December 13, 2002

Ichabod and family in Vegas

I have reclassified the photos into an album accessible on the links section. Better yet, you can click here
to access it. Included in this update are the photos on your December 2002 trip.

December 12, 2002

a poke at fast food

Our quality of life has gone downhill since the beginning of the 19th century. No, I don't begrudge the large amounts of innovations that have claimed to make our lives better. Nor do I resent the fact that we have more leisure time than people in the 19th century. Today, I just want to talk specifically of "fast food" and how it affects our lives in general. The claim is that it will reduce our time spent with food, is produced cheaply, and is available virtually anywhere and anytime. Little do we know what we are putting into ourselves when we consume the McDonalds, Cokes, or Pepsis. Little do we realize that the repeated consumption of excess fat and sugar will end up sitting for years in our bodies, even to the point that we are decomposing deep in the ground. I must admit that after decades of developing the tastes for these foods, they actually tastes semi-decently when consumed. I'm not quite sure whether that is due to habit or craving but I believe that is why we come back again and again despite our better judgements.

Unfortunately we have lost the idea that there are near infinitely many other foods in the world. There are more food besides burger, fries, pizza, and fried chicken. We have calloused our tastebuds and sense of quality down to the point where we can barely discern what is good anymore. Our society wants us to consume "fast food". The more we consume the more we make the franchise owners rich and the more they will in-turn want us to consume. It is a logarithmically downward spiral. Do you get the sense that we are in hell yet?

I am pleasantly surprised to come across a new movement at "slowfood.com". It is a basic perceptual change of thought towards food. It is in contrast to everything "fast food".

December 06, 2002

Science by seeing

Secrets, security, discovery ...
When taken in general context, these are the things that occur with information. Information is either explicitly known or it is not known. That it is not known does not necessarily mean it is not there. Let's take "gravity" as an example for our topic of discussion. Gravity is a very important basic physics concept that shapes much of our knowledge of the world today. However, before Newton coined the term, did it exist? Sure it does. It has been around probably since before the existence of our galaxy. Evidence of it is everywhere and in everything that we perceive. But is it secret? yes, no one knows about it. But how can something that is everywhere, so pervasive, be such a secret?

The answer is that no one is looking at it.

Today's science, engineering, and various knowledge disciplines are very directed. And sometimes it is in looking only in a single direction that we are blind to everything else around. The next major breakthrough in advancement for mankind is around the corner. It is everywhere and likely no one is looking at it. It's not that Newton had the only pair of eyes to see the apple fall. Eyes are very common. All mammals have it. It is that he saw with his mind's eye. Seeing with your eyes is one thing but digesting that information in your brain requires a process that is very different.

The same can pretty much be said about the topic of smoking. Smoking doesn't necessarily kill you. There is a great percentage of the population who smoke but are not necessarily dead. But "trying smoking" has a great probability of leading you to "like smoking". "Liking smoking" will lead you to "a habit of smoking". Years of the "habit of smoking" will likely lead to "getting lung cancer". "Lung cancer" has the high probability of leading the person that has it to "death".

Chain-of-events. This is another thing that your inner eyes will see readily if you allow it. I believe that in our pursuit of technological advancements, we have grossly neglected the simple advancement obtained by just "seeing". I am grossly simplifying in order to make a point but the truth is, many of today's chronic and problematic problems can be easily solved just by "seeing".

We are all just "not seeing" yet.....