Short Interview with William Shockley (1969)

Dr. Shockley invented the transistor design that wound up in mass produced electronics in December, 1947. Quite worth the ~7 minutes to take a look:

Notably he speculates on flat screen displays as an off-hand remark, in 1969! Those folks at Bell Labs were a generation ahead of their time.

Review: Dyson Lightcycle Morph

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Useful, with unavoidable flaws

Really cool technology and design with a few annoying downsides, perhaps a replacement+ for your halogen lamp

Major merits

Very snappy magnetic action, perfectly smooth, also fun!

Painless setup

Heavy base that will absolutely not shift around

Color temp., brightness, and motion, automation

App not even needed for most functionality


Minor merits

7.5 W USB-C charger

No WiFi – one less smart thing to worry about securing

very minimal branding, can be easily covered

Minor flaws

Colour rendering slightly less than halogen lamp equivalent

No detailed lighting specifications available

Cheap black plastic base underside

External power adaptor

Major flaws

Bizzare warranty and service scheme in Canada – 2 years only, compared to 5 years in the US – only spare parts available are the power supply and cable

Black components on the otherwise all White/Silver colour option that also add a functional flaw -overheating of the lamp seperator/cover – be careful not to touch it after a long session!

Too easy to trigger touch controls accidentally

Summary thoughts

Dyson tries really hard to be the Apple of small home appliances, they get close in certain aspects but in other ways fall quite short. For example, the cheap black plastic, that add an otherwise easily avoidable functional flaw to the lamp, which also replicates the major downside of the halogen lamps its designed to replace, is really indicative of something go wrong with their design process. Why was this kind of decision made? to save a few pennies on the BOM of a luxury lighting fixture? And touted to last for 60+ years no less… Perhaps Dyson will improve on these shortcomings for the next model.

Interesting Buddhist terminology – applicable to modern thought?

With my handy dandy Buddhist dictionary I’ve discovered a few interesting words that succinctly describe quite complex ideas. Here’s an example of one such word with a useful english description:

abhūtaparikalpa

Chinese : xuwang fenbie; Japanese: komō funbetsu; Korean: hŏmang punbyŏl, Sinograph: 妄分別

In Sanskrit, “false imagining” or “construction of what is unreal”; a pivotal Yogācāra term describing the tendency of the dependent (PARATANTRA) nature (SVABHĀVA) to project false constructions of a reality that is bifurcated between self and others. Sentient beings mistakenly assume that what has been constructed through consciousness has a static, unchanging reality. This process inserts into the perceptual process an imaginary bifurcation (VIKALPA) between perceiving subject (grāhaka) and perceived object (grāhya) (see GRĀHYAGRĀHAKAVIKALPA), which is the basis for a continued proliferation of such mental constructions. This subject–object dichotomy is then projected onto all sensory experience, resulting in the imagined (PARIKALPITA) nature (svabhāva). By relying on these false imaginings to construct our sense of what is real, we inevitably subject ourselves to continued suffering (DUḤKHA) within the cycle of birth-and-death (SAṂSĀRA). The term figures prominently in MAITREYNĀTHA’s MADHYĀNTAVIBHĀGA (“Separating the Middle from the Extremes”) and VASUBANDHU’s commentary on the treatise, the Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya.

Note that all the sanskrit terms have been transliterated.

It’s easily imaginable that there is great potential value for usage of these terms for discussing complex philosophical ideas. The sophistication of the core ideas of Buddhism is also noticeable when fully elaborated like this, in comparison to the simpler allegorical versions presented in popular culture for Buddhism and other religions.

Here’s the cleaned up description:

abhūtaparikalpa, 妄分別

In Sanskrit, “false imagining” or “construction of what is unreal”; a pivotal Yogācāra term describing the tendency of the dependent nature to project false constructions of a reality that is bifurcated between self and others. Sentient beings mistakenly assume that what has been constructed through consciousness has a static, unchanging reality. This process inserts into the perceptual process an imaginary bifurcation between perceiving subject and perceived object, which is the basis for a continued proliferation of such mental constructions. This subject–object dichotomy is then projected onto all sensory experience, resulting in the imagined nature. By relying on these false imaginings to construct our sense of what is real, we inevitably subject ourselves to continued suffering within the cycle of birth-and-death. The term figures prominently in“Separating the Middle from the Extremes” and VASUBANDHU’s commentary on the treatise, the Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya.

Mature scriptwriting of high intensity conversations from Star Trek TNG

Sometimes I come across scriptwriting that is so exemplary that I believe reviewing the scene can be highly instructive for those seeking education and moral instruction. The following are some of the best examples from Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of the most lavishly written dramatic shows even though it is now over 30 years old.

The science fiction setting of the show also provides unique opportunities for especially advanced and sophisticated topics to be discussed in a serious manner. Over a decade of reading and studying excellent writing and I’ve yet to find anything quite like this. Before each video is a short summary of the dramatic stage:

Discussion between two decision makers on the justifications, real and imagined, and possible consequences of an unauthorized preemptive strike on a potentially hostile adversary.

Reprimand to the second in command immediately after a high intensity situation in the context of a preexisting friendship – handled maturely!

Brief discussion on the appropriateness of beneficial trans-human modifications for legitimate purposes, with the ranking representative of the proposing organization and said trans-human, and balancing such advantages with the desire of sentient beings for self-determination

Negotiation between two emissaries of neutral polities for the immediate establishment of an alliance, one emissary stalling with ambiguous motives and the other requesting access to the leader while preserving their advantageous position – in a diplomatic manner!

It is noteworthy that when the fictional stakes are explained fully that the intensity of these situations are far beyond what is considered normal nowadays in any broadcast show. The science fictional guise and late 1980’s environment combined gave far greater freedom it seems for scriptwriters.

Since this show went on for many seasons there are several dozen more noteworthy scenes that may be of interest. Let me know which scenes are your favourite!