The Campaign

"The Campaign" is about a fictional congress campaign. The incumbent is Cam, a stereotypical, corrupt politician. He sleeps around, exchanges political favors for campaign donations, and often changes his message. The challenger is Marty, a modest, honest guy. He wasn't planning on running, but the Koch Brothers want to change laws so that they can make a sweatshop in America, so they encourage Marty to run so that they can buy him off.

Bill McKibben - Doing the Math on Global Warming

Bill McKibben has been a long time global warming activist, and he's one of the founders of He also wrote an article in the Rolling Stones about doing the math on global warming ( that was more popular than an article on Beiber in the same issue of Rolling Stones. He went on tour giving talks around the country on these issues, and one of his stops was across the street from my apartment.

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

"Of Mice and Men" features two migrant farm workers during the Great Depression in California.

The book is about dreams. George and Lennie just want a piece of land to call their own, and they believe in this dream strongly enough that other characters start to buy in too. A place for soft things; a place for independence; a place for respect; a place to live in peace. This is tied in very strongly to socioeconomic status, age, and race, and the issues that it brings up about the American dream are as relevant today as they were then.

Reggie Watts - A send-off in style

Reggie Watts is a comedian and musician, and he gave a Pop Tech talk making fun of Pop Tech talks.

His talk was hilarious. He captured the vocabulary, mannerisms, and style of TED (and similar) talks perfectly. "Getting outside of the box is more than just getting out of a box and walking away. As children know, sometimes boxes are very difficult to get out of. Why is it any different for us? Between glass ceilings, dirt floors, and boxes..."

If you ever watch TED or Pop Tech talks, I highly recommend Reggie Watts' talk.

CS116 - From NAND to Tetris

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-- Arthur Clarke

Right to Know

I spent a lot of time stressing out over this past election. I donated to Obama (and to some of the senate races) a few times. I hadn't given much thought to the ballot propositions across the nation, though.

John Scalzi - The Last Colony

"The Last Colony" returns to John Perry and Jane Sagan, retired from the military, as they colonize a new world.

The book is about secrets and peace. Readers of the first two books will know that secrets abound among the Colonial Union. However, in the first two books, the secrets were largely incidental. Yes, they played a major role in the plot, but the protagonists were happy to live their lives without confronting the secrets, so they weren't a big part of the story.

John Scalzi - Ghost Brigades

Where "Old Man's War" was a smorgasbord of philosophical and technological ideas, "Ghost Brigades" was much more focused. "Ghost Brigades" is a novel about the nature of consciousness. What is a consciousness? Is it separable from intelligence? Is it separable from experiences? How does it change over time? How does it relate to choice? These are some of the questions that the book goes into. I happen to disagree with most of the opinions that the book espouses on the subject, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

Haas Center works to close gender gap in public service

The director for the Haas Center for Public Service, Thomas Schnaubelt, mentions how Code the Change is bringing more guys into public service. One thing that I've noticed with Code the Change is how public service is bringing more women into computer science.


John Scalzi - Old Man's War

Humble Bundle is a nonprofit that lets you pay what you want for a bundle of things, and the money goes to charity. They are most fameous for their game bundles, such as the Humble Indie Bundles, which have 5 or so independent games, but recently they have started branching out into music and ebooks. I got "Old Man's War" in the Humble eBook Bundle. I had heard of the author before, but I never read any of his work. Apparently, Scalzi is the president of the Sci Fi and Fantasy Writers of America, and he's written a bunch of novels.


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