i am shrewd, inner-directed and guarded

Inspired by kottke, I had my personality analysed by IBM’s AI platform IBM Watson Personality Insights. It allows me to either enter a body of text or it will analyse my twitter feed.

First, twitter. The analysis says:

You are strict and analytical.

You are organized: you feel a strong need for structure in your life. You are mild-tempered: it takes a lot to get you angry. And you are calm under pressure: you handle unexpected events calmly and effectively.

You are motivated to seek out experiences that provide a strong feeling of organization.

You are relatively unconcerned with both independence and helping others. You welcome when others direct your activities for you. And you think people can handle their own business without interference.

I wasn’t sure how accurate it will be, most of my twitter are automatic IFTTT posts when I post on the website, or occasional RTs. But it turns out to be really accurate, especially with regards to being organised and being unconcerned.

It also says I’m likely to like historical movies, read autobiographical books, and read often. 1 out of 3 here. I’m unlikely to be influenced by social media during product purchases, prefer style when buying clothes, or like rap music. 3 out of 3.

Overall, twitter analysis is pretty accurate.

Now let’s try a block of text. How about the current front page. Total 50 posts between 12-mar-2018 and 31-apr-2018. 12000-ish words. This analysis:

You are shrewd, inner-directed and guarded.

You are solemn: you are generally serious and do not joke much. You are philosophical: you are open to and intrigued by new ideas and love to explore them. And you are independent: you have a strong desire to have time to yourself.

You are motivated to seek out experiences that provide a strong feeling of organization.

You are relatively unconcerned with both tradition and achieving success. You care more about making your own path than following what others have done. And you make decisions with little regard for how they show off your talents.

I’m likely to be sensitive to ownership cost when buying automobiles, have experience playing music, and like historical movies. 1.5 out of 3. I’m unlikely to be influenced by social media during product purchases, prefer style when buying clothes, and be influenced by brand name when making product purchases. 3 out of 3.

I think this is probably more accurate although there are similarities with the twitter analysis.


They present the results in a sunburst visualisation that is really impressive. The science behind the sevice is fascinating. Essentially marketers and psychologists found that how we use language is a reflection of our personality, thinking style, social connections, and emotional states. Based on these studies, IBM developed models that correlate between certain social media behaviour and real life personality. An example from a retail study is people who score high in orderliness, self-discipline, and cautiousness and low in immoderation are 40 percent more likely to respond to coupons than the random population.

The team at IBM claims a correlation in the region of 0.3 with mean average error of 0.12 for English. In terms of research norm in this area, correlations above 0.2 are considered acceptable.

It’s all very interesting, although I find it somewhat creepy. I hate it when the ultimate goal is to target people in terms of what to market to them and predict their buying behaviour.

sleep or read, a dilemma


Almost every night when it starts getting late, after 11pm or so, I look at the clock constantly. The dilemma is, sleep or read on, because I’ll inevitably be reading a book.

It’s very cold the last few days, at night it’s below 10ºC. I can hear some people scoffing already, pffft only 10ºC, stop complaining. Consider this: our buildings have no insulation and no heating. Most of us get by with a small fan heater which is okay for heating a small area but nothing more than 10 steps away. Heat leaks out through the walls and the windows. Next time it gets to below 10ºC, turn your heating off and open your windows (to simulate the lack of insulation) for three days and just use a fan heater. See how you get on.

I’ve been wearing socks all day, so my feet are warm. Ease of falling asleep is directly proportional to feet temperature, more specifically temperature at bottom of feet. There’s an old study in Nature:

As we approach the threshold of sleep the body’s temperature regulation system redistributes heat from its core to our extremities. The phenomenon is closely related to the release of hormones such as melatonin, which regulate sleepiness and wakefulness.

Anyway, because of the cold weather, I find that I’m waking up later because it’s nice and warm underneath my duvet. This is a great duvet, even better than the 13.5 tog white goose down one I’ve had forever, this one mm ordered for me at a duvet making place, it’s supposedly handmade and very, very warm. Regardless of when I finally climb into bed, I tend to wake up around the same time. Late.

I’ve always been more of a night owl than a morning person. Luckily I only remember one all-nighter when I was studying, that one time I tried to do what people said to do and drank some coffee which resulted in me getting more sleepy and not liking coffee ever. I don’t exactly find myself getting more energetic as it gets later, it’s just that I find it quieter with few distractions. So I’m up past midnight and I’m reading, or writing a post, or doing something else. Again, there’s a study on this phenomenon which they call delayed sleep-wake phase disorder:

a typical sleep pattern that is “delayed” by two or more hours…Once sleep occurs, the sleep is generally normal. But the delay leads to a pattern of sleep that is later than what is desired or what is considered socially acceptable.

It’s not a disorder, really, is it. Following a different sleeping-hours pattern is not wrong, and people should stop discriminating against others who are simply different. As long as I get my work done, when does it matter what time I did it? Of course it’s easier when I had the freedom of living on my own, and not have to go to work at regular hours. Even people who work at home find it challenging.

Back to my original dilemma. Sleep or read? Let me go read for a little while longer, then I’ll decide.

why we miss things in front of us

Here’s an interesting NYT article about how we miss objects in front of us.


The challenge: find the toothbrush in this messy bathroom. I saw the black one straightaway, which apparently made me an atypical person. Most people notice the smaller one first, and actually I had trouble finding it even after reading that there is a smaller one. The reason behind most people’s reaction is due to size and expectation. People expect toothbrushes to be a certain size and will look for an object that size, so our brains process the information accordingly. This is also why we may miss something that is right in front of us in a phenomenon known as inattentive blindness. We expect things to be in certain places and ignore if they are not. Remember the invisible gorilla? Christopher Chabris was a co-author:

[w]hat we pay attention to is largely determined by our expectations of what should be present.

So why did it take me less than one second to see the large toothbrush? One of the commenters on the mefi thread mentioned hidden object games. Bingo! Glad that all the time spent playing ravenhearst ddin’t go to waste.

the yellow wallpaper

Met mm for drinks and dinner. We spent more time at our newest discovery, the bar at the Novotel near her appointment, sharing 3 glasses of wine between us. For dinner we just had something quick. An added bonus was she bought new shoes. Discounted, and additional 30% off over the discounted price. She wore her new shoes straightaway and the shop assistants kindly threw away her old pair.

Ever since she started studying psychology, new words have entered our vocabulary. Social support, coping mechanism, pavlovian response. We talk about people or incidents being our stressors. I’m now clearer on the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Even within psychology there are different streams, like within the legal profession there are litigators, conveyancers, mediators.


On a separate (and yet strangely sort of related since it’s about Psychology) topic, I was on Project Gutenberg downloading a couple of classic books for the awards program and saw that the #2 most downloaded book there is The Yellow Wallpaper. I’d never heard of the book before. It was also mentioned on r/books recently so I did a little googling to find out that it’s a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892 and widely taught in schools in the US. A guardian review classified it under children’s books.

It didn’t take me long to read it. I’m not a teacher so I sometimes wonder at the choice of books we had to study at school. Some of them are downright depressing and creepy–Lord of the Flies, 1984, even one of my favourite books when I was young, I am David. The Yellow Wallpaper falls into this category. Told in first person, it’s about a woman who seems to be confined to her room because of a

temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency

and is widely interpreted as post-partum depression. It’s also widely accepted that it is autobiographical. In those Victorian times, women were still regarded as frail objects prone to hysteria and in those days depression was caused by excessive mental activity. Her doctor’s prescription was ‘rest-cure’ which meant she was forbidden to do anything, including exercise, feeding herself, seeing any other person other than her carers, and activites like drawing and writing. Basically they took away all stimuli and expected her to be like a vegetative patient. Robbed of all external stimuli, she turned inwards and started examining the awful yellow wallpaper in her prison room. Her anger and frustration were clear. Slowly she slipped further and further into psychosis.

Viewed from the 21st century, the actions of the doctor was so, so wrong that it borders on criminal. It was the same era that had terrifying medical treatments such as drinking radium water, starvation diets for aneurysms, or drilling a hole in the skull to cure headaches. Gilman sent a copy of the book to her doctor and it is said that he changed his treatment as a result.

Nowadays we do suffer from overstimulation. Our attention span has shortened and concepts like sensory deprivation tanks are popular. But no one believes that shutting out all stimulation can possibly be a cure for depression. Even a layperson like me know that take away someone’s freedom of movement and expression, not allowing any activity, and treating them like a comatose patient is going to push them further down the path of mental breakdown.

Going back to the book. I must admit I was a bit bored. The writing was good, and the description of the narrator’s view of the wallpaper and her own actions very vivid. I think it’s because it’s from an era that I have no affinity for, that my reaction was mostly, okay #thathappened. I’d still recommend everyone read this book, it’s short and a good representation of mental illness from a sufferer’s point of view.

feeding wolves


I saw this post at kottke during the Japan trip and saved it to read again later. This is one of the stories from Ethan Hawke’s Rules for a Knight:

One time, on a sweltering August night, Grandfather and I made camp down by the ocean. He said, “While I teach you about the ways of war, I want you to know that the real struggle is between the two wolves that live inside each of us.”

“Two wolves?” I asked, seated on an old log near the fire. My eyes were transfixed by the flames twisting uncomfortably in the night air.

“One wolf is evil,” he continued. “It is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, deceit, false pride.” He paused, poking at the embers of our fire with a long stick he’d been carving.

“The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, humility, loving-kindness, forgiveness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith.”

I considered that for a minute, then tentatively asked, “Which wolf will win?”

Sparks danced towards the stars as the old man stared into the glare of the flames and replied, “Whichever one you feed.”

I was at the right age to be profoundly affected when Reality Bites was released and have a copy of Hawke’s The Hottest State. He’s always appeared to be a thoughtful actor and his writing seems to be that of a sensitive person underneath a broody exterior. Quite intrigued by the book, will put it on the list.

Kottke’s self-reflection on the story is so on point:

I’ve been feeding the wrong wolf recently. He’s so hungry and there’s been a lot of available food, but I’ve got to get back on track.

The pic is the statue of St Francis and the wolf of Gubbio at Basilica di Santa Maria Degli Angeli in Assisi. That is another thought-provoking story.

ten meter tower

This was during my trip and I was watching it in the hotel room. A short film called ten meter tower about people participating in an experiment by jumping off a 10m diving platform for the first time. Even with the camera only on the people on the platform, we can feel the trepidation. The makers, Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson

sought to capture people facing a difficult situation, to make a portrait of humans in doubt

Around 70% did jump. No one can be sure of what they will do until they are up there on the platform. I know I’d be petrified even though I know logically there is no harm.

waiting for marshmallows

It occured to me last night that right now, I’m essentially jobless and homeless. True, all I have on me is what was in the luggage — mba, kindle, 2 iphones, passport, money, certificates, clothes and shoes. But the situation only sounds dire because it’s a snapshot of my current state while I wait for my shipment to arrive, and get some rest before I start making contacts. Therefore the snapshot is only valid as a statement of fact as opposed to an indication of wider circumstances. In other words, context.

I’m an impatient person, but some things I can wait. If I’d sat through the marshmallow test as a kid, I probably would have been able to wait — the reward for waiting is so much greater. Well, I hope anyway, because apparently those kids grow up to be smarter and thinner. It’s called delayed gratification, which upon reading seems to be another name for listening to your head vs your instinct. The other factor is that the reward is so bluntly stated. Wait x minutes and you get two marshmallows. What would have been even more of an incentive is if the child waited another x minutes, the number of marshmallows will double again. That becomes a no-brainer. Some things in life are obvious, I learned from a young age that when given 3 wishes, the third wish is always 3 more wishes. I also operate better with a goal. Witness how my running has gone pearshaped because I don’t have a goal race. Effort, temptation and reward are all intertwined.

Some comments in the article give an interesting perspective that I never thought about. That the delayed gratification outcome will only work if the kid trusts or knows that the adult will bring back a second marshmallow after the prescribed waiting time. Interesting for me, because I’d never doubt it, as a 4 year old and now as an adult. Is it a class thing? An education thing? A glass half-full thing? Going back to the jobless-homeless analogy, there is never any doubt in my mind that if I wanted to, I can find a job. What does that say about me, that I’m a fool or I have too much self-confidence. The homeless angle is irrelevant, my apartment is long paid for and requires very little financial maintenance.

That said, the main reason I’m being so laid back and not doing much is more likely to be laziness anyway. Delayed gratification may be another name for “I can’t be bothered.” Hee.

personas profile


click here and enter your name. Just do it. It’s awesome.

This is the Personas project from the MIT Media Lab. Basically, it takes your name and searches the web for some context around it. It then takes the words and sites it finds to build a profile of your presence on the web. Obviously if there are multiple people with the same name the profile will be a combination of all the names.

So I entered watty boss and it tells me that I’m online and social, but mostly it’s fame, which earned a big “huh?” from me. Does it mean I’m a celebrity? Paparazzi? Weird.

Now when I enter my real name it gives me:
So pleased!!! It means my effort in keeping my privacy has paid off. Phew.

Obviously the tool is searching for 2 words, not specifically names. So when I put in invisible company it goes through a lot of searches and gives an interesting restult. The process of the search is worth watching, and I screencapped a video.


my blog is the exact opposite of me

via mefi again, a tool to analyse the MBTI personality of your blog. This is what I got:


I’m INTJ, occasionally ISTJ. 100% introvert. We all know this. And this here tool is saying I’m ESFP, which is the exact opposite??? I don’t get it.

Well, actually I do.

What I write here can be described as light, light-hearted, and even…trivial. I don’t post about anything controversial or deep. There’s tons of pictures of food, music I found, anything mac related, or quirky stuff I come across. Occasionally there’d be a rant. Mostly, I keep to basically harmless stuff, not only because I am aware that this is permanent public record but because this is a place where I want to record some interesting stuff that I like. It is my little escapist heaven. No wonder the tool thinks the writer of this blog is entertaining and friendly. evil laugh

my personality according to the NYT


Even the NYT is into personality test memes. The one that interested me was yet another mbti type of test from the strangely named youjustgetme.com. They encourage users to establish a profile and ask others to guess the peronality type with nothing but a username. Kindly pointless, but the profile setting was informative, if again predictable.

The filler-type bubbles are cuter than graphs anyway even though they don’t know how to spell extroverts. I wonder if I scored more than 0% cos there is a tiny bubble there, or whether that’s the smallest size available.

My personality tendencies in a nutshell:

You are very dependable and almost always follow through with your commitments. You feel comfortable with routine, but you are also quite receptive to new experiences. You are calm and logical for the most part, but some things worry you more than others. You fight for your own best interests and are comfortable expressing your opinions for purposes greater than others’ emotions. You live a quiet life and are reserved in your actions and behaviors. [very accurate so far]

About that Disciplined bubble… To always be responsible and dependable gets too heavy at times and you just have to shirk it all sometimes of and do something that is wild and crazy, like going to sleep WITHOUT brushing your teeth. [ABSOLUTELY NOT! Other impulsive things may be, but no going to bed without brushing teeth and cleaning face] Come and do your worst, dental bacteria! No one is arguing that you are not reliable; it’s just that you differ from your very high conscientious peers in that you also have some streaks of impulsivity and can make some spontaneous decisions, rather than lumbering through all of the alternative scenarios. Maybe you’re disorganized (God forbid), or perhaps you like to leave your dirty socks all over the house (the horror), or you’re a procrastinator (that’s the worst one of all). Whatever is the case, you are not conscientious to the extent that you bore people with your stodgy ways.

About those Traditional and Alternative bubbles… Openness is not one of your defining traits. This means that while you do value creativity and artistic expressions to some degree, you are also equally comfortable with conservatism and things that are more plain and simple. Depending on the context, you may be more interested in concrete ideas versus abstract thinking, and vice versa. It could also be that you are highly open in some areas, and more conservative in other areas of your life. Maybe you’re the type of person who has quite the vivid imagination and are chock-full of enthusiasm for different concepts, but prefer to stick to “safer” foods that you recognize. Raw fish anyone? NOT. [agree with everything except the last word. I know what the analysis is trying to say — it’s the reason why I can be a writer yet have zero artistic or musical talent, it’s just that my creativity is focused on one area]

About those Unemotional and Neurotic bubbles… To quote the Hershey chocolate company, “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” That pretty much sums up your score on the trait of emotional stability. There are times when you feel such intensity of emotions, mostly negative, that you just want to lie down and spend the day thinking about how you can score Prozac. In other contexts (like when you are on your meds), you feel just fine – calm, happy, ready to face the day. The emotions cancel each other out and you look like you are dealing with life fairly well statistically. Another possibility for your middle scores on emotional stability is that some things push your button more than others and when your buttons get pushed, you stress and freak. What’s that I hear? Is that your mom calling? For the most part though, you are the epitome of grace under pressure. [I think it’s a fight between caring and not caring. When I care, I care and when I couldn’t care less, I’m uncaring to the point of callousness]

About that Competitive bubble… Hello Oscar, the grouch. This would be your alter-ego, if you had one. Other media characters you may identify with include: grumpy smurf, grouchy dwarf, and Jack Nicholson with a golf club in his car. No, you’re not really that bad, you say to yourself. People just misunderstand the fact that you have a strong personality. Yeah, okay. You enjoy being argumentative, and find yourself using phrases like, “I’m going to squash you like a bug” even during a friendly game of Candyland with your five-year old niece. Wasn’t it enough that you already beat her at Old Maid? Had to finish her off, did ya? You might have trouble admitting defeat, even when you suspect that you are in the wrong. Being stubborn may win you a bunch of victories, but why is the person reading this over your shoulder nodding? [this is mildly surprising cos I never thought of myself as competitive or ambitious. Then again I won’t be where I am without lots of arrogance and directness which can translate to competitiveness]

About that Introverted bubble… Do you have difficulty remembering what your voice sounds like sometimes because you rarely ever use it? Do you talk to people at parties, or are you too busy hiding in a corner? Has anyone ever filed a missing persons report on you just to find you days later in the basement playing your one millionth game of solitaire? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be what psychologists call introverted. [not may be] Introverted people can mostly be found among librarians, scientists, and any other professions where an individual would never have to interact with another human being, ever. In fact, the prospect of having to deal with people may give you hives. What do you know, introverts, you may have a medical condition. You tend to be a hesitant person and have to mull things over for days, weeks, and even years before you act on whatever idea you have. If you wait too long though, opportunity might just slip away and you’ll never know what could have been. On the bright side, introverts are typically geniuses, mad geniuses with crazy hair, but geniuses nonetheless. [for genius, read sociopath mastermind]

know me, the introvert


A while ago Car and I were chatting about the possibility of attending a writer’s conference next summer. I edited down the chat but the point is instead of looking at the exciting things I could get to experience at this conference, all I felt was fear. Fear of crowds, fear of having to interact with strangers, fear that I’d offend people by appearing stand-offish and unresponsive. Truth is I react badly with strangers, especially people who are harmless and just trying to get to know me better.

I already know I’m INTJ or occasionally ISTJ on the myers-briggs test. I also know that I almost always come out as 100% introvert, whether it’s some serious long test, or pseudo-humorous test.

INTJ -The Mastermind

You scored 0% I to E, 47% N to S, 52% F to T, and 21% J to P!

You are more introverted than extroverted. You are more intuitive than observant, you are more thinking based than feeling based, and you prefer to have a plan rather than leaving things to chance. Your type is best described by the word “mastermind”, which belongs to the larger group called rationals. Only 1% of the population shares your type. You are very strong willed and self-confident. You can hardly rest until you have things settled. You will only adopt ideas and rules if they make sense. You are a great brainstormer and often come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. You are open to new concepts, and often actively seek them out.

As a romantic partner, you can be both fascinating yet demanding. You are not apt to express your emotions, leaving your partner wondering where they are with you. You strongly dislike repeating yourself or listening to the disorganized process of sorting through emotional conflicts. You see your own commitments as self-evident and don’t see why you need to repeat something already expressed. You have the most difficulty in admitting your vulnerabilities. You feel the most appreciated when your partner admires the quality of your innovations and when they listen respectfully to your ideas and advice. You need plenty of quiet to explore your interests to the depth that gives you satisfaction.

Take The LONG Scientific Personality Test at HelloQuizzy

A more tongue-in-cheek test is the personality defect test. Still comes up with 0% extrovert.


You are 57% Rational, 0% Extroverted, 86% Brutal, and 57% Arrogant.

You are the Sociopath! As a result of your cold, calculating rationality, your introversion (and ability to keep quiet), your brutality, and your arrogance, you would make a very cunning serial killer. You are confident and capable of social interaction, but you prefer the silence of dead bodies to the loud, twittering nitwits you normally encounter in your daily life. You care very little for the feelings of others, possibly because you are not a very emotional person. You are also very calculating and intelligent, making you a perfect criminal mastermind. Also, you are a very arrogant person, tending to see yourself as better than others, providing you with a strong ability to perceive others as weak little animals, so tiny and small. You take great pleasure in the misery of others, and there is nothing sweeter to you than the sweet glory of using someone else’s shattered failure to project yourself to success. Except sugar. That just may be sweeter. In short, your personality defect is the fact that you could easily be a sociopath, because you are calculating, unemotional, brutal, and arrogant. Please don’t kill me for writing mean things about you! I have a 101 mile-long knife! Don’t make me use it!

Take The Personality Defect Test at HelloQuizzy

Heehee, I’m a sociopath mastermind. evil laugh

On this 100% introversion business, I know how to interact with extroverts — they are the ones talking and laughing and carrying on the conversation. It seems to me though, that introverts may know how to deal with extroverts, it’s not so easy the opposite way. There seems, at least to me, a lack of understanding of why we act the way we do. People take things so personally, it’s like if I don’t interact with them it’s an affront to their shiny personality when the truth is not the case.

So if I go to this conference, I may need to hand out this list of 5 things every extrovert should know about introverts.

  1. If a person is introverted, it does NOT mean they are shy or anti-social.
    It takes me a long time to warm up to people; I just can’t meet a stranger one minute and behave like we’re best friends the next. My natural state is looking inwards, and it takes time and more time for me to get in touch with external factors like the people surrounding me.
  2. Introverts tend to dislike small talk.
    That’s true. I can see the necessity, particularly to break the ice, but it seems so pointless and I get bored with it quickly. What I hate? The 20 personal getting-to-know-you questions. Okay, sod it, I dislike talking in general.
  3. Introverts do like to socialize.
    But in a different way and not as frequently as extroverts. I can do the socialising thing, even public speaking and *gasp* being charming — but only for a very short period of time. After that, I need to be quiet again.
  4. Introverts need time alone to recharge.
    There was a question in the personality quiz about how I feel after a big gathering — emotionally drained or emotionally charged. The answer is definitely drained. I can only take so many meals out, conversations, or functions. I told my mum I need to get mentally prepared even for family gatherings. I get antsy if they go on too long and I feel like I’m missing out on alone time.
  5. Introverts are socially well adjusted.
    You know what, I know about politics, etiquette, the arts and stuff. I’m just not very practiced at talking about them like I’m an expert, doesn’t mean I’m socially inept.

I like this commentary from the article:

It’s easy to understand why society tends to value extroverts over introverts. Human beings have lived in a tribal society so having to interact frequently with people came to be a regarded as a very good skill when it came to survival.

Trying to “turn” an introverted person into an extroverted person is detrimental because it gives off a subtle suggestion that there is something wrong with them, hampering their self worth and esteem when there is absolutely nothing wrong in the first place.

There’s nothing wrong with introverts.


[/leave me alone rant]

what ethics

The Times is sponsoring a study on ethics. It’s a simple online quiz, where people pick words that are most like, or unlike, themselves. There is no right or wrong answer, just indication as to which moral philosophy is most like us.

The three moral philosophies – principled conscience, social conscience and rules compliance – make up our integrity, or moral DNA, which guides the way we live. For everyone the balance between the moral philosophies is different, depending on personality and experience.


my disc profile

I joined another team for a 3/4 day team building offsite today. It was fun. Before the offsite, our facilitator asked us all to complete a DiSC profile because it helps to identify the type of person our co-workers are. DiSC stands for the 4 dimensions in this profile: dominant, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness.


I turn out to be high SC and low I. Generally it’s pretty true, that I’m predictable, systematic, self-reliant and can be inactive and realistic. There are altogether 15 different profiles depending on whether someone is high D or high C or high DI. My pattern is the closest to a Perfectionist. Which I don’t quite agree cos I’m not big on details and get bored easily.


There are some very funny descriptions for the dimensions.

Shopping for groceries:

  • the D is the impulse shopper. No list.
  • the i tells you where everything is in the store, whether you ask or not.
  • the S is prepared, has a list, and gets it done efficiently.
  • the C wouldn’t think of going shopping without coupons and a calculator.

Ask for something on their desk:

  • the D has a messy desk. They say, “it’s there somewhere — you look for it.”
  • the i says, “I’m busy right now. Give me a few minutes and I’ll get back to you.” They don’t know where it is, but won’t admit it.
  • the S has everything filed in alphabetical order or by color code.
  • the C says, “It’s the third thing down in that pile.” The desk may be messy, but they know where everything is.

i want to be a geek!

According to the Wired Geekster Handbook there are 6 types of geeks.

1. The Fanboy
Disposition: Speaks mostly in lines from The Simpsons, Star Wars, Highlander, and Ghostbusters. Enjoys arguing about whether Batman or Boba Fett would win in a fight. (Batman.)
Beliefs: The Force exists, but midi-chlorians are bullshit. Han shot first.
Turn-Ons: Princess Leia in slave gear. Starbuck (male and female incarnations). Amazing Fantasy No. 15. Velour uniforms.

2. The Music Geek
Disposition: Would be really happy to introduce you to music better than that overexposed crap you like. Always up for a show, but it’ll totally suck.
Beliefs: MP3s are not as good as CDs, which are not as good as vinyl LPs, which are not as cool as wax cylinders. What your speaker cables are made of matters.
Turn-Ons: A complete set of Sub Pop Singles Club 45s. VH1’s Behind the Music (hair metal only). 0.0 scores on Pitchfork. Vacuum tubes.

3.The Gamer
Disposition: High DEX and INT scores, low CHA (thus, the lack of friends). Given to indecipherable insults (“I pwn3d u, n00b!”).
Beliefs: The game Real World has a great physics engine, hi-res graphics, and convincing surround sound, but the learning curve is too steep. Girls should dress like Yuna in Final Fantasy.
Turn-Ons: Spawn points. Haptic feedback. Pac-Man ringtones. Morgan Webb. Split-screen co-op.

4. The Gadget Guy
Disposition: Sociable while waiting in line on launch day; ferocious in comments on Gizmodo. Seemingly unflappable in the face of early adopter’s remorse (aka Apple Newton Syndrome).
Beliefs: I can fix that. There’s no god but MacGyver. The price will drop in a month, but I need it now.
Turn-Ons: Unboxing videos. Backup batteries. Blue LEDs. Laser pointers. People who RTFM. Things that make loud clicking sounds.

5. The Hacker
Disposition: Chronically crabby — then again, having such a superior intellect is a heavy burden. Paranoid tendencies.
Beliefs: One shall stand, one shall fall. Sun allergy is a real condition. Cybersex: not utterly disgusting. Cory Doctorow is too soft on DRM. 2600 magazine has gotten too commercial.
Turn-Ons: Trinity. l33t fluency. Narc-spotting at DefCon.

6. The Otaku
Disposition: Alarmingly happy. Prefers to read right to left.
Beliefs: Manga is a medium, not a genre. Furries aren’t loathsome. I can learn Japanese from Gundam. Lynn Minmay is the most annoying character in the history of anything. The next major anime release will be a box office hit in the West — this time for sure. It’s not all tentacle porn, OK?
Turn-Ons: Tentacle porn. Dirty Larping. Dating sims. All things kawaii.

What makes me mildly unhappy is I can’t identify to any of the six types. And now I’m worried about my geek creds. Sigh.

the flash drive of my mind

Relating to yesterday’s post and an example of how my thoughts flow in strange directions, here’s some mind babble about information explosion, email addresses and human-robot relationships.

We are surrounded by information. Lots of information. Ever since I switched to google reader I’ve been spending a lot more time than before reading feeds. Comparatively I shouldn’t have enough feeds for rss fatigue to set in — around 60, of which some are to keep track of friends who hardly post. That’s pretty manageable, even though I dread to think what I’d have to go through if I went on vacation for 2 weeks.

It’s not just the sheer amount of information around us, it’s the speed at which it’s coming at us. We’re literally bombarded 24/7 by an unending stream of news, or stuff on digg, or pictures of the newest gadgets. We don’t have enough room in our brains and we’re remembering fewer and fewer basic facts these days:

This summer, neuroscientist Ian Robertson polled 3,000 people and found that the younger ones were less able than their elders to recall standard personal info. When Robertson asked his subjects to tell them a relative’s birth date, 87 percent of respondents over age 50 could recite it, while less than 40 percent of those under 30 could do so. And when he asked them their own phone number, fully one-third of the youngsters drew a blank. They had to whip out their handsets to look it up.

It’s true. When I left OldJob I printed a copy of my personal Outlook address book but I couldn’t take the entire company email database of course. Sending emails to ex-colleagues became less intuitive; I actually had to think about it. Fortunately, like most corporate emails the external emails were mainly firstname.lastname@company.com; but there were a few exceptions I had to specially remember.

It’s even worse for friends’ and family’s email addresses. I can remember the ones I email regularly, but the rest I rely on gmail’s autofill feature. I can’t remember anyone’s birthdays apart from the most important people; and forget about addresses — 90% of letters I send via snailmail are to pay bills at places I can’t pay online. Every memory seems to be archived, it’s now a matter of remember where the information is stored rather than the information itself. It’s like I have flashdrives hooked up to my brain that I need to download and upload memories to.

I feel like I’m developing hardware. The mbp is almost an extension of my body, it is more important than the tv, or any sentient or insentient entity in my existence.

AI researchers were talking about the possibility of sex between humans and robots in five years and marriage by 2050. With humans becoming more robot-like and robots becoming more lifelike, it’s a matter of time before the two species merge. There’s enough sci-fi stories and movies about this that it’s not as whacky of preposterous as it first may seem. Yes, it’s icky and the exact ethical implications haven’t been thought through, but pesonally I don’t want to rule it out. Some part deep down inside me can see how the idea may be attractive.

Robots can provide a tremendous amount of comfort. For example look at the Ri-Man that was developed at the Bio-Mimetic Control Research Center in Nagoya. It’s a robot that is intended to be a nurse’s aid, to help pick up patients at the hospital. But with artificial intelligence that allows the robots to learn emotions and even develop personalities, who’s to say that there is a limit to the degree and type of comfort / companionship that a robot can offer? Think real doll [nsfw].

robot ri-man

At least, robots can be programmed not to a) engage in or b) feel hurt if they’re told that they are engaged in annoying behaviour. Which leads me back to email addresses, a reminder to think before forwarding those cute / “send to 10 other people or you’ll die” / “send to 10 other people and you will meet the love of your life” emails because:

  • may be it was cute once, a very long time ago when people only read one newspaper; but not after you’ve seen it 457 times
  • nah, a hippo with a baby chimpanzee on its back eating a banana ain’t cute
  • by the time I get one, the fwd:fwd:re:re chain is so long, I wonder why it took me so long to get it … am I not popular enough? [/sarcasm]
  • if I were a spam harvester I’d wet myself — all those hundreds of email addresses of real people
  • baby elephants and polar bears cuddling with an Eskimo child ain’t cute … really
  • most people are too embarrassed to tell their cute-email-sending friends to buzz off (um I don’t have this problem, I tell them to buzz off)
  • they’re not just sending me an email, it’s a AYCE malware party — open an attachment, get viruses, trojan horses, spyware, worms compliments of your (shouldn’t it be ex- by now?) friend

Is it a stretch to see why a customised robot may be a viable alternative?

I’m right brained, huh

I’m a straighter-than-a-straight-arrow person who is usually logical, organised and punctual — not surprising for someone who has a science background and works in a technical field.

And yet I can write a little. It’s been a source of puzzlement for me. I mean, I can’t draw to save my life and the way I react to art is an either/or: it’s pretty, or it’s not.

This all has to do with left and right brain behaviour.

left brain
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

right brain
uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking


I found a couple of simple tests. The Hemispheric Dominance test tells me that I use my left brain more — though it was 10 left and 8 right, closer than expected. The Art Institute of Vancouver confirms that — I got 56% left and 44% right, which is almost the same split.

Now to turn everything on its head. Instead of consciously doing tests that arguably I can influence the result, here’s one I came across via kottke: a visual test for left- or right-brainedness. It can get dizzy looking at it for a long time, so I’ll put it under the cut.

Look at the dancer. Do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.


Apparently most people would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though it is possible to try to focus and see if she changes direction.

For the record, I see her turning strongly clockwise. Meaning, I’m right brained. Does it mean that my perception of myself may have skewed the test? That I’d consciously or subconsciously pick the safer, left brain answers because I thought “that’s me”? But when given a visual test where I can’t control the results I end up being right brained? Looking at the traits, I’d say I’m some of each, which again is not surprising.

Hmm. I don’t have a split personality, but in a way I’m glad that there’s some evidence that I can be creative.

the loner being

via mefi, the field guide to the loner. Duh, talk about pointing out the obvious — loners don’t have the pathological fear of social contact or as pathetic as society would have us believe. Apparently three-quarters of the population is classified as extroverts, which means the other quarter are not understood. Introverts basically interact with the world in a different way than extroverts.

According to Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist at Wellesley College, some people simply have a low need for affiliation. These “loners-by-preference” may have inherited their temperament; or simply not having many friends as a child or growing up in a family that values privacy.

I’m 100% introverted according to the esteemed Jung Typology Test. More specifically I’m type ISTJ — 100% introverted, 25% sensing, 75% thinking and 56% judging. So I guess I need a field guide to understand me? Hee.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared of social interaction, that would make me autistic. I’m not shut off from the world, that would make me a hermit. I’m not socially inept, that would make me shy. I’m simply not interested in the other 6.7 billion people I have to share my living planet with.

If I need to interact with people and I can do it tolerably successfully. I do okay at work and within my tiny social circle. But for me interacting with people is a lot of work. I have to think about what they want, what they may be thinking and all that shit, it takes me away from time that I can be spending with myself. I get bored with it eventually.

So yeah, the long and short of it is … I don’t like people. Oh, to debunk the myth of lonely person living alone surrounded by cats, I don’t like pets either.

honey drink my wine

From New Scientist via reuters.

If you’re in a long distance relationship, you’d want to be as close to the other party as possible, as often as possible, whatever it takes. Like you’d be on the phone co-ordinating activites so you’re doing them “together;” or you imagine they’re having say a bowl of cereal and you get yourself a bowl of cereal too. You know, try to connect.

Now researchers at MIT have the answer to those nights when you just want to open a bottle of wine but have no one to share the intimate moment with … wine glasses that glow when one partner picks up the glass and even brighter when they put it against their lips. The glasses are wired with coloured LEDs, liquid sensors and wireless (GPRS or wi-fi) links that work across the miles.

Jackie Lee and Hyemin Chung, experts in human-computer interaction, say the wireless glasses really do “help people feel as if they are sharing a drinking experience together.”

For more practical use, the technology could also be used to check that hospital patients or elderly people are drinking enough water.

The glasses, dubbed lover’s cups, will be unveiled next month at a conference in Montreal on computer-human interaction.

All I want to say is, let’s hope the glasses don’t go all cloudy or disgusting when one party pukes in it.

enneagram personality test

Stole this from Jeanne’s LJ. I’m loyal, responsible and overly anxious. How did they know?

The Quick and Painless ENNEAGRAM Test

You chose CY – your Enneagram type is SIX.
“I am affectionate and skeptical”

Questioners are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me

  • Be direct and clear.
  • Listen to me carefully.
  • Don’t judge me for my anxiety.
  • Work things through with me.
  • Reassure me that everything is OK between us.
  • Laugh and make jokes with me.
  • Gently push me toward new experiences.
  • Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a Six

  • being committed and faithful to family and friends
  • being responsible and hardworking
  • being compassionate toward others
  • having intellect and wit
  • being a nonconformist
  • confronting danger bravely
  • being direct and assertive

What’s Hard About Being a Six

  • the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
  • procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
  • fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
  • exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
  • wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
  • being too critical of myself when I haven’t lived up to my expectations

Sixes as Children Often

  • are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
  • are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
  • form a team of “us against them” with a best friend or parent
  • look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
  • are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

Sixes as Parents

  • are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
  • are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
  • worry more than most that their children will get hurt
  • sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries


A little more research on the nine types:

  1. One: Reformer, Critic, Perfectionist. This type focuses on integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The One’s greatest fear is to be flawed and their ultimate goal is perfection.
  2. Two: Helper, Giver, Caretaker. Twos, at their best, are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous; they can also be prone to passive-aggressive behavior, clinginess and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love.
  3. Three: Achiever, Performer, Succeeder. Highly adaptable and changeable. Some walk the world with confidence and unstinting authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting the way they think will bring them approval and losing track of their true self. Threes fear being worthless and strive to be worthwhile.
  4. Four: Romantic, Individualist, Artist. Driven by a fear that they have no identity or personal significance, Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression. The angsty musician or tortured artist is often a stereotypical Four.
  5. Five: Observer, Thinker, Investigator. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. Sometimes, instead, they withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness and want to be capable above all else.
  6. Six: Loyalist, Devil’s Advocate, Defender. Sixes long for stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but are prone to extreme anxiety and passive-aggressive behavior. Their greatest fear is to lack support and guidance.
  7. Seven: Enthusiast, Adventurer, Materialist. Eternal Peter Pans, Sevens flit from one activity to another. Above all they fear being unable to provide for themselves. At their best they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders and truly live in the moment; but at their worst they dash frantically from one new experience to another, being too scared of disappointment to enjoy what they have.
  8. Eight: Leader, Protector, Challenger. Eights worry about self-protection and control. Natural leaders, capable and passionate but also manipulative, ruthless and willing to destroy anything and everything in their way. Eights seek control over their own life and their own destiny and fear being harmed or controlled by others.
  9. Nine: Mediator, Peacemaker, Preservationist. Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. On the other hand they prefer to dissociate from conflicts and indifferently go along with others’ wishes or simply withdraw, acting via inaction. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all else.

remembering numbers

From jillys LJ. Boy I wished LJ have trackback.

I remember names and numbers, but not faces. It seems that the majority of people are one or the other. I’m good at directions, map-reading, and remembering facts.

When I was younger most people only had one number — their home. Adults had work numbers, but obviously not most of my friends. I knew everyone’s number by heart. Then came faxes and cellphones and email addresses and various online handles. The personal data field in each friend/family member’s database grows larger.

Now with most cellphones and email programs, you don’t even need to remember these details. On my cellphone the display isn’t 12345678, the caller display will show “Mum” or “mm work”. I don’t even need to remember the number.

But I still do. I guess it really is the number person in me. I even remember the extension of many of the colleagues at my previous company, even though I left there 3.5 years ago. It’s bizarre.

I read about ways of remember long strings of numbers. My opinion is, if you have no head for them, you will never remember them, however hard you try.

nerd, geek or dork

Another personality test, to see if I’m a nerd, geek or dork. According to the test:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

And my score?

43 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 60% Dork

You scored higher than 13% on nerdiness
You scored higher than 59% on geekosity
You scored higher than 95% on dork points

It’s not as though you were some whiz-kid in school. Oh, sure, you probably did okay in some classes, but were probably awful in others. Certainly most people thought you were smarter than you thought yourself to be. And it’s not that you have some overriding passion, like computers or Star Trek that sets you apart for the crowd, though you likely share some interest in some of those sorts of things. You just like to be yourself, and want to express yourself for who you are.

And, really, there’s nothing wrong with that. Being who you are often invites scorn, and so it’s a difficult thing in a world that rewards conformity. Be proud of your dorkiness, for often it’s just another word for individuality. (I’d vote for you!)


i dream of …

I never ever remember my dreams, except for general feelings. No, not even that. I know for a scientific fact that I dream when I sleep but I have total non-recollection.

So it’s strange that I remember this recent one, of coming across an umbrella that provided rain (more like a shower) inside. So on a hot day, open up the brolly and you’d get protection against the sunlight and get a cool sprinking.

And that’s it. The only other thing I remember is the umbrella was kinda orangey-red and was plain, with no logos.

What? It’s such a rare occurrence that I’ll take whatever form it comes in.

talkin’ to yourself

Me, I don’t talk much. I’d much rather not open my mouth thank you very much. Other people talk enough what’s the point of adding to the noise pollution we have to suffer in the world?

I do get amused by people who talk to themselves. Not the mumblings of Drunken Crazy Pete. Not the people talking to their cellphones. Isn’t it strange that talking very loudly to a little black blob hanging off of a wire that is connected to your ear is no longer considered strange?

I mean the people who unconsciously verbalize everything that passes through their mind. Like the middle aged guy who proclaimed, “the bus is here” to nobody in particular. Or the old lady who asks “are you are boy or a girl?” no realizing how offensive or tactless her question is. Er, what do you want me to say? And why do you care?