Audaces fortuna juvat

Working towards my dream

Early Bird vs. Night Owl

Posted by C Moon on January 25, 2008

I wake up at 6:20 am and leave home at about 6:50 am (the traffic condition requires me to do so). I arrive at the school at about 7:10 am, and, after attending the morning study session, I wait until the class starts at 8:00 am. Half awake and half asleep. Recently, I’ve encountered an article The Early Bird Gets the Bad Grade, which argues that we should “stop focusing on testing and instead support changing the hours of the school day, starting it later for teenagers and ending it later for all children.”

As a person who “worships” the power of sleep, I agree with this argument. Most high school students around the world may have a similar daily routine to mine, struggling to get up early in the morning and taking classes before their body starts to function. I love learning, but I do not enjoy sacrificing my sleeping time to learn more (though I do that, every morning in school). Here are some quotes from the article, telling us the importance of sleeping enough.

Indeed, no one does well when they’re sleep-deprived, but insufficient sleep among children has been linked to obesity and to learning issues like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In 2002, high schools in Jessamine County in Kentucky pushed back the first bell to 8:40 a.m., from 7:30 a.m. Attendance immediately went up, as did scores on standardized tests, which have continued to rise each year. Districts in Virginia and Connecticut have achieved similar success. In Minneapolis and Edina, Minn., which instituted high school start times of 8:40 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively in 1997, students’ grades rose slightly and lateness, behavioral problems and dropout rates decreased.

While there is sufficient research backing up that sleeping enough is important to teenagers, why aren’t we applying the results? The article also gives a reason for that.

Well, it seems that improving teenagers’ performance takes a back seat to more pressing concerns: the cost of additional bus service, the difficulty of adjusting after-school activity schedules and the inconveniences to teachers and parents.

If that is the reason, I would say, it is a truly sad reality.

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Photo Credits: “Asleep in Class VI” by ach_mein on Flickr

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Cyberspace and Identity

Posted by C Moon on January 20, 2008

Recently, in the newspaper, I’ve read an interesting article called The Cyber Me. This article talks about a role game much in vogue with Korean teenagers (though I never heard of it before…;;) called “Member Play.”

… It is surprising that major portal sites have more than two thousand Member Play cafes, each of which boasts several thousand members.

So, what is “Member Play”? People set up communities and members pick the roles they wish to play in the community such as favorite pop singers. A member tracks every move of the celebrity, whose role he chose to play, and imitates it in the cyberspace.

What would be the true purpose of this game? Becoming “happier” than before or the Real Me by imitating the life of a celebrity in the cyberspace or in one’s imagination? Admiration and illusion may help people avoid unsatisfactory reality. But without facing the real world, how can one improve his situation? It is my view that people need to learn how to love themselves before loving others.

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Photo Credits: “Please Report to Cyberspace..” by benchilada on Flickr

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Rhythm and Movement

Posted by C Moon on January 7, 2008

I enjoy martial arts, and am interested in martial arts of the world. And as I am practicing Taekwondo, I know the importance of maintaining one’s own rhythm. If you lose your own rhythm, by being dragged into the pace of the opponent it is more likely that you will lose the match. Hmm… maybe it is easier to understand this aspect of martial arts if you think of when you are playing arcade games like Street Fighter.

Thus, I invested some time in searching for good drum rhythms. The following, which I’ve discovered in vadrum’s blog, is one of the sounds that caught my attention. I wish you spend some time in listening to it!

 

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Photo Credits: “African Drum” by whiteafrican on Flickr

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Self-Deception?

Posted by C Moon on January 7, 2008

Human brain seems to be self-deceiving.

After reading a blog post from Zero Divides, a math blog administered by a college student, I had some time to think of the deceptiveness of memory. The part that provoked my thoughts reads as follows:

…, while I may struggle for hours, or days, with a certain theorem, as soon as I know for sure that I’ve proved it, it immediately seems trivially easy. If anything was hard, it was undoubtedly my head, for not noticing this elegant solution sooner.

Well, I often heard that memory and time combined make even the most terrible hardship a “beautiful” recollection. I also read a study reporting how a leading question can “forge” an eyewitness’ testimony, I, who is interested in criminal justice, am worried about the future of the field. Maybe as Gil Grissom said in CSI-Las Vegas, we should “Concentrate on what cannot lie. The evidence…”

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Photo Credits: “The Median Vacuum Semiotics” by jef safi on Flickr

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Choosing a Way of Life

Posted by C Moon on January 6, 2008

Recently, I’ve found this finance blog Mind Your Decisions by Presh Talwalkar, and am reading through its archives. Weirdly, the part that first grabbed my attention was not related to financing but the career decision of Mr. Talwalkar’s friend.

His current job had great compensation, good networking opportunities, and a promising career path with salary jumps roughly every five years. It would be hard to find a better paying job. On the other hand, the job was so demanding my friend found little time to exercise or even sleep. Ultimately, he chose to switch to a lower-paying job with a better lifestyle. What matters is not only the money he made, but his satisfaction at the end of the day. He made the right choice because did not only focus on money.

Over the summer, as an AP Literature assignment, I read Dr. Samuel Johnson’s The History of Rasselas, exploring true happiness. Well, maybe that is the reason why I got attracted to the text above. Money definitely “helps” one pursue his dreams, but money at a cost of life or humanity may not be worthwhile. If one has enough money to lead a comfortable and enjoyable life, why should one waste time in trying to earn more? Unless that is one’s ultimate goal, it will not give “happiness” to him. The career decision of Mr. Talwalkar’s friend makes us realize that we should be careful not to confuse the means with the goal.

The text above also makes me think about education. Education is a means to one’s ultimate goal. But, unfortunately, many seem to confuse one with the other. Many people aim to enter prestigious colleges with no consideration for their career goals, or their life dreams. In Korea, one cannot change his major once he declares it when applying to the college. It is not hard to hear about students who initially entered prestigious colleges with pre-declared majors unrelated to their interests, and later re-took Korean SAT again to enter colleges with pre-declared majors of their interests. (In Korea, one has to declare major or college at the time of university application. Oddly, most applicants select their majors and colleges, considering the selection ratio or the chances of being admitted to the “university” of their choice rather than the “major” or “college” of their choice.)

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Photo Credits: “This Way” by hlkljgk on Flickr

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Back from a Long “Vacation” – Happy New Year!

Posted by C Moon on January 4, 2008

It has been a long time since I’ve uploaded my last post. Many things have happened for the week. I had to attend several family reunions, celebrating the New Year. I had to complete applications to 13 colleges, answering 52 short and long essay questions. I caught a terrible cold with a fever that I had to stay in my bed for a full day. Now, a new year has started, and the school’s next semester is about to begin (next Monday is the day!!). This vacation was a happy one since both my brothers came back home. There have been too many things that I wanted to do, including playing with my brothers before they go back to the US, but there has been too little time given to me. Well, first, I hope that I get better from the cold before the school starts! And wish everyone a Happy New Year!!! :]

 

 

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Photo Credits: “Happy New Year” by nexus6 on Flickr

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Anywhere Door

Posted by C Moon on December 22, 2007

Sometimes, I think back a comic book called Doraemon that I read when I was young. Doraemon is a robotic cat from the future, and his pocket is a conduit to the future. More specifically, out of numerous gadgets that he pulls out from his pocket, I fondly remember the gadget called “Anywhere Door.”

This week my brothers returned from the USA for the winter break. That is, I was not able to see my brothers face-to-face for a long long time. The advanced technology enables us to communicate each other through msn and by telephone. But skype, for example, which is the most intimate connection at the present time, seems to lack in some elements and be an unsatisfactory alternative to a personal meeting. I can hear them and see them, but cannot feel them or touch them. Hence, when I miss the actual presence of my brothers, I want to meet them through “Anywhere Door.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have something like Anywhere Door? Well, with it you can go on to a vacation without spending hours caught in traffic jam. When you are almost late for an appointment, you go to an alley and through Anywhere Door instantly go to the place you want to go. Do you also want to have it? What do you want to do if you have Anywhere Door with you, transcending time and space?

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Photo Credits: “Anywhere Door – Doraemon” by Apostolos Letov

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Piano and a Man

Posted by C Moon on December 20, 2007

It seems that in playing piano, we need more than just two hands. Last Saturday, I went to a solo piano concert by Jeongwon Kim (also known as Julius Kim). He is a quite popular pianist in Korea, appearing in a movie called “For Horowitz.” I won’t say that his sounds and skills were the best I’ve ever heard. (Personally, I thought he made a mistake in arranging the pieces.) But I was definitely moved by his passion. He hopped, ducked, paused, and startled to the wave of sounds, closing his eyes. His whole body followed the movement of his fingers. Piano seemed to be an instrument played not by fingers alone but by the whole body and inner passion.

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Photo Credits: “piano inclinato” by regolare on Flickr

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Reflection

Posted by C Moon on December 14, 2007

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Time flies. I still feel as though the semester started a few days ago, but today the semester ended.

Yesterday I finished all my final exams, but somehow I feel empty now. Throughout the semester, I was chased by assignments and tests. And I was worn out finishing one project after another, and one test after another. Well, I managed to handle all workloads. But all along I had hoped to have some time to appreciate and explore these materials deep enough.

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Photo Credits: Original

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Predicting Mathematical Ability?

Posted by C Moon on December 7, 2007

According to Keith Devlin in his post Predicting Mathematical Ability, it seems that the psychologist Daniela O’Neill recently proposed that we can predict the mathematical ability of a 3- or 4-year-old pre-schooler.

The interesting aspect of this research is not that we can predict the mathematical ability of a toddler, but the way in which we can predict it. O’Neill says that while the arithmetic skill may reflect child’s future mathematical ability to some extent, it is the narrative skill that actually help people to predict child’s future mathematical ability. For a long time, people thought that math/science and literature/art were relatively exclusive (e.g., Many friends of mine oftentimes say that they are not math persons but literature persons.). This finding seems to propose a thread to the connection between math and literature, logic and emotion, and experiment and imagination.

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Photo Credits: “The Number Eight” by Lab2112 on Flickr

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