Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One Laptop Per Child Power Generator

It's a yoyo! Well, not really. it does 20W ave, but only when it's moving (so when you pull and then it retracts).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is Christianity Good For the World?

The article

Religious people too often confuse their religion with spirituality. They are a bit different... It is quite possible to be spiritual and not religious.

Mainstream media covers horse race

Perhaps obvious, but now some numbers behind it:
In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%) or the candidates’ ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found.

The press’ focus on fundraising, tactics and polling is even more evident if one looks at how stories were framed rather than the topic of the story. Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates. Those numbers, incidentally, match almost exactly the campaign-centric orientation of coverage found on the eve of the primaries eight years ago.
Via Paul Krugman's blog.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Dairy, New Hampshire

I got back from canvassing. Canvassing is what they call going house to house trying to convince people to vote for Barack Obama in the primaries. I was in Dairy, New Hampshire.

A lot of the volunteers had interesting stories. Amongst the volunteers, one of the most interesting was this guy who was a blogger for belowboston.com because he lives south of Boston.

This other guy was a consultant for companies to do mergers, haha. A republican job. But he says actually a lot of Wall Street is Democratic. He was also telling me about ETFs (Exchange-traded Funds). He says it's the new thing that's sort of like mutual funds without fees.

This is a pumpkin that Dan, one of the campaign staff carved for a pumpkin carving contest. haha. It's pretty good. He used a stencil from the internet, actually, in the Demoines Register.

If you like Barack's message, you should strongly consider sending money to his campaign. I've already contributed $200, and I'm trying to resist sending more money since I think I should be saving some. But I do spend a lot of money on stupid things so I thought I should spend some money on something worthwhile.

the day the music died

Great article that clearly articulates what went wrong with the music industry and explores some possibles for its future.


RIP Oink.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Help Me Read

I think I need to have a little device that's just a webcam attached to an mp3-player like thing that can take pictures of pages and then read them aloud to me. yessss...

Canvassing for Obama

Tomorrow, I'm going to New Hampshire to knock on people's doors and be like, hi, we'd like to talk to you a little bit about Barack Obama.

Come back for updates...

Hand Crank Generator

I think I'm going to make a hand crank generator for my final project in Power Electronics. I'd like it to an mp3 player and speakers so that we can have a hand crank music box that plays mp3s, haha.

Speaking of Religion

here is what some people have to say about suicide bombers. Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist who wrote the Selfish Gene and made up the word "meme." these days he's wholly devoted to spreading atheism.

Discovering Your Destiny...

So some weird kid handed me this pretty flyer today.

"Discovering your destiny - or finding your true purpose in life - can be a lot like finding your way around campus during the first days of your freshman year - easily overwhelming. Yet finding your purpose is the only guaranteed road to true fulfillment and eternal significance in life. It is the only answer for your heart-level quest for a life that truly matters.

This November 2nd, you are invited to begin discovering your destiny through the timeless principles of the Word of God."

Sponsored by Ambassadors for Christ

There are way too many Christian organizations on campus. Religion is like, hey, are you lost? We know the answer to all of life's questions, and we'll tell you how to live so you don't have to figure it out for yourself. Religion is for lazy people!

Anyway. At least they have free food...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Obama Rally in Boston!


aaahhh, but i'm so hosed. nooooo

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Art Galleries NYC

toby and i went to nyc and met up with jia today and went to some galleries. it was an exhibit called Pictophilia by Justin Faunce at the Leo Koenig Inc Gallery.

note that everything is handpainted. the micheal jackson painting looked like it was about 8x8 ft, and the other one was 15x8 ft or maybe even larger.

in real life

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tian An Men Square

We talked about Tian An Men Square in my Rise of China class. It was pretty interesting.


So there were about 100,000 students and other people protesting in Beijing for about one month. In fact, these protests were happening in many cities in China, and many students got free rides to Beijing, too, so that they could participate in the protests. The government was really ambiguous about supporting it or not supporting it. This is because there were some factions leveraging for power in the leadership. Then, some students decide to step it up a notch and make it a hunger strike. They hunger strike for 3 more weeks before the crackdown occurred.

First, the nature of the event. In the West, it was viewed as a major pro-democracy event or at least a human rights movement. Indeed, the students themselves pitched it this way to Western media because they knew that Western audiences would respond to those messages. However, the nature of the event is pretty complex and has a very Chinese twist. It was on the 80th anniversary of another historical protest event in 1919. That was a movement when Chinese people ostensibly were protesting the Treaty of Versaille where China got shafted after participating in WWI. It was a part of this treaty, too, that Taiwan didn't get returned to China from Germany and instead got passed to Japan but I'm not sure if that was really a key issue at that time. Anyway, this protest event was called the May 4 Movement, and it was a bunch of intellectuals who felt it was their duty to their nation to expose problems with the nation and offer solutions. So this was a patriotic movement, it was about the collective, it was about an elite leading the way so that China can stop being humiliated and stand up. It was also the birth of contemporary Chinese literature, ditching classical style writing and writing magazine and books in the vernacular. So in that way it was sort of like a democracy movement. It was about how Chinese need to unite and get proactive in kicking out foreigners and other people taking advantage of Chinese. The Treaty of Versaille's also discredited democracy and capitalism as a model since the foreign countries were democratic and capitalist. The lesson taken away by Chinese people, too, was that imperialism was an inevitable product of capitalism.

Anyway, fast forward to the 80s. The Cultural Revolution, generally considered a major disaster had ended by the end of the 70s. For once, the leadership did not have a direction or strong ideology for people, and things were kind of depressing for a lot of people. The 80s were a time when the leadership was basically like, ok, everyone calm down, let's do some practical reforms, be patient, and shut up. There were some leadership shuffles, too, which is why there wasn't any strong ideological direction provided. A new generation of students didn't really get to participate in the Cultural Revolution because they were too young, and actually they kind of feel like they missed out on all the Revolutionary movements. So, they seek to recreate a May 4 Movement, and felt it was their patriotic duty as intellectuals to speak up mostly about corruption issues. A main issue was also for students to be able to organize their own clubs. I'm not exactly sure why that was such a big deal, but apparently that was a big deal. But in general, the students were not trying to get individual rights and rights for other Chinese people.

Actually, most of the fighting was around the periphery of Tian An Men Square. The footage by the Spanish media shows no one was killed inside the square, and their personnel said no one was killed, but other people said they saw people being shot so the truth is probably somewhere in between.

Aftermath is that the collapse of the Soviet Union was actually very influential in the way Chinese people viewed this movement. Nobody, including those in the government, would say that the crackdown was justified. However, many people who participated felt like, wow, that could have been us. We were really naive to think these changes could come peacefully. Even today, the USSR is in the back of Chinese people's minds and as a result Chinese people are willing to put up with giving up a lot of things. From their view, even their province is better off as a part of a whole that is strong. Another major thing that happened was that the leadership shuffled and proponents of market reforms came to the forefront. It is unclear how this is linked to the Tian An Men Protest. And thus we have China today.

Maine Middle School to Issue Birth Control Pills

The story

School officials in Portland, Maine, voted to make birth control pills available to students at one of the city's middle schools.

WOW. I think I must be getting really old, but this is quite shocking. There was one girl at my middle school that got pregnant and had an abortion, so this is good. I must just be an old farty prude. or prudey fart. Whichever you choose.

Midterm Essay Assignment

This is for my political science class, Rise of China.

From the May 4th Movement (1919) all the way through the death of Mao (1976), China was effectively a nation in revolution. The old dynastic order was overthrown, the era of foreign domination and “unequal treaties” was put to rest, a new republic was established, and the whole of society was swept up in wave after wave of intense political mobilization. In many ways, the results of this period were ambiguous. Those who lived through it often remember it with a complicated combination of astonishment, horror, nostalgia, and pride. Here is the question. Do you think that this revolutionary legacy makes it harder or easier for the Chinese government today both to put off democratization and to justify that postponement to its citizens? Why or why not?

Chinese Feminism

For my Chinese film and culture class we watched a movie called "Cell Phone" by Feng Xiaogang. Actually it was kind of boring and I didn't know where the movie was going until it finally fizzled to an end, but later when I thought about it, it was actually really clever. I think it's a hit for real Chinese people who catch on to the message faster.

It's about how women find out about their husbands' affairs with the use of new technology (cell phones). A talk show host, Yan, is having an affair with a woman, and the wife finds out because she is able to just call the person he said he was with. They divorce. Yan does not marry his mistress but instead is dating this other woman while continuing to see his mistress. His friend, Fei, gets caught almost having an affair and gets divorced and moves to Estonia to teach English never to be heard from again. Yan asks his mistress to get his ex-wife a job, and she does by allowing her boss to rape her. She then blackmails him with a recording of them having sex since cell phones now have a recording feature. She ends up replacing him as the host of his show. In the end, his girlfriend finds out about her anyway and leaves him. His niece becomes a cell phone salesperson and his friend Fei moves to Estonia never to be heard of again.

This is my reading of the movie.

In this movie, Chinese men complain about technology and wish they could "go back to simpler times." I have heard this sentiment from Chinese men before, who say they would prefer it if we were an agrarian society again. I think a large part of this society is that they are dismayed at their loss of status in society in comparison to women. I think this movie shows that technology and modernization have benefited women the most. Women still get cheated on in this movie and also taken advantage of, but nowadays women can divorce, they are financially independent, and they can even have power to leverage instead of just getting taken advantage of. In the end, Yan's mistress takes his job as the host of the show. Yan's niece and mistress represent a new generation of Chinese women who are bold, successful, and who champion new technology. On the other hand, Yan and his friend fall behind. They wish they could live in the past where "they could go home and their wives would believe anything they were told." So I think this movie, it appears that women are still victimized as in the past, and that men are questioning the value of modern progress, but really, this movie shows that women are no longer second class citizens and that Chinese men are depressed with modern life because they are less powerful now.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

"Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" : A Review

Last night I had the chance to watch a one-woman show about suicide for asian american females. Before the show started I had been expecting some sort of adaption of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," however I have never read the book or watched the movie so I really didn't know what to expect.

The show begins with a Mr. Rogersque opening. Wong walks around the stage in a green cardigan and puts on a pair of shoes, and then begins to talk to the audience. Wong begins a 1-hour monologue with an occasional interlude for some audience participation / heckling to talk about her personal life, her past, and her own dealings with suicide. Half the time the show is a comedy routine with Wong poking fun at race and dropping one liners for laughs. The other half of the show is about why asian american females are killing themselves, and why its impossible we the audience should expect to find an answer by the end of her one hour show.

One of her most poignant anecdotes comes about 3/4 into the show when she begins to point out how few examples there are of asian american women who have survived suicide. On one end of the spectrum she points to celebrities who never had to deal with suicide, and then she begins to detail asian american women who have dealt with severe trauma in one form or another and survived: they are all porn stars. She briefly details the lives of Asia Carrera and Annabelle Chong. The former a piano prodigy who ran away from home to escape abusive parents and would sleep with strangers just to survive. The latter a gang rape survivor who would later pioneer on screen triple penetration and who was cheated out of money she should have been paid for performing one of the first one-day ultra gang bang marathons where she had sex with over 300 men. Wong's dramatic conclusion is that you have no choice but tol be perfect, turn into a porn star, or not live.

At one point in the show she begins to delve into cases of asian american suicide. A profile will flash up on the screen, giving such details as location and reasons associated with the suicide as she begins to monologue what might have been their last thoughts. The second case is about a girl named liz from cambridge, ma who is suffering depression and anxiety from grades and sets herself on fire. To me this is immediately recognizable as Elizabeth Shin from MIT, a girl who committed suicide the summer before I arrived for my freshmen year. After the first 4 cases the profiles on the screen begin to flash by as she races to even just provide names for them. By the end, the case numbers have reached past the tens of thousands. I am not sure most people realized that those were in fact real cases she was detailing.

The most interesting part of the evening came after the show was over. I was talking with four
asian american females who had seen the show, and not a single one had much to say! In contrast, after I had seen the latest harry potter movie every asian american female was up in arms at the way Harry had treated Cho Chang in the movie.

You can find out more about Kristina Wong here:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Silly Republicans

So I had this assignment in my public health class to see what all the presidential candidates' stances on health care were. Of course, I know my Dems quite well. So I decided to take a peek at the Republican side. Ron Paul has absolutely nothing to say. He says, give everyone shady information on nutrition, and let them decide for themselves on what to eat. WHAT TO EAT?!!?! yeah. Rudy Giuliani doesn't say anything about health care. And Mitt Romney gives us a high tech little video that I have yet to watch of him answering a few people's questions regarding his stance on health care. Don't you love Republicans?

Here, look for yourself:
Mitt Romney
Ron Paul's Super-Smart "Health Freedom"
Giuliani because he's Italian AND Roman Catholic!