Ploughing Through Theoretical Physics Textbooks Is Therapeutic

And finally science confirms it, in a sense. Again and again, I've harping on this pet theory of mine: At the peak of my immersion in the so-called corporate world, as a super-busy bonus miles-collecting consultant, I turned to the only solace: Getting up (even) earlier, and starting to re-read all my old mathematics and … Continue reading Ploughing Through Theoretical Physics Textbooks Is Therapeutic

Social Debt (Tech Professional’s Anecdotes)

I have enjoyed Ben Horowitz' book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Farnamstreet's review is perfect so I will not attempt at writing one. I will focus on one idea I found most intriguing. I read Horowitz' book as an account of dealing with hard decisions in general, about having to decide alone, about personal accountability, … Continue reading Social Debt (Tech Professional’s Anecdotes)

Anatomy of a Decision (1)

Four years ago I tried something new - I took a decision and started communicating it (some half-baked version of it) without having worked out a detailed plan. One year later I started this blog, reflecting on the journey and this decision. So I celebrate the 4 years anniversary with shameless, self-indulgent nostalgia - reblogging … Continue reading Anatomy of a Decision (1)

Career Advice – Borrowing Wise Words from a Sailing Hacker

On researching SSL-related hacks, I have stumbled upon the website of notable security researcher Moxie Marlinspike. Marlinspike is also a sailor and working on diverse projects, such as Audio Anarchy - a project for transcribing anarchist books into audio format. On his About page he says: I like computer security and software development, particularly in the … Continue reading Career Advice – Borrowing Wise Words from a Sailing Hacker

What Entrepreneurs Need to Have

Chances are that many readers had to do one of those things as corporate employees or as members of any large organization that asks management consultants for help: brainstorm on a vision, formulate a mission statement, create a business plan. As an aspiring start-up business owner you cannot escape trainers who tell you need a … Continue reading What Entrepreneurs Need to Have

Fragile Technology? (Confessions of a Luddite Disguised as Tech Enthusiast)

I warn you - I am in the mood for random long-winded philosophical ramblings. I have graduated recently again, denying cap-and-gown costume as I detest artificial Astroturf traditions such as re-importing academic rituals from the USA to Europe. A Subversive El(k)ement fond of uniforms would not be worth the name. However, other than that I … Continue reading Fragile Technology? (Confessions of a Luddite Disguised as Tech Enthusiast)

On Science Communication

In a parallel universe I might work as a science communicator. Having completed my PhD in applied physics I wrote a bunch of job applications, one of them being a bit eccentric: I applied at the Austrian national public service broadcaster. (According to Wikipedia Austria was the last country in continental Europe after Albania to … Continue reading On Science Communication

More Capitalism, Less Zen. Tackling Existential Questions Once More. In Vain?

Usually you make things worse by trying to explain again what you didn't get across the first time. I do it nonetheless. My post on Zen Capitalism might have been interpreted as advocating Follow Your Bliss and Anything Else Will Follow (Money, in particular). I cringe; this is exactly what I intended to avoid, but … Continue reading More Capitalism, Less Zen. Tackling Existential Questions Once More. In Vain?

So-Called Zen Capitalism and Random Thoughts on Entrepreneurship

In this blog and in the comments' section of other blogs I have repeatedly ridiculed: management consultants, new age-y self help literature and simple-minded soft skills trainers. Let alone all other life-forms in the lower left quadrant of the verbal skills vs. quant skills diagram. Now it is time that I give you a chance … Continue reading So-Called Zen Capitalism and Random Thoughts on Entrepreneurship

On Social Media and Networking (Should Have Been a Serious Post, Turned out Otherwise)

It has been nearly a month since my satirical post on LinkedIn and bot-like HR professionals has stirred interesting discussions and unexpected reblogs. I have promised to come up with related posts regularly. To all my new followers who were probably attracted by the Liebster-award-related nonsense: Compared to those posts this one is unfortunately a … Continue reading On Social Media and Networking (Should Have Been a Serious Post, Turned out Otherwise)

Professional Online Persona or: What Are Your Skills?

My previous post has triggered intriguing discussions - about writing, identity and what I called an 'online persona'. As far as I remember I borrowed this term from David Weinberger's book Small Pieces Loosely Joined - sublime reflections on the way the web has impacted culture and communication. I have asked myself sometimes: How should … Continue reading Professional Online Persona or: What Are Your Skills?

Philosophy Degrees are Undervalued

This is a vain and self-servicing reblog. I really like the figures in this post (as a physicist). Edit (2017): It seems that unfortunately the original, reblogged post is not available any more. It featured a diagram that visualized the results of GRE tests: Verbal and quantitative skills of graduates - as discussed also e.g. … Continue reading Philosophy Degrees are Undervalued

Work Hard – Play Hard

There is indeed a 'corporate culture' named like this. Trusting Wikipedia on this: In their 1984  [sic!] book, Corporate Cultures, Deal and Kennedy identified a particular corporate culture which they called the 'work hard/play hard culture': "Fun and action are the rule here, and employees take few risks, all with quick feedback; to succeed, the … Continue reading Work Hard – Play Hard

Trading in IT Security for Heat Pumps? Seriously?

Astute analysts of science, technology and the world at large noticed that my resume reads like a character from The Big Bang Theory. After all, an important tag used with this blog is cliché, and I am dead serious about theory and practice of combining literally anything. [Edit in 2016: At the time of writing this post, … Continue reading Trading in IT Security for Heat Pumps? Seriously?

Recommended Listening: The Unemployed Philosopher’s Podcast

In 2012 I have shared some of my memories on career-related decisions and transitions I had made. With hindsight I can say I would not change a thing – but I would have wished that resources such as Dan Mullin's Unemployed Philosopher’s Blog or Julie Clarenbach's site Escape the Ivory Tower would have been available back then. Comment … Continue reading Recommended Listening: The Unemployed Philosopher’s Podcast

2012: The Year We Make Contact

What happened? I started blogging here in March. My posts evolved from lengthy walls of text to geeky stuff. Thanks to my readers who follow this blog despite the strange combination of topics covered. But I know: Resistance is futile. I have halted pseudo-blogging to my ancient non-blog sites for some months, but resumed it  to write … Continue reading 2012: The Year We Make Contact

Almost There: Celebrating a Special Day

No, this does neither refer to the End of the World tomorrow(*), nor to Christmas, nor to the End of the Year. (*) In 8 minutes in my time zone. Since I have alluded to a 'leap of faith' and 'passing through worm holes' here or here I owe you a sequel. In a sense it is also a prequel. I … Continue reading Almost There: Celebrating a Special Day

The Dark Side Was Strong in Me

Once in a communication skills training I learned: For each of us there is a topic / a question / a phrase that will turn us raging mad or leave us in despair, or both. The point the trainer wanted to make, of course, was to use your combatant's topics to your advantage. There are mild variants: Topics you … Continue reading The Dark Side Was Strong in Me

Physicist, Philosopher, and Engineer

The headline indicates that I am going to tell one of this old jokes: A physicist, a philosopher and an engineer meet ... This is in fact correct, but in an extremely subtle way. As the title of this blog and the pseudo-intellectual summary in the left pane should imply I am of course considering myself … Continue reading Physicist, Philosopher, and Engineer

Reconcile All This (Goals of This Blog)

I have now blogged since more than half a year and I have pseudo-blogged since about 10 years, but I have never stated any goals explicitly. Fueled by my Website Resurrection Project I will do so now, running the risk to be able to hold myself accountable for achieving these goals. Despite the title of … Continue reading Reconcile All This (Goals of This Blog)

I Did Normal Science

Finally I am reading one of the most influential books on science: Thomas Kuhn - The Structure of Scientific Resolutions. I should have done so earlier, actually the book should be part of any science major's undergraduate curriculum. Naive as I was, I had expected to work on solving earth-shattering problems in physics, or at … Continue reading I Did Normal Science

Real Physicists Do Not Read Popular Science Books

At least this is what I believed for quite a while. Now I think I was wrong - not only for the reason that also real scientists might enjoy light entertainment or stay informed about their colleagues' science outreach activities. First of all, I am not even sure if I still qualify as a real … Continue reading Real Physicists Do Not Read Popular Science Books

Why Do You Want to Become an Engineer?

There is this cartoon that explains why one would aspire to become an engineer. It appeals to the Bill-Gates-junior-type geek who wants to build cool stuff, rather than musing about the foundations of "stuff". I sympathize with all of these three roles, also with the philosopher. I have also been inclined to philosophy, and I … Continue reading Why Do You Want to Become an Engineer?