All Work and No Play Makes Bill a Dull Boy

March 3, 2005

People who know me know that I don’t really know how to relax.   This isn’t to say that I’m constantly working.  Rather, it’s to say that most activities I undertake for the purposes of procrastination aren’t conducive to relaxation.   

For example, of late I’ve been taking breaks from my theoretical physics PhD work by partaking in some of the many seminars offered by MIT’s top notch Political Science / Security Studies Program.   There one can hear such relaxing things as Professor Steven Van Evera constantly telling anyone within earshot that

Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II have all failed to move lock down loose nuclear and biological materials and scientists in Russia and elsewhere.  The US spends only $1 billion per year on the project (through the Cooperative Threat Reduction Initiative, or CTR)  and won’t have it finished until 2018.  Bin Laden is probably on a faster schedule than that.  The CTR lacks a strong, visible leader who can make things happen in Washington and Moscow. [Van Evera often inserts the example of someone like James Baker.   That is, someone with a reputation for being a top confidant to the President and whose appointment would be understood as a not-so-subtle hint that the President has authorized that all cooperation be amply rewarded and all opposition be thoroughly punished.]  This policy error is the worst failure of government in modern times!  Duck and cover! [Van Evera’s emphasis].   

As such, I’ve been meaning for awhile to go on a rant about how incredibly irresponsible and incompetent it is for the US and Russia not to be locking down the massive Soviet-era stockpiles of WMDs.  I even took the time to find an appropriate editorial cartoon to serve as a visual aid for this rant.


(Click image for a popup window with full size JPEG.)

Cute, ain’t it?

But tonight I just can’t get worked up about all that.  Sure, numerous experts have put even odds on a terrorist nuclear attack in a major US city within the decade, an attack that will instantly kill a few hundred thousand people and inevitably cause a few trillion dollars in economic damages.   But geez, these same experts put even odds on the Cold War ending in the Destruction of All Civilization as We Know It, and so this is actually progress. And besides, all work and no play makes Bill a dull boy, right?  🙂

So, on that note, let me share with you some of what I’ve actually found for fun and relaxation in the past few weeks.

First, in music:   People who know me also know that I love mildly insane female piano-playing singer-songwriters.   So to all you readers who are unacquainted with either Nellie McKay (and really folks, you have no excuse, she has a freakin’ contract with Sony Records… she ain’t obscure) or Amanda Palmer (who, alas, still is a tad obscure), I can’t suggest strongly enough that you rectify your oversight. 

Second, in poorly written but spectacularly choreographed martial arts film:  I just saw Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, a 2003 Thai action movie that’s now in a rolling limited release across the US, seemingly thanks in part to The RZA from Wu-Tang Clan (see the trailers and promos on the movie site).    All I can say is wow.   I mean, wow.   No, really… wow.   And, of course, props to The RZA.  Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to mess with.)

Well, back to contemplating the fundamental physical limits to computation and how much my predilection toward major metropolitan areas augments my probability of being prematurely vaporized.  🙂

Nighty night.

3 Responses to “All Work and No Play Makes Bill a Dull Boy”

  1. jrloo Says:

    11Good site!!!!!

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