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Archive for September, 2012

I Think I am a Unicorn

September 30, 2012 1 comment

Here’s another TED talk (albeit an old one) that I’d like to share thanks to Ms. Geshke. Shawn Achor discusses how in our society today, we are led to believe that happiness depends on our successes when it should be the other way around. The problem with attributing happiness to one’s success is that once you reach a goal whether that be earning a grade in class, getting accepted into a school or achieving a sales target, those goal posts are moved again so actually you feel like you haven’t succeeded at all yet. I found this point interesting since my conception was simply that many people are unhappy because they feel like they don’t have enough in life, that they want more.

Instead we should focus on being positive in the present. Once we have that happiness advantage our brains work more intelligently, creatively and resiliently which in turn will lead to success. I would have liked to hear a more in depth discussion about the research findings (the majority of Shawn’s talk was anecdotes), but I still enjoyed his witty talk. He also mentioned simple things that if done on a regular basis, would have a huge impact on one’s well-being and happiness:

  • List three new things that you are grateful for
  • Journal a recent positive experience
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Participate in random acts of kindness

 

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Categories: Research

Battling Bad Science

September 29, 2012 2 comments

Tyler recently shared Ben Goldacre‘s TED talk in which Ben illustrates the problem of publishing only positive results. He cites medical examples where many drugs are tested first, but the trials yielding negative results are discarded (ie not included in publications). He also highlights the implications this has when doctors are prescribing these drugs to patients. I agree with Tyler that this problem needs to be expanded to science, not just medicine.

Ben actually gave a very similar TED talk (posted below) a while ago. Personally I like this one better since it’s more generalized than his recent one (only a tiny bit more though :P).

 

Categories: Research

Board Games to Try Out

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

So everyone has probably heard of and even played the classic board games such as Monopoly, Clue, The Game of Life, Scrabble etc… but there are a lot more interesting ones that I never knew existed until some friends introduced me to them since last year (and they are still continually introducing me to new games). This is only a small percentage of games I recently learned to play, but some of my favourites are:

DOMINION – You have to build your deck on the fly aiming for the most efficient way to get as many victory points as you can. I’m terrible at this game, but it’s still fun to play. I once finished a game with a negative score which is pretty fail…

FRESCO – This game is unique in that you need a different kind of foresight than simply thinking three moves ahead like in chess. During your turn you have several actions, but you have to plan all of it beforehand then commit to it. Each action builds from the previous action so you have to envision how your turn will play out when planning your actions.

DIXIT – A fun party game that I recommend to everyone. The idea is similar to Apples to Apples. You have to be creative and know how other players think. Unlike Apples to Apples, other players have less of an influence on how well you do in the game. Oh did I mention that the game pieces are cute little coloured bunnies?

SETTLERS OF CATAN – Probably the most troll board game ever. You are competing against others to gather resources and build settlements. It is the one game where I will rage and swear every five minutes and I’m not exaggerating. The only thing I don’t like is that it is too luck based (which is part of the reason why I rage a lot during the game). Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any friendships that may be ruined as a result of playing this game.

7 WONDERS – I don’t have much to say about this game (it’s still very fun though) other than that you have to gather resources to build your wonders through three stages. Note for beginners: it’s very important to pay attention to who you sit in between during the game as that will influence the strategy you use.

AGRICOLA – The hardest game I have ever played in terms of strategy and management. It’s a farming game that’s cooler than farmville. There are a lot of things to balance such as building your house, plowing land, raising and breeding livestock, earning income, growing crops and making babies (I’m serious here). And did you know Agricola means farmer in Latin?

Categories: Bulletin, Personal

Because I can’t tell you this in Person

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

No matter what I say now it still won’t reach you so I’ll keep it short. You don’t have to forgive me for what I have said and done. All I ask is that you find a way to forgive yourself. Every time I look in your eyes, I see a mixture of anger, contempt and guilt. You have good friends and I hope that they are able to help you come to peace with yourself.

Categories: Personal

On Ranting About Public Transit

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

A friend shared a short blurb from the Georgia Straight which I’ve copy and pasted below:

Ever take public transportation in the Lower Mainland? How high does your blood pressure rise when you do? Between people who are unable to wait for passengers to exit the SkyTrain car before they start shoving their way on, the rudeness flowing freely from passengers and drivers alike, and the assholes who insist on drinking and screaming on the 99 B-Line after 6 p.m., it’s a wonder there aren’t more fistfights on buses. And hell hath no fury like transit takers called out on their shitty behaviour.

The link to the blurb is here (you may have to Ctrl + F and search for riding).

In short, yes there are MANY people who don’t understand proper transit etiquette, but I’m not going to focus on them.

I’ve mentioned this already three blog posts ago, but being an educated person means you the power to choose what you want to think. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to several friends rant about people on public transit, but I never say much. However keep in mind that you are going to be frustrated and annoyed every single time someone doesn’t move to the back of the bus or when people don’t line up properly at the stop. Perhaps that can convince you that life is not so short after all.

Going back to the blurb, I can understand why people would lose faith in humanity on public transit. I don’t know if it’s specific in Vancouver only or if this is a global thing, but I’d like to adopt a different perspective: the fact that we don’t start fistfights over trivial matters like these helps me keep my faith in humanity.

On a slightly different, but related topic, I’d like to share this news story 🙂

Categories: Life, Personal

Lawl

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

 

How much does a hipster weigh?

 

An instagram

 

Categories: Humour

Subtlety

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

So I realized a while ago that in order for me to be more convincing in Mafia I need to fake more subtle tells and be less direct when role-claiming if I’m the mafia. Of course in Mafia people are expected to lie a lot so when you claim a role, people’s first instincts will be to doubt you. What I’ve noticed is that people readily believe non-verbal cues they observe more than direct verbal cues.

Case study: One game I pretended to be grandma with the shotgun (granny) when I was the mafia. How that happened was on Day 1, a player asked me if I was the granny. Usually as the mafia, it’s in my best interests to directly say yes I’m the granny, touch me and you’ll die. However what I did was purposely say no hesitantly. I know that person is one of the better people at picking up tells so I did that expecting him to notice my “hesitation”. In his mind, my reaction was oh shit how did he find out I was the granny? Since he believed he picked up that tell from me, he had no reason to doubt me if I stated that I was the granny later during the game. As such I got the real granny lynched off and eventually won that game.

Just wanted to share that 😛

Categories: Life