Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Left Middle Finger

wow, seriously, it is a lot of fun typing without my middle finger. maybe this is the slippery slope to typing with only two fingers. i'm going to try to type for as long as i can. here i go. hoooray, whooo, i was slipping around today while i was driving, and then i was running out of gas, and then i started freaking out and looking for a gas station. i really can't tell how much gas it takes to drive if i'm running the heater and stuff. i do not really know where the gas stations are around here, although i am starting to get better at knowing where the parking lots are. i am getting raped at this parking lot right now since i couldn't park on the street since it's a snow emergency. then i went to starbucks today and got a coffee and some food with some free money jia gave me. hooray for jia. she gave me it for my graduation present. i have $4 left. and then i used the internet in starbucks, and it was free. that was nice, but it was butt slow, so i guess who cares. then i ran home because i did not wear warm shoes and my feet were cold. i don't drink coffee much, so i felt kind of sick after that. i emailed a lot of people today. i have started to make cards, but i have sort of lost momentum, and i still need to figure out where to send them, and the holidays are almost over already! i am seriously behind. the traffic getting home on mem drive was butt slow. and i was running out of gas. that's why i was freaking out. at least i parked in an indoor parking lot. i hate dusting off all the snow. i think i need a warmer jacket. my coworker at work had me try on his goosedown jacket. he says that it's the best, and that i should go to first night, boston. i said, no way, it is freaking cold. he said, not if you have a goosedown jacket. he said that where he grew up, the black people loved goose down jackets, and they also liked to steal the mercedez-benz hood ornament, cuz he had a mercedez car, and then they would wear it around their necks as bling. damn, i did not know how to spell mercedes. on npr, they were talking about some israelis who were like, we will not stop bombing them until we bomb them all, and i'm like, man, i thought we were against genocide. i don't think any of them really believe any of the palestinians are really "just civilians." although i think they are all civilians, even the "militants." i mean, i don't really believe you are a "professional military" unless you are hired by a state. but i guess everyone is in the military for the same reason. they are all civilians with nothing better to do. i like singing along to songs on the radio when i am driving. the other day i was singing along to 'i will never be your woman' by whitetown. today i was singing along to no doubt, 'don't speak.' i even like britney spears' new song 'womanizer.' i went to the mit library yesterday to borrow a book by pretending to be shen, but then i couldn't find the book. i was also nervous that they would realize i am not the person on the id. i can't really tell if we look alike or not. that was weirding me out. i was looking at the snow falling and thinking about how in pictures, they always make it look very pretty, like white snow falling against a blue sky or something, or white snow against the dark of night. but what it really looks like is just a storm. white snow against white sky. it doesn't really look good until after the storm is over. on npr today they were talking about how the legal system in 19 states is running out of money and they are postponing many civil and criminal cases, for example rape cases. the saddest part is that for a lot of cases, the preparations were already done, and so if they postpone it, then it was all for a waste since everyone will have to testify again when they reschedule the trial. definitely at least some people will just drop the charges because people will want to move on with their lives. also, if it drags on for too long, the case could be dismissed since the criminal justice system is supposed to try defendants in a timely manner or something like that. on friday, in massachusetts, one oz. of marijuana is only going to be punishable by a $100 fine. wow. but people in the government are trying to get local governments to pass things. on npr the other day, they said that homicides committed by black males have increased over the past 7 years. they said that homicides by white guys also increased but only a little bit. but then they said total homicides decreased a little bit, so i'm confused. but maybe i'm getting it all wrong. police people said it's because they are getting less funding and crime-prevention programs are getting less funding in general. less funding less funding less funding. why does this not come up when it comes to be election time? on npr, they were talking about a town where ducks walk on fishes, and people love it so usually they throw sliced bread to the ducks and fishes so that they fight over it, and it's really cute. in more recent years, people have been throwing more and more crap, though, like cakes and other breadlike things, and so the parks people said, no more bread, but then everyone complained because they said that's stupid, they always threw bread, the fish look pretty healthy, they're taking all the fun out of life, and that their local businesses are going to be hurt since it's a tourist attraction. i think the last point is the most reasonable. but it still seems like, duh, guys, you are throwing too much crap in the water. so the parks people had to take it back, and reconsider it for a year. it annoys me, though. i think that the parks people did a bad job of the execution, but the people really strike me as shortsighted and spoiled brats. i mean, what the hell? do they really NEED to throw bread to the fishes? people had been bringing garbage bags full of crap to throw to the fishes. what the hell do they expect to happen? that reminds me of the students at ec because they complain that the administration doesn't want them to have kitchens. they would prefer if kids would just eat at dining halls. they kids think the man just wants to get them down, which is sort of true, but anyway, they think that if they invited the admins to dinner on hall, that they would see how great it is. but you know what? the kitchens are totally gross. there is always stuff practically rotting in the sinks. it smells like butthole. if kids are serious about proving to the admins that kitchens are good, then they should keep them clean. admins don't give a shit how you get fed. they don't like paying for the roach and mice exterminators. also, npr was talking about how some coal ash piles from coal generating plants collapsed on some towns. hahahaha. people say, maybe now they will regulate it. yes, this is what it takes. some things have to go wrong first. otherwise, nobody cares. call it stupid or just call it human.


Remember when Arnold was a body builder? Seriously? That does not look real. Can you imagine how much time he invested in making his body like that? Does it make him dumb? Or perhaps it shows he is seriously smart since only someone with some serious mental fortitude would be able to do this.

And now here's Arnold in his current job as Governor of California.

I have started extending invitations to speakers for the MIT sustainability talk, and of course, how can I resist sending one to Arnold.

BTW, seems to be a pretty cool video site.

New Year New Beginnings

Now, I don't really believe in "New Year's Resolutions" since the calendar year is a manmade construct anyway. But in general, I do believe in resolutions and "new beginnings."

So Happy New Year's!

Also, I cut my middle finger on my left hand, so it's actually kind of a fun challenge to type without it. It feels kind of weird.

Also also, I got into my second car accident of my life today, and it was kind of the same thing as the first, although this time it was really bad weather. The first time I was in a rush, and my friend was driving me crazy. Anyway, I kinda rolled into the guy in front of me. We got out of our cars and looked at the damage, but there wasn't really anything, not even a scratch, so he says he's just going to let it go. Hopefully, he will not change his mind and report me. And hopefully it won't happen again. I owe that guy one, although I didn't tell him because then he might be like, yeah you do, gimme some money.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Graduate Programs

I've been looking at graduate programs. Here are some promising leads.


Delft Systems Engineering, Policy, and Management

Business Week MBA rankings

Harvard MPA/International Development

Redefining Progress

I ran into Shauna last night, and apparently she is also organizing a conference on sustainability at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands!

Also, her sister works at Redefining Progress, another Oakland, CA thinktank on sustainability economics and progressive policy.

Passive House

In Germany and some other parts of Europe, they have started building "passive houses," houses which take almost no energy to heat due to careful design in ventilation and insulation. Plus, it does not cost much more to build. However, it is unclear if such houses would work to stay cool as well. Otherwise, it will not be very useful in most of the US, not even Boston. The article also mentions that many things such as the glass for the windows are not available in the US. I wonder if there is some patent barrier on it or something or maybe it's simply not made in the US.

Perhaps these people would be good for our talk.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't listen to venture capitalists

...says the venture capitalist...?

This is an interesting article on how to spur innovation in green technologies. The do's and don'ts are a little nuanced, but that's what makes it so good.

Smart for one, dumb for all

Spurred by some links from Economist's View and some conversations with Yang about a highly progressive consumption tax, I have been reading some of economist Robert H. Frank's editorials. The theme seems to be that government, and policy makers in general, have the imperative to eliminate or mitigate "smart for one, dumb for all" incentives.

Some examples of "smart for one, dumb for all" situations: at a stadium, one can get a better view by standing up, but if everyone stands up, then everyone has the same view as before but without their comfy seats. In athletics, one can gain an edge by taking steroids that may have some small probability of health risk, but if everyone takes the steroids, then everyone has the same relative standing but now all have the health risk.

I find the metaphor of an arms race most compelling.

Capitalism is all about competition (relative gains are rewarded). But there is a hidden assumption that improvements in relative value result in improvements in absolute value. In many cases this is true; companies compete to produce a higher quality product, or the same product for a lower price, resulting in value for the society as a whole.

Frank's essays focus on situations where this assumption breaks down.

The relevant recent example is the rise and fall of the housing market in the US. There is growing competition between people to buy more expensive houses. Much of the motivation for this is as a display of social status (that is, consumerism in general). In addition, the best public schools are found in richer neighborhoods, and due to the growing importance of eduction, it's rational for a family to try to live in the most expensive house it can afford.

But what's good for one family is bad for society as a whole. Bidding wars result in home prices way above their value as shelter (this can be measured as the ratio of home prices to rental prices). One difference between the 1950s (the beginning of America's recent prosperity) and the early 2000s is that lending rules became laxer (no/low down payments, for example), which allows home buyers to stretch to the very limit of what they can afford.

There is a symmetric story on the side of the lenders, where competition incentivizes fund managers to make riskier and riskier investments. Due to the lifting of regulations, lenders likewise take this to the limit.

The pattern:

Home BuyersFund Managers/Mortgage Lenders
A gamble with a high probability of small gain and a low probability of significant lossBuying the more expensive house, risking not being able to afford the mortgage.Buying mortgage-backed securities that offer higher rates of return but greater risk.
Exponential (feedback loop) rewards based on slight relative gains ("winner takes all")Better schools which have an exponential effect on future generations' successBetter fund performance which attracts more investors, providing greater opportunities
The illusion of safety in numbersHome prices will keep going up so the house can always be soldEveryone else is buying mortgage backed securities/offering laxer loan terms

A really excellent, very human telling of this story from the perspective of all players can be found in the This American Life episode, The Big Pool of Money.

I have started a separate blog. Will be posting there from now on.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boston Dance Scene

I'm trying to figure out where to go dancing in Boston. Haven't found much, but I'd like to check out Great Scott and maybe Roxy. Probably also should go to Middlesex and stuff again.

Also, this site has concert listings of electronic music.

Change dot Org

This is a website that has a lot of potential depending on how widespread participation is.

Here, people post ideas for the Obama Administration and you vote on proposals that you like. They say that the top ten ideas will be presented to the new Administration on Inauguration day. Unfortunately, it may just prove that American citizens are idiots since the current top ten are to

1. legalize marijuana (ok...but doesn't seem like it should be the number 1 priority)
2. appoint a secretary of peace (goddamn hippies)
3. legalize gay marriage
4. something about handmade toys (wtf??)
5. sign "Autism Reform Act"
6. legalize milk (??)
7. repeal the patriot act
8. stop puppy mills (ugh)
9. dream act that helps children (born in the us) of illegal immigrants
10. repleal the patriot act (...)


Funny Thing to Read


In the Beginning was the Command Line

Sent to me by Jenny Hu. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Sustainable Architecture

Jenny Hu's cousin is a sustainable architect. Don't know if she's any good, but her group's website is really awesome.

The company is called Levitas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

10 milluyn n unmarkd billz plz


Too much text, not enough pictures. Haven't read anything yet, just browsing images, but some pretty funny stuff. The older ones are better on average, I think.

How to Dance to Techno Music

I'm not sure if I've posted this already before, but whatever. It's funny.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More Breakthrough

This article by Sunil Paul is really good. He makes solid arguments for why clean tech is fundamentally different from the IT Revolution and development of the biomedical industry. Because of these differences, the development of the industry will depend on financial and policy support from the government.

Cleantech is different. There is no large, well-established industry whose advocacy work we can depend on. The rules change often and vary from region to region. The incumbents in fossil fuel industries don't just own the customers, they have decades of experience in using government to bludgeon their competitors. Every successful energy company -- renewable or not -- relies on government engagement and support to survive and grow. Wind, solar, geothermal, combined heat and power, and energy efficiency are all industries built on the back of government regulation, tax code, or procurement. The point is this: if you want to win the battle to build a massive company in this marketplace you must understand that government sets the landscape that makes it possible.

Breakthrough Blog

Recently, the Breakthrough Blog has had some really good posts.

Some of the points are not very complicated. They are constantly harping on the need for investment, not just raising taxes. In the latest such article, they rag on Friedman and praise Bruce Bartlett, who wrote an op-ed in the NYT and was an economist in the Bush I administration. Actually, I really like it when they parse the things people are saying for me because otherwise I can't tell the difference between what they are saying. While it is good that people in the sustainability and environemental and green tech community feel solidarity, it feels like we are all on a honeymoon. We all get along and we all agree and sort of ignoring where our own differences are since we obviously all have greater differences with everyone else. The problem is that we should be hammering out our differences and making decisions on what courses of action to recommend and how to collectively sell these courses of action to everyone else.

The previous blog post is an article by a guy who believes that boosting R&D will be a waste of money unless there is also a carbon tax.

Post on why excessive focus on Energy Efficiency may set us back if there is not enough focus on Investing in Developing and Deploying New Technolgy.

This post features an article by MIT professor David Skinner on reviving Active Governmental Policy in an Economic Crisis. It's very long, and I don't really know what it's saying.

I really like this post, though, by Ron Hira, a professor at RIT. It is about the importance of creating "sticky" jobs, jobs which stay in the United States. He warns that we should not assume that jobs in innovation and engineering are going to be local.


Running cars on liposuction fat. HA!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

tree tree tree tree

Monday, December 22, 2008

Talking Kitties!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

VC firm

i think i would like to work in one for sustainability tech.

i wonder what happened with this.

DOE has selected Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (Menlo Park, CA) to work with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory; ARCH Venture Partners (Chicago, IL) to work with DOE’s Sandia National Laboratory; and Foundation Capital (Menlo Park, CA) to work with DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Movie

I'm not sure, but I think someone should make a movie where someone is talking and surfing the web. I think it could be a good stream of consciousness depiction. Maybe it would be boring, though.

Monday, December 15, 2008


lilian and I made mixes.

this is my mix.

this is lilian's mix

lilian's mix is named yang because it was for me, and my mix is named lilian

For Jenny Hu

Individual action won't do anything so fuck it.


eh, someone sent this during a finals' spam thread, and I think it's HILARIOUS.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Martin and Lewis

This is a pretty good documentary about Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. In it, they talk about the "rat pack." I had heard of that before, but I never really knew what it was.

Don Rickles

A famous insult comic. Actually he's still alive, and he was on the Daily Show the other night. Really made a living out of insulting celebrities and Jews, Italians, black people, and Polish people. He was a flaming Jew, himself.

No Bailout for Car Companies

The Senate voted down bailing out the car companies. I am kind of glad because I do not care much for helping them out. I just think they're probably so stupid that there's no hope for improvement even if there is a "car czar." Yes, this means we are in for more pain as a society, but hopefully it will also put more pressure on the need for building a green industry and other new projects. Plus, now we will have the labor resources.


It's been storming in Massachusetts, and as I was driving to work, I was noticing how the scenery was really pretty. The trees were all frozen over so they looked like icicles. Some trees had red berries. Then I noticed some traffic lights weren't on at all, and there was a little waterfall flooding the middle of the road. On NPR, they said that many schools were closed because of not having power. And it turns out that my work was also out of power so now I get a day off! Whoooooooooooo

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Steven Chu

I don't know much about him, one of Obama's latest picks for energy and environmental advisors. I know his Wikipedia article, that he's a Nobel-prize winning physicist that directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is a pretty big deal. Anyway, he's an esteemed scientist. That's the only thing I really care about. Whoooo scientists in policy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whiny Women

NYT article about how we need to remember to create new jobs in social services and teachers not just contruction and engineering projects so that women will have something to do.

That annoys me. The argument isn't without merit. I do think there should be more teachers (or more importantly, better teachers) and social workers. But the reasoning that they should do this because that's what women do, and we need to have women do something really annoys me. For one, it enforces the idea that these are jobs for women. And I think it's embarrassing. It's like saying, remember we should hire more cooks, cleaners, and babysitters, you know, things that women do.

Now, I understand the argument about how construction is dominated by men, although even then, they use so much machinery, is it REALLY true that women can't do those jobs? You can argue that women don't want those jobs, and I surely don't, but maybe they feel pressured not to do those jobs. Anyway, it really annoys me that the author is trying to say that creating green jobs also mostly is for men. Yes, it's true that most engineers are men, but it's not like green jobs are only for engineers. There should be plenty of work in factories or other light industry jobs. Men really have no advantage over women for these jobs. Most of the factory workers at my company are women. Almost all factory workers in China are women. Do we really need to make every issue about gender?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Interesting Conference

There is a conference on Building Technologies in Boston next March. It looks really impressive.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Season of Radiolab!

A new season of radiolab is up at and the first episode titled "Choice" is basically a collection of all the cool anecdotal stories you would otherwise have had to sit through an entire semester of psychology to get.

Big Govt Small Govt

Obama Pledges Public Works on Vast Scale

On NPR, they've been talking about how, in the effort to "make government smaller," there has been a big increase in hiring contractors to do jobs that used to be government jobs. Military contracts are the obvious ones, but they have started to hire private companies to collect taxes and even manage government programs. Usually, though, there is no way to tell if they're doing a good job, or even how many people they have hired. And they can't get rid of these contractors since they no longer have enough government employees to do the jobs. Furthermore, nobody really wants to hire government employees because they don't want to be seen as proponents of big governments. This is obviously a stupid line of reasoning, but such is the state of things. Maybe Obama is willing to buck this trend, though?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bob Ross Funny Stuff

US Car Companies Suck and are Stupid

I say fuck them. Those idiots. It's not like all of a sudden we all realized their cars suck.

Czars in the US government

It's weird we call them Czars. It's Russian. And it means emperor.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Motown Kingdom

Last night I watched Dreamgirls, a movie mildly based off of the Supremes and Diana Ross. I never really listened to Diana Ross before. Recently I had watched a docudrama about the Jackson 5, so it was interesting to see the same time period and some of the same people represented differently.

It's cool to watch the old videos of their performances, though.

More Steve Hollinger

High School

China Day performance garb at Botanical Gardens from back in the day. I think this is sophomore or junior year in high school.

Monday, November 24, 2008

You Are Not Welcome

Another Thanksgiving is coming up. We are having a dinner party at my house.

It always strikes me as a weird holiday for Americans to really celebrate without any irony given that the Native Americans got so screwed.

I mean, had those Native Americans known what was going to happen, I'm sure they would not have given the new settlers any turkey.

Jim Jones

I was listening to NPR and someone was saying how "drink the kool-aide" is an offensive phrase to the survivors of Jonestown.

Jim Jones was the head of a cult that was really big in California and in progressive politics before it relocated to Jonestown in South America. There, they ended up killing a visiting Congressman, and then Jim Jones got over 900 of them to kill drink cyanide-laced kool-aide.

Before they moved and went crazy, it really seems like the beginnings of the church was really remarkable, and the followers were very thoughtful and well-meaning. Little by little, as the church began to demand more and more of their money and time and loyalty, the situation warped into something more nefarious. Jim Jones was not what he seemed.

We are all drinking some kind of kool-aide. Hopefully we won't be so unpleasantly surprised, though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Governor's Conference

Governors' Climate Summit was hosted in LA. Obama made a prerecorded video and Schwarzeneggar made opening remarks. Actually, it is really interesting, and I'd encourage everyone to listen to the talks.

Visiting representatives will participate from more than 50 states, provinces and nations at the Governors' Summit, including leaders from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China, United Nations, European Union, Indonesia, Brazil and United Kingdom. The Summit brings together state and provincial leaders, national leaders, scientists, and representatives from business, academia and non-government organizations to forge productive partnerships to advance mutual goals.

This Summit helps fulfill the requirements of the state's global warming law, AB 32, to coordinate and collaborate with international governments to ensure compatibility, promote maximum environmental protection and promote economic stability. In addition, the proposed Scoping Plan, the state's blueprint to meet AB 32 reduction goals, addresses international efforts to encourage the spread of clean, low carbon technologies outside California.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cultural Enrichment

Well, I got sick so I stayed home from work yesterday and today. Besides reorganizing all my crap, I've been watching a lot of old Youtube videos of old movies and TV shows.

I had watched "Man on the Moon" before, which is a movie about comedian Andy Kaufman, who is played by Jim Carrey. It was a good movie, but I had never actually seen the original guy.

Andy Kaufman on Letterman. Wow, I guess it's always been a circus.

Andy Kaufman's famous Mighty Mouse skit. Is this funny? It mostly makes me feel strange.

What a weird guy.

I also watched a lot of videos of "Interview with the Vampire." Wow, Tom Cruise and Kristen Dunst.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Hair and Party Outfit

btw, i don't know if i mentioned that i got a new haircut in china.

Sustainability Symposium

Sustainability@MIT, the club, is putting together a symposium next April or so, and I'm on the committee for designing the content and getting the speakers.

The theme is "Transitioning to a Sustainable Economy" but since it got too confused with the financial crisis, it is "Transitioning to a Sustainable World Community"

Sustainability@MIT and others are organizing the 2009 Sustainability Symposium to engage the MIT community and its supporters in a discussion on the Institute's current research, teaching, and service to improve the global ecosystem and public health, sustainable development, and social & economic equity.

We will be bringing world-class leaders in research and industry to campus to help guide a discussion on what MIT is and should be doing to speed the transition to a sustainable economy.

Competition for the Greater Good

This is an interesting competition.

The Vodafone Americas Foundation is pleased to announce
the launch of our Wireless Innovation Challenge, a new
competition that seeks to identify and fund the best
innovations using wireless related technology to
address critical social issues around the world.

I worked on a project trying to use wireless to get feedback from plants, which could potentially be helpful for agriculture and using resources more efficiently.

Spread the Word

Everyone should contact their high school teachers to let their female students know about the Women's Technology Program at MIT.

It's a summer program for current juniors, and the application is up now. It's for one month, they live in McCormick, and get schooled by people like me. It's for girls who are interested in science and engineering and would like a comfortable and supportive environment to explore further.

ah bian hunger striking

oh geez

very dramatic

Annoying Music

I really like annoying music. This is the latest band I've been obsessing over.

Kap Bambino

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oyster Diaries

Toby and I went to Jasper White's recently again. Here are some notes.

Cotuit - good! nice and briny

Island Creek - really good! fresh and plump

Gold Creek - a little strange. (West Coast oyster)

Potter Pond - really good! subtle

Malpeque - good! dec

Smashing Pumpkins

On Saturday, Toby and I went to see the Smashing Pumpkins at the Wang Theater.

somebody's pics of the performance the night before

It was really good, but whooping fans are annoying. It was also awkward because his fans were there to see Smashing Pumpkins of the 90's, not the current Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan said stuff like "Billy doesn't live here anymore" and "now I'll play a song that you guys will actually like." So in a way, it was kind of sad because here's this artist who has really made it, but his fans really are only interested in his old stuff, so he has to play that part, and he's probably sick of those songs.

Toby said that Bob Dylan had identity issues because of this conflict, and that the Beatles stopped touring at some point because their fans were too annoying about screaming all the time instead of listening to the music.

I wore my fancy Betsey Johnson dress since there is never an occasion for it.

Friday, November 14, 2008


it is even better. that site of the megachurch exists at anyone's blogspot site if you type


Thursday, November 13, 2008


So I wanted to come and read the site, but I typed the address in wrong on accident, I left out the 's' in 'blogspot': click And this is what it gives me????

update by Yang:

haha, actually, if you take anyone's blogspot blog, and spell it blogpot instead of blogspot, it goes to that site. bastards. it's official, christianity is a virus

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ah Bian

the former president of Taiwan has been arrested and the news has hit major news networks in the States.

he accuses current president Ma of launching politically motivated attacks. but these corruption scandals have been going on for a while now, and his family is a circus.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Davis Radio

Two of my friends from UC Davis have a show at the Davis radio station: listen!

The only requirement is that they can't play any artist that's too well known, which includes indie artists like Morrissey. Anyway, the music ranges from totally obscure to mildly known. A lot of the songs are just basically taken from samplers sent in from individual bands or labels before the band has even made a first album. And the genres cover pretty much everything: electronic, indie, folk, hip-hop, funk, jazz.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shanghai Biennial Installment

This is a collection of videos taken in one morning of the businesses around People's Square 人民广场 in Shanghai. Chinese people believe in pumping oneself up. Whoo!!

More in China

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shanghai Biennial

I went to the art museum in Shanghai which is hosting a biennial called translocalmotion.

Baby and Cheesecakes and Charlene



The Good Stuff


yeah, I used to think that China was just a giant Shanghai, but now I know better. Now I am really a snobby Shanghainese.


Boat cruise on the Li Jiang, the Li River with mountains and water buffalo!

A cave

There are a lot of minorities that live around here, and the local thing to do is to wash your feet, which means, get a foot massage. Toby and I did it, and it was amazing. We slept really well that night and felt really energized the next day. The massaging techniques emphasize improving blood circulation instead of making muscles feel better.

Guilin is in the south, and it is known for its scenic views. In fact, its entire economy depends on them.

China pics

The Summer Palace. It was where the royal family lives in the summers because the Forbidden City was made for winter living (gets too hot). The centerpiece is a lake that is a replica of Xi Hu Lake in Hangzhou, which is this city south of Shanghai that everyone says we need to visit. So next time, I think we'll hang out in Shanghai and the cities around it like Hangzhou and Suzhou.

Me and Toby at the Forbidden City. Actually, just within the Tiananmen (the gate).


Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Obama wins.

and then he made a good speech.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New President Time

Yup Yup, time to vote. I will be very excited to see the results. I am probably going to go to bed before all the results come in, but I want to wake up tomorrow to headlines like "Obama wins bigtime!"

Also, Massachusetts residents will be voting on whether or not to get rid of the state income tax. I don't think that's a good idea. It's not a planned decrease in the budget where we have this extra money that we don't know what to do with. In which case, it is completely unclear what will happen, whether property taxes and sales taxes would simply go up, which ultimately hurts lower income people more, especially in terms of what services they get in return for their money, or whether they would just cut a shitton of programs, which also hurts lower income people more. If there should be any decrease in taxes, it should be in sales tax or MAYBE federal income taxes since I think the DOD is wasting my money.

Monday, November 3, 2008


BTW, Xi'an is pronounced Shee An.

We went to Xi'an and went to the temple where Tang Sheng brought Buddhist scriptures from India and translated them into Chinese and thus brought Buddhism over.

We also went to see the Terracotta soldiers. It was nice to be able to see them at real life scale, but you couldn't get up close so that wasn't very satisfying. The solders were "guarding" the tomb of the Qin Shi Huang, who had unified China. The Terracotta soldiers were a replica of his elite fighting force. Each soldier was different and even each horse was different.

Probably the best site in Xi'an was the Tang Hot Springs where a Tang dynasty emperor and his favorite concubine Yang Guifei liked to bathe. They had nice jacuzzi sized pools next to a big mountain. It was a very nice luxury resort from over 1000 years ago.

Luxury resort

Jacuzzi on the mountainside

Sunday, November 2, 2008

China Trip

First we went to Beijing. BTW, on the plane ride there, they showed a movie about the lochness monster. However, I put my glasses on the magazine pouch because I was sleeping, and then I stepped on them and smashed the frame.

The hotel was really really nice. When we got there we met up with some of my relatives. Then we went out to eat with them. We ate this really good spicy turtle. I think it was food from southern China, but I forgot from where.

The next day we went to see some sites and stuff and went out to dinner with relatives again. We had Beijing style hot pot, where you use a sesame paste (and I think sacha paste?) based sauce. Then the next day we went to some more sites and also had Peking duck. The best site was probably Tian Tan or "Temple of Heaven" because of the old people doing exercises and playing cards in the park in the morning. A lot of people were dancing.

Flower sculpture at Tiananmen Square

Turtle in the Forbidden City (Gu Gong)

The Great Wall

In general, though, Beijing food sucks. Actually, food in all the places sucked except Shanghai.

Also, Beijing and Xi'an air quality was really bad.

Traveling with a tour group also sucked and is not recommended, at least, not in a large tour group.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Banks Helping

Banks Alter Loan Terms to Head off Foreclosures

also, WOW gas prices are sooo low. $2.30/gallon where I am. It was $3.20 when I left three weeks ago. Of course, I might not get my bonuses anymore because of the economy so it still hurts more than it helps, but it's still a very quick drop.

Friday, October 31, 2008


The MIT Tech (MIT school newspaper) officially endorses Obama for president. The only thing that kind of surprises me is that they actually bothered to do it officially. Hm, I actually wonder what other university newspapers did.

As expected, the Harvard Crimson endorses Obama.

Yale endorsed Obama over Hillary in the primary election, but I don't think they've made a general election endorsement, yet.

The Stanford newspaper is not even really talking about the election... Hmm.

Princeton's newspaper doesn't really talk about the election either, and has not endorsed anyone for the general election, but the College Democrats endorsed Obama during the primaries.

Berkeley endorses Obama and a list of other things on the Berkeley ballot.

George Washington University endorsed Clinton during the primaries.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back From China


haha, I didn't send anyone any postcards. sooorrry. maybe now that I'm back?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thrid Debate

'Twas good. I wish Obama attacked McCain harder for the murder threats and terrorist accusations. If anything happens to him, I say McCain's responsible.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In China

Yup, that's where I am now. I broke my glasses on the plane so right now I can't see a damn thing. WHOOOOOOO...

This hotel is the most luxurious hotel I ever been in, and we have free internet AND look, blogger is not blocked.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Young, Black, Republican

I found this site from a NYTimes article, and it has been quite intriguing... One young black Republican decided that people like him were [obviously] in a very small minority, and so he established this website, so that people like him could have a space online to talk about their ethnic conservative-ness. Anyway, I'm flabbergasted essentially, which has led me to follow some of their posts for the last couple of days. I'm always amazed when immigrants or ethnic minorities decide that Republican is the way to go. What are they thinking?

Oh no the economy!

and our kids are stupid, too

this is why i hate it when people just say, "oh, kids should just do what they're interested in. maybe they just aren't interested in math."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


gong1 lu4 dian4 zi - power electronics

gong1 lu4 dian4 zi gong1 cheng2 - power electronics engineering


Nice brand analysis of the two presidential campaigns.

Monday, October 6, 2008

yay npr

this american life did a pretty good show that had two economists try to explain the latest economic mess and the bailout in pretty simple terms.

Another Frightening Show About the Economy

I haven't been consistently following things, so I recognized a lot of terms that have been going around but didn't know what all of them were. This helped a lot of things make more sense to me.

The previous episode was also really interesting (act I, the first part is the best)

Going Big

it's about a comprehensive social program in harlem that's trying to bring an entire neighborhood of poor kids up differently so they have a better chance of a fresh start and getting out of poverty. I'm going to read the book about it too (when I find it in the library and punt my homework to read)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Energy Policy Debate

reps from the McCain and Obama campaigns are going to debate about energy policy tomorrow in Kresge Auditorium at MIT. Put together by the MIT Energy Club

The Green Bubble Bursts

article by the Breakthrough people.

Democrats must break once and for all from green orthodoxy that focuses primarily on making dirty energy more expensive and instead embrace a strategy to make clean energy cheap.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fact Check

DAMN, Palin did not go up in flames last night. Oh well.

So how much of what they said was true? This much.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Energy Conference

The MIT Energy Club organizes an Energy Conference every spring. Right now, they're taking submissions for panel ideas, proposals for topics and suggested people.

This was the website for this spring's.

The theme this year is Accelerating Change in Global Energy

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shanghai Travel Guide

Top attractions
Mostly so I have a list.

Yu Garden

The Garden offers an atmosphere of peace and beauty amid the clamor of the city, with rocks, trees, and walls curved to resemble dragons, bridges, and pavilions.

The Bund

Shanghai's famous waterfront boulevard is lined with art-deco buildings and souvenir stands. It's great for people-watching, being watched yourself, shopping for increasingly chic clothes, and sampling some of Shanghai's most famous restaurants. It's also where you'll get that postcard view of the futuristic skyline in Pudong.

Shanghai Museum

China's best museum houses an incomparable collection of art and artifacts, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, and fantastic bronzes.

Shopping on Nanjing Dong Lu

People come from all over China to shop on what was once China's premier shopping street -- and it sometimes feels as though they're all here at the same time. Although it's still a little tawdry, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, pedestrian-only Nanjing Dong Lu is undergoing a massive face-lift, and trendy designer boutiques are beginning to emerge alongside pre-1960s department stores and old-fashioned silk shops.

Oriental Pearl Tower or Jinmao Tower

Choose between the 1960s Jetsons kitsch of the Pearl Tower or the pagoda-inspired Jin Mao. If you head to the top of either of these two Pudong skyscrapers you'll be in for a bird's-eye view of the city and its surroundings. Try to count the cranes working incessantly on restructuring the city's skyline. Cloud Nine is a bar at the top of the Grand Hyatt in the Jin Mao, so you can sip a cocktail while looking out at the zillions of twinkling lights.

The Former French Concession

Whether you're an architecture fanatic, a photographer, a romantic, or just plain curious, a wander through these streets is always a wonderful way to pass an afternoon. Fuxing Lu is a good long walk and the streets around Sinan Lu and Fuxing Park have some real architectural treats. Take your time and allow for breaks at cafés or in small boutiques.

Dongtai Lu Antiques Market

This is an ideal spot for souvenir shopping, practicing your Chinese bargaining, and observing Shanghai life at its most charming. On any given day, you might be caught up in part of a wedding, see fat-cheeked babies, or watch old men bent over a game of chess.


Shopping, bars, restaurants, and museums mix together in restored traditional shikumen(stone gate) houses. Xintiandi is a popular location for hanging out and people-watching, and there are a few great boutiques. The small museums have interesting exhibits related to Shanghai's and the Communist Party's history.

"Victory in Iraq"

McCain's world view and Iraq

Obama on Face the Nation

Post debate clarifications.

Much better but still never mentions that trying to isolate enemies actually boosts support for anti-American sentiment.

Design Fall 2008

New York Times' online pamphlet on design. My favorite is Molto Mario's house. Looking at great houses makes me drool.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Da Bate


Obama didn't do his best, and McCain got some zingers.

Here are some arguments Obama should have said. I sent this to the campaign.

(1) In response to McCain's claim that meeting with Iran without preconditions rewards their rogue behavior, Obama should have said that the exact opposite is true. Cutting off diplomatic ties with Iran and North Korea only proves to the people of those nations that the United States really is their enemy. This only strengthens the hard line. Calling them rogue nations, evil, and threatening retaliation helps those leaders make the case that they need more military spending in order to defend themselves.

While the US refused to meet with China after Mao took over, the Chinese leadership AND public viewed the US as an enemy. When Nixon visited, the rhetoric changed almost overnight. Why? It is difficult for their leaders to cast as an enemy someone that they are willing to meet with and have a nice banquet with. The people you are really trying to negotiate with are the people of those nations. By talking to the leaders, you are making clear to the people that there is an alternative. There is also greater chance of clearing up misunderstandings if you talk to them.

(2) Also, while it's important that Obama had the foresight and judgment to oppose the Iraq war in the beginning, McCain has a point that now we need to talk about what to do about Iraq now. In order to talk about that, we have to talk about what exactly is the real end goal. Obama tried to but ultimately failed to directly bring up what exactly does it mean to "win" in Iraq.

McCain kept bringing up the success of the troop surge. Obama conceded that the surge may have helped bring down the violence, but he never challenged how sustainable it was, and what he would do differently. For example, if you have a bunch of crime in your city and you impose martial law and bring in a lot of cops. Yes, crime is going to go down. But how long are those cops going to be there? Are they going to have to stay there forever? How much is that going to cost?

(3) Along these lines, Obama did not point out that all of McCain's solutions to national security problems are military solutions and furthermore, reactions to how to deal with crisis. How does one manage foreign affairs such that it doesn't have to come to a crisis? Obama's greatest strength is having a comprehensive strategy, and at some point he did mention the need for that, but he did not make it clear how this is a contrast from McCain. Obama tried to say that the main thing that would make America safer is to improve America's standing in the world, which is true, and it is his best point that he made during the debate, but he did not quite tie it in as a response to McCain's arguments, and he did not really talk about how he was going to do that.

(4) When it comes to dealing with the economy, all McCain has to say is to cut wasteful spending and corruption. Again, it's about the need for a comprehensive solution. The need to improve education, health care system, fund science and technology, and put in place better regulation. Again, Obama talked about it, but did not effectively tie it in to a criticism of McCain. Also, Obama did not effectively make the case for regulation. What is regulation really about? It's about a legal framework so that people can do business, trust in contracts, and be insulated from others' mistakes. It's like maintaining your car. If you make small investments every so often, in the end it is much less costly than getting stranded on the highway when the engine collapses.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plan Counter Plan

So how's that bailout going?

Some Republicans have now issued a counterplan. I don't really get it. People suspect that John McCain is behind it, and they are very mad.

Also, will John McCain really come to the debate? Who knows. Certainly his unpredictable behavior does not bode well, I don't think. This erratic behavior is more akin to how leaders of unstable regimes act. In general, it is hard to work with and rely on someone who is simply unpredictable, and I think the case could be made that other nations would not appreciate a more unpredictable America.


In her interview with Couric. Hardy har har.

That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Helping the—it’s got to be all about job creation too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans and trade—we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today—we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity

If you didn’t quite catch the meaning of the above, don’t bother re-reading it. It doesn’t get any clearer. U.S. News and World Report columnist Robert Schlesinger called the statement a “talking points machine gone out of control.”

“Or magnetic poetry that you have on your fridge – in fact, you can try it at home. String together key words and phrases like “shore up the economy,” “reduce tax rates,” “healthcare reform,” and “trade” and see what kind of Palinisms you can create,” he writes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Partisan Comedy

Oh snap. Palin with Couric in CBS Interview. BWHAHAHA Truth is more hilarious than fiction.

Energy Regatta

Interesting Event at MIT sponsored by a French multinational energy company.

What's strange to me is that in the description of the company it says
Total is a multinational energy company committed to leveraging innovation and initiative to provide a sustainable response to humankind’s energy requirements. The fourth largest publicly-traded integrated oil and gas company and a world-class chemicals manufacturer, Total operates in more than 130 countries and has over 95, 000 employees.

But then in the Friday reception they are going to talk about
Part I - " Oil exploration and production: challenges & innovations" by Dr Annie Audibert-Hayet (Total R&D)
Part II - "FPSO Dalia: how to push the boundaries of deep offshore development ?" by Philippe Reffinato (Total offshore installation manager)

So what are they really about?

MIT Environmental Initiative

Exciting news today!

The MIT Environmental Research Council is being established to support an Institute-wide Environmental Initiative.


The MIT Environmental Research Council is charged with the development of a research prospectus by February 15, 2009. The prospectus will be broadly shared with the campus community so as to ensure the engagement of the faculty necessary to make the research prospectus compelling to potential donors, sponsors and other stakeholders. Potential donors expect to see a mobilization that will produce high impact research on an important topic. The charge and the composition of the Council are aimed at framing and advancing the focused research program recommended by the Zuber Committee, and at providing a foundation for the needed resource development.

The Environmental Research Council is charged with consulting and engaging faculty in these areas so that the necessary synergies can be achieved, duplication avoided, and additional environmental goals framed and advanced.

In the same statement, the provost talks about the Education Task Force to make an energy major.

As many of you know, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has established a task force to develop energy-related education at MIT (see MITEI's Education Task Force, The Task Force is active and has broad engagement with faculty as well as with the leadership of key academic units. They expect to complete a major effort involving new subjects and degree programs this fall, all of which will have strong environmental components. The Environmental Research Council is charged with working with MITEI's leadership and with MITEI's Education Task Force to define and advance the energy and environmental education goals of MIT.

Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy

So I basically finished this book, save for maybe one last chapter. But I was too anxious to get to the chapter on the Iraq War. Anyway, essentially, if Bush and Rice weren't so worthless, didn't cave into pro-Israel pressure all the time, and if Rice's trips to the Middle East weren't so futile, perhaps we could have avoided war in Iraq. Post September 11, we fought and won sort of in Afghanistan, although we did not capture bin Laden. Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak pushed for war in Iraq, giving the White House Israeli intelligence saying they found evidence that Hussein was building WMD and that he was supporting terrorist groups. When in fact he was not, and Israeli intelligence was only trying to provoke the US into war with a facade of protecting Israel (even though it does no such thing). And anyway, Israel is making its own WMD.

Anyway. I hope the neocons die. If I had a death note I'd probably kill them. I finished watching Death Note, this anime about a guy that picks up a note. If he writes someone's name in it they'll die of a heart attack in 40 seconds. Then people start to notice that criminals are dying of heart attacks, and the super detective known only as "L" tries to capture the killer. It turns into a psychological game essentially, with L and Kira (the killer's nickname) pretending to be friends, but L trying to get evidence of Kira's killings, and Kira trying to get L's real name so he can kill him. The first half is really good, then the second half isn't as good, but not bad or anything.

You can search Death Note here, like "Death Note 1" etc.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Economic Determinism

There's this post on Breakthrough Gen Blog from June that I found today that is good, although I don't get the title. It's on Marx and why leftists have been so negative lately.

But Marx was different than the later critical theorists because in addition to a critical viewpoint he espoused a modernization theory known as economic determinism. Economic determinism holds that the political, social, and cultural products of a society are products of its economic structure. According to this theory, it is foolish to try to change society through new forms of art or new political alliance, because these are epiphenomenal occurrences, caused at the root by the economic reality underneath them. In its most extreme form, economic determinism posits total determinism: we can do nothing to change the fates of our societies, and, for Marx, their eventual transition for communism.

What is interesting is that my parents (and consensus amongst many mainland Chinese) is that Communism in China failed because Mao tried to skip the natural development of the economy and capitalism to go directly to communism. To them, it proved that Marx was right about economic determinism.

Now, the Breakthrough Institute is promoting again the idea that people are most generous if they are themselves well-off and thus environmentalism needs to work towards improving people's lives. This is also interesting because mainland China right now is probably much more receptive to this idea than the American public. They can immediately and intuitively grasp it whereas it's going to take some time for the American public and especially the traditional environmentalists to come around.

Environmentalism is Still Dead

Teryn Norris of the BreakThrough Institute wrote a post Environmentalism is Still Dead, criticizing environmentalists' stubbornness in opposing Pelosi's energy bill because it included approving limited off-shore drilling. I completely agree with Teryn.

I wrote this comment

Environmentalism is dead. Long live Environmentalism.

It seems to me that we need to figure out a way to distinguish “greens” from pro-sustainability pragmatists who also sometimes call ourselves green. Calling greens “idealists” is too general and to some extent, we are all idealists. Other labels don’t really work, either. But we don’t want the message to be anti-green. Unless we do, and we need to call the new environmentalism something else.

I find that sustainability is more descriptive of the new brand of environmentalism, and it is already becoming the new “it”. But I’m not sure what color it is. Maybe it should be the letter S. The new environmentalist group at MIT is sustainability@MIT, and it is a merger of a few of the old groups. There is also S-labs (sustainability labs), which is a class in the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

It would just be nice for there to be a distinction between the old approach and the new approach. Or else it seems like we are arguing with ourselves.

NPR is not actually that good. But the websites for the individual radio programs on NPR are pretty good. I especially like On Point. Although usually I listen to Morning Edition and All Things Considered. WBUR also has local stuff sometimes that's good. WBUR has Marketplace, which has a pretty nice website, haha, but it's also pretty interesting. I think my favorite part is getting to know all the guests, the who's who of important, smart, and powerful people.

WBUR's schedule

American Bailout Plan

It would only be truly American if the people who made the biggest mistakes to get bailed out, while it's controversial to suggest that they should at least take a pay cut? If you haven't heard, Paulson is requesting $700 billion to bail out whoever they feel like on Wall Street, which is mostly fine since the alternative is probably worse, and the final cost should be much less than $700 billion. Some members of Congress are pushing for a cap on executives' pay so that they can't make millions of dollar while getting bailed out by taxpayers at the same time. I guess once you're rich and powerful enough, you never need to suffer the consequences of your mistakes anymore. Cool.

Related is this story about a conflict of interest regarding the bailout. In fact, Newt Gingrich brings this up during his interview, and for once I agree with him.

Campaign and the Media

This is cool event, but I won't be able to go. Boo.

And I even know who Marc Ambinder is.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Goldman and Morgan to be real banks?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Presidential Debate

The first one is this upcoming Friday, September 26! Starts at 9pm. It's at the University of Mississippi, and the focus will be on foreign policy. This is supposed to be McCain's strong point.

What I hope is that it becomes clear that McCain is just a military man and as such, most of his solutions are military solutions. His father was an important general during WWII and was a prominent and steadfast supporter of the Vietnam War. He believes in the importance of "winning" a war and does not believe in negotiations since they are inevitably messy. Well, the problem is that with every conflict, solutions are messy. That's what politicians are for.

Another thing is that I hope it becomes clear that if anyone is elitist from an elite background, it is McCain. He was the son of a general who was always meant to become important. His family mingled with the rich and powerful. His status meant that he didn't have to be a good student and he wasn't. Because of his importance, the Vietcong supposedly was extra harsh towards him during his capture. When he returned, he received a hero's welcome, and it was extra poignant because he was his father's son.


Bass supergroup

i think i like it

Letter to the Editor

The DNC asked for letters to the editor concerning the McCain economy. So I wrote one. I have no idea if it will be published (esp. since I submitted it the day before the market crash); I assume not. But here it is:

As any other American today, I worry about our economy. For almost a decade, the American economy has been treading downhill, with no hint of a better future. And, like most Americans, I have little knowledge in the way of economics. Anyone who doesn't have a full grasp on the American economy must make their choice for president based on both what's been said and done in the past and what's proposed for the future. Senator McCain the maverick has not earned my trust. His economic advisor, Phil Gramm, likened our economic turmoil to mental depression, calling it "a mental recession". Americans deserve better than to be treated as though they weren't working hard enough to produce a more robust economy, as though all their hardships were just a fantastic fable, or a pretense for the government to allow them to be lazy. The McCain campaign continues to pretend that our economy is prosperous and strong. Could he be more blind? The reality is clear: McCain's economic stance is the same as that of President Bush; neither of them knows how to fix this mess. On the brighter side, Obama's Senate record shows he cares about working Americans, and knows how to improve the economy. He has never blamed the Americans for not working hard enough, and instead, continually offers his empathy for their struggles, since he knows the Bush economic policies are doomed to fail. He proposes to pass a middle class tax cut, raise the minimum wage, and offer tax breaks to students struggling to pay for college. What has McCain proposed? Only more of the same. The choice is clear if your concern is the economy: Obama-Biden '08.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Offshore Oil

It seems to be common knowledge among economists/analysts that opening the restricted offshore areas for oil drilling will only reduce the price of gas by a few cents and not for at least 7 years (although this is certainly not common knowledge among the American populace).

Here's a good graph for scale:

This chart is based on estimates from the Energy Information Administration.