Woohoo USS Zheng He

Oh hoooohooo!! My complaints into the inter web have been heard, the federation, in the 24th century, celebrates 14th century Chinese Navigator Zheng He by naming their state of the art flagship after him. Wow! And she leads an armada of ships… as the original Zheng He did.

The willingness to use a Chinese Naval general is awesome! There is so little Chinese here that anything is a huge boon! I mean, also, talk about getting all the bang for the diversity buck in using just two words… Zheng He is was born to a Muslim family in 14th century China. He was enslaved and castrated by the Han-Chinese Ming dynasty at a young age,… but to make a long story short, he overcame that kind of adversity and rose to become a general/Admiral and lead a series most successful naval missions known in all of Chinese history.

It’s like Dunkirk… so much in so few words

The season of Star Trek Picard has ended… in great haste. That 10th episode was at least two episodes in Best of Both Worlds… I don’t understand why everything feels so rushed. It may be just that the story and acting is so good that one wishes to linger longer in the Universe of Star Trek. Especially, now that we have regained our corrected Starfleet. In my younger youth, I remember being able to hold that excitement and memories of emotions and tech and myths and plots all for longer time after an episode… I mean, for god sakes, we’re talking about an tempted galaxy-wide biocide! Like, it’s not homicide, it’s not genocide, it is BIOCIDE! My mind just cannot take that in within the span of one sentence! It needs time to experience this.

One cannot praise the acting enough though. Stewart, can blush like Briones and barf like Pill… heck, he can probably play a few half’s of soccer with Cabrera and… and when he smiles, you know it is right. You know the universe, with starfleet, is alright.

The Trek is a little bit less subtle than TNG, IMHO, when Picards explains to Rios the powerful tools of federation: Openness, Optimism, the spirit of curiosity, (all they have is fear, fear is the great destroyer, not…)… failing to use these powerful tools is a failure of imagination (creativity/intelligence/technology) These words while verbalize some ideals behind Star Trek, it is difficult to contemplate that they can be taught in words, until I saw Picard do it. You can actually say these things out loud in a human language. I do not know how I feel about this direct approach, but it hits the nail right on the head, directly.

I am also a little scared of season two, probably for lack of my own creativity. How do they follow a Picard-data story like this… and many bigwig producers are leaving the show.

But, I suppose I should take a cue, and boldly look forward to the unknown, with hope and optimism full blast!

About that Chinese Virus

Well, it’s been years, so hopefully this isn’t a big deal any more. But for the moment, there is definitely a lot of anger against Asians.(NYT story.)

My own experience with it began around March 10th 2020. That’s on a day when the market was half way down but everyone was still being reassured at the Corona Virus will not be harming Americans. When I took my chevy Bolt to be services at a very established Chevrolet dealership in San Mateo County to be serviced, I was treated with the absolute worst treatment. Zero explanations were given on a surprising maintenance costing almost $1000. Estimating two days just to diagnose the problem. And then, angry calls from the technician, leading to myself being informed that the technician, and his manager, wishes we take our business else where. “Get out of here, and don’t come back.” He practically yelled it several times.

After much of my effort, I was able to talk to the service technicians boss, and everyone was able to converse civilly and resume business relationship. But honestly, on the way there, members of the dealship seem to have rehearsed this line. Everyone from sales to service will have, at some point in related conversations say, you are welcome to take your business elsewhere. I felt the need to workout my relationship with this authorized Chevy dealership and garage because I drive two GM cars. These are hybrids that only that angry technician can service. Yes, sure, I can risk taking my Asian face to another dealership, but somehow I do not believe my experience there will be any better. Since I drive my family with this car that this angry technician services, and since the angry technician and his boss and his boss’s boss has my residence address, and since GM transmits all my driving data (through onstar) to my dealership… It is to my very unfortunate advantage to suffer some indigence for sake of survival.

(Btw, both GM and Tesla have this internal feature where things don’t go well, they don’t send you a post-service survey. I mean, I don’t know if it’s an American car maker thing… my Honda services is always followed by a survey that always had at least four out of five stars. I mean, the employees are all Americans right? But corporate culture sure makes a lot of difference.)

That utterly unprovoked anger is still around. When I shop at WholeFoods in San Mateo, the white cashier spends a lot of time adjusting the nose clip on her mask when I arrived. Simple questions are met very very stern and curt responses. It is a big upgrade from being told to “get out of here and don’t come back,” But I am not enjoying flinching at every move the cashier makes at the super market. There are a lot of non-Asians to watch out for, if white racists lead them into hatred.

This is a good moment for me to think about my idea to establish an “integration process” for immigrants. I too dislike immigrants, they bring uncertainty into my life. My desire for immigrants to take some time to learn how to live here civilly, how to drive, how to speak, how to stand in line,…, and most importantly of all, how to not hate based on race and gender and wealth… But for the moment, that seems like an unfair requirement. The people who are established here do not act that way. The people here discriminated against Asians, and can not control their emotions like professional adults should.

Is it fair to expect new immigrants to be better?

As a American minority, it still makes sense to me to request that new immigrants do not hate based on race. It will be worth the time and effort and money we spend on it to make sure immigrants do not hate, perhaps even as we maintain our own hatred. Even if our society is provably racist, we can make it better if we integrate new members with less hatred than we have now. I am starting to understand the very weak requirement of Rawls’ Difference Principal. When all are failing, and nothing is within anyone’s control, it makes sense to just make things better: more equal in the case of Equality Justice, and simply less hatred in the population in the case of hate for Asians.

As always, I wish that by the time this post publishes that this post will not make any sense to me or anyone else reading. But it is a reminder to us all, that in the early quarter of the 21st century, what happened to people, the American people, we show our true color, when faced with a dangerous virus from China: B many will begin to single Chinese people to hate, many will call it the Chinese Virus, some will refuse to service Chinese people, some will be violent Against Chinese and Asians, and some Asians will “shelter in place” and try to ride it out.

Why can covid19 quarantines stop?

It’s March 2nd 2020, 5 states in America has ordered shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Italy and Spain are kind of spinning out of control with a lot of sick and dead…

But in China, PR of, people are starting to go back to work, ending very strenuous quarantines for almost two months.

So… one wonders why is it safe for China to let people into the streets now? If the R-nought is more than 2–apparently meaning each sick person will eventually infect more than two people.

The vaccine has not been developed yet. There has not been an announcement of effective anti-viral drug against covid19. So, why is it safe, now, in China, to release all the people back onto the streets? Can there not be one sick Chinese that can spread it to the rest of Chinese at an exponential rate of… more than doubling after each infection? (Admittedly it will take some where between 16 and 30 and sneezes before all 1.386 billion people have it)

Anyways, after some concerning myself for several days watching billions of people being let back onto streets, the only explanation I can think of is the rising temperature may make it more difficult for this flu to propagate—the r-nought is changing due to changing of the season. Wuhan, for example just reached 80 degrees yesterday, rising from the 60’s two weeks ago. Beijing is bouncing about 65.

California will be in the 60’s for the next week, according to the forecast. The rest of the US, of course, is not as warm: WA, MA, IL, NY, doesn’t even break 60 in the next week. 🤮

I wish this information is just available somenwhere. I don’t want to read a scientific paper. I mean can all these daily Press Conferences … can nobody give some more sense to us about how things are going to go? I heard about respirators, I heard about vaccines and drugs to treat, I hear about the curves and the hospital ships, but why not give the people a slightly longer outlook, perhaps a better picture of what to hope for using honest information about seasonal respiratory diseases? Why do we not know that it will be all cured by August because virus melts in the sun like icecream? To me, when everyone maybe dying, and the world is dark, there is a need for promise of a sunny day to come. I understand that it may be the “Chinese flu” that has its RNA’s written in Chinese. But can we translate the common sense to English? Can you all rich and famous and smart and powerful people talk in words the rest of us can understand ????

Anyways, I will applaud the efforts of trump administration and many philanthropists to recruit Data and Computer Scientists to help out curing covid19 flu. Link to the kaggle for it. I am, as eager as all the people funding AI research, to see AI save the day. Honestly, this is a great chance for a lot of dark-magic black-art of AI to see light of day. It’s like a dream come true for all the nerds and geeks… a chance to save the world… the president of USA and the richest people here, all are asking you to help save the world!! It doesn’t get better than this!! Isnt it a wonderful world?!! Big, bold, beautifully wonderful world!!

SEC, FBI where are you when this happened?

Wait, is this propublica story for real? North Carolina Senator, he’s heads the Senate Intelligence committee dumped up to $1.7 millions of stock after he found out it was a problem in January of 2020?

Where is the all might SEC and FBI ? Why wasn’t this activity detected and prosecuted like the entrepreneurs and other citizens? Reports from intelligence community is definitely material information about stocks.

I guess the world really is an unfair place, even if you live in America.

Shouldn’t he know the laws, having argued against the STOCK a Act, stating insider trading rules already applies to government officials. and since he is not “inside” The travel and hospitality companies, he is not subject to insider laws.

Fox News is prompt to report fellow senator Diane Feinstein also sold up to six million shares of some drug company in February. Of course, if you look at all these sales, Feinstein’s especially, it looks like a stop-loss situation… Feinstein’s sold a million shares at 30% discount from about 50 day’s before a day in January 2020. Then when price recovered a little two weeks later in February, it would appear that they sold the rest. If they waited until yesterday (a day late into Q1 2020), it would have lost another 25%. But at least she was no longer leading the senate intelligence committee when all these happened. And plus her stock seems less related to the virus than, say, travel and cruise companies as it were in the other senators case.

I find the Senate financial disclosure site promogated by ProPublica to be very accessible. Everyone should know about this. And man do these Congress persons have a thing for names, I see a Boozman here, there’s a Blunt, a Whitehouse, Cantwell, Simpson, multiple Graves, McGovern, there’s an Adam Smith,… this was a sad news cycle, reading names is more interesting.

Unfair advantages be damned I guess. I mean if political offices can be bought with campaign money, and if you are a politician and you can use secret information to make money… I mean, I don’t see the problem here.

Why doesn’t the SEC prosecute him? Why doesn’t the attorney general investigate him? Why doesn’t the people of North Carolina, all those who lost money these last few weeks, just call a referendum and dump this guy? I know we would in California if we though Feinstein took into consideration when dumping millions of dollars of stock.

Let’s see what happens, I guess, as president trump likes to say, let’s see what happens.

Cool it

I have an idea.

We can use technology to repair warming.

I’ve been watching a lot of Trek recently. Just rewatched Nemsis(aka trek X) as a chapter in a very very long saga, this movie was not bad at all. Especially in light of Picard series…

So, here is an idea, why don’t we make a machine that takes Earth’s excess enthalpy and shoot it into space, at a random object, say the Sun.

It occurs to me that all those astronomical scanning devices must use a lot of energy. What if we explore the space heavily and emitted a lot of energy by way of radiation into all of the universe, that would cool us down right?

I guess the challenge is to make such a machine that doesn’t produce even more enthalpy in the atmosphere while doing this.

Anyways, one can dream…

I didn’t get one

Picard s1e5, the telling of the story continues smoothly. I am a little upset that they killed off Icheb, days after I painstakingly rewatched many Discovery episodes about him. The problem with picking on a young person of a dying spieces from delta quadrant is that no one will stand up for you. Well, maybe no one except for Seven of Nine. And myself, I feel like I just got to know him over several years of time, and then ppppphhhhhhhaze, he’s dead. I am not happy about this. Star Trek is killing Starfleet’s youth too fast.

It is difficult to reconcile the very respectable older Seven and her sultry voice from her youth. The ex-borg retain a lot of her personality from the delta quadrant. This story has to be very touching to many people who have immigrated to the US seeking new lives, their young ones in tow, or as it were, not. You are being rehydrates with humanity as you come to America, becoming civilized and law abiding…. I mean, unless they kill your kid, then it feels completely right to blaster the killer into air molecules. The show even used an especially savage weapon that kills the person by disassembling him from inside outward. Reminds me of the Klingons blaster.

Elnor’s childish observations about what the crew was doing is cute and yet real. I mean I don’t know how many times I had experienced the same sentiment growing up and working in America… sometimes it is just so hard to tell what everyone is doing. as a foreigner, some contextual cues are not the same as what you are used to. The result is that you have to drop to very basic concepts and ask: are we all lying now? Did we just stop lying ?

But the targeting in the future is top notch. The pitch to the captain had his name and make, model and performance of his ship all seamlessly embedded in the advert. Very nice touch! And the drug den for Raffi, the roboticist job for Jurati, so right on!

And a bit angry rant about Asians. Finally there’s someone Chinese, it’s Raffi’s son, last name, according to closed captioning, Hwang, Wade-Giles romanization of 黄, the color yellow, a very common Chinese last name. Glad to see one Chinese descendent, even if his mom was a black drug addict and wife is some dark shade of Vulcan. Whatever! Maybe they found a gene bug in Chinese people and they were all forced to reproduce with non-Chinese people in order to not produce mutants or something… And then there is the Indian subcontinent that is zero-represented in Trek, what, did the Borg dig that continent out of earth?

aha!! All shall be revealed in Picard Season 2.

FAMX0.5 due to watching it twice. Last few episodes were X1 IMHO.

The dragon silencer

“””

One day, little brother dragon sought Alice the Witch’s apprentice to play. He finds Alice preparing for her Witch’s apprentice test in her lab.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m practicing the potions section of the test.” She answered glancing at his entrance quickly, gosh, that dragon is beautiful, she thought at the sight of his body glistening and shimmering as if it is covered with oil. He seems so aware and in control of his body every inch, every scale, every hair moved in cohesion and with intent. Even when he is not moving, his body shimmers with a mesmerizing throbbing, longitudinally and sinuously. “Ah, you have come at a great time” Alice’s mind snaps back to her test. “You can help me practice this very difficult spell.”

“What is it?”

“The dragon silencer”

“The dragon silencer?”

“Yes, this spell-potion combo is a challenge question on the test. The physics of it is pretty neat, you should see it.”

The little dragon is silenced

He talked, but no sound came out.

He bumped into the wall, and no sound was made.

He slammed the door, and the door made no sound.

“Heeehee” Alice giggles giddily, “it worked !!”

Little brother dragon blew a fire ball, it burned red hot, but emitted no usual poof sound.

“The dragon silencer silences the dragon” says Alice.

After a few more moments of good natured joshing, Alice decides to undo the dragon silencer. The little brother dragon is most eager as well.

“Ehermmm, let’s see, wow, the undo-spell is five pages long, looks like we have some work ahead of us.”

Little brother dragon shakes his head vigorously gesturing DO IT!

“Oh, hmmmn, it’s a potion,” Alice says after reading the third page. She busied herself with the preparation while little brother dragon tried all manors of noise making but failing to make even the slightest sound.

“Ahhdlakadablahhhhhh” mumbles Alice to complete the spell… the dragon looked at her, holding back a giggle, or maybe he giggled, we can’t hear him. That’s, did she say that right? Maybe it’s just a Chinese accent, but that sounds… different.

Finally, Alice hands little brother dragon a test tube of pink potion. He drinks it quickly.

“CAN YOU HEAR ME??!” Little brother dragon shouts.

“OMG! Yes, please don’t shout!”

“Thanks you! That was nasty!! I couldn’t hear myself pink! Pink!! I can’t hear myself PINK”

“You mean you can’t hear yourself think? That’s an interesting side effect. I’ll have to let my teacher know, she wrote the book on this, maybe she can update it with that info.”

“Pink!!! Pink!! Pink! I’m pink!” Little brother dragon caught a reflection of his body in a flask, “why am Pink?”

Alice looks over, the dreamy dragon was indeed all shades of pink. But even in pink, he mesmerizes endlessly, its throbbing, in hot pink, extends in saturation and radiance, one’s eyes cannot stop looking at such a creature, the senses are so engrossed in catching each and every shade of pink that is possible on each and everyone of the dragon’s magical scales. Even his whiskers are pink, to the tip.

Little brother dragon now has gathered his wits and waves at Alice who has yet to emerged from the trance induced by the sight of this dragon.

“Uhhh, dudette, can I make noise in my normal color?” Asked little brother dragon.

And at this moment, Alices witch teacher, the old lady, walks by.

“Alice! Have you not read the spell instructions in its entirety before performing it ?!” Demanded the old lady. “That lesson I must have taught you a million times. I guess one more time won’t hurt.”

Alice’s gaze shifted down to the book. She seem to have done everything in those five pages. She idly turns the page, and, there on the 6th page, lay one line of instruction:

The potion shall be applied by oral delivery.

“That means, Alice, you should blow the potion at him from your mouth” the old lady explained helpfully, “or any other way, as long as it is delivered from your mouth, but personally, I find blowing the most pleasant. And please read your spell books more carefully and fully in the future. There are orally administered potions which the subject is to consume, but then it would say administer orally. I certainly do hope you do better on the actual test.”

She then marched little brother dragon out of the room leaving Alice the Witch’s apprentice to ponder her blunder…

(Don’t worry, the old lady reverted the pinkness outside, so little brother dragon is all okay now.)

“””

It’s not going to get any better

My daughter hates eggplant.

We tried our best efforts but she yells “yuck” any time she tries it.

Her father is vegetarian and feel it is unbelievable anyone cannot be made to like the foods fit for the gods.

Her mother however decided that she’ll like it when she grows up. “I hated eggplants when I was little,” she reminisced, “but by the time I went to school in Beijing, I loved eggplant.”

I however am not of the same optimistic mind. I am slightly aware of our shared history. The daughter’s mother grew up in a very dynamic time and place. The life-quality inequality in China was rapidly ascending from worse to third-worldly. When she had eggplant as a child in the 80’s, the 1980’s, the country was still short on (cooking) oil, sugar, and many other spices. The food and other basic necessities were rationed: her family, my family, everyone were issued ration tickets which in conjunction with money is the only means citizen can secure rice, oil, meat and cloth, etc.

When her mother ate eggplant for the first time, it was probably boiled. Boiled eggplant can’t be that good. (Steamed taste good though, at least it does to me)

In the 1990’s, her mom did well on China’s standardized entrance exams, and went to Beijing to study. The city of Beijing, the most advanced city of China, due to its proximity to the that totalitarian government that we Americans love to complain about, enjoys very much a different level of quality of life. So even in college cafeterias, their eggplant were cooked with oil and spices. And oil, my friends, is the one thing that makes eggplants Devine to eat.

Fast forward to the 20’s, the 2020’s, we soak our eggplants in organic EVOO, even at her first tasting. But she will never experience this kind of dramatic enhancement of taste because her first taste is already as best as it gets.

I am somewhat saddened that my kids do not like eggplant as I do. One would have expected something as basic as eating tastes to have inherited similarities between parents and children. What else didn’t they inherit from me? I hope more of the bad than the good…

We can be optimistic that technology can improve the taste of eggplants in the future, perhaps some exotic alien spice will elevate it even further. But for now, it seems that our old ideas and solutions will probably not be enough for our descendants. What satisfies us will not satisfy them. What will happen to our world when they take over? One cannot help but wonder if it is too late to invest in “ban eggplant” signs for the eventual political upheaval. “

Who’s worried about AI

Has anybody ever thought that there is a racial and social-economic divide between those who want AI to work better and those who want to control AI?

Roughly, rich and powerful dominant society is concerned with control. Poor and deprived population wants more AI.

People descending from societies with strong imperialist history has builtin bias in their upbringing such that control comes to mind automatically. One can hear the grotesque and yet prenatal concern “but how do we enslave this new exploitable subject?! How do we ensure we can wield it fully to our advantage? How do we keep it to ourselves? And most importantly, how do we prevent them from taking over?!”

I’m not entirely certain why these dark thoughts flash through my head as I listen to Stuart Russell’s new book Human Compatible. I mean, it’s not like I subject myself to any brain washing beside American news and entertainment media–they do not look upon this culture negatively. This book is very insightful and educates me to advanced topics in that clear and efficient way as Artificial Intelligence–a Modern Approach does. Some of it takes several passes to absorb.

As I am used to flip flopping, it would be greater for us to be in the imperial role than the subjugated role in the next chapter of intelligent life: who wants to be in the America’s, Africa’s, India’s or China’s of the imperial Europe eras? Wouldn’t I rather have been born in the enslaving countries, white, than to stick to my own skin and cultural traditions, keeping the biases and ideals therein?

I’m not sure where this will go in real life, but I did my best by contributing to Yang’s presidential campaign. He seem to have detected this conflict ahead and offers a solution. He offers a sociopolitical solution in the form of UBI-centered economic reform to unite people of America instead of divide them over unanswerable questions. A better America is better than an embattled and uncooperative world. Yes, turning focus inward is very Chinese, but that doesn’t make it wrong. His ideas may very well not work, but it is definitely much better than any and all other Democratic candidates who are, IMHO, various mixtures of the old, the dirty and the absurd. Old in age and ideas. Dirty both dirty with money and politics. Absurd, with a capital A.

But then again, I might just be looking for something refreshing and new. Same old same old is same as old.