I get calls from UT Austin looking for donations from Alumni about once a year. I could be a significant donor as I do set aside funds for this kind of thing. A few times the student calling was an interesting conversation, genuinely interested in talking to someone about what they found valuable about their education, something the student was working so hard to get. This time it was different. Thinking about why, sent me bouncing through so many ideas of consequence, I had to write them down.

What My Education Was

  1. Lots of pointless classes, English, history, German (1…

Hands, Brains, and the Force (well not really)

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When you look at your hands you are confronted by something nature gave you, something that you didn’t “make” or “design”. Natural selection made it. If you had made it, it might look like a robot actuator customized for you with interchangeable parts and a Swiss army knife of tools … or at least that's what mine would have. Hands were critical to the survival of your ancestors. Your hand is a wilderness-survivors hand. But not a single event in the wilderness made a hand. Your hand is the sequence of…

Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning need:

  1. lots of data
  2. people willing to provide lots of data while things don’t work very well

Machines that can learn like we do also need:

  1. image recognition
  2. voice to text
  3. text understanding
  4. robotic interaction ( mobility, arm actuators, screens, etc. )
  5. a re-inforcment learning “goal”
  6. an integrated model of the world that all the above systems link into and learn from in a unified way (ex. recognizing a person by both sight, sound, and the person saying I am Joe ).

So you need to build a robot and get lots of people to…

I think of this:

What most people do with the internet:

  1. Share funny or commonplace things on Facebook and Twitter
  2. News
  3. Buy stuff
  4. Search Google for something you have a question about
  5. Talk or video-conference

What most people don’t know:

  1. You can post something to the internet and, if you choose the right site, it can be there … forever.
  2. If you post something remarkable or deeply meaningful people will share it, people will read it … potentially 40% not just of your fiends but of … everyone. Have something you want to say to the world before you die…

I’ve decided recently that reality is better than fiction. Even if its distorted, its about “real” people doing real things, most of which actually matters and sticks with you.

All the links are direct to Netflix.



Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead — The personal story of a guy who was overweight with a immune-based skin disease who goes a a juice fast for several months and drives around the country talking to folks about diet and health, convincing one guy who had the same skin disease to try it with dramatic results. Its entertaining and well told.

Fat, Sick…

“What you seek is what is seeking you.” — Rumi

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho

“When the Student Is Ready the Teacher Will Appear” — Zen Proverb

The Problem

Think of your life. The path its taken. Along the way how much of who you are was left to chance. Random people doing random things. Sure, sometimes the scales were tilted by working with exceptional people, or having friends with similar interests, but everyone owes who they are to random experiences. What if it didn’t have to be random?


What do you really value? What do you do? Do you do what you value? Why not? Are you in control of your choices?

See if anything bothers you about this picture:

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From Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans Time Use Survey

Fast forward … you are old and its looking like there are a few years before you are gone and you think, God damn I watched some good TV during my life and it made it all worth living. Yah, nobody can imagine that. But what do we do? Almost 3 hours a day of TV. WTF? Why is that? Name the last TV show that made an…

I was in a discussion on AI and someone asked me if movies on AI were right. My answer surprised me a little in its implications. Hollywood doesn’t have the imagination to predict the future past about a decade and neither do we for that matter.

My reasoning comes from “The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly where he talks about how the future unravels and the role that technology plays to change the rules. With each new technology, the impact changes the game so much that, like the Butterfly Effect, the new technology so changes society that it effects the next…

Books are in order of recommendation and organized by topic. Books with a ⭐ are ones that changed how I see things.


  1. Good To Great — Jim Collins. Find all the best performing companies over a 15 year period and compare them to similar companies in the same area that weren’t as successful. Collaboration on the book was Jim Collins and a bunch of grad students who all debated on what was in common to success and failure. …

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After reading”Walkaway: A Novel by Cory Doctorow” I wanted to write something quick on what I got out of it.

This NPR Review, as I read it, sold the book for me:

Walkaway is his newest, and it is remarkable. It’s one of those books that I don’t want to describe at all, because doing so would ruin the new car smell of stepping into a fresh-off-the-lot universe. It would sour the joy of getting face-punched over and over again by the utopian/dystopian ideas, theories, arguments and philosophies that Doctorow lays down. It would, in short, wreck the fun.


David Hagar

Programming, science, technology, psychology, AI, startup developer, visualization maker, and natural language processing data science.

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