SiCKO

•July 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I went to watch SiCKO last friday with my department at work. Although very one sided – like the rest of Michael Moore’s movies, it does point out a problem in our society. Here are some of the facts that I have learned from the movie:

+ 50 million americans do not have health insurance or can’t afford health insurance

+ 18,000 people die a year because they can’t afford health insurance

+ Told many stories of people getting screwed over (here’s one): Lady’s insurance refused to cover her ambulance bill because she didn’t give preapproval since she was unconscious during the ambulance ride to the hospital.

+ In America, doctors that work for organizations get bonuses based on the number of claims or patients they reject or deny service to. More profit for the organization = higher pay check for the doctor.

+ Bills were passed that make consumers pay more for coverage, which allows health plans (private corporations) to profit.

+ Certain Congress men are opposed to a universal healthcare because they are directly supported by health plans. Thus they end up supporting bills that give health plans more power. Once the bills are passed, some congressmen step down to work directly for the health plans that are expected to gain large profits.

+ Universal healthcare (government paid healthcare) is seen as socialistic which is bad, however somethings that we have adopted that are socialistic are and do work are the: police/fire department, K-12 education, library

+ Canada/England/France have free healthcare for everyone. Pharmacy drugs are also very cheap – $5 or less no matter how many pills you buy. However downside is wait time. Doctors instead are incented with bonuses for things like: getting people to quit smoking

+ America (the most powerful country in the world) is ranked 37th in the world in terms of healthcare coverage

It’s a good movie and I encourage you to watch it to at least be aware that there is an issue. One thing I did notice is how did America, the most wealthy and powerful country have such crappy health care? How and why do we keep screwing over the poor? I feel like the wealthier you become, the more “Me” first mentality you get. And I tend to think the less money you have the more you are willing to give up.

chick flicks

•June 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been watching too many of these alone in the past several months: The Lake House, Pride and Prejudice, The Last Kiss (I do watch normal movies as well…). And in all of these movies, there’s always some shake up between the lovers or lovers to be. Maybe I miss having a relationship, but sometimes I just think, “God why can’t you guys just work this out, how can it be so hard if you guys love each other so much.” Of course its always easier pointing out all the mistakes people make when you’re calm, thinking rationally, and are seeing things from a 3rd person’s point of view.

The only theme I noticed that tends to cause arguments and fights is when people start to be dishonest towards one another. Things start to go sour when they start to hide things or they’re afraid of telling the other person how they truly feel. Aside from the obvious physical attraction and personality, I think the key things to a succesful relationship are trust, honesty and the willingness to compromise. But then again, I haven’t been in one for over 2 years now, so I could be totally off =P.

On the bright side of things, I think this hiatus has made me learn more about what I want from a relationship, and it has also forced me to put thought into why I will appreciate being in my next one.

Oh and Rachel Bilson is totally hot in The Last Kiss

rachel_bilson_01.jpg

what the #$^@^@ do we know

•June 22, 2007 • 2 Comments

So I just watched the movie, “What the bleep do we know – down the rabbit hole. Overall it was a pretty entertaining movie despite it not getting the best feedback.  It is a spiritual movie about how quantum physics implies some sort of spirituality.  Here are some of the notes I took from the movie:

+ reality is filtered through your senses and is happening all around you all the time

+ brain processes 400 billion bits a second, we are only aware and focused on 2000 of those bits

+ quantum mechanics vs classical mechanics – presents two different way to look at the the world and explain how it works. In classical mechanics, we are machines, there’s no room for consciousness, we are robots that can die and it won’t matter. Quantum mechanics “suggests” that you can think of the world as a highly interconnected large organism that extends through space and time. In that kind of environment the way you think and behave has a huge impact on the world.

+ 2 separate laws that govern the universe: 1) in our every day classical world we are governed by Newton laws of motion (think of basketballs bouncing, gravity) 2) in subatomic particles, quantum mechanics have theories that say 1) particles can be in multiple places at once (superposition) 2) particles can behave as waves spread out spatially and temporally (wave particle duality) 3) they may be interconnected over great distances (entanglement)

+ if you take the vacuum within a single hydrogen atom 10-23 cm^3 and take the latent energy in that, there’s a trillion times more energy in there than in all of the mass, stars, planets up to 20 billion light away. If consciousness allows you control even a small fraction of that, creating a big bang is no problem.

+ objects never really touch each other (atoms between a ball and the ground never touch)

+ 2nd law of thermodynamics say things unwind and move forward.  In the micro world, the law doesn’t seem to hold and things can go backwards or be timeless. It suggests that the future can have a cause and effect on the present just as much as the past can.

+ In conscious experience, it seems we move forward in time. In quantum theory you can also go backward in time, and there’s some suggestion that process in the brain can project backward in time. In the late 1970s a famous experiment studying patients who had neurosurgery on their brain with the brain exposed while still being conscious. He would stimulate a finger and then record the electrical impulse on the corresponding sensory part of the brain to see when it got there. He would also ask the patient to respond when they felt the stimulus. He would then also stimulate that part of the brain and then ask the patient when they felt the stimulus on their finger. You would think that stimulating the finger would take some time to reach the brain, and thus the patient would respond a fraction of a second later. Likewise, if you stimulate the brain directly, the patient would respond immediately. However the experiment proved the exact opposite. If you stimulate the finger, the impulse would arrive at the brain immediately, while if you stimulate the brain, it would take some finite amount of time to reach the finger. Scientist came to the conclusion that the brain was projecting information backwards in time, so it does take a finite amount of time for the stimulus to reach the brain, but the brain was sending information backwards in time so that conscious perception was that the stimulus could be felt when the actual pinch occurred (very cool).

+ particles/matters at the quantum level can act like a wave (split and interfere with itself, you’ll have to watch the visual on this section..its pretty cool and too hard to describe)

+ scientists hypothesize that your own mind is creating multiple possibilities superimposed on top of each other, you choose one possibility and focus that one as being reality

+ Entanglement – Take 2 electrons that are created together and are “entangled”. If you take one electron and bring it to the other side of the universe, and then if you do something to one, the other responds instantly. So either information is traveling instantly fast, or in reality the 2 electrons are actually still touching. The theory is that since the big bang, all particles in this known universe are entangled and space is an illusion that makes everything appear as separate objects.

and then the film switches gears and focuses a lot on spirituality and a lot less science..which seem to not connect entirely, but you get notes like these…

+ Human intentions affect the outcome of reality. Experiments have shown that there are instances where people’s intention will affect random generation (there were some examples, but i’m too lazy to type out). People affect reality through thoughts.

+ Experiments on the message of water. Water particles that are frozen form different images based on the thought intent or word placed on the water. (The film said that 90% of our body is made from water, but I found in other places that our bodies contain 50-60% water weight. I have wrote in the past on how thoughts affect your body here and here).

Some picture examples
The message of water home page

+ Experiments were then made to see if these intent that affect experiments were happening in real time. They recorded clicks that can be heard in the left and right ear separately and then stored one copy of it in the vault. Then they had someone place their intent on the audio tape asking them to make the left clicks occur more frequently than the right clicks, then when they replayed the audio, both the one that they had and the original one in the vault both showed more clicks in the left ear than the right ear. This suggests that the person’s intent didn’t affect the audio at the moment it was playing, but the thought moved backwards in time and affected it at the moment it was being generated.

+ don’t blame organized religion, blame human insecurity

+ An addiction is something you can’t stop. We get into situations to fulfill the biochemical cravings of the cells of our body by creating situations to meet our chemical need. So if you can’t control your emotional state, then you must be addicted to it.

+ The hypothalumus releases neuropeptides into the blood stream the regulates your body’s hormones and emotions. Done experiments to animals where they hooked up a lever to activate the neuropeptide in the body. The animals who choose the neuropetide release over hunger, thirst, sex and sleep to the point of physical exhaustion before it would take care of itself. That’s what stress does to us. We are so addicted to the stress that we can’t quit our job or leave a relationship because it doesn’t serve us.

I read some of the reviews on this movie afterwards, and it seems that the general scientific community do not accept some of these implications.  However, the one thing I completely agree with in this movie is that there is no real objective reality.  Everything is subjective to your mind.  What is considered fast?  Who is fat? How much money is enough money?  Who determines these things?  Thus, if you’re not happy with something, it is only because you’re forcing yourself not to be happy.  There’s no reason why you can’t change your mindset to look at the bright side of things.

As someone who had a major ankle injury over the past 4 weeks, I must say I’m very grateful that I have a healthy body with 4 healthy limbs.  I haven’t been able to fully sprint and jump with full power yet, but I’m getting close.  Do you realize how much we take for granted just to have a healthy body.  The next time you’re mad or angry or sad about something, think of the bright side of the situation.  Are you really in that bad of a position?

Life is good, and if you don’t believe so, you can only blame yourself.

life in a musical

•June 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Norman linked me a clip from the comedy Scrubs

The premise being this lady has a symptom in which everything she sees is presented in a musical fashion. I’m a big fan of musicals and I really wonder if it would be that bad. Think of the most boring errands and things you have to do (going to the post office, meetings, etc…). As long as you still get the message across, this could actually make life very fun and interesting. Maybe only if you have to have a serious conversation with someone would it not work. Anyway just really enjoyed this episode a lot. Here are 2 links that show the musical portions of the whole episode.

Part 1

Part 2

what’s wrong with our world?

•May 5, 2007 • 1 Comment

I had the pleasure of seeing the Dalai Lama lecture at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium when he came to visit SF a week ago. Although his English wasn’t that great, he had a great sense of humor. I could tell that he is a very humble and kind person by the way he interacted with the audience. His message touched on general points from his book “The Art of Happiness”.

One of the questions asked last week was: how can we stop all the violence and destruction that is going on in the world today?

He mentioned that (I’m paraphrasing)

…it starts small. It starts with believing that human by nature is good. And little by little if you can start by fixing yourself first, then slowly expand out to helping your family and friends, to helping your community, eventually the world will change.

Now why did I think this was important? Well lately I have been seeing a lot of messages on saving Darfur and other mass genocides that are going on in the world. It’s a sad thing to see, but I didn’t find any interest or yearning to help spread the awareness or fight the cause. It seems that genocides have been happening since the beginning of time. So to me, maybe I feel helpless in knowing that things like this will occur and reoccur over and over again. Spreading awareness on the issue and protesting alone will not fix the root problem. That’s when I started thinking about the Dalai Lama’s message and how it aligns more with who I am as a person. I have never been ambitious enough to want to change the world or make an impact to the world as a whole. I always wanted to make an impact on a smaller scale. If everyone was nicer, more generous, or made an impact to a just a few people in their lives (think of the movie Pay It Forward) then why wouldn’t the world be a better place? Maybe its just wishful thinking on my part, but that’s what I would like to strive for.

If anyone wants to borrow the book “The Art of Happiness”, let me know. The main message is

  1. The purpose of life is happiness.
  2. Happiness is determined more by the state of one’s mind than by one’s external conditions, circumstances, or events – at least once one’s basic survival needs are met.
  3. Happiness can be achieved through the systematic training of our hearts and minds, through reshaping our attitudes and outlook.
  4. The key to happiness is in our own hands.

 

 

What helps me make my decisions

•April 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I stole this framework from Young’s peer coaching slides, contact him if you want to learn more. While his framework relies on 3 central themes (what’s important to you, what do you like doing, what are your strengths) and their opposites (what’s not important, what do you not like doing, what are your weaknesses), I think the most important ones are the first two: What do you find important and what do you like doing. I think it’s beneficial to anyone who creates these two lists because you are putting a firm stake in the ground in exactly what you believe in and what you enjoy doing. Whenever you’re faced with a difficult decision, you can use your 2 lists to help remind and commit to yourself exactly what makes you happy. Here is mine for the time being (also remember that the list will change with time):

What’s important? What do I value?

  • Family/Friends (hang out as much as you can, time is limited)
  • Spiritual life – living in the present, learning how to help people, how to gain spiritual wisdom
  • Maintaining close/meaningful relationships with people
  • Being generous, learn how to give
  • Integrity/intent
  • Being real

What do you enjoy doing?

  • Spending time with my friends (eating, hanging out)
  • Traveling – seeing the world (Seattle, San Diego, New York, SoCal, Whistler/Vancouver, Europe, China, Tibet, Taiwan, Japan)
  • Playing sports/exercising (working out, running)
  • Playing basketball and getting better at it
  • Finding a good book to read
  • Being spontaneous

The importance of creating this list is that I’ll recognize opportunities that satisfy either of these two criteria. They help me re-align myself to what I believe in and helps me live the way I want to live rather than making excuses that prevent me from doing what I like to be doing (for example: oh I had a lot work to do, I shouldn’t be taking vacations). Here are some decisions that I have made based on the lists above:

 

Should I move out to the city with friends OR live at home, save money and buy a new car?

  • I like hanging out with my friends, its important to me, the decision was obvious, but it took me a long time to decide to do it.

Should I take more time off to go on vacation? Should I plan a vacation to go somewhere I want to go?

  • Whistler – (2/07) done
  • Las Vegas – (3/07) done
  • San Diego – (4/07) done
  • Peru – (8/07)
  • China – (Spring 08)

I don’t like going back down to south bay anymore now that I live up in SF, but I do notice that family time is important.

  • Go home once a week to eat with my mom.
  • Go see family whenever they’re in town.

I’ll play basketball every opportunity I can (at work during lunch up to twice a week, on the weekends, even while I’m traveling).

Spirituality is important, so I have been reading book after book regarding the subjects I’m interested in.

Being generous, learning how to give – try and give/share to people who are less fortunate Forcing myself to go out and hang out with people more (if you know me, then you would have noticed that I didn’t go out as much when I lived at home because I was lazy)

As of right now, I feel like everything is going well. This helps make my day-to-day life more content and happy because I try to fill it with things that I like doing. If you create your own list, feel free to share it with me. I find these pretty interesting.

What success means to me

•March 10, 2007 • 2 Comments

I think at the end our life, our success criterion is not measured by the amount of money we have, our title or status, or the physical materials we own. I think it is solely measured by our experiences, which is also largely influenced by the quality of our relationships (family, friends, loved ones).

 

If you think about it, attaining massive wealth so that you can enjoy it when you retire effectively means that you won’t be able to live fully until 80% of your life has gone by. The more we live for today, the more our overall quality of life will improve. The meaningful memories that we amass are the only ones we will use to judge our own success.

 

For me, this means spending quality time with both my family and friends. I go home once a week to eat dinner with my mom and catch up with what she’s doing. She’s going to be moving away to Texas soon so I know my time with her is limited. I moved out to San Francisco so I can enjoy living with 5 of my close friends. The number of social activities that I go to has probably double or tripled since I moved out. Lastly, I love to travel, so I’ll make sure I never miss a trip (in the past year alone I will have traveled to, SoCal, Lake Tahoe, Fresno, Seattle, Whistler, Las Vegas, New York, Peru).

What I have described to you is what success really means to me. You can’t experience success without first determining what success means to you. Define what is important to you and what do you like to spend your time doing. That should naturally boil down to what your success criterion should look like.