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Archive for February, 2011

One of the major themes of the natural world is that not everything we know is reversible.  Culturally, there are ways to get negate a prior decision on some of the less important things in life: returning those shoes you bought last week, cancelling your magazine subscription, getting a divorce . . . . but  the same thing doesn’t always apply in the other world.

In physics, the Thermo law #2 says that everything will just keep getting more scrambled and hotter.  This would be good if everything was egg and sausage batter, but for the universe I think it means everything will become one massive, uniform heat death.  In biology, it’s tough to back on an evolution.  What that means is that once a limb is evolved, it is way harder to get rid of it.  We end up with these adaptations that build upon other imperfect adaptations.  It’s evolutionary baggage.

http://www.qwiki.com/embed/Evolutionary_baggage

It also explains why things like the human eye are such piles of vestigial awfulness. I mean, the picture goes in, gets flipped upside down, gets flipped back, half the image is lost in the process, etc.  It’s terrible.

I recently realized that beyond nature, more than I recently expected of our society is based on the same type of baggage.   Think about the basic example of agricultural subsidies and marketing boards.  It was designed to solve a problem, created a bigger one, and now it is impossible to go back.  Too many people with too much influence would object, so additional measures are put in place in order to try and advance the situation.  More than we recognize of what goes on around us is a reaction to something, rather than a creation of any value.

Imagine if political terms were not four years.  Picture a hypothetical reset button.  Can you imagine what things would look like, if every ten years, one hundred years, we could hit that button and shed ourselves of our vestigial baggage?

Can you imagine what would happen to us if we could hit our own personal reset button?

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I met Beau Sia.   Tetsuro tried to pimp me out to Beau Sia.  Beau Sia also came up with a haiku for me.  I’m pretty sure this makes life complete.

——-Updated———-

So that last post did no justice to the weekend.  This entire week has been an awesome chance to meet all sorts of people, and also to:

  • Interview the original Angry Asian Man himself, Phil Yu.  He’s pretty much the reason I found this site and decided we should make a road trip out of it.  Shiggy used me as anger bait, but he didn’t seem too angry.  There will be a later post about this.
  • The aforementioned Beau Sia
  • We released the first of many many Mac ad spoofs, starring China and Japan
  • I bought a jacket for 10 bucks.  I looooooove American shopping.  You don’t care about that, do you . . . .
  • Saw Venice beach. Cue requisite beach jumping shot.

 

 

———Update again ———-

 

How could I forget the fact that I MET KEITH BALLARD AND MADE HIM SIGN MY HIP.

 

I'm pretty sure he was terrified when I ran up to him and started to pull off my dress.

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The boys with the guns

From Iran to Egypt

How Revolutions Happen: Patterns from Iran to Egypt

There is only one way for a nation to stifle a possible political uprising, and that’s with ol’ fashioned muscle.  Once the army leaves, there’s really nothing to protect you.

So apparently, this is what happened in Tianmen: the army consisted of mainly peasants who were bettered by the government, and their loyalties were set.  This is also why it was easy for Tunisia to overthrow Ben Ali, since no one would fire on the protesters.

So when the army is fed up with a system, and they can gain more from a revolution, things go haywire.  What kept the muscle in place in Iran? Or in Syria right now?

Taking back Bahrain’s ‘Tahrir’ – In Depth – Al Jazeera English.

—————-Update——————

I think I spoke too soon,

Libya unrest death toll ‘tops 200’ – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Bahrain opposition set demands for talks with royals.

But seriously, what’s with comparing the protests to Groupon?  It makes it sound like some discount internet site in the West played any sort of a significant role in any of the proceedings over the last few months.

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One of my friends recently told me that a woman he knows thought that once you started taking birth control pills, you can never have a normal period again.  This is of course, entirely false.  In the spirit of irony, today is the perfect day to post some of the common myths about another BCP – Plan B.

How Plan B Works: Six Things You Always Wondered About Emergency Contraception – Newsweek.

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Qwiki: The Next Step in Search – Newsweek.

I was forwarded a link which blows Wikipedia out of the water.  My last post was all about making information accessible to the public.  As Wikipedia gets increasingly more complex and its scientific and political articles more detailed and technical, it will create a wider and wider gap between itself and the originally intended users.  That’s where Qwiki comes in handy.

Rather than trying to act like another search tool, Qwiki allows you to amass information on a given topic as if you are being told a story.  The features include:

  • narration by a female voice
  • the use of pictures, videos and interactive displays
  • links to other related topics

It’s kind of like a personalized presentation.  Here’s an example on my least favourite author, Ayn Rand:

http://www.qwiki.com/embed/Ayn_Rand

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*partial repost from http://www.now-org.com

I got forwarded this awesome program called the “Three Minute Thesis” competition.  The idea is that traditional academic research is extremely dry and boring.  I’m serious.  My dad showed me his PhD dissertation once, and it was hundreds of pages long.  It was so long it was a leather bound hardcover book.  At five, I was horrified.

I do think it is interesting that there’s a push to bring research into the 21st century.   Resistance may surface over concerns that research loses its rigour if you have to dilute it for the masses to understand it, but shouldn’t the purpose of academia be to study ways to advance human society anyhow?  If it wasn’t, what are we doing?  I applaud the organizers for looking for ways to bridge the gap between real life and the ivory tower; it forces people like me to question what I’m doing every day.

Here’s one of the winners from the conference presenting on why monogamy may be an evolutionary advantage.  I actually cited this topic before, methinks, and it is a really interesting topic made completely accessible.

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Because accidental nudity is going out of style, the Superbowl is taking ??? moments into a new sphere!  I actually thought this was pretty funny, but don’t tell anyone that.

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