The First Three Months

I know updates have been sparse on here recently. Honestly, between my job, all my podcasts, and trying to do social things outside of those things to keep myself sane, I barely have any time to do anything else these days.

BUT! My 1 Second Every Day project soldiers onwards. Here's a video that shows the first three months of my life in Seattle (approximately):

A couple of observations:

  • After three months of this, it's difficult to fight some of the "sameness" that creeps into these images. By far, that's the biggest challenge: trying to make sure what you shoot today isn't similar to what came before it.
  • The biggest weakness of this project is that there is pretty much nothing here of my work at Microsoft. I don't really do any shooting on campus because I don't want to risk the possibility of revealing anything confidential, but it remains a huge part of my new life that remains undocumented.
  • When I've presented this project to my friends, the one thing they all overwhelmingly say is: "If I did a project like that, it would be incredibly boring." As I mentioned in my initial post, maybe if that's the case you should try and make some serious changes to your life. But I have a corollary now to add to that: you don't need to have a super interesting life to make a decent video with this project. You just need to be able to find the beautiful, fascinating, amusing things worth highlighting in each day. I think it's a challenge worth undertaking. 

What Kind of Week This Has Been

[This post appeared earlier on my Facebook, which you can also subscribe to]

There's an episode of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION called "The Inner Light" (Season 5 Episode 25) in which the Enterprise discovers a strange alien probe. The probe knocks Picard unconscious, and while the crew struggles to revive him, Picard's consciousness is transported to that of an alien world, where he inhabits one of its people's bodies, QUANTUM LEAP-style. While there, he learns the people's customs and basically ends up living an entire, meaningful lifetime in this world that was so unfamiliar to him not too long ago. But the alien species is dying; their planet's environment is on the fritz. As Picard's inhabited body is approaching the end of his life, we find out that the alien race will launch a probe into space, a means of carrying on the species' memory as they face extinction. And turns out, it was Picard (the original one) who was chosen for this task. He awakes on the Enterprise to discover only 20 minutes have passed in the real world.

Sometimes it feels like a lifetime can pass in the blink of an eye. That's what this week felt like to me, as though I have experienced enough emotion and learning and intensity to last me for a long, long while. In situations like these, I am overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. I can only hope to make use of the lessons that I've learned, remember fondly those things that I've experienced, and honor those that have inspired me.

P.S. Damn, that was a good episode of Star Trek.

Reactions to the Paul Ryan VP Pick

Today, Mitt Romney announced his choice of Paul Ryan to join him on the ticket. It will be the first GOP ticket in history to not include a single Protestant. Here are some reactions to the news that I found informative:

Ryan Lizza writes that Ryan's policies will be more instructive than Romney's: "To envisage what Republicans would do if they win in November, the person to understand is not necessarily Romney, who has been a policy cipher all his public life. The person to understand is Paul Ryan."

Ezra Klein believes that "This is an admission of fear from the Romney campaign. You don’t make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals favor your candidate. You make a risky pick like Paul Ryan if you think the fundamentals don’t favor your candidate."

Michael Tomasky writes that this choice is how "Mitt Romney tells America that he is not his own man and hasn’t even the remotest fleeting desire to be his own man. He is owned by the right wing."

Behind The Scenes at Merriam Webster

Fantastic piece by Jen Doll, about how Merriam Webster gives is alive and well, and providing a window into our culture:

So, what are people thinking? Affect and effect are among the most looked-up words on any given day; other frequently searched terms include paradigm, ubiquitous, integrity, conundrum, and pragmatic. "Most of them have classical roots and slightly abstract meanings; they send people to the dictionary," he says. But you can break it down even further: People go to the dictionary for a few different reasons: for usage (as with affect and effect), for spelling (a word like fiancé), or for comprehension or definitions (with love, another frequently looked-up word, "they're not going for the spelling," says Sokolowski). Sometimes it's easy to connect a word spike to a news story, like in the case of Boson, but often it's more abstract, he says, referencing democracy and socialism. In those cases, "it's just about the zeitgeist."

Evgeny Morozov's epic takedown of TED

Just wow:

I must disclose that I spoke at a TED Global Conference in Oxford in 2009, and I admit that my appearance there certainly helped to expose my argument to a much wider audience, for which I remain grateful. So I take no pleasure in declaring what has been obvious for some time: that TED is no longer a responsible curator of ideas “worth spreading.” Instead it has become something ludicrous, and a little sinister.