Monday, January 30, 2006

Scientific Satire shamelessly stolen sans Shikha's sanctification - Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

A scientific thesis on why the chicken crossed the road

Our intellectual gray haired noble scientists were summoned to speculate upon a complicated issue on a special conceptual model analysing a certain unusual physical activity:

The statement : "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

(a buzz of excitement in the background...arguments..thumping of fists on the tables and occasional 'Eurekas!')

Here are some of the collective thesis statements on the subject:

  • Aristotle: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
  • Andre Ampere: To keep up with current events.
  • Alexander Graham Bell: To get to the nearest phone.
  • Robert Boyle: She had been under too much pressure at home.
  • Marie Curie: She was radiating with enthusiasm as she crossed the road
  • Nicolaus Copernicus: Despite the evidence of your senses I can show that it is mathematically simpler to describe it as the road passing under the chicken.
  • C. J. Doppler: For its effect on passer-bys.
  • Thomas Edison: She thought it would be an illuminating experience.
  • Richard Feynman: It didn't cross the road to the other side. It actually came back to where it started but was momentarily moving backward in time.
  • Jean Foucault: It didn’t. The rotation of the earth made it appear to cross.
  • Buckminister Fuller: Because we have not yet designed and implemented true,constantly forwardly/backwardly evolving, energy-transforming livingmachines which will enable us to perform all functions from the informedlyturbining hub of a single autonomous in-spiralling/out-radiating network ofspace-connected information vector transforms. Had the chicken beensupplied with my Dymaxion Tensegrity Coop, it would have remained at home, un-tempted by such risky spatial-temporal translations.
  • Galileo: To get a better look at the stars.
  • Karl Gauss: Because of the magnetic personality of the rooster on the other side.
  • Gustav Hertz: Lately, its been crossing with greater frequency.
  • Johannes Kepler: He crossed in an arc, not a straight line.
  • Newton:
    1) Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross the road.
    2) It was pushed on the road.
    3) It was pushed on the road by another chicken, which went away from the road.
    4) It was attracted to a chicken on the other side of the road.
    5)An apple fell on its head.

Scientists have been unable to arrive at a major consensus and have declared the issue to be arbitrarily influenced by varying frames and different environments. There have been numerous attempts on experimentally verifying the cause of such an event, however, on examination of the experimental apparatus it was later discovered that the chicken was dead.
Conclusion: Since this unusual behavior has been demonstrated by a chicken that is currently out of order for experimental purposes it can be inferred that the absurd characteristic under observation cannot be generalised for other chickens.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A day at UBC - excerpt from an e-mail to my mom

But I'll leave all my personal stuff out. Here's what I wrote to my mom about UBC (since I'm tired of re-typing everything).


Today, I had a chance to sit in a Science One lecture on Nuclear Physics. It's really cool to have a smaller group of students in the first year, as there's more faculty attention and you get to know more people better. It'd be different from the mainstream science course, though. I also spoke to an ex-Science One lecturer, Dr. Martin Adamson, who shared with me a lot of advice about pursuing a degree in UBC in Biological Sciences. So, I think today I had a very fruitful day out on my own at UBC. I think I'll come by more often.

Dr. Adamson's advice to me was actually not to take any science courses during the summer term (which I initially wanted to, to brush up on rusty knowledge), as he felt confident that anybody with a strong science grounding should be able to catch up with their knowledge when entering university, especially in Science One since there's so much academic support within the program. So if I don't get into MIT or Caltech, but enter UBC in summer instead, I'll probably register for Japanese lessons and other arts courses (like Literature or History etc.). Those would help clear up my electives too.


What a cool guy, Dr. Adamson was. A pity I didn't take the initiative to take his photo and get his contact. (Almost sounds like robbing him of his identity. Haha!) Still, I'd love to go back and find him in that hell-of-a-maze Biology building (it's really tough to navigate). He gave me quite a bit of information on the genetics course in UBC, as well as some insights into how mathematics could be applied to Biology (aside from Stats, which I've already seen). He actually used partial differential equations to model a population, and through that, I gained quite a bit of an insight into how a Science One class would be conducted. Now that's really cool.

So I end my day with few pictures but a broader tour of UBC. And now I'm going to go back from the Koerner Library, their newest and biggest library that I'm sitting in right now to type my e-mails and this blog entry.

Adios, amigos!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yet another break-off... Canada's General Elections

So the elections are over, and lo and behold, the Conservatives won. DARNED! If I had a chance to vote, I'd pick NDP or Liberals any day. Well, I guess the Conservatives won because they had both the right strategy and the right timing. I hope the Liberals can take this defeat to be an opportunity to strengthen their party and straighten out their politics. Indeed, 12 years in power may have made them complacent, so this defeat should be a nascent reminder of the fragile power balance that used to be.

Given a chance, though, I hope the NDP also comes out stronger. Having two progressive parties in control would definitely keep Canada moving forward, rather than backward. Hm. Backward. That's what "Conservatives" sounds like.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Moving on... an inspiring episode from Star Trek

Today, I watched a movie on TV. Lo and behold, it's the old classic, STAR TREK!

And I garnered some insights about how religious beliefs can arise. Here's what I watched.

The Star Trek ship moved towards one planet, which had a race of people (not humans, though), that lived, for over a thousand years, by reason and logic. They were able to progress technologically, from living in caves and wielding clubs, to living in huts and carrying bows and arrows. Yet, when Picard's ship drew by, mysterious things started to happen (especially when Picard was beamed down to the planet), and a cult of religion worshipping "the Picard" began to form. Irrationality reigned, and people began worshipping "the Picard's" wishes and desires. In essence, a few individuals lost their ability to rationalize (especially when the ship's resident doctor cured a seemingly dead person). This started to grow and grow and grow, until it almost took the life of an innocent woman.

Yet, Picard decided to solve the problem - he beamed up the leader, the wisest woman in the tribe. He educated her on the ways that humans progress, and the way that they themselves are also living beings, limited by the time frames of life and death. Through the matriarch of the tribe, he managed to convince the people to regain their rationality and progress as a species.

One thing within the episode struck me - when the woman was about to be killed, a dialogue sprung up:

Man (about to kill woman): This is The Picard's wishes!
Woman (about to be killed): Are you sure this is His wishes?
Man: Yes! It absolutely is!
Woman: This is the problem when you lose your rationality and try to determine His wishes.

Absolutely - the failur of religion is when humans try to determine the wishes of their supreme beings. That's when our powers of reason fail us, and we fail to see clearly what is going on. Collective human wisdom has helped us to progress, but individually clouded minds have abused religion to fulfil their own deluded minds' wishes of safety and peace, causing more disorder and turmoil instead. This is why religion must not hold sway in society - the potential for abuse is just simply too large. When humans collectively use wisdom and logic to solve our problems, we end up progressing, rather than regressing.

More on wisdom and logic in the next entry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

To Start Things Off...

... let me show you a logo from the Center for Inquiry.

This non-profit organization seeks to promote and defend reason, science and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavor. This is an organization that I have just joined on their mailing list. I hope to champion this cause wherever I go - be it MIT, Caltech or UBC.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Series of Essays

Following this post, in addition to my own reflections, I am going to start posting my own views on religion on this blog. Some will be good, some will be bad, but ultimately, I hope that any reader here will respect my cognitive ability to reason with logic and sense, and will also respect my right to hold my own views. Please also note that I respect your right to believe in your own creator. My criticisms are directed at belief systems, not at you as a personal attack. This preamble will occur in every single one of my essays.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Unwelcome guest?

It's Aunty May this time. When I called her to ask when it might be convenient for me to move in with her and Uncle Poh Bin, the first thing she asked me was, "Do you have any plans after that?" It's almost as if I shouldn't be staying there with them. Should I? Or should I not? In terms of location, I really prefer that place; if I stay too long with Uncle Ken, I'd definitely become complacent staying with them, and wouldn't act like a guest should be anymore. This is getting confusing.

Reflections Again

Somehow, a philosophical thought came to mind. I am currently in Vancouver, working with a really great company with really great people inside it. We support each other, we help each other, I'm making more contacts and making more acquaintances; I'm searching for another part-time job right now, likely at PDPlus Tutoring Agency or Canadian Tutoring Services. I miss her, I miss my family, I miss the old environment (well, not really). But I'm discovering a new environment, I'm breaking out of my comfort zone, I'm exploring and I'm challenging myself.

What if I stayed in Singapore? Would all of this happen? I wonder.

A bit more about my dream.

Well, I checked my mail at my place, and I saw an envelope being held in my brother's hand. Somehow, the view zoomed straight into my home address and the place it was sent from - "MIT Undergraduate Admissions Office". Then, the view zoomed out, and I saw the rectangular envelope again. At that instant, I knew - DANG! I hadn't been admitted into the class of 2010. Sigh.

Funny thing is, it was so realistic. It was as if it was really going to happen. So it seems... Gee, I shouldn't keep my hopes too high anyways. Never mind. I'll go there for Grad school, nonetheless. I will. I will make it there, someday.

A dream so real, you'd never believe I actually think so much about it.

Have I been thinking too much about MIT? Well, it is my dream school after all. Then again, I had a horrible nightmare - I received not a tube but a rectangular letter. Guess what that means? Rejection. Haiz.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, now, hasn't it been long?

Indeed it has. December 23rd was my last entry, and here I am with another.

Hm. Tomorrow seems to be like a challenging day. I'm gonna be meeting with Carlin's boss, Ray, and I'm gonna have something like a job interview. I hope I'm cut out for the job; though finance wasn't really my intended field of interest, I am starting to see some sense in it, and I think I could take a stab at it. Then again, Ray did tell me that he didn't have any experience when he came in - he was a creative arts major - but was trained by his CEO. I think I'd like to be trained by Ray. He seems like a nice guy.

Hm, now, I wonder how my MIT and Caltech apps are doing. I still haven't seen my SAT scores sent in yet, and I still haven't seen my interview report processed yet either. I hope they get there in time. Oh well, even if I don't get into MIT and Caltech, she's coming over to join me at UBC. I'm sure of that. That'll make the world even more beautiful.

I found out that Bluetooth and WiFi on my computer are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE entities. When I plug in Bluetooth, WiFi doesn't work. I really wonder, sometimes, how Apple does it - Bluetooth and WiFi in one computer. Gee whiz. When I start earning, I'm gonna get an Apple.