Saturday, March 27, 2010

Use your body

Nothing compares to happy feel of filling a clean blank sheet of paper. I am writing this post in full screen mode and there is big difference. The background is pitch black. There is virtually nothing on the screen to distract me apart from the white page and silent movements of my cursor. Oh how I had missed this.

The social-net culture is narrowing our attention span, there is more to read and they are getting littler. We wander from link to link and often give up reading if it exceeds one small paragraph. It would be a miracle if you are reading this sentence now.

It is sad to see how uninteresting majority of web content nowadays. In desperation we follow more people on Twitter or add new subscription links to our RSS feeder. Alas this only helps to aggravate our anxiety and frustration. Nothing seems to be helping us to wipe off our boredom. Welcome to web addiction.

I guess when life was simpler, we had to work our butt off to entertain ourselves. We needed to construct things with our hands. I remember when I was six once my older brother and I spent the entire day to build a toy crane using wood, pulleys he made from Mum’s sewing thread reels, and tight ropes. What an exhilarating experience it was.

Web turned us into anxiety driven stupid creatures. We forgot to allocate decent amount of time to do meaningful stuff with our bodies, be it gardening, photography, drawing, playing outside or building toy cranes.

Life was more exciting when it was simpler and less.

We need to re-learn to spend hours on something we love, something that we create with our hands.  We need to re-discover the joy of creativity.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The shape of the universe

More than four decades ago scientists discovered that the universe is suffused with microwave radiation -long wavelength light- that is a cool relic of the sweltering conditions after the big bang. Earlier on, it was stupendously hot, but as the universe evolved and expanded, the radiation steadily diluted and cooled. Today it is just about 2.7 degrees above absolute zero, and its greatest claim of mischief is its contribution of a small fraction of the snow you see on your television set when you disconnect the cable or turn to a station that isn’t broadcasting.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble, using the 100-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson observatory in Pasadena, California, found that the couple of dozen galaxies he could detect were all rushing away. In fact Hubble found that the more distant a galaxy is the faster its recession.

An essential property of cosmic microwave radiation revealed by precision satellite measurements over the last decade is that it is extremely uniform. The temperature of the radiation in one part of the sky differs from that in another part by less than a thousandth of a degree.

So although the universe is evolving since the big bang, on average the evolution must have been nearly identical across the cosmos.

This conclusion is of great consequence because the universe’s uniformity is what allows us to define a concept of time applicable to the universe as a whole. Thus the universe has enough symmetry to allow us to speak of its overall age and its overall evolution through time.

Using two-dimensional analogy for space, there are three types of curvature that are completely symmetric -that is, curvatures in which the view from any location is the same as that from any other. They are (a) positive curvature, which uniformly bloats outward, as on sphere; (b) zero curvature, which does not bloat at all, as on infinite plane; (c) negative curvature, which uniformly shrinks inward, as on a saddle.

Therefore a short list of curvatures -uniformly positive, negative, or zero- exhausts the possible curvatures for space that are consistent with the requirement of symmetry between all locations and in all directions. And that is really stunning. We are talking about the shape of the entire universe. Yet, by invoking the immense power of symmetry, researches have been able to narrow the possibilities sharply.

So if someone was to wake you in the middle of the night from a deep sleep and demand you to tell him the shape of the universe -the overall shape of space- and grant you a mere handful of guesses, you’ll be able to meet his challenge.

- Compiled from 'the fabric of the cosmos' -Brian Greene-

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Testing Bullshit Generator

I found this bullshit generator and put it immediately into a test:

I came up with the following narrative in 2 minutes (quoted sections are products of the generator.)

Let me introduce you to Jack. Jack is responsible for our 'integrated e-business transition'. To help him we need to 'extend e-business mindshare'. However our success will depend on our ability to 'seize efficient e-tailers'.We also need to 'implement robust infrastructures' along the way. This will help us 'transform transparent markets'.

Jack will also deploy 'back-end convergence' and 'optimize bricks-and-clicks initiatives'. With this our organisation will 'seize strategic e-services' and 'unleash frictionless mindshare'.

Please welcome Jack (Ass) who will 'monetize our visionary web-readiness'.


Saturday, March 6, 2010


Fashion is weird. I mean the fashion elements come to life purely by unexpected public endorsement as opposed to marketing pressure forced by commercial fashion houses. Take thongs for instance. Originated from Japanese zōri, thongs are cheap, simple and practical to wear in warm climates.

Thongs became a phenotype in human memetic evolution and today they are pushing boundaries of survival in unprecedented novel ways.

One such indication is the rise of black Havaianas among Sydney office women in recent years. I know this because I have been working mostly in CBD areas of Sydney for over twenty years now.

Business dress code for women hasn't changed much, mostly gray-scale suits, light color shirts and black court shoes.

Traditional corporate dresses are uncomfortable, people wear them either because of corporate pressure or for power. They are designed to erase your identity and make you a corporate slave.

Men ties are weird, they look stupid, uncomfortable and they serve no purpose other than indicating that you are an idiot to accept your miserable slavery.

Similarly women court shoes look hypocritical incarnations of suppressed female sexual identity. They have heels, yet their mostly dull and ordinary design, and lack of color erase reminiscences of sexual identity. And oh boy they must be uncomfortable, torturous to wear between work and home five days a week.

Office women understandably rebelled. First white sneakers appeared. Although they have no attractiveness whatsoever they looked comfortable, and women started to wear them between home and work, took them off and wore court shoes in the office.

The problem with business suit plus white sneakers combo is, it looks awful. For me the sight of this particular fashion disaster is so painful and unbearable that I avoided to look at them to the extent of breaking my neck (at one stage it pushed me to think maybe after all Mother Theresa was not that unsexy at all.)

So office women realised that they were on the wrong track. We all know they are better equipped with primal instincts of sexual realisation.

So one day one women took her Havaianas that she must have bought as beach-wear and wore them to work. To my relief that must have been the D-day abruptly ended white sneakers' undeserved hegemony. The next day more women copied this heroic and daring behavior of their 'leader', and over incoming weeks hundreds of women must have bought them. And the era of black Havaianas plus business dress started. They are now everywhere in the CBD.

Black Havaianas look cool under business suits. They serve the purpose yet they don't look awful, and their mild rebellious cheerfulness give back women their much deserved 'fun' identity stolen by corporate big brother. It is their way of saying 'hey this is my day job, but I am a beach girl I am cool and fun to be with'. Good on them.