Survival of the fittest, music edition…

I love stories about how industries/organizations/people react to big changes in their worlds, but have you ever read an article and come away with a suspicion that people don’t really know anything? I know, I know, political punditry (and any article that starts, ‘What Obama needs to do is..’). Anyhow, I somehow felt this nagging […]

The screwdriver

I think about Witold Rybczynski’s book One Good Turn (which is a history of the screwdriver and the screw) more than is healthy for a person. Discussing his possible candidates for ‘tool of the millenium,’ Rybcyynski contemplates the power saw: “Does one of my carpenter’s tools qualify as the millennium’s best? I discount power tools. […]

Billionaires, Obama, and Redistributive/Reciprocal/Market Exchange

In the Great Transformation and Trade and Market in the Early Empires, Karl Polanyi proposed a typology of exchange: reciprocal, redistributive, and market (as a clear summary among other things, you should read Barber’s “Absolutization of the Market.” It’s quite useful). Reciprocal exchange is gift exchange, and the act of exchange itself brings people into […]

Financial Engineers and Financial Writers

The gap between this video of Michael Lewis talking about writing, and this article by Emanuel Derman talking about working as a financial engineer, is striking. Here’s Lewis: “The minute I get away from the idea that mainly what I’m supposed to be doing is delivering pleasure to a reader is the minute I get […]


The drink, not the borough. Well, sure, the borough too, but mostly the drink. If you are looking to stock a truly lovely Manhattan, here is a list of tools, ingredients, and directions: Tools / Ingredients: – Luxardo Maraschino Cherries: $24 – Tovolo KING CUBE trays: $8.50 – Dolin’s Blanc Vermouth de Chambery: $13 – […]

Two years old, and still my favorite

There are many Healy-isms, but my favorite remains the coda to his Setup interview: But even if TextMate 2 drops from the sky fully-formed and marveled at by all, Emacs will still be there, waiting. It will be there when the icecaps melt and the cities drown, when humanity destroys itself in fire and zombies, […]

Coursera courses

I am taking two courses through Coursera now, though these are the first courses I’ve taken since, swearing off of school after finishing the PhD. I was a little bit inspired by Mitch Duneier’s description of his intro course he taught in this fashion, and I’ve been wrapping my head around what’s going on with […]

This is just to say

I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold – William Carlos Williams

Eliminating the distance between creator and product

This talk from February 2012, by Bret Victor, is worth the 54 and a half minutes it takes to watch it. Its title is “inventing on principle,” and it is a fork with two tines. The first tine, and his overarching point, is that designers would do better not only solving particular problems, but having […]

Battery saver for macbooks: gfxCardStatus

Ok, more tech tips. On the late model (2008-2012) MacBook Pros, there are two graphics cards. If you want to see if this is the case for yours, go to the Apple Menu -> About this Mac -> More Info (and then System Report for mine). Under the Graphics / Displays tab, you will note […]