Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Undeserved bragging right of physical prowess

There maybe sometime in your life where a jock type guy brag to you about his physical prowess. He might say that he can do 200 push-ups, 500 sit-ups, or 800 squat-jumps.

I hate to break the news but such "achievement" is not yet something to ga-ga (oooh, aaaah) over. The difficulty of those exercise depends on the time used to finish them. 200 push-ups in half hour is easier than 50 push-ups in 1 minute.

..well, it's actually not that simple. You might say that the bottle neck of 60 push-ups in 1 minute is the performance of anerobic metabolism, which is the metabolism able to generate large amount of energy in little time.

For more push-ups with longer time such as 1000 push-ups in 30 minutes, what matter is the performance of both anerobic metabolism and aerobic metabolism, where the aerobic metabolism will burn waste of anerobic metabolism. If anerobic metabolism cannot keep up with the cleaning anerobic metabolism's waste, it will be the limit.

For, let say 5000 push-ups within 4 hours, you the bottleneck is in the endurace of the muscle fibre. You don't want to do that. Muscle injury takes time to heal.

I had wanted to play badminton professionally, so I know a bit of this stuff. :-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Preparing relationships before undertaking any high pressure job/ambition

Although I know it, until recently I had never really appreciated that pressures of work and life can inhibit relationships building. The pressure may be inevitable due to certain facts of life or it may be that you choose to take that pressure. Choosing to take that pressure may be motivated by your ambition, or other people ambitions and interest. Either way, there might be some times in our life where relationship is simply not a priority.

Since many relationships - such as ordinary hang out friends - require maintainance (periodic phone call, short messages, or visit), we might lost relationships we built due to pressure of work and life. Consequently by the time we begin to pay attention to relationship, you might need to start from almost zero. It sucks.

Luckily, not all relationships require periodic maintainance. Some relationships, once established, can be left for years and invoked when needed with little time/effort. Therefore a person who, for example, are planning to pursue a certain ambition or wanting to take a very demanding job, should prepare his/her relationship life by cultivating such relationship with certain kind of people.

People of this kind - with whom you can build a relationship that can stand the test of time without periodic maintainance - are precious. They are the people who understand that facts of life might cause us to not maintainance the relationship. They are are the people who still remember what we and they had been through, although we seemed to abandon the relationship. They are the people who still appreciate our relationship, or at least the footprint of our relationship, although we don't means anything to them anymore.

Find them, and build relationships with them, whether it's just a friendship or something deeper. When you have the time, build a long meaningful relationship with them.

Dating before friendship or dating after friendship

Some people are more comfortable to establish a friend relationship before dating someone. Usually they want to know the partner more before starting to invest big amount of time and heart. Other reason is to identify possible freaks and perverts before their life become interlinked. Yet another reason is that they consider dating as a privilege that must be earned by someone who is worthy.

On the other side, some people are comfortable to date a complete stranger, ..well not a complete stranger, but you got the idea. If it works out, then they can start working to progress into a more intimate relationship. It if doesn't work that well, they can just be friends. If it really doesn't work out, you ignore him/her or even avoid him/her if necessary. Slap in a court order if it's really necessary :-)

If you want to approach someone, it is important to know in what category does your interest believe in, ie: dating before friendship or friendship before dating. Failure to know that will fail the relationship.

If someone believe in dating after friendship, and you declare an interest on him/her and persuade him/her to date while you're not in a friendly term with him/her, you will be rejected without any more chance of future date.

If someone believe in dating before friendship, and you develop a friendly relationship too slowly hoping that you will eventually date him/her, (s)he might decided too early that you're not worth the trouble to know because of the steps must be taken to. This is especially true for people whose life are too hectics to waste on people like you.

Summary-ing the above and adding some of my own experience, indicators of what a person believe in are:
1. Age and time constraint. Older people tend to believe in dating before friendship since they appreciate their life time more than younger ones, and they might want to get married as soon as possible.
2. Busy-ness and free time. Busy people tend to believe in dating before friendship due to reason in point 1 above.
3. Number of friends. More friends means more choice of possible intimate relationship thus less likely to take risk of "heavy commiting" too fast. Since "heavy commiting" too fast is a characteristic of dating before friendship, people with more friends tend to believe in dating after friendship.

Anyway, please correct me if I'm wrong, or tell me some more indicators I missed.

Yeah, it's so complicated. Life sucks.

Which one is better? HP 12C or TI BA II Plus

This is an old post of mine, defending the virtue of HP 12C over TI BA II Plus. Hewlett Packard 12C and Texas Instrument BA II Plus are both the only type of calculator allowed in CFA exam.

One of the most significant differences between those two is the procedure to enter operation such as addition, substraction, multiplication, and division. HP 12C use what mathematician call postfix notation, where TI BA II Plus use infix notation.

The following example will illustrate both notations.
Example of problem to be solved: 2 x ( 3 + 5 ) =

The buttons to be pressed on infix calculator (TI BA II Plus) are:
"2","X","(","3","+","5",")","=". For a total of 8 buttons pressed.
Note that the button pressed are buttons pressed in so called "normal" calculator.

The buttons to be pressed on postfix calculator (HP 12C) are:
"2","Enter","3","Enter","5","+","X". For a total of 6 buttons pressed.

HP 12C is superior than TI BA II Plus for the following reasons:
1. In HP 12C, you dont have to remember the number of open or close parantheses outstanding because parantheses are not needed.
2. Consequently, mistakes in inputing paranthesis are eliminated.
3. The number of buttons to be pressed for an equation can be less.

The only barrier in choosing HP 12C over TI BA II Plus is that people are usually more used to the infix notation. But in my opinion, once you master the postfix notation, you will definitely choose it over infix notation.

Below is the link to a HP 12C if you decide to buy it. No, I'm not gonna give you the link to the more inferior calculator :-).

A wedding ceremony

Since I was requested to write the proceeding of a wedding, I thought I should just blog it so many people can benefit.

The ceremony was held on 7 pm at a place where traffic jam is almost non-existent. On other consideration, almost no public transportation reached this place.

Since it was dark, I can't estimated the size of the building where the wedding is held. One thing for sure, there were plenty of parking lots.

There were 2 wedding receptions at the same time, each share half of the main hall inside a building. The reception I attended occupied space around 50 metres x 40 metres (Disclaimer: I am very likely to be waaay off since I suck at estimating distance), but I believed the decoration and lighting makes the room look smaller than it was. The ambience is quite cozy.

I think I was late for around 15 minutes. But as expected, many people were late too. Even the groom and bride were late for around 30 minutes. Although the entrance of both groom and bride into a wedding hall in Indonesia, is usually made to be grandiose, this one was somewhat uneventful. I think lack of music and formal announcement welcoming the couple were the cause.

The groom was grinning as usual, with his trademarked grin. He still looked like the last time I saw him around 4-5 years ago. Maybe a bit chubbier... I think. The bride... I didn't personally know the bride. She seemed like an outgoing person. She seemed to be the active one in talking to his groom. They seemed tired but happt.

The ceremony was standard. There was one highlight when the MC teased them by asking how they met, what made them love each other, have their parents ever caught them kissing, etc. They took the teasing pretty well, and with a reasonable grace if I may add.

The audiences didn't really care about the party, as expected from your typical Indonesian wedding reception. Oh yeah, it was a standing ceremony. The food was quite good but the placement of empty plates really sucks. They put them near a wall on a table such that people must queue to get them, before quequeing again for the food. The wedding organizer need to take a course in Operational Management 101..

What else to report... a bestfriend of mine stepped on the bride's gown, unintentionally. Noone seemed to realized it, except me :-).

That's all I guess unless someone wants to know a specific thing..

NB. Anyway, due to a certain event a certain someone owed me a certain favor. I am waiting... :-)

*Update on grammar, spelling, structure, etc. Update on the favor: maybe one day I'll ask another favor*

An inspiring desire to study

A picture worth a thousand words. But a picture without context will be lost..

This picture was taken from a car, at around 7.15 AM, on 13th October 2006, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (With a Zire 72 if you really want to know why it's so ugly :-)).

The road they're on is not exactly a safe neighbourhood, although not necessarily unsafe either since an elite real estate area is located nearby. The traffic is pretty light, unlike usual days.

I was there, so I can see things that are uncaptured by this photograph. The person behind the motorcycle was a young boy whose age was at most 10 years. He was reading a handwritten note which is likely to be his or his friend's since the writing style was very childlike. His concentration was so intense such that his eyes never leave the book while I was seeing him. He let the momentum of the motorcycle rocks his body back and forth.

It was very dangerous. Yet, his desire to study is very inspiring.

Nice gold necklace you have there

Today, I was queueing in a bank for almost 3 hours, an unusually long queue. This is caused by a backlog of people who cannot go to the bank for 5 days due to Idul Fitri, and the closing of all branches except some major branches of this bank.

Anyway, this one man in front of me was wearing a gold necklace. Considering how he dressed and the unparticularity of the necklace, he seemed to wear the necklace for flaunting his wealth.

Too bad that his gold necklace turned out to be an imitation. It was obvious because his skin developed a major rash around the necklace. Since gold is one of the most inert metal in the world, gold cannot cause rash.

He was soo busted.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cycle of time may reduce effectiveness of goal setting

Goal setting is important and I think everybody can agree with that. Milestone setting is as important as goal setting because it keep you on track towards the goal you set and it alerts you on your progress. And most people will agree that the more milestone you create, the more controlled your progress towards the goal.

The time to finish goal and milestone are set by human thus they will be based on a time indication considered convenient by human. For example, it's unlikely for me to set 9.37PM past 18 seconds as the time to complete this blog. It's more likely if I set 9.30PM as the time because it's more convenient.

As the consequence, the cycle of time we use such as seconds, days, weeks, months, years, can potentially reduce the effectiveness of goal setting because we tend to overcontract or overstretch the time required to finish a goal, or a milestone.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Self-esteem: lying to others or lying to yourself

Despite of my posts such as this and this, there is one very important advantage in boosting self-esteem, regardless of whether the self-esteem is well-grounded by any evidences. The advantage is: You will look confidence, and confidence attract people.

Although, this phenomenon can be explained from an evolutionary perspective, I won't bother to talk about it for now.

What matter is that you can create confidence out of nothing. You don't have to be pretty, or have potention muscle, or have potential body shape, or smart, to be confident. Everybody can be confident.

I'm not saying that confidence is a bad characteristic to be attracted to. What I'm saying is that in the matter of confidence, the playing field is somewhat equal. And that's my friend, is a boon for us if we sucks at everything in our life.

Now, if you can boost your self-esteem regardless whether you deserve such a high opinion of your self, then you will automatically be confident and it will show in your actions. Chicks and guys will dig you, probably thinking that you're some hotshot. And in this approach, the only person you lie to is your ownself, that is by believing that you are more than you actually are.

Compared the above approach to the next approach. You can be honest to your self, realizing that you're just a normal decent guy/gal, but you pretend to be a confidence and very important powerful guy/gal. It will works. Chicks and guys will dig you, but you have just lie to other people.

In My Humble Opinion, lying to yourself is easier than lying to other people. Therefore a person with an unjustifiable self-esteem, will be easier to attract people compared to a person who is honest to him/herself.

So, we can conclude that self-esteem might deserve such a high rating.

The invulnerable self-esteem

I have stated that self-esteem is a fragile creature that depends on the stability of it's environment to stay intact. But there is an unusual way to create a high self-esteem that does not depend on environment. The method is what I call a nihilist method.

Some people discover the nihilist method because their educational background or mental exploration, lead them to an appreciation that self-esteem might be an arbitrary construct without any intrinsic meaning. They key word here is appreciation, not understanding. Someone might understand or know the diversity of cultures in the world, but (s)he might not appreciate it.

Anyway, in short, they will think that it really truely irrelevant what they think about themselves, and they mean it.

Education background and mental exploration that lead to such appreciation are:
1. Theoretical physics
Explanation: Exploration of high level of abstraction will eventually make you wonder whether there is any intrinsic meaning to.. anything)

2. Philosophy

3. Or simply too much time to daydream :-)

Ironically, by treating self-esteem as a meaningless construct, they can gain a high and stable self-esteem. Another choice of avenue is that they will totally disregard self-esteem in their life.

An example of famous people whose self-esteem might be of this type is Scott Adams, the Dilbert creator. Given his ability to entertain different hypothesis, it is not a far stretch to say that he appreciated this possible construction of self-esteem at some point or another.

There are quite many people holding this kind of self-esteem.

Knowing your ownself is better than boosting self-esteem

A person having a high self-esteem without evidences supporting his/her competence, is a fragile person (as discussed here).

Even if evidences exist, a high self-esteem can still be fragile due to changes in what considered important. Case in point is being good at sport. If you're still in high school, the fact that you can dunk can really boost your self-esteem. But once you enter the working world, your godlike sport skill does not really matter anymore.

Therefore a high self-esteem must not become a purpose by itself. Knowing your ownself must be the purpose. What you must achieve in life is an understanding of your ownself, or "knowing your own self".

Self-esteem and knowing your own self is related but different. A good progress in knowing your own self does not necessarily lead to higher self-esteem. An honest assessment of your own self might reveal that you suck at certain things thus might lower you self-esteem.

"Knowing your own self" is still not free from pitfall. I will post the series of "Knowing your own self is overrated" :-)

Self-esteem is overrated

Topic of self-esteem can easily extends to many posts, but for now I will exposed the general idea of self-esteem.

Instead of explicitly defining self esteem or self worth, I can explain self-esteem by describing it's relationship with a person's subjective appraisal of herself. It's the factor influencing whether someone subjective appraisal of herself is considered positive or negative.

A more concise definition of self-esteem can be found here. Quoting from there: self-esteem includes a person's subjective appraisal of himself or herself as intrinsically positive or negative to some degree (Sedikides & Gregg, 2003).


Self-esteem is considered very important especially in American culture. The themes of many popular literature/media and popular self-help books evolved around the importance of self-esteem, as indicated from corny phrases such as "You can do it" or "I know you can". People with high self esteem is depicted to be "complete" or perfect, attractive or cool, etc. Many developmental problems are attributed to lack of self-esteem so that an positive self-esteem automatically eliminated problems.

Interestingly, you can see that many of those movies encourage a "You can do" attitude without any reasonable basis. For example, a boy whose track record in baseball sucks, somehow due to a "You can do" attitude, can hit a home run in a critical moment for his team. It's unreasonable yet such attitude is encouraged.

This type of encouragement causes a high but fragile self-esteem. The boy might have a high self-esteem believing that he's good at base ball, but without any evidences in the past supporting such believe, his self-esteem is easily shattered once he fail to hit in one critical moment.

After such incident, other people or himself will try to instill to himself more self-esteem by undermining such failure. Such method will work. But his self-esteem will be more and more fragile making failure much more hurting. It will hurt so much that the boy might start relying on maladaptive behavior (such as cognitive dissonance, or bullying) to cope.

This unreasonable emphasize in self-esteem regardless of reality, is a big problem in the US, and becoming a problem in countries strongly influenced by US culture. A psychological experiment that measures US students and Japan students' assessment of theirself, indicates that US students significantly overestimate themselves.

*Updated: Spelling, grammar, and structure, not yet*