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

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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Extroverted like him

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | 5:16:20 AM
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One may recall a previous post, labeling myself as a gregarious introvert, and this man's experience with paxil was a nice segue for me to further expand.

I am naturally a gregarious introvert; I am shy, but I enjoy interacting with others. At least, I would enjoy it if I wasn't quite so shy. The author of the article, Seth Stevenson, seemed to be similar. He was shy, but always curious for a personality that wasn't.

I came across the article on digg, whereby many users castigated his recklessness of using the medication when it was unnecessary. Nevertheless, I gained much insight from both his story and the responses that accumulated.

It wasn't until high school that I became (at least semi-) comfortable in social situations. Prior to this time, if in a group, I would normally be found listening, watching, thinking. Even as the number of people in the group fell, I would hardly be the one to instigate conversation. I would always reply when spoken to, however. In most cases, I was a bit of a wallflower. Maybe a few self-confidence issues, but nothing I couldn't overcome.

And indeed I have. Perhaps it's just teenage hormones, but my time in high school has completely changed my personality. I'm much more confortable with being in a room with strangers. Sure, that doesn't mean I like being in a room with strangers, but I force myself to cope. I simply need to take the initiative.

Also, the author (and some digg commentors) talked how they had become "social zombies", how they felt no true emotions, but always looked forward to being in a social situation. I will focus on the second part. I am a bit of a "zombie", though likely not in such of an extreme as mentioned. I can fake being happy, but other emotions aren't quite as easy. On the other hand, I can hide most emotions rather well. Maybe it's because I'm not truly experencing those emotions. I know some people of whom one would be easily able to detect their mood. It would take a bit more psychoanalsys to do the same for me.

You know, (being shy,) I really don't like talking about myself, so what am I doing here!? I do guess that this *is* a personal blog, so talking about myself is bound to happen. But in any case...

It is a very interesting read, especially for anyone who has been curious of seeing the world through the eyes of another person. Just watch out for the zaps.

Extroverted Like Me: How a month and a half on Paxil taught me to love being shy.

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Gregarious Introvert

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | 9:36:03 AM

Would you consider me more of a gregarious introvert or a reserved extrovert? Also... why?

This was the question that I asked many people yesterday.

(For sake of ease, I shall abbreviate gregarious introvert to GI and reserved extrovert to RE for nearly the remainder of the post.)

In any case, the votes ended being tied, 8-8. Two that I asked, however, switched from RE to GI after giving it more thought. I discounted votes from those that randomly chose, usually because they didn't understand the words.

Personally, especially after discussing it, I consider myself to be a GI. I asked the question to help me decide which one fit me more and to see how other people see me.

While the words mean nearly the same, there are slightly different connotations to both. A lying thief steals for a living, but constantly lies. A theiving liar lies for a living but also steals. Such is the difference between GI and RE. The noun part is the intrinsic description. The first word, the adjective, describes a common occurrence for the second.

Another this that I noticed was that the people who chose GI tended to either talk with me more or put more thought into the question. Those choosing RE just looked from afar and saw my outward personality.

The individual words in each are opposite of the corresponding word in the other. Yet, the two phrases mean nearly the same. Both are oxymorons as well. The inverse of an oxymoron is a synonym? Paradox?

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