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Mathematical prowess

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Recently, I’ve been teaching a friend calculus, with little progress. Though this may not be much of a dilemma for all those rather proficient in mathematics (or like me, can scrape along in whatever the level of difficulty in math class), it is such a difficult decision in how to approach math in a tutor setting. If I teach along the basics, it consumes too much time and can quickly digress away from the problem in discussion. Yet pursuing the method of detailed solving of the problem itself only teaches the method of solving a specific type of question. In describing the theorem or method used in the problem, often “why so” question can lead to a much complexed reasoning behind a simple theorem (aka. proof ) that often loses the pupil in the steps.

So are some people naturally prone to mathematics than others? Or is this entirely dependent on how much time one spends doing math?

I’ve read some articles claiming they have found the “math genes” which deal with concept of how much a mind can abstract out from simple numbers to sheer logical relationships between those given equations of numbers. Also as  psychology- a branch of science that only emerged recently- developed, we are now aware that there are indeed those with less mental capacities than others. Albeit the factor of genetics influencing intelligence is still questionable,  people may be “born to do math” or “not designed to do math.”

However, I disagree.

We can all do well in math so long as we study enough. This math I am referring to is up to calculus and statistics, and is exclusive of math department studies. The abstraction required for this “math” is minimal in contrast to the actual mathematics at its highest level. I think the abstraction required is comparable to seeing a red apple and being able to grasp the attribute of “red” or being able to see the buying and selling in the supermarket and eventually understand the abstract concept of “economy.” If you are able to do this, you should be able to get math.

I find that the crucial factor in math is practice. Math is full of patterns in between the equations. If you really want to do well in math, try solving a hundred questions on the same topic of math. Usually the selection of problems should vary from easy to difficult. I once suggested this to a friend who thought some people were more prone to math than others and only got a response that she “preferred to have a life than do all those questions.” I probably avoided a gaffe there by saying, “Well I guess doing well in math can lead to having a chance at a far better job, hence living a better standard of living  overall.”  Anyways, this methodology trains you to recognize the patterns in math. From one concept to another, eventually this practice will pay off and you will “get” math.

Of course this does not apply to actual mathematical genii, but those guys are built to seeing most obscure patterns in math everywhere since they were ten and think on a different dimension overall. But in perspective of relatively easy math in high school and undergrad, practice, in my opinion, should make perfect.




Written by bykstory

October 15, 2010 at 6:27 am

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Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could just simply continue using fossil fuel?

The environmentalist minded are currently going “this guy is crazy” on me probably. However, supposedly by our worst case scenario, the global warming at the current rate will raise global temperature by 1 degree celcius in the next 100 years, raising sea levels, melting polar ice caps, killing white furred cute polar bears, and devastating coastal cities around the world.

But, we can reverse it in such a simple manner, I almost think that the hype about the global warming is a carefully constructed contrivance by the energy sector to change our source of energy from oil to renewable forms of power.

The counter plans  I’ve seen on televisions range from planting cloud seeds to covering earth with a white plastic materials to reflect light. Claims of some authors I’ve heard are that we’re already too late to fix the world, and our only method of survival is complete overhaul of our industry to be carbon neutral.  Many environmentalists, scientists, politicians, activists, and businessmen all worry (or profit) from an effect known as greenhouse.

The solution I think is quite plausible. Gases in our “atmosphere” beneath the stratosphere cause capturing of heat through resonance frequency within the particles of CO2 and water, so they re-radiate the heat reflected from the surface and radiated from the sun.

What if we put gases into our stratosphere to prevent the sun’s heat from reaching our atmosphere in the first place? Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 spewed “aerosols formed a global layer of sulfuric acid haze. Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5C” (Yes, this is from wikipedia) So can we not artificially release same such amount of the eruption, in “one shot” to cancel out five decades worth of temperature increase by the most extreme climate model?

No ways, the clean energy lobbyists are probably gonna clean congress up of such simple solution.

If we can just find a substitute of a less harmful sounding chemical and put it into stratosphere to cause this “volcanic ash shield” in the space above our air, global warming hype is probably gonna die out faster than the global cooling hype back in the 1970. (Google it up, it’s true.)

Then happy world for another century or so.


Written by bykstory

October 6, 2010 at 5:21 am

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Just got here

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Off the plane at 8:30 am after taking the 6:30 am from Delhi to Kathmandu. Now I’m at the hotel for couple of days.

Brutal brutal three transfer flights. Vancouver-Beijing took +11 hours, then 4 hours wait, then another 7.5 hours on Beijing-Delhi, then another 5 hours wait from 1:30am to 6:30 am, then here.

Just as an interesting sidenote, Indian Security at airport are pretty kick-ass. Armed with actual assualt rifles, and they seem to be non-issued since I saw at least two different types. Nepali security had those guns as well, but security here at the airport for x-ray and stuff was pretty much minimal at best.

Nepal’s like a world stuck in the past with massively old 70s model Suzukis ruling the streets. Hyundai and Toyota are actually decent cars here, and Chevy is equivalent of BMWs here. Also, motorcycles fill half the crowded streets. Also, if you get a driving license here, you probably could drive anywhere. The most important safety feature that cars have is the honkers- no airbags and no belt. Oh yeah, half the time, driving feels like a GTA game gone bad with narrowly missing pedestrians and other oncoming cars. If Karlson was driving me from the airport to the hotel i’m staying today, we’d have at least half the villagers dead.

I’d talk more, but i’m really tired, and more time is better spent viewing before more updates.

Sya to all Vancouverites, and people in China!


Written by bykstory

August 1, 2010 at 5:15 am

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Packing is done!

Hopefully nothing goes amiss.

Leaving tomorrow at 1:30PM YVR to Beijing.

Then Beijing to Delhi, then Delhi to Kathmandu.

Yippee. This is gonna be a memorable +20 hour flight.

I won’t be able to blog for who knows how long.

Hope you all haves funs. =)


Written by bykstory

July 30, 2010 at 3:24 am

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Under 48 hours til leaving.

Somehow my backpacks are far from being packed.

Time to chopchop.

Hopefully, I’ll survive the awesome 3 exchange airplane trips on the way there and the 4 on the way back.


Written by bykstory

July 29, 2010 at 2:29 am

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Awesomely epistemological AND good to watch.

After the first minute of this movie, you’d be intrigued. After the first hour, you’d be absorbed.  After the end of the movie, you’d suddenly feel almost a sense of gloom as you return to the reality.

Director Christopher Nolan produces a phenomenal and realistic art of a movie that far surpasses The Dark Knight by far. Similar to his Memento, Nolan plays with the concept of progression of movies. (Instead of having his scenes backwards,  he had all of the scenes occur in a simultaneous chain.) Though such trickery in scene orders often ends up with a fragmented film, but this one fits in together with the discordant harmony of a Picasso cubism.

Director Nolan’s vision of the depth in character development is augmented by Leonardo DiCaprio’s scary good acting. Somehow, the disturbed character embedded with guilt suits Leo pretty well in his expressions and mannerisms. Definitely, he has completely evolved from his wooing nature from Titanic into a real, serious actor.

The complexity of the movie can get overbearing at times from suffering from way-bit-too-complicated-if-you-miss-one-line-by-a-character syndrome, but the general idea of the movie of going into person’s dreams for information or inception of a idea is simple premise enough for anyone. The action sequences of classic shoot-to-kill are quite balanced out with the thriller of racing against the time to create a symbiotic effect on the movie. It’s like the wild crocodile with the gentle crane, creating a scenic harmony.

Inception is a movie that deserves a good reflection and a playground for epistemologists. Also, you’ll probably enjoy it through and through if I haven’t mentioned this enough.

The only question is, are you ready to open your mind for this movie?



PS: Thanks to Steven Zhu for the motivation to go to this movie with his “I’z got free tix” and everyone that watched this film with me aka. Jason, Anne, Tiphanie, Jennifer Lo, Richard, Karlson, and Christopher. (hopefully haven’t forgotten anyone.)

Written by bykstory

July 28, 2010 at 5:16 am

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3 days left until I shalt go on my pilgrimage to Kathmandu.

To save orphans from deadly diseases.

Wish me luck, I’ll be on 7 flights on the way there and back.


Written by bykstory

July 27, 2010 at 5:04 am

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