Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How We Decide

Even though there were many instances in reading where I felt I was re-reading something I learned from Psychology 101, or from the books "Blink" or "Paradox of Choice", I really enjoyed this book. It deals with goes on inside the brain in a simple and cutting edge sort of way. Mostly a collection of case studies delivered rather well by Jonah Lehrer, a Rhodes Scholar, this book should further convince most people of the relevance to the field of neuroscience.

Some of the stories go through the step by step process of the brains thinking patterns and how it plays out in everyday choices. It helps to explain a lot of the different impulses we experience when seeing something cool to buy like a nice car, house or a pair of shoes. The rush of euphoria we feel when we see something we want is usually negated with with a counteracting feeling of rationality when we cannot afford it. However, credit cards, peer influence, flashing lights, the idea of something being 'on sale' all serve to mask these feelings of control, and we end up making the purchase...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Obama Phoenician style

Driving to church in Scottsdale I was surprised by how many police I saw on every corner. Outside in the 105 degree heat they were on motorcycles, in SUVS and of course in cars. In the middle of church the Bishop got up and asked everyone who parked their car on 56th st. to move their car because a motorcade would be coming through. So with some laughs about a dozen people got up to move their vehicle. I did some quick searches on my iPhone, I remembered Obama would be in Phoenix to make a speech this weekend. Turns out he was staying at The Phoenician which is one of the three 5 star hotels in the valley, and it is also right around the corner from the church on 56th st. and Camelback.

President Obama has made a couple visit to AZ already this year. I wondered for few seconds why he would be spending so much time in a state that didn't elect him. Then I did some political calculations. Arizona is traditionally Republican, but elected a Democratic Governor (Janet Napolitano), who Obama appointed to be Secretary of Homeland Security. McCain won AZ last November, but not by a large margin, and had it been some other Republican, the state may have gone the other way. And so, for the next 3 years I anticipate Obama making at least a few more stops in AZ.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


You never really know which facebook status updates will get the most response. But those three letters typed around 11 am this morning incited 3 fairly detailed comments with a few hours. And thats about as long as I stayed in the City of Angles. Mostly walking around enjoying views of the ocean, sunshine and some sushi and an IN N OUT burger. The "Big Blue Bus" I discovered will take from LAX all the way to Santa Monica in about 25 minutes for only .75 cents, a nice surprise. My friend Zach Olsen works for Crocs (an alternative shoe company), I saw a retail outlet in the nice shopping area of Santa Monica, I went inside and was taken by the powerful smell. Since the shoes are all made from a "foam resin 'croslite', which is made using ethylene vinyl acetate", they have an interesting artificial scent. It actually fits to your feet.

On the flight home I ran into a missionary returning home after spending two years in Cambodia. He had some stories, and some really great pictures of Angkor Wat that he showed me.

Musica Brasileiro

So I just heard this music, and I feel way behind the times. Seu Jorge is Rio de Janeiro and been around for a while. He covered a bunch of David Bowie songs, all in acoustic, and they came out with a really smooth sound. I had heard of him before, but first time I really heard the music. Here is a link to one of his songs


Monday, August 10, 2009

The end of Google as we NOW know it

It appears the seeds to the decline of web domination of search which Google commands today are in place, and have been for some time. Primarily this could be attributed to:

A) Web 2.0 has developed several major hits which provide primary sources of information (twitter, wikipedia, facebook), completely skipping the need for a search engine to find a websites. For a large portion of the past 10 years people didn't know which sites they would want to use, so they had to use Google to find them, now they have.

B) Search alternatives such as: Bing.com , Cuil.com , technorati.com, all combined will most likely never equal half of what Google.com has today in search traffic. But as they grow Google will decline.

C) IBM, Microsoft, Intel. All large technology companies who underwent (or are currently undergoing) major alterations in how they make money to combat competition and avoid obsolescence. My guess, 1 to 2 decades from now, Google will have undergone something similar to what these companies went through.