Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Culture of Smiling

House, Hanges, Javidan and Gupta did a study of smiling, what they call affect, in different countries, and they use it study attitude toward individualism and the tie it to economics.

The highly individualistic Americans are in the middle -- smiling slightly more than most.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Existential quotes

QUOTES OF NIHILISM:
DON DELILLO, WHITE NOISE:

By SayuriIto
“…Let me whisper the terrible word, from the Old English, from the Old German, from the Old Norse. Death. Many of those crowds were assembled in the name of death. They were there to attend tributes to the dead. Processions, songs, speeches, dialogues with the dead, recitations of the names of the dead. They were there to see pyres and flaming wheels, thousands of flags dipped in salute, thousands of uniformed mourners. There were ranks and squadrons, elaborate backdrops, blood banners and black dress uniforms. Crowds came to form a shield against their own dying. To become a crowd is to keep out death. To break off from the crowd is to risk death as an individual, to face dying alone. Crowds came for this reason above all others. They were there to be a crowd.”
No sense of the irony of human existence, that we are the highest form of life on earth and yet ineffably sad because we know what no other animal knows, that we must die.
Out in the open, keeping their children near, carrying what they could, they seemed to be part of some ancient destiny, connected in doom and ruin to a while history of people trekking across wasted landscapes.
We began to marvel at our own ability to manufacture awe.
The greater the scientific advance, the more primitive the fear.
How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for awhile? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it that no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise.
…but I think it’s a mistake to lose one’s sense of death, even one’s fear of death. Isn’t death the boundary we need? Doesn’t it give a precious texture to life, a sense of definition? You have to ask yourself whether anything you do in this life would have beauty and meaning without the knowledge you carry of a final line, a border or limit.
“To plot, to take aim at something, to shape time and space. This is how we advance the art of human consciousness.”
You are sure that you are right but you don’t want everyone to think as you do. There is no truth without fools.
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MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE, APOLOGY FOR RAYMOND SEBOND:

Is it possible to imagine anything so ridiculous as that this miserable and puny creature, who is not even master of himself, exposed to the attacks of all things, should call himself master and emperor of the universe, the least part of which it is not in his power to know, much less to command?
=======================================================

JOHN GARDNER, GRENDEL:

It’s good at first to be out in the night, naked to the cold mechanics of the starts. Space hurls outward, falconswift, mounting like an irreversible injustice, a final disease.
I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly – as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink.
…this one frail, foolish flicker-flash in the long dull fall of eternity.

I too am learning, ordeal by ordeal, my indignity. It’s all I have, my only weapon for smashing through these stiff coffin-walls of the world. So I dance in the moonlight, make foul jokes, or labor to shake the foundations of night with my heaped-up howls of rage. Something is bound to come of all this. I cannot believe such monstrous energy of grief can lead to nothing! 
=============================================

The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. 

Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. 

As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. 

But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s √©lan. 

Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation.

 He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. 

The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. 

However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light. 

―Stanley Kubrick

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I would like to beg of you, dear friend, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. 

Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. 

Do not now look for the answers. 

They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. 

At present you need to live the question. 

–Rainer Maria Rilke

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We are all children of the same dark night, inhabited by the same demons, haunted by the same specters… 

It is not a question of finding an answer to the night of truth but of sitting up with one another through the night, of dividing the abyss in half in a companionship that is its own meaning.

 –John Caputo

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Magick

Christmas Magick
Tis the day before guests come,
and all though the house,
No one is happy especially my spouse. 
I with my Kindle, my eyes under a cap,
had just settled down for a well-deserved nap.
Here she comes, here she comes, my mellow to douse
Get up, get up, something has gone wrong with the house.
The switch in the bathroom broke all of a sudden.
If you don’t fix it, folks can’t get their "work" done.
Off to the horses and off to the sleigh,
Off to Home Depot and RIGHT AWAY,
Wait! No! It’s the only day all year,
When you can’t go to stores to buy switches or gear,
Away to the basement I flew like a flash,
To see what treasures, I’d find in the trash.
Off to the basement! Down on the stairs!
Hoping and praying a spare switch is there. 
In boxes of junk, in places where things from old projects had massed,
I sifted and sorted the gear from the past.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when I met with this obstacle, I looked to the sky.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But variable resistance light switch, which caused me to cheer.
To the top of the steps, to the bath by the wall,
Wire it in, wire it in, wire it in all
I was so happy that now it was fixed; I knew in that moment must be St Nick,
Yes, yes that's right, my bath light was fixed by Christmas Magick!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Life Metaphor

A Life Metaphor, is a meaningful metaphor for your life. It come up on the Slate CultureFest on Oct 13, 2015. Susan Krause Whitbourne wrote about them more intellectually in Psychology Today.  She liked metaphors like caterpillars & butterflies, or winding roads. 

I have a metaphor that I have carried with me from adolescence, and I thought of it when I was ten. It has evolved though. It is about defending myself, with originally, an anti-aircraft gun. I thought of it when a neighbor parent was at my house, and accusing my brother of some misdeed. The anti-aircraft equipment was impossibly complicated and always breaking.

As I grew older, I favored jet fighters over anti-aircraft guns, perhaps after I had gotten a car. Similarly the plane was impossibly complicated and always breaking; Just like my old cars. I also felt insecure in my early adulthood, like I was one auto wreck from homelessness.

When I got a job at a large company in a fancy research center, I imagined super-modern fighters, and while impossibly complicated like my conception of the adult world, they didn't break as much.

Later, I worked at an industrial site, and they were stripped-down and rusting. Competent, but with missing rivets, parts that I didn't understand, and always need repair.

Time marched on I got a bigger house, and I found it too dangerous to be flying around, I decided to shoot baddies down like Ronald Reagan with ground-based lasers. This isn't so crazy because my thesis work involved focusing and tuning big lasers. This fit my more sedentary life, and my unwillingness to get hurt. The lasers always needed fiddling with.

When I became a manager, I became way too busy, and I want to tear down the machines and build something that doesn't need fixing. Gleaming new machines with good software that I can fix and forget. Just turn it on, and the computer does it. I don't have time to fiddle with it. On the other hand, they kept needing upgrades just like my Mac.

Today, we are empty nesters, and I am looking for connection. I am interested in a network.  "It takes a village" to be okay. The neighbors and I each have 2-3 drones that work together, and our autonomous network of thousands provides safety for all.

So there is my life metaphor.


Post-Financial Economy

Can a country have so much capital that it can build all the factories and infrastructure that it wants, and still have extra capital? In such a situation, demand would be served, and still there would be un-invested dollars sloshing around and interest rates would stay low.

In twenty-teens economy, the scarcity is of demand. If there were demand, then capital would chase it.

Right now, the real interest rate is 0.14% on ten year debt -- the ten year T-bill is at 2.04% and the core rate of inflation is 1.9% and 2.04-1.90 = 0.14%. This means a bond paying an inflation adjusted $1 per year, would be worth $714, which is crazy. Historically, should be closer to $20 or $25.

What about all the poor people would love to have a new iPhone, a bigger TV, a new X-Box, and a vacation in Maui? Isn't there unlimited demand?

There does not seem to be. The people with money are sated, and the people without money are without money. Transfer mechanisms between the Haves and the Have-Nots are too small to create demand.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Running Shoe Update


 Here are my Adidas Supernova shoes with the Boost expanded thermoplastic urethane ETPU soles. These soles have great resilience or energy return so they are fun to run in. They weight 334 g per shoe which is 35 g or 10% more than my first generation Adidas Boost Shoes

I had worn these for about six weeks and you can see the discoloration of the ETPU from the sunlight.

The toebox on the new shoe is larger, and the shoe is more comfortable than my older Boost shoe.
I had a chance to visit Brooks in Portland and get a tour. I saw the treadmill lab where they test out the new shoes.

While I was there I got a discount a new pair of Ghost 8's. These are a similar design to the Ghost 6 & 7.

Notice that they went back to the black outsole. I wonder if that is for performance or for style.

This pair of Ghosts is the least homely pair. My Brook's shoes have been great to wear, but they are not so stylish.

These shoes are 345g. 10 g heavier per shoe than the Boost. 24 g heavier than the Ghost 7 and about the same as the Ghost 6.




Friday, November 14, 2014

Inspirational Ideas

I was at a talk, and the keynote speaker made a few points. Here are my thoughts on them.

Life is suffering,  but people are made to struggle

There are two fears: the fear of exposure and the fear of conflict

The fear of exposure is perfectionism, and courage is required to overcome it.

The fear of conflict comes from imbalance in two important values:  compassion and connection.

Compassion is kindness to others, and authentic connection is finding common cause with others.

We need to have strong enough connection to embrace conflict, and sufficient compassion to be in conflict with grace.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jeff Haden's 7 Habits of People with Remarkable Mental Toughness

Jeff Haden , who describes his profession as ghostwriter, wrote an article about how to be mentally tough. He wrote it with the internet meme of X things.

The article is on Inc.

The seven are

1. Always act as if you are in total control. (Meaning stop waiting for God to help)

2. Put aside things you have no ability to impact. (Easier said than done.)

3. See the past as valuable training... and nothing more. (That is, forget about Freudian analysis)

4. Celebrate the success of others. (Generosity of Spirit is good.)

5. Never allow yourself to whine or complain or criticize. (I don't agree. If you don't complain you are a marshmallow not tough.)

6. Focus only on impressing yourself. (Internal focus can be sick, but it is better than sycophantic.)

7. Count your blessings.  (It would make you happier.)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ghost 7 Running Shoe Review


Ghost 7
My last few pairs of shoes have been Brook's so this shoe blog has been getting dull. My lastest one is the Ghost 7. It is very similar to the Ghost  6 without the gel midsole in the heel, or if it is there you can't see it anymore.

I got this shoe because it protects my forefoot from stone bruises. That is damage to the foot from running on gravel on cement roads. I had an injury of that kind last summer, and it reoccurs if I don't take care of it.

The yellow outsole of the Ghost 7 stains easily. 
Ghost 7 weighs 321 grams, which is 24 grams less than the Ghost 6, or almost an ounce.  It has a four part sole with a two part mid-sole - the white and the orange additionally at the heel.

This shoe has a yellow outsole unlike the Ghost 6 which is black. You can see the staining on it in the picture. These shoes have 18 miles on them, and the blackness does not wipe off. It doesn't bother me, but I could see it bothering my DW if I would wear them inside.

Ghost 6

The Ghost 7 is a little less flamboyant than the Ghost 6. Less orange and more yellow with a lighter gray color. I don't find either shoe that attractive. When they wear out, and I can't use them as running shoes. The won't be cool looking casual shoes.


As mentioned I have 18 miles on these shoes, and I find this shoe very comfortable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shoe Review: My running shoe update

I have purchased three pairs of shoes since the last review in 2012. These are the Adidas Boost, the Brooks Rivenna 4, and the Brooks Ghost 6.

The oldest shoe is the Adidas Boost. This is made from expanded TPU that my employer BASF makes.  This is a light shoe at 300 grams, and it is touted as having excellent "energy return." Meaning that the sole elastically returns energy to the running. When you are in the shoe it feels like it has a better grip on the street. It is a light weight shoe so the foot protection is not that great.


A pretty nice shoe, but I don't wear it much. I have had sore feet and need more protections.





On the bottom you can see the little balls that make up the shoe sole. I don't know why the sole n the bottom you can see the little balls that make up the shoe sole. I don't know why the sole is sn the bottom you can see the little balls that make up the shoe sole. I don't know why the sole staining yellow.
This is the Brook Ghost 6. It is 345 g (for one shoe) and has high foot protection. It is my newest show, and it does a nice job. 


 Here you can see the bottom, and the "gel" in the sole.



...


This is the Brook Rivenna 4. It is stiffer than the Ghost with less protection, and it is heavier at 407g per shoe.

It is an OK shoe, and I still wear it once in a while.