The Mandelbrot set

I'm doing a project on this flamboyant set for PMATH 370. It's interesting and yields eye candy when the numbers are crunched. I'll put up a link to my project website once it's done! Update: here it is!

So it's 11:10 pm now. Alan comes in and says "I will take a shower sir." I counter with "see you tomorrow!"


Behold: the thing that reads a lot!

Lately, I've been watching Gilmore Girls to get re-acquainted with my feminine side. I've discovered that I can relate to the show on many levels. Its protagonist Rory reminds me of myself before I got my first computer. Like her, I was "the thing that reads a lot," consuming both fiction and non-fiction, novels and magazines, scientific journals and poetry. Actually, not much poetry, but hey, the point is I read a lot. Nowadays I don't read much save course material (shamefully not much of that either) and the news every week or so.

I have to start reading more, especially since I'm set for law school. So starting Christmas break I'm going to read lots. Rory's collection will be a good place to start.



Choice is a great thing to have. The liberty to make decisions is often taken for granted in our society. Yet choice can also be as a burden, a pressure on one's shoulders. When I'm presented with difficult choices, like most people I tend to weigh the pros and cons of each choice:

So the game today is Pick Your Ideal Law School, and on the table I have two great universities from Canada and the HYSCCN clique from the south. I haven't been accepted to many places yet so I'm being a little preemptive. Oh well.

Pro: reputation, Bay St. placements, faculty
Con: weather, "competitiveness"

Pro: location, curriculum, and there's a rez with tatami flooring
Con: it's far away, biglaw placement

Pro: reputation, students, faculty, NY placements
Con: lots of US history (this goes for all US schools though), cost (this too)

Pro: reputation, reputation, faculty, students
Con: low chance of getting in, cost

Pro: campus, students
Con: cost

Pro: NY placements
Con: cost

Pro: don't know much about Chicago actually

Pro: New York
Con: New York

This goes to show I have much research to do before I can start deciding.


End of term draft

During a break from studying I drafted Time Spiral online with Alan. Unfortunately we both lost, but when I tested my new G/W token deck against five of Alan's draft decks, it performed 2-0, 2-0, 2-1, 2-0, and 2-0. So it's surprisingly good -- and it recovers from bad hands gracefully. Its main weakness is evasion creatures, but it features cards like Aether Web in the sideboard to recover.

Oh and this is the first time I've used my sideboard to great effect! So here's the decklist.

17 Lands
11 Forest
6 Plains

15 Creatures
1 Durkwood Baloth
1 Greenseeker
2 Herd Gnarr
1 Savage Thallid
1 Spike Feeder
1 Sporesower Thallid
1 Thallid Germinator
2 Thallid Shell-Dweller
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Castle Raptors
2 Icatian Crier
1 Outrider en-Kor

8 Other spells
1 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
1 Tromp the Domains
1 Strength in Numbers
1 Thrill of the Hunt
1 Fortify
1 Griffin Guide
1 Pentarch Ward
1 Temporal Isolation

Cards of note in my sideboard are Chronosavant, Pull from Eternity, Primal Forcemage, Phantom Wurm, Havenwood Wurm and Aether Web.

The deck's main strength is its synergy: Outrider/Shell-Dweller, tokens/Fortify, tokens/Tromp, tokens/Strength in Numbers, Icatian Crier/Herd Gnarr, Thallids/Herd Gnarr, tokens/Primal Forcemage, and so on are game-winning combos. Herd Gnarr became 14/14 flying trample once, and Tromp and Fortify have each made a life total drop below -18.

Yet Alan's decks weren't pushovers -- not even close. If he has time he may post his decklists for all to see: some contain a questionable number of bombs...


It's that time of the term again

Finals. I usually love finals: it's free time if one has been somewhat diligent throughout the term. Except I haven't. So this is going to be an arduous battle.

Darn law school applications.


Alan's Birthday Draft Decklist

Drafting hasn't been fun for me since Coldsnap was released. But today's draft was very fulfilling -- I drafted a "suspendful", interactive deck; it's fun to play. I should test it against my old decks...

16 Lands
9 Island
7 Mountain

14 Creatures
1 Giant Oyster
1 Stormcloud Djinn
2 Coral Trickster
1 Slipstream Serpent
2 Spiketail Drakeling
1 Brine Elemental
1 Viscerid Deepwalker
1 Errant Ephemeron
1 Crookclaw Transmuter
1 Greater Gargadon
1 Keldon Halberdier
1 Firemaw Kavu

10 Other spells
1 Fire Whip
1 Sudden Shock
1 Ignite Memories
1 Word of Seizing
2 Orcish Cannonade
1 Grapeshot
1 Clockspinning
1 Snapback
1 Foriysian Totem


Back to Blogging

Now that I'm done with applications and most of my midterms, it's time to return to blogging and visiting blogs regularly!

I've spent the past few weeks working on admissions essays for each law school. It's been a long, demotivating process at times, but ultimately it was a rewarding journey of self-discovery. Surprisingly, my midterms have been pretty stellar throughout this period. Maybe I can grab a 95% average this term? O.o


Month of applications

October is the month for applications to Ontario law schools. I'm thinking of applying to U of T, and maybe UBC and some U.S. law schools. Hmm, I need to think of some stuff to put on my essays and I hope my LSAT score turns out good.

For now, it's time to catch up on a lot of school work!...


Unofficial Transcript

Let's see what I've done over the last four years. It's been mostly school and Japan.

I came to Waterloo in Fall 2002 majoring in PC & video games with a minor in dining out.

Snes 106: Introduction to Final Fantasy 6, Mario RPG and Zelda
Plaza 120: Plaza restaurants
WC3 101: Introductory Warcraft III
WC3 100: Warcraft III: Single player, Multiplayer, and Mods (double credit)

I'm cutting out a few terms because I'm lazy.

In 2B I changed my major to World of Warcraft and took a couple electives.

Wow 102: Introduction to World of Warcraft
Wow 134: Class selection (to which the answer is "Paladin")
Wow 138: Why Stormrage is Down: Semi-Real Analysis
Drift 135: Introduction to Driving sideways
Draft 136: Drafting in Racing games and Magic: the Gathering

I took another school term right after to get interviews for Epson.

Winter 2005

Dungeon 235: Introduction to Instances
Econ 239: Gold farming and Inflation
Raid 330: An Overview of Raiding
Group 336: Introductory Group Theory
Drift 486: Advanced sideways driving in PGR2
Pld 389: The Third Life

Then I went to Japan for a year.

Spring 2006
Pld 399: Being Immune
Guild 340: Militis Justica
Raid 454: Molten Core, Zul'Gurub and Ahn'Qiraj
Draft 380: Online drafting
Magic 338: Magic's rules and interesting cards
Socio 250: Badminton, Bubble Tea and Card games


Exams, LSAT juku, and a brief reprieve

Dear journal/planner: July 31 to August 12 is exams, then August 18-20 is LSAT prep. Then I'm headed for the West Coast! I need more energy and motivation to overcome this lethargic heat...

(P.S. Too bad Waterloo isn't a snow land.)


Draft decks face off!

Today Alan and I faced each other with decks from our G9G and Coldsnap drafts. My G9G deck is one of the best I've made: it won all its single-player and multiplayer matches. It's Izzet-Gruul with a focus on combat tricks and card drawing. Alan's Coldsnap deck is a very aggressive deck that won most of its single-player games. It has an almost unfair allotment of snow cards and exploits that with 3 Skreds.

So, we faced off.

In the first game, Alan easily removed my defenders with 2 Skreds and a Surging Flame, winning the game quickly.

The second game was less one-sided. Alan got me down to 8 but I stabilized and eventually won.

The last game was very memorable. It started off like the first game, and soon I was down to 5. Alan was at 19. I had an idea worth 19 damage if it worked out, but it was risky. So I chose to pursue it.

Okay here's the game state.

Alan had 4 creatures in play:
Karplusan Wolverine, Zombie Musher, Stromgald Crusader, Orcish Bloodpainter (summoning sickness), two land untapped, and 1 card in his hand.

I also had 4 creatures:
Wee Dragonauts, Izzet Chronarch, Izzet Chronarch, Silhana Ledgewalker

So I decided to attack with all my creatures! I had 4 instants in my hand; these were key to the play: Gigadrowse, Schismotivate, Wildsize, Leap of Flame.

Alan declares blockers. He's at a comfortable 19, so Zombie Musher blocks one Izzet Chronarch. He blocked only one creature and didn't give his Crusader flying to block my Dragonauts. That sealed the game.

I cast all my instants, making my Wee Dragonauts 16/5 flying, trample, first strike. The unblocked Chronarch and Ledgewalker contribute to make 19 damage. Ultra! Ultra! Ultra!!!


Thank you H20

A storm has passed over, dropping the temperature a few degrees. Thank you water! Thwater.


Le stuck

I'm stuck on a new math problem. Alan's having problems recalling the solution to a previous problem. I hope we get them soon. On another note, Alan showed me a pic of some card from Time Spiral.


Some builds...

Dunno which class I'll be yet, but here are the work-in-progress builds anyway:

Fury/Arms warrior, Prot warrior

Discipline/Holy priest (contemplating whether to take Spirit of Redemption or Power Infusion..)


I remember school was better than this

I used to like school terms. My profs were great and courses were interesting. However this term sucks. I have no good profs, and the courses are either difficult and boring, or just boring. I'm usually much more motivated to learn.

Thankfully I'm looking forward to several courses next term: Social Psychology, Chaos and Fractals, and maybe even Primate Behaviour (aka Monkey Technology)...

So this term I'll try to weather through, survive, and then hopefully the dawn will come.



It's hot and humid. I can't seem to sleep, so why try? Yeah I gave up, so I'm sweltering in my room typing, trying to revive my blog. I miss those single room aircons in Japan. It could be 35 outside, but my bedroom would be a nice 23. I would buy one if we have them here... install it in my room...

(Listening to Escaflowne soundtrack.) Let's see, my next post will be list of goals for this term, and maybe a routine I should follow...

Until then, cha!


Quitting WoW and starting MtGO?

My WoW subscription ends this month and I'm supposed to get my ass back to work. This term has to be kick-ass in terms of grades, since I'm applying to law schools starting in the fall. No more gaming for Jason?

But there's MtGO! It's great for taking a break every now and then, since an average game of Magic takes only 10 to 20 minutes or so. So I'm thinking of replacing WoW with MtGO.

I haven't made an account though; I'm content for now playing newbs with 9th edition precons using the free trial. If others are willing to play some MtGO then I'm sure to sign up!

So... who's up for this?


Getting used to campus life

This term reminds me of my 1B term: summer at UW place. It was hot in 1B and will be hotter this time, since I'm on the top floor...

Let's see, what happened the first week?

I turned to the dark side and started playing WoW. So WoW was all I did except classes. My first Onyxia experience was disappointing: it took almost three hours and my raid group wiped on Onyxia Warders (which is shameful).

The elecs '07 are on campus this term, and I want to meet up! Hopefully I'll meet them soon...


To-do risuto

Add: I started using Google Calendar today. Much better than this list =P. Here's the feed.

'x' means done, while '-' means not 'x'.

Moving from apartment:
x clean room
x pack and move to aunt's house

x work evaluation
x work report evaluation
x application for pension plan lump-sum withdrawal
x farewell speech

Gifts/requested items:
x peanut butter for Silph
x Magic cards for Alan
x Aquarius for Bao
x iPod nano for sister
x high-end shaver for father
x electronic thermometer for mother
x Gundam modeling books for Paul

x Chiba University
- Akina downhill
x Akihabara (electric town)

x cancel gym membership
x cancel cell phone


Auld Lang Syne's a playing

Work'll soon come to a close, and then I'll have about a week to boldly go where I haven't gone before. I'm scrapping the FAQ idea: it's too time-consuming! I tried a new Pokémon game involving playing as a kid transformed into a Pokémon. You get a Pokémon pal too -- I chose (read: choose you) Pikachu! Yeah, that didn't last long. Then I tried a Rockman RPG, but that failed as well. So I give up.

I'm welcoming suggestions for where I should travel to in my last week. Anyone know cool places/things to do around Tokyo? I'm sure some of you do. Yeah, the only conditions are that it's around Tokyo (< 2 hour train) and that it doesn't cost a fortune. =)

Oh yeah, the title of this post. Japanese stores have a habit of playing Auld Lang Syne when they're about to close, and I thought that it fits this time quite well.


Personality awareness

So there's this thing called the "Johari window." Basically you describe yourself using a few words from a set, let aquaintances describe you using the same set, then compare the results for some earth-shocking revelation.

And here's my Johari window -- fill it out if you have time! My Nohari window might be more fun though (thanks Wen for pointing this out) ;). If you're interested in this kind of thing like I am you can make one too, and I'll be sure to fill it out.

Add: The "bad" traits are in the Nohari.
Add: I see two glaring flaws: first, the provided vocabulary is inadequate (Ray pointed this out), especially in describing "bad" qualities; and second, people tend to be laudatory or at least anodyne on these things (note: this is kinda forced by the first flaw). I believe these flaws render this "window" unreliable for personality assessment. You might get a kick out of it though.


The complexities of queries

I had this thought while buying strawberries at the local supermarket. Don't ask me why. Wait -- actually that's somewhat relevant. Inspired by computability theories, I was pondering if I could separate the five W's and an H into complexity classes. While carrying the groceries home, I gave it some analysis. Let me proffer my findings.

Let's start with the "easiest" queries. 'Where' and 'when' seem to be the simplest class of questions. In effect, the two are the same thanks to modern physics' space-time. Given that the answer is known, all that is required to relay the info is a vector v=(x, y, z, time), provided with a reference point in space-time. Let's call this class of queries Q1.

Next is 'who' and 'what'. It's obvious that 'who' is just an application of 'what' to human beings. To see why these are of higher complexity than 'where' and 'when', imagine relaying the answer to the querier when you've found it. You would need to describe it. The object o you are describing has characteristics; you could describe them by c = c1, c2, c3, ... etc. This may seem to be of the same complexity as Q1, the only difference that v is of variable length. Yet c may conceivably be infinite or undefined. For example, the answer to the question "what is the meaning of x?" The answer may furthermore depend on the entity which posed the question. This delves into the area of philosophy regarding the nature of truth: is it absolute, subjective, or something else? This I'm afraid is beyond the scope of this post. Let's call this class Q2.

Separating the last two types of queries is hard. Is 'how' simpler than 'why?' I believe so. 'How' (excepting cases like "how come", which is a colloquial way of asking 'why') requests a list or sequence of events that effect an outcome. One could then see this as an extension of Q2: each component in c, the descriptor, would be answers to Q2 or Q1 queries. For example, c1 would contain the first 'event' that triggers the outcome referred to by the 'how' query. This c1 itself is an descriptor to the Q2 query "what is the first event?" In this sense 'how' could be seen as an extension of Q2. Let's call it Q2x.

The remaining query is 'why.' Intuitively one can appreciate the difficulty of 'why' by comparing two oracles, one which can answer any of the above classes of queries, and one which answers 'why'. Which do you think is more intelligent? This shows that we humans in a sense respect the question 'why'. I believe that 'why' has supernatural connotations associated with it. An entity that could give 'why' answers in general would be viewed as a god. 'Why' also gives rise to questions for which even the existence of an answer is undeterminable. This contrasts with Q1 for example, since even if we don't know the answer to "where is x", we know that an answer exists.

What's ironic is that although past classes were each supersets of its prior class, the supernaturally difficult 'why' is not a superclass of Q2x but is simply unrelated. An oracle that answers 'why' cannot provide answers to even Q1 queries. "Why is the location of x?" No good, regardless of how it's phrased. 'Why' is in a superclass of its own; let's designate it W.

I posit a very coarse analogy of 'why' to the unsolvable problems in real complexity theory. The "hard but solvable" problems like the NP-complete ones could be Q2x or Q2.

So in essence, I find W ('why') to be in a realm of its own, and the class relationship Q2x ('how') > Q2 ('what', 'who') > Q1 ('where', 'when'). So... why did I chance upon this thought while buying strawberries? Too hard to answer, sorry. =P


Things to do before I leave

I'm compiling a list of things I should do before I leave. Suggestions are welcome. Here's what I've got so far.
  • visit Mt. Haruna (Akina) of Initial D fame
  • write a FAQ for a recently released Japanese game
  • buy a pack of Japanese Magic cards
  • buy a bottle of Aquarius
  • buy some peanut butter


Kyoto pics

Here are pics of beautiful wintertime Kyoto. It may be cumbersome but by following this adventure log and this map you can get a good idea of what my adventure was like. The pics have timestamps that correspond with the appropriate log entry for easy searching.

The most memorable places were Kyoto University, where I interviewed a prof, the pristine Ginkakuji garden, the grand Kyoto station, and the serene night scenery. Also very memorable were my aching legs that bore me over 40 km that day.

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10:20 - Kyoto station. I should have taken pics of the inside; it's really grand with a view like Terminal 3 of Pearson airport. There's also a large department store there with escalators arranged so that it looks like one really long escalator (ie. not overlaid on top of each other). Quite breathtaking.

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10:55 - Nishi-honganji temple.

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11:55 - Kiyomizu temple.

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12:10 - Maiko girls on the way to Gion.

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12:20 - Gion pool.

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12:20 - Wish board at Gion. There is one that says, "Please let Mr. Asakawa meet a good person."

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1:50 - Kyoto University. The construction sorta ruins the pic, but oh well. This building is the easily recognized clockwork tower, and the tree in front of it is the university's crest.

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3:25 - A peculiar work of art at Ginkakuji.

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3:25 - A beautiful spring/stream/waterfall in the Ginkakuji garden.

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3:25 - The Ginkakuji itself.

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5:00 - Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Hope this was enjoyable!


Japan pics from 2003

Here are nine select pics from my previous stay in Japan. Photos of Kyoto will come soon in a separate post :)

Let the pics form a 3x3 matrix:
(1,1) athletics festival at a primary school, Kanamachi, Tokyo
(1,2) precipice, Enoshima, Kamakura
(1,3) misty ravine, Okutama, Tokyo
(2,1) fishing lodge, Okutama
(2,2) view of harbor, Enoshima
(2,3) sunset, Enoshima
(3,1) precarious crossing in storm, Okutama (flooding claimed two lives that day)
(3,2) costume party, Harajuku, Tokyo
(3,3) preparing sushi rice, Mejiro, Tokyo


Happy hundredth post

Wahoo, 100th post! Now is there anything to blog about, hmm...

I began composing my work report today, cancelled my gym membership, and had a long conversation with my mother. What else... I watched Mai-Hime on TV today. It's okay but I see the production quality isn't on the same level as say Fullmetal Alchemist. Nothing sets it apart from other magic school-girl anime. I have numerous complaints: lack of memorable music, overly done fanservice, mediocre fight scenes, insubstantial character development (ok, I only watched one episode), narrow range of character expressions and finally predictable actions and outcomes.


There goes my aunt again

My aunt's notorious in our family for her spending habits. I went back to Tokyo on the weekend and found that she bought a $42,000 grand piano. What's more, it was an impulse purchase, made on the spot at some exhibition downtown. I suppose she has high hopes for my cousin, who is just 13 years old. Well, now he's one of the few kids in the world to get a brand new Bechstein grand piano for casual play.



I'm it I guess. =)

Four jobs I've had:
1. Software developer - Seiko Epson Group
2. Calculus II tutor/marker - Universty of Waterloo
3. Localization developer - Roxio (bought by Sonic Solutions while I was still there)
4. Systems engineer - Watanabe Seisakusho

Four movies I can watch (and have the potential to watch) over and over:
(I don't like to watch any over and over, but if I had to pick...)
1. The Lord of the Rings
2. Memento
3. Mulholland Drive
4. The Lion King

Four places I've lived (if vacations don't count):
1. Shanghai (also vacationed)
2. Tokyo (also vacationed)
3. Greater Toronto Area
4. Waterloo

Four TV Shows I love(d):
1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
2. Frasier
3. CSI (all locations)
4. Everybody Loves Raymond

Four places I've vacationed:
1. Chicago
2. Kyoto
3. Montreal
4. New York

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Pan pizza
2. Fresh sushi and sashimi (must be fresh)
3. Crab cake baked inside the shell
4. Good curry with some meat

Four sites I visit daily:
1. Blogs
2. Utopia
3. the Inquirer
4. Wikipedia

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. England
2. Taiwan
3. Roppongi (or anywhere closer to central Tokyo)
4. Outer space (in a spaceship of course)

Four bloggers I'm tagging:
1. Kevin
2. Jia (maybe multiple tags will make him do it.. :P)
3. Paul
4. The other co-ops in Japan

Rainy day

It rained the whole day today. After work I went to the supermarket and bought some groceries. I wanted them to stay dry, so I uncomfortably held the grocery bags under my umbrella. Then it came to me that I could just hook the bags onto the umbrella's bottom "hook" thing. That way the groceries will be in the middle of the umbrella's shelter. Bystanders started staring at me though, as if I was cooking sashimi or something.


Intel's new naming scheme

I've gotta give kudos to Intel's marketing gurus for their new branding scheme. They've turned their logo inside out -- the "inside" in "intel inside" is now outside. They've faithfully followed the trend of CPU design, emphasizing multiple cores over megahertz. So what does Intel decide to call a CPU with a single core? Core Solo! A CPU with two cores? Core Duo. You see, a single core will have to solo all the instructions challenging it. Very appropriately named indeed. Continuing the trend, a CPU with 40 cores in the near future shall be called Core Raid.

And what about an overheating CPU? Molten Core! Ah okay, I'll stop there. =P



"Kawa no nagare no youni" is one of the most famous Japanese songs. Here's a mp3. This remix is a bit cheezy and overdone but it's the only one I could find.

And here goes my attempt at translating it.

知らず知らず 歩いてきた (Without knowing, I have walked here)
細く長い この道 (Oh, how narrow and long, this road)
振り返れば 遥か遠く (If I turn and look back now)
故郷が見える (
I can see my hometown, far far away)
でこぼこ道や 曲がりくねった道 (Over bumpy roads, winding roads)
地図さえない それもまた人生 (Without even a map, but again that's life)
ああ 川の流れのように ゆるやかに (Ahh, like the flow of a river)
いくつも 時代は過ぎて (Gently do the times pass us by)
ああ 川の流れのように とめどなく
(Ahh, like the flow of a river, ceaselessly)
空が黄昏に 染まるだけ (The sky becomes dyed with twilight)


Time to time to time to

What is time? We treat it as obvious knowledge, yet we lack a solid answer. We define units of time, measure time, but we cannot manipulate time. In contemporary physics, time may be unified with space into spacetime, but it's definitely not akin to the spatial dimensions.

I'm now 22. I'll never be 21 again.

What's life? Why am I here? Should I do something before I turn 23? 24? Age, and hence time, scare me. We're so helpless: Tick. Tick. Tick...

I like how this Enka song captures life and time. It sets a deep and mildly melancholic mood apt for reflection. Enka tends to do this kind of thing very well.

川の流れのように (trans. "Like how the river flows") by 美空ひばり

知らず知らず 歩いてきた
細く長い この道
振り返れば 遥か遠く
でこぼこ道や 曲がりくねった道
地図さえない それもまた人生
ああ 川の流れのように ゆるやかに
いくつも 時代は過ぎて
ああ 川の流れのように とめどなく
空が黄昏に 染まるだけ

I'll translate it and find an mp3 soon.


Coming back on April 20th

47 more work days. (>/^.^)>//


Addition to coin collection

I haven't been up to much lately. I did buy an expensive coin, the 2000 Library of Congress Bimetallic Ten Dollar. Its composition is 1/4 oz Au, 1/4 oz Pt. Here's a scan.

I started playing Utopia, or rather, nostalgia. The last time I played was Grade 10. I doubt anyone from back then (Paul, Roddy) is playing, but if you are, say hello or attack me. :P I'm on Legends 28:39; my place will be easy to figure out.

Then there's work. Work is interesting: I'm applying some theorems and skills I acquired in Graph Theory and CS241. And my coworkers like it. They like software that's better than the open-source alternatives. They like proofs of upper-bound running times and novel approaches to old problems. Work is great! Some things I'm doing may be good grad school material.

Oh, and I've been dreaming a lot. Long, coherent, narrative, sometimes poetic dreams in vivid technicolour. Like Kevin dreams. I wonder why... :P


Great but banned ad from Microsoft

Here's one of the best ads I've seen in a while. It certainly brought back some childhood memories and the kid within me... I remember doing that and imagining stuff like that when I was bored with school.


In defense of gifted education

Let's start with a question: are we all created equal?


Well, it really depends on what "born equal" means. If the meaning is taken to be "all men are born equal in dignity and rights" then it is yes. If the meaning is taken to be "all men are born with equal intellectual abilities" then the answer is a hard no. Some are offended by this, but let me pose some questions. Are we born equally tall? Physically strong? Beautiful? No of course, right? These are much less contentious. So why is intelligence so touchy? I think the answer is because in our society, intelligence is highly correlated with success.

The idea that some cannot achieve a high level of success almost regardless of how hard they try is denied by many. Yet studies show that this is very true. I'm not going to use footnotes since Wikipedia has already done that for us. Back on topic, studies show that IQ is the best predictor of future performance. Now this doesn't mean that IQ is a good indicator of future success, it just means it beats all the others. So before the smart ones start wearing a grin, remember that there is no substitute for hard work. Or is there?

Contrary to what most others may believe, I think there is a very good substitute for hard work, and I think that is high IQ (work is still needed, just not hard work). High IQ babies look at a novel object and get bored with a few glances, while average babies will be intrigued for much longer. Years later, the high IQ babies become schoolchildren and are bored with their lessons, their teachers, and probably their classmates as well. They'll think "d'oh, Mrs. Campbell is teaching that again for the 14th time" and begin daydreaming, doodling -- whatever relieves them of their boredom. If kept in such a stultifying environment, these minds will not attain their true potential. They will still do better on average than their peers but the point is that they do not reach their potential.

We want to nuture our bright minds, since it is known that a well-educated people fare better economically and hence we invest in education. So what's the best way to invest though? I think having a good gifted education program is essential to investing this money properly. Now, the main point coming from people that oppose gifted education is that it segregates the children, and violates the widely accepted clause of "all men are born equal." After all, why should these gifted children receive more resources (like better teachers) and therefore more investment money? This is where we go back to the question posed at the beginning of this post. Simply, we are not created equal when it comes to intelligence!

Here's a hastily thought-up analogy:

Basketball is what determines success and thus basketball teams, that of nations.
We want to invest in out nation's basketball team.
We want teach our children basketball, for a great team in the future.

Now, do we
  • spend equal resources on short children as very tall children? Illogical isn't it? The tall kids will be bored; they may start lifting the ball above their heads and grinning at the stunted kids frantically jumping. They tall ones will not develop their skills.
  • spend more resources on our very tall children? Logical isn't it? You know that the future all-stars will be tall. No, not all the tall kids will be excellent players, but the best players will be tall. In analogy with IQ, height isn't a great indicator of future basketball performance, but it is nevertheless the best indicator. Thus it is statistically wise to specially nuture our very tall children.
Sorry, this post is probably disorganized and unclear, but I don't feel like cleaning it up. =P
Time to sleep. Cha!


New year, new post

Yes, very late, but happy New Near! 新年あけおめ!

Sorry for not posting. I've been caught up in "family" things: a cousin from Shanghai is visiting, and my aunt opened up a restaurant. The weather is fine here, around 9 in the daytime and 4 in the evening.

I got Bao's awesome anime package in the mail a week or so ago, filled with food for slacking. After feasting, I started to think about Canada, about home. And the more I thought the more I came to miss it. Oh, in the vast fields of white (with some brown and black on the roadsides [ed.: don't spoil the image]) how I long to roll! T_T

Today, I decided when my last day of work would be: April 14th. I'm thinking of flying home around April 18-20th. I hope Bao's house is open from April 19-21st to May 1st... =P

In my spare time I was shopping and exploring Tokyo with my two cousins, playing games (Golden Sun 2, Civilization IV, Freespace 2, Freelancer, Super Mario RPG, Lego Star Wars, Windows Vista's Chess), eating too much, and eating too much too much [ed.: hard to read].

I also tried a new IQ test by highiqsociety.org, the Teaching Assistant Cubed, and got a questionable result. I tried it again and got 134. @_@