On Altruism in the New York Times

We were sitting in Grant’s office one afternoon talking about efficiency, when he said: “The truth is, I don’t care how many articles I publish or how many words I write. Productivity is an imperfect way of indexing how much I’m contributing, how I’m using my limited time to make the most difference.”

It wasn’t until I was transcribing the conversation a few days later that I realized that when he referred to his limited time, he wasn’t just talking about a busy schedule; there was a more existential tug in the phrase. I brought it up with him by phone.

“It’s the kind of thing I almost never talk about,” Grant said. “But my responsibility is to be open.” Mortality, he said, was the one subject that gave him something like panic attacks. He had always felt that way, since he was a brainy, sensitive kid playing basketball in his driveway, staring at the sun, suddenly terrified of what would happen when it burned out. That was why he first wanted to be a scientist — before he realized biology bored him and he would never reinvent physics — so he could help figure out how to extend life, or at least design the spacecrafts that he is sure, even now, will take us to safer planets if this one runs dry. Mortality, he said, is “something I can’t fix. I can’t do anything with or about it.” He can’t let himself think about it too much; he has lost days at a time to his anxiety, “to the point that it’s the equivalent of extreme physical pain.”


For Sale: $250 Epiphone Valve Jr min half stack guitar amplifier (2007)


email ralph@hogaboom.org or call/text 360-545-3574

I’m selling my used Epiphone Valve Jr mini stack. I bought it from the original owner in 2009, and it’s been kept indoors in a heated, moisture-free environment since. Smoke-free home, as was the original owners.

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Comes in the original boxes with the original manuals and paperwork.I haven’t played it in over a year, and I think it’s time to move it on. There are no defects or problems with the amp – it’s a fantastic little amplifier!
It’s a 5W tube amp, with a single knob. What you get it awesome guitar sound. The tone is wonderful – check out this YouTube demo for a sample. Note, this isn’t my amp – but it’s the same line.

( more YouTube demos here, and here )

“This head version of the Epiphone Valve Junior tube guitar amp includes features not found in its combo cousin. It has DC filaments for both the preamp and power sections to reduce unwanted filament hum. It also has 4, 8, and 16 ohm speaker outputs so you can drive any kind of guitar speaker, from a single 8″ box to a 4×12″ cab. Simple to operate with one control for volume and gain, it delivers fabulous tube tone from singing to searing with a simple twist of the single volume knob. Like the combo version, the Epi Valve Junior Head delivers 5W power with one 12AX7 tube in the preamp and an EL84 in the power amp, but has way more crunch and bite than the combo. Sports stylish vintage red and black vinyl tolex with white piping and a thatched cream front panel. Featuring birch plywood construction cabinets with steel corners, superior audio design, and cool retro looks, the Epiphone Valve Junior Half Stack is a rugged, professional workhorse that will turn heads both for looks and sound.”

It’s also small – doesn’t take up much room, and great for travelling and performing musicians.Valve Junior Head + matching extension cabinet

  • 5W power
  • Single-ended Class A tube circuit
  • 12AX7 preamp tube
  • EL84 power amp tube
  • Tubes have DC filaments for reduced noise
  • Single chicken-head volume knob
  • 4, 8, 16 ohm outputs for speaker flexibility