On Manipulating Opinions:

November 17, 2009

People don’t need to be convinced — they will convince themselves of what they want to believe. Manipulating opinions does not consist in trying to convince someone of your point, it involves convincing them that they want to be convinced of your point.

November 12, 2009

A stupid girl is tolerable for a smart man, but a stupid man is unbearable for a smart girl. This is the tragedy of women.

Cirque du Soleil – Alegría

October 4, 2009

Tonight I felt the essence of rapture. The feeling snuck up, caught me by surprise, endured, intensified, crescendoed, and ripped open the fabric of my heart. It was gilded in enchantment, wreathed in excellence, and ornamented with equal combinations of elegance and grace.

It began with a look. I was hiking through the Bryce Jordan Center trying to find my student discounted seat, which was conveniently located somewhere in the upper thermosphere, where I was not-so-promptly greeted with pure unfiltered disappointment. I could actually reach up and touch the support rafters to the auditorium ceiling. Then, just as I was about to let my dissatisfaction leak out and stain my physiognomy, a ticket collector caught my eye, approached me, explained that there was one seat available on the ground floor, and that I had the option to fill the spot for free. I couldn’t believe what was happening. There were other people around me, and this man picked me out of everyone. I felt like I had won the aesthetic lottery! In an instant I moved from the worst seat in the building to (no kidding) the BEST seat in the entire arena. I was front row, center, on the ground! 

Just when I thought my luck couldn’t possibly get any better, the performance starts! Infused, as I was, with giddy-excitement, I had forgotten that I really had no idea what I was supposed to prepare myself for. A few friends recommended the show, insisting that it was worth my time. That’s it. I did not expect to experience any sort of deep aesthetic truth at a circus. 

This lack of expectation, I now think, only heightened the feeling of pure ecstasy that followed. The energy was ebullient. Every emotion was brought to it’s crowning point. From playful silliness, to profound melancholy, to tasteful seduction – all garnished with stately harmony and sophisticated charm. I lost myself in the performance, only occasionally recalling myself to hold back tears of emotional elation. There was, however, one emotion that stood apart from all the rest. Pride. At the end of the show, the performers took their bows with the greatest sense of self-fulfuillment glowing through their skin for having provoked in the audience an emotional flood of biblical proportions. Their pride, poise, and artful dignity escaped the act! making it the most real of all the assortment of emotions I felt tonight. It put me over the edge, like a full body orgasm. I immediately escaped the public eye and left the show with bliss in my heart and tears in my eyes!


October 2, 2009

Greek Original:

Hebrew Lampoon:

September 29, 2009

Have you got a little Brook in your heart,

Where bashful flowers blow,

And blushing birds go down to drink,

And shadows tremble so —


And nobody knows, so still it flows,

That any brook is there, 

And yet your little drought of life

Is daily drunken there — 


Why, look out for the little brook in March, 

When the rivers overflow,

And the snow comes hurrying from the hills,

And the bridges often go —


And later, in August it may be —

When the meadows parching lie,

Beware, lest this little brook of life, 

Some burning noon go dry! 


September 27, 2009

A humble champion is like a sorry attempt at wit – sickening.


September 26, 2009

Decided to make an arduino stopwatch today. I connected pin 7 to the 5 volt pin, which serves as the input source for pin 7. Once you break the input value by breaking the physical connection (by unplugging pin 7 on the breadboard) and then re-connect,  it starts to recognize the 5 volt as the input value for pin 7 and tracks the duration until the next pulse break. So every time I disconnect pin 7 from the 5 volt, it serves to “stop” the duration timer and print out the serial time (in this case I set it to spit out both total seconds and total milliseconds), and every time I connect pin 7 to the 5 volt, it records the pulse input duration until I disconnect. After that I just integrated some cool LEDs to go off in a loop whenever the connection is broke – that is, whenever I stop the timer.


Photo 11

Some results: 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 865 ms, 

3 Sec, 3115 ms,  — this was how long it took me to blow my nose! 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

37 Sec, 37753 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

6 Sec, 6377 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

1 Sec, 1621 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 209 ms, — Fastest time! Gnarly! 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 214 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 

0 Sec, 924 ms, 

0 Sec, 0 ms, 


 const int pingPin = 7;

 int timer = 100;

 int thisPin = 8;

 void setup() {


   for(int thisPin = 8; thisPin <= 13; thisPin++){

   pinMode (thisPin, OUTPUT);



 void loop()


  long duration;

   pinMode(pingPin, INPUT);

   duration = pulseIn(pingPin, HIGH);  


   Serial.print(” Sec, “);


   Serial.print(” ms, “);



   if (duration > 1){

   for(int thisPin = 8; thisPin <=13; thisPin++){

     digitalWrite(thisPin, HIGH);


     digitalWrite (thisPin, LOW);


   for(int thisPin = 13; thisPin >=8; thisPin- -){

   digitalWrite (thisPin, HIGH);


   digitalWrite(thisPin, LOW);




  digitalWrite (thisPin, LOW);


Experimental Music

September 18, 2009

Just what exactly is so “intelligent” about Intelligent Dance Music (IDM)?

IDM or experimental “avant-garde” style music is an attempt at challenging the normal idea of a ‘linear musical progression’ – that is, how many oblique obstructions can we add before all symmetry breaks down entirely? The idea is not to construct a meaningless hubbub of noise (there’s nothing intelligent or interesting about that), rather the musician is trying to push the CONCEPT of structure to its limit. In normal “pop culture”-esque music, the structure of the song is obvious and immediately recognizable; but in experimental music, the structure is precisely what is being tested**, making it very subtle and difficult to follow. Part of what makes intelligent dance music “intelligent”, then, is that the listener MUST be active. Half of the FUN of listening to experimental music is to recognize and follow the subtle structure of the song – to listen to, and appreciate how that structure is tested. Thus, the ideology, and the attentive demand that this genre places on the listener are what makes it “intelligent”.

**each attempt at testing the idea of structure in this way is an experiment, hence ‘experiment’al music.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Experimental Music “, posted with vodpod

September 16, 2009

I can’t believe my eyes. I just saw a GuitarHero setup in the main lobby of the Pattee library! UNREAL! They’re turning my library into an f-ing carnival for children. — “What’s that, you’d like to check out a book? Oh, well here’s your free cone of cotton candy to go with it. Enjoy your day, HONK HONK.”


September 12, 2009

The depth and dexterity of any man’s expression is always a mirror image of his focus. Without focus one finds oneself swinging the arms of thought at shadows and chimaeras to the point of exhaustion. Focus keeps us THERE, keeps us at the shoreline of thought, mounts our feet to the ocean floor and safeguards us from the rip-currents of passion; for any thought worth expressing tears through the individual like a violent hurricane. The weak are swept away like drunken dancers of whimsy with pretty words and petty phrases of wit, esteeming himself to be some sort of poet, yet revealing himself as a child chasing fireflies in the night. His cheap phrases, buoyant though they might be, bob back and forth in a briny void, uprooted from thought. The water nymphs of caprice lead him to a gentile brook that soon advances into violent rapids and smashes his ribcage against the rocks of intellectual bankruptcy. Focus is our only defense against our own passion. Focus grabs passion like an Arabian thoroughbred by the mane, throws him into a stable, and domesticates him. Later our thoughts will strap a saddle to his back and ride him to exhaustion. It is thus not without a degree of foolishness that poets, artists, and other of that ilk scoff at the art mathematics. Mathematics is the labor that produces calluses on the hands of focus and conditions him for struggle, for whenever focus lacks this vital endurance, passion, with volcanic force, erupts and splinters the soul into every possible variation of itself – into ash and dust – and thus blots out the rays of insight.


September 7, 2009

Apologies are strange. Whenever someone expects/demands an apology from someone else, what they are really saying is: you hurt me, now I want to see you equally hurt by your own feelings of sorrow (or guilt, or whatever). Forgiveness, then, amounts to being sufficiently satisfied in witnessing the insulter’s self-torment.


July 23, 2009

In his Meditations Marcus Aurelius writes,

“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing which disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now. But if anything in your disposition gives you pain, who hinders you from correcting the principle at fault? And even if you are pained because you are not doing some particular thing which seems to you to be right, why do you not act rather than complain? ‘Some insuperable obstacle is in the way.’ Do not be grieved then, for the cause of its not being done depends not on you.” 

The point is pretty simple – Don’t complain about that which is in your power to remedy, precisely because it is in your power to remedy. Hence any complaint is futile because you might as well fix the problem instead of complaining. Likewise, if the object of your complaints exists outside your ability to change, then your complaints are equally as futile as the squeals of a sacrificial pig. 

However, I think that Marcus Aurelius is missing an important point – that people often LIKE to complain! Often times People enjoy the empathy that they receive from others when they complain. At first I was tempted to draw the conclusion that people who frequently complain have weak characters since they constantly seek the emotional embrace of others – that is, those who would be offering their empathy. However, this is too quick. There are, after all, many reasons one might have for complaining (excluding the ostensive object of complaint, of course), and not all of them are malevolent or craven. Sharing the things which cause us grief can be (but not always are!) like sharing a piece of ourselves – albeit not information-wise (i.e. the ‘these are the types of things that bother me’ sort of information), but emotion-wise. What I mean is that grief is like an emotional weight (this is no secret). When one person vents his or her grief on another, it is as if that person is helping the other support his or her emotional weight. In many ways this event creates a bond between two people, much like the way sticking up for a person who is enduring embarrassing scrutiny tends to form bonds of friendship. Often time I have observed people complain to another simply for the sake of forming this sort of precious bond. And what’s so bad about that? 

One thing is for sure – when someone complains, the intentionality of their complaint is almost never directed against the ostensive object which grieves them.  

Dostoevsky in his novella Notes from the Underground observes this sort of malignant complaining from people – he uses the example of a man who loses his wife and parades in the streets in distress, however it is clear that his is enjoying the activity of expressing this grievance through his complaints. From this the Underground Man (not necessarily Dostoevsky) famously concludes that people enjoy suffering! 

Perhaps they enjoy not the actual suffering itself, but the empathy, the emotional support they receive from others in response to their complaints?

July 23, 2009

Virtue, methinks, is the power to excite virtue, both in oneself and others.

July 23, 2009

Some learn to do what technology tells them, others learn to tell technology what to do.

July 19, 2009

Just found out that a bow is considered to be a sign of respect because it shows the most vulnerable part of your body (your neck) to your acquaintance.