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…

When I Did Social Engineering without Recognizing It

I planned to read something about history this summer. Then I picked the history of hacking. My favorite was Kevin Mitnick’s autobiography – the very definition of a page-turner. The book is free of hardcore technical jargon and written for geeks and lay audience alike. Readers are introduced to the spirit of a hacker in…

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…

Diffusion of iTechnology in Corporations (or: Certificates for iPhones)

[Jump to technical stuff] Some clichés are true. One I found confirmed often is about how technologies are adopted within organizations: One manager meets another manager at a conference / business meeting / CIO event. Manager X show off the latest gadget and/or brags about presents a case-study of successful implementation of Y. Another manager…

Using Social Media in Bursts. Is. Just. Normal.

I have seen lots of turkey pictures last week and this has reminded me of an anniversary: When I saw those last time I have just started using Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. @elkement Little bird has left its egg! #newbie #twitter — Elke Stangl (@elkement) November 22, 2012 So a review is overdue, and I…

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…

I Want to Be Antifragile and Have Skin in the Game

Having read The Black Swan and Antifragile by Nassim Taleb I might have become an orthodox member of the Taleb Cult. The more Taleb’s ideas struck a chord with me intuitively, the more I try to scrutinize them. I jumped to the 1-star reviews amazon.com to challenge my gullibility, and I tried my best to…

Transhumanism and the Extended Self

This transhuman and extended post has now transcended all other related posts on gamification. Blogging singularity! But wait… we did not factor in the lawyers! The target of this reblog is now offline, but I want to conserve the URL to the embedded video here – The Singularity, Ruined by Lawyers.

Creepy Game of Life

Every undergraduate in a science degree program has to develop some variant of Game of Life – in a programming 101 course. These – not very intelligent – life-forms on a checkerboard evolve by following very simple rules – ‘cell’ live or die, depending on its number of neighbors. The pattern is determined by the…

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…

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…

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….

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…

The Art of Error Messages

I believe I need a new blog post category – called  for example art created from collections of words and phrases spit out by computers. Or is Pop Culture just fine? So far we had spam poetry and search term poetry – but these might not be the only art forms eligible for the new meta-category! A quick primer…

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…

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…

Anatomy of a Decision (2)

Since there is a part 1, I owe you a second part. Otherwise I would have called this posting: At the other side of the worm hole. I think the following could be applied to life as such, but I am mainly referring to decisions on jobs and work. I once thought that making a…

Shallow Waters and Deep Reading

I have re-read The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, and this is not a balanced book review. I am an occasional reader of popular psychology books and I am guilty of selecting these books according to my pre-established bias. The following experience puzzled me before I read the book: I spent a two-week…

I neither Met Newton nor Einstein

I am just reading The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin. I am not familiar with string theory, quantum gravity, and the related communities, so I cannot comment on Smolin’s main statement. But there is a section in the last chapter of the book that resonated with me. He describes his expectations and feelings when…