Monthly Archives: January 2011

One Hundred Years of Solitude

onehundredyearsA few days ago, I decided I’d start reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, mostly to know what the fuss was about (I mean, it was selected for Oprah’s book club!), but also because I thought it’d help me with my Spanish. I didn’t have an extensive background in Spanish, so I was worried that it would be challenging.

Today, after finally receiving the book via Amazon Tote, I just started reading the book, and to my amazement, I’m able to understand all of it! I mean, maybe not the greater meaning of it all (if there is one, lol), but I at least understand what all of the words mean. In fact, I feel as though I’m reading it as well as a 25 year old native speaker of Spanish, and because of that, I’ve decided to write this entire post in Spanish. Amazing, right? Unfortunately, for those of you who do not understand Spanish (or may have trouble with the dialect that I’ve picked up), this post may just look like gibberish to you (you know, all of the goofy accents, lol), so I’ll write this last part in English:

YO THIS BOOK IS PRETTY GOOD IMO.

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Intel’s Department of Analogies

I love analogies. They’re a great way of allowing people to have in depth conversations on a subject without any person in the conversation actually knowing anything, and it looks like Intel’s takes their analogies very seriously.

As I’m watching this episode of Nova (my typical exciting Wednesday evening), the host is trying to explain miniaturization of semiconductors, and he’s interviewing some representatives from Intel. How do you make semiconductors palatable? By using completely unnecessary props.

  1. A wall mounted light switch. Now, this is actually a somewhat reasonable as the transistors they’re talking about are switches (unless you operate them in triode mode lol), but do you really need a wall switch that looks like it was literally ripped out of a wall to illustrate this? Is the audience really benefitted by seeing the physical light switch? Could they not just picture a wall switch in their heads?
  2. A block of cheese. The explanation as to why silicon is so easily miniaturized was that it could be cut in half and still exhibit the properties it needed. Like cheese. The Intel representative then continued to cut the block of cheese into smaller and smaller pieces. Okay thanks for illustrating that cheese can be cut into smaller pieces?
  3. Pepperoni. Transistors can’t be miniaturized forever. Why? Transistor current leakage! Which is like… pepperoni? Another Intel representative (who appeared to be in a commercial kitchen) showed that a silicon wafer chip was like a pizza, and the transistor was like the pepperoni. She then replaced the pepperoni with even smaller pepperoni, describing the effects of miniaturization. She then explained that at that point, you can’t really make the pepperoni any smaller. Wait a minute… what did I just gain from seeing the pepperoni? And if the pepperoni is just going to represent shrinking transistors, couldn’t you just use the cheese again? Or is adding cheese to pizza just too weird? And weren’t you supposed to illustrate the transistor leakage with your analogy?

So what’s the moral of the story? Uhh… I don’t really know. Looking back at what I wrote, it seems like my real complaint was the dubious use of props in conjunction with dubious analogies… But I do have a mission for you: next time someone brings up an analogy to explain something, derail the conversation completely by asking unnecessary questions about the analogy itself until the conversation just dies. Bonus points if you can be paid for doing it!

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“I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative”

Oh are you? That’s so cool! I don’t’ know many people like you – all of my friends are either socially conservative and fiscally conservative (Fascists) or socially liberal and fiscally liberal (Marxists). Anyway, I bet you didn’t know this about me (because you’re not a mind reader), but I’m actually a mind reader! Oh, you don’t believe me? I’m sensing something…

You’re socially liberal because you’re okay with gays (you even know a few, and they’re totally people too) and you’re fiscally conservative because you learned in your high school history class that communism “only works on paper.” You even took a COLLEGE history class (while you were majoring in English) where you learned that history has shown that only capitalism has been proven to work and that the socialism is just WAY too inefficient. You wish Capitol Hill would just stop all that wasteful pork barrel spending and get rid of Social Security already. The problem these days is a lack of personal responsibility! Oh, and war: you’re generally against it unless all other options have been exhausted.

But enough about politics. There’s more to you than that. You’re a free thinker. You loved Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.  You love indie music and travel. In fact, you listened to Arcade Fire throughout your entire backpacking trip through Europe. Sure, you hit all the big cities and the big sites, but you’re all about getting to know the locals and taking day trips outside of the big urban areas.

What are you doing with your life now? After graduating, you’ve been looking for a role that really fits you – something that helps people, but you haven’t really found what you’re looking for, so you’re thinking about going back to school – probably law school.

Oh, and you think psychology is cool because you really get to understand how the human mind works.

That’s really cool!

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Does everything have to be a video these days?

Often, on my Facebook feed, I’ll see that my friends post links that look interesting, and I’ll click them only to find to my dismay that they’re links to videos.

Does everything have to be a video these days? They’re annoying, they take a long time consume, especially because many of them make me watch 15 second ads before the actual video starts.  I’d rather that there just be text that I can skim to gather the punch line.

Is there a great trend that bothers me here? Is my rant really about how society is becoming less literate? No, it’s actually the opposite. I generally check Facebook on my laptop while I’m watching TV, and I don’t want to have to pause the video every time my show starts up again. I am really lazy, and all I want to do is get the gist of the story in the most economical way possible so I can repeat it in front of a group of people who hasn’t seen it to appear smart and/or funny.

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