Monthly Archives: July 2013

Passionate peoples

What is it that drive peoples to want to give time, help others, teach, create, innovate, care, entertain, foster, always push boundaries, …, not once, but years after years. For most of these individuals, it seems to be a life long commitment.

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.

– Michelangelo

Why I am bringing this up. Well a few nights ago I went to an outdoor show with my daughter. Of course, the artist performing will make a lot of money but in this case it is obvious he doesn’t need it. Most artist come a few hours before the show, get the job done and go back. Usually, there will be another group present “to prepare the crowd.” They will play for 90 to 120 minutes with a pause in the middle and an encore included.

This particular individual got to the city the day before, took the time to discover the area, the food, the people. He made effort to get familiar with the language (not English!). Everywhere he goes, you hear stories about how accessible, gentle and caring he is.

So we are this show and this artist is playing for 130 minutes non-stop, no pause. 30 tunes in a row. He is 71 and clearly having fun, clearly caring that we are also having fun with him… 2 pause minutes and back for an Encore: 45 more minutes of musics!!!

I asked my daughter about the show, after all this is not music made in her generation. She was not only impressed, she was touched by artist, his behavior during the show (including an impromptu happy birthday song and hug on stage to a young girl waving a board since the beginning of the evening), his caring and giving. This is what passion is about: being 71, loving musics and coming to share it from 9h PM to midnight non-stop and having a party with the crowd. The guy is (Sir) Paul McCartney.

These individuals can of course be professional athletes, successful inventors, CEOs, stars but they are also nurse, teachers, researchers and much more.

Passionate peoples are first and foremost movers. They make things happen, they create magic for a child, a sick person, a student, a crowd… society. I do not know if the students I teach and those I supervise through graduate studies will remember me as a passionate person down the road. I certainly aspire at being better at doing it.

The best job is …

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.


My two teenagers have started their summer jobs as instructor and assistant instructor in specialized summer camps. This reminded me that when my son started his first summer job (last year), I asked him at the end of his first week how it was, if he liked it?

His reply was, I am having lots of fun and their paying me to for it!

This is a very important feeling, maybe the most important one when it comes to employement. I told him never to loose that feeling because whatever he choses to do later on in life, this how it should feel.

I also told him that this is exactly how I feel everyday in my line of work: scientific research and university teaching. Yes it is tought to get such a position, even thougher to thrive due to the highly competitive nature of publishing manuscripts and getting research grants. At the same time, I get to chose what I am working on and the perks are very satisfying in the end.

The best job is the one that does not feel like it 😉

4th of July, Independence Day

For those of have never looked at the declaration of independence, it is a masterpiece (even if, like me,  you are not American); the same goes for the original US Constitution document.

Benjamin Franklin who has lived through the war against the British Crown, a war on the US soil, had a great quote that is now more than ever appropriate

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

– Benjamin Franklin

Adding to the recent event of global scale and systematic spying on their citizen not just by the US government but also by many other democratic countries it would appear, there is another fourth that is worth remembering in this day: the fourth amendment, and more precisely Restore the Fourth movement.

P.S.: If you are interested to taste of how much information you can gather just by collecting metadata from your e-mails (imagine if you collect from even more sources…), have a look at this MIT website called Immersion (NOTE: work only with Gmail) as presented in this Popular Science article.

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