If I don’t know you, you don’t exist

This is a conversation between Teo (The Enlightened One) and Gwaq (Guy Who Asks Questions):

What are you going to talk about today?
I’m going to talk about existence — nothing exists unless we think it exists.

Are you saying that if you don’t believe I exist, then I don’t exist?
Yes. If a man died of AIDS in Africa, and I didn’t know that — he never existed.

So if I punch you — and you flinch, and hurt, and bleed — could I still NOT exist?
If I refused to believe, you still wouldn’t exist.

That’s just insane!
I don’t believe in insanity. Insanity is but a shell some people choose to put on, in order to escape from, if you will forgive the expression, the insanity of this world.

Now you’re being self-delusional.
And what is that? I never heard of such a term, nor do I want to believe it. What did you just say?

You’re being childish and immature.
I would prefer it if you used the term “childlike” — and I’ve never heard of this word, this, “immature”.

What’s the point of this conversation? I can’t believe you wasted my time!
Ah… expectations — imagine if you never expected this talk to be fruitful, to be meaningful, would you be as upset as you are now?

Well, I guess not.
Does happiness not lie in the ceasing of expectations?

Of course not. If we didn’t expect anything there would be no progress — people would just accept everything as it is.
And there’s something wrong with that?

Of course. There are many things we can improve upon. Slavery would still be here if there was no progress.
But is all progress actually good? It seems progress is just a constant cycle of repairing the damage we have caused ourselves through previous bouts of “progress”.

Slavery for instance, was a form of “progress” once — people found that using others as slaves could enable them to spend more time doing more important things like thinking and philosophising — that to them was “progress”.

But surely some progress has to be good?
Progress always has its pros and cons — in the end, we end up with just as many problems as we had when we started trying to solve them.

Advances in technology have enabled us to reduce pollution — the very same pollution that advances in technology helped create.

But it isn’t right to just accept everything without looking to improve. What sort of life would that be?
It would be a content life.

It would be a boring life
What’s boring?

…thank you, Teo.
Welcome.

If I don't know you, you don't exist

This is a conversation between Teo (The Enlightened One) and Gwaq (Guy Who Asks Questions):

What are you going to talk about today?
I’m going to talk about existence — nothing exists unless we think it exists.

Are you saying that if you don’t believe I exist, then I don’t exist?
Yes. If a man died of AIDS in Africa, and I didn’t know that — he never existed.

So if I punch you — and you flinch, and hurt, and bleed — could I still NOT exist?
If I refused to believe, you still wouldn’t exist.

That’s just insane!
I don’t believe in insanity. Insanity is but a shell some people choose to put on, in order to escape from, if you will forgive the expression, the insanity of this world.

Now you’re being self-delusional.
And what is that? I never heard of such a term, nor do I want to believe it. What did you just say?

You’re being childish and immature.
I would prefer it if you used the term “childlike” — and I’ve never heard of this word, this, “immature”.

What’s the point of this conversation? I can’t believe you wasted my time!
Ah… expectations — imagine if you never expected this talk to be fruitful, to be meaningful, would you be as upset as you are now?

Well, I guess not.
Does happiness not lie in the ceasing of expectations?

Of course not. If we didn’t expect anything there would be no progress — people would just accept everything as it is.
And there’s something wrong with that?

Of course. There are many things we can improve upon. Slavery would still be here if there was no progress.
But is all progress actually good? It seems progress is just a constant cycle of repairing the damage we have caused ourselves through previous bouts of “progress”.

Slavery for instance, was a form of “progress” once — people found that using others as slaves could enable them to spend more time doing more important things like thinking and philosophising — that to them was “progress”.

But surely some progress has to be good?
Progress always has its pros and cons — in the end, we end up with just as many problems as we had when we started trying to solve them.

Advances in technology have enabled us to reduce pollution — the very same pollution that advances in technology helped create.

But it isn’t right to just accept everything without looking to improve. What sort of life would that be?
It would be a content life.

It would be a boring life
What’s boring?

…thank you, Teo.
Welcome.

What is Dry Humour?

What is dry humour anyway? Is it humour minus the saliva?

Dry humour defined

dry humour” or “dry humor” (as Americans spell it) is humour told in a “dry” way, without emotion (e.g. seriously). So you tell a joke like it’s not a joke, in a matter-of-fact kind of way — in this sense, dry humour can be said to be all about the delivery of the joke.

It is an implied or indirect kind of humour, often with an emphasis on how the joke is told.

As an aside, you should also note that dry humour is largely subjective, as you’ll notice if you read the comments on this post below.

For those seeking “official” confirmation of what dry humour really is, here’s the definition from Wordreference.com:

humorously sarcastic or mocking; “dry humor”; “an ironic remark often conveys an intended meaning obliquely”; “an ironic novel”; “an ironical smile”; “with a wry Scottish wit”

Below are even more clues to what dry humour is (or if you like, check out the comments at the bottom of the page. You’ll find many useful definitions, links, and other miscellaneous information from my readers):

  • One type of British humor is often said to be “dry humor.” It is based on a hardly observable, or small deviation — a slight gesture. — From the essay How Can Humor Be Classified?
  • Humorous or sarcastic in a shrewd, impersonal way. — From thefreedictionary.com/dry
  • dry is really no more than a clever circumlocution or a punch line that doesn’t need to be said. — From article How Dry is Dry?
  • Deadpan is a form of comedic delivery in which something humorous is said or done by a person, while not exhibiting a change in emotion or facial expression. — From Wikipedia definition of deadpan, which is what some people claim dry humour to be

Summary

There have been a hundred (or more) comments on this post already. I do not suggest that you go through all (or any) of them, since many simply reiterate the points I have written.

Strength and Endurance Training

Just some information for those interested in weight-loss/strength training:

Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. conducted a study in which 72 over weight individuals participated in an eight week exercise program. The participants were placed in two groups.

The first group performed 30 minutes of endurance exercise on a stationary cycle. The second group performed only 15 minutes of exercise on the stationary cycle plus an additional 15 minutes on weight resistant exercises.

At the conclusion of the study, the “endurance only” group lost a total of 3.5 lbs.; 3 lbs. of which was fat and a half pound was muscle loss. On the other hand, the “endurance and weight resistive” group lost 8 lbs. with an actual fat loss of 10 lbs. and an increase of 2 lbs. of lean body weight.

View source article — includes a graph.

Was looking to concentrate solely on endurance running, and less on weight-training, but after reading this, I think I better give them closer-to-equal emphasis.

The Apple Slogan

Here’s to the crazy ones

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.

They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

This slogan emphasises Apple’s selling point of originality and individuality.

One of the main drawbacks of Apple computers is the price — it costs too much.

Ironically, one of the main attractions of Apple computers is its rarity — because it costs so much.

What’s Wrong With Suicide?

If the whole world commited suicide at the exact same moment, would there be anything wrong with that?

The wrong of suicide taken from a non-theistic sense would be that it is a “social problem”. Why is it a problem?

Conversations with a semi-suicidal pro-choice advocate

“There is no sense in suicide”

Some say that there is no sense in suicide: “Suicide is a meaningless act, so why do it?”

But if a person perceives life to be meaningless, then why live?

“Your body is not yours”

Some people argue that the body belongs to God or the state. If I don’t believe in God, that argument just goes down the drain. As for the state: just who is the state anyway? Am I not part of the state? If I’m part of the state, do I not get a say in what my body does?

“It is murder”

When you kill your body, you are murdering yourself. This brings up another moral issue: If I killed somebody, what would be wrong with that? I take away his freedom of choice that’s what. I refuse him the opportunity to live. If I murder myself, what do I take away? My freedom of choice to live?

“It’s a selfish act”

Yes, suicide is selfish. You refuse your body to other people who liked you better alive. Family, friends, relatives — generally people who liked you; but does this mean anyone who doesn’t have friends or family is not discouraged from taking his/her own life?

If I continue living, and suffering endlessly and needlessly, are not the ones who want me alive the selfish ones?

“Life is better than death”

And blue is better than red. Some people intuitively believe that death is all this “badness”, while life is somehow inherently “good”.

Life is good, but it can also be bad. The same thing with death: it can be bad, but it also can be good.

“If everybody thought like you, there’d be no world”

If everybody thought like me, there wouldn’t be this debate. People will make their own choices, and others will respect those choices.

If you know that killing yourself won’t affect anyone, I say go ahead. Only thing is, all of us seem to know at least someone whom actually cares about us — even when it seems like nobody really does.

What's Wrong With Suicide?

If the whole world commited suicide at the exact same moment, would there be anything wrong with that?

The wrong of suicide taken from a non-theistic sense would be that it is a “social problem”. Why is it a problem?

Conversations with a semi-suicidal pro-choice advocate

“There is no sense in suicide”

Some say that there is no sense in suicide: “Suicide is a meaningless act, so why do it?”

But if a person perceives life to be meaningless, then why live?

“Your body is not yours”

Some people argue that the body belongs to God or the state. If I don’t believe in God, that argument just goes down the drain. As for the state: just who is the state anyway? Am I not part of the state? If I’m part of the state, do I not get a say in what my body does?

“It is murder”

When you kill your body, you are murdering yourself. This brings up another moral issue: If I killed somebody, what would be wrong with that? I take away his freedom of choice that’s what. I refuse him the opportunity to live. If I murder myself, what do I take away? My freedom of choice to live?

“It’s a selfish act”

Yes, suicide is selfish. You refuse your body to other people who liked you better alive. Family, friends, relatives — generally people who liked you; but does this mean anyone who doesn’t have friends or family is not discouraged from taking his/her own life?

If I continue living, and suffering endlessly and needlessly, are not the ones who want me alive the selfish ones?

“Life is better than death”

And blue is better than red. Some people intuitively believe that death is all this “badness”, while life is somehow inherently “good”.

Life is good, but it can also be bad. The same thing with death: it can be bad, but it also can be good.

“If everybody thought like you, there’d be no world”

If everybody thought like me, there wouldn’t be this debate. People will make their own choices, and others will respect those choices.

If you know that killing yourself won’t affect anyone, I say go ahead. Only thing is, all of us seem to know at least someone whom actually cares about us — even when it seems like nobody really does.

Web Developer Humour

If you’re using Netscape (any version), Mozilla Browser or Firebird, type in “about:mozilla” into the address bar for a little easter egg.

Oh, and if you’re using Internet Explorer, try this one: type “about:anything” and notice how the error screen looks like an error screen. Then type “about:mozilla”, and notice the difference. It’s Microsoft’s subtle way of telling you Netscape causes blue screen crashes!

Web Developers

If you’re a web developer/designer, and have been around long enough, have you ever wondered how the infamous Netscape <blink> tag came about? Well, here’s the story:

And the beast shall come forth surrounded by a roiling cloud of vengeance. The house of the unbelievers shall be razed and they shall be scorched to the earth. Their tags shall blink until the end of days.

— The Book of Mozilla, 12:10

In response to the death of Netscape:

And they watched as the beast cast off its chains, and with a terrible roar burst forth and slew those who had bound it. And for days the rivers ran red with their lifeblood.

— from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15

Contrary to popular belief, developers have a great sense of humour!

My (Half) Marathon Story

Went for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon yesterday. The atmosphere was great. Expected to be one of the slowest runners, but for most of the race I was not.

How the race went

Before the race I had a runny nose, and my first instinct was to take medicine to dry it up. I looked for the medicine, found it, and read the label: May Cause Drowsiness. I had woken up only a little earlier, and thought that the drowsiness was no match for my night’s rest — I was to find out how wrong I was later.

Right after taking the medicine, I was surprised how much more easily I could breathe. The difference was like dusk and night, not very different, but different enough. Soon after taking it, off I went.

Many people

Many people were there for the run. Officially, there were 9000++ participants, though I bet many people didn’t make it — I was obligated to go as I had promised my friend to accompany him. If I had signed up alone, I would have stayed at home and rued my sloth.

Wow… would you be my girlfriend?

If there was one thing I really like about running, is that girls tend to wear very light clothing. They wear less to make themselves feel less hot — it has the opposite effect on men.

Due to the very high number of participants, we (my friend and I) had to wait about 10 minutes after the official start of the race before we eventually reached the starting line and headed off on our run. My friend ran off and left me behind — he had been looking forward to this day with anticipation, I had been looking forward to it with apprehension.

The race started very well for him, and well for me. I picked my pacer, an expatriate with an orange shirt and blue pants. He had a good pace and was easy to spot. I followed him for about 8 kilometers before I decided to increase my speed a little.

My fear of running slower than the majority of the girls had been unwarrented — my pace was pleasantly faster than I had anticipated, and I had over-taken many of the girls to my great relief.

The unlucky 13th

Then at the 13th kilometer mark it happened — I started feeling a little drowsy, my legs felt like bricks had been attached to them. By the 14th kilometer, I was getting giddy, and suffered some numbness in my hands and feet — flu medicine or not, I don’t know — I slowed to a walk. All the girls I had gleefully overtaken returned like ex-girlfriends seeking revenge.

What made me walk?

Between the 14th and 17th kilometer, I had one of those epic psychological battles. Half of me kept telling me to push on (and to my dismay, so did the numerous cheering teams — they really pulled my spirits lower than the pits of Hell itself).

My self-talk went like this: “Push! Push! Push! You are not feeling unwell, it’s all in the head! Come on Donn, this is all bullshit. You are here to do your best, not give up at the first sign of trouble! Look at all those girls over-taking you. Flu medicine giving you trouble? Hah, bull; the only thing giving you trouble is your poor attitude. Giving up so easily, loser.”

The other half of me though, was more forgiving.

“Take your time, don’t push beyond what your body is capable of withstanding. It’s the flu medicine. If there’s one thing you can learn from this is that one should never take flu medicine before going on a long run. You can even advise people on your blog on this matter! If you run too hard you may just collapse and die, like the recent case of the National Service Man who did just that. Honestly, the part of you telling you to carry on even when you’re feeling unwell is just your inflated ego.”

I don’t know which side was telling the truth that day — perhaps a little bit of both?

The 18th kilometer

On the 18th I felt much better. The giddiness was gone, the numbing feeling too. Walked past a water station, took a gulp, and with renewed vigour I charged on. 200 metres later, minor cramps in my calves caused me some concern, and I slowed down, and then yet again returned to my favoured walk.

20th kilometer

Got hold of a isotonic drink, and armed with the knowledge that only one kilometre separated me from the finish line, I ran once more, only to be stopped by severe cramping soon after — never increase speed to quickly, or risk cramping. I walked, trotted and lumbered towards the finish line…

The finish line

An anti-climax if I ever knew one. Sense of achievement, satisfaction, accomplishment — feelings I imagined I would feel — were non-existent. But there was a feeling of being part of something larger than oneself though, a very “connected” feeling; I imagine myself preparing for the next marathon held in Kuala Lumpur next year in February — and this time, no flu medicine.