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Let me be the first to congratulate you on this (of all) page where you had called for a tuition-free MIT. Your dream (of the girl in Vietnam learning over the web from courses taught at MIT) seems to be close to becoming a reality.
Philip, I've been horrified by the news from aD since the rumblings started a few weeks ago. Having had the opportunity to meet Eve and Tracy and Aure back in 1999 and have you teach a half-day class at my former employer (a very large Japanese car company in SoCal) I count myself very lucky indeed. I fondly remember dinner in Pasadena and meetings at Aure's house. Realizing that I'm only hearing one perspective on this situation, I can report that my best friend who's net startup was funded by VCs is thoroughly disgusted by the VC firm's actions since last fall. While his experience may not mirror yours, the end result is the same: broken hearts and broken dreams. However, the VC partners walk away relatively unscathed. I don't know how those people sleep at night, personally. I have noticed that great companies (and I don't mean that necessarily by Wall Street standards) get started by passionate individuals. VC firms seem to be made up of people with a love for money ...
I've never flown a plane, but I did get to go soaring in a Grob on Oahu, Hawaii. Highly recommended.
Also, one of my best friends from college owns a Christen Eagle, which, if you ever get the chance to fly in one, (or a Pitts, or any aerobatic biplane with a competition-class pilot) it is a life-changing experience.
How eerie! My mother bought me that same exact Seiko model (black face) for my birthday last year when she was in Japan, more because of the form than the function (I think it looks great, even in the black.) I keep the 24 hour hand on Japan time but maybe it'd be cooler to set it to GMT? Another guy at work (Japanese expatriate) has the same watch so it must have something of a reputation.