January 17, 2008 at 3:00 am | Posted in blogging, computers, humor, silly nonsense | Leave a comment
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You know it when it happens. Something struck you while you were surfing the internet. You wanted to jot down a couple of thoughts, just post a few sentences before going to bed. But now it’s 3AM and you’re looking for evidence in the New York Times archives, trying to support your argument so you can weigh in on some debate on someone’s blog from 2 years ago. What happened to studying for finals? Why are you writing in such detail about something so completely unrelated to what you claim to be interested in at school? Why are you still UP?

It’s unclear.

Maybe you want attention. Maybe you’re a world-class procrastinator. Maybe you have some horrible, life-threatening disease. Or maybe you’re just really, really passionate about the moral dilemma of doctor-assisted suicide.

Do you remember what’s going to be on the test tomorrow? Do you remember the last time you saw the sun? Do you remember what your girlfriend (ex-girlfriend, as the case may be) looks like? And yes, it’s cheating to check Facebook.

Get a grip! Put on a jacket and go outside. Smell that? That’s air. Go to the library, where you can study without distractions. Take out some paper. Jot down notes. Start writing:



What I’m learning about time management skills

December 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm | Posted in artsy, design, geeky, humor, life | Leave a comment
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Illustrator > Homework.


Why I will never become a professional t-shirt designer

December 3, 2007 at 11:06 pm | Posted in design, geeky, humor, music, silly nonsense | 2 Comments

My designs simply have too much mass appeal.

Actual Size:


What is my design philosophy? If you can understand it without going on Wikipedia, then it’s probably trite and uninteresting.



Harvard UC: 2. Evil and injustice: 0.

October 4, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Posted in arguments, crimson, harvard, humor, news, school | 1 Comment
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If it seems like the CrimsonReading debacle has cooled down in the wake of class-shopping week, fret no more. Looks like another opportunity has come up for the Harvard Undergraduate Council to stick it to the man. An out-of-touch, grouchy man, that is, one hired by our friend Drew Faust last month to cut his administrative teeth serving as the new Dean of Harvard College. So far, the only thing he’s managed to cut are his own legs from beneath him. Faust should be pleased. Even Larry Summers wasn’t principled enough to alienate the entire student body in his first two weeks on the job.

The facts of the matter aren’t exactly earthshaking. The college has decided it would no longer allow the UC to give out party grants, or small sums of money to fund weekend social activities organized by students. We are all complaining, of course, because we have been spoiled by the grants into ignoring the fact that no other school pays for their students to have parties. On the other hand, no other school has as inherently anemic of a social scene either, or as humorless of an administration. Our Nobel laureates are not our only world-record holders here.

Even if you weren’t bothered by the fact that you now have to pay for your own booze, you’d probably find the particular tone of the announcement perplexing. In a surprise letter directed to the UC two days ago, Dean Pilbeam displays the light-hearted charm for which he must have been hired:

the UC Party Grant program is inherently flawed, and must be ended immediately. From this date forward no further funds can be dispersed for private parties, including any that may have already been approved for forthcoming dates.

The letter that follows is a lecture on the dangers of alcohol abuse and an admonition to the UC for not having cracked down on recipients of party grants who drank with their underage friends. Thanks Papa Dean, before we read your letter we all just thought vodka made us smarter.

Of course, what the Crimson does not report on, and which I now know from my top-secret sources, is that after writing the letter, Dean Pilbeam went to the UC meeting and tried to bottle-feed VC Matt Sundquist. Upon realizing that Matt, like the rest of the student body, was not in fact 3 years old, the Dean returned to his office in confusion, mustered up all of the tact that he has acquired over the years, and began to work on his next letter to the students. We eagerly await his much-needed guidance on behaving safely, especially those of us not fortunate enough to attend more scrupulously policed venues such as final clubs.

In the meantime, the UC has voted unanimously to continue disbursing party funds in defiance of the administration’s policies. Not even the (much more meaningful) Harvard College Book Information System proposal got this much support. Just goes to show that alcohol withdrawal can be a wonderful stimulus to progressive campus politics. Why don’t we invite the Dean over for a few drinks this weekend, and congratulate him on a job well done? Just don’t forget to apply for a party grant first.


May 6, 2007 at 2:13 pm | Posted in humor, social | 1 Comment

What would a society need to be like, if its purpose was to help people actualize their sense of self?

It would need…

This might not be reality
But it’s my ideal society.
Practice sobriety,
Perhaps a little filial piety;
Free to worship one’s own deity,
It’s the way society’s supposed to be

(2x) I call it…
Not utopia,
but Juetopia!
It’s my utopia

Technology, it’s nothing but a
Utility, a tool that we
Use to better society.
It won’t be abused or otherwise used
For control or as an end in itself.
Its only role and it’ll serve that goal
Is to make our lives real swell.

Now education,
It’s kind of like transportation;
Gets people to their own destination,
As well as their desired vocation.
It’s not rote memorization
Nor government standardization;
In my society education
Is about personal realization.

(2x) I’m talkin’ about…
Not just any (your average) utopia,
I call it (but rather) Juetopia!
It’s my version of (my own) utopia

Family, it’s gotta be
One of those things we can’t help but need;
Providing love and emotional ties,
An aspect of humanity that cannot be denied.
But eventually, we’re going to need
Our own independence and identity.
This is why in Juetopian life
Social welfare helps parents that are about to die.

Finally, spirituality,
It gives one a sense of morality.
People can’t just be force-fed religion;
They’ve got to arrive at their own definition.
Contentment isn’t from booze or drugs;
It’s from something deep inside of us.
This thing, it’s called self-actualization;
There’s plenty of it in my civilization.

(2x) I call it…
Not utopia,
but Juetopia!
It’s my utopia!

It’s my society.
People have sobriety,
A little bit of filial piety;
Allowed to find one’s own deity.
Everybody, feel free to join me.

(2x) What’s it called?
Not just any utopia!
Say it again! Juetopia!
Gotta love my utopia!

What I learned in organic chemistry today

February 12, 2007 at 6:11 pm | Posted in humor, rambling, school, silly nonsense | 5 Comments

Not only is my professor an intellectual giant in the fields of chemistry and biology, his lectures provide me with indispensable artistic inspiration.


Biology students have OCD

February 9, 2007 at 5:57 pm | Posted in humor, rambling, school, science, wistful musing | Leave a comment

Biochemistry lab work is unstimulating. The only reason we haven’t gotten robots or monkeys to do all the pipetting (using a glorified eye-dropper to meticulously measure out really small amounts of liquids) is because it’s cheaper to just get undergrads to do it. I burn more neurons reading Calvin and Hobbes on a summer afternoon. I burn even more neurons on the weekends, but that’s a different story.

I love this stuff though. Sometimes, the conceptual brilliance of biochemistry outweighs the rote labor of running experiments; most of the time, it doesn’t. Masochism is a more important factor. Obsessive-compulsive disorder also helps. A couple centuries ago, someone infatuated with rituals and record-keeping could join the clergy and spend hours playing with beads and all manner of ornate metal vessels for a holy cause. Now, the cause is knowledge, and the beads are made of polystyrene, microns wide, and have fickle little buggers called DNA molecules attached to them. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not comparing science to religion. I’m musing on what makes me and other lab rats — er, aspiring experimentalists — tick.

Biology traditionally got a bad rap for being a little fuzzy and arcane. I wonder why. A basic lab procedure, the Polymerase Chain Reaction, calls for the following steps: add distilled water, add buffer solution, add DNA molecules, add primer (short DNA fragments), add nucleic acids, add DNA polymerase (a protein). After that you will end up with a drop of liquid twenty times smaller than a raindrop, and you’ll put the tiny vial into a machine, close the lid, hit some buttons and wait a few hours. It’s like cooking.

Only unlike cooking, things go wrong most of the time (for me it is like cooking). Even if you’ve torn out your hair taking precautions left and right, you’ll invariably end up with results that are completely unexpected, if not outright incomprehensible. Imagine following a recipe for a dozen blueberry muffins, and when you open the oven, you see one blueberry muffin, two strawberry ones, one dangerous-looking green smudge, and eight blank wells in the muffin tin. They disappeared! That’s what science is like.

So what kind of person loves seeing their muffins disappear? Well, the kind of person who also likes to track them down. I love thinking about the gazillion different ingredients I put in, why they’re there, and how a change in one of them could have screwed everything up. I can never fit all the details in my head at once, and nor can anyone else, but the fun is in seeing how much I can see, and how they fit together. Sometimes, though, the muffins get lost and nobody for the life of them can figure out why. Then, the enjoyment is all in the mixing and baking. That’s why we all have OCD.

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