Reality Check

8 12 2009

by: christow

“The truth is generally seen and rarely heard”

Can you tell which videos are real and which are fake? Or are they all real?

In the 90’s and early 2000’s, CGI clearly drew the line between animations and reality. We could see with our own eyes the aliens, explosions, “twins” and space scenes and we would know the real from the movie magic. We knew when we walked into those theaters that we were paying for the entertainment of the films and we engaged in the trickery.

But now…some of that trickery has encompassed the viral realm. For those that have heard the term but are unfamiliar, viral videos are those that gain notoriety through the internet via social media or video sharing sites. Just think of videos like this and that.

For the most part, viral videos have the look and feel of being homemade and done by someone like you or me. These viral videos were able to catch some of those moments we all need to satisfy our need for entertainment or to visualize something we had heard through the grapevine. For a while Youtube delivered that void of our imagination.

And now we have this…

Marketing has now broken into the viral realm and in many facets blurred the line of reality. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy watching these videos produced or real. To me these videos serve as entertainment purposed only. My concern though is when we reach points where we do need to authenticate a video, will we be able to?

I honestly can’t tell with some of videos now because the quality of video is supposed to be low. So unless something stands out as incredibly fake or unreal I simply have to cast off most videos as entertainment and entertainment only. The best way for me to actually believe if a video is real or not is actually the source in which I find the video. There are certain blogs that I “trust” more than others and certain websites I get more assurance from. Even then I am leaving myself vulnerable to the persuasion of others, something I don’t feel all too comfortable with. What I fear are the videos that will come out that could possibly tarnish reputations and create false hysteria, so keep your eyes pealed and don’t be fooled by all the Youtube magic.

Download ~ Binary Star – Reality Check


How to: Get it in

11 11 2009

by: Kevin Connors

There is a race going on right now that only a handful of people know about. The athletes are as follows:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

What they are they playing for? People like you.

You’re American, you’re smart, and most importantly you’re curious. These six governments are all competing for the best and brightest foreigners. This article from Sunday’s Taipei Times explains just how serious things are getting in Asia. It’s quite simple. The leaders of these places know three things: the world is flattening (see: Thomas Friedman), their populations are aging, and there is no clear top university in the East. There’s no Oxford or Harvard in Asia—there’s Beijing University, University of Hong Kong, University of Tokyo, National University of Singapore, Seoul National University, and National Taiwan University. And they’re creeping up. Some world university rankings reports have these same places ahead of schools like Brown, Northwestern, and UC Berkeley.

According to Jared McClelland, a graduate student at National Taiwan University, after the Middle East, “the last great stand of American hegemony is going to be in East Asia.” Fortunately, “Asia universities see this, and they see an opportunity to bring people here.” In fact, the Taiwanese government was so eager to get people like McClelland to study in their country, that not only did they offer him admission into the International Relations Program at Taiwan’s top university, they also told him not to worry about tuition—he got a full ride.

A lot of people nowadays talk about wanting to do something different, and they’re right in thought because our generation is absolutely the generation of change. If you’re interested in international relations or if you want to work abroad why not go to graduate school at one of these universities? It’s certainly something to consider. The government scholarships available to people like you and me aren’t just handouts but they should be on our radars as options. Send an e-mail or Skype their admissions office and just ask questions about the type of aid available. If you had to strategize about education, now seems to be the time to do it. You would be buying low, and in 20 years when you got two kids and a dog people just might be asking you, “You went to NUS in Singapore? How’d you even know about it back then?”

Who Controls the Butter?

6 11 2009

by: Kevin Connors

On Sundays

Who has control of the butter? That’s an important answer to know as you go through life. Myron Rolle is a guy who in 20 years everyone will know: from high society executives with their perfect posture and thorough knowledge of fine wines, to the guys on Sundays who never quite make it to the stadiums because they got to the parking lot at 8AM for a 4PM game. Rolle is our generation’s scholar-athlete. Despite the fact he is still only an amateur, his demonstrated athletic ability as a college football player at Florida State University dovetailed with his academic success can only leave us wondering one question: what’s next? Enrolled in St. Edmund at the University of Oxford, Rolle is studying for a master’s degree in medical anthropology—which essentially translates to “Bro! This dude is really smart…he’s studying how guys like you and me are affected by health care and all that shizz-nit.” Well let me tell you that, “dude” this guy really is THAT smart. With desires to one day be a neurosurgeon, Rolle now finds himself in one of the most elite clubs our world knows as a Rhodes Scholar. Bill Clinton’s lawyer? Yeah, he was one. Oh, and Bill Clinton? He was one too back in ’68. The guy who invented that little GPS you use in your car? That was made by Ivan Getting, a Rhodes Scholar in 1933. The list goes on and on, from the former president of Pakistan, Wasim Sajjad, to the presidents of some of the most prestigious universities in the world. The Rhodes Scholar alumni list reads like a Who’s Who in the world of geniuses.

Our parents’ Myron Rolle was a guy named Bill Bradley.


Case and point, the commencement speaker at my graduation this past spring was Chris Matthews, a popular political commentator and TV show host of Hardball on MSNBC. Matthews started off his speech by explaining to us this idea of “who has control of the butter” with a story about player turned Senator Bill Bradley…

“Do you guys know who Bill Bradley is? Well, let’s just say he’s everything you’d want to be and more. So here’s Bill one evening at a dinner at the White House. The waiter is filling water glasses and passing out bread and butter. Bill says to the guy, ‘Hey you, waiter. Get me some more butter, this just isn’t enough.’ To which the waiter says, ‘I’m sorry, each guest only receives one serving of butter.’ Nearly hysterical Bradley then goes on to ask, ‘Son, do you know who I am?’ A bit startled at the challenge the waiter says ‘No, I’m sorry sir, but I don’t.’ Leaning back with an assured grin Bradley then begins, ‘I’m Bill Bradley. I was an All-American basketball player at Princeton and got an Olympic gold before even graduating. Then I turned down the NBA to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. After finishing that up I came back to the US, played for 10 seasons with the Knicks and won two championships. Then I retired and became a senator. Oh yeah, and then I ran for President.’ Taken aback a bit by the aggressiveness in Bradley’s short outburst, the waiter took a few moments to gather himself then returned the brazen stare and said, ‘I don’t think you know who I am.’ ‘Well, who ARE you?’ Bradley asked. The waiter grinned, ‘I’m the guy in charge of the butter. One per person.” And with that, the waiter walked away.

Myron Rolle is a guy who knows who’s in control of the butter at all times. It’s something to aspire to become but there’s just no shame in looking at a guy like that and thinking, “Damn, what a great guy. Best of luck, Myron.”

Future NFLer and Rhode Scholar Myron Rolle – NYTimes

Clipse – I’m Good

Download – I’m Good

Keys to the Chest

22 10 2009

by: christow

The Kingdom

Before you jolt and pick up a new Blu-Ray player this holiday season in anticipation for the transition from DVD to Blu-Ray, pay attention to Disney’s unveiling of it’s project “Keychest”. We knew the day would come that DVD hardware would become obsolete. Consumers are continually moving to digital media storage i.e. cd’s to iTunes libraries. Why do we need a physical copy of a movie if we can use the digital hemisphere for storage? Next month Disney will propose a new technology that may pave a new path in the way we watch movies.

With Keychest, Disney plans on offering users a one time purchase for the permanent access (not ownage) of a movie or tv show. That purchase allows users to watch the shows through computers, cell phones and other portable devices. Keychest will be using “cloud technology”, which essentially is the ability to use internet servers for storage and allow access to the content from anywhere. So rather than lugging around your laptop or external hard-drive with the movies, you only have to have access to the internet to play a movie. The goal of Keychest is to bypass the purchase of actual DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs, but rather buy the rights to watch the films and shows through an internet service provider. Keep an eye out next month for the development of the Keychest technology next month.

For more on Keychest check out the article in the Wall Street Journal.

Ditch the DVD’s – Wall Street Journal

Speed Demons Pt. 1

19 10 2009

by: christow

Reading…some dread it, some love, and others like but don’t do enough of it. One of the most daunting obstacles of reading is that it takes a great amount of time to read AND retain the information in a book. Does it take you 30 minutes to read ten pages? Or do you get to the bottom of the page and forget what you just read?

Meet Timothy Ferriss.

In short, Tim Ferriss offers a way to increase the rate at which we read. The average person reads about 1/2 a page to a page a minute. After performing Ferriss’s 20 minute exercise (with constant practice of course) you can increase your speed to about 10 pages a minute. Skeptical? Me too.

I don’t know if I will be able to read a page in 6 seconds (yes that’s 10 pages a minute) I do believe Ferriss is going to teach a very effective technique.

What you need:

20 minutes
One 200+ book
One Pen
A Timer

Here’s the exercise:

I will be trying this exercise with this book:


This is You Brain on Music

Try it out and see if it works. It’s only 20 minutes of your day.

Currensy – Blown Away

For the investment banker in all of us

22 09 2009

Ever wanted to be a banker? Since we all know the state of the banking industry these days, it’s fairly easy to say that it’s difficult to crack the banking business with an entry-level position.

But to hell with that! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something online, that’s kinda like facebook, where you can find people who need loans if you have some extra cash to lend? Well then I invite you to take a gander…

Basically how it works is this:

Say you are a looking for some cash to pay for school, or a car, or to retrofit your home. Credit is kinda tight right now at the banks, and your credit score isn’t the best (but decent…because you don’t have a credit history and haven’t had the opportunity to destroy your score), but you really need some cash. So you can go to, sign up (“it’s quick and easy!”), identify how much you would like to borrow (let’s say $10,000) and the max interest rate (how about 10%, lets keep it simple) you are looking to pay. Your request gets listed, and now my buddy Joe  (who’s also signed up on Prosper) can offer you a $10,000 loan of his own money at the 10% interest you stated. But here comes the fun part. Now if I think that there’s a pretty good chance you’ll repay it no problemo in the three year repayment period, I can offer you 9.5% for the same $10,000 loan. Better deal for you, and I make the money off interest instead of Joe.

Now the people in the video definitely look like your average Joes, who are saying they are making a killing on by becoming “lenders” to qualified borrowers with good credit scores (min. 640). I guess a website like this makes sense during times like these, where traditional avenues for credit from banks are not easily accessible. Combine the need of some for income with the need to borrow for others, and a site like Prosper is born.

In the meantime, Prosper is sitting back and making at least 4% of fees on each loan, while taking on essentially no risk. This latter part is significant, especially when one lender found that about 20% of all Prosper loans default. On the flip side, one can get a great deal if one is looking to borrow, since there is a two week auction period in which lenders compete by offering lower interest rates. All in all, an it’s incredible idea that should develop and overcome it’s shortfalls, providing a great resource for our inner investment banker.


14 09 2009
by: christow

the lab

I was never much of a science kid growing up. I wasn’t fascinated with wilderness and camping, with animals and evolution, or even the complexity of the human body. Maybe it was the “city” kid in me that held me back.

Biology, chemistry, and physics all had great moments…but I didn’t know how to develop those moments into functions of my life. Now I realize it wasn’t that science was uninteresting, I just wasn’t introduced to the subject matter in a stimulating way.



Radiolab is a podcast. Those unfamiliar with a podcast, think of it as modern day radio but with a better and more selective filter. Radiolab features two great minds, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, as they tackle profound questions with digestible (and creative) answers.

If you have an hour, sit down with the podcast and give it a listen. Like any great song, truly appreciating the work means listening (not hearing).

Today’s clip is about sleep. Sleep is as important to the body as air, water, and food. What is it about sleep that recharges us? What are dreams? Here is a short clip from the hour long podcast. – Sleep

If you dig their stuff subscribe to their podcast by searching “Radiolab” in the iTunes store and support them here. It’s FREE. Spread the knowledge.