Category Archives: Misc

Grosspop’s Theosophy

My grandfather (we called him by the German “Grosspop”) was an active Theosophist, and imparted wisdom from his readings to us boys every time we saw him. Theosophy was (is?) a sort of combined philosophy/religion that drew wisdom from all of the world’s religions, with a strong emphasis on reincarnation and positive thinking. “Ja Ja Scottie, every lifetime is just a stepping stone on the universal road – a thousand years is but a day of history” (read that to yourself in your thickest German immigrant voice).

Founded in 1875, it gained mild popularity in the U.S., and columns by theosophical writers appeared in pamphlets and newspapers all over the world. You don’t hear much about them anymore. We loved him dearly, though I think as kids we didn’t really know what to do with his musings.

On a recent visit to my parents’ house, my father handed down to me a scrapbook full of theosophical clippings Grosspop had gathered and saved over the years. I remember seeing Theosophy magazines around the house, but had never seen this scrapbook before. Honored to have this in the family; just wish I could have the opportunity to talk about Theosophy with him now, as an adult.

theosophy

Open Message to Recruiters

Head_Hunters_Album Like many of my colleagues in the tech / web dev industry, my phone rings around 2-5 times per day with cold calls from recruiters wanting to convince me to leave the job where I am happily employed and move to some other job that they think I would be more suited to for some reason. Nowhere on the internet have I listed myself as being in need of work.

I struggle to find the best way to respond to these spammer/recruiters. My options are:

  • Politely explain that I’m not looking, thank you very much
  • Hang up without saying a thing
  • Try to explain why I think cold-calling people is unacceptable

I usually go for the last option, though I’m afraid I never seem to get through to them. For posterity, my argument is this:

When a marketer or recruiter calls a person without being invited to, they are a spammer – pure and simple. You (the recruiter) are stealing my time. If a person wants help from a recruiter, they will reach out for help looking for a job. There is no circumstance in which calling someone’s phone uninvited and for profit can be considered polite (or even acceptable).

Unlike email spam, phone spam steals our time. Refresher course on Kant’s Categorical Imperative:

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

In other words, only do things in life that you would want everyone else to do in the same circumstance. Ask yourself what would happen if every person who had something to sell was allowed to call everyone who has a telephone, at any time. No one would be able to get anything done, since our phones would never stop ringing. If you don’t think everyone should be able to cold-call everyone else, then no one should be able to do it.

“Ah,”  you respond, “But I’m different because I’m trying to help!”

Sorry – you’re not helping. If I had posted somewhere that I was looking for a job and needed help, then you would be helping. But with me gainfully employed, your relentless calls are nothing but a nuisance – one that gets more annoying every day.

If you are a recruiter who cold-calls people, please stop. Just stop. When we need help, we’ll reach out to you. As long as you are in the business of cold-calling, you’ll just continue to generate ill will. 

Movember!

Hi friends and family -

I started November by shaving my trademark goatee clean off, then starting in on an honest-to-goodness mustache.

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Not a goatee – a real live ’stache! – to support the international Movember campaign, which raises awareness and money for men’s health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. You can read all about the campaign here:

http://us.movember.com/

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With early detection, these types of cancer are usually preventable, or can be greatly mitigated. The key takeaway message is that men need to do *both* a physical examination and have a PSA (blood test) done. Please spread the word!

I’ve teamed up with a group of men from the Center for Investigative Reporting (Team CIR) to pool our fundraising efforts.

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If you know someone who has been affected by one of these cancers, or would just like to help out (no pressure, seriously!) please consider making a small donation through my MoSpace page:

http://mobro.co/shacker

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Thanks in advance!

 

Mythbusters Live

M and I off on the BART for a late-night jaunt to see the Mythbusters Live at the Orpheum Theater in SF. On the way he was harassed by a real live drunk for the first time, encountered a woman lamenting how racist cab drivers sometimes wouldn’t pick her up (forcing her to walk 8 miles on arthritic knees), and a man with 4 strings left on his guitar belting out Bee Gees tunes inside the train car, accompanied by his son playing overturned bucket and kazoo. Whole lot of crazy Bay Area Reality for a kid to take in at once.

miles hat bart

Oh yeah – the Mythbusters show was pretty good too. Not great – more an entertainment revue than the science-y retrospective I had hoped for. But interesting and enjoyable. Unfortunately we had to leave at intermission – he was falling asleep on my shoulder in the theater after a long day in the sun.

Life is good.

Tour de Cure – Riding Against Diabetes

Growing up, I watched as my grandmother struggled to keep her insulin levels under control. As an adult, I watched as my father-in-law did the same. Ultimately, diabetes was a contributing factor in both of their deaths. It runs in the family.

Next weekend, our family will ride 25 miles in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure to help raise money for diabetes research (I wanted to ride 75 miles but it was more important to be able to stay with Miles on his longest ride yet). We are riding because it is an opportunity to change the future and to make a positive impact in the lives of those who are affected by diabetes.

Rest stop in the vineyards

I just signed up to ride in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. I’d like to invite you to support me in my efforts to Stop Diabetes!

Tour de Cure is an opportunity to change the future and make a positive impact in the lives of all those affected by diabetes. And it’s a great ride!

Chances are, you also know someone who has been affected by diabetes and you already know how important it is to stop this disease. My goal is to raise . Will you join me by visiting my personal page and making a donation?

By supporting me, you will help the American Diabetes Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

The power we have together far outweighs what I can do alone. Please join me by donating to this great cause – it would mean so much to me!

Thank you!

Scot Hacker

P.S. Thank you for considering making a donation to my efforts! Also, if you’re interested in riding, I’d love the company! Visit my personal page or the Tour website for more information.

Update: The ride was fantastic, and all of us completed 25 miles, no sweat. Together, we ended up raising more than $700, strengthened our bodies, and had a great time. Some pics from the day in this Flickr Set.

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Team Lanesplitter!

Wildcat Canyon Circuit

22-mile solo training ride around and through Wildcat Canyon today, gearing up for Tour de Cure! New personal best – averaged 13.78 mph, taking into account uphill, downhill, photo breaks and stop signs.

wildcat

Wildcat Canyon Circuit

Crestmont 4/5 Sound Science Fair

Wonderful watching and hearing the fourth and fifth graders explain their audio science projects this morning – such a broad topic, and every kid had a completely different take. Recorded some random audio samples this morning while meandering from theremin to echolocation demo to analog amplifiers to oscilloscope to homemade stethoscope to foley demo… the variety was fantastic.

For a taste, start the audio, then start the slideshow and choose the Full Screen option.

Flickr Set

The Modest Case for Atheism

Quite good article at exchristian.net, which kicks off by making an important distinction that most people unfamiliar with atheism overlook. In a nutshell: Contrary to popular belief, very few atheists are certain (in the mathematical sense) that God does not exist; rather, we believe that the very notion of there being a God is implausible. Since it is unsustainable to hold implausible beliefs, we are atheists. It really is that simple.

Most of the time people have this impression that atheists are absolutely certain about the non-existence of God since they claim to know that God does not exist, however this impression is misleading. While there are atheists who claim to be absolutely certain that God does not exist, not all atheists are like this. Most atheists are not committed to the view that the non-existence of God is some kind of axiomatic or self-evident truth… What most atheists would agree is that the belief in the existence of God is implausible, hence unreasonable belief. Most atheists do not feel compelled to produce and reproduce absolute proof that God does not exist; it would be self-defeating and futile to even try. This is because most things in life cannot be shown to be true by absolute proof, especially in science.

Real World “Like” Button

Note left on my bike by an anonymous admirer (OK, “Nick”) this evening. Apparently Facebook idioms have suffused our lives so thoroughly that we now need to get creative with post-its when Real Life is absent a “Like” button.

Chico Wildflower / Mildflower

My introduction to distance biking happened Sunday on the 31st annual Chico Wildflower Ride, though I actually did the 65-mile “Mildflower” loop rather than the full 100-mile Wildflower. But given that my previous longest ride had been 40 miles around Wildcat Canyon, it was vigorous enough for starters (though not as intense as I had imagined it would be). I had blown it up in my head, thinking it would be one of the most physically challenging experiences of my life – but once you get into a rhythm, the miles fly by quickly.


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