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Culture | Yi Ling Hwong

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election
  • November 11, 2016

Post US Election Reflections of a non-American Citizen

The result of the US elections has shaken me to my core. I am surprised by my own reaction and the heartache I am feeling about the election of a country that is not even my own. I have been trying very hard to figure out the source of my disquiet and disappointment. I have […]

stats
  • February 11, 2016

Toastmasters speech #8: Almost Everything You Know About The World Is Wrong

When I decided to move to Australia 1.5 years ago, I broke the news to my closest friends in Geneva in an email titled “Guess where I am moving to?”, and I attached this picture: (slide) One of my friends, Mori, replied within a few minutes, with this: (slide) Now I have done my research […]

ex-machina
  • December 4, 2015

Humane Artificial Intelligence?

An oxymoron or the holy grail of AI design? The tendency to anthropomorphise things we create is deeply embedded in human nature. However, to create robots which resemble and emphatise with us, we need to first define ‘human’. And that in itself is quite a tricky subject, it seems. For starters, if we want humane AI, […]

male-vs-female-brain
  • December 2, 2015

The Myth of Distinct Male and Female Brains

Like the article says, one of the biggest hurdles to gender equality is crumbling. Based on rigorous analysis of core features seen in the brain scans of more than 1,400 female and male subjects, a new study found that there is essentially no difference between the brains of the two sexes. most [brains] are unique mixes […]

megan
  • December 1, 2015

Twitter and Megan Phelps-Roper

This is such an incredible story of how Megan Phelps-Roper, a former prized daughter of the loathsome Westboro Baptist Church, came to see the absurdity of her beliefs, lost her faith, left the church and her family, and completely changed the course of her life. The trigger behind this conversion? Twitter. As Phelps-Roper continued to tweet, she […]

baby-hitler
  • November 30, 2015

The Ethics of Killing Baby Hitler

The New York Times’ question to its reader: would you kill baby Hitler if you could? I am on the ‘no’ camp because I reckon Hitler is merely a product of his time, what with Germany going through its worst ever economic slump. If not Hitler, it will be someone else. Nonetheless, still an interesting ethical […]

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A man stands in front of a bonfire at the 1999 Woodstock Festival, Sunday, July 25, 1999, in Rome, N.Y. After almost 72 hours of peace and love, Woodstock '99 ended in blazing chaos Sunday night as hundreds of concertgoers turned into vandals, starting fires and looting. (AP Photo/Observer-Dispatch, Michael P. Doherty)
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  • November 27, 2015

Thresholds of Violence

An interesting way to look at how school shootings catch on. Malcolm Gladwell, in his signature lead-with-facts-and-then-surprise-with-counter-intuitive-theory style tells the story of how people have different thresholds for carrying out certain actions. Social processes are driven by our thresholds, i.e. the number of people who need to be doing some activity before others agree to join them. […]

books
  • November 24, 2015

Reading the World

Hello there my loyal reader (aka me), I have decided to resuscitate this personal project to write one blog post a day about something I learned/read/thought about. I ought to be very ashamed of myself for not keeping up with this, especially since I really enjoyed doing it and still go back to read the […]

translation
  • August 10, 2015

Toastmasters speech #6: Lost in Translation

Language. The oldest and most lasting form of human communication. The thing that sets us apart from other creatures roaming the face of Earth. Dear mister toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen, I love languages and today I would like to share with you why I love them. Thanks to my incredible fortune of being born in […]

sonder
  • May 31, 2015

Sonder

sonder – n. the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Sonder. You are the main character—the protagonist—the star at the center of your own unfolding story. You’re surrounded by your supporting cast: friends and family hanging in your immediate orbit. Scattered a little further out, […]

love
  • March 30, 2015

Let’s Talk About Love

“You complete me.” Jerry Maguire uttered those words and swept legions of female off their feet. Why is it that human beings seek their other halves? What is it that maintains and fortifies the bond between two people? What is this mystic power that dictates our longing to be ‘completed’? Why do we love? Why […]

speeches
  • February 15, 2015

Jim Carrey’s Commencement Speech

Behind the funny faces and over-the-top expressions lies a man who obviously thinks a lot of deep thoughts. The words ‘profound’ and ‘Jim Carrey’ do not seem like they fit in the same sentence, but in this commencement speech, he actually surprised me. So many of us choose our paths out of fear disguised as […]