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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recount



Last night won a game of Chinese Chess. That was awesome bwaha.

Woke up at 4am to drive to airport, random battle with wallaby on Foote Street. Those things wake up early o.o"

Airport lady let me through when I had 8kg in my backpack and the limit was 7kg per bag. I think she kinda knew I would just take out stuff and come back holding a pile of books or something with a 6kg bag.

Saw three (3) rainbows from above on the flight in, and still managed to get a decent amount of nerding done =] I think it's cause this morning Brisbane was cloudy but the sunshine was still good in places, that's what you need for rainbows right, sun and rain?

The houseplant seedling I smuggled with me from Melbourne has not died yet! xD

Saw a little frog bouncing around the floor at orchestra.

Had the most awesome midsem break. I think it's the that when you know that the time is so short you really try to make the most of it =]

Saturday night landed. Late night piano.

Sunday was sleeeeep in Halo Reach and piano day ^^

Monday was running with team KQ, all up about 11.5k =]

Tuesday was mhskids lunch/pool/dinner

Wednesday was surprise birthday. It was the day I realised Brighton was in fact not very far away, or at least not as far as I thought it was. The world kind of shrinks when your accessible modes of transportation change.

Thursday was a joint birthday party near the botanical gardens, lots of yum food and went for another run.

Friday was a catchup dinner at some Italian place where we rediscovered the fun of those frustratingly trippy rule games. Later was Hot&Cold and SanChurros <3

Saturday was little brother's birthday, ate sooooo much Peking duck xD

I know I'm kinda breaking my own rule about writing boring essays about my day etc, but I'm really glad I managed to get back home for that week =] Melbourne always steps up and gives me some awesome memories ^^









Post #5 of 2012

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
- Dr Who

Listening to:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chill

I've noticed that there is a bit of a difference in the cultures between Melbourne and Brisbane. Or maybe I was always a relaxed ^^'. It's nice to stop and appreciate things every now and then, but sometimes you've got to sit down and annihilate work. I will do that soon haha.

Anyhoo here's a nice little nature time lapse video I had in my drafts =] They kinda make me feel like I spent a day sitting in front of the lake, or whatever they shot, and all that experience is condensed into the couple seconds it's shown for. It's quite a weird feeling thinking about it - makes me think of Dumbledore's pensive in the Harry Potter books or something.


On a completely unrelated train of thought; what do you think are the minimum requirements for being happy? Can you just believe you're happy and be happy (i.e. is it seated in a positive personal outlook)? Or does it depend on interpersonal relationships? (implying all hermits are really sad on the inside).

Post #4 of 2012

All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.
John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848)

Listening to:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gamer

As most of you know I play games a little....bahah Ok so it's holidays and that little is probably relatively a lot. Anyway these two are wonderfully simple games that have a very thoughtful and sometimes challenging character. If you ever have a spare 10 minutes in your day I highly recommend them =]

Company of Myself


Continuity


In other news I saw the Muppets movie today and I swear it made me laugh myself silly. Humour like that is the best kind in the world ^^

Timetable for block week is wonderfully lax, only three lectures and two actual days at uni! XD Nice way to ease into things I suppose =]

Post #3 of 2012

Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.
-Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885), Les Miserables, 1862


Listening to some beautiful violin music:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Economics: Making sure you produce the right amount of Guns and Butter

This is a fat post.

There's this random story I read awhile ago, and a friend mentioned it to me again lately and I remembered I wanted to talk about it. At the time it sounded believable enough, but a bit of googling has told me it's seen more as an urban legend than anything else. In any case it's an example about the 'real life' outcomes of socialism.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..
The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
It could not be any simpler than that.

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.
These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.


In retrospect it does sound a bit chain mail-y. I think this version was a little bit more political than the one I first read. But a depressing tale nonetheless. To be blatantly honest I'm actually a bit of a believer in this "Obama's socialism" and I thought if this actually happened there must be something else wrong.

Skip to a week or two ago when I was for some reason reading about the wonders of deadweight loss when I spotted a term called "Pareto Optimal". In simple terms this is basically a way to measure the efficiency of a system, where the Pareto Optimum is reached by changing allocation of resources that makes at least one individual in the system better off, while not making any other individual worse off. I think an example could be something like taking a box of grapes from somebody who doesn't really care/intend to eat them and giving them to somebody who really likes grapes. Since the first person has no preference to whether they keep or lose the grapes, the only change is the increased happiness in the grapelover.

Anyway keeping this in mind I now want to talk about Nash equilibrium, which is a phenomenon in game theory that describes the state where, taking into account the decisions of all the other players, the individual is making the best decision for themselves (can you see where I'm going with this o.o). A good example of this might be something like the Prisoners Dilemma where two cellmates are given a choice: if one guy turns the other in, he gets 5 of his years forgiven and the other none, if they both snitch they are forgiven one year, and if they both don't talk they each are forgiven 2 years. Assuming both prisoners are sane and aim to get out of prison ASAP, they will of course jump at the chance to rat their cellmate and consequently both end up keeping all their years, which is in fact the worst possible outcome. This last outcome is actually the Nash Equilibrium, and the globally optimal strategy of both staying silent is unstable. If this situation seems irrational, it is because it is not Pareto optimal. To logic it a bit more, if each prisoner assumes their buddy will rat them then their choice is either to be forgiven no years or be forgiven one year (by also defecting).

My point is that this is the same kind of situation as the student mentioned in the story. I think they are at Nash equilibrium, with everyone assuming everyone else will do the work, and aiming to give themselves the easiest ride. The problem is, their assumption is wrong, and the carrot of an easy A that is being dangled in front of them is only potentially possible if everyone works hard enough for it, but maybe not even then. In reality, the mean intelligence of all students might only be enough to get them to a C level, but if they all put in a bit of work and the better kids help the weaker ones out, they might raise the grade to a B. Overall, we might see this as the potential A students 'sacrificing' their higher grade for a lower one, but in the situation where everyone's grades are equal (i.e. you can't get an A if someone flunks), it looks to me like the best possible outcome.

I'm sure this has probably been the basis of a lot of utilitarian arguments in the past, but I really do believe it. Going back to Obama's socialism, it's true, in the current system potentially anyone can be rich! But not everyone can be. By striving only for personal gain, hoping to...well really wrest money from others, yes a small number will be more successful than the 'B' grade, but a whole lot more will be below that line. The problem is everyone thinks that they'll be the special ones, that they have what it takes to beat everyone else. And that's shows healthy confidence and self esteem, which is how we've been brought up, but not everyone can win.

In truth, the odds are quite stacked against you.

The point of all that was to point out that they were putting people who thought like 'capitalists' into a 'socialist' environment and using that as the proof that the system was ineffective. If the individuals in the system do not realize there is an alternative solution, then yes, they will be stuck with the worst outcome. The crux is that the system relies on everyone believing that by giving a little, they can get more; acting not completely selfishly to gain the best outcome for themselves.

Blah anyway to finish off this strange and likely flawed rant I found a video from the movie Beautiful Mind that demonstrates a simple case of the Nash equilibrium (it was about that guy actually). He's got a funny accent, acts like he's a bit high and the idea is not super amazing I guess, and you could always argue someone would actually get the girl, but if it's a new idea to you I think it's nice food for thought =]



I told you it was a fat post. =p


Post #2 of 2012

"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble."
-C.H. Spurgeon

Listening to: The A Team - Ed Sheeran

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012


It's nice to take a step back sometimes and have a look at things from a different point of view =]

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/New Years break, and a Happy Chinese New Year as of 16 minutes ago! ^^

Post #1 of 2012

“The only way to judge your growth, is by making sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over”
– Perry Cox

Listening to: Drive By - Train

Friday, December 2, 2011

pop =]

Woah. Long time no blog D:











Post 16 of 2011 =]

"A smile is the best makeup"
-Random place in Japan

Listening to: Flathead - The Fratellis

Monday, September 19, 2011

A youtubeful post

So today is last week of Uni before midsem break, and also my last week of the exercise thing hopefully!! ^^ Have been quite consistent with it, doing it in the morning, except on Wednesdays because of the 8am start =-=

Anyhoo I've recently (ok not recently but this is the first time I've remembered to do it) found out how to embed youtube videos properly! Finally a better way to convert you guys with my music!!! xD But before that some....extremely varying videos ^^"


Tankdrift - because it was the first lol video I found this morning =] I thought OJ and Hungy might like it, if noone else ^^



Steve Jobs - This is one of the speeches I have youtubed over the years, and since alot of my friends will be graduating this and next year I thought it is slightly relevant =] Anyway it does have some nice meaningful parts, if you're willing to trawl through it for 15min ahah, also he makes a better case for crashing lectures than I do xD


Lisa - I found this girl online a little while ago, and shes the person I was telling you about last night Elaine ^^
I like her for three reasons:
1: She smiles when she sings, and it always makes me smile too ^^ You know how they say smiles and yawns are catching etc. Oh oh I read something somewhere about your brain 'mirroring' the brain of someone when they do something, for example facial expressions =] Anyway since it makes me smile it cheers me up ^_^
2: She's actually not a bad singer...I think. Hahah I can't say I'm the best judge of singing ability :x
3: I seem to remember clicking around her links and finding a bio-video. From what I recall she moved from California to Japan to pursue her love of singing. I'm not sure why Japan, maybe a side dream or something ^^" Anyhoo I kind of admire her for having the guts to go and do something like that for what she thinks she wants =]

*I'll put a footnote here to remind me to talk about optimism next time*

Post 15 of 2011 =]

“There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."
Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963) (Brave New World Guy)

Listening to: Your Song - Elton John