How do *you* eat Pho?

in Pop Culture
IMG_9809

I rarely write about food here, but eating and cooking are two of my favorite things. Pho, Vietnamese rice noodle soup, is a pleasure I discovered more than a decade ago, when I went gluten-free for a time and struggled to eat anything anywhere. I’ve always loved noodles and it was a perfect match. I’ve […]

Read More »

The resurfacing of Woody Allen’s past is sad from many perspectives, amplified by how a daughter and a family are still struggling, very publicly, to deal with events that took place decades ago. I’ll leave the conclusions for you to draw, as my question in this post is a practical one. Should you ban an […]

Read More »

Why Speed Reading Is For Fools

in Books, General, Pop Culture
book-stack

‘There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.” - Bertrand Russell Life is not a race. Speed is good for things you want to get past, not for important things you enjoy. “It was an efficient meal.” “I had a quick life.” If you are […]

Read More »

When was the last time you changed your mind about something important? As children we changed our minds frequently since we were continually exposed to new experiences and were encouraged to learn new things and consider different ideas. The very goal of education for children is to accelerate the reconsidering of assumptions, providing tools for […]

Read More »

Thanks to SeattleSMC for hosting me to speak at Seattle City Hall on Free Speech and The Social Media Mob. Additional thanks to everyone who participated in two threads on the topic: input wanted and compiled list of legal cases regarding social media harassment and mob behavior. Kudos to event sponsor Mayor Ed Murray and Maurice at Bootstrapper […]

Read More »

I was invited to speak at Seattle’s Social Media Club on Wed 1/22 (registration here) on the topic of Free Speech and Social Media. I’m inviting your opinions to help me sort out my own. It’s a subject Iv’e followed for a long time, but it’s complex enough I’d benefit from opening the floor here on […]

Read More »

Should you marry and have kids?

in Pop Culture
marriage-168831_640

In a series of posts, called Ask Berkun, I write on topics people submit and vote for. Here’s an old submission I meant to get to, but never posted. This week: Should we marry and have kids? From wifeof1momof2. A fun one indeed. Either one is tricky, but together: FUN. As many ‘should’ questions are, asking […]

Read More »

Either people believe in free speech or they don’t. Some cultures do, but many do not. It’s inevitable that people who do not believe in free speech will feel outrage at the behavior of those who do believe in free speech. Leaders of the latter decide how that outrage is expressed. All religions, including Judaism, […]

Read More »

A reader named Niko, who is working on a PhD in social network analysis, asked me for my favorite sources about how ideas spread: I am doing a PhD in the field of social network analysis in which I try to determine mutual influence among people who are connected with cell phones. Many times individuals […]

Read More »

The Idiot Theory of News

in Pop Culture

One of the simplest stories for a reporter to tell is “An important idiot did something stupid.” This can take the form of “Senator is caught taking bribes”, “Movie star gets arrested driving drunk” or even “religious leader says something offensive to people of other religions.” 1000 years from now, assuming we’re still here, we’ll have […]

Read More »

My good friends Royal Winchester, Rob Lefferts and I like to talk about things. Eventually we realized there were  some things, mostly political, we were afraid to talk about since they’re often polarizing topics that make everyone involved hate each other. Since we like each other, we wanted to avoid that. By going meta, which we are fond […]

Read More »

How to use bad data for good

in Pop Culture

There are ways to intentionally use bad data to discover important things. In a comment from Richard I. Garber on my post about maps and trusting technology, comes this bit of wisdom: Sometimes the map might be wrong on purpose. When I was growing up in Pittsburgh I noticed that the city map from Gulf Oil […]

Read More »

Recently Tim O’Reilly wrote about how using maps on his phone, and assuming they’d work where he was going, got him into trouble on a recent road trip: It was a beautiful late spring day towards the end of May, hot even, so the last thing I was thinking about was the possibility that Sierra […]

Read More »

Anyone who makes progress in this world makes compromises. In the case of the U.S. Government, every gear and cog in the system is based on negotiation. Power is divided into three rings, each ring given a degree of power over the others. Why? To force compromise. Inside Congress, the Senate and the House of […]

Read More »

A long running debate in my own mind is the difference between arrogance and confidence. Here are two definitions: An arrogant person only feels smart if someone else feels stupid. Their sense of themselves depends on thinking less of someone else. They insist on correcting other people’s grammar or showing them their flaws, as it’s […]

Read More »

I was thinking recently about skepticism in small sample sizes. How its wise to doubt big claims based on scant data. But  what things in life can never have large samples? Some ideas or beliefs will never be shared by many people no matter how useful or right they are. The scientific method is based […]

Read More »

Whenever I hear someone say an idea, or a technology, is dead, it mostly shows how little they understand about the history of ideas. Look at the history of so called dead things and you’ll find surprises. Ideas and technologies rarely die completely. They fade from popularity and lose respect among elites, but it’s surprisingly […]

Read More »