Confessions of a researchaholic

June 29, 2021

The importance of money

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:20 am

During a dream earlier this morning I recalled an event that happened earlier in my life.

One day, during my college freshman year, I was waiting at a bus stop.
A woman approached me asking me to do a survey, selecting from a list of things most important to me in a prioritized order.
I put money as the third or fourth option, and she asked: is money really that important?

You wouldn’t even bring up something for discussion if you really don’t care about it, right?
In retrospect (also happened in my dream), I realized that what really happened is that the woman has been trying to convince herself that money is not important because she didn’t think she has enough of it.
(Lying to oneself is even worse than lying to other people.)

Like everything else, the importance of money is not binary; one cannot live without it, and yet one probably wouldn’t trade his/her life for it.

June 28, 2021

A few discoveries during the pandemic lockdown

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:07 pm

A few discoveries I have during the pandemic lockdown include:

Podcasts, some of my most favorites include NPR Planet Money, the (Wall Street) Journal, Economist Radio, Freakonomics Radio, and HBR IdeaCast.

A lot more hiking in nearby natural spaces.

A lot more home cooking.

How lucky I am to have bought the right home and married the right person.

June 27, 2021

Mindful drawing

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:08 am
Tags: ,

After 30+ timed-model-drawing sessions my sketches still have only forms but not actions/gestures, which I realized is caused by mimicking what I see but without really understanding.
Specifically, the first lesson of my first drawing training is to draw exactly what I see so that the mind won’t get in the way, but now I need to get my mind back into the process.

(I was so frustrated that I did a few visceral physical drawings for mental balance.)

The quote “you draw with your mind not your hand” from the Vilppu drawing manual (which is a great book not just for drawing) reminded me of what Stephen King said in the gunslinger:

I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my heart.

June 26, 2021

Luxury design

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:58 pm

Ever since I accidentally dined in a very high-end sushi restaurant (lack of judgement caused by time rush), I have been receiving these (complementary) magazines advertising luxury products and life styles.
The contrast between fancy design and unnecessary consumption is always a wonder to me, and I guess perhaps this is the entire point of luxury goods.

June 25, 2021

Geoengineering is not the solution for climate change

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:57 am
Tags: ,

Some thoughts I have after reading this article a while back.
Without a sufficiently accurate model for the entire planet earth, whatever solution we come up with may have unintended/unanticipated side effects.
And even if we can, the solution can carry moral hazard, encouraging people to continue with (or even increase) pollution and carbon production, causing reduced/negated effectiveness.

June 24, 2021

A moral dilemma, resolved

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:51 pm

I was sitting on the fence to decide whether to join the reopening preparation efforts for a studio that I have been a member of; on one hand I like to volunteer in a community service, but on the other hand it isn’t the best use of my time (opportunity cost).
Then, today, a session was canceled at the last minute without on-time notification that put me waiting for nothing, and thus resolved my moral dilemma.

June 23, 2021

Network effect for coming back to office

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:40 am

In addition to issues such as workplace amenities and job functions, one key factor for employees to consider when to come back to the office is whether others, especially close collaborators, will do so similarly.

June 22, 2021

Beauty and difficulty

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:56 pm

After going through a diverse set of models in the Vilppu drawing series (# 22 at this moment), I found that I tend to draw uglier subjects better, probably because I could loosen up more without feeling the constraints of drawing a beautiful subject well.

June 21, 2021

Exponential growth

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:19 am

Human brains are not very capable of perceiving exponential growth; the beginning can seem minor but when we finally notice it is already overwhelming – finance (compound interests), biology (the spread of a disease), and climate (what if we only have 5 years left and thus pointless to talk about carbon neutral by 2050?).

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