ironic

December 25, 2013

neuroscientists don’t believe in the split of functionality of both hemispheres of the brain: logic and creativity require both parts.  It’s ironic that the corpus callosum‘s role is to divide AND connect both sides.

One can’t entirely blame humanity for dualism and binary relation – genralisatiion allows us to deal with everyday life. It’s sometimes easier to define a thing as what it’s not.  There’s a bias towards rationale and objectivism – science and history has made it so.  Qualification has it’s place but it’s not the end all and be all.  Like most things, balance is at the root of humanism.

I’ve included a brief animation as a “meme” (and because I think it’s cool):

http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate/animate/rsa-animate-the-divided-brain

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see-quel

December 23, 2013

while Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues‘ humour may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s very rare that Hollywood produces a film that matches or exceeds the original.  In that category, I can only think of The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II that I’ve seen that fits the bill.

Sure, I found it funny and, at times, silly but I think that everything has become news is a telling commentary of the world we now live in.  Some people think what I laugh at is high-brow, I just prefer my comedy to have another meaning.

A computer language comes to mind.  SQL allows the user to specify information they need rather than worry about the how.  The emphasis on what empowers them and is an exemplar of good design.  There’s a sound mathematical basis for this very practical application.  As technologists, there’s a penchant to maintain a “secret society.”  I think demystification leads to greater adoption, unanticipated uses, and makes it easier for everyone in the long run. Sure, it can be a proverbial Pandora’s box but I think it’s much better to plan for letting the Genie out of the bottle – after all, information wants to be free.

call me (maybe)

December 20, 2013

my mum calls every weekend. It’s structured the same (not that I’m complaining) – on reflection, the consistency of it all seems to bring me some  comfort.  She did this even before my before my condition – I guess she thinks it’s more important now. Our chats have always been brief – I’ve never been much of a talker.  Most would say it’s a bit ritualistic – but knowing the intent behind it changes the context. Maybe it’s force of habit or force of nature but I don’t reciprocate even if I know I should. I don’t expect it but I’ll miss it if it stops.

upside down

December 14, 2013

i attended a few philosophy workshops recently and they “enhanced” some of my views .  As it should, it made me think.  It was designed to make you reflect – and on that regard it was successful.

I came to the conclusion that I should read more on a post-colonial theorist  to see whether his work is relevant to my research. In my humble opinion, research needs to accessible to everyone – and not just a few intellectuals and the elites as it was traditionally made for.   In my view, most research has to be practicable to have any sort of impact on everyday life.  Sure most times, “amateurs” need the help of “professionals” to articulate their thoughts.  It’s not the more “formal” theories aren’t valid (they often make a lot of sense) but every opportunity should be provided to give a “voice” to those people usually marginalised by society.

In order to provide a “useful” education, we are often enamored by technical skills.  There is nothing wrong with providing these functional competencies to employ someone for a certain job or advance their career.  I think that it is only practicable given the current economic climate.  I just think there’s an unhealthy obsession with the “how” and not enough emphasis put on the “why”.  We should also give the students the ability to think critically and reflect on their actions and lives.  As in everything, I think balance is key.

i knew you were trouble

December 8, 2013

we lost a great man in Nelson Mandela. Our generation did not live in Gandhi nor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s time – Tata Madiba was our example of peaceful resistance.  That we lost him is sad – what saddens me more is that there is not enough like him.

Rolihlahla is the name his father gave him and is isiXhosa and colloquially means “troublemaker.” Until 2008, he was even branded a terrorist. Maybe he caused headaches to the Apartheid establishment but because you have always done something does not make it right.   Forget tradition, he had right on his side.  I think Australia was right to lead the boycott – they had witnessed first-hand the adverse effects on the Indigenous people.

He was given the English name of Nelson by his teacher – for reasons were not certain of.  It reminds me of how in my “old” country you used to not be able to be baptized unless you had a “Christian” given name or how the Spanish had “forced” us to adapt last names that sounded like theirs.  Why are people so afraid of the “other”?

My favourite quote of his is:

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I think we should all endeavour to be the best that we can be.

jingle all the way

December 3, 2013

i’m not the biggest fan of carols.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Grinch.  I just find most of tem too commercial (sounds like a jingle – pardon the pun) or some of them boring (not my cup of tea).  The only album I’m able to stand is Jazz to the World – maybe because it doesn’t sound so Christmassy (if that’s a word at all).

I’m partial to One Small Child (maybe because we sang it in high school) and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer ( maybe because I find it funny).  I’m a fan of Do They Know It’s Christmas and Come All Ye Faithful – proving I don’t like most of them but there are a few Christmas songs I can endure. I  like songs not as a class but individually – why should it be different for a particular season? 

waiting to exhale

December 2, 2013

i’ve been waiting on further revisions to the ethics application for my research project. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve resubmitted it. It’s like I’m in limbo of sorts.  I’m hoping to get a lot done before the festive season begins.