Sunday, June 29, 2008


the Women's Technology Program has now started. i'm an EE tutor. it's been pretty busy already. i made congee this morning, though.


was a great movie! although, really, i think the whole point of being a robot is not having emotions so...that's kind of uncool, but of course, you can't really have a movie for humans without emotions. but anyway, the irony is part of the point, too.

New House

Toby and I moved out of our old places into a new house with his friend Matt. It's awesome.

Honda Fit!

my new car came in. it's awesome!!! and i got a great color, too. it turns out that "tidewater blue" is a strange color that looks different depending on the lighting. when i first saw it, i thought it looked light purple or lavender. other times it looks really really blue. when it's dusk, it looks like it's just silver. it's awesome.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008




张爱玲是中国的有明作家。她写了好多小说 讲男女的关系。李安 把 《色, 戒》 的故事 成电影。



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Family Unit

Recently, I been thinking and talking to people about families and family values. In American culture, the family means something different than in European or Chinese culture.

It's hard to generalize, but it seems that the family unit in America is smaller and not connected together in a community as much as it is in China or even Europe.

What are the implications? It would seem that the emphasis of individuality in America may be good for young entrepreneurs and the creative class. However, it leaves many behind to be content with mediocrity. Children are more influenced by peer pressure than family pressure and thus seem to try to "grow up faster," although I definitely don't think they mature faster.

I'll have to finish this post later.

Sustainable Architecture

I was talking to one of my UROP advisors a couple of days ago, about how green roofs are more beneficial for the long term because they're really a systems kind of approach to sustainable design. A couple of buildings with green roofs won't really a make difference, but a whole city with green roofs would definitely be cooler, could be a carbon sink, and also keep up a vibrant ecology.

William McDonough is an architect who is really big on sustainable buildings and changing industrial manufacturing processes. One of his most famous designs is the Ford Rouge Dearborn Truck Plant, 10 acres of a green roof that is estimated to absorb 50% of annual rainwall--that's pretty good stormwater management.

And then our very own Kendall Square has a nice green roof garden on top of a parking garage.

From Google Maps, the Kendall green roof looks just like a park.

It's easy to design new buildings to be capable of supporting the weight of green roofs, but retrofitting old buildings for green roofs is nearly impossible because of the lack of structural integrity. We were talking about how cities should been encircled by new buildings with green roofs. Like the Amazon forest canopies, a la human architecture. hahaha

Saturday, June 21, 2008


The other day, some of my friends were talking about p-adic numbers.

I also learned about dihedral groups. Maybe I can try to explain what they are later.

China Complains about the US

Interesting New York Times article about Chinese complaints about American's management of their economy.

Interactive New Media

During the winter season, the SFMOMA held an exhibition of work by Olafur Eliasson, who was trained as an architect. Basically all of his work is very interactive, and he plays a lot with lights. And I discovered this big event while browsing through Danwei. And I think they should just create a new museum concept for interactive new media. Not a tech museum, but a modern art museum with the a main requirement of interactivity. I'd love that. I guess it'd be like modern art I can appropriately play with.

Friday, June 20, 2008

HAHA Babies are IN

Article about teenage girls getting pregnant.

Just this week, 17-year-old TV star Jamie Lynn Spears, the unmarried sister of Britney Spears, gave birth. "Juno," a wry comedy about a 14-year-old girl who gets pregnant, was one of the most acclaimed movies of the year.

"Baby bumps get written about the same way designer handbags do. It's just one more lifestyle choice, just another personal expression: these shoes, this bump and that handbag," Brown said. "It's not surprising that teenage girls can get confused or even seduced by the allure of celebrity pregnancy."


Pro-life people were so happy about the movie "Juno," too.

Suggestions for the Breakthrough People

I been reading the Breakthrough blog and the Breakthrough Gen blog. The Breakthrough Generation people are certainly having some growing pains trying to figure out what they are trying to do.

I feel the need to weigh in. Here's a letter I am going to send them:

I have been following the blog, and I have some observations and suggestions.

First of all, I think Breakthrough is great, and I'm glad there is a think tank that is serious about coming up with a coherent strategy for action. I especially like the posts about urban poverty, Brazil, and strategies for spreading the message.

However, I have some suggestions. It seems that the discussion is pretty unfocused and disorganized. Ideas kind of get tossed out but usually without follow-up. Perhaps there needs to be more vigorous labeling and organizing of posts so that there is a way for everyone to even see what topics you have covered. It may also be a good idea to have a place for links where things are not arranged chronologically but by topic. I just think there needs to be a place to put articles that are "finished" and more like official statements of the Breakthrough Generation as a group. That would also be good because most of the posts can be seen as mainly personal or individual opinions that are works in progress, while these "papers" would be more concise and official. Then it is easier for the public to have an understanding of what Breakthrough Gen really stands for, and also there are papers you can easily refer people to instead of a set of conversations.

This brings me to a more general critique. I understand part of the think tank is figuring out what should Breakthrough stand for anyway. At the same time, your task is also to build a name for Breakthrough as an institution and a school of thought. You are trying to shift the paradigm. Then the way you organize yourselves and present your ideas matters a lot.

In other words, when you decide to critique other people's tactics, you need to understand that offering critique in itself is a strategic decision, and from what you say, people will be forming impressions of Breakthrough even if you think you are posting as an individual. Furthermore, every person has a need to feel that what they are doing is worthwhile. This is especially true for environmentalists since no environmentalist does it for the money although hopefully more of them will soon. :) Then, if you are going to critique people, you should expect people to be very defensive about it, and you need to consider whether critiquing them helps Breakthrough or just makes people angry. But if you commit to posting your critique, you need to be ready to stand your ground, drive your point through, and not get sidetracked.

Everything from how long your posts are to the wording that you choose matters when making the case for Breakthrough. It seems to me that many of you are trying to argue based on logic only. Logic is useful, but when trying to promote a concept, it's more than just about a logical argument. It's about imagery, catchy slogans, the frequency of recurring ideas, and organization of ideas such that it's easy for people to take in and remember.

I think Breakthrough is really about propaganda and advertising. I recommend reading a book called Propaganda by Ed Bernays. He coined the term public relations and wrote this book in 1928. I know Micheal Shellenberger and Ted Norhaus have said that it's not just about coming with a catchy slogan, and I agree with that. However, propaganda itself is not just about a catchy slogan. A slogan is only one of many tools available for making your ideas relevant and seemingly "obvious" to people. The real art would not be to convince people you are right from arguing with them logically, but inducing them to come to the conclusions that you want them to.

I'm not an expert by any means, but I've been running lectures at MIT for a few years as part of the Lecture Series Committee. We helped organize and make posters for Ted and Micheal's talk at MIT. We also organized the Big Picture Panel, a kickoff lecture event for the Focus on Climate Change events. All of our events were very well-attended.

For the publicity for the Big Picture Panel event, came up with two sets of one-liners that we hoped would help everyone focus.

This was one set of them.
Sustainable careers are not just
for do-gooders.

Sustainable energy is not just about
solar panels, wind power, and fuel cells.

And we are not just waiting for the
miracle gadget that everyone can just buy!

The other set

What are the biggest obstacles to sustainable energy?

What is being done right now?

How will this be affecting your career?

Finally, we had a line "Come and hear what the expert professors have to say."

For the Breakthrough lecture, we also had three one-liners

For all the public attention climate change has won, U.S. greens
have failed to achieve national political action on the issue.

Nordhaus and Shellenberger call for a new approach to activism.

It takes entrepreneurs, organizers, engineers, scientists, and YOU.

We also had a slogan "Environmentalism is Dead. Long live Environmentalism."

In contrast, the poster they sent us to use said "Clean Energy Revolution
Creating a Transformational Student Movement." We thought that was hopelessly vague and fluffy. Our messages were very tailored for the MIT audience, who is very tech/gadget-friendly and views environmentalism vs making money as an either-or proposition, etc.

What I would suggest for the Breakthrough Generation is to do more summaries and lists on what exactly are the most important ideas of Breakthrough, lists of criticisms, and what you intend to research. I would like personally like to see more social commentary. For example, why does libertarianism seem to resonate so much with young people these days and what does it mean for sustainable energy? I also notice that many environmentalists love to criticize China and/or otherwise make demands. But there is not enough effort in understanding what is going on in China anyway and the culture and mindset of the Chinese. For this reason, I pretty much cringe every time I hear environmentalists talk about China, and it is clear to me they are not going to get anywhere with any Chinese people. James Fallows from the Atlantic is probably the best China correspondent, and actually Obama's head Asia foreign policy guy Jeffrey Bader is very good as well.

Obama Asia Policy

Obama's main Asia guy is Jeffrey A. Bader.

Here's an article about him vs. McCain's advisor Rich Armitage.

Bader is pretty good. His answers to some questions on Tibet are very good.

I believe the key to communicating concern to the Chinese about Tibet is to persuade Chinese that we are approaching them not as adversaries but as friends who wish China well. If they are approached as adversaries, they will have the natural reaction of people in any country, namely to circle the wagons and reject outside scrutiny. They will see criticism and suggestions as part of a broader plan to embarrass, humiliate, or even destabilize their country. We should acknowledge that every country has problems in relationships between ethnic groups, and between majority and minority populations, that issues involving religious conflicts, territorial claims, and disparities of income such as Tibet presents are not easy. Therefore, our suggestions and even our criticism should be offered in the spirit of trying to help them help themselves, not in order to judge them as morally deficient.


Danwei has a lot of good posts today. (check out links at right).

Mei-zhong has a post where they translate some essays about what Chinese think of Obama and his China advisers.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Energy Legislation

Interesting blog post from the Breakthrough Gen Blog about recent legislation.

Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008

Mind Tricks

Derren Brown has a cool show called "Trick or Treat" that Toby and I like to watch sometimes. In it he plays a trick or a treat on someone. It is usually something like therapy that helps them overcome a fear or a mental block or something. He is good at hypnosis but also suggestion and otherwise getting people to do things. It seems like he could be a very effective psychiatrist and therapist.

Obama's Announcement

Not doing public finance!!

Personally, I don't really care, but I know it does hurt him a little since he's the "change" candidate. People are like, "so much for change." On the other hand, I sense that these same people would be criticizing him for being "naive" if he did take public finance. I mean, I would, too, although it would be ever more impressive if he still won. Some people just don't like the "change" message and are trying to prove that "change" is either equivalent with being naive or a meaningless buzzword.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Job Searching Schemes and Devious Thoughts

One of my goals right now is to find a job in life science research, preferably related to neuroscience and a job that does not require me to kill mice/rabbits/frogs/other vertebrates simply for a single organ or cells, or just because they have become unfit for the research. Anyway, while I am looking through university career sites as well as biotech career websites, I thought I would try out a different scheme. I would look through faculty of interest, and read a couple of their papers and then e-mail them about how much I love their work and why I would be a qualified and competent research associate.

So I printed out a couple of papers. The first one I read was a review paper related to the biomolecular mechanisms behind learning and memory, using the small marine snail Aplysia as a model of study. For a little history of the study of learning and memory in neuroscience: somewhere around the 1950's, investigators discovered that if you poke or shock (lightly, not fatally) the Aplysia, it withdraws its gill and siphon as a natural defense reflex. If you continue to shock a few times, and then lightly touch it a few hours later, it becomes sensitized to the touch stimulus, and withdraws its gill and siphon anyway even though your touch is pretty harmless. And if you continue to touch it harmlessly, it habituates and doesn't respond to touch stimuli any longer with its defense reflex. As life science research methods improved, the focus on learning and memory shifted to animals of higher complexity (such as rats and other vertebrates), and Aplysia drifted out of popularity. The paper I read essentially proposed to unify two disagreeing theories on the learning mechanisms in Aplysia, and explained that this was similar to findings in animals of 'higher intelligence'. The investigator further concluded that perhaps learning and memory mechanisms had developed early on in evolution and have been conserved through time, through natural selection. And I had an epiphany.

Neurobiology makes it difficult to believe in free will, since we are mostly controlled by mechanical, biochemical processes. So with that in mind (yes, first consider suspending free will, and then you can consider this part), I wonder if humans actually have control over their learning? We don't actually take the knowledge and concepts we want to remember and place them into our memory, we make up tactics to facilitate our ability to learn. We make up mnemonics, explain a difficult concept to ourselves a number of times before it sinks in, but we don't actually make it sink in, if that makes sense. Like the simple organism Aplysia, or even an earthworm, our learning and memory follows a few basic rules. If the basic learning and memory circuitry is essentially a passive process (aka no divine intervention, or other will at work), then why wouldn't the same be true for more complex organisms? Of course, the circuitry becomes progressively more complex as we travel through our evolutionary timeline. Complicated, yes, but still passive. Sort of like a supercomputer?

Power Electronics Lecture

There are 3 EE tutors, and I am one of them. We are each doing a lecture. I'm going to do one on power electronics. I will probably just talk about transformers. I only have 20 min, though.

First, I'd probably talk about what power converters do to give them an overview of what is power electronics.

There's AC/AC, AC/DC (wall-warts), DC/DC (computer supply), DC/AC (not sure when this happens).

are useful for all types of power converters, but most obviously, AC/AC.

A transformer is two inductors that share magnetic flux.

ok ok ok, let's look at one inductor first. Besides the electrical behavior of an inductor, it also produces a magnetic field so that it looks like a magnet.

If you put two inductors close together like this, they share magnetic field, and the magnetic field created in one induces current in the other.

What is the math behind all this? V = L*di/dt
Faraday's law of induction states that V = N * dPhi/dt where Phi is magnetic flux.

In order to maximize the current induced in the other, we want to maximize the amount of magnetic flux that flows through the second inductor. We do this by wrapping the inductors around certain materials.

All materials have a magnetic permeability. The permeability of air is low and is almost the same as the permeability of a vacuum, which is referred to as the permeability of free space.

Iron has high permeability, so ferrite is often used in transformers.

It depends how they are wound, but in the most general configuration, the turns ratio dictates the relative voltages and currents. Vs = Vp*Ns/Np and Is = Ip*Np/Ns

Ice Breakers

This week, training for the Women's Technology Program has started. The girls arrive in two weeks. I've been brainstorming ideas for ice breakers. If it were up to me, here's what I would do.

1. have them smash ice in a bucket.
2. hold a spelling bee with people's names
3. say two things that are true about yourself and one thing that is a lie
4. get into groups and talk about your favorite foods
5. step aerobics


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Says Billy Ray Cyrus
my dad always told me the more you stomp in poop the more it stinks

The Hulks

I was surfing wikipedia about the Hulk and other characters associated with him. Turns out there is also a Red Hulk, a She-Hulk (who is his cousin), and the Abomination. These characters were created during the 70s, and they were really compelling because at that time, people were getting really scared about nuclear war and nuclear power and effects of radiation. So these characters are really borne out of the Cold War.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pew Global Attitudes

The Pew Global Attitudes Report was released recently. Anti-China attitudes have increased. It is expected, though, since it is the rise of a developing nation that is not allied with the Western nations.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Our executive director, Daniel Newman was on CNET Live for an introduction to the MAPLight concept and website.

Let the video load, and go to 21:30, or about 12 minutes into the video.

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I am supposed to read this.

Election '08

Frank Rich churns some numbers. He's an Obama fan.

This is interesting.

Yet the myth of Democratic disarray is so pervasive that when “NBC Nightly News” and The Wall Street Journal presented their new poll results last week (Obama, 47 percent; McCain, 41 percent) they ignored their own survey’s findings to stick to the clichéd script. Both news organizations (and NBC’s sibling, MSNBC) dwelled darkly on Mr. Obama’s “problems with two key groups” (as NBC put it): white men, where he is behind 20 percentage points to Mr. McCain, and white suburban women, where he is behind 6 points.

Since that poll gives Mr. Obama not just a 19-point lead among all women but also a 7-point lead among white women, a 6-point deficit in one sliver of the female pie is hardly a heart-stopper. Nor is Mr. Obama’s showing among white men shocking news. No Democratic presidential candidate, including Bill Clinton, has won a majority of that declining demographic since 1964. Mr. Kerry lost white men by 25 points, and Mr. Gore did by 24 points (even as he won the popular vote).

Efficient Products

This consumer information site only has limited information, but the have info about computers and monitors and battery chargers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Wow, today Shen and I went to a karaoke place in Allston called Do Re Mi for my friend's b-day. By the way, Allston seems to have cool cheap shops. It was awesome. It is run by Koreans. We sang English songs, though, of course.

Toby's Joke

Today, Toby made a joke about I.M. Pei, the architect who designed the John Hancock building, which is a very key part of the Boston skyline.

Someone asks him, "What's your name?"

"I.M. Pei"

"So what's your last name?"


Friday, June 13, 2008

Black Cat Policeman

I used to watch this cartoon show when I was little. Shen said she did, too. WOW. It's about a black cat, who is a cop, and the villain is a one-eyed rat, and another good guy is a big praying mantis.

with lyrics

啊哈啊,啊哈啊,黑猫警长森林公民向你致敬 向你致敬.

Yo Abe, Break Me Off A Piece Of That Miracle Funk

SheeShee, her friend Monique, and I went to see the off-Broadway show Altar Boyz last week. It was so funny! The Altar Boyz--Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham--parody boy bands, religion, and pop culture in their fun songs. Great choreography, music, and performance! I will definitely go see the show again some time this summer.

Summer Time

On the top of the Solaire in Battery Park City in New York. (Photo Copyright © birdw0rks/Simon Bird and the Albanese Organization.

This summer I'm working on two projects: surveying people's thermal comfort with LEED coordinator Emma Leonard and designing green roofs with Leon Glicksman from Building Technology (Yang organized the BPP this spring and he was one of the speakers!). I'm excited, I get to put some test beds up on building 1 and tentatively I'll be monitoring things like temperature and moisture differences. I get calculate 2.005 like heat transfer problems since the plants act as insulation. The survey is for the new grad dorm N35 so it can get certified as environmentally sustainable by the US Green Building Council. Leon Glicksman said there were plans in the past to make every new dorm have green roofs, but that plan seems to have fallen through. I get to find out how practical green roofs are and in what situations. Some of the advantages of green roofs are stormwater management and reduction of urban islands and heating loads. hooray!

Tidbits in Blogworld

Found a funny blog post about China.


Ouch, probably these have been the perfect two years to take a break from China. I couldn`t go five minutes into a conversation with any of the Laowais I`ve met in Bj without them starting to moan about the subject, and about how much of a hassle it`s become, being a Laowai in Beijing . I was thoroughly amused then, when dinner with two well travelled Chinese friends had turned into another session of moans about how hard it is to get visas to the U.S., the U.K., Holland, and (of course) Israel. Seriously, I doubt if the citizens of any western country (Israel least of all) can say anything about visa issuance policies, I mean, come on.

Generally, the change in visa regulation seems like a good sign of China growing up, being more selective and more ruled by law, and the procedure is bound to become clearer and more consistent. Too bad for those of you caught in the middle of this process though.

The politics of head-dresses

I once wrote an article (very boring, don`t bother) with this title, about minorities in Yunnan and the political statement they sometime make by wearing their different traditional head-dresses. in Beijing now, apparently, a new and intriguing minority is emerging: The mysterious Jian She Min Zu (建设民族) which is recognized by the wonderfully colourful safety helmets worn by the males at all times.

No, really. Construction workers wear their safety helmets ALL the time and I don`t think I`ve seen it in other parts of China. A fashion statement? Might very well be, or maybe just fear of another quake.

Mexican Food

Tu Y Yo Mama Tambien

haha, just kidding. The restaurant name is called Tu Y Yo. Their CitySearch profile has a video with the owner.

It's around Davis Square. It was delicious! I got hibiscus water, which was awesome. They had the best Sangria. We also had frog legs, cactus, and a fish. Highly recommended.

Tim Russert Dies!

Whoa! He died at 58 on the job of a heart attack.

China Correspondents

New York Times and the BBC have really bad China articles mostly because of their bad China correspondents. What makes their China articles and correspondents so bad?

The articles themselves often imply that China is a threat, Chinese nationalism is a threat, and things like the food shortage and global warming are China's fault. This xenophobic view of China is mostly sensationalism so in my view, it's bad journalism, but that's the industry standard these days. What is more annoying is that almost every article becomes an editorial about censorship and restrictions on journalists and the lack of democracy. The worst part is when they claim to represent how the majority of Chinese people feel about Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the Chinese Communist Party.

They do this by using Chinese correspondents who are meant to be more credible since they are Chinese. However, these correspondents are more often than not people who have bad history with the Communist Party. Some are pro-democracy activists who have been kicked out of the country. However, they do not really have a following in China. Some are even seen as traitors.

Take this New York Times' article.

Here is a comment in response.
As a former Tiananmen protester living in the States, I believe that "The future of China is in the hands of ordinary Chinese." Unfortunately, Ma Jian's view does not reflect views of ordinary Chinese no matter how many western media or their readers like his views. The bottom line is that Chinese people know what are their best interests during their cause leading to prosperity and democracy. They certainly do not need others to remind them what to do and how to do to achieve their best interests.

Some selections of the discussion about this BBC article in Chinese from the BBC:
Black Horse Liu's article? He was one of so-called "four scholars" during 6.4 Tiananmen event. He used to state that China would have been much better off if it had experienced real colonialism under Great British like HK. No wonder BBC still recommend his opinion after so many years.

Liu and his ilk have been long marginalized in China, political power wise. Now their sole role is to serve western media as dissent voice of "Chinese people" to pacify their readers' thirsty for hope of transforming China with "freedom and democracy".

Only Western people listen to these people as if they are really credible, but Chinese people know who these people are. It's like if Chinese people quoted Ralph Nader as an expert on what Americans think. Another example is when people quote the Epoch Times, which every Chinese person knows is a Falun Gong newspaper that publishes outright lies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guantanamoans' Rights

Supreme Court did a big ruling today.

China Vacation

今年秋天十月份我和Toby要去中国旅游。 我门要去北京,西安,桂林, 和上海。 我们先到北京。 那时中国的首都,在中国的东北。 西安在陕西, 桂林在广西。

Car Insurance

I went to Herb Chamber's Honda dealership yesterday and bought a Honda Fit Sport. Hooray. I don't actually have it, yet, though. I need to get car insurance first. I think I am getting car insurance from Progressive at about $800/year.

I just wanted to share with everyone some things I'm learning about car insurance from

First of all, apparently, as of April 2008, all car insurance rates in MA were about the same because they were regulated. Now there is "managed competition."

Second, here is a glossary of car insurance jargon.

Property damage liability: This coverage pays for any damage that you cause to other people's property. Your insurance will cover this damage whether you are the driver, or if someone else was operating your vehicle with your permission.

Bodily injury liability: This insurance coverage protects you against the claims for damages in an accident in which other people are injured. Most states have minimum dollar amounts for bodily injury coverage, but this limit might be fairly low. You might want to consider purchasing additional coverage.

Uninsured motorist: This coverage takes the place of the insurance coverage that the uninsured motorist should have had in effect. This may also cover you in the event that you are involved in a hit-and-run accident caused by a fleeing motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage does not protect the other driver and may not cover damage to your vehicle, depending on your state. It will compensate you for medical expenses and other losses related to your injuries if you're involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have insurance.

Personal injury protection (PIP): Under the no-fault system, this coverage will pay a minimum benefit amount per person for you and your passengers for injuries sustained in an accident regardless of who is at fault. Typical personal injury protection coverage can include things like lost wages, medical expenses, funeral expenses and survivors loss benefits.

Collision and comprehensive: Collision coverage, as the name implies, covers damage to your car. It pays the cost of repairing or replacing your car after it has been involved in an accident regardless of who was at fault. The insurance company will pay you the actual cash market value of your vehicle less the amount of your deductible.

Comprehensive covers damage caused by something other than a collision, such as theft, fire, vandalism or a natural or weather-related event. Comprehensive coverage will also pay for a rental car while your car is being repaired or if it has been stolen.

Medical payments coverage: This is usually an optional product, which pays for the medical or funeral expenses for you and for the other parties who might have been injured or killed in an accident while riding in your vehicle. This coverage will also cover these expenses if you are struck by another motor vehicle while you are a pedestrian or even riding in another motor vehicle as a passenger.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Adult Mutant Ninja Turtles

They are at

The Lottery Class

An interesting Op-Ed in NYTimes today about the rise of debt, its relation to income inequality, and potential remedies (via Economists View which has commentary about the article). One statistic especially surprised me:
[State governments] aggressively hawk their lottery products, which some people call a tax on stupidity. Twenty percent of Americans are frequent players, spending about $60 billion a year. The spending is starkly regressive. A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, about 9 percent of all income.
It also mentions the "checks cashed here" places which, like lottery players, are highly represented in Central Square. Which reminded me of this article (via EV) from January by Arnold Schwarzenegger / Bill Clinton (!).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Samantha Power

She is another adviser to Obama who is obsessed with genocide and human rights. I'm not sure what kind of action she really advocates, though. It seems that she wants more political and diplomatic action to prevent genocide, not necessarily military action. I am skeptical about whether the US even has resources to do more, though. At any rate, she is not the typical human rights advocate who always wants to impose sanctions on people and is all about free speech and democracy. She is very focused on genocides specifically.

PBS Profile

Foreign Policy

Ivo Daalder is a senior foreign policy adviser for Obama. I don't really like him. He's one of those pompous liberals who wants the UN to intervene in Myanmar. While I think the US can and should be talking to Myanmar's neighbors about getting them to accept more help, it's wrong to think that the UN should demand Myanmar to allow UN humanitarian workers to be allowed to go in and do whatever they want. Unless you are ready to go in and pour a lot of resources into overthrowing their government rebuilding Myanmar, it's not like the political situation is going to get better. Ivo is too obsessed with being moral and not enough about being practical.

Staring Into Each Other's Eye

Something that frustrates me is that you can't REALLY stare into both of someone else's eyes, you can only stare at one eye or the other. It's not really as satisfying.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Creative Class

The BreakThrough book recommends another book called the Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. I'm going to try to check it out.

Break Through

Today I finished reading the book Breakthrough. It was really good. I am going to go through the book again and highlight the main ideas as well as things that I thought were the most surprising to me. I will be posting about it.

Their blog is much to be desired, though.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Modern Sexism

Many people consider Hillary's loss a manifestation of sexism. I think there has been sexism against Hillary, but I think the media and the public has also been racist.

The debate is between those like Modo and Judith Warner

Hillary could have made a great speech about sexism just as Obama made a great speech about race. She sort of started to in her concession speech, but it wasn't really a very deep analysis, hence the masses and pundits are duking it out for themselves. Everyone is saying "this is the state of sexism," "no, this is." For example, is "Sex in the City" actually a show about female empowerment or just reinforcing sexism in American society? "Sex in the City" is not singularly about feminism or about perpetuating sexism. It is a show that reflects the values of modern women, although not necessarily about reality. Personally, I think neither "Sex in the City" nor Hillary losing the nomination are women's biggest problems. At this point, most barriers to women are cultural and societal, not officially sanctioned. Women are often their own worst enemy and give themselves and other women a harder time than men even do. This is nowhere more obvious than in middle school and high school, when girls feel pressured to look good but not admit to being good at math. Truly overcoming sexism has to be about raising girls to respect themselves and be ambitious. Benchmarks such as having a higher percentage of female CEO's are more of a breakthrough than electing a female President.

Chinese School

I am thinking of going to Chinese school again at the Cambridge Center for Chinese Culture. They have weekend classes at Waltham, which is not too far. I can do Yoga and the Fan dance, too. Hooray.

Dragon Boat Festival

It's today.

My mom and I went. Actually, it wasn't very impressive, but it was still fun. It was the analog of Chinese Culture Day that was a festival we had every year in St. Louis at the Botanical Gardens. And they had dance performances! Yay

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clinton Concedes!


Actually pretty gracious concession. I think Obama makes everyone make good speeches.

Friday, June 6, 2008

china earthquake comic strips


ps woohoo yang graduated!


Wow!!! Commencement sucked, but now it's over.

The Commencement speaker was Muhammad Yunus. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for inventing and implementing microlending to help people in poverty. I'm glad they got someone who does public service and did something innovative but still "low-tech." I get annoyed at how everyone's attitude at MIT is so focused on technology technology technology.

Official Olympic Cheer

HAHA I'm not sure if it's real, but I think it is.

Funny Comment

someone said on facebook.

Debating on the internet is like running your own olympics. Even if you win you are a retard.

Cohesive policy

I did the Obama match a donation and exchange a message thing. Am posting my message since it's my current concise reasoning on why to support Obama.
Obama's commitment to solving problems through system-level changes with a big-picture, comprehensive perspective is precisely what this country needs.

For example, corruption of our federal government by special interest groups is not our biggest problem, but it is a root problem, and Obama recognizes this which is why he emphasizes transparency of the political process.

Further, our country is in dire need of a level-headed, diplomatic leader, both on domestic issues (increasing transparency in the financial/credit sector, bringing costs down on health care, stimulating innovation in our use and production of energy) and foreign affairs (fixing the neocons' mess in the Middle East and allaying the anxiety the rest of the world feels about America's recent irrational foreign policy).

Obama's strategies on these issues are not only prudent separately, but are meant to work together. One example: American car companies are not able to heavily invest in energy efficient technology because they need to meet health care costs of their retiring workforce, whereas their European and Japanese competitors do not have this problem. Obama demonstrates his comprehensive thinking on this issue through his proposed "health care for hybrids" legislation.

Obama's comprehensive strategies offer a spectacular chance for the democratic party, whose policies recently have been an amalgamation of special interest solutions with little cohesion.

Thank you for your donation. Make sure to vote and tell others to vote, this is an important election.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


我在学中文。 我要复习复习,我已经忘记了很多。 今天,我学了这些词:理性,组成,改善,人权,群众,意愿,前提,标准,状况,基础,约束。

理性 li3 xing4 rational
组成 zu3 cheng2 component, part
改善 gai3 shan4 improve
人权 ren2 quan2 human rights
群众 qun2 zhong4 the masses
意愿 yi4 yuan4 aspiration
前提 qian2 ti2 premise
标准 biao1 zhun3 standard
状况 zhuang4 kuang4 condition, situation
基础 ji1 chu3 basis, foundation
约束 yue1 shu4 restrict, limit to

Clinton Bows Out?

NYT article


And I just want to be on the record saying that there is no way Obama can choose her as Vice President, and he shouldn't. The political feng shui is just not right. There is too much dissonance. This might seem counterintuitive since you would think that his supporters and her supporters would just vote democrat, and it would be a landslide against McCain. Fortunately, politics is more nuanced than that.

Most obviously, Hillary would undercut Obama's message of change. Hillary ran a very conventional wisdom campaign, but not only that, she is a conventional political animal. She is a Washington insider and she welcomes money from lobbyists. How can Obama be sincere about changing the way politics is done if he has Hillary as a Veep? Her as Veep would damage Obama's credibility and cast doubt on his way of doing things if he can't even stand up to the Clintons.

Also, there are problems with Bill Clinton. Taking Hillary Clinton as Veep would mean Bill Clinton would be a second Veep. Plus, the Clintons think Obama is naive. They are also senior to him in the party. If you don't think that will be a problem, you are really naive. They will not agree on how to run the campaign, they will not stay on message, and even if they win, they will not be able to govern.

It is just a bad dream.

Storm King Sculpture Park

Yesterday, Toby and I tried to go to Storm King Sculpture Park, but it turns out they are not open Mondays and Tuesdays. Aww.

So we went to this fancy outlet mall instead, and Toby bought me a fancy Betsey Johnson dress. I learned about Betsey Johnson from Project Runway when she was a guest judge.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


he is nominee??!?

Monday, June 2, 2008

I've Decided

The Fit is Go!

We went car shopping today at a Honda dealership and a Toyota dealership, and I've decided I want to get a Honda Fit. It is a well-designed car, and I like how it drives since it is similar to my old car, which was a Honda Civic. I almost crashed into somebody during the test drive, though, but our salesman was quick to point out that the other car ran a stop sign. And I guess it was good to test the brakes. It does have a tougher time with a full load, but it was really not that bad. Toby's dad knows a lot about cars and he was helping us with our decision. He came away very impressed with the Honda Fit in terms of what you get for the price.

I may have gotten a Prius, actually, but there was a 2-4 month waiting list. That made my decision easier. We also looked the Yaris, which is either 2-door hatchback or 4 door sedan. It was ok, but in general did not seem as well-designed as the Honda Fit. It had much less space, Toby said its visibility did not seem as good, and in general, I am just more used to and comfortable with Hondas.

I am not sure what color I should get. I am trying to decide between red and "tidewater" blue, which is kind of blue-silver.

Exercise DDR

So, since I will be starting my new life soon, I am thinking of what my exercise regime should be. I think instead of getting gym membership or whatever, I'm going to play DDR! For some reason, the gym is really boring, but when the music is going and the arrows are whizzing by, I feel compelled to DDR and I can't stop.

There is this open source DDR for computers that I am probably going to get called Step Mania. I just need to buy the pad, but I'm going to download the program first and see how it goes.

I think I also want to do yoga. When Toby and I were members of the YMCA, we did vinyasa flow yoga.
They returned the like 460 children that were taken from the Yearning for Zion ranch in Texas, part of a Mormon fundamentalist sect (the FLDS church). I have nothing against polygamy or polyamory, so long as there isn't any force or sexual abuse involved. But of course FLDS communities are nothing but a playfield for sexual predators. Basically, if you're a man, you become a sexual abuser. How is it okay for these communities to keep on existing? 13-year-old girls get pregnant b/c they're supposedly spiritually married off to their like 35-year-old uncles. And you know they don't want to have sex with their uncles. Everyone knows about them, why don't we stop them???? Are we really trying to say that religion is so sacred that we have to tolerate so much harm inflicted upon others??

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bolt Bus

Whooo, free wifi on a bus!!!

This is a new bus line that has power and wifi and is as cheap as the Chinatown bus! Might just be a promotional thing, though. I'm going from Boston to New York City to go to Toby's house for a week. Toby's dad really likes cars and shopping for cars so he's going to help me pick one out. And I get to practice driving!!! I'm excited.