Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ category

Tom Brady is not a team player

October 23, 2009

This is why I can’t stand Tom Brady

Tom Brady, on his way to London for the Patriots game, is the only player special enough to need a fancy suit. Photo courtesy Barry Chin, Boston Globe.

Tom Brady, on his way to London for the Patriots game, is the only player special enough to need a fancy suit. Photo courtesy Barry Chin, Boston Globe.

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A chart to help you decide where to live

July 2, 2009
CO > Alabama and MA

CO > Alabama and MA

Obesity Study

sunny days by city

NBA Championship Trophy – Not that impressive

May 20, 2009

So the 2008 NBA Championship Trophy showed up at MIT yesterday for a few hours and I got to see it. It’s actually not that impressive. I’ve always seen pictures of these trophies and they seem so glamorous and amazing, but when you’re looking at one in person, it leaves a lot to be desired. The trophy is a couple of feet tall and is kind of shiny, but doesn’t totally wow you. I’m sure they shine it up a lot more when they give it to the champion at the end of the playoffs and I’m sure it is much more overwhelming to get it when you have tens of thousands of fans screaming in celebration, but it didn’t strike me as something that is worthy of spending years training and competing for.

I think I’d much rather win a trophy like Lord Stanley’s Cup. I think that it has a more intriguing story and I also think it’s bigger.

The (not overwhelmingly amazing) 2008 NBA Championship Trophy

The (not overwhelmingly amazing) 2008 NBA Championship Trophy

Where I’ve Lived

April 23, 2009

I often find myself thinking about who people are in the context of where they’ve lived. I think that where you’ve lived adds a lot to how you relate to other people and how you deal with the situations with which you are faced. I decided to make a map of the places I’ve lived (see below). Some notes about the map to help you interpret it:
1) The bubbles are scaled to reflect the amount of time that I lived in each place.
2) The numbers on top of (or next to) each bubble indicate the ages that I was when I moved to that place and when I left.
3) To simplify, any time that I moved somewhere that was close to the previous place (like Palo Alto to Menlo Park), I just lumped the two addresses into a single location.

Some comments on my life based on looking at my map: 1) I’ve moved across the country a lot, but, since graduating from high school, I’ve always lived on the coasts (except for a brief couple of months in Jackson Hole in college).
2) I always say that I’m not a huge fan of New England, but I’ve amassed some pretty big bubbles out here.

What does your map look like?

My "GeoMe" Map

Mini-Belichek, even down to the hoodie…

April 3, 2009

New coach Josh McDaniels has sure put his stamp on the Denver Broncos. He’s already signed 12 new free agents. He alienated his pro-bowl QB, Jay Cutler, and yesterday traded him away for some draft picks and Kyle Orton.  I’ll leave it to the media to analyze the trade and the status of the team, but I do want to point out that McDaniels is emulating his mentor (Bill Belichek) as far as attitude goes (hardass and unforgiving in his interactions with the media and with players who don’t buy into his philosophy).   Now he’s even wearing the hoodie sweatshirt like Belichek, though McDaniels’ is quite a bit newer and less ratty.

Still dreaming about homework

March 31, 2009

Granted, I’m back in school again, but I am not taking classes, so it’s crazy that I’m still having dreams about forgetting homework assignments. I’ve been having this recurring dream for at least the last month (maybe longer), where I keep remembering that I haven’t done my calculus homework and it is due today. It’s really stressful because in the dream I’m like two or three weeks behind on the assignments and I know I’ll never finish them before the due date.

Two weird things about this:
1) I haven’t taken calculus in like 10 years and it was never hard for me and I always cruised through the homeworks, so I can’t imagine why I would be stressed about it.
2) XKCD.com had a post about this recently and it wasn’t until I saw this post that I realized I’ve been having this dream.

still dreaming about homework...
still dreaming about homework…

Big Science

January 17, 2009

Here’s a link to an interesting article by Aaron Hirsch in the New York Times. He discusses the idea of Big Science, and mentions how much of the scientific community now relies on large institutions for processing or collection of data (i.e. genome sequencing centers or the Large Hadron Collider). I’ll leave it to you to read the article more fully, but I’d like to add to Hirsch’s concern about the future of Big Science.

As a scientist, it is scary to me that it is becoming so expensive to do science. Many of the results that appear in the high impact journals (like Science or Nature) require lots of resources and people. I doubt that science, especially biology, will soon be a garage experience, though there are people who believe in do-it-yourself biotech (like the DIYbio organization, the Biobricks foundation, and some Synthetic Biologists). Still, I pause when I think about how much of science has been centralized and is “owned” and commercialized by large institutions (see the Ventner Institute, for example).

Fortunately, there are movements to make science more accessible and welcoming to lay-people, like MIT’s Open Course Ware, where MIT has posted access to nearly every class taught at the Institute. As scientists, we’ll need to continue to work to make science accessible and open so that the public is not left standing outside staring at the “urban high-rise” (as Hirsch calls it), wondering what happens in there and how one gets inside.