Greetings from the business center of the Shigatze hotel.

Shigatze is a complete dust bowl right now. Every sidewalk is ripped up in preparations for the celebrations in early July. Based on my casual assessment, I don’t think they’re going to make it. They still seem to be in the “destroy everything,” phase of street . . . → Read More: Shigatze


The trip is going really well so far, and there are too many incredible experiences going on to try to squeeze them into blog posts through this soda straw of an internet connection. I do wish to report, however, on the local hooch: “Chaang.” This is a barley beer made locally, and it’s mentioned in . . . → Read More: Chaang


I’m writing from the comfort of the Kyichu Hotel about a block from the Potala Palace, in the core of Lhasa.

For those who were hoping for up to the minute facebook or twitter, those are stone cold blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Wikipedia’s list of similarly blocked sites is an eye . . . → Read More: Lhasa

Hong Kong Airport

I write from the upscale “pay-in shower lounge” at the Hong Kong international airport.

At first we were confused about the setup, but it all became simple very quickly. The key is to accept that we’re from the backwater sticks of the world, and that Hong Kong is actually in the future, after Earth . . . → Read More: Hong Kong Airport

Why Tibet

Jen and I are taking a trip to Tibet, and I’ve been asked more than a few times: “Why Tibet?” It’s one of those difficult questions because it’s absolutely simple and clear to me why we’re going – but for a dozen different reasons. Teasing those reasons apart turns out to be harder than I . . . → Read More: Why Tibet

Career fair

My brother in law, Doug, teaches at a middle school west of Philadelphia. For years, he’s been suggesting that I would have fun presenting at their career day. This year I had a tiny bit of space in my schedule, so I snuck down and back on the Acela. I spent the morning talking to . . . → Read More: Career fair

Rand Paul on slavery

Found this gem via Matt Taibbi: “With an absolutely straight face, Rand Paul compares public health care to slavery. He says that if everyone has a right to health care, that means that people can come to his office – Rand is a doctor, after all – and “conscript” him to provide service.”

Keep in . . . → Read More: Rand Paul on slavery

Of cats and painters

Morning. A crew of painters is walking around outside the house. Two humans (Chris and Jen) and two cats (Maia and Minnow) are watching from inside and preparing for work.

Chris: Who wants breakfast? Breakfast for cats! Minnow: (excited circling) Maia: (stony silence) Chris: Maia, do you want breakfast? Maia: (stony silence) Minnow: MEW! Chris: . . . → Read More: Of cats and painters

The opposite of work

I saw a good talk by Jane McGonigal at PAX East. She spoke based on her book Reality is Broken, which is about how many of the traits developed in playing games (particularly video games) are terrifically useful to succeeding at life.

One of her slides was (and I’m paraphrasing here): “The opposite of play . . . → Read More: The opposite of work

Medicine, part 2, in which I admit my error

I rely you people to correct me when I screw up – and I made something of a howler in that last post. Fortunately, Krugman’s actual column today caught it.

I claimed that the current debate is about how best to reduce the size of the medical industry. That’s wrong. What we’re really arguing about . . . → Read More: Medicine, part 2, in which I admit my error