The means by which we live are marvelous indeed. And yet something is missing. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

King Jr, Martin Luther (2012-11-06). A Gift of Love: Sermons from Strength to Love and Other Preachings (King Legacy) (pp. 76-77). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.


The “software crisis” was first identified in 1968 and in the intervening decades has deepened rather than abated. The biggest problem in the development and maintenance of large-scale software systems is complexity — large systems are hard to understand. We believe that the major contributor to this complexity in many systems is the handling of state and the burden that this adds when trying to analyse and reason about the system. Other closely related contributors are code volume, and explicit concern with the flow of control through the system.

“Out of the Tar Pit”, Ben Moseley and Peter Marks, 2006


Only through the bringing together of head and heart— intelligence and goodness— shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature. Neither is this to say that one must be a philosopher or a possessor of extensive academic training before he can achieve the good life. I know many people of limited formal training who have amazing intelligence and foresight. The call for intelligence is a call for openmindedness, sound judgment, and love for truth. It is a call for men to rise above the stagnation of closedmindedness and the paralysis of gullibility.

King Jr, Martin Luther (2012-11-06). A Gift of Love: Sermons from Strength to Love and Other Preachings (King Legacy) (p. 43). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.

Jim Benson: “You Are a Role Model”

Jim Benson, in his recent post, “You Are a Role Model”, gets to a core belief I carry about the shadows we cast in this world and our effects on each other, whether we choose to believe it, or not.  A good read to start a week.

Happy 25th World Wide Web!

Hard to believe that the World Wide Web launched into being on March 12th, 1994. Its ethos, its architectural principals, and its use, have helped to open the world to each of us, with the simple power of the link. My career, and more important, the friendships I have made, wouldn’t have been possible without it.

A couple years after launch, in 1996, I attempted to launch my own home page on VoiceNet, a Philadelphia ISP.  Like Kimberly Blessing (a friend, old coworker, and influence on my career), I decided to see if I could restore it, and here it is, mostly.

My home page in 1996

Thank you WWW

Check out:

Voyager 1 and Cosmos

Voyager 1 has recently entered interstellar space, take a moment to pause and think about it, it will leave you inspired.

Yesterday my daughter and I watched episode 6 of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos,“Travellers’ Tales” (watch it for free at Hulu). One of my favorite chapters of Cosmos, it pulls together stories of Earth’s early explorers and the team at NASA who were working on Voyager. Brit Mandelo wrote a great description of the episode:

“We have travelled this way before, and there is much to be learned by studying those great voyages of a few centuries ago.”—This is the guiding sentiment of “Travellers’ Tales.” It’s a literary sentiment, the idea that stories structure our world, and that stories are the commodity that we gain from exploration then bring back to trade amongst ourselves. The juxtaposition of stories—the 17th century Dutch scientific and exploratory culture with the late 70’s narratives of the Voyager spacecrafts—allows us, in a metonymic way, to understand a piece of human nature that Sagan seems to be arguing holds us together as a species.

Brooks Barnes, at The New York Times, wrote “In a Breathtaking First, NASA’s Voyager 1 Exits the Solar System”:

Even among planetary scientists, who tend to dream large, the idea that something they built could travel beyond the Sun’s empire and keep grinding away is impressive. Plenty of telescopes gaze at the far parts of the Milky Way, but Voyager 1 can now touch and feel the cold, unexplored region in between the stars and send back detailed dispatches about conditions there

The New York Times piece quotes Suzanne Dodd, one of the original engineers on the project and who is now Voyager Project Manager.

The World’s Youngest Programmer?

Discovery News: Meet the Youngest Video Game Programmer:

A bright young programmer from Philadelphia recently unveiled a video game involving ballerinas, jewels and vampires — sure to be a hit with young girls. The programmer herself also happens to be seven years old.

Zora Ball, a first grader at the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School in Philadelphia, created the video game in a class focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics led by Tariq Al-Nasir, who heads the STEMnasium Learning Academy.

Checkout Zora’s story at Discovery News.

Commodore 64 turned 30 yesterday

BBC ran a piece introducing a C64 to a couple groups of children to commemorate the day.


Wikipedia: Commodore 64
ars technica: A history of the Amiga
Commodore USA

Dawn Sanders Jordan: “Everything will be completely up from here”

Daniel Rubin wrote about Dawn Sanders Jordan last week and I wanted to leave a post here, because someday I’m going to have to meet or write her. Go Dawn, Go!.

Want to help grow empathy and fight self-centeredness?

There have been more than a few reports outlining a decline of empathy, but did you know (or maybe forget that) reading literature can help you experience another person’s life through reading? A recent study found that it is true (wow, I actually wrote that sentence here and probably deserve some shame.. anyways…).

While the story in Psychology Today is centered on business, it must still be true that the stories we tell our children have impact. Read with them, and read them stories that help them see the world for what it is and can be.

If you are in financial distress and can’t see the immediate value, know that in addition, literature can provide a gateway to other humanities, which is leverage that help navigate the world. Earl Shorris, who recently passed away, and whose book, “The Art of Freedom: Teaching the Humanities to the Poor” will be published in 2013, said the following:

Numerous forces—hunger, isolation, illness, landlords, police, abuse, neighbors, drugs, criminals, and racism, among many others—exert themselves on the poor at all times and enclose them, making up a “surround of force” from which, it seems, they cannot escape. I had come to understand that this was what kept the poor from being political and that the absence of politics in their lives was what kept them poor. I don’t mean “political” in the sense of voting in an election but in the way Thucydides used the word: to mean activity with other people at every level, from the family to the neighborhood to the broader community to the city-state.

Read the whole article: Harpers: Earl Shorris: As a weapon in the hands of the restless poor”

We focus so much on teaching concrete skills in school, as a means to an end, to get a job, but having that as the lone purpose of education is a mistake. I don’t know where I’d be without the books I’d find myself reading way back when. I had thought they were a means to escape whatever was going on my life thru my imagination, and sure, they were, but it turns out they helped me immeasurably in every day life and still do to this day.