Late Night with Interesting Read “What Makes You You?”

Who_Am_I“What makes you you?”

That seemingly innocent question belies a mystery that has, for millennia, troubled the minds of philosophers far and wide. That question turned into a long, thought-provoking read in the late night that leaves me wide awake at three in the morning.

Worth every second of it.

The link’s right here, but I’m gonna jump straight to one of the last few points it brought up, specifically the continuity of a person’s identity.

Imagine a 90-year-old man looking at the photo of himself when he was 6 years old, and told us: “That’s me!”, we’d probably be inclined to agree with him. But if we compare these two from the different timelines side-by-side, they could hardly be any more different. They’re different in their size, they’re different in their thoughts, they’re different in the experience they went through, and with 84 years sitting in between them, it’s likely that every single body cell that existed on his six-year old self died a long, long time ago.

When we put it that way, it sounds a wee little bit depressing, no? Fortunately, people tend to not mind. However different we may have changed and people do change we would still tend to call our 10-years-younger self “me”. If we deny that, then we might as well say that the one-second-younger me was a stranger.

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When It Turns Cold

rain2I have been thinking lately, what makes the heart beats? Now now, I’m not talking about the node signal that makes your heart pump blood, that really kills the mood, ya know? I’m thinking of the emotional heart, the one that changes its swing on the slightest whim, the one that beats without blood, and bleeds, without blood.

It just so happened that I have encountered too many a passing lately. The sorrow, the grief. For some, it may be but a fleeting moment; but for others, it may linger on. We’ve all heard the moody phrases concerning the heart: broken, bleed, smashed, splintered, frozen, harden, heavy, and what-not. One will be given 10 Nobel Prizes if such a material was found in real life, but even more amazing is that, even with all these crushing emotions, one might find the heart dancing the next moment, fluttering to the lightest tune without a care in the world. It seems then, the negative emotions came mostly from ourselves, and if we choose to let it go, if we choose to focus on positive emotions, what makes us excited, what makes us laugh, things started to seemed less dire.

So I wondered, what makes the heart beats?

Not Tick-Tocking fast enough? Spinplasmonics might save the day…Next decade

spintronicsFor as long as I owned a computer, I have always felt that it was sluggish and slow to respond. It wasn’t so much about the lack of raw computing power nor the bottleneck of memory/hard drive’s speed, though these were certainly factors involved; rather, it was more of a disconnection between the immense possibilities it could offer and the realization that only a tiny fraction of its potential was utilized, that decades might past before its true potential is fully realized. This feeling of sluggishness has persisted over the years, and no matter how fast the computers have become, no matter how sophisticated it came to be, the feeling was never really dispelled. It was like giving all you have to become a better person, yet years past and you are still nowhere near your ideal self.

Now, I’m not disappointed with the current progress of computing advancement. Despite the various challenges looming on the horizon, I’m optimistic that these can and will be overcome, even if it means the end of Moore’s Law. Just look at where we stand now: Intel is still on a roll despite a delay in the production of 14nm wafers, and is confident in rolling out the 10nm wafers as early as 2015 (though 2016 is more probable) and 450mm wafers before the end of this decade; memristor such as ReRAM has seen its working prototype implemented within the current metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) manufacturing process, and STT-MRAM isn’t far behind; the 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) can now be purchased for around $500, edging ever closer to the price-performance sweet spot of flash SSDs. All indications point to us living in one of the fastest growing period in terms of technological advancement, one that might not be seen again for centuries to come, and one that is, in all likelihood, in its last decade.

Small Steps Make All the Difference: 5 Simple Steps to Build a New Habit

stone stairsHave you ever tried to change something in your life? Like, start waking up earlier and dedicate one hour or two for reading; fit 30 minutes of exercise into your busy schedule; begin yoga lessons that helps you to relax and be more mindful of the present; learning a foreign language; or just start writing nonsense in the hope of producing a book one day.

If you have, it is likely that you discovered old habits die hard. It doesn’t help when research shows that newer generations are more used to instant gratification, meaning they see the rewards they can get instantly or with little effort being more attractive compared to better rewards that requires time or effort. When an obstacle presents itself, the effort required increased, therefore the rewards now seem less attractive, and we are more likely to revert back to our old habit.

So, how do we overcome it? Simple really, we start small. Cut down your goal to something so easy you can almost do it in your sleep, almost. This turns instant gratification to our favour, really: when we made it so easy that there is little to no obstacle in our way, we could achieve it before the thought of not doing it even shows up. It’ll be like “what about n-OH IT’S DONE!”. The best part is the rush of excitement we feel over our little achievement, that one thing we’ve been meaning to do but keep slipping out of our grasps. Sure, it’s a small achievement, but that may be just what we need to motivate us breaking through our old habit and start sticking to a new one.

On The Journey

the journeyIt’s Valentine’s! Phew talk about journey, my backside’s still hurting from the ride! Anyway, I realized it’s been ages (read: ten days) since I posted here, definitely way out of my usual posting schedule, and not following a schedule is one of the first sign of going down the slippery slope. Uh. Oh.

Thankfully, being away from writing for this long also means I have more things on my mind to engrave onto the paper (or in this case, my blog). So, I’m going to do a short summary and review on The Journey. If you do not want to get spoiled, stop right here! It’s a minefield up ahead. But if you don’t mind, read anyway. You have been warned ;p

Crawfish Boil (Louisiana Style)

Crawfish BoilRecently I had a unique dining experience in the form of crabs, prawns, yabbies, and one of the warmest customer service I have had. The catch? There were no utensils offered. No plates, no spoons, no forks, nothing. Just a bag of freshly boiled seafood on the table, seducing you with its aroma, telling you to eat it with nothing but your hand. It was messy, but it offers a rare opportunity to chow down on delicacies with your bare hand; It doesn’t hurt that it was finger licking good, too. This experience was made possible by Crab Factory: Original Louisiana Boil, located at the heart of the busy city of Petaling Jaya, in SS2 (which is in Malaysia).

The thing that left the strongest impression with me is their well-seasoned sauce. The restaurant currently offers three types of sauce in conjunction with their seafood: Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, and the Signature Whole Shebang sauce. The last one is worthy of mention, as it is the signature sauce and comes in four levels of spiciness: Mild, Medium, XXX, and the Death Valley. I’ll be first to admit that this is my least favourite sauce, if only because of its spiciness xD I have a cat’s tongue, and the heat from the freshly boiled seafood coupled with the spiciness of the sauce was too much to bear for me. Even the medium level packs a ferocious punch and left me wanting more water.

On the other hand, the Garlic Butter sauce is my favourite. I repeat, the Garlic Butter sauce is myyy preeciiiioou – I mean, my favourite. It’s literally packed full of garlic, yet it blends in nicely with the sauce and makes a perfect marriage with seafood. Heck, I could have downed a full plate of rice/spaghetti/whatever with the sauce alone. With seafood, it takes it to a whole different level. Suffice to say it left me wanting more and drove me on a search for a recipe that I could prepare on my own. I have yet to try their range of liquors (craft beers included!), the fine assortments of delicious-looking side dishes, AND the upcoming mudcrabs! So I’ll be sure to revisit it. But, enough talk for now. Let’s take a look at my own version of the Crab-Factory-inspired, crawfish boil recipe!

Of Addiction and Fixation: The Power of Mindfulness

addictionI have wanted to talk about addiction, fixation, and their relation with disengagement for a while, but my first attempt turned into a post taking about how to multitask more efficiently instead. I guess the saying about the words forming its own course is true. Nevertheless, here’s my second attempt, and I have broaden the scope of the topic from disengagement to mindfulness. Let’s hope this time it stayed true to its intended course – not that I don’t enjoy a detour every now and then 😉

As an avid gamer, I am no stranger towards getting addicted to a certain game and would play on for hours until I have wrapped up loose ends (read: sub-quests) or progressed through a major plotline (read: checkpoint). Fortunately for me, it’s no physical addiction, so I won’t have to deal with relapses, and could choose to simply not to game if something urgent and important is seen on the horizon. Nonetheless, getting addicted is disruptive to my life. My schedule would be messed up, and I have to find extra time and effort to keep everything up to schedule. That is not healthy. It could and would cut into my precious time that I could spend with my family and friends, on recreational activities, my other hobbies, or even worse, on my sleep time.