Why You Hate Work

‘The way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep…’ (NYTimes).

‘I could have been Elliot Rodger’


Brian Levinson: ‘Anyone can find plenty to hate in the 141-page manifesto by Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six people and wounded 13 more last week in Isla Vista, California. The manifesto’s blend of misogyny, racism, self-pity, entitlement, and violent fantasy would make Patrick Bateman blanch.

Of course, I’ve got my own reason to hate the manifesto: Elliot Rodger could have been me.I could’ve written an identical screed as a teenager or college student…

Rodger and I fit the profile of a handful of other lonely psychos: John Hinckley, who shot Reagan in a bid to impress Jodie Foster; Dylan Klebold, the lovelorn, less-psychopathic half of the Columbine shooters; Seung-Hui Cho, whose morbid short stories foreshadowed the Virginia Tech massacre. Let me explain…’ (Slate)

Download Pixar Renderman for free


Make your own Toy Story: ‘Aspiring animators, listen up! Pixar’s working on a brand new version of Renderman, the in-house software they use to render duh all their awesome digital creations. There are a slew of improvements coming, but the big news is that there’s a version you can download for free.That’s a pretty amazing giveaway — Renderman is a $500 piece of software…’ (Geek.com).

The Wrong Way to Treat Child Geniuses

From left to right, Lawrence Pressman as Dr. C...

‘Those of us who managed sky-high SAT scores at 13 were 20 times as likely as the average American to get a doctorate; lets say, being charitable, that were 100 times as likely to make a significant scientific advance. Since were only 1 in 10,000 of the U.S. population, that still leaves 99% of scientific advances to be made by all those other kids who didnt get an early ticket to the genius club. We geniuses arent going to solve all the riddles. Most child prodigies are highly successful—but most highly successful people werent child prodigies.

This can be a hard lesson for the prodigies themselves. It is natural to believe that the just-pubescent children on the mathletic podium next to you are the best, the ones who really matter. And for the most part, my fellow child stars and I have done very well. But the older I get, the more I see how many brilliant people in the world werent Doogie Howser-like prodigies; didnt shine in Math Olympiad; didnt go to the inner circle of elite colleges. Im embarrassed that I didnt understand at 13 that it would be this way. But when they keep telling you youre the best, you start to believe youre the best.

One of the most painful aspects of teaching mathematics is seeing my students damaged by the cult of the genius. That cult tells students that its not worth doing math unless youre the best at math—because those special few are the only ones whose contributions really count. We dont treat any other subject that way. Ive never heard a student say, “I like Hamlet, but I dont really belong in AP English—that child who sits in the front row knows half the plays by heart, and he started reading Shakespeare when he was 7!” Basketball players dont quit just because one of their teammates outshines them. But I see promising young mathematicians quit every year because someone in their range of vision is “ahead” of them.’ (WSJ).