Tuesday, July 31, 2007

hans rosling is amazing...

For those of you who haven't seen Hans Rosling's talk from TED 2006, you definitely have to go check it out! OK...now that you've seen that, you have the info you need for the rest of this post :) Hans is just amazing...the way he presents data can show so much about history, culture, and priorities of society with such a simple, clean interface. He was back again at TED 2007 and the talk was recently posted online. He continues to amaze with new data on how as countries became richer and healthier they also emitted more carbon per person and so much more...

But ok...the point of this post is not to focus on his talks, as amazing as they are and anyone who cares about the world should go watch them, but instead to point you at something that I guarantee will steal hours of your time. It turns out that Google bought his software and has posted it online. Warning: Do not click this link unless you want to get sucked into hours and hours of comparing countries GDP's, military budgets, %boys vs. girls in schools, contraceptive rates, number of doctors per capita, etc etc etc all night long.

The data is amazing and what is the most amazing part to me is how you can see key events in history as you move the date slider along...wars, leaders with particular political views. Hans shows a few in his 2007 talk (and he has more historical data then google) It's interesting to see just how much good (or bad) one leader or one event can do to an entire country. Man, I can (and have) spent hours with this thing...


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Durty Nellies

So I've lived out in Palatine for 2 1/2 years now. There's this big bar/music venue pretty much right across the tracks from where I live and in all this time I've never been there. That is, until last night! It was Joe's b-day and we all headed over there to see Mike and Joe, pretty much *the* midwest's cover band. They've been around forever and play a lot of the big hits from the 90s. I usually comment that their set is pretty much my ipod on random :) Anyway, I was really surprised how big it is in there! They can let 400 people on the floor and have a balcony with tables as well. And it was packed for Mike and Joe.

The show was pretty good, although they were playing some newer stuff that just isn't as good as the old standbys. And I felt like we were on the older side of people there. But overall quite fun and I think I'll be going back soon...especially since it's a block away! And the $3 Goose Island beers and $6 cover are pretty compelling reasons as well! Ah...the suburbs... ;)


Friday, July 27, 2007

interesting facts about the "average" american...

Wired had an interesting little graphic about this past month about how the "Average American" family spends money on various things. Some of these really surprised me. Like the fact that on average, people only spend $26/year on music. That's barely 2 CDs. They also spend $45 on DVDs/videos and another $33 on rentals. So that's basically another 2 or maybe 3 DVDs a year purchased. It's interesting how little content people are actually buying.

So where is the tech money going? Well if you add up phone costs of home and mobile phones, the service alone is over $1000/year for the average family ($1025). And cable TV is another $519. I guess it really goes to show that the money is in the services, not the content itself.

Also surprising is the $1886/year spending on clothes. That's on heck of a lot of clothes :) And actually more than people spend on "Entertainment" - $1578.


dating sucks...

I think the title says it all.


Monday, July 23, 2007

more reasons UPS is messed up...

So I have a package coming UPS for work today. But it's being delivered to my home (long story). But anyway, I called UPS last night and asked if they could hold it so I could pick it up at the sort facility on the way to work instead of waiting at home for it to show up. They told me that I had to call back between the time the status changed to Arrived at Palatine Sort Facility and the time it said Out for Delivery which would be a 45 minute window around 6am. Odd. Anyway, I called this morning and they said that they couldn't hold it because I was the receiver and that only the shipper can request that a package be held. What?? How backwards is that...why would the shipper ever request something be held at the receiver's sort facility?

Anyway, now I have to wait at home until they decide to deliver this thing. I just totally hate UPS's customer service. Why can't more people use FedEx. They are so nice and accommodating :)


Sunday, July 22, 2007

city fun...

The past few days have been full of fun in the city! Friday night was filled with fun at the Art Institute. Target is sponsoring free Thursdays and Friday nights at the museum all summer, so I think that this will have to become a more regular occurrence for the next few months. There's just something so happy about going in and seeing the amazing Monets, Magrittes, Picassos, etc. There are just so many memories in that museum from growing up and going on painting hunts with my mom. And so many memories from high school and going there with friends. Man, I love that place!

Today was the MIT Chicago summer picnic up in Lincoln Park. Every year, we have it up on top of this 44 story building right on the lake/park. Such amazing views!

All of this time in the city makes me think again about moving downtown. As much as I love being close to work and getting to sleep in for that 7 minute drive in the morning, I really just love the city so much and just want to wake up there, surrounded by amazing buildings and theaters and museums. We'll see...maybe someday...


Thursday, July 19, 2007


It's up to 636 people now who were sickened by the hummus at the Taste. Pretty insane! I'm all better now and have been back at work since Monday. It's been a pretty relaxing week which has been nice. I'm looking forward to a fun weekend including the Art Institute and an MIT Chicago picnic.


Friday, July 13, 2007

salmonella...the story continues...

So I guess I was feeling a bit optimistic in my last post where I thought I'd be back to work soon. (But would it be me if I wasn't overly optimistic?) In any case, I'm still at home. The stomach pains and headaches have gone away, but I still have a 101 fever. A trip to the doctor today netted me some antibiotics, so hopefully in 2-3 days or so things will be all better.

Best quote from the doctor today:
doctor: your blood pressure seems kind of low, have you been running?
me: I ran the marathon in october.
doctor: oh, well then, ok

It's frustrating feeling so much better but still having to rest and lay here and sip water today. It's so beautiful out and it would be so nice to spend the day outside. Needless to say I also have a ton of work I should be catching up on, but "rest" and "work" don't go very well together.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


For those of you wondering where I've been lately, I've been at home, sleeping and feeling horrible. After the Race to Taste on July 1st, I had some Hummus from a restaurant Pars Cove that came with an unwelcomed side of salmonella. I felt pretty bad last tuesday but then felt better right away and figured I had beaten whatever was getting me all crampy and headachy. However as work stress increased and the weekend ended, it came back in full swing and I've been confined to bed or the couch all week.

I'm finally starting to feel a little bit better and may even make it into work tomorrow, but man, it's been a long week!


Friday, July 06, 2007

This American Life...now on iTunes!

The This American Life TV show is now available for download on the iTunes store! The whole first season is $10.99. This is exciting news as I've been really excited about the show since I went to the live taping and pseudo-premier at the Chicago Theater a few months ago. But I don't get Showtime and don't have digital cable, so no OnDemand, and had no way to watch it.

Needless to say, the whole first season is currently downloading...

Thanks Laura for the info!


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Race to Taste...

Today was the annual running of the Race to Taste in Chicago, part of the Taste of Chicago festivities. It's a nice little 5k race along the lake front and Michigan Ave that ends right at the Taste of Chicago, a fun festival of Chicago food with booths from over 70 restaurants.

The race was great and the weather was perfect. It was about 70 degrees and perfectly sunny and I finished in 27:40, not a super-wonderful time, but not bad for the lack of running that I've been doing lately. It was a lot of fun though as I made it down there with my friend Jen and a bunch of her family. We all hung out at the Taste afterwards and I was able to find a ton of vegan food...samosas, pita and hummus, fruit, falafel, corn with soy butter, tofu "steak", italian ice. There were just so many choices!!

As I always say, I highly recommend this race to others. It's one of the most fun in Chicago every year and you get a free day at the taste out of it (they include a whole strip of tickets in the race packet). So much fun!

(And a little totally unplanned side note. I turned out to be number 77 in the race and was wearing a bunch of MIT running gear) :)