I like breaking down cultural barriers of What defines a shower?

March 29, 2013

Here are some things I know that you can do in the shower

1. Wear swimming goggles. Nothing compares to the feeling of power you get from standing upright with your face right in front of the shower head and your eyes wide open. Take that, shower head!

2. Sit down. This liberating experience makes the shower experience more fun and relaxing. The water is lighter and less confrontational as it travels a farther distance. Why make something into a chore when it can be a vacation?

3. Brush your teeth. Not only are you killing two birds with one stone, but it makes the painstaking act of brushing your teeth into a zen-like ritual while immersed in water. Even better if combined with #2. Wordlessly wash all the germs away at once.

4. Peel and eat an orange. Leave the orange peel on the floor of the bath until after you are done. Tip for all you germophobes, it’s perfectly normal to apply clean water to food. Eating something that is so sweet and watery while being in the shower, is like a cathartic identity of one’s internal self with the self that exist in the external world. It also adds an interesting objective and reward to an otherwise thankless activity.

I will update with any more thing to do in the shower.


Movies I’ve seen recently

January 6, 2013

Watched some very good older movies these past few days —

1932 – Grand Hotel

1933 – Design for Living

1957 – Love in the Afternoon

1972 – The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Structural Racism

November 17, 2012

I think there are 3 kinds of racism: 1. bigoted racism, 2. everyday racism, 3. structural racism.

Bigoted racism is the most obvious, by that term I mean any actual dislike or hatred of another race.

Everyday racism is what we run into in our lives and work. When a person implicitly makes any kind of assumption about the nature or ability of another. Or arbitrary ceilings (“we can have a black VP but not a black CEO”).

Structural racism, I’m not sure if I’ve come up with the right word for it, but I mean a kind of prejudice that is a result of another closely held belief. For example..

Belief 1: “I’m afraid of things changing”… “I’m afraid of christians becoming a minority”… “I think abortion should be illegal”

These are benign beliefs, I just happen to think that in a way they’re kind of racist. For example, if you’re asking the government to legislate for everyone on behalf of your emotional values that not everybody shares.

Belief 2: “I made this money, so I earned it”… “Let us do our thing, and you do yours”

The first issue with the above is that it fails to recognize that one may have disproportionately benefited from a system that assigns rewards f(x) to effort x. That is a kind of willful acceptance of inequity. I have a bolder claim – namely, that the holder of Belief 2 likely does not place a significant monetary value on diversity.

An easy way to see this connection, is at the level of an entire state. Consider the issue of “states rights”. Why might people be against a big federal government? The basic reason is that the larger the federal government is, the more heavily rich states subsidize poor states.

What’s the incremental effect of adding a new state (Puerto Rico) to the union? Puerto Rico would immediately become, by far, the poorest state per capita; meanwhile, huge investment would be necessary to bring the basic infrastructure of the island up to par with the rest of the United States. The additional tax revenue would not cover the cost, so it would be a drag on the economy.

Why might you nevertheless be in favor of the annexation of Puerto Rico? The essential reason is that you place a real monetary value on the incremental diversity, which pays for the short term cost.

As I think how to summarize my above thoughts, it begins to sound obvious to me. Namely, that many natural and common beliefs are really forms of segregationism, which is implicitly related to racism. The fear of that which is different from one’s own. OK, maybe racism is a strong word to assign to “anything that’s not inclusionism”. Still, I have no doubt at least, that inclusionism is a virtue.

I find these “structural racisms” to be sort of dangerous. In the case of everyday racism, I might quickly realize that I have been biased against a minority, perhaps due to lack of experience with people from that group. With structural racism, there is a step in between the error of belief, and the prejudice. The prejudice is a result of the inherent structure of beliefs, not a direct consequence of them.

I don’t mean dangerous as a strong negative here – I don’t really know how to pass judgment at all… I just think that this is what it is. We certainly should be inclusive of people who have all the natural beliefs, including the exclusionary beliefs.

I enjoyed this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OClYPCYAf7s&feature=related#t=3m09s
(It’s about racism but not related to my comments here.)

Lulu told me to write a blog

November 14, 2012

I should try to record a couple of my thoughts each day, I might make this private though.

I suspect neuroticism (the big 5 component) is just a variable that fundamentally arises when you analyze personality survey questions: “does the person feel subversive towards tests like this?” It’s the only dimension out of the 5 that doesn’t map to myers briggs, and it’s the one that’s hardest to find correlations with (among everyday behaviors of people).

I owned FB 25 strike Jan14 calls going into today

When the intuitive relationships between things are apparent or visible, they are usually describable. Computational complexity theory and the theory of natural selection play a similar role in my life, although I have less to say about the latter. And yet I have no hole in my mind when it comes to theoretical physics (although it is a topic that intellectually interests me). Why? Is it because I have no intuition as well? Maybe because I differently threshold the degree at which I allow things to be true.

Lulu is reading my old 9th grade copy of A Room of One’s Own, which I horrendously annotated. I wonder if that is related or unrelated to her suggestion that I write my thoughts down.

Does NFLX’s ranking algorithm still mainly try to predict how many stars you will rate each movie? Not sure, but if so that doesn’t seem so great; you may correctly do so but it’s an operation with no intent to the overall experience of the user.

I like the new business direction of JCP in certain logical ways (although I don’t think they have satisfactorily answered the long-term margins question), but I don’t particularly like their new branding. E.g. I think the new logo tries to own more, but succeeds in owning less. I looked at the numbers and there’s no real evidence that new shops sustainable outperform old shops, although the new approach may still be superior for various reasons.

The republicans are hoping to scare everybody about the fiscal cliff (which is more of a slope than a cliff). If they do so then maybe the market will threaten to crash on obama not compromising and obama will then be forced to compromise to prevent a panic. It’s not going to work here though.

I think momentum signals in stocks are like the golden ratio, they need context. Just like anything describable with a polynomial will have some fibonacci effect, anything describable by a differential equation will have some momentum effects.

It feels private to me to explain my ideas in too much detail, and it feels routine to me to have many ideas. To merely list a few thoughts and ideas as I have them is fairly uninteresting, I suppose. I obviously should write longer form content, but to some specific end.

Atwater 1981

April 27, 2011

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

i don’t think you’d like my fossil watch

April 7, 2011

I’m a world explorer. I scour the world, looking for the best web apps and native cultures. I came across a small Chilean settlement. They had developed the most amazing group scheduling application, to solve their jalapeno farming needs. They called it.. tusiyu.com

I wrote a crossword

August 21, 2010

No theme, although it might as well since I picked 4 long answers I liked in advance and wrote the puzzle around them. Didn’t focus on the clues, I did this moreso to experiment with how constrained xwords really are.


John reads bash.org (so that you don’t have to)

January 21, 2010

(11:36:07 AM) John Hawksley: it’s unfortunate for you that you don’t understnd the post, but you deserve that fate
(11:37:44 AM) Boyuan Zhu: w/e
(11:37:46 AM) Boyuan Zhu: too hipster

xoebus: *sigh* One of my flatmates just asked “Where is Admiral Ackbar from?”, I replied “Mon Calamari”. He then said “No which series, Star Trek or Star Wars or something else; you fucking geek.”
xoebus: I feel loved.

Read the rest of this entry »

In which John awaits the questions to which he has prepared answers.

March 9, 2009

This is John Hawksley talking. There will now be a slight pause while everyone says, “Who cares?

It’s no use attempting any kind of originality, so I’ve stolen the opening line of Jack Benny‘s first radio broadcast in 1932. In principle one should address the italicized question, but it would be hard (and require some sort of averaging argument as the value of this blog is purely hypothetical). My rule is not to exert too much effort artificially, as it would set a quality threshold to which I have no desire to commit. I will therefore indicate only two small comments: (1) that “Who cares?” is not really a question for me, but rather something the audience itself should report, i.e. “Who among you is a member of the subset of people that care?“, and (2) that it’s still a difficult concern, as I’m not sure if I belong to the subset myself.

Here’s an ongoing list of celebrities I like who are invited to my upcoming secret conference:

  • Jeff Probst
  • Darren Brown
  • Joe Biden
  • Timothy Gowers
  • Jeff Van Gundy
  • Norm MacDonald

There’s explanation behind that (I like each for the identical reason), but for now let me mention that I’ve been highly inspired recently by Professor Gowers. I’ve been trying to follow his so-called polymath1 project, but lacking any relevant background I saw only a cursory view of the problem and how it was being approached. His beautiful rewording of the proof of the corners theorem snapped many understandings into place at once, and I credit that invigoration for the mathematical bent of this post.

I apologize in advance if I never blog again.