Tao of Tao

The Great Beyond

April 07, 2011

There’s no doubt in my mind that Harvard has prepared me for the variety of professional and personal challenges I’ll face long after my Crimson Cash runs out. When my boss wants a response paper by midnight, I’ll have it covered. When my spouse wants another response paper by midnight, I’ll have that one covered, too. And come tax season, you can bet I’ll have my response paper uploaded on time to the my.IRS portal. Who says Social Studies doesn’t teach practical skills?

But despite my ability to substitute Keystone Light for food, Harvard hasn’t prepared me for—*gulp*—relocation. No matter how much I beg, or how securely I tie myself to a New Quincy radiator, I’ll be forced to take my Lynyrd Skynyrd collectors’ t-shirts and move somewhere that isn’t here. Most seniors face a similar dilemma, and even those continuing onto the ranks of post-grad academia are likely doing so outside the Crimson bubble. A lucky few will spend the months after graduation traveling, an effective method for postponing real life’s eerie call. Yet barring a lifelong position with Let’s Go, they too must eventually take root somewhere. Those of us entering the work force will head wherever our respective jobs take us, that is, as soon as we get those assignments from OCS.

Read more

For the Love of (Some) Game

March 02, 2011


The human body’s gradual decay with age is, according to a budget consultant on physical aesthetics (Dr. Me), one of mankind’s greatest tragedies. We start off as round balls with soft heads and soft everything, move briefly to a period of hard-bodied vitality, and then begin a slow decline toward the descent of our fat parts. For gymnasts these years mark the end of life as they know it, but for the majority population aged 16 to 19—give or take two years—this time represents a period of unparalleled capacity for exercise, recovery, sleep, and, at least for males, bow-chicka-wow-wow. We’re supermen/women for the latter part of high school, a time when we’re generally too scared or too stupid to take advantage of our physical blessings. But by sophomore year of college, the moment we discover our physical prowess, our testosterone levels have started their decline, marking the end of the “I can eat nothing but Cheetos and still win this marathon” phase—for both sexes.

Read more

The Limits of Perception

February 17, 2011

It’s been a tough couple of years for fans of traditional cinema. Good old-fashioned talkies have been steadily losing ground in an industry where 3D blockbusters mean higher ticket prices for the consumer and new mega-yachts for studio executives. 2D denizens like Spielberg and Scorsese have capitulated to depthmongers like Cameron and Bay, and with recent advances in technology we’re just a few steps away from being able to feel the Autobots transform (an option I’m sure is already available in Japan). Respect for the craft be damned, Hollywood’s ruling moguls are coating bad scripts in CGI and pop-up book visuals, then shoving them down our collective throat like mom’s steamed rutabaga.

Television, of course, is following suit, and before we know it the cast of “30 Rock” will be standing in our living rooms, their self-parodying holograms complaining about Liz Lemon this and why-is-Tracy-marrying-a-tiger that. The nightly news will soon feature the day’s international riots in real time and all three angry dimensions, and just watching football will result in a mild concussion. And once game developers catch up to the new wave of 3D TVs, you can expect national productivity to drop even more whenever they release a new “Call of Duty.”

Read more

Social Media Mambo

February 03, 2011

Social media is a lot like the ugly cousin in the family: it’s not me. To be fair, it’s not you, either, because for every Facebook I didn’t invent, there’s a MySpace you utterly failed to dream up. The corporate ranks are filled with drones who weren’t the first to get LinkedIn, and lining the sunny beaches of Rio are thousands of sunbathers who aren’t much for wearing bikini tops and who never got around to creating Orkut.

And as for Twitter? It’s blocked in China, so that’s 1,331,460,000-plus non-innovators right there (Thanks, Google!).

Read more