Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tachikoma's song

We're all alive.
It's because we're all alive that we're sad.
When we raise our hands and let the sunlight filter through,
we can see our blood coursing through them a vivid red.
Even earthworms, mole crickets and water striders
are all, all alive and all our friends.

We're all alive
It's because we're all alive that we laugh.
We're all alive
It's because we're all alive that we're glad.
When we raise our hands and let the sunlight filter through,
we can see our blood coursing through them a vivid red.
Even dragonflies, frogs and honey bees
are all, all alive and all our fr...

And so they chose to die so that others might live. Happy little creatures, cheerful even in their sacrifice. I cried, and I was sad, and I was glad...

Go watch 2nd Gig now!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Interesting Article on ID vs Evolution

There's a flame war going on out at Tomorrow.. Something about some forum letter writer who was saying that evolution is not proven and therefore should not be shown on TV documentaries and such.

Most of the war is pretty silly, very lopsided arguments one way or the other, which is how these things normally go. One of the more balanced guys actually had an interesting link to an Times (UK) article on some Roman Catholic statement on compatibility of Darwinism and religion. That was pretty cool, and puts a context on this whole Intelligent Design debate as being something originating from the US.

I guess as an intellectual and a nominal Christian, I've always just kind of let the two slide along. Or, as my pastor Glen Davis at XA Stanford used to tell us, there are many many scientists who study science and revere God.. like the chap who led the Human Genome Project. These guys are intellectuals and they don't have a problem with either side, so there must be something there.

Most importantly, I think that there's this very strange thing going on with the whole ID debate. See, it's not really a matter of whether evolution is proven, it's more like a work in progress. It's just that many people think that what's taught in school is really 100% true, like 1+1 = 2. When actually, a lot of it is either simplified or still a very well thought-out, but nevertheless unproven theory. For instance, the idea of atoms being these solid balls of neutrons and protons and little electron balls flying around, when actually that's just the model of it. Or my personal favourite, from Glen's collection: "Someone who thinks the world is wrong, and someone who thinks the world is round is wrong, (it's more like an ovoid I think?) but someone who thinks that both are equally wrong is the wrongest of them all!" (Well, he said it much nicer, but he's a much better speaker and thinks these things through more thoroughly than me!)

So what's being in taught in schools (at least in Science) tends to be models or theories that help us think. But because we kids can't differentiate it properly, it's taught to us as 100% truth! I know I couldn't tell the difference for a very long time, possibly until I was in late university. And without being arrogant about it, I was probably one of the brighter kids, just not very independent-minded. It's not the teachers' fault -- try teaching your 3 year old niece the real reason why they shouldn't associate their feet with their food!

Unfortunately, most people go their whole lives without distinguishing the difference. I still mix it up regularly until I stop to think about it. And here's where I think the ID people are being either duplicitous or dumb. When they make all these arguments that evolution is not proven, they're basically saying it's not proven in mostly the same way that the Big Bang is not proven ( okay ) or the way that the earth is not round ( hmmmm... ) or (the biggest stretch but the most controversial too) that the link between smoking and cancer is not proven.

Yes, you can't prove that smoking causes cancer. Even though smokers disproportionately represent lung cancer victims, there could be a hidden third factor. In fact, there's an infinite number of possible hidden factors.

And that's what makes me just a little angry with the "Evolution is not proven" people. They're generally intellectuals of some kind or the other (else they're parroting some website, or someone they admire). And there are two broad possibilities.

1) They don't realise that lots and lots of stuff is not proven or is not stated rigourously. (possibly, more forgivably, because of their own built in biases) Some of this stuff is taught in school, some of it they say all the time ( smoking causes cancer, drugs make you addicted) for the good of their own children, and some of it they accept all the time without questioning it in the same way.

2) They actually realise this, and are taking advantage of everyone else.

And (2) is what really really makes me mad. If you want to present a "whole truth" argument, you'd better present it all the way.. I'd want to hear you tell your kid the next time you want them to take their rather bitter fever medicine, "Well, it's not proven that this medicine will cure your fever. It's likely to, but there's a lot of interactions that are still not understood, and in any case, if your fever is viral .." and so on. Not planning to do it? Then why force this degree of intellectual rigour on everyone else, even when they don't want it?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mom's ill...

Mom's ill.. Going to work from home tomorrow to make sure she's okay. Thanks Wei Shyong!

(As an aside, WS talking abt golf today made me feel a little like learning. Plus I won some golf balls. Is that a sign? But I don't have any time.. sigh.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

7 Habits

Doing a 7 Habits Course now. I've never done this before! Never read the book either. Well, anyway, it's a so-so course. The mission statement thing is quite fun though, doing it now.. Maybe can share soon!

Had dinner with Junx and his gf yesterday.. damn, it was good just meeting up again. I need to spend more time catching up with friends. Heh, got to include that in my mission statement too! Friends!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gahmen Bloggers Meetup, GBM

Well, it happened!
Hmm. I actually felt super inexperienced at the gathering. Here was this whole bunch of people who were super experienced and super well read about other blogs and about blog technology.. Gone for BlogAsia and seen each other at various blog events.. hahaha.. I'm just some amateur blogger who had an evening free to go to the meeting. Still, if there's one thing that came out good it's that I got exposed to see more of the blogging world.

The interactions between the people were very interesting. The topic that generated more discussion was how government can use blogs to spread information. See, if a group, not necessarily government, could be a Madison Ave firm wants to advertise a product, wants to spread an idea through the blogosphere, what can it do?

Without going into the other models, I'll just share what I carried away from the session. This isn't what was agreed on ( don't think there was any agreement. Like any good meeting, there were techies, bureaucrats, cynics, visionaries, and facilitators present. Precisely the ingredients to end up back at square 1).

Use the democracy of the blogs. There's no need to generate alot of content yourself. Instead, find people who are already writing the content you want on their own. Link them up through a metablog, ask them to link you. As you continue to do so, more resources become available, and anyone who stumbles into one of these will also be able to find more resources through your linkage.

It's like Google actually. It ranks a site based on who it links, and who it's linked by. When a whole bunch of sites link each other, it's a sign that all these sites think each other relevant to a particular topic. And searchers who go to one of these sites can quickly navigate to a whole bunch of others. Basically, what you do with your metablog is to link up a whole set of sites around a central idea (like Uniquely Singapore or Hush Puppies) and make the whole lot more powerful at once.

Come to think of it, Google should write a filter for IE and Firefox. You google a topic, get a bunch of sites, and visit one of them. There's links there right? The filter color codes the links for their rankings under your previous Google search, so that you can see which of the links are most relevant.

Such a klutz

I was at Macs for a quick dinner today. Not very sure what to order, but the counter staff was like, "Do you want a chicken foldover meal?" With no decision in mind yet, I just agreed. Got one of those scratch and win cards. I think they must be promoting it quite hard, cos the girl seemed pretty pleased with herself. Commission sales perhaps?

Anyway, I went to a seat and munched away on my fries. Soon enough, my foldover arrived and I happily took it out to eat. Definitely rushing a little, cos I thought I was late for the gahmen bloggers' meet (which I was, just that I was not as late as most other people!) And it's only the second time I've eaten a foldover, so I opened up the colorful packet, reached in, and took out my foldover, whereupon I noticed:
1) My foldover was falling apart in my hands;
2) There's this paper wrapper inside which is supposed to hold it together.

Ditz that I am, pulled it out, and tried to stuff my foldover back in. Ended up spraying lettuce all over the floor. Anyway, after that I started eating, but soon enough one of the mac stuff came over with a whole bunch of serviettes and placed them on my table. "In case you need." And a short while after, the original lady who'd served me the chicken foldover came by and swept up the lettuce. She must have been regretting selling me the foldover! I'm such a klutz! I tried to apologise but she just ignored me...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Law school quotas?

This is really weird. Today I was talking to a colleague who said that she was rejected from law school because they had quotas for gender and minorities. As in, she got excluded because she was female and a minority. Is that strange or what?

No work and not feeling good about it..

I just completed a paper and suddenly I've got no papers coming up anymore. Should be a good thing right? But I'm worried... I'm worried that I'm not getting work because the boss doesn't trust me to do a good job of it, in some sense. I guess I subscribe to a belief in valued weapons: if a weapon is good you'll keep using it. When you don't use a sword in an RPG, it's mostly because it's lousy.. or it's a high level weapon and you're trying to level everything else, but that analogy doesn't apply to me.

Part of it is also that I don't get a chance to show my worth either, if I don't have work. Hmm.. Am I thinking far too much?

Maybe tomorrow will bring some heads to crack..