Archive | November, 2008

Not only them

13 Nov


Let him wish his life

For the sorrows of a stone

Never knowing the first thread

Of these

Never knowing the pain of ice

As its crystals slowly grow

Needles pressing in on the heart

To live forever

And never feel a thing

To wait a million lifetimes

Only to erode and become sand

Wish not for the stone

But for the fire

Last only moments

But change everything

Oh to be lightning

To exist for less than a moment

Yet in that moment

To expose the world to every open eye

Oh to be thunder

To clap and ring

To rumble into memories

Minds and spines

To chill the soul and shake the very ground

Pounding even the sand

Into smaller pieces

Or the mountain

Brooding, extinct

Yet gathering for one fatal moment

The power to blow the top clean off the world

Oh to last the blink of an eye and leave nothing

But nothing unmoved behind you

Vincent Guilliano

January 9. 1991


Reading The Freedom Writers Diary gives me a greater appreciation for good moral education. In fact, I believe that such education should not only be a stipend for kids at risk, but also for those who are considered the elite of the country. Students who earn good grades, who come from good families, who are ambitious – for these students, moral education cannot be unimportant. Though they may not have so many negative experiences for them to feel the want of peace, tolerance and love, it is an issue that they must deal with in every decision they shall make as an adult.



  Today as my friend and I were talking she mentioned a girl in her high school who wanted fervently to go into med school. This classmate of hers was (academically) at the top of her class. When they did practice interviews, the girl spoke warmly as if she were cared very much for others and frequently helped her classmates. However, my friend was disgusted, since this girl had never shown any interest in the welfare of her fellow students of any sort. The girl later got accepted into Dentistry.



  There are many cases in our society when those with the most advantage and are most expected to lead us in the future lack a moral education. This should be disturbing to everyone. When our schools cram us with information and fill us with notions of glory concerning what our education could do for us, does it not miss the most vital point of education? Education is for the betterment of humanity as a whole, not merely for the profit of individuals. When the government and educators focus educational resources merely on advancing the student as an individual, it is not making a very wise investment for the future of that society.



  As we know, educational institutions all around create skills to fill a current or future need in the job market. Since there is currently no way to assess people’s morality, we can’t expect that there will be a need in the future to induce the educational system to put moral education into the curriculum. This problem may be somewhat alleviated in Chinese society due to the fact that our classical Chinese texts are mostly treatises on morality. However, we in Chinese society are crippled by a lack of encouragement in independent thought, which is a basis for resisting societal pressure or edicts that spread hatred and fear.



  So the way for us to have more concerned citizens is if there is more moral education in mandatory education. Not that we should have one class devoted to this subject, but that such should be instilled into almost every subject. This would help students better utilize fair judgment into every spectrum of decision making and is a crucial step towards the dream of world peace.


The Philandering Gene

12 Nov

Let’s play with a hypothetical question concerning genetics and philandering, if we may. Let’s also use time frame rather liberally, and say that the prevalence/allowance of abortion in society preceded the prevalence of divorce.

In the pre-abortion and contraceptive period, this gene would be allowed greater license to spread as males sow their seed in many different women and women have no choice but to give birth to these children, with the males bearing this gene.

Because the pregnancy and nurturing period for women is long and eggs limited, we understand that the amount of offspring women may have is considerably limited. We also know that this gene would not affect the population ratio when it exists in women due to this fact – women who sleep with multiple men could not have more children than women who have only one mate each.

However, for men, this is different. Men who have a tendency to settle with one woman would be disadvantaged progeny-wise compared to men who do not feel such an impulse. A society pre-abortion/contraceptive would be conductive towards increasing people with the philandering gene among the entire population.

Then abortion and contraceptives came along. This gave men and women the choice of not having children.  Women can now decide to abort children they cannot support on their own, who are not the progeny of their husband, or never conceive them in the first place. Philandering men usually  don’t bear in mind the goal of having a lot of children, so they are likely accept contraceptive use as well. This would be inductive towards increasing the non-philandering gene from males in a population.

However, assuming that divorce as a widely acceptable practice came along after abortion, the balance would be tipped back again. Men with the philandering gene are less likely to object to marriage since it is not a constant. In marriage, women don’t tend to object with having children. When men with the philandering gene decide to leave their legal mates and form other mates, they increase the chance of spreading their gene with a new family/woman. We must consider this with the fact that philandering men tend to go for younger women, this quality usually means they are physically more capable of having children. We might say that the wide acceptance of divorce in society increases the spread of the philandering gene.

Of course, philandering may be a polygenic inheritance (an additive effect of two ore more genes on a single phenotypic character), not limited to the Y chromosome, multifactoral (triggered under certain environments), or cultural rather than genetic.

On another note, we don’t have to follow the time frame (birth control predates wide-spread divorce) set in the hypothesis to follow the logic of this.


1 Nov

最近上 幫忙做一些簡單transcribe(把講者說的話打成字幕)的動作時發現一件事: MIT的學生真的非常踴躍發言!

  我聽的是一堂有關生物調控化學物質生成的課,是給大一生上的,基本上就是像我們的普生課,但怎麼看都覺得我們輸他們 – 我們只上課本,雖然是詳版的,可是課堂比較像老師們帶我們讀Campbell,因為我們這些死小孩比較被動,不然就是去找中文版的讀。台灣的老師壓力特別大,又要教生物又要教英文,為了能一章一章帶我們好好進入,老師們不得不放慢速度、降低程度­。

  而MIT的學生顯然不同: 剛開始上課老師只講一些簡單的概念,乍聽之下有一點像閒聊,因為是一些巨觀的想法而已,後來老師開始拋問題,一拋問題,馬上就有學生回答!是馬上喔!算算秒數最長的大約只有三秒就有人回答 (因為老師看到有人舉手他就會說 “Yep?”) 而且回答得相當不錯,就是有預習過的樣子,且能由預習去衍生自己的想法。

  偷偷補充一點,美國的學生(西歐的應該也是)在發言時心態上會以只回答課本標準答案為恥,所以不是表達自己的看法、創見,就是用自己的話更清楚、簡短的把課本的答案表達出來 ­- 最喜歡做的事莫過於找出一些例子作為自己論點的佐證或增加論點的具體性。

  另外也有學生對標準答案不是很清楚(老師也不是單單上課本內容,這樣太浪費學生的時間了)可是還是會馬上舉手- 因 為老師在講時,學生的腦袋瓜裡就會跟著產生一些想法,老師一問,學生就會想馬上舉手,提出自己的假設,讓老師去引導。這時候即使錯了,也會因可以得到指正 而蒙福,所以學生都相當大膽。較不能隨便提出答案的環境可能是如法學院,因為法律相當重視言語上的分寸。或許完全沒有預習的同學不敢提出太多問題或想法, 是因為覺得問了課本上都有的問題或說錯課本上就有的答案不僅有點丟臉(有預習的同學會躍躍欲試希望老師將你的錯誤拋給他們讓他們回答),而且會拖慢全班的進度和程度。但現在才是學期初,我們表達自己的程度給老師知道,老師才能用更適切的教材或比喻來教導我們,不會讓我們整堂課都備感挫折。





  在高醫讀生物除了英文外有時會覺得比高中的還簡單一些,而會有點失去動力和目標。我們以後是要跟外國研究者爭發表論文的空間的,現在看看國外大學生的態度會發覺自己還可以如此散漫無知,實在是有點瞎。要課程更有挑戰性,仰賴我們自己的表現,去刺激老師給我們更多內容!我 不能只要自己好,因為班上、學校的環境是會影響我的學習態度的,所以給大家一些勉勵,不要吝惜在課堂中提問題、回答問題、發表想法。雖然閉門獨善其身聽起 來不錯,可是到後來還是自己吃虧。我們在這間大學可以希望趕快過去好讓我們可以考其他名校的研究所、或讀醫學院,可是既然在此就應該好好提升高醫的素質, 畢竟畢業證書上也是寫高醫的名字,難道我們不能打破名校的玻璃天窗,真正的以高醫生物系畢業生為榮嗎?