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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Knowledge is Power


"Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past." (George Orwell 1984)

There are some things in the world that really tick me off, and this is definitely one of them: blatant Censorship. I'm still amazed how major governments in the 21st century can still censor major world events to its citizens to control their worldly and political views.

Just compare these two Google Image Searches on Tiananmen: China vs. US.

When I was in the Middle Kingdom, I was amazed how little college students even knew about the history of their own country. It wasn't because they were too lazy to learn, it was because anything that remotely casts the country in a negative light is glanced over in the history books. That's why they didn't really know what Tiananmen Square Tragedy in 1989, nor do a lot of them know about things like The Great Leap Forward.

The scary thing is that this happens in all aspects of life. The next time you happen to be in China, just turn the TV to the sports channel (CCTV 5) - you don't have to know Chinese to watch sports! If you watch this channel enough, you will soon start to think that the Chinese are the greatest athletes in the world. They never lose!

For some reason they like to replay Olympic footage week after week, and sooner or later you'll see the trend. When you see China competing against another country, it doesn't matter what sport, chances are that they will win. Honestly, of all the hours I spent watching CCTV5, I can can only think of a handful of times where Chinese athletes actually lost.

FYI - this blog is censored by the Chinese government.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Engineering Chicks!

Last week was National Engineering Week! (it's ok, I didn't know about it either)
The most exciting part of it was probably Feb 23rd:

INTRODUCE A GIRL TO ENGINEERING DAY

As an engineer at heart, I feel like I need to do my part to help the cause. So let me dispel some engineer stereotypes that scare girls away:

1) Engineers are not dorks, they're HOT!
2) Engineers are not robots, they have feelings too. If you cut us, do we not bleed? If you hurt us, do we not cry?
3) Engineers are not socially inept. Look at the cute girlfriend this geek has.
4) Engineers are very sensitive, emotional, romantic beings too ...
5) Engineer girls are soooooo cool, they're not weird at all, really

If my reasons weren't convincing enough, just think clearly ... a typical engineer school's guy vs. gal ratio is 8:2. Think of how many quality guys you can meet!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Got a gun?


Here are some NBA games you should NEVER go to:

March 9 Philadelphia vs. Denver
March 14 Philadelphia vs. Toronto
March 22 Philadelphia vs. Atlanta
March 24 Philadelphia vs. Orlando

This is why: apparently the Philadelphia Police Department is trading 76ers tickets for guns! No questions asked. Even though this is probably a good idea to get guns off streets, it's probably a really bad idea for anyone else who already bought tickets to these games.

Just think for a moment: 2 free tickets to a Sixers game ~ $40. Street value for a gun: > $40. The way I see it, there are only 2 types of people who will take advantage of this gun drive: 1) dumb criminals 2) criminals who have extra guns to spare. And would you want to go to a place where a lot of people around you probably obtained their firearms illegally?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why people wear helmets ...

Here are the facts:

What is a Concussion? A concussion is a change in mental status resulting from mechanical forces on the brain. A blow or jolt to the head can cause the brain to move within the skull. This movement of the brain causes biochemical changes in brain cells. A concussion is not necessarily accompanied by a loss of consciousness. However, the concussed individual will experience symptoms such as disorientation, poor coordination, or vision difficulties.

A simple (first degree) concussion is defined as an altered state of consciousness (without a loss of consciousness), resulting from a blow to the head or whiplash, with symptoms lasting no more than fifteen minutes. Any cognitive deficits that arise from a simple concussion will disappear within 24 hours.

What are the symptoms of a Whiplash?
These signs and symptoms may occur immediately or minutes to hours after the initial injury. The sooner after the injury that symptoms develop, the greater the chance of serious damage.
  • Neck pain (check)
  • Neck swelling (check - though minor)
  • Tenderness along the back of your neck (check - tender everywhere)
  • Muscle spasms (in the side or back of your neck) (thankfully not)
  • Difficulty moving your neck around (CHECK - don't want to turn my head at all)
  • Headache (check - *sigh*)
  • Pain shooting from your neck into either shoulder or arm (that would just be freaky)

Why all this information you ask? Well ... I banged the back of my head real hard on the slopes this past Sunday. I was going too fast for my own good and it just wasn't pretty when I caught that patch of ice going down a pretty steep slope. I don't know how it exactly happened, but when I hit my head my hat and my goggles flew off and my goggles cracked. Now, not only is my neck extremely sore, my brain feels like jello when I try to make any sudden movements.

Since I probably sustained a simple concussion and was cognitively disoriented, I stupidly decided to go snowboarding again on Monday. Though I am relieved to find out today that "Any cognitive deficits that arise from a simple concussion will disappear within 24 hours." That means no one can take advantage of my misfortune anymore by tricking me in the brain ... don't you even try!

Oh yea ... I'm now putting some thought in getting a helmet, that's probably a smart idea.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

One thing that will probably never happen ...

For all those vertically challenged people out there who have aspirations to dunk, this may be the story for you. Earlier tonight, the 5'9" Nate Robinson won the NBA slam dunk contest over much taller competitors. Here's a photo of his amazing dunk over Spud Webb.


Even though I don't think he should've won over Andre Iguodala, my friend Clark and I are so inspired by the shortie that we've decided to hold a slam dunk contest of our own. The only problem is that neither of us can actually dunk right now *sigh*

That really shouldn't be a problem though, right? I mean ... why shouldn't an atheltic 6' 185lb 24 year old be able to dunk a basketball? All I need is A LOT of inspiration and 6 more inches in my vertical, that doesn't sound too hard, does it? Alright it's ON ... if either of us ever get enough motivation to actually train for this and succeed, you'll be the first to know.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

I find it rather ironic that today's word is spoony, don't you think?

Word of the Day for Tuesday February 14, 2006

spoony \SPOO-nee\, adjective:
1. Foolish; silly; excessively sentimental.
2. Foolishly or sentimentally in love.

Nevertheless, because we're spoony old things at heart, we like to believe that some showbiz marriages are different.
-- Julie Burchill, "Cut!," The Guardian, February 7, 2001

So when your fervor cools, you think that this suddenly familiar and lusterless partner couldn't possibly be the one you're destined to be with; otherwise you'd still be all spoony, lovey-dovey and bewitched.
-- John Dufresne, "What's So Hot About Passion?," Washington Post, February 9, 2003

We know they aren't doing it for love, otherwise it wouldn't take $50 million to sucker them into getting spoony for a construction worker.
-- "Say it isn't so 'Joe'," USA Today, December 30, 2002

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

To infinity and beyond!

Top 5 reasons why snowboarding today was awesome:

1) No fear! My senses were so dull that I couldn't even start to feel afraid. No fear = more risks = more fun!

2) Max Speed! Since I was too tired to be afraid of killing myself, I was also too tired to waste energy carving excessively ... all this equated to more speed!!!

3) Utmost Focus. Usually my mind is thinking about a billion things at once, but the flu has limited my brain to only carry one thought at a time: Don't DIE. This seemed to help for some reason.

4) Blacks Diamonds? For some reason the black diamonds felt like they were greens ... all of the reasons above helped of course. Let's hope it'll feel the same next time around.

5) Being a rebel! Some may call this stupidity, but it's always fun not listening to your friends' advice to rest and attempt to kill yourself instead. I'm just so glad I'm still alive!

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Under the weather ...

Top 5 signs that going snowboarding today was a bad idea:

1) The FLU! I have been pretty beat up by the flu all week, couldn't stay up past 10pm most nights and had to gasp for breath every other second to stay alive. It was so bad even on Friday night that I had to leave cell group early because I suddenly felt like the life got sucked out of me.

2) DEAD TIRED. I Couldn't stay awake on the ride to the slopes. ... I was still thoroughly drained that I had to keep sleeping after sleeping 8 hour the night before.

3) Sharp headaches! There was a point where I was certain that something was ringing in my head. Why wouldn't the shooting pains go away?!?!

4) Gag reflex. After a couple runs my body wanted to quit on me. My stomach started to line itself with acid because I was so tired I wanted to hurl. It's the kind of feeling you get after you pushed your body to the limit.

5) SLEEP ~ I had to take a nap during lunch time because I couldn't stay awake otherwise. I almost dozed off during some of the lift rides up the mountain too ... ZzzzZzzz

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

FEVER

SIGH ... I caught something over the weekend and my whole body is messed up. After consulting some experts, I was told that I have the flu, but wouldn't it be better if it was just a dopamine imbalance?

My brain gets fried whenever I have a fever, usually it fluctuates from moments of destructive chaos to moments of extreme lucidity. It happened to me again last night. My drained body couldn't stay up past 10pm and from then on I proceeded to have crazy dreams and woke up every hour or so. I saw phantom objects floating above me, streaks of light flashing before my eyes, and utter chaos everywhere. Things were moving so fast that I wish it would just stop, too many images and thoughts ... my brain was in hyperdrive!

At around 2am my fever really started to kick in and I started shivering like the eskimos. Luckily, I turned up my trusty electric blanket to keep me warm. Then at 4am I woke up again sweating, and at the point I knew the worst part was behind me. Things started to slow down and I suddenly everything made sense again. I could finally gather my thoughts and sleep through the rest of the night.

Amazingly, I felt good enough at 8am to go to work. I'm starting to think that it wasn't the best idea after all. I just hope this won't happen again tonight.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

All about *L*O*V*E*

LOVE.

A force so powerful that it brings the mightiest warrior to his knees, so elusive that countless would give their lives to find it. Something once so mysterious, is now being broken down to the chemical level by the modern science. Tragic, isn't it?

Of course when we talk about love in this context, it's not the Biblical love that Christ speaks of, but it refers to romantic attraction and infatuation, with a bit of lust stirred in for good measure.

With Valentine's day quickly approaching, magazines everywhere are doing features on love, sex, and dating. Even TV commercials are switching to the cupid mode, appealing to the masses with the promise of love with a slash of a credit card. Even one of my favorite magazines, National Geographic, chose to get into the fray and does a segment on love. Although it didn't say anything revolutionary, nor did it tell me something I haven't heard before, it was nevertheless interesting.

My favorite parts were probably this:

"Marazziti compared the lovers' serotonin levels with those of a group of people suffering from OCD and another group who were free from both passion and mental illness. Levels of serotonin in both the obsessives' blood and the lovers' blood were 40 percent lower than those in her normal subjects. Translation: Love and obsessive-compulsive disorder could have a similiar chemical profile. Translation: Love and mental illness may be difficult to tell apart. Translation: Don't be a fool. Stay away."

and this ... (I think that I get a dopamine imbalance every 6 months ... infatuation & then nothing to show for)

"Love lights up the caudate nucleus because it is home to a dense spread of receptors for a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which Fisher came to think of as part of our own endogenous love potion. In the right proportions, dopamine creates intense energy, exhilaration, focused attention, and motivation to win rewards. It is why, when you are newly in love, you can stay up all night, watch the sun rise, run a race, ski fast down a slope ordinarily too steep for your skill. Love makes you bold, makes you bright, makes you run real risks, which you sometimes survive, and sometimes you don't."

You've got to admit that science has a weird way of putting things. Everyone who have ever had an infatuation knows that it does strange things to you. Whether it be dopamine or serotonin, it makes your heart pump faster and gives you this sense of exhilaration and excitement ... but deep inside (at least for me, I'm a cynic), you just know that this feeling won't last, and it was never meant to. In some ways, it IS a mental/physical anomaly ... this thing called love.

All these scientific explanations should at least open the eyes of the naive. These chemicals don't normally reside in your body at such extreme levels for a prolonged period of time, which means that the passionate uncontrollable love that you feel for a person at first is bound to dip and plateau. So of course it makes sense that after a while, you are "falling out of love for her" or "the feelings just aren't as strong anymore." After all, love isn't something that comes and sweeps you off your feet, true love is a choice and requires mental and emotional commitment to the extreme.

LOVE.

(picture and excerpts courtesy of National Geographic - Feb 06)

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Quote of the Day

I don't know the key to success,
but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

- Bill Cosby

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