An 'A' in Math 1B
I told you so...

BTW, I've been in Japan for the last two weeks... Lots of stuff to talk about but I have to go to work. Two major themes:

1. I was searching for that culture shock you get when you're in a country for the first time... You know that feeling you got when the lady at the sandwich shop in London asked you "brown or white". Surprisingly, I didn't get that feeling until I landed back at SFO.

2. It turns out that I've been pretty depressed the last couple of months... The trip was the trough of that depression. My mixed CD that I took with me included songs like Cat Steven's "Lady d'Arbanville" (about the dead lady) and Chopin's "Piano Sonata No.2 in B Flat Minor, Op.35". That's right, that's his "Funeral March". Funny I didn't notice the depression before I left!

Here are some pictures from the trip: http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/pushmedia1/album?.dir=/Japan+trip

My favorite:
  Political quiz
The results from this political quiz don't match earlier results. Perhaps the season is making me more liberal...

Apparently, this is a better quiz. My results are hard to compare to the above given the different scales, but I like the transparency of methodology in this last quiz. These quizzes are fun to take because they help you understand yourself better. It doesn't do you any good to get the final results and not know how they were derived.

He was my North, my South, my East and West, / My working week and my Sunday rest, / My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; / I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
- W H Auden
  WMD strike in Iraq?
The capture of Suddam has given me a clear view of the true war in Iraq. As Steven Den Beste writes, "The primary reason we invaded Iraq was to rebuild the nation and to establish a liberal democracy there, but that process is nowhere near finished." We weren't there for WMD or even to rid the country of a tyrant.

I have a vision of a prosperous, liberal democracy in the mideast that stands as a shining example to all the Muslim people. "You too can be free!" That vision, perhaps delusion, seems more real with Saddam's capture.

What could prevent this vision from becoming reality? Options:
a. Islam is diametrically opposed to liberal democracy; its followers are destined for backwardness
b. "Bad guys" corrupt the forming democracy in its infancy and it grows to be another maladjusted country
c. the insurgency gains the favor of the masses
d. something really bad happens like a Iraqi 9/11

"a." is unworkable. "b." is a "hope for the best, you have to trust 'em" type situation. "c." is muched talked about, but it seems to me that that threat is pretty faceless and seems destined to run out of steam. (Faceless meaning, cause-less, not shadowy and scary. Although, on the ground it probably seems pretty scary.)

But "d.", what would happen to Iraq if terrorists were to detonate a nuclear weapon in downtown Baghdad?
  I liked the first test better... (see below)
Congratulations Will !

Your age adjusted IQ score is 119 and the average score of all test takers is 100.

Your IQ score is the result of a formula based on the number of questions answered correctly on the test. This score has been further adjusted to account for the differences in capabilities among various age groups. Your percentile score means that you scored higher than 90 % of the people who took this same test.


Total number of questions: 30
Questions answered: 30
Questions not answered: 0
Questions answered correctly: 23
Questions answered incorrectly: 7
Percentage correct answers: 76 %

Grade Range Percent
Genius >144 0.13%
Gifted 130-144 2.14%
Above average 115-129 13.59%
Higher average 100-114 34.13%
Lower average 85-99 34.13%
Below average 70-84 13.59%
Borderline low 55-69 2.14%
Low <55 0.13%
  I got dumber in the last 30 minutes...
Your IQ score is
120. A person whose IQ score falls in the range of 111-128 is considered to be "above average intelligence".

Your IQ score is based on your scores across 12 distinct aspects of intelligence. Like everyone, you have a unique intellectual makeup, with strengths and weaknesses that affect your methods of understanding, communication and relating to others. According to your results, your greatest intellectual strength is Pattern Recogntion.
  Have some...

Congratulations, Will!
Your IQ score is 144

This number is the result of a formula based on how many questions you answered correctly on Emode's Ultimate IQ test. Your IQ score is scientifically accurate; to read more about the science behind our IQ test, click here.
In the most strict logical terms feasible means "possible". It is possible for the US military to reduce innocent deaths. In this sense, Human Rights Watch is spot on in its analysis. The more colloquial definition would be something like "under current conditions can it be done, reasonably". It's debatable whether or not our military did everything that, under the circumstances, they could have done reasonably to prevent innocent deaths. This would be a hard debate to have as you would have to understand the specific conditions and circumstances that lead to the "deaths of hundreds of civilians".

The real concern of HRW is to see the human rights agenda is always moving forward. Its moot to observe and report the atrocities of a dead and/or dying regime. America lives on, though, to fight future wars. To further its agenda in the most cost effective way, HRW needs to concentrate on critiquing those that can and will be critiqued.

Besides, everyone should have an agenda of preventing innocent deaths.

My wish list for future wars, listed by least feasible to most feasible:
- no war (e.g. utopia)
- war, but no one dies (e.g. robots fight)
- war, but no innocents die (e.g. really smart bombs)
- war, but fewer innocents die then in previous wars (e.g. we invent innovative urban warfare techniques)
  Theresa on the fone
  LA demands niggardly speach for master and slave hard drives
I couldn't help myself... :-)

Stories like this make me want to use words like niggardly were I might more comforatably say miserly or cheap bastard. The bigger point of the article isn't an observation of political correctness in action, its the observation that our public lives are framed in terms of feelings rather than ideas.

This drives me crazy. At work, I tiptoe around people's feelings all day. I'd say its my singularly most depressing observation about adult life... We're all a bunch of babies!

Anyway, I Amazon'd a book a couple months ago called the language police that talks about the censoring of textbooks such that its not possible to offend anyone reading them... Oh, by the way, in the process the books become bland and uninspiring which, some would say, causes them to be incomplete.
  my first grey hair
I've been thinking a lot lately about two orthogonal dichotomies and I don't know why.
Craftmanship vs. Architecture (sometimes simplified as the details vs the big picture)
Storytelling vs Science (usually referred to as fiction vs non-fiction or subject vs object)

Maybe because both of these are false dichotomies but are assumed to be true nontheless. People often say of one another that they are detail oriented not a strategic thinker, touchy feely not logical. Or they say they are stuck with their head in the clouds not down to earth, nerdy not empathetic.

I'm discovering that reality is in between and that pragmatism requires a compromise, a third way of thinking about things along these dimensions.
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