I’ve read a few theories about the origin of our expression “OK.” But I haven’t come across this one that occurred to me the other day. When you hold your hand in that gesture that means “OK”, you make a circle with your thumb and index finger. That’s an O, and your other three fingers sort of make a “K”. The middle finger is the vertical stem, and the other two fingers are the diagonal ones.

Distance learning for the over-educated

I’m definitely a “lifelong learner” type, always craving new courses, books, or ideas. I even love reading long computer game manuals for complicated games like Europa Universalis 3. It’s pretty easy to learn the beginning of a new field, because there are usually some audiobooks, Teaching Company courses, or online materials to introduce you to the main concepts. But what if you already know a lot about something, and you want to learn even more?

Giving digital items is hard

Here’s a list of a few things I like: books, audiobooks, music, movies, video games, iPhone apps. I consume these items on a variety of devices: Kindle, iPhone, PC, Mac, Xbox, PS3, Wii. Most of those platforms have a digital download mechanism in place for the software, e.g. you can download music or audiobooks from the iTunes store, Amazon or Audible. You can download movies from iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, or PS3.

Mac Moments: Not using paths

On my Mac, I had a movie in my Movies folder called “Sesame Street Season 1 part 1.m4v”. I dragged it to iTunes so I could play it there (for my daughter), and all was well. One day I wanted to move those old Sesame Streets into a folder called “old”, so I made the “old” folder and dragged that movie in, no big deal. iTunes still had a record of that movie file of course, but what happens when I ask iTunes to play it?

Lord of the Rings in 100 48 pages

I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s movie versions of The Lord of the Rings novels. A HUGE fan. But I am also a fan of the books, which I have read several times, and which I have also done supplementary reading on. This post is for anyone who enjoyed watching the movies, is willing to re-watch the extended editions, and has a desire to read the books but hesitates to invest the full time required to read 3 novels.

My interpretation of 42% pro-choice

I’m going way out on a limb here, so bear with me. 42% of Americans are pro-choice, according to a new Gallup poll, and 51% are pro-life. My response to this is: since so many Americans disagree with the pro-life stance, then we should stick with the neutral road, which is the policy to keep abortions legal. Those who are against abortion may avoid having them, and convince those around them not to have them, either.

Why is science important?

I was linked to this video today and really enjoyed it. I have never heard of Alom Shaha, but I hope to see more from him in the future. Why is Science Important? from Alom Shaha on Vimeo.


I’m reading an interesting book about economics, public policy, and psychology. It’s called Nudge. They make many interesting points that were completely new to me about the way people do not behave in the rational manner modeled by the previous generation of economists. In fact, there are systematic biases in our decision-making that can be quantified and worked around by enacting sensible policies. The cover issues ranging from the Medicare prescription drug plan to 401k plans, to organ donation, to the environment.

Vista = Ick

I’m so tired of living with Windows Vista. Especially when it comes to USB. Whenever I plug in a USB device that I’ve used a million times before, but I plug it into a different USB port, Vista goes into overdrive. “Searching for driver!” it exclaims in a balloon. The hard drive churns and churns for about two minutes. You can’t do anything else disk-intensive during this time, so basically you’re just waiting at this point.


I love the feeling I get after I tweak what songs are on my iPhone. I added a composer (Mahler) and a Teaching Company course (about Mahler) because I finished listening to another course (about US relations with the Middle East). I added some Beatles album art and the latest Ben Folds album. It’s all freshened up and ready for new listening!