Why I don’t vote

November 8, 2006

Every election season, I am bombarded with requests from friends/acquaintances/random strangers who tell me that I need to vote.  However, deciding to vote is irrational.  Here’s why:

  • Your vote counts, but it doesn’t matter.  Election irregularities aside, the probability of your vote being the deciding vote is essentially 0.  Thus, voting has no affect on the outcome of an election.  Of course, the classic counterargument is: “Well, if everyone thought that way…”, but most people don’t, so as an individual decision, voting is a waste of time.
  • Not voting doesn’t cause any harm.  What negative externalities are caused by my not voting?  People claim low voter turnout rates are bad, because the elections don’t reflect the will of the people, but why do I want the apathetic to vote?  Moreover, my not voting actually empowers the people who do decide to go to the ballot boxes – their votes are worth slightly more now.

Are there any set of circumstances that would lead me to actually vote?  Well, based on the above, if almost everybody decided they weren’t going to vote this year, I’d vote, because then my vote would actually matter.


Avoiding RSI

October 29, 2006

Sitting in front of a computer all day can certainly take its toll.  For the past year and a half or so, I suffered from symptoms commonly associated with carpal tunnel syndrome — tingling/stiffness in the fingers, pain in the wrists.  This isn’t a good situation for anyone who needs to type for a living!

So I experimented with different strategies for getting rid of the pain: doing crazy ergonomic stretches during the day, using different kinds of mice and mouse pads, taking frequent breaks, sitting up straighter…nothing really worked.

Until I got the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.  I had tried an earlier Microsoft Natural keyboard before at Amazon, but it didn’t help, so I was skeptical.  But the good news is, after using it for a couple of weeks, I feel fine again.

The two best features of the keyboard are the tilt and the cushioned palm rests.  The front of the keyboard has an optional platform which tilts the keyboard, giving it a slight reverse slope.  The wristpads have a comfortable faux leather padding, which is nice when you code 12 hours a day.  Then there are a bunch of other features I don’t use, such as the Zoom Slider or the My Favorites keys.  Overall, it’s a great product and has made my life much more comfortable.

Idea: Connecting Cameras

October 13, 2006

Have you ever been the one who actually has to take the group photo?

First, you’re not in the picture because your friends care about you the least (otherwise, they would actually want you in the shot). Then, to make matters worse, everybody in the group wants a photo of *the same damn shot* with their own camera. The end result: you have to take the same picture 10 times.

Sometimes you have a intelligent friend.  He says, “Hey, just let me take it with my camera, and I’ll send you the pictures later.” However, sometimes said “friend” always forgets to e-mail the photos. For instance, I have a friend who constantly steals away part of our souls when we’re out, and always “promises” to send the pictures to us later. Without fail, it never happens.

Well, why not just have cameras that can send pictures to each other via a wireless connection? Then there’ll be no excuse for your friend not to give you the pictures right then and there.

Current Addictions

October 7, 2006
  • Playing Hapland.  I find the Hapland series to be quite stimulating, having played the first two (One coworker told me the third is incredibly hard).
  • Espresso.  What can I say, I need it to get through the day 90% of the time.
  • Juggling.

Easy way to read Chinese news

September 25, 2006

NewsInChinese.com annotates Chinese news articles. When you mouseover each character, information about the pronuciation of the character and its meaning get displayed.

I never actually thought I would ever be able to read the following sentence in less than 30 seconds:

快讯: 叙利亚总统希望以色列和平共处

Syria’s president says he hopes for peaceful coexistence with Israel. (Or something like that.)

Krispy Kreme + In N Out

September 10, 2006

…produces this delicious creation. Gross.

Chinese Fonts

September 5, 2006

Tired of the standard Chinese font you see in newspapers, Word processors, websites, etc.? Download some new ones.