Autumn Equinox Thoughts

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The Autumn Equinox officially ushers in the cooler season for the Northern Hemisphere today.  A thought keeps on lingering in my head is the Coronavirus and its impact on the traditional family gatherings in the fall & winter.

Holidays like the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are typically the times for family, relatives, and friends to catch up, reconnect, or renew their relations.  However for this year, that is looking more and more unfeasible.

For one, we are supposed to be social distancing to prevent the infection from spreading.  Virtual celebration, in my view, is not even close to substituting for in-person family gatherings.  Can’t really gossip over the electrons.  And feasting through images just plain sucks.

But what are our choices?

Do you think the magic of the holidays will be lost this year?

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Too Much Of A Good Thing, Part 2

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Fellowship is good.  Merryment is good.  Love is good.  Except . . .  when there is too much.

Too much fellowship creates noise and distraction.  Too muc merriment leads to overindulgence and imbalance.  And too much love brings possesiveness and jelousy.

Simple answer is don’t over-do it.  However that‘s easier said than done.  We have a tendency to latch on what is perceived good.  Our material bias encourages over consumption.  More the merrier as the saying goes.

But the consequence is notheless disappointing.  Regret or otherwise.  Key is, as mentioned prevously, to know when to stop.  A point well worth repeating.

Is there something that will not be too much for you?

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Week In Review – 20 Sep 2020

In the world of fake news and avalaching social media, maintaining one‘s presence of mind beomes more challenging.

To wit Coronavirus is on a rebound in Europe and not going away anytime soon. US general election is 44 days away. Along with a barage of campaign advertisements that are assulting the social media.  And I still have no idea who will be the winner.

Sounds chaotic?  You bet.  One thing is certain – rest assured that this blog is still written by a real person and not AI machine.  I will continue to ask questions, observe trends, and blog about them.  This is how I keepl myself squared.

Stay safe & have a nice week

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Just A Bunch Of Why‘s

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We are inextricably tied to our environment, and yet we are actively destroying it.  California wildfire, Brazil Amazon, plastics in the ocean, are just some of our indiscretions pop into my mind.

Why do we do what we do? Given this is the only planet we have, does any of the destruction make sense? I wonder. Is it economics? greed? Or shortsightedness?

Mother Nature provides us not only the means to our survivals but also ways to relax, find refuge & inspiration, and indulge in recreation. And for her kindness, we manage to ravage the very planet that feed us.

That thought leads me to a train of other questions like: why is it that we hurt the people we love the most? Why do we must fight each others? For that matter, why do we even exist? Does it make any sense?

One possible explanation is because our human nature. We have emotions – you know joy, sadness, acceptance, disgust, fear, anger, surprise, and anticipation. And these emotions, if allowed, lead us on a rollercoaster ride to the extreme ends, good or bad. Like the passion or prejustice, if you will.

If so, why don‘t we keep our unigue gift in check?

Don’t you have one of those days that is filled with endless questions?

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Presence Of Mind

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In my younger days, I was sold on the idea of pro-activity.  You know that be pro-active, execute with speed, obtain result, and take responsibility.  What’s not to like?   Well those were my younger days, and I had my shares of bruises from this bias for action.

Just like the proverbial “ladder leaning against the wrong wall,” what’s the point of climbing the ladder only to find that it’s not where you want to be upon reaching the top.  Or the too busy with the past mistakes or future plans, one misses the present moment.

Let me be clear, nothing wrong with being pro-active IF you’re clear on what you want.  Blindly rushing forward (i.e. action for action’s sake)  is like a bull in a china shop.  Having a clear presence of mind is a virtue that I increasingly appreciate as I matured.

And guess how the great masters make their achievements look almost effortless?

Where is your mind now?

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Second Wave

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Just when people starting to think life is getting back to normal, the Coronavirus is again  flaring up in Europe after a dip in June.  The weekly cases of infection has surged and surpassed the rate in March when the Covid-19 first peaked.

What is going on across the pond?  Will it expand to US?  are the types of questions pop into my head.  Of course no one knows the answers.  Except the fact that the pandemic is not under control yet.  My guess is that it won’t be until the vaccine is developed.

The thing is that this is the same pandemic, the same precautions of social distancing, hand hygiene, and face covering apply. What differs?  Nothing, other than people are letting their guards down.  Call it Covid-19 fatigue, FOMO (fear of missing out), or whatever.

This type of feeling is understandable and quite human.  Further when the weather starts to cool off, people will gather more indoor where the risk of infection is greater.   While seeking to restore the balance shouldn’t we be more vigilant and keeping our guards up?  

How would you celebrate Christmas this year?

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Phenology is a term I came across recently. Unfamiliar with the term, I looked it up.  And it  is the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. The best part is that you can do it wherever you are.

Sort of like mindfulness meets Big Data. Observe natural patterns, document them, and notice how they have changed. No special equipment necessary. Other than your own sensors, a pen and paper are all you need to record the events.

Why phenology? You maybe wondering. Well, for starter, earth is the only planet we have, and two, its ecosystem is changing. Unfortunately for the worse. Thanks to our unique ability in destroying it.  Take the wildfire that is raging on the US West Coast for instance.

Not only has the fire destroyed over five million acres, we here on the East Coast felt its dust. Yes. Yesterday was supposed to be a sunny clear day in Washington DC. Except the blue sky was covered by a haze that resulted from the wildfire on the other side. 

The wildfire is a phenological event – its magnitude and impact are observable.  But it could be something smaller like the flowers in your backyard.  Did they bloom late, early, or not at all?  It would not take a rocket scientist to notice the changing patterns.

Have you noticed any difference in your surroundings? 

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And The Winner Is?

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Less than 50 days to election and, I could not honestly tell who will be our next president.  My dilemma has more to do with the identity crisis of the American people and less with the candidates themselves.

You see, Messrs. Biden and Trump are well defined (both are in their 70s and won’t change much). Borrowing the terms transformation (change) and restoration (status quo), Biden represents the coalition of  transformation and Trump, the coalition of restoration.

Each camp is courting their bases.  The tension between the coalitions are about the hearts and minds of the evolving demographics: white versus non-white, christian vs. non-christian, urban vs. non-urban, and so on. Naturally as the population shifts so do their values.

Not an easy calculus, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic looming large this year. What in play are the forty plus percent “Independent” voters.  As the process goes, these “Independents” will fall in line while the clock ticking closer to the election. But not before.

Do you think the Americans are fighting for their souls in this election?

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“Bot Or Not”?

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As much as I like to think that I am unique and the same with my posts, I fear some bad news.

Here is my thought: the day will come when I no longer exist, and this blog is replaced by an artificial intelligent robot. Some may disagree – not with the proposition mind you but with its timing. Some like Bernard Marr who wrote in a Forbes article that the day is already here.

Yes! Marr points out that many media outlets are already generating content through AI. Outlets like the Associate Press, New York Times, and Washington Post.  The keys are data in a database and access, these machine generated articles do a remarkable job, equal to or better than human.

On this WordPress site, I have published close to three thousand postings. If WP chooses, it can generate the content like the one you’re reading using AI – all without me. Is that a scary thought or what?  Of course, it’s just my thought.  Fellow WP bloggers need not worry.

With so much contents generated on the social media, including fake news and echo chambers, one couldn’t help to be scrupulous. 

Could you tell the difference?  Be the judge and see for yourself at bot or not.

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Week In Review – 13 Sep 2020

Labor Day marked the end of summer, schools restarting, and this year the kick-off of the final push toward the November general election.  Sadly, the coronavirus has not let up: number of people infected 29M/ 6.7M (world/US) and died 926K/198K.

Despite many are suffering from the pandemic, some are trying to change the world.  The general election is a case in point.  The American people have to decide if they want to stay the course or a new commander-in-chief.

And between status quo and change, where is the balance?  Looking at the numbers, a large percentage of the American voters are self declared independents.  So large that their numbers are greater than either of the major parties. But does this mean change will happen? Not necessarily.

This week also was the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack.  The occasion still stir up emotions for those lived through that tragic experience.  It almost made me forgot the Covid-19 for a moment. And finally, I said goodbye to my plain old telephone at home.

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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