Work + Play

It's been a long time since my pithy voice has scratched anything into the walls of live journal. This is mostly due to the fact that I now work on user interface design related items for Logic and GarageBand at Apple. I also got married and am now living with Julia in married student housing at Stanford (so feel free to come by and visit!). We moved into our apartment a couple of weeks ago, and have thusly been occupied with unpacking. Oh yes, and then there's cable tv which I now have for the first time in my life, along with an EyeTV that I purchased for recording it -- so as Chris Cameron would say, "productivity--". Speaking of time, I'd better head off to work, now that I've satiated all of my readers (if there still are any). Perhaps another update will follow shortly.


Jasmine incense is surprisingly good smelling, and jasmine scented tea is surprisingly good tasting.
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It's been a long time since I've posted anything on LiveJournal, mostly because I have a lot of technical things to say, and I've been afraid of scaring away any and all readership by going in to anything too technical. So I've created an alternative blog with more technical (and hopefully more frequent) entries. You can visit it at http://osiris.laya.com/blog/, and hopefully at some point someone with a paid LJ account will syndicate the feed for LJ so that you can read it through the friends list.

"Pop Science" is often wrong

I often wonder how so much misinformation can be passed around (Some examples: There are over a hundred inuit words for snow -- the truth is, there are less than a dozen. English became the national language in the United States over german by only one vote -- the truth is, there is no national language in the United States. The list continues.) That's why after reading the short paragraph that follows, I was skeptical of its results, having taken several courses on cognitive psychology and linguistics. I did some research on the internet and came up with the link that appears at the bottom of this post. I also came up with my own counter example, which is the second paragraph that appears below.

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch by the Lngiusiitc Dptanmeret at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

But tihs sudesppoly postrugeiis drentmapet apareps ircorcent. If tehy had ctreaed a denefrift eplamxe, praphes tehy wunld'ot be dinwarg teshe dvicpetee cosinuncols so qclukiy. Tehy aslo clitenonenvy redeeorrd tiehr leetrts to be eeasir to dipecher, mkiang an eelgenicdxy wrslehots slpame wrose. The Lusingitic Drapementt at Cigarmdbe Useitvinry nedes steamrr rrccheeserahs.
DecipheredCollapse )

As you can see, there is some difficulty reading it -- a far cry from "reading it without problem"! There are event some words that are indecipherable without much thought. If this example really is from Cambridge University, well then, there goes the neighborhood.

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The ironies of voting on gay marriage

After reading two articles on slate, one about gay marriage and the issue of morality and another about morality being the new "race", I realized that the whole voting on gay marriage has been very much mis- portrayed. What I mean by this is that while the religious fundamentalists would like to have you believe that when voting on gay marriage, you're voting on whether or not you approve of gay marriage, that's not really the case. The vote on gay marriage is more is more about whether people have the right to do and live their own lives the way they want to -- because supporting gay marriage does not mean that you approve or disapprove of gay marriage, but that you approve of people having the rights to live freely. This seems rather ironic, in that the traditional republican values include decreasing the size of the government, of decreasing government programs and influence. Yet this one disguised issue, one which is very much supposed by the republican party, goes completely against this view. So while on one hand George W. Bush may be campaigning for lowering taxes and allowing people more freedom to choose where their social security money goes, on the other hand, he's advocating for the government controlling more things that have to do with people's personal lives -- being against abortion, for the death penalty, etc.

I find this all kind of strange, since my original view was that republican party seemed to be very strong in terms of presenting a unified push goal. However it seems that even the republican party, just like the democrats, fail to be driven by a central ideal, a key belief that from which all view points are derived.

Why are there never any candidates that are both exceedingly smart and honorable? To me, it's better to have the smartest person possible running the country, but those smart people never make it past the primaries. Do most people simply not like those who are smarter than them?

Genetically Engineered Cats

Apparently soon you will be able to get genetically engineered hypo-allergenic cats. My favorite quote from the page:
Cats purr at the same frequency as an idling diesel engine, about 26 cycles per second.
That's right, who needs cats when we've got diesel engines?

I've also heard people say that we can learn things from cats.
Neutering a male cat will, in almost all cases, stop him from spraying (territorial marking), fighting with other males (at least over females), as well as lengthen his life and improve its quality.
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