Category / Current Events

“I See Everything In My Head” January 5, 2009 at 5:49 am

We spent two nights at my sister in-law’s on a short trip to LA after Christmas. On the last night, Suzanne was out late seeing an old friend. I was putting the girls to bed when they asked for a story as they often do. At home, sometime instead of reading books I would tell them stories– some true accounts and some I make up. So, I was looking around at the new surrounding for things to work into my story (I usually make things up as I go) when I saw a ceiling fan. That gave me an idea.

So I made up this story of a boy who woke up and discovered himself all sweaty on a sweltering summer day. He got ready for school, but grew increasingly uncomfortable in the hot morning. He kept complaining about the heat to his mother and didn’t want to go to school. His endless whining throughout breakfast gave her an idea. She gave him a shoe box and told him that it was magic! This magical thing in the box will instantly make him cool and comfortable. But there’s one condition: he cannot open it until he gets to class. Otherwise, the magic will not work. The boy got excited, grabbed the box and sprinted out the house. Along the way, he bragged about the magic box that will make him cool to every friend he encountered.

By the time he got to school the entire class knew about the magic box. As the boy sat down in class, anticipation built and all eyes were on him. The boy excitedly put the magic box on his desk, took a deep breath, surveyed the entire class and then calmly removed the cover. His eye bugged out, mouth gasped as he reached in the magic box with his hand and grabed its magical content: a paper fan which his mother made and inscribed with crayons “I love you, mom!” The boy raised the fan to show all his friends in pure delight. The collective excitement of the students exploded in a thunderous applause.

The end…

Katelyn and Allison were cracking up as I finished the story– just the feedback I was looking for. Allison then excitedly jumped out of her bed, made a fist with her hand, put it on the middle of her forehead and excitedly said to me: “Daddy, when you were telling the story I see everything in my head!”

Well… with a response like that, I guess that story was magical to me too.

Backlash June 13, 2008 at 5:37 am

I was so disgusted by the months long fight over the name “Little Saigon” in San Jose city council. If you’re not a Silicon Valley local, you may not be familiar with the “controversy” over naming a business district “Little Saigon” that took months to resolve and involved world class drama that included disruptive protests, recalling an elected official and even a hunger strike by a well-known fanatic. As far as I know the city hadn’t solved the issues of crimes, corruption, homelessness etc… So, it made you stop and go WTF?

Now there are signs of political backlash against Vietnamese candidates. Gee, that’s a surprise… It’s funny now that everybody is blaming everyone else for their dismal showing in recent election. A recent Vietnamese candidate who gathered a mere 760 votes, blamed the council woman for her humiliating showing, how dignified! The ridiculous drama wasn’t just embarrassing to witness but also undid years of political advances of the local Asian communities.

I know I’ll never vote for these folks in the future, let alone folks outside of the Asian community. What idiots!

Dysfunctional Democrats June 1, 2008 at 10:41 am

VoteMcCain surely is chuckling seeing how democrats are showing how dysfunctional their party is.

The Clintons are sore now even after DNC resolves the Florida & Michigan delegates with a compromise. The states’ votes will count , well half a count to be exact. The Clintons still haven’t learned to play by the rules, what a shame…

Man, what the hell with Floridians? They are always messing elections up for the rest of the country. Must be the blinding sun… May be we should just give the entire state to non-democratic nations like Cuba or Venezuela or something, since these folks just can’t deal with voting! 🙂

Rocketman May 17, 2008 at 7:44 am

Oh my… This guy became the world first  rocketman, flying with homemade jet wings strapped on his back. this is so freakingly cool. Here’s a video of his flight.

Happy Earth Day April 22, 2008 at 5:35 am

I spent this past winter replacing all our light bulbs with energy efficient ones and doing minor insulation on doors and windows– just part of a personal effort to be a good environmental citizen of our precious Earth.

Happy Earth Day everyone…

Mozilla: 1998-2008 March 31, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Mozilla project. I still was with Netscape that faithful day: March 31, 1998. I still remember the big engineering gathering announcing the move. Open source by a commercial software company was pretty much unheard of at the time. The decision to open source the browser code was both controversial. It was a difficult time for Netscape– Microsoft IE was cannibalizing Navigator’s market share and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. By some account, once mighty Navigator’s market share had perilously fallen to 20% at that time– an astounding decline no matter how one looked at it.

Giving away many man-years of commercial code seemed illogical even to me at that time. But an essay by Eric Raymond called “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” became very instrumental in the push toward open source. Raymond’s main point was that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” I remember, the client team had to spend months cleaning up the code. In particular, there were a lot of comments that the public might deem inappropriate. Many people expected the open source community will immediate embrace the code and push it to success. The reality was different. The move was a little too late in saving the company which got bought by AOL later that fall. The move was to salvage the browser. But when the open source community did not become an immediate driving force, some key folks like Jamie Zawinski began to leave the project. Underscoring complexity of the project, it took another 4 years before Mozilla 1.0 saw the light of day.

Ten years later, IE still dominates 80% of the browser market. Given Mozilla’s current market share at 17-18%, Mozilla barely recovers the market share lost it its lifetime. It speaks volume to Microsoft dominance and proves the difficulty of turning the tide. It took some time, Mozilla is emerging as a powerful, innovative and influential project. It relentlessly puts out version of Firefox with one innotive feature after another; by contrast IE has become stagnant. I for one can’t wait to see what the next 10 years Mozilla will bring to the users.

Couple with 17 Children August 3, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Wow… this couple had their 17th child (and wanting more). Equally amazing, all children’s names start with letter J!

Evidence that they’re running out of names: one of the children is named “Jinger.” 🙂

Slashing Funding To Public Broadcasting July 23, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in the ’60’s to ensure means for independent broadcasts. Now, the Bush administration is trying to eliminate the federal subsidy to CPB. This funding normally is distributed between the public TV stations and NPR. But in a vote of 357-72 last week, the House overwhelmingly rejected President Bush’s proposal. Here’s the official recorded tally.

The funding for public broadcasting has been threatened by conservatives the last few years. Unfavorable coverage and views on the Bush administration on many programs broadcasted on PBS & NPR have a lot to do with that, no doubt.

As frequent readers of this blog knows, I’m a big fan of public broadcasting. Say what you will of Congress, they did at least something right last week.

Is This 4real? June 21, 2007 at 7:19 am

A New Zealander couple, expecting a baby, had an ultrasound. The experience must’ve had a high impact for the couple because they quickly decided on the baby’s name: “4real”.

Authorities is blocking the name citing that numerals are not allowed. 🙂

Super Baby Monitor June 14, 2007 at 12:12 pm

“Hey, why is my baby driving the space shuttle?” 🙂

Rethinking Schools in 21st Century December 11, 2006 at 9:09 am

Time takes a look the state of education with the cover article called “How To Build a Student For the 21st Century“. The article points to a report coming from a bi-partisan commission which concluded that we need to advance education into the 21st century. Right now, our education system has a low aim: traditional reading & math competency. The article suggest these additional skills are necessary also:

  1. Knowing more about the world
  2. Thinking outside the box.
  3. Becoming smarter about new sources of information.
  4. Developing good people skills

One thing I didn’t see addressed here is arts which is woefully lacking in public school these days. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” policy further worsens the support for the arts since it only put emphasis on academic studies. As a parent of 2 preschool girls, education is one of the biggest & most challenging concern I have.

Update: here’s an entry with links to bloggers discussing this article…

Modern 7 Wonders November 28, 2006 at 12:30 pm

There’s a new worldwide poll going on right now for voting the modern 7 wonders of the world from a list of 21 sites. So very cool. Go vote!

I have yet to visit any of the 21 candidate sites, that sucks! Sigh… 🙁

HP Scandal September 13, 2006 at 6:55 am

Unless you haven’t been following the tech news of late, the HP board is in chaos. Board member resigning left & right, the chair woman is the latest victim. All stems from the questionable tactics used in investigation of information leaks in management– phone taps, illegal access of private computer records etc… Now, the scandal is drawing the attention of federal prosecutors. The feds are investigating HP.

The feds are investigating illegal wire tapping and invasion of privacy? They care about leaks? Let’s see… Remember George Tenant’s CIA leak? How about the Patriot Act and the bill aiming to allows the feds to wiretap anybody’s phone.

Doesn’t the irony just kills you? 🙂

Jiffy Lube Scams August 28, 2006 at 12:56 am

A news reporter in LA uncovers scams at Jiffy Lube.

I hate Jiffy Lube. Some years ago, I took my old Celica for an oil change there before a long trip. I discovered later that the goofballs who worked there didn’t fill up the minimal amount of oil. Had I taken my car to Sacramento as planned, the Celica would probably be incinerated somewhere on interstate 80.

Jiffy Lube sucks.

Voyager 1 August 17, 2006 at 5:29 am

NASA announces that Voyager 1 reaches 100 astronomical units, or 9.3 billion miles, from the sun on Tue 8/15 at 2:13 PM (PST). It’s 100 times more distant from the sun than the Earth is. Traveling 1 million miles a day, it’s the most distant human-made object in space and is traveling at the outer edge of our solar system. It will hit interstellar space in 10 years.

And to think that the spacecraft was launched some 30 years ago. A mind boggling human achievement!

Photos From War Zone July 19, 2006 at 7:43 am

I haven’t been following TV coverage of the new Israeli-Herzbolla conflict, but I imagine the following photos are more powerful than anything featured on CNN.

Censuring and Rewriting Science March 20, 2006 at 1:48 am

Even at the get-go, the Bush adminstration made clear its stance on the environment by withdrawing from the Kyoto Accord, which aims to reduce global emmision of green-house gases. It insofar denied even that global warming is a real concern when in 2001, Bush claimed that “we do not know how much our climate could, or will change in the future. We do not know how fast change will occur, or even how some of our actions could impact it.” Sure claim ignorance…

An episode of 60 Minutes aired last nite claims that the administration is now censuring findings by NASA’s James Hansen on global warming. Hansen is the world’s leading researcher on climate changes and believes global warming is accelerating; he points to the melting of artic glaciers and that 2005 was the warmest year on record, as proofs. The administration is restricting his communiques. Interview requests for Hansen are repeatedly turned down by the administration. When requesting an interview with Hansen, NPR was informed by NASA that they didn’t want Hansen talking on the most liberal media in America. Hansen’s press releases are reguarly reviewed by the chief-of-staff of the Council on Envronmental Quality named Phil Cooney. Conney was a lobbyist for American Petroleum Institute before going to work for Bush! 😮

Now, it’s one thing to be driven by certain politcal motives (aren’t all politicians?)– it’s another to censure, and worse, alter science! It’s blatant, outrageous and alarming. Now I won’t get started on the administration’s dealing with stem cell research, that’s a story for another day…

Fun With The VP February 13, 2006 at 10:41 pm

The comedians are having a ball poking fun at the VP’s hunting accident. Here are some of the funny ones:

David Letterman: “Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It’s Dick Cheney.”
Jay Leno: “I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, ‘Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?’ ”
Jon Stewart: “Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt … making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.”
Borowitz Report: HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT UNVEILS CHENEY ALERT SYSTEM: Color-coded System Would Warn Nation of Future Attacks by Veep.

Those Nutty Texan Politicians January 25, 2006 at 7:12 am

Star Locke is a longshot candidate for the Republican nomination for the governorship in Texas. This cowboy aims to kill property tax by taxing on 3 things he find undesirable instead:

  1. $10,000 per abortion tax on medical clinics
  2. 10% tax on sodas with sugar
  3. 50% tax on violent video games

“I take the position that the Founding Fathers took: that the power to tax is the power to destroy,” he said. “So our concept is that we need to tax things we don’t want and you want to not tax things that you want to encourage.”

Where’s the bandwagon? Sure sounds like a killer plan to me… 😉 Man… Are all Texan politicians just nuts wearing spurs & donning cowboy hats?

Google Rebuking Feds on Search Records January 22, 2006 at 3:01 pm

The government is trying to peek at what you’re searching for on the web! US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asked a San Jose federal judge to order Google to hand over search records of millions of its users and 1 million random web addresses in the search engine’s databases.

The administration claims that this is part of their anti -pornography efforts. But along with the recent wire tapping efforts, this is yet another encroachment on individual privacy. Furthermore, I am certain the government wouldn’t know what to do with such sheer amount of raw data. It’s a lot of data that for sure, but is it useful data to anybody? I doubt any insightful stats can be drawn from raw data like this without user information which wasn’t being requested. Worse, misleading or even wrong conclusions can be drawn from misinterpretation of this mountain of raw data. Perhaps, the feds will try to acquire user information next? Why not, if the feds get their way this time around.

I applaud Google for fighting the feds. It’s a shame that other search engines like Yahoo, MSN & AOL quickly caved in and handed the data to the feds. Kudos to Google….