Music for a rainy week

As some of you know, it’s been raining a lot here in California. We need it badly given worst-in-1200-years we’re in, so no complaints from me other than the standard “Californians don’t know how to drive in the rain” muttering.

A week like this has me reaching back for an old favorite: the Riceboy Sleeps album by Alex & Jónsi. Ambient, contemplative, lush, mediative. Simply beautiful.

Spotify link

Arthur the Amazing Adventure Dog

What an amazing heartwarming story – a team of Swedish adventure trekkers participating in a 430-mile race through the jungles of Ecuador stumble into an unexpected friendship with a stray dog.

As they sat down for a quick meal with two segments remaining in the race, team captain Mikael Lindord spotted a stray dog and gave it a meatball. As they took off, they realized the dog was following them — even through tough terrain and knee-deep mud. When the team would take a rest, the dog would nap next to them. It had a wound from a previous injury, but there were no vets nearby. With no food in the jungle, the team gave him some of their food. Mikael called him Arthur, because the dog was calm, proud, and valiant like the King of the same name.

The last stretch of the race was 36-miles in kayaks over rushing rapids. The race organizers advised the team not to take the dog due to safety reasons. As the team set off, Arthur jumped in the river and tried to keep up with them. Mikael couldn’t bear the sight, and so he lifted Arthur into his kayak.

The spectators on the shore gasped and applauded. The team was now determined finish the race with their new team member.

When they finished, they took Arthur to the vet in Ecuador. But what to do now? They couldn’t take him back to the village they found him in — he wasn’t being cared for there. Mikael decided that he would bring Arthur back to Sweden. Despite never having a dog before, he couldn’t bear to leave Arthur after their shared experience through the jungle. The team petitioned the Swedish and Ecuador governments, and the media attention the story found helped fund the effort. Just before their flight home, the stars aligned and Arthur was granted passage to Sweden!

Arthur is currently in a 120-day quarantine but is being cared and loved by his handlers. The Swedish team has also created the “Arthur Foundation” to help stray dogs in Ecuador.

What a beautiful story!

Here is also 26min interview with Mikael describing what happened.

Behind Maxwell’s Equations

A terrific, concise look by IEEE Spectrum  at the fascinating discovery and evolution of the famous Maxwell Equations — one of the fundamental underpinnings of our understanding of electricity and magnetism.

In high school I dug quite a bit into the work of Michael Faraday and the glory days of theoretical physics. And in college studying electrical engineering, you wrestle with these equations as a rite of passage. But the story behind them and the marvel of their formulation is simply wondrous.

F. Lux App

Two colleagues of mine pointed me to a free app for Mac OS X called f.lux.

It’s an app that adjusts the color temperature of your laptop display based on time-of-day to be better in tune with natural cycles. During the daytime, it lets the display act normally and look similar to sunlight. But in the evening, it slowly shifts warmer.

There is some medical research (see this article at Harvard Health website) to indicate that too much ‘blue light’ late in the evening can affect health and circadian rhythms. Not sure how much I buy into that, but after trying it out I can say that the screen seems less harsh late at night. I’m liking it so far, and will report back later as to whether I can perceive any long term benefits.

The Meaning of Making a Home

Another great piece by Brock Winstead — Two Homes Diverged an Urban Street.

We work so hard, most of us, to write something on the world with our lives. Some people build houses. Others build software, or laws, or organizations. Lots of people build, so to speak, children. Whatever objects we spend our time constructing, what we’re actually assembling is a bundle of our intentions. We stack up our notions about how the world should be, and we nail those notions into structures that we hope, even if subconsciously, will continue to live after we die.

Great paragraph there, and something I can really identify with.

Seth Godin: Wall Street Gets What It Wants

This snippet from Seth Godin’s Wall Street gets what it wants post caught my eye:

Say whatever you want to say, the people around you are all paying attention to the stock price, and Wall Street is driving you to mediocrity, to breaking your promises, to interrupting, shaving corners, and most of all, getting stuck.

I completely agree with this. Wall St.’s singular obsession with ultra short term increases in shareholder value is toxic, corrosive, and damaging to the long term health of companies, and frankly society in general. I make no secret of my utter disdain for the vast majority of Wall Street’s activities: it’s misguided priorities & values, it’s creation of socially useless financial instruments to parasitically leech money off investors, and its incestuos accomplices-in-crime relationship to the very regulatory bodies intended to keep it ‘honest’.

New music: Wild Cub

I’m now on Spotify*, and thanks to it’s radio I’ve found a new-ish band called Wild Cub that is worth a listen. Sonically, based on what I’ve shared here before, this is closest to Lord Huron. Give their breakout single, Thunder Clatter, a try below:

Here a link to the Spotify web player: Wild Cub – Youth

*I used to use MOG which was bought by HTC which was bought by Beats which was bought by Apple then shut down.

Sea Otter 681

Cute overload warning! This video features a baby sea otter that was rescued off the coastline of the San Francisco Bay Area, and sent to Chicago’s famous Shedd Aquarium to settle down.

My heart and brain turn to jelly for stuff like this.

And it was remarkable: when I Airplayed this to my Apple TV, our dog Luna immediately perked her ears at the sound of the baby sea otter crying out. She trotted over to the TV and looked around the speakers…..she really thought there was a baby animal there. She does the same thing to this cute video of singing lhasa apso dogs.

Surfer’s Path 10k!

Yesterday, Chrissy and I ran the Surfer’s Path 10k race in Capitola. We finished in 1 hr, 08 minutes which comes to an average pace of 11min/mile. The race took us (sort of) along the coast of the town’s eastside, by Pleasure Point. This was Chrissy’s first ever road race, and she did great! surfers_path


The Hustle Quotient

Great article by my friend Greg published last week on Medium:

While emotional intelligence (EQ) and IQ are both important measures of a person in predicting their performance, there is something far more important to look for in the startup world: the hustle quotient, HQ.

You hear the word hustle a lot in the startup scene. People strive for it like a badge of honor — try to really play it up  —  but the cold reality of it is that hustle is a survival skill. Many, many things are stacked against you as a member of a startup, and it requires a person to be a creative problem solver, push things to closure often on pure force of will, and do it with less than desired resources. And by resources I mean time, money, people, knowledge, etc.

Because of this, startups aren’t for everyone. People who are energized when given plenty of time and resources to think and dream up of solutions would likely be unhappy in a startup. As would people who aren’t motivated by deadlines or a sense of urgency.

And that’s why Greg is right on point when focusing on evaluating hustle for potential new colleagues for his data science startup, Citrine Informatics. During my time at Apple, I always felt under-resourced. Time was the most precious resource we had, followed closely by headcount. People on my team who couldn’t hustle couldn’t make it. We had to learn how to tease out the “hustle quotient” in our interviews, and it’s something that is even more important now in our own startup.

a thought, a spark