Week Hiatus

Ahaha… at long last I get to say it. I’m going for a Hiatus

For more than a year as I read and re-read weblogs, I always disapproved of people who went on “Hiatus”.

“Why don’t they just say ‘Break’?”

Well, I guess it’s because only people with weblogs say “Hiatus”… and I’ve got a weblog now. So… there you have it. To keep myself fresh, I’ll go for a week-long Hiatus.

Visit the sites listed in my previous entry for great reads people! 😀

PS: Be back on 8 November.

Doubled Mintiness

The following is from the Plain English Campaign newsletter:

A legal case that finished this week had an interesting twist: the firm involved claimed their language was ambiguous, but the court argued it was still clear.

The case was about Wrigley’s attempts to register ‘Doublemint’ as a trademark for their chewing gum.

First the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market turned down the trademark application because of a rule that descriptive phrases cannot be registered.

Then Wrigley appealed to the EU’s Court of First Justice, saying ‘Doublemint’ was ambiguous as it could mean the product had twice the usual amount of mint, or that it involved two varieties of mint. The court agreed that this dual meaning meant that logically the phrase could not be an effective description.

However, the Office for Harmonisation took the case to the European Court of Justice, which decided the term was still a description. The Court’s Advocate-General said that ‘Doublemint’ implied ‘a mint flavour somehow doubled’. According to the ruling, the fact that the method of doubling was uncertain ‘in no way detracts from the fact that the term designates a characteristic of doubled mintiness.’

Poem – Curl Up and Diet

The following is a poem by Ogden Nash — had me in stitches, and if it doesn’t have you in stitches, you must already have had some in your head. 🙂

Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much,
But all ladies think that they weigh too much.
They may be as slender as a sylph or a dryad,
But just let them get on the scales and they embark on a doleful jeremiad:
No matter how low the figure the needle happens to touch,
They always claim it is at least five pounds to much;
To the world she may appear slinky and feline,
But she inspects herself in the mirror and cries, Oh, I look like a sea lion.
Yes, she tells you she is growing into the shape of a sea cow or manatee,
And if you say No, my dear, she says you are just lying to make her feel better, and if you say Yes, my dear, you injure her vanity.
Once upon a time there was a girl more beautiful and witty and charming than tongue can tell,
And she is now a dangerous raving maniac in a padded cell,
And the first indication her friends and relatives had that she was mentally overwrought
Was one day when she said, I weigh a hundred and twenty-seven, which is exactly what I ought.
Oh, often I am haunted
By the thought that somebody might someday discover a diet that would let ladies reduce just as much as they wanted,
Because I wonder if there is a woman in the world strong-minded enough to shed ten pounds or twenty,
And say There now, that’s plenty;
And I fear me one ten-pound loss would only arouse the craving for another,
So it wouldn’t do any good for ladies to get their ambition and look like somebody’s fourteen-year-old brother,
Because, having accomplished this with ease,
They would next want to look like somebody’s fourteen-year-old brother in the final stages of some obscure disease,
And the more success you have the more you want to get of it,
So then their goal would be to look like somebody’s fourteen-year-old brother’s ghost, or rather not the ghost itself, which is fairly solid, but a silhouette of it,
So I think it is very nice for ladies to be lithe and lissome.
But not so much so that you cut yourself if you happen to embrace or kissome.

— Ogden Nash, Curl Up and Diet

A Reason to Smoke

I took a break from my work, and went out for a while. I took a walk around, and found a nice space I could settle in.

Near my space, there was a guy smoking. I believe he was taking a break as well. I observed him as he smoked, staring out into space as his hands automatically guided his cigarette into his mouth. Nobody looked at him — he had blended in superbly well into the life around him, like a camouflaged animal in familiar surroundings.

Now, I was doing what he was doing too, sans the cigarette in hand. But the feeling was weird. It didn’t feel right standing there, staring out into nothingness without a reason — I felt a need to justify my behaviour to curious passer-bys, why I was standing there doing nothing.

Then I found myself lifting up my hand towards my mouth, fingers holding an invisible cigarette. When my fingers reached my lips, I pursed my lips as if inhaling the smoke. I did that a couple more times — suddenly it felt okay to be standing there, doing nothing.

I don’t smoke, never did, probably never will. But if there was ever going to be a reason I did, it would be so I could do nothing, while maintaining the fascade of doing something. It just doesn’t feel right to be doing nothing anymore.

Truth vs Perception

Which is more important? The truth (of reality), or what is perceived? Looked at at another way, the questions could also be seen as between “absolute truth” and “relative truth” respectively. I believe perception is, practically speaking, more important than truth.

When we perceive something, it is done with our senses: sight, sound, smell etc,. This input is put through our mind (like a blender, *click* *grrrrr* *ding*). So we come up with a mix of those sensed perceptions, blended with our mind, which gives the final result.

To change a perception, we can add filters to our senses (e.g. spectacles, hearing aid, thick gloves etc,.) that will instantly change reality for the person sensing it. Or, we might change how our mind “blends” the information together, (e.g. reading books on philosophy will change how we perceive the words “Plato” and “Socrates”, from “Great Philosopher” to perhaps “Nonsense King” if we don’t agree with his philosophies).

However, when we have to deal with truth, it becomes a whole different matter totally. You can’t really change the truth without making it into a whole new truth altogether.

Take for example an orange. The truth is that an orange is an orange. With perception, if you’re wearing “green glasses”, an orange will appear green. In reality, the orange is not green, but orange still. But if you decide to paint the orange green, then the truth is that the orange is green.

In Advertising

In advertising, a lot of things are sold not on truth, but on perception. If you have ever heard of the brand “Rolex”, you’ll know that it’s priced way higher than other watches, and yet people buy it. People don’t buy a “Rolex” simply because it tells time better or more accurately, but because of the perceived quality of it, by the wearer as well as people who see the wearer with the watch.

People perceive person with a Rolex as a person with success, prestige and class. In truth, it is nothing but a watch that tells time, isn’t it?

In Motivation

Perhaps one of the most documented things about perception in the self-help industry is the way self-perceptions (the perception of the self,) tends to be so limiting. One of the most famous stories on self-limiting perceptions is the story of Roger Bannister, the man of the four minute mile.

For years, the belief was that running a mile in four minutes was physically impossible. No one could ever do it, they (the critics) said. But they were wrong. In 1954, Bannister broke that long held belief with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds — the world was stunned. Now, high-school students break that record for fun (gifted high-school students no doubt).

If you want, you can read about the story, complete with pictures: The Four Minute Mile.

In Conclusion

For living, I would say our perception of reality is infinitely more important than reality itself. It isn’t that reality is not important, since reality is what we base our perceptions on, but that perceptions are the ones that can make reality real. When we don’t believe in something, how can it be real? Until we start believing like we can, we can’t.

Duality of Light and Reality

I’ve always been quite interested in physics, especially quantum physics. And within quantum physics, the duality (two forms) of light has been of particular interest. If you did not know, light travels in two ways, as waves, and as particles.

How can light be both a wave as well as a particle? Fantastic isn’t it?

And it gets even more interesting. When does light travel as a wave, and when does it travel as a particle? Well, whenever you want it to.

In experiments done to detect light as a particle, light appears as a particle. In experiments done to detect light as a wave, light appears as a wave. So, light is what you make it out to be.

If you’re interested, you can do a search on this phenomon, called the duality of light. You can also read this article: Wave-Particle Duality of Light for more insight into this.

Animals on Tape

Since young, I’ve always wondered if the animals I watched on Earthvisions were acting — honest, I did! I’ve had a particular interest in whether these animals behaved the same way on camera as they did off it. When being watched, do these animals somehow behave differently?

I used to believe that they did… and I still do! The idea that animals reserve all their percularities for when they’re alone really appeals to me; when they instinctively sense “watchers” nearby, they change their behaviour a little.

Of course, I don’t have proof — it’s a catch-22 — getting proof would mean my theory is wrong, for I have to watch them first to get it.