What is Your Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,
    who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
    who are you not to be?

You are a child of destiny.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
We were born to make manifest the freedom of choice that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
    it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
    we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
    our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson


As a book lover and tech gadget enthusiast I have been on a self appointed quest of holy artifact. This magical trinket, this temptation of men, this device which contains all the good and evil in this world can be think of as my personal Holy Grail. For 6 long and futile years I have searched and not found.

This sacred device is none other than an E-Book Reader. To me, a portable library is one definition of wealth. Imagine the sum of human knowledge that can fit comfortably on the palm of your hand. I have trouble remembering everything I see, so the idea of having information at the tip of my finger is extremely attractive. For the longest time I thought about buying an iPod and use it as a document reader. My friends called me crazy. They denounced my plan as a criminal waste. Yet, through all the disbelief and chuckle, I couldn't get the idea out of my head.

There is this image in my mind, of a man holding up an Apple, standing in the Garden of Eden. To possess the Apple is to know Good and Evil. Simultaneously, I would imagine me, holding an Apple iPod, and peering into depth of its screen.

Alas, this purchase would not be economical. For the price of 80G iPod at 350 dollars, I can buy a cheap laptop that not only read documents, play music, show movies, but also run programs.

This is a common problem with all the e-book reader devices. Sony Reader costs $300. The iLiad costs $700. Hanlin eReader V8 costs $300.

I know it is ironic, for I have just proclaimed the pricelessness of a portable library then I turn around and complain that $300 is too much.

I confess, I am full of contradictions. I keep working towards a sense of consistency, of harmony. Sadly I have not yet achieved that inner peace.

If you are familiar with Arthurian Legend, only the pure of heart may possess the Holy Grail (In my case, the e-book reader). The notion is made particularly memorable by Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "He who is valorous and pure of heart may find the Holy Grail in the aaaaarrrrrrggghhh..."

We don't know where aaaaarrrrrrggghhh is located. Life is like that, directions aren't always very clear even with Google Maps and GPS. In fact, even when I do achieve my Holy Grail, I might find the reward vastly different from what I have imagined. Having sums of knowledge in my hand is not the same as knowing or understanding.

"This brings us to another point of view on the Grail", Tracy Twyman said it best in her paper, What the Hell is the Holy Grail:

[T]hat it is a spiritual experience. The Grail is described as the most worthy thing that one can seek, and those who embark upon the quest for the Grail must be completely pure of heart. One does not merely “find” the Grail; one “achieves” it, and at that point is initiated into its secrets. Just seeing it causes an overwhelming, trance-like state of awe and reverence, and the experience causes a complete transformation of the soul.
I hope you have your own Holy Grail Quest. Maybe it is a girl or perhaps that new job. It is the journey towards your treasure that will transform you.

Einstein sums up this mythical moral lesson of Arthurian tale well, "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created." Therefore, in order to achieve your dream, you must grow into it, and make it real. For me, that means before I can go buy an e-book device, I must go and raise my income level =)

~Random thoughts on pricey e-book devices.

P.S. I am also debating if I should buy the following items

Digital Camera:
Canon SD850 Combo [$389.97] or Canon SD1000 [$206.99].

Graphics Table:
Cintiq [$2499]
I don't need it, I am not skillful enough to utilize it, but by all that is holy I want one.

External Hard Drive:
My Book Essential 500GB 7200RPM [$124.99] or My Book Premium [$179.99].
I bought the premium one.

Computer Upgrade: CPU and Heatsink
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Toledo 2.0GHz Socket 939 Processor [$69] Bought it.
Cooler Master RR-CCH-L9U1-GP 92mm CPU Cooler [$26.99]

I will probably hold off on the digital camera, I don't take that many pictures. I want to buy the Toledo and update my computer in Taiwan and add the My Book Premium as a file depository between my Macbook and Desktop.

I also have this desire to build myself another custom computer and transform my Taiwan desktop to a XP/Ubuntu system. This plan is tentative, I will have a better idea once i get back to Taiwan.

Quick Update

Shows I enjoy has a tendency to get canceled. Firefly was a daring mix of sci-fi, western, and East meets West. The vision was too daring for the Fox Network. The show was canceled after only eleven of the fourteen produced episodes were aired. However the strong DVD sale resurrected the show. The ill fated series came back as a 2005 film Serenity and shined for one last glorious appearance.

Recently another show I enjoy was dead. Jericho was canceled after only 1 season. Even worse, the season finale ended with a cliff hanger that may never be resolved.

I came upon the show Scrubs late on the end of its 5th season. I enjoy it immensely, so you can probably guess what fate awaits this show now that I watch it and love it. Yes, scrubs was almost canceled after season 6. By some miracle, the network decided to extend the show for one more year.

Is it possible for a person to possess a super power to end television shows? This has to be one of the most useless super power out there if possible.

Some other shows I watch from time to time are Heroes, 4400, and Avatar. Hopefully they won't be cut tragically short too.

Here are 10 news songs I enjoy.
Snow Patrol - Run
Amanda Abizaid - A Place in Time
The Fray - Over My Head
Mat Kearney - Nothing Left to Lose
Nickelback - Far Away
Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
Thirteen Senses - Into the Fire
Five for Fighting - World
Goo Goo Dolls - Better Days
Maroon 5 - She Will Be Loved

Taiwan MTV top 20 chart link.

On a personal note, I got my hands on Total Pimsleur Japanese Cassette Program and has started the lessons.

Also, on the day dreaming side of my life a.k.a. impractical life planning, I am adding a plan to get a dog. Getting a dog itself is not that weird and impractical, at least, not until I explain my reasoning. I want to get a dog and train it to sniff out cancer. I have tons of these kind of weird impractical pet project listed, maybe someday I will have the time and money to try them.

- updated side bars
- updated songs
- updated clock
- updated slider (added a song that plays when the blog loads, feel free to disable it with the sound button in slider)

-plan to add another section to side bar
-if i have time, construct my own Slider.

Advance on Emergency Medicine

Fascinating read on emergency medicine. The definition of death has always been changing with the advance of medical technology. Just 100 years ago, death is equated with the stopping of the heart. Now we have defibrillator that shock the heart into functioning. Another similar discovery is now coming into light.

It appears we might be able to resuscitate a person who has stopped breathing for an hour. Under modern medicine it seems most people aren't dying from oxygen deprivation and cell break down. In fact, cells of a person who has "died" for an hour has no signs of cellular break down. The startling discovery is that we actually die from the re-introduction of oxygen into the system.

You see, once the cell has been deprived of oxygen for too long (about 5 minutes) then get re-introduced to oxygen, our body will stop recognizing those cells as friendly. Our body treat these "unfriendly cells" as abnormal cells - aka cancer. The standard body cellular response is programmed cell death - to stop the spread of these "abnormal cells".

So it is kind of ironic, under modern medical care, most of us will die under these involuntary cellular response to false cancer alert.

Now, knowing the real reason of how we die, emergency medicine can be extended up to an hour after breathing stops.

I am wondering how brain damage from oxygen deprivation fit into the article, since it wasn't mentioned. But still, this discovery is a great step towards better medical care.

EDIT: the same story reached Slashdot: Treating the Dead. Read it there.


Billy-Bob and Julia 8/4/2007 Wedding coming up

Mikey-Poo and Jessica 9/30/2007 Wedding coming up

Economy, People, and Faith

My interest in economy is growing. Numbers has always been interesting to me, but add the human intent of 6 billion people behind those financial statistics, the reports almost unfold like a drama. Maybe it is just my over active imagination and lack of economic background, but I found it a challenge to separate facts from propaganda. More often than not, I had to read the same event from the US News Source, Chinese News Source, Digg's comments, and Europe News Source to get the full picture.

I am currently learning about world economy in terms of birth-rates. Without a formal study of economic, I started with some assumptions. Such as - 1. finance is driven by people, 2. supply and demand is not artificially conjured by companies, 3. competition is relatively free to reflect that supply and demand. In another words, I am trying to figure out financial trends in-terms of human psychology. I am interesting in the long term overall picture of the interaction between money and people.

An interesting thing to note is that China is having a baby boom right now due to a slight change in the One Child per Family Policy. I am still trying to figure out how that factors into world economic trends. How does a baby boom of the world's more populous country shape spending trend? I plan to take a look at the US baby boom after world war and see if the two can be compared and the trend predicted.
China's population is expected to reach 1.36 billion by 2010 and 1.45 billion by 2020. The peak will come in 2033 with a total population of 1.5 billion, according to a report issued by the State Population and Family Planning Commission this January.
On similar news, Japan's baby boomers started to retire this year and US baby boomers will begin to retire soon (see 3.Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization from Global Intelligence Briefing for CEO).

It seems developed nations has a trend of lower birth-rate. I am interested in finding out why. Is it the taxes? the social pressure? government regulation? Is the lower birth-rate an essential element towards becoming a developed nation or is it a by-product of becoming a developed nation?

China seems to think it is an essential element judging by the implementation of One Child per Family policy, but i am not quite convinced - then again, I don't even know enough to ask the right questions yet.

There are some million-dollar questions that countries would love to find the answers. How to maintain a stable economy with a society that is heavily populated with elderly. By 2020 Japan will have 1 in 5 people over age 70. Japan's birth-rate is 1.3 and you need 2.1 to maintain stable population. Japan will loose 60 million in population number by 2020.

Some things are easy to foresee, even for me. Housing cost will decrease in a society that decreases in population. In fact that has been happening for 14 straight years in Japan. The same real estate trend will happen in US as US baby boomers start to retire. The problem is that Real Estate has been one of the 3 backbones of US, along with Stock and Auto-Industry. A tripod missing one leg is shaky and unstable. In fact, I think it is urgent for US to rethink its fundamental planning.

Before, trying to encourage new housing and production of cars, US tend to build houses far apart, with wonderful yards and separate commercial and living zone to the point that everyone must have a car to buy milk. The zoning makes sense before because it props up auto-sale, but is now hurting the economy. As oil price rises, driving everywhere is costly. Baby boomers that get older would also be better served to live in a tighter community, with public transportation.

Of course, Urban planning at this late stage won't save or change the economy in the short term. But I think it is a wise long term investment. What US will have to do short term is shift and update its service industry to cater to elderly. Which I am surprised I have not seen yet. There are not nearly enough nurses for home care, there are no competent public transportation to allow elderly to travel freely, there are no education for elderly to ease them from retirement to a life of productivity.

I found it odd that we have required education to ensure children acquire the minimum skill to function in society but no such education for elderly. Such education for elderly can serve many purposes, not the least it will enable elderly to form new social networks. It can inform elderly of voluntary services that will mutually benefit society and the retiree. It can educate about rampant elderly fraud. It can teach about health care issues. The list goes on and on. On a similar note, why isn't practical money management a required course of high school or college? Just a simple course to teach kids about the dangers of credit cards, about loans, basic tax preparations and keeping receipts. This kind of practical course will be beneficial and pays for itself by cutting down credit card debts.

The more I learn about economy the more abstract it becomes. At first, it is all numbers and trend, products and service. But more and more it is about intents and demands, fears and hope. In fact, at one point I was thinking how much similarity religion and money have in common. Religion is about faith, the more a person believe in it, the more power it has to change your life. Money is about faith, the more people believe in it, the more purchasing power it has to buy things. Both system are build upon faith. Both are imaginary to begin with. Money without faith backing it is just pieces of useless paper. Religion without faith backing it is just a gruesome fairy tale. It makes me slightly uncomfortable that out of the two faith based system I find money more real than religion.