Container living

Just saw this article in the NY Times. The article reports on two communities that are finding creative ways to get around soaring rents: Containertopia, where techies live in 160-square-foot shipping containers, and homeless people living in boxes designed by artist Gregory Kloehn.

Check out the video above to see how these techies are living off the grid. This is cool in so many ways. I’m not sure I’d like pooping in a 5-gallon bucket (and I’m not sure if the toilet, stove, and solar panels are still workable now that they’ve moved into an indoor warehouse), but it’s really awesome that they’ve built this experience. According to co-founder Luke Iseman, the main problem with the outdoor setup was water. It’s fascinating not just for the coolness factor, but also for the learning factor.

How to lose two hundred million dollars

After having countless debates with some people who were attacking my belief that families are the most important part of a child’s education, last year I dropped the Billion Dollar Question: What would you do to fix inner city education if you had a billion dollars? Most of my detractors couldn’t come up with an answer, so I attempted to answer it myself. But my views were mostly hypothetical. Mark Zuckerberg, who has more money than me, actually put up lots of money: $100 million. His $100 million gift was contingent on raising an additional $100 million, so altogether $200 million went to help Corey Booker and Chris Christie fix Newark public schools. That’s one-fifth of the billion in my hypothetical. Now the money is all gone.

Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100

Photo credit: LeeLee Films, Inc.

Photo credit: LeeLee Films, Inc.

Grace Lee Boggs has passed on. Check out her obituary. The woman is definitely a hero. But I wanted to take a moment to say that I think it’s important to honor people in death by describing what they did rather then what we would like them to have done. In other words, we need to do a better job of treating people as individuals. We need to take a broader view of the world.

Obama speaks about Oregon shooting

“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache, and grief, and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America.”

“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.”

Obama has rightly spoken out against guns before. He’s probably tired of talking about it, the same way we’re tired of experiencing it. But the gun freaks just won’t let up. I mean, seriously, how many times do we have to experience this? Every time it happens, it’s more or less exactly the same–one jerk decides to kill random strangers. We’re the only industrialized country in the world that experiences this. We don’t have to be.

Hope on the horizon?

I hope I didn’t bring anyone down yesterday with my depressing post about lack of hope. Thank you, ChineseMom, for cheering me up with this article: The Model Minority Is Losing Patience. It’s an article about how Asian American children seem to getting the shaft from affirmative action, and how Asian American parents are waking up to the reality of racism in college admissions. I’m not happy about the racism, but I’m happy that young Asian Americans are aware of it.

This is funny in a not-so-funny way:

One big Holy Shit moment on the internet

I found this article: “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” by Jenny Zhang. I found it via 8 Asians. It’s about the White poet who had his poem published by taking on a Chinese-sounding pseudonym. The White poet did so because he felt it would be easier to get published. From the NY Times article:

“As a strategy for ‘placing’ poems this has been quite successful for me,” he said, noting that “The Bees” had been rejected 40 times under his own name but only nine times under the pseudonym before it was published by Prairie Schooner.

Baruch College fraternity hazing

Michael Deng

Chun Deng

There were very few Asian American fraternities when I went to college, so I don’t know all that much about them, but they’re in the news again, as prosecutors begin charges against fraternity brothers in the 2013 death of Michael Deng. From the report, it does sound like they’ve got a good case for murder. Even if their intentions had been good, it sounds like it really got out of hand:

Kim Davis will not approve gay marriage licenses

See here. She’ll allow her deputies to approve them, but she won’t allow them to put her name or title on those licenses. In the speech above, she questions the validity of such licenses.

I think she should be removed from office. Her government job calls for her to do her job, and she is refusing to do it. A Christian fundamentalist clerk should not be allowed to deny lawful marriage licenses, the same way a Muslim fundamentalist TSA director should not be allowed to let Al-Qaeda bomb planes. She has a right to her religious beliefs, but her religious beliefs should not prevent gay people from going through with their legal right to marry. If her religious beliefs prevent her from doing her job, then she’s clearly not in the right line of work.

Intel drops science competition


Photo credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

File this under “decisions that make absolutely no sense.”

SAN FRANCISCO — Intel, the world’s largest maker of semiconductors, is dropping its longtime support of the most prestigious science and mathematics competition for American high school students.

It’s only 6 million dollars, which is nothing for Intel. Why wouldn’t Intel pay that small price to have its name affixed to the most prestigious science and mathematics competition in the world? There may be some argument that most winners don’t work in semiconductors, but it’s still great advertising.