Slow Bicycle Movement Wins Fans

Slow Bicycle Movement Wins Fans – WSJ.com:

In 2011, she launched the Slow Bicycle Society on the Eastern Shore, an Alabama club with 100 members and a mission statement: “No Spandex needed!” In Tennessee, the Murfreesboro Slow Ride Cyclists, which formed two months ago, calls itself “a never-get-left-behind fun bicycling group” with “baskets encouraged.”

“We’re mostly focused on ringing our bells and waving at kids and just cruising around and chatting with the person closest to you in line,” says Sarah Murray, a 40-year-old manager for the city of Chicago who founded the Slow Bicycle Society in Chicago in 2009 and has watched membership grow to 300 from 15 people. She rides a three-speed upright.

[I never understand the issue that surrounds spandex. Why the hatred? No one forces anyone to wear it and why care if someone else does? Also, why do you have to be either/or? Sometimes I like to ride slowly and be social, other times I like to ride as hard and fast as I can. Why does society always as me to choose? I refuse.]

via Dave

Why We Should Care About 4,000th Ichiro Pro Hit

Why We Should Care About 4,000th Ichiro Pro Hit — Daily Intelligencer:

But in at least one way, it doesn’t matter whether 4,000 professional hits is exactly as impressive as we’re trained to think it is because a lot of them came in Japan. Sports fans love round numbers, and we especially love large round numbers — the kind that take a career to accumulate. We make a big deal when a pitcher gets to 300 wins, or a slugger hits his 500th home run, or a hitter gets his 3,000th (or 4,000th) hit, and the main reason we do so is because it allows us a natural opportunity to reflect on the player’s career, which almost by definition is an impressive one. All-time greats like Ichiro deserve this sort of treatment; he and players like him ought to be celebrated as their careers wind down. New York fans have been through this a lot lately, with future Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera reaching significant milestones in recent years. The prime of Ichiro’s career happened outside of New York, of course, but he’s in that class of player.

And so too much debate about the legitimacy of Ichiro’s 4,000 hits would obscure what should be (and for the most part is) happening now: a celebration of one of the most iconic baseball players ever. Yankee fans are watching an Ichiro whose best days are behind him, but even if we focus just on his American career, his time in Seattle was incredible. (At least his unorthodox-but-effective slap-swing — the one that helped him pick up an insane 262 hits in 2004 — still remains.) Ichiro’s American numbers are plenty good enough for induction into Cooperstown — he has a .320 career average thanks to a steady stream of singles — but it’s possible he won’t reach any major round-number milestones. (He’s 278 major-league hits away from 3,000, but he turns 40 this fall.) Which means this might be our best opportunity to collectively celebrate his career before it ends. Let’s be sure to take it.

[Let’s not forget this article that says a lot about how he went about this. With the recent debate over 10,000 hours (genetics vs. practice) let’s not forget that there’s always a practice component. There’s always relentless, focused, efficient practice involved.]

Source: Gruber

Sports, Complexity, and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule : The New Yorker

Sports, Complexity, and the Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule : The New Yorker:

As it happens, I have been a runner and a serious track-and-field fan my entire life, and I have never seen a boy who was slow become fast either. For that matter, I’ve never met someone who thinks a boy who was slow can become fast. Epstein has written a wonderful book. But I wonder if, in his zeal to stake out a provocative claim on this one matter, he has built himself a straw man. The point of Simon and Chase’s paper years ago was that cognitively complex activities take many years to master because they require that a very long list of situations and possibilities and scenarios be experienced and processed. There’s a reason the Beatles didn’t give us “The White Album” when they were teen-agers. And if the surgeon who wants to fuse your spinal cord did some newfangled online accelerated residency, you should probably tell him no. It does not invalidate the ten-thousand-hour principle, however, to point out that in instances where there are not a long list of situations and scenarios and possibilities to master—like jumping really high, running as fast as you can in a straight line, or directing a sharp object at a large, round piece of cork—expertise can be attained a whole lot more quickly. What Simon and Chase wrote forty years ago remains true today. In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals.

[Gladwell and Epstein go at it. Looking forward to reading the book. And don’t miss this either.]

Rebuilding

ē Rebuilding the world technology destroyed:

The Washington Post was headed for bankruptcy, and was finally sold for a pittance. Its buyer began his career on Wall Street, only to move into a burgeoning new industry, where he truly made his wealth. The newspaper he bought has a noble history, but will certainly earn losses for years to come.

I’m talking not about Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post yesterday, but rather Eugene Meyer, who bought the Post in 1933. Meyer left a lucrative career on Wall Street in 1920 to seize the burgeoning opportunity in industrial chemicals and founded Allied Chemical (today’s Honeywell).1 After making millions, Meyer spent the rest of his life both in public service and building the Post, spending millions of his own money in the process.

Meyer was in many ways following the established playbook for industrial magnates. Families like the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Carnegies, who made their fortunes in railroads, oil, and steel, respectively, plowed money into universities, museums, and a host of other cultural touchstones.

It’s this tradition that makes Bezos’s purchase feel momentous, a crossing of the Rubicon of sorts. The tech industry is now producing its own magnates, who are following the Rockefeller playbook. See Mark Zuckerberg giving $100 million to the Newark school district, or Chris Hughes buying the New Republic. Neither though, feels as momentous as Jeff Bezos, the preeminent tech magnate, buying the Washington Post, the nation’s third most important newspaper.

[snip -ed]

Influence lives at intersections. Yet, as an industry, it at times feels the boundaries we have built around who makes an effective product manager, or programmer, or designer, are stronger than ever, even as the need to cross those boundaries is ever more pressing. It’s not that Thiel was wrong about what types of degrees push progress forward; rather, it’s the blind optimism that technology is an inherent good that is so dangerous.

Technology is destroying the world as it was; do we have the vision and outlook to rebuild it into something better? Do we value what matters?

[I think a lot of us do. Whether we’re the ones that will earn the kind of wealth that makes it easier to affect change of that quality is yet to be seen.]

Source: Feed: stratēchery by Ben Thompson

Opportunity looks a lot like hard work

Ashton Kutcher:

That message, yelled with arms flailing? Be smart. Be thoughtful. Be generous. Don’t buy what the world is trying to sell you. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. No job is beneath you on your path to success. Don’t surrender to life as it is. Rebuild it for yourself and others.

The fact is that kids don’t get told this stuff enough. Let alone by someone they think is cool via mainstream media. If we want more engineers, more innovation, this needs to be curriculum, not cable television.

[A thoughtful bit coming from him (in his guise as a “pop” star, and a great message to everyone. It’s never too late.]

The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency

The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic:

On Friday, President Obama spoke to us about surveillance as though we were precocious children. He proceeded as if widespread objections to his policies can be dispatched like a parent answers an eight-year-old who has formally protested her bedtime. He is so proud that we’ve matured enough to take an interest in our civil liberties! Why, he used to think just like us when he was younger, and promises to consider our arguments. But some decisions just have to be made by the grownups. Do we know how much he loves us? Can we even imagine how awful he would feel if anything bad ever happened while it was still his job to ensure our safety? *

By observing Obama’s condescension, I don’t mean to suggest tone was the most objectionable part of the speech. The disinformation should bother the American people most. The weasel words. The impossible-to-believe protestations. The factually inaccurate assertions. 

They’re all there.

[Are any of us really shocked? This has been going on since he got into office. Was this the change you sought?]

Dear Recruiter

Coyote Tracks – Dear Recruiter:

So this letter isn’t as much a waste of your time as yours was of mine, I’d like to offer a new slogan for your firm, free of charge: “Matching miserable people with miserable jobs at miserable companies since  YEAR .” It has a nice ring to it, and it’s exclusively yours,  RECRUITER NAME  of  BUZZWORDS STRUNG TOGETHER INC !

[Oy. Just Oy.]