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Category Archives: Speculation

Manifesto

A great number of people publish from positions of power, after experience has granted them a gift of wisdom along with the responsibility of spreading it throughout the world. They then find their task very clear and simple. They command authority over some particular subject in which other seek insight and validation. In short, people write about what they know best. However, the great majority of people are not experts nor leading researchers on anything at all, other than themselves. It falls upon them to identify subjects using which they can write assured of their own competence. Many choose the circuitous solution and become the expert they need to be, but even more will shirk the duty and end up abandoning their honest efforts or redirecting them to wasteful self-entertaining ends. Likewise, I disclaim and despair to know little outside… more →

A Student Memorial

When we were passing around Ms. Crisci’s yearbook photo in ToK, I noticed it came from a website for her high school graduating class. Now that college applications are building up and the dreadful day we graduate is getting closer, one of these website things sounds really good right now. Apparently, their webmaster has my ip on a blacklist, so I had to look at it through a proxy. They’ve got yearbook photos, a blog, obituaries, a forum, photos, and some other stuff. Yearbook photos, I understand. But it looks like they inputted them one at a time into WordPress or something. They must have had a really small graduating class. I don’t suppose our class is close enough or small enough to do that, but we’re not so favorable to tedious work either. Blogs are usually great, except for… more →

Bell Schedule Conspiracy

The clock that runs the bell system at school is wrong. It’s accurate to 4 decimal places, but still loses slightly more than a second every day. This pattern has consistent since I noticed it over a year ago, even on weekends and holidays. But occasionally, the clock jumps forward and overcompensates for the lost time. These haphazard corrections usually occur after vacation breaks or on late start days. The facts stop here, and the speculation begins. I refuse to believe that such a distinguished school cannot keep an accurate clock. The only explanation is… conspiracy! But seriously, there could be something going on here. I know that I have heavy confirmation bias when I say this, but I am confident that somehow, this marginal error in timekeeping has intentionally been left uncorrected because of something related to tardies. I’ll… more →

The problem of bounded rationality

Actually, the market place, in aggregate, has a long a glorious history of celebrating really mediocre crap technology that is an unfortunate compromise between cheap and “good enough”. In short, encouraging and then trusting people to “spend their money on better things” is a sure fire recipe to be subjected to crappy technology. [On the ubiquity of social networking in inappropriate places.] Imagine you’re the chief of staff on the Infrastructural and Technological Development team in your post-apocalyptic group of refugee zombie-survivors. Before you can start building anything, there’s a few things you need to decide upon. Let’s say you’ve still got a reasonable tool to measure the different quantities of both the metric and imperial system of measurements. Also, you’ve retained massive libraries of knowledge, from the details of the RoHS directive, to alternative economic theory, to RFC specifications for… more →

Compulsory arguments

In the Civics Online course, Seawright makes us debate with one another about political issues. Who knew people could become so bitter over things they cared naught about? Why is voting just a yes or a no? What if we had like an optional double-vote where you could vote twice for things you cared a lot about? And if you think double-voting would just cancel itself out and be ineffective, consider this: people who are indecisive will not opt to vote twice. By doing so, it increases the power of his1 own double-votes and it lessens the responsibility/guilt of a bad decision. In other news, I just opened the code to my 3rd open-source project on GitHub. Too bad nobody ever follows my crap repositories. But I swear, I’ll keep this one updated and continue to work on it. If… more →

On coming by ignorance the easy way

Google? Yeah, our generous overlords. Let me tell you something about Google. When you click RogerHub | The Personal Blog of Roger Chen. www.rogerhub.com/you’re not actually going to RogerHub. Google redirects you to another page1 that saves some data about your click and then redirects you to RogerHub. This page keeps track of all the websites you click on and all the things you search. It all happens so quickly, that you never notice. But hey, who’s complaining? I’m not. They’re Google. Nobody cares. But consider this: what if Facebook started doing the same thing? This bait-and-switch tactic would spawn a shitstorm, or a pool-pah, as Bokonon2 would say it. That Big Brother Zuckerberg can see all the meet-singles-in-your-area ads you’ve been clicking on just scares the shit out of people. I don’t understand. Of course, the reason I bring… more →

Nonsense Cycle

Journals are awesome, but RogerHub is not a journal. In journals, people write about things and people in their life. In contrast, RogerHub is about ideas, not people, with the exception of our generous King Zuckerberg. All the great persons of the past kept diaries and journals. They handwrote when they had paper, typed when they had typewriters, and now, they do this weird video-log and blogging stuff. If a blog is supposed to be a journal1, it’s not very good one. Journals are supposed to be private, so you can bash whomever you’d like and swear all you want. You can’t confess these things on a blog because they are too offensive or controversial. To correct for this, I’ve been keeping another journal on the side. I trust this journal, not to the soft earth in the backyard, nor to… more →

Computer fidgeting

Sometimes, I notice that when people use the computer, they do this fidgeting thing. Knees are throbbing up and down. Head scanning side to side. Compulsively selecting the copy then zooming in and out. It’s not exactly the perfectly calm end-user imagined by UX1 designers. Because most people are alone when they’re on the computer, they don’t consciously check their appearance, and these weird habits build up quickly. Not completely unrelated, people in movies always look awesome when they’re using the computer. They’re all doing important stuff and shooting people, when some guy sits down and brings up these nice translucent terminal windows and monochromatic data visualizations with units on a battlefield and mission strategists working around. It’s always the same thing, and it makes normal people feel inferior with their boring desktops and the ridiculously small amount of work… more →

Food laws

I was eating one of those Pirouette french vanilla cream-filled wafers and reading the back side of the can simultaneously. I thought to myself–wouldn’t it be great if they had stuff like this at school? But because the good people of the state of California hate fat people, they can’t sell anything with sugar listed as the first ingredient. And.. sugar is listed as the first ingredient. Some producers get around this by splitting sugar up into its various isomers, so that they can get something else to take the spot of the principal ingredient. Or, maybe you could dilute the can with water, and get the wafers all soggy, or maybe with milk.. ahh that sounds good. The first-ingredient rule really doesn’t make any sense. Let’s say, I use packaging tape to bind a bottle of coke to a SmartWater. Clearly,… more →

The Cell Cycle

I don’t teach very well. When I’m explaining logic, my mind skips a couple of steps, and I expect the listener to make the same mental jumps as I do. In a chain of logic, I’ll only explain the linchpin leap of logic and expect that the rest is common knowledge1. Then, my sentences just come out in short phrases that, out of context, don’t really make any sense. I supposed that some people are better teachers than others. I used to think that mental ability was an overall measure of competency in everything. It made sense that, if you were smart in school, you could do leadership and counseling and everything just by applying logic and inductive reasoning to whatever situation. But then there are things like compassion and empathy that apparently require a great deal more reasoning than… more →

Held in Contempt

Hey, China likes to point out that the US system of debate and decision making is slow compared to a centralized system in which fewer people hold more power1. But what if we had a form of legislation that wasn’t as serious as the law, but effective for quick solutions? Like a measure of contempt. Say the FCC is pissed at Sony for their neglect for security. They would declare, on some .gov site, that the FCC holds Sony in contempt. Underneath, there are 2 descriptors that must be filled out. First, the FCC explains the reasons for which it holds Sony in contempt, including any evidence they have. It’s assumed that if these violations were all corrected, Sony would not be in contempt. Second, they propose a solution. This may be a simple “fix everything”, or may not be…. more →

The case for cooperation

Perhaps this is unique to China, where the sheer number of other persons drowns out your cries of individualism. But I sense that there exists a prevailing trend of anti-collaboration that has only recently subsided. I don’t say competition, because that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the generally-accepted notion that, if you go sharing your success secrets with others, you’ll be at a disadvantage, and because of this, you shouldn’t cooperate with anyone. I mean, it does make sense. That is, if you dehumanize people into little nodes of information. But because of this reasoning, there is a lot of anti-collaborative hostility beneath the surface. It makes certain social situations very tense, especially the ones involving direct competition for some limited opportunity1. Of course, it’s a big problem if everyone starts thinking this way. Maybe it’s not our… more →