Divide by Null - undefined

Infinitesimals

Voicemail has its uses, for example, when one won't be able to pick up the phone for awhile, but needs to relay a message immediately, or when other forms of communication are not possible, i.e. e-mail or texting is inconvenient or irrelevant.

However, I still usually end up ignoring it, thus rendering most of the pros as moot.

(1) Oct 10, 08 - 11:18 AM

On the subject of high school friends, just because you're different, doesn't mean you can't be friends.

(0) Jun 17, 07 - 11:41 PM

Pi is wrong.

Well, actually, maybe it would just be better to use what is currently known as 2*pi. I've always thought it would be easier if sine and cosine had periods that were just pi, not 2pi.

So should pi be 6.283185...? Should pi be the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius, instead of diameter? If so, it would take about 50 years for this to gain any momentum in the mathematical community.

(0) Apr 20, 07 - 1:07 AM

Graduation 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007 | 11:09:18 PM
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So this will be my unofficial Salutatorian address. Odd how such a speech is supposed to welcome everyone to graduation, yet here I am making something up well after the day. I've had many random thoughts, and I'm merely going to consolidate them here. It will probably not be on par with Choi's, much less formal, but it may be meaningful to my fellow graduates.

So here I am, a high school graduate, eager to live a new life as a college student. A few months ago, all I could think about was the great times I will have at UCLA; I'll meet new people, forge new paths, live on my own. Yet, now my focus is not on the future, but on the past; all the people I've met, the choices I've made, the memories I cherish.

Graduation didn't feel too special. Walking up to the stadium, the only thing different from the practice was the gown and the thousands of people waiting for us. I did feel some surges of emotion listening to all the speeches, but it felt too informal. Was it the setting? Did the practices kill the feeling? Something felt amiss. Confetti popped out of nowhere, a mass of caps flew threw the air... it was done? We graduated?

After the ceremony, it was all about pictures. Look for people you know, say hi, congratulations, hug, then pose for the cameras. There were happy faces, sad faces, faces I've seen almost daily, and faces I didn't know existed at our school. We said our hellos, our good-byes, our call me during summers, but it didn't hit me until the drive home.

Wait a minute, that may have been the last time I ever saw many of those people. All the friends I've made each year will soon be much more distant. In just about everyone's yearbook, I wrote "keep in contact" in the most sincere way possible. So sure, we can talk online, but is that quite the same? As much as I enjoy computers, there's something quite different from online communication to face-to-face contact. This hovered over my mind for the night.

But then, grad parties. So many familiar faces. It seemed like nothing really changed. Hanging out with the same friends. Keeping in contact with those close to me. We may be far in distance, but those who truly meant something would make the effort to stay in touch.

Then I recalled, the day before graduation, I went to Mike Yeh's house. We went to meet with Anita. Sina arrived later. Three good friends who graduated last year still get together when they can.

We will all be going our separate ways. But that doesn't mean good-bye forever. Get together over breaks. Call each other. Instant message. MySpace if you must, just keep in contact with everyone in high school. And always keep the memories close.

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The end of an era

Thursday, May 24, 2007 | 1:21:42 AM

If life is a collection of stories, and high school is one book, then I'm in a chapter where the resolution is beginning.

In the start of high school, I was a very quiet boy trying to find my way in this new place.

The first turning point in the story is when I joined band. This is where I met all of my good friends. So, I had people to talk to, but I was still a quiet boy who didn't want to speak.

The next turning point occurred far away in the Philippines. My family, my cousins helped me along here. They helped me to relax more, enjoy myself more. I was a quiet boy, slowly opening up to the world.

The rest is a blur; no major turning points, but everything affected me in some way. Somehow, slowly, I changed, I improved.

For example, to write articles for a newspaper, one must generally interview people. Comparing myself now and the beginning of the school year, I now actually like interviews. I'm not quite as wary of talking with people I'm unfamiliar with.

The story is of me and how I've changed. High school has been building up the story and now I've reached the resolution. Everything seems to be falling into place, but leaving the plot open for a sequel: the college saga.

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The Perils of Being Called Smart

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | 12:39:42 AM
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So, I was browsing xckd forums, (excellent webcomic, by the way) and came across a topic discussing people who are "smart". I read it and connected it to some recent introspection.

The topic is a discussion about one boy called "gifted". He excelled at his classes. When he found something he didn't do quite so well at, he just gave up. Better to not try than try and fail, right? Many of the people on the forum seem to be able to make a connection with themselves, and I'll add my input here.

I pick up a lot of things rather easily. For example, in freshman year, I was the first one in band to completely pass off the march (High School Cadets!), despite having only picked up trumpet a few weeks ago. Likewise, my transition to trombone was quite smooth. I'm also known for being able to play an instrument to some proficiency within minutes of experimenting with it.

Now after this initial burst of talent is where the hard part comes in. Though I pick up new things easily, as I get to the details, I begin to fail. Why? I don't put in the required effort. Why? Because I get frustrated that my progress is not as fast as it once was. Plus, it's more work.

When I was younger, I was challenged a bit, but never too much. It was always just enough for progress, but I never had to really work hard. I was rewarded for excelling enough, but not pushed to go the extra mile. School was easy.

And now, I'm beginning to have to do work. Soon, I'll really have to do work. College, as Mr. Olson says, is more suited toward the hard-working "average" (or a bit above) kids than the "intelligent" ones, due to the nature of the work. It's not really something one can "bs", like, say, AP English. GE especially, the "weeding" classes, colleges are just seeing is the new freshman can handle this new education.

The school system could be improved. "Smart" kids aren't challenged enough and thus don't learn something very important: work ethic. This can later have adverse effects, as the students doing well won't respond nicely to struggles; they will give up rather than work, or avoid rather than chance failure.

It happened with me and piano. I did well and didn't even practice. When it got to the upper levels of the Certificate of Merit, I didn't practice the harder pieces. So, I fell behind and lessons weren't enough for me to progress, so I stopped. It happened (is happening?) with me and trombone. I did pretty good for awhile, but I hit a hill. Then Danny came in and far surpassed me.

Now I'm learning, though. I play piano now, just for fun. And I work at it. I'm getting better. I think I have to thank Brian Choi for this, because I saw him playing better than me. I then realized that I liked piano, and I wanted to play some of the pieces he was playing (La Campanella, for example). Trombone is a bit of a different story, as I don't quite have the same passion for it compared to piano, so it doesn't get the same focus.

If I find myself at the top, coasting along, then I'll get stagnant. I need some sort of motivation: a rival, or a bad grade, for example. This is where I'll find some work ethic. I need to find a challenge and work through it, improving myself on that subject and improving my work ethic.

So... having intelligence works in the short run. Having work ethic is better in the long run. The latter people end up doing well in life, but those who have both intelligence and a good work ethic are more likely to be the ones remembered. These are the (pardon the poor examples) Steve Jobs or George W Bushes (hey, you call him dumb, but he ended up as president... did something right there)...

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Sleep just a few more hours?

Monday, January 15, 2007 | 10:15:37 PM
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Do teens naturally sleep later?

I can definitely say that I'm more active later at night. Far too many times have I taken on some programming challenge at 9:00 and found that it was suddenly 2 AM. I once considered shifting over my sleep schedule so I would sleep after school and then wake up during this time. It was supposed to influence my productivity with regards to school. Anyway...

Right now, the high school starts school first, followed by middle, then elementary schools. The study shows that younger children (and adults) wake up earlier than teenagers. Why then are teenagers, brain dead in the early morning (see 1st and 2nd period), made to wake up the earliest? To prepare them for early mornings when they get a job? That will happen naturally as their sleep cycle shifts towards the morning, as in the study. With the buses, schools need to start staggered, but why can't high school start last instead of first?

1st and 2nd period are probably the most unproductive periods of the day. It's still too early for most people and their minds aren't quite together. The most productive periods of the day are probably 3rd and 4th. 6th and 7th fall because people have been in school too long and are anxious to get out, and 5th is simply weird, but that's besides the point.

But personally, I don't really mind the early start. I know if I'm sleeping too late (which might be the case Wed. if I don't start my homework), and I enjoy the "extra" time I get after school. While I may be more active at night, that's not exactly the case with the city, most places closing up shop to sleep, so sleeping late won't necessarily mean going out late.

I'm in the process of shifting my sleep cycle back from 2:30-11 to 11-6. And considering that the natural sleep cycle is actually a bit above 24 hours...

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School Update

Thursday, August 3, 2006 | 12:41:24 AM
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So, this is just a quick update about school. I want to go to sleep... soonish... nowish.

First news: I got my AP US score! It's a 4! That means my grades should be an A now. That's good! Yay.

Next: SAT rescore. Apparently there was no change. It said I omitted 8 questions on the math section. I'm thinking that I probably didn't bubble in the free response part. I guess that means I'm retaking it. On that note, I also should sign up for the ACT.

Next: Schedule. I'm sure many of you want to know. If not, humor me. I wasn't able to take one class. So that's one less AP class to bolster my grade, but the replacement, I think, will end up being rather enjoyable.

So here it is!

  • AP Chem - Litzenberg
  • AP Gov - Olson
  • Wind Ensemble - Wade
  • AP Calc BC - Oberle
  • Newspaper - Filar
  • Jazz Band - Wade
  • AP English Lit - Hoppe
  • Marching Band - Wade
  • So basically, I had to drop AP Music Theory to make room for AP Government. That's the gist. I'm too lazy to give the details - conflicting periods and all that. None of my classes were available in 5th period so I requested to see the list, as I did last year, getting my stuck with AP Stats. Ew. Newspaper was the first and seemingly only one that interested me. So, I took it! I'm sure it will be a fun experience, regardless.

    So on that note, It's time for bed, just about.

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