Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Enlarge your peanuts

1/ What I like to read in Listserve is quick stories about people, so here is mine : My life was a mess, I've been unemployed for years around my 30's, it was really hard for me to get out of this situation because I'm terrible at selling myself. Now my life is still a mess but I've found a good job so it's easier. I like spaghettis.
2/ Stop being selfish, seriously. I might cross your path someday and I don't like selfish people.
3/ I wish I had discovered sooner AFS (American Field Service - it's not what you think, if you think you can guess by the name, or if you think it's somehow related to spaghettis).
4/ When your story isn't interesting, add spaghettis.
5/ If necessary, add spaghettis to spaghettis.
6/ Spaghettis spaghettis spaghettis.

Simeon Rouflaquette

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Odds of Winning (and Other Interesting Things)

The odds of winning the listserve on your birthday are roughly 1.14 in 10 million, if that is not enough evidence that I'm one of the luckiest humans alive, I don't know what is; I received my winning email on the 13th of April, or my 17th Birthday.

But well, speaking of odds, The incredibly low odds that a complex interaction of different chemical substances produced on the death of different stars would give rise to a conscious living organism who is currently writing an email to other fellow living organisms living on a tiny little rock orbiting a medium-sized star in a galaxy that contains between 100 and 400 billion stars make the 1.14 in 10 million figure just a cake-walk, so I'm probably not as lucky as I previously thought; Thanks Science for giving us the ability to accurately asses probabilities and for proving I'm not especially lucky at all..

Speaking of Science, I think that the solution to most human problems will come through technological advancements and science; They have given us tools that have dramatically revolutionized our lives for the better, nevertheless, I think that all the recent and not-so-recent technological advancements are just the icing on the cake, from the Steam Engine to the Internet, we're just beginning to recognize how much technology and science can change our lives.

If you liked the last part, you'll sure like Michio Kaku's recent books (Physics of the Future and The Future of the Mind); If you are unhappy or feeling depressed, you should read The Enchiridion by Epictetus and The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, both are books about the paradoxical achievement of happiness through accepting that negative phenomena may affect your life; I've lost a sizable amount of weight just by watching the total amount of calories I eat, I'm living testimony to the fact that you can lose weight while eating chocolate and ice cream every single day, if you're interested, read up The Hacker's Diet by John Walker, it is available completely free-of-charge online and the information it provided has changed my life.

If you love science, mathematics, like to debate politics or like talking about anything that is interesting enough for intelligent conversation, I'd love to hear back from you; and if you ever find yourself in a vacation near Cairo, Egypt where I live, drop an email! I'd love to have a drink or two with you.

Ahmad Khaled
Cairo, Egypt

Monday, April 14, 2014

Playing into the Hands of the Terrorist

In lieu of brute force, the terrorist uses fear. For fear is a great weapon. When you are afraid of your fellow passenger and suspect of your neighbor, that is when the terrorist has won. For he has turned society on itself.

A terrorized society is not only decapacitated, but also vulnerable, simply because scared people are easy to manipulate. You will notice that, as a side-effect, power-hungry people will use your fear to gain power. What was once a real threat is now a perpetual bogeyman used to limit your freedom and further sustain your fear.

So how do you fight terrorism? With strength. With cooperation. With self-confidence. With reliance in numbers. The terrorist does not have enough power to cause substantial damage. He can perform acts designed to induce fear, but in reality the probability of getting hurt is extremely small. Believe in that. Secondly: stick together. Don't let fear make you introvert. Talk to your fellow passenger and neighbor. Get to know them. This way, we can make it harder for the terrorist to blend in and simultaneously keep morale up together. Lastly, don't feed the power trolls. Don't give up your freedom for a false sense of security. False security is the business of the mafia, not the government.

Instead give directed power to well-established institutions. Give crime-fighting organizations like the police an appropriate budget for investigating terror-related crime, along with powerful tools to use on suspects. But only when there is reasonable suspicion. This is the only method which has been proven effective in catching terrorists, contrary to what some propaganda would like you to believe.

Don't approve of blanket searches. Don't accept "generous" interpretations of your constitution. Don't give the government power to read your mail, e-mail and social network posts. Or to film you on every street corner. Don't relinquish power to organizations which answers to no-one but themselves. Please think about what these systems will degenerate into.

Let us not buy into the war-inspired territorial thinking as a mechanism of security. Isolationism is dangerous. Just look at the nationalism and isolationism prior to the world wars. Do we really want to revert the globalization which the last decades of information sharing has brought about?

Please fight this threat while maintaining integrity. This is a fight for our right to keep our democratic principles. So let's not abandon them in the heat of the moment. For if we do, we are playing right into the hands of the terrorist.


Alexander Torstling
Stockholm, Sweden

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where From Here?

Hello, my name is Ben Perlmutter. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in computer science in 2012. I now work in presales for a software company in the Bay Area of California. I have a technical background but I my day-to-day is a sales role. Essentially, I am a sales consultant at Workday.

I am from Big Sur, California. It is a beautiful tourist destination. If you ever go there, you need to stop at my family's restaurant, the Big Sur River Inn.

I went to Cornell University. There I sang in the Glee Club (60 voice male choir) and the Hangovers, the a capella subset of the Club. It was a great experience. Both groups are world class and you should check out our Youtube accounts to get acquainted with our music. Just search the internet or Youtube for Cornell University Glee Club and/or Cornell University Hangovers. You Got a C is a classic Hangovers tune, please check it out.

And my last plug: Check out Sam Breslin. He's the dude singing the solo on the version of You Got a C with 25,000 views. He is an incredible musician and he has an awesome EP. Look him up on Band Camp.

Lastly, I will tell you all that my goal in life is to be happy. For that means raising a beautiful family and being able to provide for them in such a way that they are able to have everything they need to flourish. After all, we are animals right? And isn't the most animalistic idea of life the need to pass on one's own genes? That is what I think life is all about. I want to pass on my genes and give my offspring the best chance to survive.

Lastly lastly, I do not believe in God. I do believe in some greater being. And I know that being is related to the stars and their movements.

Good luck all!

Oakland, California

Saturday, April 12, 2014


More often than we think, it is better to be kind than to be right.

Jonathan Kaufmann
Dublin, Ireland

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Entrepreneur Journey

I am not 100% sure why I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I have a couple of ideas. My grandfather was his own boss, he was a lawyer and managed a bunch of real estate. He was always hustling, even in his late 70s, 80s and didn't really retire. I met a family friend many years ago who told me that my grandfather was the hardest working man he knew. My father is a retired doctor who has been very innovative and creative in his practice. He is well respected around the world by his peers and his patients loved him. He continues to do research, further innovating and pursuing medical discoveries for everyone's benefit. Both my father and grandfather were very hardworking and their work was a big part of their identity.

I've started two companies, one we sold about 10 years ago. I was part of the founding team of another startup before that. I've been in the tech, startup world since the first dot com wave and can't imagine doing anything else or wanting to do anything else.

My current company, Flowboard, is in the process of breaking through and disrupting a huge industry. My and my team's motivation isn't the payday, although that is a welcome outcome.

Our drive is to innovate, make a dent, alter history, create positive change, empower voices and make effective presentations and good storytelling easy and accessible to everyone.

Anyone can have their own entrepreneur journey and I encourage it. But. You need to have a passion for an idea or a product, a belief in yourself and the team you build, and the acceptance that it might fail. You are going to work harder with more sustained and dedicated time and energy than your friends and family who aren't entrepreneurs. They might not understand or relate to you, your journey or mission. Starting a company is not for the faint of heart, but can be so rewarding on so many levels.

Thanks for reading my perspective and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you on your entrepreneur journey, if you choose to accept the mission.

- Brent
Seattle, WA

Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Open Letter To My Unborn Baby

Dear Baby M,

You don't even have a name yet, but someday when you learn how to google, you might find this instead of a trove of facebook photos cataloging your life which your father and I won't be posting. You're just about 9 weeks away from your debut in this world. The experience of carrying you these past 30 weeks has given me such an appreciation for the herculean effort that is creating a human life. As a second born, I'm in awe that my mother knew exactly what she was getting into and still wanted to do it again for me. That gift is something I think about paying forward to you every day that you're in there, growing and preparing for your first gulp of air.

I realize of course that getting you here is just the beginning. Your dad and I will spend the rest of our lives doing everything we can to ensure your happiness and safety. Our hopes for you are vast but also simple: to be kind, to be curious, to be thoughtful. We are the product of many generations of our ancestors, whose efforts led to every little thing that fell into place to bring us here and to find each other. We plan to instill all of that in you (including but obviously not limited to: an appreciation for a good burrito and genuine Texas barbecue, a love of the beach and the mountains, a desire to travel and an enjoyment of books).

Please know that you have been loved long before you created the chemical reaction that caused two blue lines on a pregnancy test. I hope this knowledge sustains you on the days that you find this world to be a gritty, tiresome and brutal place. I can't protect you forever from all of that but I can share everything good this world has to offer with you. So rest up, little one, there is so much in store for you!


Dear Listservers,

It might seem an odd choice to write this letter to a listserve of thousands of people scattered across the globe but in some way, it feels right to send it out into the universe. To those of you who are parents, I hope to be worthy of your courageous ranks. To those who are not, I hope you pause to consider all that it took to give you your shot.

Kristen Teraila
Washington, D.C.