Friday, August 08, 2008

Travel Readings

I'm currently in China visiting family and attending the Olympics. After leaving the airport, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Beijing didn't seem any more crowded than usual. Of course I could just be deluding myself... or the traffic conditions here are normally so saturated that I just can't tell the difference.

After my cousin's upcoming wedding, my main man John Carrino will be joining me for a couple weeks of Olympics goodness. In addition, we'll also be visiting Huang Shan (literally Yellow Mountain).

Due to circumstances involving the early departure time of my flight and the time window during which I could get a ride to the airport, my door-to-door trip lasted nearly 30 hours. I'm not very adept at sleeping on planes or in airports, so I spent most of the time reading or playing Commander Keen.

I recently purchased a copy of the Last Lecture book written by the recently deceased Randy Pausch. The book expanded upon his actual lecture in several interesting and touching ways. I just finished the book a few hours ago and think it's well worth anyone else's time to read through as well.

Not one to focus on a single piece of reading material, I scoured the Hudson News shop for more. After browsing around a while, I settled on this month's edition of Time Magazine. Perhaps the most interesting article was the one by Bill Gates on creative capitalism. His view emphasizes corporations adopting more humane approaches to help transform impoverished societies into thriving ones. It's a controversial argument that also runs contrary to Bill's own personal history with Microsoft.

The Gates Foundation is poised to make a huge difference in the world, and was born directly as a result of fairly ruthless business practices. My friend Steve Downing argues that we should to become as wealthy as possible, and then donate to charity. That's certainly what Mr Gates has done.

The last article I'll list is a somewhat disturbing one regarding similarities between Obama and McCain. The article suggests that, while Obama's rhetoric for change is invigorating, we shouldn't expect to see much deviation from the norm if and when he takes office. After watching a number of speeches and interviews, I find Senator Obama to be a very intelligent debater who has clearly thought carefully about the issues at hand. His website contains very detailed descriptions regarding his reform plans. While not an expert, I do find his arguments to at least be consistent (something that can't be said for McCain). Who knows, I might even vote this time around... or maybe not.

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