Posted on March 3, 2013 by bw
Last holiday season we got invited by a family friend to a Christmas cantata at her church. After the wonderful evening of singing with a great choir and watching well produced skit plays we had a sumptuous dinner at the house of one of our close friends who were likewise invited to the event. What a great way to end a wonderful and memorable event for all of us. Memorable in the sense that beyond the usual perfunctory yuletide theme of peace it packed a message that surprisingly kindled a spark that lingered a bit longer, certainly longer than the exit from the car park 🙂 – let peace begin with me. With the tragedy of the massacre of the innocent children of Sandy Hook still fresh in our memories, how proper and fitting the message could be, as if shaking you up and saying – why don’t you do something ? Come to think of it, are we not sick and tired of all the gang wars, drug wars, religious wars and all the violence and senseless killings that never ever resolve anything ? And hey, I will not be arguing about control here. Where I live I can’t own a handgun unless I am a member of a gun club nor a rifle unless I have a license to hunt. These licenses aren’t rights but privileges subject to passing mandatory government safety courses and extensive background checks. I can only carry my handgun when I travel from my house to the gun club – nowhere else. I have no right to lug the gun around for self protection. Perhaps numbers could speak for itself. The metropolis where I live with a population of some 4M has less than 100 murders in a year. This could sound laughable, but my wife and my ex-wife (if I had any) will have to affix their signatures of approval on my application for a firearm license. Absence of such approval with result in rejection of the application.
Governments and religious fanatics who live for prophetic fulfillment are the main reasons why the killing continues. It somehow justifies their existence, of protecting people from the imaginary evil that supposedly lurks everywhere threatening to take over. Maybe our brains could overpower the machinery that perpetuates this paranoid thinking. Maybe we can focus on minding our own business, be less adversarial and be a bit more patient, tolerant of the simple mistakes of others. Maybe we could be less envious and hateful of the success of others. Maybe we should stop feeling too special demanding extra attention from others. Maybe we could tame our egos and start mingling with people and genuinely enjoy their company. If I start behaving this way, I could probably make my home and workplace a bit more peaceful 🙂
Here’s one man who started a simple handshake to an enemy of his country…
Filed under: Human Interest, Technology | 20 Comments »
Posted on October 21, 2009 by bw
Do I need a Netbook?
My answer is a resounding YES. But I already have a laptop – why would I need at netbook ? Well, here’s a simple guide to differentiate a netbook from the traditional laptop. It may clear the cobwebs for most people.
I need a netbook because it is so darn easy to lug it around. The fact that my computer activity outside the office is 90% internet browsing, a netbook perfectly fits the bill for my need. Put a G3 wireless stick on it and you’re wired to perfection, totally mobile and internet ready. But more importantly , I need a netbook that works – fast, no disconnects, no freezing, no stalling and you know where I’m getting at – retrofitting the netbook’s brain with something that really works and that means discarding the fickle and overrated and Windows for the leaner and meaner Ubuntu operating system. I just bought a Dell mini 10v netbook with Ubuntu OS in lieu of Windows XP and saved 70 bucks in the process. Shipping was free and yes, I saved more money by not requiring anti-virus software. Since Ubuntu runs on Linux , it isn’t susceptible to viruses and although not totally immune, it is much harder for hackers to infiltrate and gain control of the system and inflict serious damage. Therefore I don’t have an anti-virus system twiddling its thumb in the background depleting my memory resources causing the system to stall and freeze.
Filed under: Personal, Technology | 36 Comments »
Posted on July 27, 2009 by bw
Evolution is a pretty touchy topic as there are those sanctimoniously thin-skinned among us who will have no second thoughts of calling you an irreligious, godless SOB when you talk about it. But let’s talk about evolution as our eyes see it – the salient and remarkable technological changes we see around us, affecting our very own lives. I am truly amazed and fascinated by the human brain because it evolves faster than any of the human being’s physical attributes. Scholars have suggested, largely based on anecdotal evidence, that at some point in our human history, aliens from outer space may have visited earth and copulated with earthlings and injected their more advanced genes into our specie. The astonishing, exponential surge of our human intelligence in such a short period of time leapfrogged our very own expectations of the human brain’s evolution hence the appeal of the alien intervention postulate. Or perhaps the human brain on its own is truly special, an enigmatic blob of energy that has boundless and limitless capacity when you nurture and stimulate it right.
I chanced upon this video which talks about the changes that will challenge man in the near future – the economy and technology. If you have 18 mins to spare, I strongly suggest that you watch the video. The first 7 minutes talks about the financial crisis and its impact on the economy and the remainder provides a fascinating insight on the potential scientific advancements of the future that could trigger man’s self designed evolution.
I don’t want to dwell much on the economy because it is a subject that had been beaten black and blue for the last 6 months. President Obama may be very well on the right track with his health care reform to save the USA from bankruptcy. Americans normally shun anything that purport notions of socialism but I will not be surprised if the US government impose a consumption tax much like the VAT (Value Added Tax) in the future if things get real tight with the deficit. It may be a tough pill to swallow but it could extricate the country from the deficit bind.
I am more intrigued with the speaker’s prediction of growing cells and tissues and the thought of a futuristic biological parts store, ala Radio Shack, where people could shop for a body part replacement. The tought of a blind person getting an eye that behaves like a camera lens certainly exceeds the capabilities the creator has given us. I’m curious as to what the long gone founders of religion would have to say about this – a miracle or work of the devil? Would the advent of super robots downgrade man’s workload ? Perhaps we could see countries warring with each other with unmanned drones and robot soldiers confining men as the brains of the whole spectacle of destruction. Our brains certainly have the power to accelerate our evolution and control our own destiny. I dare not speculate on the world order that would seek control of the affairs of the earth when the ultimate reboot happens but I hear echoes of John Lennon’s song Imagine when I think about this scenario.
One thing that perplexes me after watching the video, that despite the incredible and remarkable breakthroughs and predictions of scientific advancements in the generations to come, a considerable part of our world today still live in the medieval age where the predatorial rule of the jungle reigns, with people unsure whether they would see the sunrise the next day. Famine and poverty are very real in some parts of our world. The human race doesn’t seem to collectively progress towards the evolution of our intelligence. While some of us are working on farming of human organs to cure illnesses and prolong life others can barely eat three times a day to keep themselves alive. Why the disparity? Is intelligence the monopoly of the few? Don’t we all have brains? Perhaps the power of one’s innate intelligence can only be effectively harnessed and stimulated by some measure of enlightenment which is a requisite ingridient of the evolutionary process. Without such enlightenment, a restrictive, myopic view of the world constricts the power of thinking which paves way for stagnation and retrogression. Just a thought.
Filed under: Science, Technology, Thoughts | 42 Comments »
Posted on May 18, 2009 by bw
Telecommuting or working from home is a trend many companies embrace these days, especially with the pressure of decreasing that office real estate square footage that translates into precious and expensive dollars. With the advent of technology that allows both the office PC and telephone environments to be effectively replicated at a remote location, with the help of the ubiquituous and cheap internet of course, many companies these days are seriously considering a fraction of their workforce to work from home to boost productivity and achieve economies of scale. Given all the right scenarios – secure internet access, a reliable and efficient remote access system, portable phone system – the prospects for telecommuting is ripe. Moreover, telecommuting automatically satisfies a substantial part of disaster preparedness and contingency planning, when an unlikely repeat of 911 wouldn’t wreck that much havoc to a company if a portion of its work force is mobile and not concentrated in one location.
Some jobs are perfect for telecommuting – others are not. Job types notwithstanding, telecommuting isn’t for everybody. Even if it is OK for me to work from home, I still prefer to come to the office for at least 2 days in a week, just to chill with the folks and keep updated with what’s going on. In short, the social aspect of work life is pretty important to me and while I would relish working from home so I could go to the driving range anytime and hit balls 🙂 I still feel that need to connect with my peers and exchange ideas, socialize and feel I am part of an organization. I have heard of a staff working from home fired because the company found she was updating her Facebook account quite frequently. There are pros and cons with telecommuting but one thing is sure – when you’re working from home most of the time the company isn’t about to trust you 100%. Expect them to check logs, email activity, browsing time to get a sense of your productivity.
Filed under: Arts and Music, Technology | 59 Comments »