Franklin Chen’s grain of sand

Infinity in the palm of my hand

Observing Constitution Day With “the Supreme Court and Privacy: The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age”

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I have a habit of observing Constitution Day every year by attending a presentation at CMU and thinking about issues relating to the Constitution.

Last year (2013), I was too disheartened to observe Constitution Day but wrote a little bit about why.

This year, I returned because the topic for discussion sounded interesting: Mary Jo Miller gave a talk “The Supreme Court and Privacy: The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age\” in the Posner Center. (Miller is a Staff Attorney for the Pennsylvania State Education Association and an adjunct professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Social and Decision Sciences Department.)


I Just Saw and Heard the Most Amazing Performance of Schumann’s Fantasy for Piano by Alexandre Moutouzkine

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My single favorite work of music by Robert Schumann is his Fantasie in C for piano, Op. 17. I was introduced to this piece in a course for non-musicians I took first semester of freshman year in college.

I have to confess that in the past two decades since discovering that piece, I never found a perfect performance of it, although Sviatoslav Richter’s came close, and I remember rushing to buy it when it was reissued on CD (back when one had to wait to transition from LPs). But I always felt something was missing.

I just accidentally discovered the performance of a lifetime, captured in video on YouTube. Why did I like this one so much?

Discovering the Beautiful Keyboard Playing of Robert Hill by Accident on YouTube Changed My Life

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Recently, I completely accidentally discovered a fascinating musician, Robert Hill, on YouTube.

The story is as you might expect: I heard a piece of music, and wanted to find some performance of it by somebody, anybody on YouTube as long as it had a decent user rating (yes, I find ratings actually useful when checking out unfamiliar music), and I happened to come across some random guy’s performance, and it was so fascinating that I looked at other uploads of his, subscribed to his YouTube channel, and looked him up on the Web to find out who he was!

It’s especially great that he regularly uploads new videos to his YouTube channel.

So who is Robert Hill, and why do I like his performances so much that I’m recommending that you check them out?

Thoughts on the Construction of the New Frick Environmental Center

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Almost exactly twelve years ago, in 2002, tragedy struck in Frick Park in Pittsburgh. I was on a long evening run in Frick Park when I unwittingly came across what had happened earlier in the day.

From my journal, August 4, 2002

“91 degrees, heat index 93. The Frick Park entrance was closed off for some reason with tape, so that I could not access the water fountain I had counted on using, so I ran up to Forbes instead and to Braddock to get a fountain at that end of the park.”

Later in the evening, I found out what had happened:

“Whoa!!! The Frick Environmental Center was burned down in the morning. No wonder it was all closed off when I tried to run to the water fountain.”

This was reported the next day in the Post-Gazette.


Yesterday, construction of the new Frick Environmental Center began, finally, after twelve years of uncertainty and controversy.

On my evening run tonight (very cool, in the 60s, this summer, unlike the summer of twelve years ago!), I checked out the construction site.

Road sign on Beechwood Blvd:

Road sign for Frick Environmental Center

Old burned building still there:

Old Frick Environmental Center

Some trail detour signs:

Trails detoured for Frick Environmental Center construction