Sunday, 21 January 2007

3min till my file finish uploading.. 3min to blog

Entries haven't been exactly exciting lately. That's the result of spending way too much time in school or else trying to program in pd and also because the philosophies of those people are much more interesting than my own.

What's up with my life. Usually week 1 and 2, I'll be dropping classes like birds drop white stuff onto clean cars, but for some reason this quarter, I'm adding committments like no one's business. My postdoc has this impression that I'm really free, cos I only have 1 class on MWF and of course, I go to lab on MWF.. Man, I'm nowhere near free and it's only week3. Hope things turn out well.

All people have been trying to do is gain control of the universe, control every variable, be able to predict the results. Is that ever possible?

"Since our government prefers intelligent design over evolution, I have to rephrase my question: why did god create this gene?" ~Nobel laureate who came to UCSD for a talk. I forgot his name, he works on this gene that I forgot the name of, but it enhances female sexuality, the press reports it as a future aphrodisiac. I can't remember much of it cos I fell asleep, chairs were very comfy.
OK, I've found out who he is. He's Paul Greengard and the protein he was talking about was DARPP 32.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

"The passion of surprise and wonder, arising from miracles, being an agreeable emotion, gives a sensible tendency towards the belief of those events from which it is derived"

"We may establish it as a maxim that no human testimony can have such force as to prove a miracle and make it a just foundation for any such system of religion"
"whoever is moved by faith to assent to [a religion] is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person which subverts all the principles of his understanding and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience"

~ Hume, Inquiry I, Section X: Of Miracles

Cool dude.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

I guess everybody has been enjoying winter holidays, traveling to new places, going home, just chilling, anything that's different from the normal school life. Holidays are always good. If there's a time to try something different, this is the time. Ed was telling a freshman yesterday to try different jobs and see what he likes, I wonder what I'll be doing if I'm on FMS. Would I travel around at all? I would definitely get a lab assistant job, even if it's tail-cutting or dish-washing. Would I be doing internships? Exchanges? Take up things that are unrelated to my major?

California trip. I've said this many many times, it's really the people that make a trip good or bad, and the Cali company was just fantastic. It's a group of people that I don't have trouble communicating with and for this trip, I didn't even need to use my brain much, to navigate, or plan or anything. Complete relaxation.

San Francisco. Chinatown's just great. Cheap good food, extreme speedy service, (we think the waitors are on crack haha) though i still think that the place where we stayed at, which was just off Chinatown, was quite scary at night. Half-drunken and very high people hanging on the streets. Back to food. Great food. Great dim sum under $10, bubble tea for less than a dollar, dinner for slightly more than $5, exotic ice-cream, simply amazing. Oakland chinatown is equally good, supermarkets selling everything chinese, and lovely bakeries =). Otherwise, SF is just another big city, traffic, people.. I like the convenience of cities, and the bustling life, but sometimes it gets a little too hectic for my liking. It's like what Locke says about the formation of societies, you have to give up your natural rights to do whatever you want for the benefits that society can give you, so in this case, i have to give up my longing for peace and quiet for the convenience of a big city. New Year countdown was ok, people were very high, typical Californians, the clock was not accurate and misled many of us, fireworks were pretty good, there were smiley faces. :)

Yosemite. I love Yosemite. It's so pretty. Especially since we went AFTER heavy snow. Snow was dripping from tree branches, so pretty. If I have a chance, I'll definitely go there again. Keira says I'm a nature freak. I just like to see the nature, I'm not really fit enough to enjoy much hiking. Climbing up the waterfall was fun.

Berkeley. Such a liberal town. It's filled with shops and stalls selling strange things like anti-govt slogans, weirdo cds, and all kinds of junk. We spent forever in this poster shop buying posters. If I lived in Berkeley, I'll definitely be influenced by this extreme left-wing-ism..

San Diego. Experience could be much more enhanced if I could drive and had a car. Sorry peeps. Taking buses is just tiresome here, especially if you live nowhere close to downtown SD. But I think La Jolla cove is still the prettiest place in San Diego.

New Year. Resolutions: I didn't really think about them. Shall make some.

School. I like my development class, this is a field where I have not touched much before, unless you count my 8 weeks of lab meetings in a stem cells lab, think it'll be a fun class. I'm really sick of huge classes, like my molecular bio class with 350 people. Man, I really don't like to go into class 5min before class starts and still can't get a good seat. Computer music is as expected filled with comp geeks who have attempted pd before, I havn't even heard of PD till last quarter. Well hopefully they're lazy bums who don't do homework, then I'll still have a chance at getting an A. But this is expected to be a fun class, though might get quite challenging along the way. Hum, will complain about it later when I have papers to write. Lab, first day I went back, I felt so sian, why is bio research so time-consuming, so many steps, so much time and effort to do one experiment. Grow cells for almost a week to do a 2h experiment, and then spend at least another day working on the stuff that's been extracted from the cells, then analyse results. I can understand why Aristotle and Descartes want science to be sit-there-and-derive-formulas kind, rather than go do experiments. But after I start pipetting again, I felt less sian, wonder why.

Holiday tomorrow. Yay.
California trip photos are up

Grand Canyon photos are also up, but more of my cousin's family than of the canyon

Comments are welcome.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Newton's amazing rules of reasoning
  1. We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. (cf Occum's Razor)
  2. Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.
  3. The qualities of bodies are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever. (leading him to conceive of some indivisible particle that makes up everything, or maybe there isn't one, but all bodies follow the laws of gravity)
  4. In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions collected by general inductions from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined. (objective science, but no hypotheses formed in science? Plain observation and deduction?)

"This most beautiful system of the sun, the planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being"

Sunday, 7 January 2007

While I'm waiting for my photos to upload, very slow today, hope they don't timeout on me, I shall research on stuff that have been fluttering in my mind this holidays.

White Chocolate
White chocolate is a type of chocolate based on cocoa butter without the cocoa solids. It also includes milk solids, sugar, lecithin, and flavorings (usually including vanilla). Cocoa butter is the ingredient used in other chocolates so that they remain solid at room temperature yet melt easily in the mouth. Thus, white chocolate has a texture like that of chocolate but does not have the same taste. Unlike chocolate it does not contain caffeine. As white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids or cocoa mass, it does not meet the standards to be called chocolate in many countries. In the United States, since 2004, white chocolate needs to be at least 20% (by weight) cocoa butter, at least 14% total milk solids, and less than 55% sweeteners such as sugar.

Piano roll
A piano roll is a roll of paper with perforations (holes) punched in it. The position and length of the perforation determines the note played on the piano. The piano roll moves over a device known as the 'tracker bar', which first had 58 holes, was expanded to 65 and then was upgraded to 88 holes (generally, one for each piano key). When a perforation passes over the hole, the note sounds.
That's how the piano can play by itself and how the earliest recordings were made. What I don't get is how the holes can transmit information, is there a stream of air that blows through the paper? Light sensor? Electric sensing? Anyone care to enlighten me?

The Church says that Scientology is concerned with "the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life." Dianetics is more narrowly focused on getting rid of the reactive mind, the "bank" of traumatic memories known as engrams which are said to inhibit one's success and happiness. Basically it's to reach into the good and logical part of the soul and use that to achieve goals in life. They do this by talking to each other and solving each other's problems. We visited this Church of Scientology in SF and listened to this sweet old lady tell us all about scientology. According to her, scientology is an open-minded religion where you choose to believe in anything you believe, scientology just helps you achieve your goals. We concluded that scientology is a huge self-help group. Wiki seems to think otherwise though, talking about mind control and disconnection from people who are in objection to scientology. Reading Wiki, scientology sounds like a computer game where you have to advance through the levels to uncover more secrets of the world. And somewhere in it all, there's an alien manipulating everything. Fun.
End of winter break. End of all trips. I'm actually really glad that they're over. They've been fun but travelling is draining. Using words from this trip, I'm shagged and I need to chill.

Grand Canyon
Spectacular first view. First glance and we go WOW! And then as we drive to more points to look at it, it's just, well, it's just the canyon. Pretty amazing how flat the top of the canyon is and it's so jagged and deep in the canyon. All these done by the Colorado river and the uplifting of the plateaus. "The canyon, created by the Colorado River cutting over millions of years, is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 0.25 to 15 miles (0.4 to 24 kilometers), and attains a depth of more than a mile (1,600 m)." ~ Wikipedia
Just finished snowing when we went, pretty cold. We concluded that it will be a much better way to visit the canyon by a helicopter tour. See more stuff, less boring. Or maybe hiking will make it more interesting too. We couldn't hike at all cos there was snow all over the trails and we didn't have any shoes equipped for snow.

Drove through Sedona after Grand Canyon, thought that place was beautiful. Red rocks, redder than Grand Canyon, very shapely mountains. Apparently when waterfalls are running in spring, the rocks become a natural slide and kids slide down the rocks in the Sliding Rocks State Park. Should be very beautiful.