Crowdsourced Composition

The crowdsourcing process in eight steps.

Image via Wikipedia

I think a cool outgrowth of the internet era is crowdsourcing, which, put simply, takes the “two heads are better than one” to an extreme.  Crowdsourcing has helped with everything from map cell phone coverage to searching for extraterrestrial life to simulating molecular dynamics like protein folding.  It even generated a more elegant and simplistic proof to the Hales-Jewett Theorem… just by harnessing the power of blog posters.

I’m going to start an experiment of my own.  Composing a song has always been a goal of mine but I’ve never had the creativity, talent, or background to pull off something better than your run-of-the-mill bullshit.  However, I know an awful lot of musically-minded people, so I’d like to see if we, as a whole, can come up with something great or at least pretty cool.  It would take a number of months, but I think it’s worth it!  We’d roughly follow the steps shown in the image:

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Why Aren’t Businesses Hiring? via FiveThirtyEight

A great read from the always-insightful political blog FiveThirtyEight.  Take a look at the comments, which are full of good points on both sides of the coin.

FiveThirtyEight: Why Aren’t Businesses Hiring?

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The Futility of Online Job Apps is a black hole for résumés.  CareerBuilder, a digital paper shredder.  Craigslist—well, at least Craigslist can get you laid.  That’s always nice.

In the last year, I’ve probably sent out around 400 applications to internet job postings.  To date, I have had exactly one interview—discounting the Census Bureau—and it was for a job I immediately knew I would so hate that I didn’t even follow up with them.  One starts to notice patterns, like how this one place in Queens has put up the same job every six weeks since last October, a remarkably consistent pattern that makes me suspect their HR kids are doing it just to keep up the appearance of doing actual work.  (I don’t really blame them for that; they need jobs too.  Desperate times and measures and such, right?)  The other big pattern is a Catch-22: Firms ask for an entry-level candidate with 3-5 years’ experience.  I’ll give you a moment to let out a respectful whistle à la Yossarian.

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Saturday, June 26th (Part 2)

Midtown Manhattan

I've also never tried to.

I have never successfully hailed a cab.

As we left St. Patrick’s we saw a vintage yellow cab with “Just Married” painted onto the rear window.  Before excitedly snapping a picture, Lindsey turned to me and said she never ever allow this at her wedding.  I told her I’d keep that in mind in case we ever get married but made a mental note to hire that taxi as the getaway car.  (It seems I’m always snarky, even if I keep it to myself.)

We made our way down 5th Ave., occasionally stopping at street vendors so she could look at aum pendants and summer pashmina scarves.  We stopped at 42nd St. to take a quick walk through Bryant Park—my favorite park in Manhattan—and a quick look at the main entrance to the library.  We soon reached 34th St. where I planned to take us to Spoon City to get some really good ice cream.  Their website fails to mention that they’re closed for renovation, so Linds suggested we hit up Pinkberry instead.  My phone claimed it found one on 34th & 6th so we walked there and found a street fair, but no frozen yogurt.  We browsed the shops a bit and head to the actual location down 32nd St., better known as Korea Way, an interesting departure from the haughty urbanity usually associated with midtown.  Refreshed by the yogurt, we headed to the downtown 6.  Linds suggested going to a psychic and getting our palms read; I think this would be a ton of fun and figured on finding one around Chinatown after dinner.

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Saturday, June 26th (Part 1)

I usually feel that who I’m with is far more important than what I’m doing.  It’s sort of like putting on your favorite pair of jeans: No matter how long it’s been, they just… fit.  They feel right.  They’re unbelievably comfortable but you really don’t know why, and the whole experience is therapeutic.  I’m lucky; I have a number of people in my life I can apply this feeling to.  One such person is Lindsey, a wonderful young woman who is not only one of my favorite people but one I haven’t gotten to see in quite a while.  I was elated to spend a banner day wandering New York with her.

Sentimentality aside, Linds and I had a great nine hours.  She asked to do lots of touristy things and really see the city, so after getting some great suggestions from her, I tried to think of all the things that I, a native, wouldn’t normally do—or would outright avoid.  Almost everything we did was new for me too, so looking back on the 100+ pictures we took together, it amazes me how much one can miss simply by virtue of growing up somewhere.  We covered so much ground (around 8.5 miles!) that I need to split this into multiple posts.

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Pot, Prostitution, Profit

Fact 1: Lots of people smoke marijuana.

Fact 2: Just about everybody likes having sex.

Fact 3: Pot and prostitution are not yet monetized commodities in the United States.

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Win or Break Yourself Trying

Tottenville High's Jonathan Silva

Silva threw more pitches than Strasburg is allowed to.  Image via NY Daily News.

The NY Daily News recently ran an article on the best high school ballplayers in New York and the top honor went to one Jonathan Silva, a senior out of Tottenville High School in Staten Island.  Tottenville is my local high school and home to about 4,800 prototypically orange Staten Islanders and some 200 smart kids who realize that there’s more to life than puffy North Face jackets, fake tans, and bad accents.  THS is also home to one of the city’s best Fine Arts departments and a perennially lauded athletics program.  In particular, their baseball and softball teams nearly always go deep into the PSAL playoffs.  This year was no different, as Pirates baseball won its ??th city championship in the last ??-3 years.

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Karma Isn’t a Bitch

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The free market economy killed karma.  Image via Wikipedia.

When I was hired to BAE last summer, I—like every other new hire at every other company—was forced to watch hours of “training videos”.  The ostensible purpose of these videos was to teach the morals and ethics all employees were expected to uphold.  Let me summarize the three central tenets:

  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Don’t grab people’s asses
  • Don’t sell corporate or national secrets

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