Subscribe to my blog

James Hong

Monday, August 27, 2007

why i didn't move to china

My sister and niece were coloring in a coloring book recently. My sister was coloring the sky blue when my niece yelled "mommy, stop it! the sky isn't blue... it's white!!"

They live in Beijing. The pollution is so bad there, it's fairly rare to see a blue sky. (Last summer while visiting, i saw it 3 times in almost 3 months). Instead,what you usually get is a pollution induced overcast, and sometimes what feels like a dense fog (much thicker than a San Francisco fog).

My niece thinks the sky is supposed to be white by default. That is a problem.

Today, the NY times had a scary frontpage story about how bad it is.. Read it. It's bad, and it's not just China's problem, their pollution reaches us in the States! (of course it is us buying their goods, so we are not faultless in the situation)

Here are a few excerpts:

The level of such particulates is measured in micrograms per cubic meter of air. The European Union stipulates that any reading above 40 micrograms is unsafe. The United States allows 50. In 2006, Beijing’s average PM 10 level was 141, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics.

Much of the particulate pollution over Los Angeles originates in China, according to the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh man.. First apps then this? Game. Over.

"Now, when you're writing messages, you can send the message to people on Facebook, and to people not on Facebook. " - from Facebook Blog

I think this innocuous little move is really, really big.

Facebook 2 All others 0

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Whoa.... speed of light broken?

A pair of German physicists claim to have broken the speed of light - an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time. (Think they can mount their contraption into a Delorean?)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Man Versus Wild and Survivorman

About a month ago, i got hooked on the tv show Man versus Wild. Then I heard there was a more hardcore show where the dude didn't have a film crew and just filmed himself, called survivorman.

the biggest difference i noticed between the 2 shows is that after 3 days of not eating and being out in the wild, the survivorman seemed to often get really lethargic and somewhat depressed, while the man versus wild guy seemed to always have lots of energy.

i also noticed that in man versus wild, the host is labeled as "presenter" in the credits, while someone else is always labeled as "survival expert"

all of this, plus the fact that things always happened to happen just a bit too conveniently for the man versus wild host (i need water.. oh look, here's a spring!! how lucky!!), led me to believe the show must be staged... which is fine, nothing wrong with saying "this show will educate you on what to do", but they actually claim that he is surviving out in the wild somewhere.

today, somebody sent me this awesome video confirming everyone's suspicions:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thank god i'm not in this one

There was an article in the NY Times yesterday about how people in silicon valley who have millions of dollars don't feel rich. I was interviewed for the piece, but thank god i wasn't included. Perhaps I didn't sound whiny enough?

Of course, I doubt the people interviewed were actually being whiny.. it just sounded that way a bit (to me) because of the angle Gary was taking. But one thing i think people miss is that it is possible for someone to say "I don't feel rich enough" and to recognize that s/he is fortunate at the same time. I think the people in the story surely realize that they are more fortunate than most, and they aren't asking you to cry for them.. their only point is that they still feel the need to make more.

heck, i'll be the first to be honest and admit it. I am in a good enough position that it is silly for me to worry too hard about my financial well being, but out of sheer silliness, i do still worry. The truth is if you are reading this post, you probably fit that description too because worrying about the fact that you might not have enough is pretty much human nature, and if you are reading this post you are definitely better off than the average person in this world.

It's easy to speculate what life would be like, if only you had some arbitrary sum of money.. "oh man, if i had X dollars, my life would be so different and i would feel great about life, and i'd just retire." But what most people don't realize is that if they ever got to x million, they wouldn't necessarily be happier. The old cliche is true, money doesn't equate to happiness and retirement usually drives people nuts.

(However, I also believe that not having enough money DOES suck and does make your life more stressful and problematic. Nobody ever mentions that when they talk about how having more money doesn't make you happier.. having less DOES usually make one sadder.)

ps. if you watch the video of mr. steger on the article page, you learn that one reason he is so driven to make more is because his daughter had a kidney operation and probably won't be covered by insurance should it pop up again in the future... and he wants to make sure he has the money to pay for her medical bills.. that part didn't sound so silly to me, but that's more a testament about the state of our healthcare system than the real-world-disconnectedness of silicon valley.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Japanese Gameshow Madness

Human Tetris.. Awesome.