35Stanford, United States
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My self-summary
"I am a truthball in search of goof." I admit that I got that from a friend (who quoted it from The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing), but it seems a pretty decent and concise description. Sadly, I have not read the book. Sometimes I'm intense, sometimes I'm funny, sometimes I'm odd. Philosophically I'm aligned with Sartre, and like to think myself as reasonably well rounded. I like cooking, biking, running, photography and travel, and pursuing my PhD at Stanford.
What I’m doing with my life
I'm a graduate student at Stanford, studying human-computer/human robot interaction, specifically disagreements between humans and computers. How is a computer to know if it is going to make a good decision, or if you will. Most of my work is in the automated vehicle area right now... What is going to happen when the computer says "hey, you need to stop browsing OKCupid and start driving the car now!"--will you put down that phone?
I’m really good at
Fixing bikes, assembling Swedish furniture, making hot chocolate (my cousin the rocket scientist taught me the trick).
I'm pretty decent at navigating dirt roads and baking. Usually it works out pretty well, but there have been a few notable failures in the kitchen and on the rural roads of Nebraska: "no, the road just ends, we're in a cornfield, the map is wrong!"
The first things people usually notice about me
that I'm often riding my bike!
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
I'm a big fan of Walter LaFeber's books, he is a personal friend and was a mentor during my undergraduate days. I've been thinking a lot about American history and politics lately, for obvious reasons. Don Norman (also someone I know in person woo!) and Dan Ariely keep turning out great work, and Failure is not an Option, Gene Kranz' memoir, is a constant source of inspiration. The Ramen King and I was really funny yet put the whole dating thing in perspective (apparently I have the opposite problem of the 'former' Andy Raskin)

I have varied taste in movies: The Fog of War is pretty good for intellectual debate; can't go wrong with the Granddady of all Sci-Fi movies, Metropolis - especially with a live band, or 2001: A Space Odyssey; and The Village was a stealth freakout (I love the twist ending). Other winners are Love Me If You Dare, Chungking Express, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (life would be so much easier if I just had to fight your evil-exes in cartoon superviolence, rather than just in your head) in the romantic genre, and for drama, The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) was amazing. Micmacs--is outstanding in terms of a good story, compelling characters, and a great morality suffused through it. Sadly I don't speak French (I do speak Spanish)

At the risk of sounding trite, I like Kenna (thank you Malcolm Gladwell), U2, The Grand National, Michael Nyman, and Philip Glass' newer works. I also rather like BB King and Dave Brubeck. I like to listen to New Sounds on WNYC at night, there's always interesting music on that show.

I'm a vegetable person (by Brian Wansink's taxonomy)--I prefer strong flavors and am pretty adventurous in the kitchen and in terms of palate.

more importantly: I'm a big fan of Saarinen (both), Alvar Aalto, Dieter Rams, Charles and Ray Eames and Naoto Fukasawa, in terms of design. At some point I'm going to have to dive in to the Buckminster Fuller archive at Stanford, and go back to the Disney Family Museum in the Presidio (super cool!)
Six things I could never do without
Loctite. Without anaerobic thread lockers, planes would fall out of the sky. Seriously!
My bicycle helmet. It's saved my life twice. I'm amazed how much energy that foam can absorb.
Peanuts and peanut butter. I lived on peanut butter in elementary and middle school, and still eat a rather large amount of it. I'd never survive today's peanut-free school lunchroom.
Soap (and mischief and mayhem).
Perhaps less essential but more important is human interaction--I'd rather face the firing line than life in solitary. Also important is inspiration, for I don't think Pascal's lament of a godless world is such a bad thing: finding challenges and seeking to overcome them appears to me to be a decent enough rationale for life, provided the outcomes are positive experience.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
the meaning of pie.

also, been raising my public intellectual game recently (I hope the tenure committee doesn't have a problem with my liberal politics) - so that has meant a lot of reading and discussing politics and government.
On a typical Friday night I am
Firing up the bbq, going to Stanford Theatre, or during racing season heading off to a stage race!
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I like the Chris Hadfield version of Space Oddity better than the David Bowie version.
The two of us