Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"A World Gone Madoff" - Paul Krugman lays down some knowledge

"The revelation that Bernard Madoff — brilliant investor (or so almost everyone thought), philanthropist, pillar of the community — was a phony has shocked the world, and understandably so. The scale of his alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme is hard to comprehend.

Yet surely I’m not the only person to ask the obvious question: How different, really, is Mr. Madoff’s tale from the story of the investment industry as a whole?"


I truly hope that current and future generations learn the lessons being taught by the economic fiasco we are witnessing unfold. Check out this brilliantly written article by Paul Krugman, 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Economics and NYT op-ed contributor.

Friday, December 19, 2008



"After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy."

It's about time! Let's get creative and find new ways for musicians to make money. Hoarding of easily distributable music is not one of them.

I personally think all music should be free for download. Then maybe you could specify in your music player how much you think each song is worth.

Here's one idea.
1. Specify how much you want to spend on music each month(say 10$).
2. Use a music player that tracks what you listen to.
3. Pay out fraction of total to each of the artist depending on how you listened that week.

There are lots of other possible new business and market models. We need to be creative and think about the real value of the musician-listener relationship. It's been driven by rather distorted priorities up till now. What new models are bands currently using? And what are some new things to try?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Derren Brown on psychics

This is an amazing interview with Derren Brown the British mentalist. ->

Derren Brown is a mentalist. He talks about the overlap of his work with the psychic industry. Super interesting to hear him talk about the fact that the available psychic market provides more money and less scrutiny than stage magic. People want to believe and want to spend their money so psychics can often believe they are doing good for others by providing a needed service. Instead, they are preying upon the poor, those in grief, or those looking to make a meaningful change in their life. It's an unfortunate loop that needs to be diverted. Things like this don't tend to be fixed by shattering the loop. They tend to be fixed by putting changing the constraints and motivations of the system, rather than trying to change the end result.

Its great to hear him talk about his work in such plain language. When you watch him in action it can be quite frightening.

Enjoy these videos of Derren in action.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Repeal Day @ All Asia | Upcoming Performance at Lilypad

Hey errrrybody!

Just a quick shout out of appreciation to all of you for being the finest, best, most wonderful fans in the whole wide world. With your overwhelming enthusiasm and zest (and the sponsorship of Dewar's), Friday December 5, incidentally the 75th Anniversary of Repeal Day, became a genuine festival of song and dance.

Extra special thanks go to Lee, Alex, April, Tambourine Al, Kham, Rosemary, Marie, Takiyah, Scott, Diana, Ed, Ahna, Roopa, Suelin, Jamie, Sean, Meg, BJ, Emily, and all the other hip folks who pumped up the jam with the nonstop dance party up front. Nice to see the Percolator and the Kid 'n Play alive and well.

We have another show this Sunday, December 14, at the mystical and mysterious Lilypad in Inman Square. Details below:

Sunday December 14th
The Lilypad
Inman Sq
1353 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA

Electric Laser People

Lilypad events are all ages and have a suggested donation of $10 unless otherwise noted.
Seating is limited, arrive early.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Let's End Drug Prohibition!!

Let's End Drug Prohibition - WSJ.com

Most Americans agreed that alcohol suppression was worse than alcohol consumption.
"Supporters of prohibition blamed the consumers, and some went so far as to argue that those who violated the laws deserved whatever ills befell them. But by 1933, most Americans blamed prohibition itself.

When repeal came, it was not just with the support of those with a taste for alcohol, but also those who disliked and even hated it but could no longer ignore the dreadful consequences of a failed prohibition. They saw what most Americans still fail to see today: That a failed drug prohibition can cause greater harm than the drug it was intended to banish."

Have you used drugs before? Did it kill you? Wreck your life? How many people do you know who have died as a result of cocaine, heroin, or marijuana? How about alcohol or tobacco?
Can we change our mindset to treatment and prevention rather than punishment? What is the goal of drug prohibition? Are we trying to keep kids from using drugs? Because we're failing there. A recent study shows marijuana use is higher in the USA than it is in the Netherlands where Marijuana is legal. I remember as a teen that it was easier for us to get weed than beer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

a super inspirational and moving speech.  
the forum is Carnegie Mellon's "Last Lecture," where speakers imagine it is the last lecture they'll give before death.  Randy Pausch, a CMU faculty member and pioneer in virtual reality, opens his lecture by saying that he's actually been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and goes on to talk about his childhood dreams and how he's accomplished them, his experiences at CMU, notably while setting his mind to helping others accomplish their dreams, and all-encompassing lessons he's learned.  his tone may be surprising; he's sharp, funny, and energetic.  it's about an hour and 15 minutes long, but I'd wager it will leave you feeling better than that movie you might watch instead.  really.  definitely did for me.

if you like what he has to say, he's also written a book called "The Last Lecture" with more personal experiences.