Serenepia


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A better parable!

Lemme Kobayashi Maru that Buddhist parable about the mice, tigers, and strawberry vine. ( ref )

Buddha once told a parable in sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

1) Hold the vine with one hand. Grab the mice with the other.

2) throw the mice down to distract the tiger below.

3) while it's distracted, drop down and run like hell.

posted at: 11:37 Tue 15/Oct/2013 | /misc | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Friday, 10 May 2013

Perceiving is (the start of) creating?

A thought somewhere between improv comedy and visual art (specifically Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) made me think: maybe a first step towards being good at any art form is learning how to see past the brain's "iconic abstractions".

continue reading...

posted at: 08:46 Fri 10/May/2013 | /art | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cake Day reflections

One of my previous employers had a monthly tradition of "Cake Day", a day in which some employees would bring cake (store-bought or homemade) and then everyone would eat it. I'd guess maybe 80% or more participated in the eating and maybe 15% in the providing. I fell into the eating-only group most of the time, but at least four times I can remember, I brought something.

Well, actually, I never made cake. I don't actually like making cake, and as far as eating it goes, it's nice but pie is better. I actually made dessert items instead. The ones I can remember are (not in order): Momofuku's crack pie, my 'baconated tarte tatin' (a tarte tatin with half-slices of bacon studded inside), chilled red bean soup with sago and coconut milk, and black tea ice cream.

To be honest, most people wanted cake. Or maybe pie. The majority of people didn't want weird stuff like red bean soup, and the tea ice cream wasn't a big hit either. (Even if the baconated tarte tatin was good, it was much better hot than cold. That was on me.) I mean, if I wanted to be popular via dessert, I would have bought ice cream cake, or made, say, a cheesecake.

That said, I didn't want to turn anyone off, either. I genuinely really liked everything I made for Cake Day, and I wanted people to like it too. But it made me happy to make something a little idiosyncratic and weird. I guess I wanted to make something that I liked and that at least a few people really liked. Would it have been nice if everyone liked it? Yes, but not if my heart wasn't really in it.

posted at: 02:09 Wed 13/Feb/2013 | /journal | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Friday, 27 May 2011

HST lies

My opposition to the HST in BC is based on two simple reasons.

  1. The BC Liberals flat-out lied about their plans not to introduce it. (see below) When Ontario did it, they did it the right way: the plan was introduced to the public before the election, and people voted with informed opinions.

  2. The BC Liberals have not operated the province with any fiscal restraint. (Seriously, $600 million for a new roof for BC Place, and it can't even close up while it's raining?) Instead, they've had to rely on at least two major one-time sell-the-farm gambits (the BC Rail sale and the HST coming with a crucial $1.6 billion one-time gift from the feds) to make ends meet.

The BC Liberals in 2009, right before the election:

"The harmonized GST would make it harder for future provincial governments to lower or raise sales tax rates, which reduces flexibility. In short, a harmonized GST is not something that is contemplated in the B.C. Liberal platform."

Just to be sure, the restaurant association asked whether it would be consulted if the Liberals changed their minds. "We do commit to engage in consultation with industry prior to any potential future tax changes that affect food," was the reply.

A few months later, when the election was over, they turned around and implemented it so quickly it was clear they'd been planning it before the election. As further documents revealed.

Come to think of it, the lies about the sale of BC Rail - from the state of its finances to whether it even was a sale or "merely" a 990-year lease, remind me a lot about the similarly dishonest post-facto fearmongering about turning over the HST.

Put it this way: I don't care whether the HST is better or worse for the province than the GST/PST. The important things to me are that a democracy cannot be run by lying to the electorate, and that the BC Liberals must stop selling the future to pay for today.

posted at: 00:29 Fri 27/May/2011 | /politics/canada | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

LSE Idiocy

From comments in this Crooked Timber post, a somewhat overlooked part of "evolutionary psychologist" Satoshi Kanazawa's extraordinarily crap article for Psychology Today:

For example, because they have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races.

As comment #30 points out, this is staggeringly stupid:

Does he think that other "races" were created from scratch more recently than Africans with no deleterious mutations? Even using his assumptions they will have inherited harmful mutations from their ancestors in just the same way as Africans have.

And as you say, all this ignores the fact that harmful mutations will be selected against. In reality we expect a balance between natural selection (lowering the frequency of harmful mutations) and new mutations.

Seriously, saying something this dumb ought to be grounds for your alma mater to revoke your PhD.

Considering they've stood by him as he's made numerous other scientific and methodological gaffes, I expect LSE and Psychology Today will probably promote Kanazawa instead.

posted at: 21:04 Wed 25/May/2011 | /politics | permalink | 0 comments | trackback



Photos, videogames, politics, art, architecture, and other geekery.

Andrew Chang
andrewc-blogatofb.net
aka ArC

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