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in Eugene

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Miscellaneous thoughts on politics, people, math, science and other cool (if sometimes frustrating) stuff from somewhere near my favorite coffee shop.
September 1st, 2012
in Corvallis

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October 16th, 2017

First, there was Forrest Gump with his seemingly profound observations like "life's like a box of chocolates."  Which perhaps drove you crazy enough, when you also (mis)heard him say "shit happens."Now, we have another one:

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October 15th, 2017

In my early years of graduate school, I came to read about--and watch on television as well--the free speech movement at Berkeley, and how Reagan, who was the governor of California then, could not stand those student protests.  Reagan perhaps even owed his political successes to the radical movements, which he attacke

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October 14th, 2017

Back in the old country, the newspaper that I waited for every single morning had a weekly (?) column about the English language.  I think it was called "Know your language."  The column offered easy to understand explanations on idioms, more than merely about words.One of those that I remember was abo

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October 13th, 2017

In high school biology, I came across Drosophila in the textbook.  There was a dead fly between the pages ;)No, seriously, it was in high school that I knew about how it was not the frog that we dissected but the Drosophila that was the favorite of the researcher

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October 12th, 2017

Back in the old country, the proto-trump boasted about his 56-inch chest.Rational people laughed, and even questioned the literal measure of his chest.  Proto-trump carried on.Naturally, after some time, modi toadies, as Salman Rushdie wonderfully and aptly described them, took it upon themselve

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October 11th, 2017

There is the accident of birth, which determines a lot of the rest of our lives.  And then add the layers of the choices that we make and the decisions that others make for us."Self-made" success i

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October 10th, 2017

“The salary has been at the same level ... I haven’t seen my pay go up in five years.”One might immediately think that it was somebody in the US who said that, right?  After all, here I am in the US where wage stagnation has been a puzzle to experts, leave alone the regular people.But,

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October 9th, 2017

I went to graduate school because I thought that I would find answers to the pressing questions of development.  Within a couple of years, I realized that plenty of highly capable thinkers had already thought up everything that I was worried about. 

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October 8th, 2017

A few days ago, I was taking a quick walk on campus, after my lunch and prior to my class.  I heard a student yell out my name from the car that was passing by.  I looked at the car.  The driver stopped the vehicle and rolled down the window."I didn't expect to see you here, Jessica,"W

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October 7th, 2017

Back in 1987, it was my first flight out of the country and it was a seemingly never-ending transcontinental journey.  I was one of the many passengers who couldn't sleep, nor did I find the movie to be interestin

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October 6th, 2017

"Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife"

My go-to China expert blogged a series of posts on the upcoming Chinese party elections.  All I could do was

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October 5th, 2017

While watching yet another segment of yet another late night comedian severely critiquing the fascist and his allies, I told the friend that I was getting more and more agitated.  Politics, which was to me the theatre of the absurd that entertained me more than troubled me, has now become a stress agent in my life.

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October 4th, 2017

Seriously, we have two problems: Guns, and men.The party of thugs, aka the GOP, won't allow us to talk about these two.  Definitely not about guns.Consider this chart f

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October 3rd, 2017

It was twenty years ago!

Perhaps there are researchers who have already done what I am hypothesizing: The get the government out of our lives ideology that compelled Bill Clinton to run as a "new Democrat" who proclaimed the end of welfare as we know it has merely reshaped th

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October 2nd, 2017

When talking with my mother, with my usual sense of awful humor, I asked her if she made sweets to celebrate Gandhi's birthday.  And then on a serious note, I told her that Einstein said after Gandhi's passing that future generations might not even believe that there really was a man called Gandhi who did all those awe

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October 1st, 2017

Some of us knew that it was only a matter of time.  It finally happened.We have to deal with our own crap--it is no longer somebody else's problem!"We" as in even right

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