frame of mind, watch Bach’s crab canon visualized, and call me in the morning.

Nobuyuki Tsujii – blind pianist winning the Van Cliburn in 2009

27 Feb

Nobuyuki Tsujii is 24 years old.

In 2009 (at the age of 20) he won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition with this performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody.




And he has been blind since birth. He learns by ear.



Here are some of the accolades bestowed upon him:


Van Cliburn himself said:
“He was absolutely miraculous. His performance had the power of a healing service. It was truly divine”
2009 Van Cliburn Competition Juror Richard Dyer, a chief music critic for The Boston Globe:
“Very seldom do I close my notebook and just give myself over to it, and he made that necessary. I didn’t want to be interrupted in what I was hearing.”
Scott Cantrell in his review of the 2009 Van Cliburn competition for The Dallas Morning News wrote:
“It’s almost beyond imagining that he has learned scores as formidable as Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata by ear…Through all three rounds, he played with unfailing assurance, and his unforced, utterly natural Chopin E-Minor Piano Concerto was an oasis of loveliness.”
John Giordano, music director and conductor of Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra who was jury chairman for the Cliburn competition:
“He’s amazing. We closed our eyes and it’s so phenomenal that it’s hard to withhold your tears. Nobu played the most difficult hour-long Beethoven piece (Hammerklavier, Sonata no. 29) flawlessly. For anyone, it’s extraordinary. But for someone blind who learns by ear, it’s mind-boggling.


And he does all of this without any visual reference.



Also from the ’09 Van Cliburn


Chopin Twelve Etudes, Op.10


Beethoven Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 106, “Hammerklavier”


Lessons in Manliness from Atticus Finch

7 Feb


Lessons in Manliness from Atticus Finch

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 2, 2011 · 115 comments



When it comes to manly characters in literature, my thoughts always return to one man:

Atticus Finch.

Perhaps this character from To Kill a Mockingbird seems like an unusual choice. A gentleman in a three piece suit. A widower of two kids, Jem and Scout. A man who was quiet instead of brash. Polite instead of macho. A lawyer who used his mind instead of his fists, who walked away from insults. Who didn’t gamble or smoke, who liked to walk instead drive. A man who liked nothing better than to bury himself in a book. Yes, Atticus may not seem very “manly,” at least when measured by the modern rubric for manliness.

But it is the subtlety of his manliness, the way he carried himself, taught his children, made his choices, that makes his manliness all the more real, all the more potent. His manhood was not displayed in great showy acts but in quiet, consistent strength, in supreme self-possession. The manliness of Atticus Finch does not leap off the page; instead, it burrows its way inside of you, sticks with you, causes your soul to say, “Now that is the kind of man I wish to be.”

The examples of honorable manhood that can be wrung from To Kill a Mockingbird are plentiful and powerful, and today we’d like to explore just a few.


Lessons in Manliness from Atticus Finch


A man does the job no one else wants to do.

To Kill a Mockingbird unfolds against the backdrop of Atticus’s representation of Tom Robinson. Robinson, a black man, has been accused by Mayella Ewell, a white woman, of rape. While Atticus is assigned to be Robinson’s public defender by a judge, he earns the townspeople’s ire in his determination to actually defend him, honorably and fairly, to the best of his abilities.

He does the job that must be done, but that other people are unwilling and afraid to do.

Indoors, when Miss Maudie wanted to say something lengthy she spread her fingers on her knees and settled her bridgework. This she did, and we waited.

“I simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them.”

“Oh,” said Jem. “Well.”

“Don’t you oh well me, sir,” Miss Maudie replied, recognizing Jem’s fatalistic noises, “you are not old enough to appreciate what I said.”

A man stands in the gap and does what must be done. Doing so earns the respect even of one’s most ardent critics; after facing a myriad of taunts and threats from his neighbors for his defense of Tom Robinson, Atticus is once more re-elected to the state legislature …unanimously.


A man lives with integrity every day.

In Maycomb County, Atticus was known as a man who was “the same in his house as he is on the public streets.” That was the standard he lived by. He did not have one set of morals for business and one for family, one for weekdays and one for weekends. He was incapable of doing anything that would broach the inviolable sanctity of his conscience. He made the honorable decision, even when that decision was unpopular.

“This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience-Scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.”

“Atticus, you must be wrong…”

“How’s that?”

“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong…”

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

Atticus understood that a man’s integrity was his most important quality-the foundation upon which his honor and the trust of others was built. Stripped of integrity, a man becomes weak and impotent, no longer a force for good in his family or community.

“If you shouldn’t be defendin’ him, then why are you doin’ it?”

“For a number of reasons,” said Atticus. “The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem to do something again.”

“You mean if you didn’t defend that man, Jem and me wouldn’t have to mind you any more?”

“That’s about right.”


“Because I could never ask you to mind me again. Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine.”


The most important form of courage is moral courage.

There are different types of courage: physical, intellectual, and moral.

While unassuming, Atticus certainly possessed physical courage; when Tom was in jail, he sat outside all night reading and faced down an angry mob intent on lynching the prisoner.

But moral courage is arguably the most important type of bravery, and this Atticus had in spades. Moral courage involves the strength to stick with your convictions and do the right thing, even when the whole world criticizes and torments you for it. Atticus’s decision to represent Tom Robinson brought a slew of insults and threats to him and his family. But he was willing to bear the onslaught with head held high.

Moral courage also supplies the fortitude to take on a fight you know you’ll lose, simply because you believe the cause to be honorable. Atticus knows that he will lose his defense of Tom Robinson. When Scout asked him why he continued to press on, Atticus answered:

“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”

Atticus used the example of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose to teach Jem the power of this kind of moral courage.

Mrs. Dubose was a sick, cantankerous old woman who would berate Jem and Scout whenever they passed by her house. Jem tried to heed his father’s counsel to be a gentleman, but finally snapped one day and tore up her flower beds. As punishment, Atticus made Jem read books to Mrs. Dubose every day after school. She hardly seemed to pay attention to his reading, and he was relieved when his sentence finally ended.

When Mrs. Dubose died soon afterwards, Atticus revealed the true nature of Jem’s assignment. She had been a morphine addict for a long time, but wanted to overcome that addiction before she left the world; Jem’s reading had been a distraction as she worked to wean herself from the drug. Atticus explained to Jem:

“Son, I told you that if you hadn’t lost your head I’d have made you go read to her. I wanted you to see something about her-I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”


Live with quiet dignity.

Despite the fact that Bob Ewell “won” the case against Tom Robinson, he held a grudge against everyone who participated in the trial for revealing him as a base fool. After the trial, Ewell threatened Atticus’s life, grossly insulted him and spat in his face. In response, Atticus simply took out a handkerchief and wiped his face, prompting Ewell to ask:

“Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin’ bastard?”

“No, too old,” Atticus replied before putting his hands in his pockets and walking away.

It’s often thought that the manly thing to do is answer tit for tat. But it can take greater strength to refuse to sink to another man’s level and to simply walk away with dignity. Frederick Douglass said, “A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.” This was a credo Atticus lived by.

Atticus’s quiet dignity was also manifested in his authentic humility.

At one point in the book, Jem and Scout feel disappointed in their father; at 50, he is older and less active than the dads of their peers. He doesn’t seem to know how to do anything “cool.” This opinion is transformed when Atticus takes down a rabid dog with a single bullet, and they learn that their father is known as the “deadest shot in Maycomb County.” Jem becomes duly impressed with his father for this display of skill, all the more so because Atticus had never felt the need to brag about his prowess.

“Atticus is real old, but I wouldn’t care if he couldn’t do anything-I wouldn’t care if he couldn’t do a blessed thing.”

Jem picked up a rock and threw it jubilantly at the carhouse. Running after it, he called back: “Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!”


Cultivating empathy is paramount.

If Atticus had one dominating virtue, it was his nearly superhuman empathy. Whenever his children felt angry at the misbehavior or ignorance of the individuals in their town, he would encourage their tolerance and respect by urging them to see the other person’s side of things:

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Atticus understood that people could only be held responsible for what they knew, that not everyone had an ideal upbringing, that folks were doing they best they could in the circumstances in which they found themselves. Atticus strove above all to see the good in folks and to figure out why they did the things they did.

When Scout complained about her teacher embarrassing a poor student, Atticus got her to see that the teacher was new in town and couldn’t be expected to know the background of all the children in her class right away. When a poor man that Atticus had helped with legal problems showed up in the mob to hurt him and lynch Tom, Atticus defended him, explaining that he was a really good man who simply had some blind spots and got caught up in the mob mentality.

Even when Bob Ewell spit in his face, he responded with empathy:

“Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand?”


Teach your children by example.

Atticus is probably best remembered as an exemplary father. As a widower he could have shipped his kids off to a relative, but he was absolutely devoted to them. He was kind, protective, and incredibly patient with Jem and Scout; he was firm but fair and always looking for an opportunity to expand his children’s empathy, impart a bit of wisdom, and help them become good people.

“Do you defend niggers Atticus?” I asked him that evening.

“Of course I do. Don’t say nigger, Scout. That’s common.”

“’s what everybody else at school says.”

“From now on it’ll be everybody less one.”

As a father he let his kids be themselves and nurtured their unique personalities. During a freak snowstorm in Alabama, Jem, determined to build a snowman from the scant snow on the ground, hauled a bunch of dirt from the backyard to the front, molded a snowman from the mud, and then covered the mudman with a layer of snow. When Atticus arrived home, he could have been angry with the kids for messing up the lawn, but instead, he was pleased with Jem’s enterprising creativity.

“I didn’t know how you were going to do it, but from now on I’ll never worry about what’ll become of you, son, you’ll always have an idea.”

Atticus’s sister wished that tomboy Scout would wear dresses, play with tea sets, and be the “sunshine” for her father; she often hurt Scout’s feelings with her disparaging remarks. But when Scout asked her father about this criticism:

He said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go about my business, he didn’t mind me much the way I was.

And he bought her what she wanted for Christmas-an air rifle.

Most of all, Atticus taught Jem and Scout by example. He was not only always honest with them, he was honest in everything he did himself.

He not only read them the newspaper each evening, but modeled a love of reading himself. And as a result, his kids devoured every book they could get their hands on. (Modern studies actually bear the truth of this out; kids with fathers who read are more likely to read themselves).

And he not only taught his children to be courteous, he was a model of courtesy and kindness himself, even to prickly types like Mrs. Dubose:

When the three of us came to the house, Atticus would sweep off his hat, wave gallantly to her and say, “Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening.”

I never heard Atticus say like a picture of what. He would tell her the courthouse news, and would say he hoped with all his heart she’d have a good day tomorrow. He would return his hat to his head, swing me to his shoulders in her very presence, and we would go home in the twilight. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.


A Parent’s Love, and The Lessons Our Country Should Learn

6 Sep

I won’t often post politically charged things, but this one was too good to not pass on:



A Parent’s Love, and The Lessons Our Country Should Learn

By John Warren

Over the last 15 months, I’ve done quite a bit of thinking about my own childhood. I suppose that is natural as I think of what childhood I want my son to have.

My parents were young parents, and they found themselves in a position where not only were they working towards a future themselves, but also shouldering the incredible responsibility to raise two children. They worked hard for every nickel in our family budget, and had to make sure that our needs were met.

Often, either Ginny or I would have our heart set on some new item we may have seen during Saturday morning cartoons, or that a friend got at school. My parents, in a desire to make us happy, would try to accommodate our wants when we were able. Sometimes, however, the cost was too high, our wants had already exceeded that part of the budget, or other pressing issues had to take priority.

In those times, we were told “no.” There was no malice in that answer. It was simply a decision that had to be made based upon the reality of finances. In most cases, my sister and/or I may have felt upset with not getting our way, and would assign the notion that our parents were “just being mean.”

As adults, we obviously understand now how there was absolutely no malice in those times we were told “no.”

As I reflect upon those times, I now realize that I was learning valuable lessons about life, budgeting, and balancing our “needs’ and our “wants.” We learned the importance of living within our means, and the absurdity of placing high value on things that will be fleeting.

As I further reflect on those years, I understand that my parents had to be the “adults in the room.” Managing our household budget through the eyes of a child would meet nothing but disaster.

I thank my parents for teaching my sister and I such valuable lessons.

Today, I see our government as well as a large faction of our population failing to understand that basic lesson that my parents taught me: Sometimes we cannot—and should not—do everything. Sometimes the money is not there, or needs to be used otherwise. Sometimes, the answer must be “No.”

As all parents are, we are compassionate and loving towards our children—even if we cannot grant their every wish. There is no cruelty in that reality. We teach balance. We teach priorities. We teach responsibility.

Our government is our also our child.

Sadly, our child has not been told “no” for over 40 years now. In meeting its desires, we have allowed ourselves to put our household in jeopardy. We have let it cost us allowing our REAL children to know the way of life that we, ourselves, took for granted.

We, as citizens, have failed to be the “adults in the room.” We have allowed ourselves to be that overly permissive parent who never sets a single boundary. And then we wonder at the nature of the “child…”

We have altered our society with our lack of fiscal restraint. Today, we have an entire generation of Sandra Flukes who somehow believe not only is it her RIGHT to have ”$1,000 per year of birth control” paid for, but that it is also OUR responsibility to pay for it. She actually had a speaking part at the DNC.

Obviously, birth control isn’t the only area where we see such an attitude. In practically every aspect of life, we now have people in our country who believe that they have “rights” that require others to pay for them.

We have already failed at least one generation. And now, we fail another generation.

Yesterday, the national debt exceeded $16 Trillion. Our Gross National Product (GDP) is actually lower than our national debt, and we are adding to that national debt at a rate of over $1 Trillion per year.

Forty years ago, my parents told me “no” when my desires were economically irrational or unfeasible. While I am sure I threw a nice little fit over it, I now understand that the answer was given with love, even when it hurt my parents to have to give that answer. And I love them for that, and for being the adults in the room.

What are we telling our children today? I’ll answer that as frankly as I can here today: We are telling our children that OUR lives, OUR desires, and OUR wants are priority over THEIR future. After all—who do you think will be paying for what we cannot pay for today?

It is time to be the adults in the room. And it is time to set boundaries regardless of the inevitable “fit” that the child will have.

–– John Warren

A great story is more than just a story

1 Aug

Some great stuff from an  guy who REALLY knows how to tell a story.




1 + 1 = 3: Ken Burns on What Makes a Great Story


How stories keep the wolf from the door and why math has no place in storytelling.

What makes a great story? Kurt Vonnegut had 8 rules, Jack Kerouac had 30 beliefs and techniques, evolutionary biology has some theories, and famous writers have some tips. In this short film by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason, PBS’s Ken Burns, who for the past quarter-century has been relaying history’s most fascinating stories in his unparalleled films and has even earned himself some loving parody, shares his formula for spellbinding storytelling: 1 + 1 = 3, or a story where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Beneath it all is his beautiful blend of personal truth and astute insight into the universal onuses of being human.






I don’t know why I tell stories about history… There’s a kind of classic dime-store Ken Burns wolf-at-the-door things… My mother had cancer all of my life, she died when I was 11, there wasn’t a moment from when I wasn’t aware — two-and-a-half, three — that there was something dreadfully wrong in my life. It might be that what I’m engaged in in a historical pursuit is a thin layer, perhaps thickly disguised, waking of the dead, that I try to make Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson and Louis Armstrong come alive, and it may be very obvious and very close to home who I’m actually trying to wake up.

We have to keep the wolf from the door… We tell stories to continue ourselves. We all think an exception is going to be made in our case, and we’re going to live forever. And being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that’s not going to be. Story is there to just remind us that it’s just okay.

The Atlantic

Henry Rollins’ one decision

26 Jun

In Praise of Honest Enthusiasm for the Awesomeness of Life

10 May

Greatness. Everyone needs to read this then pass it on.


Then get out and appreciate shit.

In Praise of Honest Enthusiasm for the Awesomeness of Life

by brendan leonard semi rad on March 14, 2012 ·

One Saturday morning last October, my friend Greg and I were running down the North Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon, close to halfway through 26 miles of trail. We had run four miles and would run about four more to Phantom Ranch, where we could double-fist coffee and Lemmy lemonade at the cantina before climbing 4,400 vertical feet back up the South Rim to finish a hike/run Rim-to-Rim.

I turned around mid-stride and said,

“Hey Greg!”

“Yeah,” he said.

“We’re running in the Grand Canyon!”

Sometimes I get to do awesome things, and I kind of forget how awesome they are. Do you? I get stressed, caught up in other stuff, and I forget how fortunate I am, how incredible life has turned out to be most days, and some of the special places I’ve gotten to see. Most of the time, though, I try to keep a pretty good handle on it — try to remember to turn around and yell to my friend that yes, we are running across the most famous hole on Earth, and that’s pretty special. Or, you know, even reminding someone a few months later about something special.

Kurt Vonnegut, in a 2003 speech to students at the University of Wisconsin, said,

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”

In 2012, I urge you to notice when something is awesome, as it often is, and exclaim or murmur or just make a mental note of it. Isn’t it just goddamn fantastic that you have your health, for example? Or running water, or electricity? Or that you have enough money to actually pay someone else to make you a cup of coffee? Or if you want ice cream, you are at any time in America probably only 5 or 10 minutes away from a place that sells some form of it? (Trust me on that one)

Your life, even the bad parts, is fucking amazing. And most of the small things that make up your life are amazing, too — mountain bike rides, rock climbs, ski runs, sunsets, stars, friends, people, girlfriends and boyfriends, dogs, songs, movies, jokes, smiles…hell, even that burrito you ate for lunch today was pretty phenomenal, wasn’t it?

What was your enthusiasm for these things last year? I recommend you step it up in 2012.

People can disagree with things like quality, maybe your taste in food, or whether or not a movie is good. But no one can argue with enthusiasm, especially when it is over the top.

Do you think that climb you just did is the greatest climb ever? Great! If someone tries to tell you it isn’t, who cares? “Greatest Rock Climb Ever” is not an objective title. Thusly, when you are excited about a climb (or a trail run or a summit view or a bike ride or a sunrise), don’t let anyone bring you down.

A conversation where someone puts down your favorite ski area/mountain/rock climb/trail/burrito is not a conversation about ski areas/mountains/rock climbs/trails/burritos. It is a conversation about that person being a pompous asshole. Go forth and be positive in 2012.

Enthusiasm doesn’t have to stand up to criticism. It doesn’t even have to really make sense. If you finish a ski run, MTB trail or sport climbing route, and you like love it, I encourage you to try out new superlatives when describing it to someone else. This goes for everything you’re excited about. Examples:

“I’m just going to tell you now that Outer Space is the most incredible rock climb you will ever do. You cannot not smile while climbing it. It’s like the Beatles. Even if you for some ridiculous reason don’t enjoy it, you can’t deny its inherent goodness.”
“Have you heard the new Macklemore song? It will knock you on your ass!”
“The Eggplant Parmesan sub at Pasquini’s is probably my favorite sandwich in the entire city of Denver, if not the state of Colorado. In fact, now that I’ve said that, I think we should go to Pasquini’s immediately.”

Maybe some of the stuff you like love, that you’re passionate about, isn’t cool. Hey, this is 2012. Everything is cool. Irony is either everything, or dead. Be honest: When you see someone wearing a Motley Crue t-shirt, you don’t know if they’re serious, or wearing it to be ironic, do you? Do you like Motley Crue? Then ROCK THAT SHIT. And spread happiness.

Remember it is not illegal to high-five anyone. Do you use exclamation points in the salutations of your e-mails? Well, why not?

Do you like to laugh? Most people do, don’t they? Including baristas, waitstaff, and retail personnel. Perhaps you have at some point had a real conversation with one of these people. This can sometimes begin by sincerely asking those people how they are, instead of treating them like a machine that makes you coffee or orders your salad. This opens the door to making them laugh. If you play your cards right, you may be able to high-five them at the end of a conversation.

Remember yesterday, when you saw that one thing that reminded you of that one friend of yours, and you thought about how if you sent that friend a photo of the thing that reminded you of them, they would smile? But then you didn’t send your friend that photo, and it wasn’t awesome. Don’t do that again. Here’s what you do:

Take the photo.
Send it to your friend.
Your friend smiles. The world is a better place. Thanks.

Career Lessons From Han Solo

31 Mar

Five Career Lessons From Han Solo – Forbes.


Five Career Lessons From Han Solo





Han Solo

Han Solo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Climbing the corporate ladder – or figuring out when to jump off – has never been harder. Luckily you can learn everything you need to know from the ultimate business renegade: the spice smuggler from Corellia who became a general, and saved a galaxy.


Even if you never get to be a Jedi Knight, you can emerge victorious by being lucky, clever, and true to your gut. Here are some lessons from everyone’s favorite scruffy looking nerfherder, along with real-life examples to prove their worth. No precognition, levitation, or mind control are required. You might even get to fall in love with a princess.






Chewie as shown in Star WarsChewie as shown in Star Wars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


1) Have an ally who will support you no matter what.


“Chewie and I will take care of this. You stay here.”


Warren Buffet has Charlie Munger. Larry Page has Sergey Brin. And Han Solo has Chewbacca.


Whatever your career, it’s helpful to have a co-pilot who will stand by your side no matter what, who will charge a platoon of Stormtroopers on the Death Star, howling and blasting everything in sight, or help you fly your starship directly into an asteroid field to escape an Imperial Star Destroyer. It’s even more helpful if that co-pilot is a seven-foot-three-inch Wookie from the planet Kashyyyk who can tear people’s arms off when he loses a chess match.


Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2) Be a mentor – you might get paid back later.


“That’s two you owe me, junior.”


Had he not rescued Luke Skywalker from near-certain death on the ice planet of Hoth, Solo himself would have remained remained frozen in carbonite, used as a wall decoration by the villainous Jabba the Hutt. Mentoring a Jedi can be a good way to become a legend yourself.


This lesson is true on Earth, too. If Intel founder Gordon Moore had not been replaced by his lieutenant Andy Grove, would Intel have become the force it is today? (And Grove tutored Craig Barrett, his own successor.) Hip-hop impresario Jay-Z’s mentorship of Kanye West paid off with a joint album, Watch the Throne, and a tour that were huge hits and helped both rappers.






Larry Ward had the voice for Star Wars villain...

Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


3) Don’t be too focused


“Jabba, I was just on my way to pay you back, and I got a little sidetracked.”

Han Solo’s excuse to Jabba was that he “got sidetracked” when he came across the Rebel Alliance, and was on his way to pay back the villainous slug. Without that distraction, Han Solo would just have been another scoundrel in Jabba’s retinue.


Life, as Groucho said, is what happens when we’re planning other things. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook when he was supposed to be going to college. Steve Jobs’ exile from Apple gave the world Pixar. Your biggest opportunity might come when you have to ferry an old man and an annoying kid to Alderaan.






The three lead protagonists of Star Wars, from...

The three lead protagonists of Star Wars, from left to right: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


4) Trust what you know


“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


Even as he became ever more respectable, Han Solo’s successes were always the result of what he learned as a smuggler. He smuggled himself in hidden compartments when the Millennium Falcon was captured by the Death Star. He disobeyed orders to rescue Luke Skywalker. And, ever the trickster, he gained entry to bunker on Endor by pretending to be an Imperial officer and asking for reinforcements. His success as a rebel officer was not in spite of his history as a scoundrel, but because of it. It’s why Princess Leia fell for him, right?




Millennium Falcon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


5) Shoot first
“Yeah, but this time, I’ve got the money…”

If Han hadn’t vaporized Greedo, the whole Star Wars saga might not have happened. If IBM had followed this rule when Bill Gates arrived to sell it an operating system, there might be no Microsoft.

A Guide to Critical Thinking

13 Mar


Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it








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