Archive for July, 2008

Poverty in Williamsport

July 29, 2008

I think a lot about poverty. It seems to me that there should be a way for everyone to a least have a decent standard of living. There will always be rich, and there will always be “poor”, but everyone could conceivably have a job and earn enough to put food on the table and shelter over their families’ heads.

Check out the demographics of Williamsport. 13.7% of families are living below the poverty line, which is probably about $22,000.

What is the most effective way to help these people?

If you had a million dollars to invest in improving Williamsport, where would you put it?


Controversial View of Heaven

July 25, 2008

Strange Maps has done it again: Heaven.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Business with a Purpose

July 23, 2008

I love business. I like marketing, I like developing the product, I like listening to customers. I love seeing businesses develop on TechCrunch or watching web developers I follow start new websites. It’s so creative.

I also have a passion for fighting poverty and hunger. World Vision is awesome.

But, I especially love things like the Acumen Fund, who do business in order to help others. I saw a restaurant on Emerill today that took kids off the street and taught them to cook and run a restaurant. So cool.

I would love to own a business someday that did that, that did more than just make money, but actually make a difference in the community. Any ideas?

Chinese Kitchen, My Old Friend

July 14, 2008

As my close friends know, I love Chinese Kitchen in State College. They have the best chinese in town and for the best price. The Collegian even wrote an article (poorly) on it.

I started going there Freshman year, but I’m sure I hit up Chinese Kitchen every week Sophomore and Junior years, usually twice. Yeah, it’s that good. It didn’t take long for the cook to know my order (I got chicken and broccoli with fried rice and wonton soup every time). He just smirked and rang it up when I entered the door.

If that wasn’t enough, I took Emily there for our first date. The cook smiled, and I’m pretty sure he knew what was going on. We went there many times Senior year and the year after, especially for romantic occasions. We were planning on going there for our 1st anniversary in October.

But, yesterday marked an extraordinarily sad day when I heard my beloved Chinese Kitchen is no longer sitting there next to the once Crowbar and McLanahan’s. There was no note of where they’ve moved or anything.

If you know anything about where it went, if it moved, or anything about why or when it closed, please let me know!

Image from Flickr

Spam Filters

July 9, 2008

I always wondered how spam filters were so good at finding spam and avoiding good emails. Paul Graham apparently figured the whole thing out a while ago. If you’re interested, check out his somewhat technical explanation of spam filters.

If not, here’s the gist:

Take 4000 spam emails and 4000 good emails. Figure out how often words appear in both categories. For instance, “hiking” would probably appear only in the good emails, while terms like “sexy” would appear almost entirely in the spam emails. Then based on that information, calculate the chances that a new email is spam based on which words are contained in it. Paul Graham noted that an email with the words “sex” and “sexy” is 99.97% likely to be spam.