Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Literal Music Videos - Hilarious

A-Has 'Take on Me', done by the Literal Music Video crowd. Awesome:

Take On Me

Enjoy! Zigmania

Western Spaghetti by PES

This is a super creative video that is simply fascinating....loved it! Enjoy, Beckmania

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stuff Is Not Salvation

This is a light hearted article questioning why we think we need so much stuff. It touches on some of the articles I posted months ago on the topic of happiness.....my question remains - if we know the answer, why do so many (myself included) sometimes ignore it?? Enjoy, Beckmania

Stuff Is Not Salvation

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Is Art For?

An interesting piece about art, copyright, and fostering innovation....and it mentions Burning Man, Thoreau, and Bruce Cockburn in the same article....Sweet. Enjoy, Beckmania!

What is Art For?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Farmer In Chief

A somewhat lengthy but very interesting article on why revamping the food industry should be at or near the top of the national agenda....It's by Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma), so it's very well written and quite balanced. The fun part comes when he starts suggesting the First Family manage its own garden on the South Lawn of the White House as a symbolic gesture! Enjoy. Beckmania

Farmer In Chief

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Green Tech Capitalism

Great NYT piece on the Kleiner Perkins investments in green technologies....Enjoy. Beckmania.

Capitalism To The Rescue

Monday, October 6, 2008

Reversal of Fortune

Joseph Stieglitz, former head of the World Bank, shares his thoughts on the current financial crisis. Interesting reading.....enjoy! Beckmania

Reversal Of Fortune

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Political Lies Don't Matter

A fascinating, if not somewhat depressing, piece regarding the effectiveness of outright lies on the campaign trail. Incredible. Explains a lot though....Enjoy. Beckmania.

Liar's Poker

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Making Sense Of It All

Here is a good, easy to read, summary of the absolute insanity that has hit Wall Street in the past few weeks/months. Wowsers.

How Financial Madness Overtook Wall Street

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ambient Awareness

This is a long but fascinating piece on the phenomenon of 'ambient awareness' that tools like Twitter and Facebook's Status and News Feed features provide. At first blush, the thought of hearing about someone's daily minutiae seems inane, but many users attest to the fact that it provides an interesting way to stay up to date with many people in a very low touch way. It's a fascinating new possibility for expanding your 'Dunbar number', and expanding the potential of your weak ties, a well documented source of useful connections.....Enjoy! Beckmania.

Brave New World of Digital Intimacy

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Russia Is Back

Ronald Steel suggests that Russia is back, and behaving no differently than the US as it uses its newfound wealth and control of natural resources to protect what it views as its 'sphere of influence'. Interesting times ahead....Enjoy. Beckmania

A Superpower Is Reborn

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Layperson Disconnect

There are always some things, say the economists, for which the opinion of the vast majority of experts and those of the lay people differ. It's pretty fascinating when experts pretty much unanimously agree on something (I know, I know, that's an exaggeration but it comes close to happening) , yet a general population thinks differently. Here is an article discussing this phenomenon in the context of energy independence. Ah those economists, always making so much utility maximizing sense.....Enjoy. Beckmania.

The Idiocy of Energy Independence

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Great Illusion

Fascinating big picture article from Paul Krugman. It made me think of the famous George Santayana quotation:" "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it"....Is the level of global economic interconnectedness itself cyclical over a period of decades?? Enjoy. Beckmania.....

The Great Illusion

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Harmony and the Dream

Here is an interesting piece from David Brooks - he suggests that some aspects of a collectivist (as opposed to individualistic) society are actually quite appealing and merit thought when thinking about ideal societies....this could spawn a thousand conversations....Enjoy! Beckmania

Harmony and the Dream

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Thanks to Tom Palecek for forwarding this article on Barack Obama's economic policies....for me it's the most concerning part of an Obama win - his proposed SS tax is harmful and decouples taxes and benefits. I think his anti-trade banter in the primaries was a 'primary thing' and that he is tacking to the center. Then again, things get so distorted in the media I don't know what to believe - it appears Obama has some bad tax plans for sure, but are we certain the Republicans would be much better? Despite being the party of 'low taxes and small government', they have proven to be exactly the opposite lately. Where is our libertarian alternative?? Too bad Ron Paul is 50% right on, and 50% nuts.....anyways, great topics for discussion if you are the political discusser type. Enjoy. Beckmania.....

Obamanomics Is A Recipe For Recession

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are you a member of the 2000 Watt Society?

Thanks to Jon Paluska for this article from the New Yorker that talks about a small island in Denmark that, over the course of ten years, turned itself into a net energy producer via local/community actions. Pretty cool. It also talks about the 2000 Watt Society.....can we all get there? Enjoy. Beckmania

The Island In The Wind

Monday, July 28, 2008

No Need For More Power Plants?

I have always thought that increases in efficiency and reduction in wasteful energy consumption were rated low in terms of things we can do to consumer less energy....here is an interesting article that brings that topic to the fore with concrete examples of companies and government agencies that have saved loads of energy and boatloads of money in the process. Very cool. Enjoy! Beckmania

Why We Never Need To Build Another Polluting Power Plant

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In The US, Selectively Applied Capitalism

This piece is a little wonky and dry, but for those of you interested in government folly, you'll have a smile. Enjoy, Beckmania.

In The US, Selectively Applied Capitalism

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Warren Buffett’s 7 Secrets for Living a Happy and Simple Life

Perhaps it's because Buffett can afford to live the simple life that he does so? Perhaps it's because he has actually figured it out? Who knows. Either way, there is plenty of wisdom in this post....Enjoy. Beckmania....

Warren Buffett’s 7 Secrets for Living a Happy and Simple Life

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Disadvantages Of An Elite Education

This is an article by a former Yale English professor on the concerns he has about the elite education system in America, and how there are some disadvantages to the whole thing. Elite institutions are producing leaders, but are they the leaders we want or need? If you happen to have attended an 'elite institution' yourself, then you'll probably have reason to pause and think about your experience......Enjoy! Beckmania

The Disadvantages Of An Elite Education

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One World, Two Big Ideas

In honour (that's right, honour spelled with an ou, in other words the right way) of both Canada Day and the July 4th celebration in the US, here is a post with a little history on the origins and significance of them both. It might provide a little insight into why Canadians are such happy friendly people:) Enjoy

One World, Two Big Ideas

Monday, June 30, 2008

How The Web Was Won

This is a pretty cool piece from Vanity Fair about the history of the Internet. Lots of fun quotes from industry leaders......A light read, but definitely informative, interesting, and enjoyable.

How The Web Was Won

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Radical Rodents

Here is a break from the articles - for all you surfers out there! Hilarious.....who knew the rodents ride?

Radical Rodents

Taking Ownership Of Iraq

Here is a piece by Thomas Friedman about the dynamics in Iraq - pretty interesting look at what's going on there within the Iraqi population. It reminds of the various things I've read about trying to bring about democracy - the long and the short of it is that it's a difficult thing to do if the mechanism by which it comes about lacks 'legitimacy'. In other words, it mostly has to come from within, not without. Francis Fukuyama wrote a whole book about it....The situation in Iraq suffers from this lack of legitimacy, or at least I am guessing that to be the case. Maybe some can still be found?

Taking Ownership Of Iraq

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

After Neoconservativism

This is an admittedly old, but still relevant and interesting article on the state of the neoconservative ideology, written by one of its grand poobahs Francis Fukuyama....Quote:"The problem with neoconservatism's agenda lies not in its ends, which are as American as apple pie, but rather in the overmilitarized means by which it has sought to accomplish them. What American foreign policy needs is not a return to a narrow and cynical realism, but rather the formulation of a "realistic Wilsonianism" that better matches means to ends." Enjoy!

After Neoconservativism

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Great Seduction

This is an Op-Ed piece from David Brooks of the NYT, a writer I don't always agree with, but always find entertaining to read. At one point he brings up the lottery as a shameful practice for government - this relates to the comments in the 'Can Money Buy Happiness' article I posted a few weeks ago...seems to be some common opinion on that topic. Enjoy:

The Great Seduction

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Fall of Conservativism

Well, this one is a doozy of an article looking at the history of the conservative movement over the past 4 decades....A good quote to give you an idea of the articles content: "The fact that the least conservative, least divisive Republican in the 2008 race is the last one standing—despite being despised by significant voices on the right—shows how little life is left in the movement that Goldwater began, Nixon brought into power, Ronald Reagan gave mass appeal, Newt Gingrich radicalized, Tom DeLay criminalized, and Bush allowed to break into pieces." Wow. Enjoy!

The Fall Of Conservativism

PS: It's another suggestion from Matt Eggers - thank you for your continued contributions!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reactable: basic demo #1

This is a REALLY cool electronic table that produces some amazing sounds and effects....a must for lovers of the beats! Check it out.

The Singularity

This is a fascinating podcast of an interview with legendary inventor Ray Kurzweil. He discusses the fact that individual events are impossible to predict, but many large scale trends are 'exquisitely predictable'. Here is the summary:

"The prolific inventor, futurist and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil, anticipates an “Age of Singularity,” when we'll be able to achieve a kind of immortality by downloading all of our essentially human qualities into a computer hard-drive. A feature interview by IDEAS host Paul Kennedy."

(I would recommend subscribing to the 'CBC: Best of Ideas' podcast -always good stuff)

Here is the link (you need to scroll down a bit to get to the Kurzweil podcast):

The Singularity

Friday, May 16, 2008

Portrait Of An Oil-Addicted Former Superpower

Thanks again to Matt Eggers for forwarding this interesting piece on the power of the US around the world and how it seems to be decreasing with the sustained elevation of the price of oil.....had to argue....(although I'd be happy to have you give it a go by posting a comment!). Enjoy:

Portrait Of An Oil-Addicted Former Superpower

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Neural Buddhists

Thanks to Matt Eggers for this interesting piece on atheism, religion, and mysticism. The basic argument is that it's belief in the Bible, not belief in the soul or spirituality, that will increasingly erode, since science and mysticism complement each other, while science and the Bible do not. At least that is my quick take on it:) Enjoy:

The Neural Buddhists

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can Money Buy Happiness?

"Money doesn't buy happiness." We've all heard it, we all know it, right? Why then is there still such a 'theory-practice' gap for so many people. You probably know many examples of this, possibly even yourself. This article covers the topic really well, citing a lot of the most well known and relevant studies that have been done on the topic. It also provides LOTS of food for thought on the role of government, individual responsibility, etc. Very enjoyable. Check it out:

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Surfwise: A Family That Surfs To A Beat: Its Own

The NYT review of 'Surfwise', the new surf movie about surfing's 'first family' - the Paskowitz clan from San Onofre. I am looking forward to seeing the film!. Check out the review:

A Family That Surfs To A Beat: Its Own

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Rise of the Rest

Another great article by Fareed Zakaria. There is some overlap with my previous post from Zakaria ("The Future of American Power"), probably because it all comes from his new book ("The Post-American World"). The article talks about the third main power shift in history (the first being the rise of the West, starting around the 15th century, and the second is the rise of the US, starting around the end of the 19th century), which is the 'rise of the rest', meaning the undeniable rise of countries around the world. It's definitely an uplifting piece (for a change), as it puts many things into a perspective that is easy to lose in the modern media mania. There is a great line: Only three countries don't use the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar, and the US. If the US wants to lead the world, it's first going to have to join it! Check it out:

The Rise of The Rest

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In Praise of Dual Class Stock Structures

This is admittedly a wonky piece on the benefits of dual-class stock structures. Arguing for the benefits of such a structure certainly is against the norm, but when Warren Buffett, Google, and Marc Andreessen take a side, it's at least worth listening to their reasons.....here is the post from Andreeseen's blog:

In Praise of Dual Class Stock Structures

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Future of American Power

Sit down with a cup of coffee and your laptop for another excellent (and lengthy) piece by Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek. A great discussion of the American Empire, why it's different than the British Empire that preceded it, and what it needs to do to maintain its global influence in the future. It's the type of piece you'd like the next US president to pay heed to. How can we get people like Zakaria to whisper in politician's ears? Particularly interesting is the discussion of how policy experts largely agree on 'best practices', but the broken US political system makes it difficult to get anything done.....Enjoy! Beckmania

The Future of American Power

The Seven Myths of Energy Independence

This is a pretty interesting piece in Mother Jones (don't worry, it's pretty balanced:) discussing the concept of 'energy independence' and why it's not a realistic or appropriate goal for the US.....Enjoy

The Seven Myths of Energy Independence