29 November 2009

Playing with colors

I've been playing with my blog template. It's still not really what I want it to look like (not terribly minimalistic), but it's a bit of a change. Feel free to leave comments in this intermediate stage.

28 November 2009

The tallest lightning rod in the world

My goal in life: build a tower so skyscraping that it becomes the tallest lightning rod in the world.

At least it produces conversation and some amazing photos! (Thanks, Gizmodo and other modes of procrastination.)

21 November 2009

The choices to make

"It’s not innate gender differences that hold women back (just look at this year’s Nobel Prize winners in science). It’s not even gender bias (OK, maybe a little, but that’s not the biggest problem). It’s that science is demanding and very, very competitive. No matter how family-friendly a given university is, a scientist who chooses to have a baby risks having her next big breakthrough scooped up by a competitor who chooses to spend 24-7 in the lab. Changing that will take more than a handful of policies; it will require changing the nature of the game itself. I don’t think that’s possible, and I’m not entirely convinced it’s desirable. It’s competition, after all, that spurs innovation and advancement."
Janeen Interlandi has some interesting thoughts on the whole “why aren’t there more women scientists” thing. (via newsweek)

Isn't it attitudes like this that create such imbalances in the whole work/life debate? The question of "family vs. work" is a critical one for professional women (not just scientists) and one that I ask myself as I move forward with my degree and career, but it just isn't helpful to make the dicotomy turn into "those annoying kids getting in the way vs. that next great discovery that will make you famous." It's really about priorities and what's considered valuable: fame and reputation vs. people?

What's actually worth it?

19 November 2009

hit the pause button

Sometimes it's just necessary to take a break and rest - even if it's forced and unplanned, like getting sick in the middle of the week. That's definitely one way to get my attention - and make sure I don't start multitasking elsewhere. Even though thoughts of, "wait, well I'm behind now..." or "what will I do for..." still waft into my head, I think I'm learning that it's necessary to just concede and say, "Ok, I do need rest. Now, what does that look like?'

Trying to be thankful for these pause moments and to gain strength for the days to come.

09 November 2009

What once was

People always talk about architecture as being "permanent," although in truth, most buildings nowadays have a projected ~50 year lifespan, in terms of products and assemblies used, warranties, and the like. Allen forwarded me this interesting blog entry on abandoned sites around the world, places that once were vibrant and full of people but now stand as ghosts on the landscape - or, in the case of the Kowloon Walled City (above), have been razed to the ground, with only photos and writings as evidence of their existence.

This topic of permanence is something to consider and is an interest of mine in the field. Maybe it's time that portable, demountable structures be taken seriously - for instance:

Paper Church in Taiwan, by Shigeru Ban

This church is made from paper tubes and was once located in Kobe, Japan, as a temporary church for tsunami victims. It was later relocated to Taiwan, for use by earthquake victims.

There are clearly issues with these sorts of buildings, but environmental impact is also something to take into consideration and change of use over time.

04 November 2009

It's all about the feet

As a procrastinating aside, my Hawaii-native friend Jen (who will always be my BBB! oh, and Eric too) sent me a link to this fun blog that featured the photography of Tom Robinson. He takes these really great photos of his and his girlfriend's feet wherever they travel, and if you check out his site, you'll see that they've been EVERYWHERE. Amazing. It's also funny to see how there are shots like this one where they're hardcore in hiking boots and just climbed Machu Picchu (my next travel destination...sometime), and then there'll be photos of their feet at a spa with dainty red nailpolish (on the gf's toes, of course).

One of these days I should compile the many photos of my red sneakers in various places. (One of these days means...winter break.) Looking at these photos also makes me also want to find that travel partner, but I can (try to) be patient until I find the right one who would entertain my whims to do something fun like this.

ENFJ vs. ESTJ, or why Myers-Briggs are just 4 letters

How is it that 4 little letters can determine so much about you - or at least, the perception of "you"? The Myers-Briggs personality type test is an interesting one that gives you insight into how you function has a human being. I have friends who can recite to me not only their four letters, but also the percentages of each dichotomy - now that's either pure nerdiness or self-awareness, but given that I haven't taken the test since sometime in high school, I figured I would do it again and see.

And I got some surprising results, mostly the persistent appearance of an "E" for "Extroverted" in every test I took. Last time, I most definitely was an Introvert, perhaps an INFP (maybe INTP) or something along those lines. In exploring various (free) online tests, I eventually got one of two types: ENFJ (Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging - Idealist Teacher) or ESTJ (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judging - Guardian Supervisor). Puzzling... why? See below:

1) why I : I used to be very shy - and still am, at times. My mom used to say that I was forced to speak up more once my brother left for college, in order to fill the silence at home.

2) why E : It's hard for me not to be involved and busy, meaning interacting with and being around people most of the time. I do enjoy it, although...

3) why I (again) : there comes a point when I get really tired and just want to retreat from the world. Being with 1 or just a couple people works well, though, and I'm fine with silence (of the unawkward nature) and just being pensive.

4) why S : I like to do research and gather facts, just as a squirrel stores away nuts - and always ask "why ________?" Yes, it's that time for the difficult questions! In that way, I'm sometimes more satisfied with the tangible at hand, although...

5) why N : ...serendipity is essential and it happens - that's really how design works in some ways. Being creative and trusting the hunch are key, and I guess this is why I ended up choosing Columbia over MIT the first time around and becoming a designer rather than a scientist or engineer (but funnily enough, where am I now...?).

6) why T : Flo calls me her "female Kurt" (Kurt being her rational engineer husband) because of my "let's take a step back, shall we?" approach to situations. Sometimes, though, I think too much and my head hurts...

7) why F : which is why in the end, I can change my mind last minute, usually on a hunch or a final "sense" (sometimes feelings-based, sometimes Spirit-based). This can frustrate others (and myself), but trusting intuition has served me well.

8) why J : Like many people, I like to plan and plan well in advance. Kunle has told me many times that I'm probably the busiest person he knows outside of himself, w/ the number of things I have penciled in my mental calendar,

9) why P : ...although really, within that rigid time structure I have moments of spontaneity that people just don't really know about...unless they're actually around me at that time. In the end, I can't be very uptight - go with the flow.

10) And since there's a little of everything in there, this is why I take M-B with some hulking grains of salt and will not be pigeon-holed! Sure, it might help determine things like how I'll function at the workplace, who I might be most compatible with, etc., but really... If it makes me more self-aware, then it's already done its job and I need not dwell on it longer than that (although I still find it interesting from a psychological standpoint...a different issue).

- - -

That was longer than anticipated, but ah well - just the beginning.

What type are you, and do you think it's accurate?

01 November 2009

Introducing Isaac

Once upon a time, only a few months ago, the baby looked like this:

Now, he's no longer an "it" residing in Jenny's belly, but his name is Isaac Yun-Lok Lo, below in full technicolor:

Today I finally got to skype with my brother and see Isaac for the first time "live." He's SO cute, and his eyes were sort of open, too! (Most photos on their blog and on Facebook show him with his eyes closed. I can't imagine being alive for one week is enough to get him really used to the blinding lights of this world.) The song "Father Abraham" kept coming to mind during our conversation. So cute. I can't wait until December when we finally get to meet in 3 dimensions! One of my friends commented that he didn't know having a nephew would be so exciting - well, in fact I wasn't sure what to expect, but he's now here and sometimes I find it hard to contain my happiness (sorry, for those who've had to hear it repeatedly). It's just surreal having a new member of the family who's so closely related to you. And kids are cute - the best thing about being an aunt is enjoying children without having them myself :P

Anyways, life is an intrigue and still amazes me.