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Flash of Genius

Tim, a friend of mine from grad school, recently created an awesome iPhone app called Flash of Genius. Flash of Genius (which is also the name of his startup) is an SAT vocab prep tool. Nothing special, right? Wrong. Here’s a bit about how they describe the application:

Other vocabulary programs treat each word as totally unrelated to each other word. But we understand that you learn and retain words best when you make connections from those you already know to the ones you’re struggling with.

Essentially, the application recognizes that people think in terms of connections, such as word roots, and it therefore shows you how words relate to each other (like how colloquial and eloquent are related, and should therefore be taught together). This is ambrosia for word nerds; show it to every high school student you know.

Welcome Biourbanist Readers!

Welcome to all/both of the readers of The Biourbanist. As part of my consolidation of my websites, the content that would have been placed on The Biourbanist will now be found here, at I hope that is to your liking. If you are having issues with your RSS feed (which is the way I recommend reading this infrequently updated blog), please redirect your RSS readers to Thank you.

Buffalo is the Best Commuter City!

As readers of this blog know, I am from Buffalo. Therefore, I read with particular pride the Forbes article Best and Worst Cities for Commuters where Buffalo is crowned the best commuter city in America. looked at the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the United States and examined a variety of factors such as public transit usage, time to get to work if driving, and so forth, in order to get a sense of how good a commuting city each place is.

Buffalo in particular is noteworthy for the following: “Of cities with over 500,000 commuters, fewer people spend an hour or more getting to work in Buffalo than anywhere else in the country.” And I can vouch for this as subjectively true: it feels like everywhere in the Buffalo area is only a few minutes apart. However, it must be mentioned though that part of this is due to the high-capacity roads coupled with a rather large serving of population loss. Nonetheless, a quick commute is a joy to behold.