Two recent episodes of PhD Comics; introducing Gerard the Humanities Major
Personally, I do believe in thought experiments as a valid method of research.
(And that all theories based on empirical observation data (aka. "real life") are valid.)
update 12:02 PM 9/5/2007: In other news, Queen guitarist Brian May finally completes his PhD. thesis on Astrophysics after over 30 years. He will be given his PhD on September pending corrections.
History does repeat itself. Never exactly -- there are always enough differences in the details that people who are determined not to learn anything from the past can find an excuse.
But history shows patterns precisely because human beings don't change.
After the First World War (then called the Great War), Britain and France were exhausted. They had triumphed -- barely -- but they had left more than a million dead soldiers on the battlefields.
Germany suffered nearly as badly. But the German people did not feel defeated. They were ripe for Adolf Hitler to come along and tell them that they had really won the war, except that they were stabbed in the back by traitors at home.
So as Adolf Hitler began to rearm Germany, preparing for a rematch, he found an enemy that simply did not want to fight any kind of war at all.
WorldWatch - June 3, 2007 - Learning from History - The Ornery American by Orson Scott Card
Over-quoted from the Detroit News website :
Miles Levin, whose blog inspired thousands, dies
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Laura Berman / The Detroit News
Miles Alpern Levin, whose on-line writings about his fight against cancer inspired and moved thousands of readers, died early this morning at home in Bloomfield Township.
Two years ago, he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer of the soft tissues.
After the diagnosis in June 2005, he consciously made his ensuing battle with the deadly cancer into his life's work. He reinvented himself, growing quickly from a funny and forgetful teen into a conscientious student and a writer who acquired an international following....
At the June commencement ceremonies, Miles, 18, urged his classmates to seek justice in the world. "If my struggle with cancer galvanizes actions of goodness," he told them, " I can rest assured that even if I succumb to the rogue cells I will leave behind a legacy of victory. Dying is not what scares me. It's dying and having had no impact."
He willingly endured severe pain and torturous chemotherapy treatments -- excruciating nausea, weakness, and pain -- trading off weeks of sick days for a few good ones. His passion for life was matched only by his insistence that it be a good life, a meaningful one. What the world most needs, he said in his last days, is "more kindness."...
On the Cranbrook Schools campus, he became an outsized object of admiration and awe. Students wore t-shirts honoring one of his sayings ("Keep fighting, stop struggling"), and organized a fund-raising walk in his honor.
Although few of his thousands of blog readers had ever met him, they wrote using adjectives of awe, describing him as a teacher and themselves, most often, as "grateful" to hear his lessons. He compared his life to a golfer swinging gaily at a bucket of golf balls, until only a few remain. "Now with just a handful left," he wrote, "each swing becomes more meaningful."
Over the last year, he won several awards, including the Sarcoma Foundation of America's Leadership & Courage Award for 2008. Accepting the award, he said, "The universe is more cruel and random than we would like it to be," calling childhood sarcoma a "total injustice."
But that knowledge never made him bitter.
"I just have to keep going, to search for a higher meaning," he said. To do so was a way to squeeze more out of life, and vanquish death.
He tried to think of cancer as a gift. "I am living more richly than I ever was before cancer, so if I die, will it have been worth it just to get these years of superliving?" he asked at one point.
Mostly, he wanted to live as well as he possibly could. He strived, consciously, for saintliness -- an uncommon aspiration for an affluent 21st century American teen.
Although he was mature beyond his years, he was young and idealistic enough to imagine he could be a beacon of light and wisdom to others.
And he was.
How to help
The family of Miles Levin has set up a tax-exempt memorial fund to support efforts to fight pediatric cancer as well as providing a "vehicle to create new directions in patient care." Send contributions to:
UJF -- Miles Alpern Levin Fund
P.O. Box 2030
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303
Attn: Susie Feldman
It's like... yeah.
Attention FISIP-ers! (especially those from the Class of '98): Ida HI has a new blog, so catch up with her at dugongidae.blogdrive.com. She moved to Blogdrive because she forgot her Blogspot username and password :))
But if you don't know Ida HI, you may not want to visit her place. She doesn't have anything interesting to write about. No, not much at all...
[Oh really!? Yeah like as if I'd really believe that Ida has nothing important to say /:)]
Message to the world: don't expect me to solve your problems. I can help you map out your options, but its you who have got to ultimately solve them.
And the same goes to me: I can't expect you to solve my problems; you can help me map them out, but ultimately its up to me to solve my problems.
But I am more than happy to help you brainstorm. I hope you can help me brainstorm, too.
The following cartoon by Gapingvoid eerily describes a lot of what I'm feeling right now... and what I'm trying to overcome.
sighted at the Creative Circle Indonesia mailing list:
How to become better copywriter
Its been almost ten years. They say it has always been this, this... convoluted; this messy. Yet they survive. How is it possible?
I had wanted out barely two months after I got in. Yet I was convinced that I can develop, that I can grow and keep up. I stayed.
But I didn't grow up. For six months I didn't grow up. Why?
All these dreams. All the thick idealism.
(I thought I belonged here)
I want out.
How do I get out?
(and whom do I offer to the sacrificial altar?)
(in my place...)
Editor's note: This is a work of fiction. Any similarites to any persons or organisations present, past or future is purely artistic and coincidental.
And its official: I'm leaving the Sacred Bridge!
Damn it feels great that I finally have a clear direction in front of me. I had a little chit-chat with Pak Ranno, assesed my working habits, accepted his trust in my capabilities, and the needs of the Foundation, and together came to the conclusion that although it is possible for me to become organized enough to be a capable communications officer, the Foundation has spent too much time waiting for improvement in my part. Six months at a job is a personal record for me, and one (of the many) advices he gives to me is that I cannot last long at any job unless I get myself more organized in thought. A key component on getting one's mind organized is: focus.
Honestly I do find it sad and really disheartening that I am not organized enough (yet) to be useful to the Sacred Bridge as its Communications Head (my own assessment, which Pak Rano agrees with); but I would be sadder still if I find one day that the Sacred Bridge has a ruined (human, personell, inter-organization) structure due to my incompetent handling of the communications mess. Besides, I'm not really a Communications Officer at heart.
So here I am, officially looking for a replacement, hoping precariously that I will find one before its too late. I will publish a full job description/offer in this here blog reall soon, as time permits.
Oh and to Friends and Prospective Employers at a local Online Media Consultant that have interviewed me for a content writing position: if you're reading this, I just want it to be clear that I'm not leaving the Sacred Bridge because of your job offer; I know that I'm still being considered in comparison with other candidates, and I fully understand that it is (currently) not certain that I will get the content writing job.
But yes, I do hope that I get the job ^_^"
But what if I don't? Then I brush up my writing and keep looking for opportunities to improve it. I'll look for organisations for which the quality, character and speed of my writing is adequate enough that they're willing to give me adequate compensation.
For now I'm a writer. Not the best in the world yet, but I am a writer.
(warning: Not Safe for Work) I'm tired of Sony's bullshit.
So like recently I bought myself a Samsung C140 to replace the dying Nokia 5110 I had been using since I lost my Nokia 2300.
There are a few brand-new Sony Erricson cellphones that are available cheaper in the Indonesian market, and they do tend to have the best price-performance balance at least feature-wise. So naturally quite a few friends have on occations asked me, "so why don't you buy a Sony?"
I would usually begin my answer with, "Ideological reasons.," and they'd ask just exactly what I meant with that and I'd blabber on-and-on with technojargon and people would just get lost.
Well this guy IMHO has a better wrap-up of what exactly is wrong with Sony: "Sony hates their customers."
Its a shame though, how the company that invented the Walkman and the Betamax could become so high-winded and fearful of the open market; how they're so obsessed with lock-in. One would think that bringing in a foreign CEO like Howard Stringer would cause enough cultural change that the company would at least stop fearing their customers and stop demanding that the customer bend to the will of mighty Sony. Well Dude, you're not mighty anymore. D'uh.
'Mighty' Sony didn't come this far, becoming a gigantic multinational company, by being this anathema with their customers, did they? I'd imagine Sony's success in the past to come more from their innovations. Maybe they are dreaming that they can create these must-have electronic toys, and these toys would be so wonderful that no-one would mind if they put in these locks and cages so that once you went with Sony you'll be stuck with them forever amen.
It doesn't work that way anymore. It hasn't worked that way for a long time. How can Sony not realize that vendor lock-in does not work anymore? If you want user loyalty, you gotta begin with building trust. I don't trust you, Sony, and that's why I'm not buying you.
Get me to trust you again. Open up. Then maybe, maybe I'd just consider at least peeking your way again.
I don't write intellectually. I write expressively. I don't claim to be accurate, fair or thorough. I don't wanna get stuck on certain topics. Though I sometimes do. But not that often. I'd like to expand. I wanna write more poems. But I'll only upload them if they're good. I only rant about my life's hardships if it will rescue just a little bit of my sanity. I'm saner than I make myself out to be, though.
If I am an OS kernel, and I just had a kernel dump, I'd imagine that the text in this blog is what it would more or less look like.
There. Do you get it?
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sidesection last edited 08/02/2005