Thursday, December 31, 2015

Links for Later 12-31-15

  1. A book cave of about 5000 books, made by a student at Yunnan Normal University (via Marginal Revolution).
  2. Venture capital disrupts itself.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Answer to the Question: 90% of the wealth goes to top 1%. Is that good for the country?

Over on Quora, someone wanted to know whether high levels of inequality are good for the country. Here's my answer:
A High Level of Economic Inequality is  Economically Inefficient
If we were talking about a microeconomic market where there was extreme market concentration, such that one company either represented 90% of the supply or 90% of the demand, we would have no problem saying that this was a near-monopoly situation (in the case of supply) or near-monopsony (for demand), and that this was undesirable. A monopoly causes high prices in the market, a smaller market overall, and a social deadweight loss from all of the lost transactions that would have benefitted both buyers and sellers. These are all symptoms of a market disease or an economic dysfunction.
Extreme disparity in income and wealth is an economic dysfunction that produces poor results for the economy as a whole. It results in labor resources that are underpaid and underemployed, oversaving by the 1%, underinvestment in public assets, and anemic growth. Growth is anemic for several reasons: 1) the average consumer is too budget constrained to reach optimal choices and not sufficiently incentivized to work any harder, and 2) the consumers who are part of the wealth-holding class become increasingly harried due to the increasing slope of the wealth curve. In other words, if you are poor, you can't afford the necessities of a good life, and also can't improve your life by working more or more effectively, you aren't an efficient participant in the economy, so the economy will tend to shrink or stagnate. If you are rich, you will look to your next door neighbor, who is twice as rich as you, and you will feel poor; you will then look at your other neighbor, who fell on hard times and who is now half as rich as they once were. Looking at these two things, you will spend more and more of your time worrying about what will befall you tomorrow. Instead of being an efficient participant in the economy, you will either begin making unwise gambles to try to catch up to your successful neighbor, or become very thrifty and risk averse to avoid the fate of your unsuccessful neighbor. You will, like the budget-constrained worker, be an inefficient part of the economy, and both you and society will suffer a loss for it. The economy, lacking the driving force of both rich and poor, will stagnate or shrink.
A High Level of Economic Inequality is Unethical and Undesirable
The arguments in favor of gross economic inequality fall into three groups: 1) utilitarian arguments that arrangements leading to inequality produces positive results relative to any other arrangement, 2) arguments that some abstract good, such as economic freedom, are so valuable as to outweigh the negatives, and 3) arguments from market theodicy.
With regard to argument (1), there is evidence that some degree of inequality is healthy, because it offers incentives to compete economically, to be financially prudent and to work hard. While society might value everyone equally, and therefore try to offer a fair and level playing field, it doesn't value equality to the exclusion of any other abstract good, and the cost of creating and enforcing complete equality is as impractical and undesirable as creating and enforcing complete inequality (where one person controls all assets, and everyone else is a serf or slave). For these reasons, mixed market economies are favored on the grounds of openness, fairness, freedom, growth, happiness and flexibility, among other abstract values. We tolerate mild inequality of outcomes because the millionaire's success helps make the beggar's life better, and because stamping out mild inequality would be very, very costly relative to the benefit.
To justify gross inequality in this framework, we would have to believe that the social value of an additional dollar's worth of happiness is greater for the millionaire than for the beggar. The more you have, the happier you are to have more, and the happier we should be to give it to you. If this is true for wealth, then wealth is the only known material good for which it is true. This is nonsense.
With regard to argument (2), if we are unwilling to grant equality uncontested priority over all the other abstract goods, then we should also be skeptical that freedom can be an uncontested, singular value. Maximizing economic freedom at all costs leads to unconscionable results, just as does maximizing economic equality.
Instead, societies have a plurality of values, a plurality of abstract goods in tension with one another, and just like physical goods, it's necessary to balance them and arrive at the best possible basket of goods under changing conditions.
As for argument (3), that the market is somehow a perfect moral judge, this is equally foolish. As Mark Twain observed, if God seeks to punish us with thunderbolts in this life, then His aim must be very poor indeed, given the distribution of lightning strikes. The market is a wonderful tool and a servant, but a terrible master. Its thunderbolts (good and bad) are no better distributed than the lightning.
In conclusion: No, it's not healthy for the economy or the country to have extreme inequality.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Best Books (I Read) In 2015

On the Move and Gratitude Oliver Sacks
A while ago on reddit, there was a massage therapist who said that 1) everyone's body sags and has other imperfections, and 2) when people relax, they become luminous, lit from within. Oliver Sacks is the patron saint of this dual nature of humanity. He wrote about it, he saw it in his patients, and he lived it. In his writing, he became luminous. In the process, he inspired thousands of future scientists with stories of human beings afflicted in some horrible ways, but also able to connect as humans. Gratitude, which consists of four late essays written after his terminal cancer diagnosis, is really a coda to On the Move, Sacks' record of a remarkable life.
Taken together, these two are the book of the year.

Natural Born Heroes Christopher McDougall and Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure Artemis Cooper
As Oliver Sacks is my favorite science writer, Paddy Leigh Fermor is my favorite travel writer. He is most well known for his pre-World War II walk across Europe from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul, and his actions during the Battle of Crete, during which he kidnapped one of the two German generals in charge of the forces occupying the island. Natural Born Heroes tells this story and the story of the other remarkable people in the Cretan Resistance and the British "Firm", coupled with advice on how to run and climb like a Greek shepherd and fight like the Heavenly Twins. Artemis Cooper's Fermor biography fills in a lot of detail before and after Fermor's travelogues, and makes an excellent companion to his works.

Syllabus and What It Is Lynda Barry
Two classes, ostensibly about how to draw, but also about how to think, how drawing helps you think, and the value of sketching daily. These will do interesting things to the inside of your head.

Galileo's Middle Finger Alice Domurat Dreger
Scandals and controversies involving scientists and activists for whom discretion is not the better part of valor. Alice's own work on human sexuality and anatomy has been at the center of two or three controversies since the book came out earlier this year. I liked this book so much that I invited Alice to be a guest on the podcast.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane S Frederick Starr
I knew next to nothing about Central Asia during this period (600-1200 CE), other than that the Silk Road ran though it, and that Marco Polo traveled there on his way to China. The area between Persia and China of a thousand years ago remained a blank space until I read Lost Enlightenment and learned about the scientists, conquerors, poets and citizens of this region.

Werner Herzog's Guide for the Perplexed Werner Herzog and Paul Cronin
I have a rule that I have to read any book recommended to me by three or more people. This was the most recommended book of the last year. A series of interviews between Herzog and Cronin covers all of Herzog's movies and much of his biography.
Key lessons learned: The truth is not very good at dispelling a rumor: only a juicier rumor works. Always carry a set of bolt cutters with you. When scouting the top of Cerro Torre, where the winds can blow up to 100 mph, always carry chocolate, always tie in to your fellow climbers, and if you get blown off, remember to enjoy the spectacular view as you glide to your death a mile below. It is possible to haul a steamboat up a mountain if you are sure you have a large enough tree trunk for a linchpin. People are endlessly fascinating. It may take twenty years for you to realize that John Waters is gay.

The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
If, like me, you remember reading Susan Cooper and Madeleine L'Engle's books as a key childhood experience, you will want to pick up some of Maggie Stievater's books. If, on the other hand, you get your media recommendations from Tumblr and fanfiction sites, you'll also want to pick up these books. Books where place is a character. Books where even the villains are three dimensional characters, or perhaps just enjoy exotic cheeses and magical artifact collecting. Books where the heroes are cross with each other, or insecure, or just difficult to get along with. Books with dead Welsh kings, forests that speak Latin, and bloodthirsty horses from the sea.
Stiefvater is also an accomplished artist, musician and race car driver, which is a distressing amount of talent to find concentrated in one person.

Golden Son Pierce Brown
Pair Stiefvater's YA fantasy books above with Pierce Brown's Golden Son, follow up to Red Rising, about a highly stratified society spanning the Solar system, and Harrow, the man from the lowest caste, the Reds, hidden among the society's elite, the Golds. Good old-fashioned, over the top space opera paired with bildungsroman. I can't wait for the third volume to come out in a few weeks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Links for Later 12-15-15

  1. Another mansion with an invisible owner, this time in Los Angeles.
  2. What was going on in London in 1606, the year Shakespeare wrote Lear?
  3. Lengthy profile of strategist Edward Luttwak.
  4. Emma Willard's "Temple of History", a memory palace or just an infographic?
  5. Why there will not be a draft.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Drawing Technique: Foreshortening

Using the "coil technique" to do foreshortening during the sketching phase. This method is so good that you'll think, "Why didn't I know this already?"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Startup Geometry EP 015 Barry Michels and Phil Stutz

Barry Michels and Phil Stutz are two of the most sought-after psychotherapists in Los Angeles, particularly by creative professionals. They are also the authors of The Tools, a book that teaches you the techniques they use in their practice to help unlock creativity, decrease anxiety and to correct the negative patterns that interfere with your life.

In this podcast, we discuss the relationship between the Shadow (Carl Jung's term for a subconscious part of your mind that contains your inner shame and other unconscious material) and creativity, plus the three immutable rules of dealing with a perpetually changing world. We also talk about their next book, dealing with Part X, or the inner enemy that tries to sabotage your growth and development.

“But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests. Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?”

Listen on iTunes

Show Notes and Links

Monday, November 16, 2015

Paul Laffoley has Merged with the Infinite

Paul Laffoley, one of our favorite artists here at Bottlerocketscience, has died today. He will be sorely missed.

From Kent Fine Art's email:

NEW YORK Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View on Instagram Find us on Pinterest View our videos on YouTube
(b. Cambridge, August 14, 1935 - d. Boston, November 16, 2015)

The visionary artist and luminary, Paul Laffoley, has died today after a long battle with congestive heart failure. He had an extraordinary grasp of multiple fields of knowledge compulsively pursing interests that often lead him into uncharted territory. His complex theoretical constructs were uniquely presented in highly detailed mandala-like canvases largely scaled to Fibonacci's golden ratio. While an active participant in numerous speculative organizations including his own Boston Visionary Cell since the early 70s, his work began to attract an increasing following in his late career with shows at the Palais de Tokyo (2009), Hamburger Bahnhoff (2011), Hayward Gallery, London, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2013). The first book on Laffoley's oeuvre was The Phenomenology of Revelation published by Kent Fine Art in 1989, followed by several subsequent publications beginning with his first retrospective organized by the Austin Museum of Art (1999). Forthcoming in March of 2016, the University of Chicago Press will be releasing the long awaited book entitled The Essential Paul Laffoley. He was a kind and generous giant, and he will be sorely missed by all of us.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be . . .
Henry David Thoreau

(between 24th and 25th Streets)
NEW YORK, NY 10001


For all further inquiries contact
Douglas Walla at

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 014 Renaissance Mathematicus Thony Christie

Thony Christie, historian of science and proprietor of the Renaissance Mathematicus and Whewell's Ghost stops by to talk about Galileo, Newton, the Copernican controversy, and why it was smart to believe that the Earth didn't move.

Listen on iTunes

The story of how we came to understand that the Earth was not the center of the Universe is one of the most fascinating stories in the whole of the history of science. The debate over Copernicus' heliocentric model lasted for centuries, and was carried out by mathematicians, theologians, philosophers and scientists. Observational evidence initially favored a geocentric model, and definitive proof did not appear until long after the first precise data (captured by Tycho Brahe and compiled by Kepler) had persuaded most scientists of their truth.

Independent scholar Thony Christie takes us through the debate on this episode of Startup Geometry.

Show Notes, Links and Outline:

[0.0.16] How did you get into the study of the History of Science? Eric Temple Bell Men of Mathematics. History of Mathematics and Logic: Church’s list of formal logicians, Boole, Jevons, and others.

[0.3.50] Renaissance Mathematicus and Whewell’s Gazette/Whewell’s Ghost (Whewell pronounced “Hewell”). John Wilkins, historian of biology.

[0.6.30] What was a “mathematicus”? Fields of study: astrology, astronomy, mathematics, cartography, design of engines of war, (sun)dialing, volumetrics.

"DaVinci's Resume": Leonardo DaVinci once sent a letter describing his skills in some of these areas.

[0.14.46] Christoff Clavius. The Galileo Affair. Heliocentricity. Cardinal Barberini. Who can interpret the Bible? Cardinal Bellarmine. The difference between proof and speculation.

[0.27.00] Giordano Bruno. Miguel Serveto (Servetus).

[0.28.14] Newton. Newton & alchemy. Newton & religion. Kepler. Prisca Theologia.

[0.35.44] Interpreting Early Modern systems of thought. Lawrence Principe and William R Newman’s modern alchemical experiments. Phlogiston. Problems with turning lead into gold. (Not a problem for us, but requires a huge particle accelerator.) Roger Bacon.

[0.44.23] Newton predicted the end of the world (not before 2060). Other predictions of the end of the world. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Millerites.

[0.47.47] Discussion of the various Renaissance world systems or models of the universe. Why it’s obvious that the Earth doesn’t move. Tycho Brahe. Johannes Kepler. Gilbert, On the Magnet. How it was finally proved that the Earth does move. Chris Graney on star sizes, Setting Aside All Authority. Torricelli.

[1.00.00] The Rudolphine Tables. Not proof, but Kepler’s system fits the data, so Kepler’s model is probably right. Heliometers and elliptical orbits. Bradley, 1725, finds elliptical movement of stars due to Earth’s movement. Christiaan Huygens. The Earth bulges at the Equator and is flattened at the poles. Later confirmed by stellar parallax, Bessel, 1838.

[1.08.18] Book recommendations. Richard Westfall, Life of Isaac Newton. John Heilbron, Galileo. Chris Graney, Setting Aside All Authority. Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table. My recs: Deborah Harkness, The Jewel House. (she also rediscovered The Book of Soyga, which was part of John Dee’s library, and is a really good fiction writer.) Lost Enlightenment S. Frederick Starr.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Links for Later 10-29-15

  1. Maggie Stiefvater reflects on creativity as a form of dream thievery.
  2. The Turkish elections are shaping up to be quite a mess. Wishing the Turkish people all the best.
  3. Ukrainian elections are shaping up to be just weird. People dressed up as Star Wars characters are winning some elections, getting arrested in others. 
  4. The Republican Party's strategy "continues to assume that the government is too mean to rich people and too nice to poor people."
  5. A social history of the Salem witches.
  6. The soundtrack to Hamilton is on repeat at my house.
  7. When Beyonce met Jonathan Groff, as told by Lin-Manuel Miranda: "Groff got embarrassed. But he said I could tell you. Next three tweets.
    1.  Beyonce: Did you play the King? Groffsauce: Yes. Beyonce: I'm stealing your walk. I love your walk. Groffsauce: *inarticulate sounds*
    2. Beyonce: When you turned away still facing the audience? *BEYONCE DEMONSTRATES FLAWLESSLY* Beyonce: You were your OWN turntable. Love it. 
    3. And then, in Groffsauce's own words "Then the ground swallowed me up and I died happy." Thus endeth the meeting of Beyonce & Groffsauce.
    4. There is no straight-male equivalent for the ecstasy of Beyonce telling you "I love your walk." ESPECIALLY for Groffsauce, walk enthusiast.
    5. Bruce Lee: "Can you teach me that cool kick?" That's the closest I can approximate to what happened to Groffsauce.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Links for Later 10-20-15

  1. Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder list the Top 50 factual podcasts. We are not on this list. Yet.
  2. A very good, foul mouthed rant about the status of brain simulation.
  3. The frenzy over the puzzle book Masquerade.
  4.  Mr. Robot gets introduced to the UK.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 013: Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson wants help you relax. He's an online hypnotherapist and designer of a wildly popular series of hypnotherapy apps and mp3s.

Today, we talk about how to use relaxation techniques, including hypnosis and guided meditation, to change habits and improve quality of life.

We also contrast the mental state of relaxation produced by hypnosis or guided meditation from that of simple mindfulness techniques and the memory palace technique I discussed with Anthony Metivier in the previous episode, which I'm using while I'm interviewing Anthony, as I mention during our conversation ("the beach in Greece"). Anthony is a "non-visualizer", while I'm at the other end of the spectrum.

Anthony also takes us through a simple "aliveness" meditation inspired by Eckhart Tolle, which you can use to help you focus, relax and feel more at home in your body.

Show Notes and Links

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 012: Anthony Metivier

Anthony Metivier, proprietor of, has taught fifty thousand people how to improve their memory using the memory palace technique. He is a one man content factory, producing books, podcasts, online videos and courses to teach foreign languages, meditation and relaxation, and memory improvement.

Anthony Metivier

Today, we talk about how you can improve your memory, what makes for a good online course, and why friendship can be  monstrous.

Show links and notes

Monday, October 05, 2015

Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal reached

Trade representatives reached a deal on the Trans Pacific Partnership this morning. Here's the live press conference:

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Links for Later 9-4-15

  1. If we regulated firearms like abortions.
  2. Why the world is getting weirder.
  3. Moog stopping production of the Voyager.
  4. Shakespeare's father appears to have been a wealthy wool merchant & tax evader with dodgy connections. Shakespeare himself may have been the family's representative in London who did theatrical producing gigs on the side.
  5. Anne Sexton, "The Truth the Dead Know".
  6. Paul Romer's article "Endogenous Technological Change" introduced the concept of nonrival and excludable goods 25 years ago. Joshua Gans has a review of its impact. Paul Romer looks back.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Mysteries of Planned Parenthood

I do not understand how or why a Planned Parenthood counselor would or could advise Sarah Jones to get an abortion when that counselor presumably knew that Sarah Jones was not pregnant.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 011: Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis is a master storyteller with over twenty years experience producing amazing stories as serials, singles, graphic novels, books and films. He is also a very funny man, in all the best senses of the word.

From his website:
Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name.
Today, we talk politics, life in the Thames Delta, managing the creative pipeline, quiet technology, glamorless utilities and cunning folk. His new and forthcoming work includes TREES and the new James Bond graphic novels.

Listen on iTunes.
Please subscribe, rate and review us there as well.

Show Links and Notes

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 010: Nicolas Cole

Today, I talk with Nicolas Cole, a Creative Director with Idea Booth, a branding consultancy and think tank. When he was a teenager, he was a  highly ranked World of Warcraft player and blogger, spending hours online as an Undead Mage while skating through high school. Now, Cole is a Quora Top Writer, author, fitness model, and marketing expert. In this episode, we talk about how he physically and mentally transformed himself over the last seven years, and what it takes to overcome the limitations you impose on yourself.

Listen to us on iTunes

Show Notes and Links

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 009: Alice Dreger

In this episode, I talk with Alice Dreger, author of Galileo's Middle Finger and former Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago. She resigned from the position following a dispute over censorship of an issue of the medical humanities journal Atrium.

I first heard about Alice when she livetweeted her son's sex ed class, and in this episode we talk about the state of sex ed today, her work as an advocate for intersex individuals and conjoined twins, how she became interested in studying scientific controversies and contrarians, and answer some questions from listeners.

Listeners who have what used to be called a "sensitive constitution" may wish to avoid this episode, as we speak frankly about several adult topics, including genital anatomy, sexual behavior, and academic funding. Due to a higher than normal amount of email this month, any complaints about this episode must be hand-delivered to our Complaints Department, located in the secret caverns underneath Ulaan Bator, Mongolia.

If you enjoy these podcasts, please use iTunes to download, subscribe, rate and review each podcast, as this helps introduce us to new listeners.

Show Links and Notes:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 008: Justine Simonson and Marcus Lehmann of How To Make It In Berlin

Today, I talk with Justine Simonson and Marcus Lehmann, filmmakers and creators of the YouTube series How To Make It In _________.

Simonson Lehmann 2
From Justine &  Marcus:
How To Make It In: Berlin is the premier season of a web series about small businesses and the owners who took a risk in creating them. This season features 10 unique entrepreneurs and small business owners from Berlin's street food scene, tech startups, the service industry and more. Each season will be filmed in a different city around the world; Berlin is the premier location. Part travel show, part business series, How To Make It In:________ presents an in-the-know guide to its location while also delivering helpful tips for anyone who's ever dreamed of quitting their day job and starting fresh.
Simonson Lehmann 3
The How To Make It In: Berlin series is available at and  on YouTube

  • What makes Berlin a good city for startups?
  • The essentials of a good documentary funding pitch
  • Ratio of shooting and editing
  • Good, fast, cheap. Pick two.
  • Justine's work on Years of Living Dangerously and Doomsday Preppers
  • Marcus's work on an Antarctic Icebreaker and Punkin' Chuckin'
  • What goes in your gear bag or go bag? Headlamps, a legal release app for filmmakers on iPad, a wireless boom mike
  • Cameras: Canon 5D, Sony FS7, GoPro
  • Where else they'd like to film 
If you enjoy these podcasts, please use iTunes to download, subscribe, rate and review each podcast, as this helps introduce them to new listeners.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Witness Me!

If I'm going to die, I'm going to die economic on the Fury Road.

I have an interesting observation about wages and the attention we pay to different types of inflation:

An interesting reaction to prices: we would be terribly concerned about 6% wage growth, yet find 6% energy price growth (or growth in any other volatile price) perfectly acceptable, because we have found a lot of volatility in the latter and less in the former in recent decades. Following decades of increases in worker productivity coupled with an absence of wage growth, we could have 30 years worth of catch up growth in median worker wages before we really need to worry about runaway inflation. Yes, automatic labor price increases embedded into contracts in the 60's and 70's contributed to high inflation in the 70's; however, those automatic increases leading to wage spirals are gone for most workers. Yet, members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors are having conniption fits over a tight(er) labor market, worried about "inflation" which has not appeared yet.

More than that, there remain substantial pools of workers who have passed in the opposite direction from "employment" to "unemployment" to the invisible category of "discouraged worker" who must be employed before we need to start worrying about labor costs increasing very much. Until then, the Fed should not raise its rates.

Witness me! 


Refute me!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 007: Alex Bandar of the Columbus Idea Foundry

Live from the Columbus Idea Foundry makerspace and incubator, I talk with Alex Bandar about protoyping products, neighborhoods, cities and the Idea Foundry itself.
IMG_0755 IMG_0754IMG_0753

Alex Bandar is an engineer with a specialization in materials science and computer assisted design. In 2008, he founded the Columbus Idea Foundry, which has recently moved into a new and larger space, becoming the largest makerspace in the country. It is an anchor for the redevelopment of the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus, and an important part of the Columbus entrepreneurial ecosystem.

September 19th and 20th, 2015, the CIF will take part in the Independents' Weekend and will hold an open house as part of the event. If you're in their neighborhood, please stop by for a visit.

Show Notes & Links

Columbus Idea Foundry

Franklinton Development Corporation

IC3D Printers Printers and high spec filament developed at the Foundry.

"Scrape" the electric motorcycle, designed by Todd Perkins, who also developed "The Inhaler", a high speed electric car, and other high performance experimental vehicles.


The Four Hour Workweek Tim Ferriss

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Over on Twitter, Mattermark's Danielle Morrill is laying down some good tips for founders who are out pitching for A Rounds.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Links for Later 8-15-15

  1. Nonsensical centrists and debt stupidity.
  2. Several things that needed to be said, but would not have needed to be said if the world was a better place: Chicago does not need a Katrina. New Orleans did not need a Katrina. Teachers are better at educating children than are random entrepreneurs. If you give away too much of your taxes as tax expenditures and/or fail to make pension contributions, your budget will break.
  3. The John Feathers Map Collection, acquired by the Los Angeles Public Library, instantly doubled their map collection. Feathers had collected an entire house-full of maps. Maps on the walls, maps in filing cabinets, maps, maps, maps.
  4. The dreadful, data-driven culture that is Amazon. A current employee pushes back.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast EP 006: Ed Cooke

Ed Cooke is a Memory Grandmaster and CEO of Memrise, a company dedicated to making you better at learning and memory. Today, we talk about ways to maximize your memory, how get more out of life by paying better attention to it, and the Epicurian value of having good friends around you in life and work.

Links and transcript to follow.

Please subscribe, download, rate and comment through iTunes. This helps our ratings and allows us to reach more listeners.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Classics are Fun

A reblog from astinomi's tumblog:

andquitefrankly asked: 13. TRIVIA. GIVE ME ALL THE TRIVIA. please. :)

Ooh! Let’s see, here are some of my favourite bits of classical trivia (I know no other trivia). I should warn you that my idea of amusing trivia is quite… esoteric :’) (A couple of these are a little gruesome)
  • Ancient Greek had a pitch accent (i.e. the pitch of the syllable went up or down depending on the accent). This mattered, because once during a performance of a tragedy, an actor got the pitch accent wrong and said ‘weasel’ instead of ‘calm sea’ and we are still laughing about it 2000 years later.
  • Once during a battle between Argos and Sparta, the Argive generals told their troops to do whatever the Spartan herald shouted. The Spartan generals figured this out and ordered their troops to attack when the herald shouted ‘have breakfast’
  • The tyrant Polycrates of Samos was so lucky in everything that he did that his friend Amasis, king of Egypt, advised him to get rid of the thing he valued the most. This was a golden and emerald ring (?????). Polycrates threw it into the sea. Soon afterwards, it turned up in the belly of a fish that a fisherman had caught and presented to Polycrates. Amasis said, ‘That’s it, you’re too lucky, I’m cutting off our friendship before the gods screw you over.’
  • The tyrant Peisistratos of Athens married an aristocratic girl in order to form an alliance with her family, but he thought the family was cursed, so he would only have sex with her ‘not in the customary way’ and I still do not know what this means because my Greek history tutor was the most awkward person ever and would not tell me
  • An Ancient Greek word for ‘extravagant dandy’ was ‘someone who is obsessed with fish’
  • The Greeks described the sea as ‘wine-dark’
  • Socrates didn’t wash 
  • Hippocleides doesn’t care
  • The great Greek general Pericles was mocked because he allegedly allowed his mistress to boss him around in bed
  • It is 100% true that Plato published a serious piece of work criticising Aeschylus for making Achilles top and Patroclus bottom
  • This is the what the Greeks came up with to explain intersex people: Hermaphroditus, son of Hermes & Aphrodite, was born a boy but attracted the attentions of a rather obsessive girl who tried to force herself on him. Fortunately for her, they were in a magic spring and she prayed to be joined to him always, so they were joined together in one body that was part male and part female
  • In Cyprus, the goddess Aphrodite was represented with both male and female sex organs
  • Alexander the Great used to get foreign kings to line up their favourite prostitutes and then he would make a big show of walking along the line and acting disinterested
  • Allegedly, Alexander met the cynic philosopher Diogenes and asked if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes said, ‘Get out of my sunlight.’ Alexander said, ‘If I were not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes,’ and Diogenes replied, ‘If I were not Diogenes, I would also wish to be Diogenes.’
  • The Roman playwright Terence, considered by later writers to be the best example of ‘pure literary Latin’, might have been an African immigrant and is widely thought to have been a slave
  • Julius Caesar annoyed the populace of Rome because he used to answer his mail during the races
  • Cicero was told to change his name because it meant ‘chickpea’ and he responded that he would make it the most glorious name in Rome
  • It is 99.9% likely that it is actually the case that Cicero was not let in on the assassination of Caesar because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut
  • Caesar once said, ‘I know I am the most hated man in Rome, because Cicero hates me, and God knows Cicero is easy to please’
  • Cicero and his brother Quintus seemingly spent an alarming amount of time chasing Cicero’s secretary around, asking for kisses
  • The poet Vergil (Vergilius), for sadly modern-esque reasons, was nicknamed ‘Parthenias’ (which renders itself quite nicely as something like ‘Virginia’)
  • Augustus nagged all his poet friends to write an epic about him, and when Vergil said he would do it, Propertius published a poem saying ‘THANK THE GODS: someone else is doing it - and it’s pretty good btw you should read it when it comes out’
  • The poet Ovid was exiled for a ‘poem and a mistake’ and we STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS
  • The emperor Augustus was teetotal and lame in one leg
  • As part of his propaganda against Augustus, Mark Antony claimed that Augustus singed off his leg hair
  • Augustus responded that Mark Antony was a drunken hooligan. Antony wrote a pamphlet defending himself, entitled ‘On the subject of my drunkenness’. To me this is one of the greatest losses of antiquity
  • The emperor Tiberius was obsessed with pears and cucumbers
  • The emperor Claudius allegedly ordered for his third wife to be executed, then got so drunk that he had to ask why she was not at dinner
  • Claudius had a son who died when he threw a pear core in the air, tried to catch it in his mouth and choked
  • Augustus complained that Tiberius used words in their strict etymological sense (or used literal equivalents of phrases that were used in a non-etymological sense), and the emperor Hadrian, when reading about this, commented, ‘It sounds like Augustus was not very well educated if he chose his words according to their usage and not their etymology.’
  • The emperor Galba is the only Roman male who is explicitly said to have had a sexual preference for adult males (i.e. of his own age) and not boys
  • Hadrian and his wife went travelling with Hadrian’s lover Antinous and an aristocratic woman named Julia Balbilla. At a tourist site in Egypt, Julia Balbilla carved a poem in the style of Sappho on a famous statue. One of my history professors said that this suggests Hadrian’s wife was a lesbian and they covered for each other
  • The historian Tacitus was a keen hunter. His friend Pliny went hunting one day and sent him a letter, ‘You won’t believe it, Tacitus, I went hunting, and I enjoyed it! I took all my books and I sat in the shade by the nets and it was so peaceful, I got so much done. You should try it!’