abraham lincoln abraham maslow academic papers africa aging aid alexander the great amazon america android os apple architecture aristotle art art institute chicago astronomy astrophysics aubrey de grey beck beer berlin bernacke bicycle BIG bill murray biophilia birds blogs bob dylan books bourdain brewing brian wansink buckminster fuller bukowski cameras cancer carl jung carl sagan cemetary change charter city chicago china christmas church civil war climate change cologne construction coop himmelblau copenhagen cornell west cps craigslist crime crown hall cyanotype cyrus dalai lama darkroom data dbHMS death design build dessau detail Diet dogs dome dongtan douglas macarthur drake equaation dresden dubai ebay eco economics economy education einstein emerson emily dickinson energy experiments facebook farming finance finland florida food france frank lloyd wright frei otto freud frum funny furniture games gay rights gdp george w bush george washington germany ghandi glenn murcutt goals good google government graphic design guns h.g. wells h.l. mencken hagakure halloween health health care henri cartier bresson herzog and demeuron honey housing human trafficking humanitarian efforts hydroponics ideas iit indexed india industrial design industrial work internet investments japan jaqueline kennedy jim cramer john maynard keynes john ronan john stewart journalism kickstarter kings of leon kittens krugman kurt vonnegut kurzweil lao tzu law le corbusier ledoux leon battista alberti links LSH madoff malcolm gladwell marijuana marriage masdar city math mead medicine microsoft mies van der rohe military milton friedman mlk money movies munich murphy/jahn music nasa nervi neutra new york nickel nietzsche nobel prize norman foster nsa obama occupy open source paintball palladium print paris parking party passive house paul mccartney persia philip roth philosophy photography picturequote pirate bay pirating plants poetry poker politics portfolio potsdam predictions prejudice presidents process photos prostitution psychology public housing q and a quotes rammed earth randy pausch reading reddit regan religion rendering renewables renzo piano restaurants revolution richard meier richard rogers robert frank rome rubik's cube rule of 72 rumi san francisco sartre sauerbruch hutton saule sidrys schinkel school science screen printing seattle sesame street seth roberts sketch social media soviet sparta spider spinoza sports stanley kubrick stanley milgram statistics steinbeck sudhir venkatesh suicide sustainable design switzerland taxes technology ted teddy roosevelt tension terracotta tesla thanatopsis the onion thomas jefferson thoreau time lapse tommy douglas transportation travel truman tumblr unemployment urban design van gogh venezuela vicuna video video games wall street war werner sobek wood woodshop woodworking ww1 ww2

31 January 2009

Cut Taxes or Raise Spending

First, I read this article about the White House's proposal to strengthen the economy. Which of course is a big trick (it's a small article, go read it). It forced me to think about the fact that presidents in general face similar problems and have less of an influence in solving these problems than most Americans think... but I feel like I've mentioned that repeatedly.

That being said the House and Senate are both drafting and voting on stimulus bills. I found myself a bit apathetic yesterday after I heard that not a single republican had signed the bill in the House. The vote was 244 to 188, with 11 democrats and all the republicans voting against it. The republicans reasoning was that they wanted more tax cuts. Hm...

This is one of those counter intuitive phenomenons that pains me every time I hear it. To stimulate the economy government has two options; cut taxes or raise spending. This is called fiscal policy. They both work, but cutting taxes is more politically popular while raising spending tends to be more effective. In the end they really have the same outcome. If you keep the same taxes but spend more you incur debt. While if you keep spending the same and cut taxes you... incur debt. And cutting government spending at a time like this has the opposite effect, so this whole "size of government" debate that centers around fiscal policy is silly. Here's the thing, if you cut taxes it takes a while before people see any gain. Also, this would seem to benefit those who pay the most in taxes. Which isn't really the point (man I sound like a socialist!). If spending is increased that money goes into the economy almost instantly, and better yet it has multiplier effects. Say the government chooses to spend an extra dollar on energy research. Okay, a university gets a grant, they pay the professor, the professor buys lab equipment, the equipment company buys more supplies, hires more people, etc. It's basically the opposite of what is happening in our economy right now that is causing people to lose their jobs. Of course, some smart people disagree. He's got a point too. Governments do tend to waste money, and I kind of wonder if taxing people less is inherently more efficient due to the dead weight loss of income received from taxes. One thing that is agreed upon is that one of the two or some combination there of needs to happen quickly.

That's why I got upset yesterday. It's just so sad. People are going to lose houses, jobs, and marriages over this and our political system still can't work together. I am convinced that politicians know this stuff. I mean, I do and most of my economics teachers were fairly conservative. Politicians often won't act on what they know is right because it's unpopular. I understand that, but can't you explain to your constituents a better reasoned approach to the problem?

Randomly, this is Obama's speech concerning this plan. FWIW Whitehouse.gov is pretty awesome.

30 January 2009

Electronic Medical Records

I'm not exactly up and up on what's going on in health care in the US, but apparently about 75% of physicians and hospitals here still keep all their records on paper... that seems kind of ridiculous. Assuming that being able to look up a patients history, medications taken, and possible drug allergies might be useful. Well, it is.

"The researchers found that hospitals that rated highly on automated note taking had a 15 percent decrease in the odds that a patient would die while hospitalized. Hospitals with highly rated decision-support systems also had 20 percent lower complication rates. Researchers found that electronic systems reduced costs by about $100 to $500 per admission."

This is a bit perplexing to me. The free market accounts for all variables whether you take them into account or not. Which is also what makes forecasting it so hard. In the case of health care it would seem like the benefit of lower costs, less complications, and less deaths would outweigh the costs of hiring IT professionals and keeping digital records. So why doesn't the health industry adopt this technology like the rest of the (socialized medicine) world? Didn't we invent this stuff?

The only answer I can really come up with is that old non-tech savvy hospital and insurance company business people do not fully appreciate the advantages of computers.

Maybe privacy concerns? I'm about the biggest privacy advocate there is, but not when dealing with my doctor. If they ask what drugs I do I tell them. If I get rolled in unconscious from a car accident I want the ER staff to know my history. Look at it this way, if you ask a stranger in any country what they do for a living and they say that they're a M.D. you more or less instantly trust them. It's the only profession that gets that universal privilege.

So what's the deal? Why is our health care system so unresponsive?

EDIT: Wow, this was bad even by my standards. There were about a dozen misspelled words and a rant about econ 101. I apologize to anyone who read the initial version of this post.

28 January 2009

Raymond Kurzweil and Aging

"Kurzweil expects that, once the human/machine race has converted all of the matter in the universe into a giant, sentient supercomputer it will have created a supremely powerful and intelligent being which will be Godlike in itself." - Wikipedia article on Raymond Kurzweil

At first glance that sentence is ridiculous and hilarious. Then it dawned on me that he kind of had a point. Anyways, his wiki is worth reading. It is a bit long however.

I first became aware of him when watching a show on research done to slow down and even reversing the aging process. It interested me because I had just read an article on MIT's Technology Review about (this is my non-pHD interpretation) the first insights as to exactly what causes aging. Bare with me; the only organism for which aging is understood is yeast. In yeast, aging occurs because as DNA duplicates itself mistakes are sometimes made. These mistakes are passed on from one generation of cells to the next and over time begin to account for an increasing share of the DNA sequence. Then there is a protein that gets involved and starts expressing dormant traits (I'm a bit shaky on that part) to fill in the gaps left by mistakes. Researchers have discovered a similar pattern in mice, but are quick to caution that aging is a very complex and haphazard thing... so this may not be the whole story. The point is that aging is not necessarily "natural", but rather just a screw up in our genes.

Long story short, Kurzweil proposes that aging will soon become a thing of the past. In a series of steps (or "bridge to a bridge to a bridge" as he calls it) humans will learn to slow down, stop, and eventually reverse aging. All supposedly within the next few decades. It would be easy to dismiss if he weren't so damned credible. He invented the flatbed scanner, text to speech synthesizer, text recognition software, and he sold his first software company at the age of 20. While he was a sophomore at MIT none the less. So at the very least he's a talented inventor, business man, and prediction maker.

There's a lot to write about on this guy. I guess I'm mostly fascinated by his research topics, ideas on increasing rates of change (in terms of technology), and his predictions. They're much further looking than mine and much more sci-fi. The odd thing is that as outlandish as they seem, if current computer advances continue I don't see how they will not become true.

26 January 2009

More Palladium Prints

This is a 2 1/2" x 4 1/4" negative of my grandfather when he was at Annapolis. I found a bunch of larger negatives over the holidays that belonged to him. It's eerie to look at them. He died when I was 6 or 7, but in a lot of the photos he's my age (such as here he's probably about 20-24). They range from about 1925-1950 give or take a few years.

This is yet another underexposed palladium print. Palladium printing is apparently a bit trickier than the more common (although that's like saying common pet elephant) platinum/palladium 50:50 mix that most people use. Every little thing makes a big difference. It's much more susceptible to variables than the more common darkroom printing method gelatin-silver. More experimentation is in order.

24 January 2009

Platinum/Palladium Prints

I've started to experiment with an archaic photographic printing process known as platinum or palladium printing, platinotypes, or pallatinotypes. They fell out of favor around WWI yet are often considered the "highest" form of photographic printing. Basically, an emulsion of iron and platinum/palladium is coated onto paper, exposed with UV light under a negative (contact printing), developed with ammonium citrate, and cleared with EDTA to produce an image. All that's left on the paper is platinum/palladium so the prints are perfectly archival as both metals are noble metals.

This is my first one with a densitometer on the left hand side. It's quite underexposed... even at 22 minutes under a 250 watt work light. The crazy looking border is created by my brush strokes as I spread the emulsion of feric oxide and palladium.

23 January 2009

Stuff Worth Reading

Little German kids try to elope in Africa, hilarious photo accompanies.

This is an article about the Obamas from 1996 done by The New Yorker.

Counter intuitive article about intelligence and happiness.

This is an article about fire sprinklers being required in new homes constructed in MN. The debate in my head is over. Economics should now be a required course in school, or rather logical thinking that involves cost benefit, rigorous statistical models, and is devoid of emotional argument. For the money that is to be spent (1 billion over 40 years) it would save more lives, if that is the true motive, to invest in health care, illness prevention, traffic safety, etc. Fires kill very very few people. Last year 19 people died in MN in fires. That many, if not far more, people will most likely die statewide in MN in car crashes this week. A billion dollars buys a lot more than a device that could potentially flood your house... that's right, single largest cost after a fire? Water damage. "But its safer for firefighters!" Five fire fighters died in MN in the last 10 years... all traffic related.

20 January 2009


"...we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." - Barack Obama

For the full quote go here.

I use cardboard to dry my photographic enlargements. Specifically, I use USPS flat rate boxes. I was doing this the other day when this fell out of one of them... oops. Hass, I still have your poster.

Also... kind of sort of related to my love of predictions; I pointed out to Susie (my friend who is now an ivy league art historian... wtf?) that Shepard Fairey is crazy famous and his image of Obama has to be one of if not the most recognizable symbol from 2008. The point of course being that he's one of maybe 2 or 3 living artists that I know and like and he just happened upon this... weird.

Energy; or Electricity and How We Consume It

So I read this article a while back about how we need to vastly improve our network of energy distribution. Naturally, I object. I think it's a wonderful idea, but there is another solution that isn't even being talked about. Better yet, you can combine them both...

Here's my plan. Currently about 7% of the energy produced at a power plant is lost in the grid. Not too bad actually, but 7% is enough to satisfy 21 million people in the US. That's 7 times the population of Chicago proper...

The problem is this. With traditional sources of energy such as gas and coal plants you need to build the generation stations big enough to handle peak demand. Peak demand is something like the hottest day in summer when everyone is running their AC. Low points are 2 AM in the morning when no one is using electricity. Ideally you would have medium sized generators that ran all the time, but because of peak demand the power companies have to bring plants online occasionally to fill demand. They're called peak plants. In fact I've seen some of them. ComEd actually has jet engines it can turn on to spin turbines and meet peak demand. They're cool... but that can't be cheap. Electrical demand has to be matched exactly. There is no fudge margin. Excess gets wasted and if enough isn't produced then things start to fail.

In comes renewables. They aren't very reliable in terms of output. If the wind slows down around a wind turbine farm so does energy production... by a factor of the difference of the cubes, so quickly (an 8 knot wind produces half the power of an 11 knot wind). If a cloud passes over a solar array it produces less energy. Thus, the aforementioned article calls for a newer smarter grid to deal with these things. I agree, it's a good idea to start work on this. But is that the whole solution?

What if most homes (or at least newly constructed homes) had a bank of batteries tied to their own renewable energy generators plus a plug in hybrid car? The car is in this case is essentially just more battery storage potential. Basically, if most homes had a decent battery storage capacity they could store the excess energy from power plants during the night when none is being used. Plus, with the renewables they would offset the peak demand. Think about it. When is peak demand? Midday when it's hottest and the sun is the brightest. So peak is reduced by the usage of renewables, and trough point demand is raised because everyone is charging their cars and banks of batteries. The demand for electricity is now much more flat.

Power plants could becomes smaller, run more consistently, and be more efficient. Then again, no one wants to pay for anything up front. We seem to be more content with paying higher costs indefinately than paying more initially.

16 January 2009

Lots of Art

Just posted a new print on Etsy. It's of the EL tracks in the Loop.

Also, I've been taking a few process/documentary style photos lately, so the other day I took photos of Evan brewing beer and Justin (who's website is linked at the top right also) doing some screen prints. It's a bit more involved than I imagined, and he's way more of a perfectionist than me. You can tell my photos are handmade. There are imperfections everywhere. Film leaders just look too sweet to crop. But Justin will toss a print at the slightest sign of a blemish. Fascinating stuff.

The IAT, Racism, and Obama

The IAT is a psychological test that measures your implicit attitudes on a variety of subjects. The beauty of the test is its near perfect external validity. Many psychological experiments, and subsequently findings, have trouble translating to the real world. The IAT, in this case, is used to measure your implicit attitudes towards racism. You can take it here. Once, you get to that site you can take a multitude of IAT tests, but if you scroll down go the second to last one is entitled Race IAT. Take that one.

As an aside, in my final psych. lab in undergrad. we took this test after taking an explicit test about race. I scored the highest on the explicit test (by far) meaning that according to my outward beliefs I was quite racist. I think the other rich white kids were just lying about how they really felt. I was however vindicated by the IAT. I got the least biased score of anyone in the class.

There is an example given in Malcolm Gladwell's book, Blink, of a student that takes the IAT every day. And every day the result comes back that he has a preference for white people over black people. Then one day the result comes back that he has no preference. For one day his implicit racism subsides, but thereafter his IAT scores go back to showing a preference for white people. So what happened that one day that changed his actual attitudes? He watched a speech from MLK. The theory goes that when you see someone or something that you may have misgivings about doing something good or being associated with something you consider positive repeatedly it changes your implicit attitudes towards them... no real shocker there.

When Obama got elected I was excited because I thought it would improve race relations, and perhaps more importantly, help black people feel empowered. But how do you measure that? Wheres the proof for that theory? The Implicit Attitudes Test (IAT). I'd love to see those IAT scores charted for a few years before, during, and after this presidency. $20 and my right arm says there's a moderate to large sized statistically significant effect.

For extra credit: will this change the opinion of racist conservative rednecks? I think so. They'll still hate him for being black and for being a "liberal", but they'll also watch him (except for the most extreme cases) acting as the president. And over time the two will become synonymous with one another in their minds.

13 January 2009


"The Roots of Violence:
Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles." - Ghandi

I was looking back at some of my blog posts and saw that I intended to quit my job about 2 months ago. I had totally forgotten. The economy hadn't quite melted yet, and I was about a month away from another "spectacular" event in my life. Regardless, it strikes me as interesting that my life changes so much. Is this normal? I hesitate to say that I'm unique in this respect. People often think they're more special and unique than they really are, but in this case I'm willing to bet I'm a bit of an outlier. And I' not talking about changing jobs... I'll go into further detail in a few years.

This is my dad's work truck parked at a redi-mix plant in Chicago at 64th and State.

Food Experiment Day 1

A lot of my data is incomplete due to a lack of packaging for certain products, free food, and the grocery store not stocking soybeans... the third largest cash crop in the US (behind marijuana and corn respectively).

Breakfast: 410 calories, $0.86

1.5 C skim milk - $0.28
2 C cereal (honey nut cheerios and honey bunches of oats) - $0.47
1 T ground flax seed - $0.11

Lunch: 560 calories, free (about $1)

2 pieces of wheat bread - $0.50
some celery and 3 T peanut butter - $0.50
strawberry jelly, hummus, salsa 1 T each - $?

Late Lunch: 550 calories, $2.77

2 potatoes - $0.50
1 large onion - $0.85
1 T olive oil - $0.21
1 clove garlic, 1/2 jalapeno pepper - $0.10
1 PBR beer - $0.53
1 granny smith apple - $0.58

Dinner: 600 calories (maybe?), free + $0.53

1 cup white rice
chicken, carrots, snow peas, and bamboo stir fry
1 PBR beer - $0.53

Late Dinner: 330 calories, $0.67

1.25 C skim milk - $0.23
1.5 C cereal - $0.35
1 T ground flax seed - $0.11

Total: 2450 calories, $4.80 plus 2 free meals contributing about 1000 calories to my diet

First, this seems a little high. Add in the 2% food tax and my bill today was $5 (tax is included on alcohol as it's expensive). Cheap, sure but I can do better. I need to buy onions in bulk and if I were really serious I'd cut back on the beer. Other than that the rest was as expected: fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive and not calorie dense and starchy carbohydrates are cheap.

It's also worth noting that its actually quite hard to get enough calories if you aren't eating processed food. If I were to omit the oil and beer from my diet I would be on track to lose about a pound a week (450 calories a day, 3150 a week, 3500 calories in a pound of fat). Replacing those calories is the equivalent of 4 potatoes (110 calories each). I guess cereal counts as processed too... hm. Getting enough calories requires that you eat a bit on the unhealthy side. An egg is about 70 calories, but I always throw out the yolk... which leaves you with 17 calories of egg white (a 75% reduction). Or skim milk, just as expensive as whole milk but 60% fewer calories (skim 90, whole 150 per cup)

Then there's the problem of free food... I'm not sure how to deal with it yet.

12 January 2009


This is the coolest art website I've ever seen. Plus I'm a sucker for formulas.

(limited editions x low prices) + the internet = art for everyone

I Love Predictions

Freakonomics is having a long sighted contest for economic or really the best unforeseen event of 2009. You can enter here.

That being said, I write down predictions/business ideas (that are inevitable) from time to time. It's a pseudo hobby of mine and I'd like to think I'm good at it. One of my big ones for the past couple years now has been that some day all media will be licensed to users and downloaded cheaply via the internet. By media I mean books, music, movies, etc. Anything that has a transaction cost that approaches zero will be salable via this method. Why is this inevitable? Currently stores like Best Buy and Borders exist... which means they have to pay employees to stock a physical product, rent a store, pay for electricity, get books/cds from a distributor, who gets them from a manufacturer, etc. By downloading these things via the internet you get rid of over 90% of that. Apple's iTunes is screwed up because they charge $1 a song. Yea, it should be like 5 or 10 cents and the price should fluctuate with demand... will someone please hire me to think up ideas? I have note books full of them.

Here's another; okay, everyone needs food right? And less and less people can or have the time to cook... yet the current food that fits this bill is crazy unhealthy and we all know it. Speaking of which, McDonalds is posting some of its biggest gains they've ever experienced. No money? It's cheap and calorie laden. So why not combine the cheapness and ubiquity of McDonalds with the health that should be inherent to inexpensive food. Cheap tasty food doesn't need to be unhealthy. Now the twist, serve in measured portions and allow your customers to sign up in your store or online for a preferred card type system (much like your grocery store) that would allow them to see what they've eaten in terms of calories, protein, carbs, etc. (if anyone steals this idea, which BTW I'm fine with, please credit me or hire me as a consultant or something). This also allows the business to gather a ton of data on its customers. Parents could also give their kids meal cards that could specify dietary restrictions, allow the kids to eat a good meal in the absence of their parents, and allow the parents to check up on their childrens' diets. The prices of food should also fluctuate with market prices, and the menus should be diverse and constantly changing. So an electronic menu would be necessary. Also, these restaurants should be low frill affairs. They should also start in cities and there will need to be a lot of them initially to achieve the kind of economies of scale that will make the food affordable. O, and it needs to be deliverable. The mission statement of this business should follow along the lines of... improve the health of your customers while providing transparency of dietary information at an extremely low price (meal + snack for between meals for about $2-4, yes it's possible).

Side note: the reason this will work is because kitchens are expensive to build, grocery stores are inefficient (it's a middle man), healthy restaurants are unnecessarily expensive, peoples time is increasingly limited and valuable, cooking for yourself is inefficient, fast food is generally unhealthy, and fewer and fewer people can cook or ever do so at home.

And yes, all my ideas eliminate jobs. I'm evil. Then again wouldn't it suck if we still had blacksmiths and ice delivery men? There's plenty of work to be done in this world. Don't cling to menial tasks that can be done better by technology.

Logan = Lab Rat

I've been toying around with this one for a while now. The idea is to see how cheaply I can feed myself while maintaining healthy eating habits. Now don't get me wrong, I could live for $1.50 a day and eat nothing but rice and vegetable oil. The idea is to maintain a semi-normal lifestyle for a fraction of the cost (as I've always claimed was possible). The experiment will last 4 weeks starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to shoot for about 2,400 calories a day. Generally 1,800 is recommended for women and 2,200 for men, but I'm a bit bigger so whatever. I'm going to the grocery store as soon as I finish this post and here's what I intend to buy:

Hot Cereal (aka gruel)
Dried Black Beans
Wheat Pasta
Prego Traditional
Skim Milk (whole would be more economical)
Brown Rice
Olive Oil
Soybeans (edamame)
Garbanzo Beans (to make hummus)
Peanut Butter
Wheat Bread
Flax Seed (pre-ground)
Apples (the one and only granny smith)

The list will be modified of course. The idea was to pick foods that were high in fiber (to keep me full) and filled some nutritional gap. Yes, beer is necessary. Interestingly, the list of foods appears to be vegetarian and almost vegan... odd. This won't be too scientifically rigorous. I'm sure I'll end up going out to eat and getting drunk on a large bottle of expensive vodka, but these experiences will just further elucidate how wasteful my day to day lifestyle is. I'm shooting for less than $5 a day. Again, I could make it cheaper but I'd have to exclude alcohol, fruits, and vegetables.

And to any of my friends that read this; the day after this experiment is over (Wed. Feb. 11th) will be taco night at my house.

11 January 2009

My Creative Friends

Recently a few of my artistic friends have been quite productive. One of them, Justin, started silk screening around the same time I got into dark room printing. Anyways, here's his latest (sold out in a day) work. I go on gigposters.com every once in a while to find some cheap handmade posters. You can find some awesome stuff there. You can find Justin's stuff there too.

08 January 2009

Blink... and Paintball

For JC's birthday I asked for and received many books that I had been looking for at the library, but had never been able to locate. Apparently libraries are growing in popularity.

Anyways, I read Blink in a little over a day. It's a book by the ever popular and quoted New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. This is his second book. The first one being The Tipping Point and the latest being Outliers. Both of which I plan on reading after my current slew of books.

It was a good book, not amazing but pretty good. None the less I find myself talking about it a lot. The concepts he talks about are very applicable to everyday life. Namely, the snap judgments we make and how they can be good or bad. Many of the research studies were famous psychology experiments that I was familiar with, but the extra factor that I had never been aware of was all the product development cases he wrote about. Money for experiments flows to the areas where the most profit can be made... so naturally a lot of it goes to product development.

Then an issue was brought up that I think about all the time but never know how to contextualize or really just do anything productive about; firearm fire fights. I always wonder if all those years of playing paintball has taught me anything with a real world application (outside of the whole Randy Pausch head fake theory). To be honest I'm not sure that anyone really knows for certain. I don't know any former professional players who have or would even consider joining the military, police, etc. And I'm not talking about warfare. Just small groups of people shooting at each other.

Gladwell posits that people enter a state of "temporary autism" when put in such a situation. That is, they focus intently on one thing and other stimuli such as noises and time get blurred or entirely erased. It's funny because there are all these cops' stories about shooting a bad guy, and they all say the same (predictable) things, "time slowed down, I don't remember the shots, etc." I feel in some ways like it's wrong of me to chime in. After all, I've never been involved in a shooting of any sort. Nor do I really wish to be, but some things about paintball have always been true for all its participants.

No matter who you are and how level headed you normally are, after a game of paintball you breath heavier, you're all jacked on adrenaline, your sense of time is screwed up, and you're about 100 times more likely to yell and get in a fight (I'm constantly embarrassed by this). In short, you kind of lose your mind and go on some primitive autopilot. This is what Gladwell attempts to explain. It's also worth mentioning that that feeling you get when playing subsides over time, but never goes away entirely. It's like that part of Fight Club when Edward Norton says that being in Fight Club turns down the volume on everything. Nothing seems like as big of a deal. It takes more to rattle you. But is it really fair to say that playing paintball a lot is in some way really similar to being involved in a fire fight or going to war?

I think, to some extent, yes. I just never know what to do with this idea. It's something that paintball players think a lot about, and something that most military and law enforcement officers will be quick to deny the merit of. Even though their training in actual combat situations or real life experience is severely limited. Blink is essentially a book about how informed people can make snap judgments in their fields of expertise and perform with remarkable accuracy. This is something we can all attest to. Most of us are extremely proficient at at least one thing. It's the nature of our specialized worker society. One of the things I'm really good at (relative to the general population) is paintball. Paintball is a relatively new sport. There aren't a lot of terms for moves, positions, and styles of play. Beyond the basics it's also really hard to teach people how to play it well, and even when you are really good it's hard to explain why you're so good (a similar concept is talked about in the book).

What I'm trying to say is that I think certain professions could get some really cheap and effective training by using paintball as an instructional tool and hiring professional players to help guide them. We're all poor and willing to work cheaply! At the very least it's a good work out and it'll teach its participants to think calmly under pressure. The ability to remain semi-calm under pressure is the biggest plus. This is what should make paintball appealing to a variety of people. Hell, one of my paintball friends trained with a bunch of Navy SEALS and scout sniper teams and Camp Pendleton in CA. Three paintball players (1 old pro, 1 field ref, and probably the best player in the world) against 12 of America's top badasses... all veterans. To be fair he said they were great marksman and learned really quickly, but in the end it was an ass kicking all day by the paintball players. But how is that surprising? Most military personnel are only in for 2-4 years, and most of that time you aren't running close quarters combat simulations. Now compare that to a bunch of kids who grew up playing paintball 2 days a week for several hours for 5,7, or 12 years (for me by the time I was 23). It just seems like a huge waste to not tap some of that talent.