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?”

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A Change is a Coming.

10 11 2009

by: christow

Fall

On November 9th here in San Francisco the season finally seems to have changed. For those unfamiliar, the city tends to have autumn summers year in and year out. Now the sun is going down earlier, the temperature has dipped a few degrees and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

Currently we are working on adding some new writers to the blog and also upgrading the layout. I have some things in mind for the upgrade but also feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion on things you want to see in the blog.

Cut Copy – Unforgettable Season

Download – Unforgettable Season





The World’s First Personal Energy Generator

8 11 2009

I’ve recently moved to San Francisco and found it to be one of the most glorious cities I have been to in my life. The weather is beautiful, architecture classic, people diverse, and food delicioso. The best way, in my opinion, to explore and learn a city is just by wandering around: walking on foot, poking your head in various stores and venturing down alleys. Complement this with the type of tunes from your iPod that fit the mood and environment, and I approach heaven.

Adventure + Music = Bliss.

Until your iPod screen goes blank. No more juice.

Or imagine another scenario, one that isn’t so pleasant. Say you’re in an emergency, but your cell phone is dead. What to do? Can’t just generate power without an outlet, right?

Introducing the nPower personal energy generator (PEG).

ht_Pod-w-nPower-Rev-B_090112_main

As you walk, the PEG harvests the kinetic energy that you’re already generating and converts it into usable power for recharging your handheld electronic devices.

It’s quite a nifty little piece of equipment. It doesn’t seem real at first thought, but I guess that is the case of new technology. The nPower PEG literally just harnesses the bounce in your step to generate the power equivalent of a wall charger, so that you can charge your iPod, cell phone, PDA, GPS, or any other hand held electronic device you deem needs some charging.

It’s 9″ long and weighs 9 ounces, so portability is definitely not an issue. It is not yet available for purchase, but is available for pre-order on its website for $149. That price is definitely outside of my willingness to pay for a piece of gear like that for now, but I expect prices to drop once production increases.

I found out about this on a Business Week feature on promising start-ups, which profiles the man behind the PEG.





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.

Player

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





The Thrown is Up For Grabs

5 11 2009

by: christow

The King

The crown sits on top of Air Canada eternally for me. No one, none of the highlights I can muster up have changed my mind that Vince Carter was and is the greatest dunker of all time. He took Mike’s style, Dominque’s power, and Dr. J’s finesse and made it his own. From 1999 to 2002 there was not a night on Sportscenter that did not chronicle another highlight clip to add to his resume, he made those NBA Live dunks come to life. What separated Vince from the likes was his determination to dunk on anyone and anything in front of him. You could throw a giraffe in the key and Vince Carter will make it his mission to posterize it.

Let’s refresh your memory.

If you can’t watch 7 minutes of highlights, I suggest just watching the last minute, it’ll be the best minute of your day.

Dr. J established the dunk as a viable way to score two points, Jordan revolutionized the art of dunking, and Vince Carter conquered the dunk.

I believe we are in a very dry state of high flyers in today’s game. There isn’t one name that comes up to the question of, who is the best dunker today? Here is a brief list of the players who could possibly hold that crown.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Similar to Dominique Wilkins, Josh Smith has the meanest windmill in the game right now. At 6’9 he has no problems getting up there, but what he lacks is the flair and the consistency. He already won the dunk contest back in 2005, but he really has not made himself a household name yet. He makes LeBron’s cockback dunk look elementary, but Smith simply doesn’t dunk on people. He has all the freakish athleticism to fit the mold, but when you watch his highlights, he remains just a fast break open court dunker.

J.R. and Nate

J.R. Smith and Nate Robinson

6’6 is the magic number for a dunker. Just tall enough to pull off amazing look dunks without making it look too easy because you’re already tall, and not too short to be able to pull those amazing looking dunks that are great because they are great and not because the dunker was small.

Michael Jordan (6’6)
Kobe Bryant (6’6)
Vince Carter (6’6)
Clyde Drexler (6’7)
Julius Erving (6’7)
Harold Miner (6’5)
J.R. Rider (6’5)

I had high hopes for J.R. Smith when he entered the dunk contest a few years ago. Everyone talked about how this guy was a high flyer, a leaper, a dunker. Because he played on the Hornets and didn’t receive much playing time, I figured he’s just getting used to the league. The 2005 dunk contest was his opportunity to prove the hype right (or wrong). So on the main stage he delivered the behind the back dunk. On paper and through word of mouth this sounds like a dope dunk that really hadn’t been done yet.

But he missed his first try. The hype bubble burst, the flair was gone, we knew what was coming. And really the approach he took for the behind the back dunk just didn’t look cool. Why not go behind the back on the baseline and end up on the other side for the flush? Since he appearance in the dunk contest J.R. has shown glimpses of becoming a great player, but just hasn’t put it all together to be a complete player. In fact, today he is known more for his 3-point ability more so than his high flying acrobatics. Sorry J.R. I guess 6’6 wasn’t a lucky number for you.

As for Nasty Nate? Anyone who watched this little guy run things with Brandon Roy in Washington knew this kid could get up. Gary Coleman with hops?!? He had that (for lack of a better word) swag, that little train that could. He brought out Spud Webb (he should have lined up Muggsy Bogues and Earl Boykins too) and showed the world he was serious. I won’t lie, KrypotNate earned the his crown in 2006 (and arguably in 2008).

But the problem for Nate, which he showed in the most recent dunk contest, is being a short dunker limits your ability to be a creative dunker. A short dunker’s biggest attribute is his height. Normal dunks look cooler because they aren’t supposed to be done by someone under 6’0. Nate simply doesn’t get the opportunity (and realistically) can’t dunk over someone like Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, or Shaq in a real live game. Nate earned his dunking legend but just like Spud Webb, he is more of a slam dunk legend than anything else.

King James

Lebron James

It’s pretty simple why Lebron James would be on this list. He is the most freakish athlete I have ever seen. At 6’8 he is as strong as a linebacker but moves like a wide-receiver, on the basketball court. Out of every player in the NBA, LeBron beats the rim down the hardest. Every dunk the insurance company on the hoop holds their breath.

The problem? LeBron has ZERO creativity when it comes to dunking the ball. This the real reason why we haven’t seen LeBron in a dunk contest the past few years. His signature dunk is bringing his arm back as far as he can with one arm. He’ll sometimes throw his off hand on his head, you know for style. I guess well you are built like a Ford F250 you won’t be able to make the turns like a BMW. But this is why I cannot consider LeBron the best dunker today, because the excitement only on how hard he will dunk, and not how he will dunk the ball. You got time kid, in fact since you mentioned you will be in this year’s dunk contest, you have 4 months.

Dwight

Dwight Howard

Dwight has all the tools to destroy every hoop he touches. He is 7’0 and built like an armored Hummer (the army version). But have you seen Dwight dunking the ball in a game?

Jaw-Dropping? Not really. Dwight can jump for a big man but he doesn’t SLAM the ball. He treats the hoop like he treats the NBA media, with smiles and high fives. Hang on the rim Dwight, scream a little, put some fear into the groundskeeping crew that they will have to roll out a new hoop this season.

Dwight should be the best dunker in the game. Think about it, if Vince can dunk on people at 6’6, Dwight should be able to serve up every single player in the NBA. So I suggest Dwight to watch every single clip of Shaq and Amare Stoudamire. They treated the hoop like a a Piñata with gold bars in it.

Get it Dwight?

So the question is, who is the best dunker in the NBA right now?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Bonus

James White

Probably the most fun dunker I have seen since Vince. His problem? He can’t find a home in the NBA. Can’t someone just keep him around long enough so he can be eligible for the dunk contest?





These the peppers Peter picked.

4 11 2009

by: christow

The Fiasco

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a rapper with so many tongue twisters. Right off the bat Lupe Fiasco glides on this track and makes me want to replay the song, and replay the song, and replay the song to catch every lyric. I don’t always understand everything he says immediatly but I think that’s one of the biggest draws about his music. Lupe makes me want to look up his lyrics and dig into the meaning of his message. His songs can be hit or miss, for all the songs that blow right over my head, there are the tracks nail it right on my forehead. Here’s his latest, a freestyle. Whenever I play it, it’s never just one time.

Lupe Fiasco – Say Something

Download – Say Something (Freestyle)





Is Facebook Dying?

1 11 2009

by: christow

The Good Book

I thought about this recently while browsing through the website. Facebook was transcending when it hit the web because it introduced a cool way to connect with your friends. Cell phone contacts were held for the significantly small number of people you talked and texted frequently. Everyone else, from your buddies you played kickball with in grade school to the high school classmates, you could now “talk” to without actually contacting them through the phone. AIM slowly took a backseat to the overpowering engine of Web 2.0.

Facebook was also an elusive club, college. When I first heard about Facebook, I turned it down as another trendy website (MySpace or another campus gossip site). The website was in it’s baby years still actively creating an image. During my senior year of high school (2005), Facebook opened it’s doors to the high school network, and kept them separate. All my friends at the time were departing across the country to different colleges. Facebook enabled me to stay connected with less effort (phone calls, texts, or emails); tow@fordham.edu, account created.

From my freshman year of college to my recent college graduation in May, Facebook had encompassed all aspects of my college life. My profile photo showed the world (wide web) who I was, the parties and events taking place and where, the private messages not for the public arena of a wall post, and the thousands of photos to scour through. Facebook defined the modern college experience. More people can now navigate through the site than use Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, or even how to balance a checkbook.

Now that I have graduated from college, I also graduated from Facebook. Looking through the website, I found that the site has lost a certain charm. Maybe it’s the flood of applications, the totally insignificant notifications that pop up, the time wasting video games that entertain some, the presence of your online status altered by Facebook Chat, and the irrelevant messages that front for shameless plugs. Maybe it’s the commercialization of the product, that now a 13 year old or an unwanted older family member have flooded the website. A wall post to a friend feels strikingly similar to that inconvenient AIM message to someone you don’t normally talk to.

Whether you are a fan of Twitter or not, Facebookers update their status in a familiar manner similar to the now infamous tweets. The where you ares, what you are thinkings, and what you are doings have replaced the foundation of what Facebook was originally for, maintaining the connection with other people. Instead we have opted to simply state our status to keep anyone interested informed. Facebook may have crossed the line in the area that protects our individuality, the mystery.

The big question I stand before is, did Facebook fail to evolve and remain relevant or have I grown too old for Facebook? I am starting to feel a sense of MySpaceness on Facebook that I always appreciated was kept separate. There are still the benefits of staying connected with those friends who are countries and cities away, but for the most part I find e-mails to be more effective. The problem is that e-mails were never cool and lacked the cool and innovative arena that Facebook once provided. Facebook was the it place to connect with people. Now it has become the it place to spend (or waste) time.

Kudos to Mark Zuckerburg because he is a businessman. He and his friends created one of the most innovative and game-changing inventions of our generation. For as long as he protected his cash cow, he also let the $ signs water down the site and which now ultimately have killed it.

Here is something to keep an eye on, Google Wave. If it is everything they say it is, Google Wave seeks to transform (yet again) the way we communicate through the Internet. In a nutshell, Google Wave is an indescribable process of communication that is a hybrid of email, web chat, and IM.

I appreciate and thank Facebook for being such an integral part of my college experience. You were the roommate everyone loved having around. We all talked with you, joked about you, shared our lives with you and made you apart of everything we did. We checked on you every morning, during class and even counted on you to provide us with the daily scoop on everyone. It was a great run and I couldn’t have asked anything more than what you already provided. I hope to see you evolve and continue to be apart of my life, but the more realistic side of me believes we have reached our final days. Keep on trucking and take care of the new crop of kids that will make you a huge role in their college careers.