Tuesday, April 29, 2008


graph paper

one of the tasks on my to-do list for the month of may is:

Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Life.

i mean, roughly.

this obviously includes a few sub-tasks, but one of the prominent ones involves decisioning about graduate school. and without going into the whole rigmarole, i'll just state that i'm trying to decide how to reconcile interests in economics, sociology, and environmental sustainability into a reasonable academic path, and in the process necessarily trying to gauge my relative interest in long-term study of each field.

the one of these that i'm least sure of is economics. i've been in love with economics as an academic focus since my junior year of college, and i think it's crazy interesting. but! it's also kind of, well, hard. as in: it was hard to get A's in when i took upper division courses in it. also as in: other things (like sociology and environmental studies, for example) are easier. so i go back and forth.

and in the meantime, as i continue to not make decisions about anything having to do with the aforementioned situation, i've been reading and learning about fun ways of using economic frameworks to think about life. i've also become aware of my tendency to think about things in terms of data points, summed quantifications, diagrams, and graphs. i've also noticed that i adore thinking about correlation and causality. ...and i've taken these various pieces of information and observation and thought aimlessly about whether they mean i should go take a bunch of hard classes with lots of math in them.

WHICH IS ALL TO SAY: i really appreciate this post in the nytimes freakonomics blog, and am happy to be reminded that this site exists :)

Friday, April 18, 2008



the guy over at unit structures has created an application that disables your computer's networking capabilities for a selected time interval. this elates me, and leads me to hope that at some point in the not-too-distant future i will gain a modicum of strictly enforced 'self-restraint' with respect to getting things done while sitting at my computer.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


recycling!: top secret advance newsflash

i just heard that on earth day this year (4/22), san francisco's going to switch to an uber-inclusive plastics recycling program, accepting all 1-6 plastics.


note that this is dramatically different from the current situation. right now, san francisco curbside collection only wants plastic bottles (of any number) and plastic tubs that are numbers 2, 4, or 5. that's IT. no bags, no trays, no anything-else. just bottles and tubs.

further note, more cynically, that just because this plethora of plastic will be collected from residences does not mean that it will actually end up recycled, since the recycling of the plastics is dependent on finicky and fluctuating and non-profitable markets.

but imo--and this is certainly a debatable stance--setting up an *easy-to-use* inclusive curbside system is better than a picky curbside system. (pro: the system catches more of the plastics that can be recycled and recycles them! con: people are led to believe that all plastics get recycled if you put them in a blue bin, which is absolute bullshit.)

this is an unofficial and semi-unconfirmed bit of info. i'll try to find proof by earth day :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


homelessness in san francisco

for the past couple months--as i've been working through a very long prioritized to-do list that specifically has, in bold and underlined letters, NO BLOGGING stamped in a very visible location--i've been collecting and sitting on blog post predecessors that i wistfully hope will eventually become subjects of multi-paragraph bits of writing in this forum.

but that's totally a pipe dream. so. with that in mind, here's a link to an article that was in the guardian in mid-february. it's an expose on the homeless shelter system in san francisco.

if i could, i would make every resident of the bay area read this piece. i found it very informative and also extremely moving.

when visitors come to san francisco--even (especially) from new york city--the homeless are the first thing they notice in my neighborhood. it shocks and horrifies them. i know that the problem is something i've become numb to, and i'm glad that reports like this are being written. and hats off to the guardian for making homelessness a headline issue in their publication so far in 2008...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


celebrating earth hour: let's drive out so we can see the city!

from an article about how earth hour is a nice idea but in practice probably doesn't save any energy:

There are reports of swarms of people driving their cars (which of course burn fossil fuels) to the city in order to see the spectacle of a lack of light. Ironic (or rather, moronic)? People who light candles during Earth Hour are quite likely just as misguided, judging by this back of the envelope calculation. ...

So if there isn’t any positive environmental impact from Earth Hour what does it achieve? Publicity for the environment? Was a Nobel Prize and and every other news story from the past few years not enough?

the environmental theme for 2008, in case you haven't noticed yet, appears to be:

'wow, this shit is really complicated, isn't it?'

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