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Archive for October, 2005

Asian backstreet boys

Two Chinese students decided to spoof backstreet boy. Man, they are good. And funny as hell.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6739710473912337648

I tried my holloween outfit on. I have no idea how Myriam talked me into this one, but damn, It definitely top last year’s. I’m sure I’ll get tons of pictures from other ppl tonight…

Wage went travelling… I doubt he is too excited about it tho?

Add comment October 29th, 2005

cheap working car for $345

——————————————————————————–
From: Du, Kavin
Sent: October 26, 2005 10:00 PM
To: for-sale
Subject: Cheap working car for $345

And It moves

Green Ford 1993 Festiva. It’s a good point A to point B car, take 4 passenger (and it stil moves). Has a good sized trunk that can take 2 large suit cases (and it still moves). Has a whopping 53 horse power, so between the four of you, you have 13 each with one to spare (and it still moves). Small profile make it perfect for fitting in small parkling spots around the city. I bought this car a year ago to learn how to drive a stick. It runs well, and do 35 miles to the gallon. I only need to drive about twice a week, so a $20 tank will last me for over a month. Last checkup was September, and the only thing that still need replacing is the air filter. Passed emission test this Feb.

109K miles. Comes with A/C and automatic seatbelt. Mechanical condition is good and cosmetic condition is fair. KBB has a private party value for fair condition for $775. I am putting this baby up for the dealer trade in price at fair condition overall. I’ll throw in a free lesson if you have your own insurance. Please note that I’ve removed the “art” off the side as well.

My insurance runs under $300 for 6 months. So it’s fairly inexpensive to keep.

http://www.kbb.com/kb/ki.dll/kw.kc.ur?kbb.WA;341289;WA033&;hch+t&907;Ford;1993%20Festiva&13;FO;N4

I will entertain any reasonable offers.

——————————————————————————–
From: Smith, David

Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 10:18 PM
To: Du, Kavin
Subject: RE: Cheap working car for $345

Ha Ha Ha!!! How many horsepower are left when the AC is on??!!!

-d

Add comment October 27th, 2005

on religion

Last night I went out to meet some friends, and there was this dude who was complaining about how expensive tickets are to the east coast. It turns out that unfortunately he would need to fly out on 1-2 days notice for his grandmother in-laws funeral soon. And as he explains his wife was very close to her grandma, so she really wants to go to her funeral.

This is absolutely mind boggling for me, because first of all, we are talking about 1 day and possibily $1000. But naturally I wonder why he doesn’t want to fly out now to say proper the goodbye. The answer I got was that he doesn’t have the vacation, and that his grandma may have the entire month to live. It blows my mind completely. You can’t take the time to say a proper goodbye when that person is alive, but yet you care about someone so much that you HAVE to attend their funeral, AFTER that person has passed away? Isn’t it backward?

Apperantly it is his religious practice that you want to show God the you respect the person after they passed away, and that according to him, is more important than showing ther person that you care when he is alive. I am not in any position to question any religious believe. People I am close friends with like Tracy and Ronnie are very religious person too. They would allow religion to influence their value system, but never to a point so ignorant that you blindly follow what the book say. I would expect someone with a college education to have the basic intelligent to pick the religious practice that make sense.

Caring someone ONLY after they passed away, is clearly not in my book.

2 comments October 21st, 2005

technical specs

I am currently reading this book called Brunelleschi’s Dome. The book is a story about the construction of the dome in the cathedral commonly known as Duomo in Florence. The more I read it, the more I was amazed by the ingenuity that people came up with to achieved what seemingly difficult even today, given the simple and premative tools they have back then. Brunelleschi was what we’d call today the structural engineer of the project. With the official job title as the master carpenter, he is responsible for overseeing the construction of the project.

Being a geek that I am, let me explain the problem space. The dome has a pointed semicircular shape (think of a really stift breast) that’s made of 8 different panels. To get a taller dome, the curvature of each panel is more gentle than such at the circumference of the base. The center of curvature therefore are 8 different point away from the center of the dome and slightly below the base of the dome. First he surveyed the center of the dome which spans 70 feet with just a couple of ropes and a lead weight. From that, he marked the position of every brick and constructured the base of the dome. Up till this day, no one clearly knows how he managed to find the center of curvature for each of the panels on an imaginery base with the tools that he has. It is assumed that with that a support extending the 130 feet radius of this imaginery circle is built. And as the support rotates, it serves as a guide for each and every brick in the panel. And all has to be done with the accuracy that they will meet at the top at the same point. An inch of error on the measurement of the center of curvature, or the length of the support would be magnified to more than 6 inches at the point where the six panels are supposed to meet.

So that gave him a nice little problem to work with. And on top of that he is in charge of a crew of 100 stone masons, who are mostly illiterate at that time, who works on a daily pay schedule. Imagine the detail that his specification needs to get to. He has to go the length to allocate a 1/2 sq miles space so he can have life size sketches and guides everyday of the brick layouts so his stone masons can follow. This just amazes me the attention to detail one has to go through.

Compared to the technical specs that I produce for my projects, it’s nights and days of a difference. It is true in general that the more you learn about a subject, the more you appreciate its complexity. Things like the dedicated power filter for an audio amplifier, the temperature regulator on Vivace’s coffee grinder, the sharp edge on the tourneau curve on the Omega Retrograde; all are results of people who pays great attention to detail to achieve near perfection in the work that they do.

1 comment October 21st, 2005

scotish cold remedy

1 part whisky
1 part Ribena
10 part boiling water

smells like rotten fish boiled in sea water, but the sad thing is it kinda works…

Add comment October 16th, 2005

Mike Frei

Just came back from my former co-worker Mike’s wedding. He was a really
sweet guy. The ceremony was great. They had the wedding at a boat house.
He brought in sand from Virginia beach and Mina brought in sand from
Califonia and they pour it into a decanter with sand from Seattle. I
remember when they first met his life was a total mess. You couldn’t see the floor in his bedroom. He was miserable and lost. I remember he was slaving away at Amazon 120 hr a week, totally getting screwed by his manager. And now seeing how happy he is now was a GREAT treat for me.

Add comment October 16th, 2005

singleton and recursion

Still sick, and completely lost my voice today, so I slept in till 10:00. When I come in I had a line outside my cube waiting for help. I was waving my hand, pointing here and there, looking like Lessie. But the more technical the answer gets, the less useful hand gesture becomes.

Makes me wonder, how do people say “recursion” and “sigleton” in sign language?

Add comment October 13th, 2005

language and intelligent

Language plays an integral part of our evaluation of intelligence. SAT, GMAT, IQ test, all of these have a heavy compoment of language comprehension. But many would also agree that there are smart people not capable of expressing themselves. While we never discount their intelligence, it begs the question of what role does language plays in determining ones intelligence.

Edith and I were disscusing this over Skype the other day. What spawned the discussion was a book called blink which talks about the value of instinct. The book was saying that instinct allow us to make quick judgement using ones experience, and such decision is actualy an analysis of enormous amount of selective datapoint that one determine was relerant from his/her experience.

Edith’s take on it was that it depends on wether the expert can tell us why he arrived at that decision, and what went on in his head. One thing that immediately came to mind was neural net. Neural net is a artificial intelligence technique where a network of adaptive gates are setup to learn the correlation of a dataset in order to produce some predetemined results. The result of such learning is a system that is can be used to predict future outcome without the need of constantly revising the model. The drawback is that one usually cannot understand any useful information from the result of this learning. So then does neural net not have any value then. Suppose there are two meteologist who tells you that a hurracine will or will not hit us. One was able to tell you how he arrived at the decision: the wind speed, the position of the moon, whatever it is; and the other one can only tell you that he draws it from his experience that it will not hit us. Without any track record, no doubt the first guy is preceived to be more accurate. Okay, then what if the first guy’s explaination is very cryptic and uses terms that you don’t understand, and the second guy uses layman’s terms like weather front and temperature differntial. This time its not as clear but i think we know the winner too. This seems to agree with our early conclusion that language and intelligent is two inseperatable skills. The better you are expressing yourself, the more intelligent you are preceived to be.

So it seems like training in language is as important as building technical expertise, and it is especailly important the more technical you grow.

Add comment October 12th, 2005

A new chapter

Last week marks an end of a chapter for both my personal and professional life. I finally decided that my last day at my current job will the first week of November. The decision has taken quite a while and I am very happy about it. At the end of the day, I have to ask myself: Am I happier than the begining of the day? Did I learn something new? If the anawer is “No” more often than not, then it is time to go.

I have learned a great deal about myself over the years. The thing I most hesitant about was the uncertainty I’ll face after my decision. But come to think of it, I think it will be a good experience. It is time to put my education into use and take some risk. After all, it is risk that will make us grow the most. If I am afraid to step into the unknow at age 26, when would I take the necessary risk that will move me forward?

Add comment October 10th, 2005

nutella

Are you are spoon person, knife person, or finger person?

nutella
Of course here bread is over rated. Cheers to my special nutella spread. Who knows nutella pairs so well with red wine !

Add comment October 8th, 2005

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