Sunday, July 31, 2005

I did get a visible welt afterall

Paintball changed my life! I no longer get motion sick from playing this 3D game, at least. Anyhow, two welts, one on my head and one on my shoulder I just noticed this morning. As promised, my thighs hurt significantly when I stick my legs out straight or standing up or sitting down. But, it was all worth it (soreness, money and all).

What else do I predict it will change? I will be better at FPS games, a better driver and possibly be able to read in a car. Tom warned me about tunnel vision before I went, but I didn't make the connection until my last couple of games. It was paying more attention to my surroundings and environment that I was finally able to last through the end of two woods games.

I think the paintball survival experience (and that doesn't mean staying back) really helped multi-task better and not get bogged down in less relevant details so much.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Things not to get too good at...

I read or heard somewhere that being too good at crying or smiling was a bad thing. I think it was mentioned in A Game of Thrones but I'm not sure. Anyhow, it's simple enough to understand what he means: if smiling/crying becomes like acting, then it's those acts are no longer sincere, right? Smiling and acting are emotions that over expressed (emoted!) overtly.

Humility and courtesy are not emotion so much as expressions of philosphy but can be similarly analysed. When humility and courtesy become more like learned behaviors, habituated rather than rationalized, they lose their sincerity. Anyway, the lesson of the day is to think and act rationally! That is, unless you've seen the Fantastic Four movie.

Guessing game

What did I eat for breakfast? The second one'll be hard, depending on who's guessing.

  1. Canned Food Item (3.5 servings):
    Calories: 350
    Sodium: 1260mg, 52.5%
    Total Carbohydrate 54g, 18%
      Dietary Fiber 17.5g, 70%
      Sugars 7g
    Protein 24.5g
    Calcium 21%
    Iron 21%
  2. Canned Food Item (1 serving):
    Total Fat 4g, 6%
      Sat. Fat 1g, 5%
    Cholesterol 30mg, 10%
    Sodium 450mg, 19%
    Total Carb. 2g, 1%
    Protein 9g

Friday, July 15, 2005

Some cool yoyo videos

So asides from a full episode of Naruto, I also found some cool videos of people yoyoing on Google Video.

Video0 : 2005 World Yoyo Champion Shinji Saito 2a event.(Added 8/28/05)
Video1: A big yoyoing event somewhere Spanish-speaking.
Video2: A kid demoing smooth tricks that seem very possible.

Google Video Viewer necessary

Sunday, July 10, 2005

RFID American Express Blue Card?

Saw this on the cover of an American Express mailing yesterday. The mailing was about some sweepstakes that would lead to "swipeshock", but doesn't that look like an RFID tag on the card? How come I haven't gotten it yet? All the images of the card on the AMEX website reflect the new look.

UPDATE 6:22 PM EST: Called customer service to get the new card. Apparently, all new cards issued since June have RFID instead of smart card chips.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Christopher Rose Tragedy

From the NYTimes:
"I didn't know who he was," Mr. Rose said yesterday. "He called me on my cellphone, at 4 maybe. Or maybe it was 5." Mr. Rose said he had stopped noticing the passage of time since his son was killed.

The men spoke for a few minutes.

Calling him by his first name, Mr. Jobs asked how Mr. Rose was doing, he said, and conveyed his sympathies. "He told me that he understood my pain," Mr. Rose said. "He told me if there is anything - anything - anything he could do, to not be afraid to call him. It really lightened me a bit."


"Some people talk to you like they're something remote," Mr. Rose said. "He was so familiar. After every word, he paused, as if each word he said came from his heart."
No parent would trade the life of their child for even a huge favor from Steve Jobs, but even if it was meant to stave off bad Apple press or foster some good, Steve Jobs came off as having helped the family. Jobs said that he really understood the pain they were going through, and although I don't know that he's literally lost a child, but he did at one point think he only had a couple of months to live and spent it with his family and kids like they really were his last (excerpted from the transcript found here):
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
Even though Jobs had months to do what Rose was deprived even a second for, at least it would seem Jobs was truly sincere in his telephone call. I originally wanted to post about the Christopher Rose's heroism in not giving up his friend's iPod, it boils down to a tragedy that we could only hope would lead to positive change, maybe with some help from Steve.
In the days since Christopher's death, Mr. Rose has spoken of finding meaning in his family's misfortune, and of working to help teenagers like the ones who attacked his son.


"We live in a world which is changing rapidly," Mr. Rose said. "We have the technology that can give us the iPod and everything else, but it's not all these things. We have to work on the minds and the hearts.

"We're failing these kids. We're not loving them like we're supposed to."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

That took a while

We'll see how long this lasts. Index-only(!) validation, check. Next up, CSS validation.

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Update 10:19 PM EST: I cleaned up my act, but can't do anything about this.

Independence Day

Independence Day has come and gone and as I wanted to post something more meaningful than last year, I've tried to reflect on the celebration. I was inspired by a story I read about a Maryknoll sister named Dorothy Stang who was killed for championing the rights of poor Brazilian farmers who were given rainforest land to farm by the goverment. Loggers who could no longer stand to have her in the way killed her. Now, there are many reasons why this tragedy wouldn't have happened in today's America, but sometimes one needs only to be reminded not to take rights for granted.

Then I saw this linked from Instapundit. I'll just be satisfied in sharing Ed Cone's emphasis on rights. Our rights themselves aren't the only reasons America is great, but that it was our nation's founding resolve to protect and guarantee those freedoms for its citizens that makes us unique. It certainly hasn't been perfect from day one, but we've been making progress. Sister Stang lived her life in the spirit of fighting for the equal right of people to exist with dignity and pursue happiness.

Eh, maybe one day I'll have some shareable insights of my own on this topic.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

It can be at G8

Live 8 (July 2, 2005), watch it, sign the list, help convince our leaders to eradicate poverty in Africa.

Hey, that sounds familiar...

On the topic of compliance with the government's wishes in a slightly different context:
... Mainland and Hong Kong businesses willing to advertise in other Hong Kong publications seem to avoid the Apple Daily, which has retained its independent voice. The popular paper has the second-highest circulation in the territory.

Apple Daily's journalists may not report on the mainland and are often excluded from public media events in Hong Kong.

"It's like punishment," Fung said. "It obviously has an impact on other papers. When they look at what is happening to us, they will think twice before taking a more critical or independent position."

Critics say that in an industry dominated by tycoons clamoring for business opportunities in the mainland, many media executives are willing to compromise their editorial integrity...
That's from the LA Times via Glutter. It doesn't sound too much removed from describing the depressing situation here in the states, where journalists who've earned the ire of the the federal government are barred from getting access to officials and events and FOX news gets preferential treatment.

I don't know whether it's a result of our being too distracted (myself included) to care or whether we can shift the blame and say marketers have too much control over the population to the point when journalists resort to self-censorship.

Civil disobedience, duty, or compliance with the law?

It's not getting any easier being a journalist these days. I guess it depends on who you are. Take the case of Matthew Cooper. He wrote an article about why the Bush administration may have deliberately leaked the identity of a CIA agent. It gets pretty confusing, because todayyesterday I read about how the editor of Time agreed (to the dismay of journalists everywhere) to give away the name of the anonymous source that clued Cooper in to a federal investigation when Cooper was prepared to go to jail to protect his source.

The success of the investigation would seem to be in the interest of truth and justice, but a major publication willing to shatter a journalists promise of anonymity means the journalists word is worth very little. It also means that sources will almost certainly face retaliation for telling the public what it may desperately need to know. Check out this 2004 article by Slate editor Jack Shafer (and Cooper friend) that explains some of the background of the federal investigation and the law that might have been broken in leaking Plame's identity.

It was mentioned in the Times article that "legal experts said yesterday that they knew of no other instance in modern journalistic history in which a major news organization announced that it would disclose the identities of its confidential sources in response to a government subpoena." It's something of a big deal I guess. I wonder if some Bush apologists would be complaining of liberal bias despite so many being against this disclosure. Some accused the paper to be acting in the name of Time shareholders to avoid the fines with which the judge threatened the magazine (and other business interests) but the editor has denied it, separately saying that they were not above the law.

I still don't think I understand what's going on... BTW, got the link to from instapundit's post on the topic. He links to his editorial in USA Today about his views on journalistic privilege.