Yearly Archives: 2007

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business Neil Postman This important book helps explain the current state of our society, media, and education. Postman begins by contrasting the two great futurist novels, 1984 and Brave New World. He concludes that Huxley made the better prediction—no need for a police state when we have […]

Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie

Last Days of the Incas Kim MacQuarrie It is serendipitous that this book came out within a few months of my trip to South America. A history book that reads like a novel, it provided much needed context for what I’d seen. It begins and ends with Machu Picchu, from about 1400 to the present. The story really starts […]

Machu Picchu 2007

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Bolivia and Peru that culminated with a visit to Machu Picchu. The “Lost City of the Incas” was never really lost. This is where Pachacuti and other Inca aristocracy came to relax back in the late 1400s CE. Surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River, the view is truly spectacular with countless peaks receding into the […]

Edward Tufte Short Course

Just back from attending this short course by the master of “intelligent design” himself Edward Tufte. It was well worth the time and effort! I’d recommend it to anyone who prepares or presents information with a computer (ie, just about everyone!). His insights are numerous and often challenge conventional wisdom. His bottom line is to […]

Everglades Canoe Trip 2007

I dubbed this year’s trip Challenging the Elements for good reason. By pure chance this was the most difficult trip yet. We started by navigating in the dark on the first day. This was not as bad as it sounds and turned out to be rather pleasant. The next day started out warm and sunny, […]

Mirror Neurons, Imitation Learning and Empathy

Mirror Neurons help explain why watching someone perform a task is almost as important as doing it yourself. The human brain responds to both doing and watching in the same way. Mirror neurons may also play an important role in social interaction and the development of empathy. Researchers recently proposed that their dysfunction may explain some of the symptoms of […]

Folding Bicycles

While I was in Philadephia over the summer I was amazed by the number of folding bicycles. About half of all the bikes I saw were folders. Of course they make eminent sense for urban dewellers. I’ve always been interested in “packable” bicycles, and have a thirty year old three-speed folder gathering dust in my […]