Sunday, January 27, 2008

So, an exciting piece of news to share with the world at large: Rhythm & Jews [under construction], my dearest a cappella group, will be singing an arrangement of "Still Alive" this Winter. For anyone who has not experienced the joy and GLaDness of this song, here it is:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A very awesome video. Lyrics here.


Random blog related to this one.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

To be able to study anything, and everything -- music, biology, philosophy, politics, psychology, language, cooking, chemistry, optics, EE, topology, what it feels like to jump out of a plane, you name it -- is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Why would anyone want to specialize? Why would anyone want to limit themselves to the confines of one field? It is true, as my father reminds me, that in branching out you run the risk of becoming the jack of all trades, but master of none. But it is a risk worth taking, because this game is something worth losing.

I'm reminded of the anxious mother of a high school student I once tutored; she was obsessed with getting her 9th grader into Harvard/MIT/Yale/[insert Ivy League school here]. She asked me, "Is he better off taking honors classes and getting A's, or taking AP's and getting B's?" I gave her the answer any honest admissions officer would give: "He's better off taking AP classes and getting A's." Why don't we hold the same standards for ourselves in Life? The college admissions rat race is not worth a thing if it stops once you're in the school of your dreams. It must go on, if anything, it must accelerate. Because we only have a limited time to gain all the knowledge we can ever know. As far as we can tell, we're all going to die, and this is it. How much will you have learned? Richard Feynman summed it up well, I think: "I was born not knowing, and have only a little time to change that here and there."

Many act as though it is not possible to be an expert in many and varying fields. And I say this is exactly the attitude which makes it true. A curiosity for everything will make widespread mastery inevitable, so long as we are not fettered by fear or shame at our own interests. So, to hell with those who say I can't learn that much in a lifetime; there is nothing better than thinking or learning; there is nothing else worth the time. Yes, there are infinite questions about any infinitely small specialization. Yes, it is unrealistic to desire all knowledge in a single lifetime. But there are also laws, generalizations, descriptions of reality, that teach us just as well: these are the Laws of Truth, and they are what we seek.

So have fun, go learn something. Happy New Year...