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About Tenzing_Shaw

  • Birthday 08/25/1986

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    Urbana, Illinois
  • Interests
    Science (especially physics and computer science)<br />Mathematics<br />Objectivism<br /><br />Hobbies:<br />Chess (I am a tournament chessplayer)<br />Reading (primarily fantasy and science fiction)

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    Tenzing Shaw
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  • Biography/Intro
    I became an Objectivist after reading Atlas Shrugged in my senior year of high-school. I am currently a graduate student in electrical engineering. My personal heroes (in order of importance to me): Ayn Rand Nikola Tesla Sir Isaac Newton
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    University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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    Electrical engineering (currently a student)

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  1. I think the crucial thing to remember here is that this experiment really tests low-level perceptual brain function rather than high-level concept formation. Since chimps live in the wild, they need to be able to perceive and react to observations very quickly. I am guessing that the chimp's brain provides faster reaction time, as well as a more vivid "after-image", which explains the animal's success at this game. What you have to do to test for a true conceptual faculty is overload the creature's perceptual faculty: give it far too many things to keep in its consciousness simultaneously. For example, imagine that the chimp and the man are given the numbers from 1 to 100 on the screen. Both are given several hours to look at the screen before the symbols are obscured. I am betting that the chimp would be overwhelmed in this case, whereas a (clever) human would use memory tricks to get at least most of it right. In the given test, I think a professional athlete would make a better match for the chimp than, say, a professional mathematician. Edit: looks like freestyle beat me too it with some of these observations.
  2. I agree. I am not very knowledgeable about architecture, but those look like very well-designed houses.
  3. I think this quote covers most of what people today call "luck" very well. In competitive chess, there is a similar saying which I really like: "The stronger player is always lucky".
  4. Now that you put it that way, this certainly makes sense to me. I maintain my position regarding the full-spectrum lighting, however. See the "Full-spectrum light sources and health" section from an article produced by Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightingAnswers/fullSpectrum/claims.asp
  5. I think the answer is that value is objective. Thus, the key part of the (bad) definition you cited is "considered as having a higher or more pressing claim". "Considered" by whom and for what purpose? If the answer is anything other than "by the actor" and "to enhance his own life", then the action is a sacrifice; otherwise, it is a favorable tradeoff (i.e. a profit). The definition from dictionary.com is bad because it does not explicitly distinguish a sacrifice from a profit, and yet these two concepts are obviously very different (you don't need a dictionary to know that). Instead of being made explicit, the distinction is buried in the interpretation of the part of the definition I quoted above.
  6. From what I saw of the sources you provided regarding the effects of sunlight on mood, you have missed my point. This effect is well known and not controversial to my knowledge. However, the use of artificial "full-spectrum" lighting devices to produce the same effect requires more proof than pointing out this fact. Basically, these devices assume that it is the specific solar frequency spectrum that counts, and not the intensity of the light (note that sunlight is typically vastly more intense than most artificial lights). In fact, the sources you cite seem to correlate serotonin levels with the intensity of sunlight, without making a comparison with other spectral distributions at similar overall intensities. In any case, the point is that the OP should be aware that these devices are controversial before spending money on them. Regarding vitamin supplements: I have no medical training, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but my understanding is that the body needs a certain amount of each vitamin, and that more is not "extra good" in any sense. Judging from the OP's description about his diet, getting this required amount may indeed be a problem, but I would guess that the solution is a better diet, and not vitamin supplements (unless prescribed by a physician). My point here is the same; the OP should know that vitamin supplements not intended to treat any specific deficiency are controversial, so that he does not leap into taking them and simply assume they will help. Edit: you say that you are not talking about supplements, and are concerned that the OP may be malnourished; in that case, I have no problem with your suggestion as such, although I think it might be easier (and likely cheaper) to adopt a better diet in the first place. I would be happy to continue this discussion, but if you wish to do so, I would suggest splitting it into a different thread so as not to hijack this one.
  7. Beware: full-spectrum lighting is probably pseudo-scientific. See the Independent Verification section in the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full-spectrum_light#Independent_verification. I have also heard that the benefits of vitamin supplements are questionable, so I would look for a credible scientific/medical source which can verify their usefulness before trying them. Just a caveat; I have no objection to the rest of your advice/observations.
  8. The following two dialogues from The Wrath of Khan show why James Kirk is one of my favorite movie characters of all time: [After allowing the simulated Enterprise to be destroyed.] Saavik: "Permission to speak freely, sir?" Kirk: "Granted." Saavik: "I do not believe this was a fair test of my command abilities." Kirk: "And why not?" Saavik: "Because... there was no way to win." Kirk: "A no-win situation is a possibility every commander may face. Has that never occurred to you?" Saavik: "No sir, it has not." Kirk: "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn't you say?" Saavik: "As I indicated, Admiral, that thought had not occurred to me." Kirk: "Well, now you have something new to think about. Carry on." Later: Saavik: "Admiral, may I ask you a question?" Kirk: "What's on your mind, Lieutenant?" Saavik: "The Kobayashi Maru, sir." Kirk: "Are you asking me if we're playing out that scenario now?" Saavik: "On the test, sir. Will you tell me what you did? I would really like to know." McCoy: "Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet who ever beat the no-win scenario." Saavik: "How?" Kirk: "I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship." Saavik: "What?" David Marcus: "He cheated." Kirk: "I changed the conditions of the test. I got a commendation for original thinking. I don't like to lose." Saavik: "Then you never faced that situation. Faced death." Kirk: "I don't believe in the no-win scenario."
  9. From High Noon: "You're a good looking boy, you have big broad shoulders, but he is a man. It takes more than big broad shoulders to make a man, Harvey, and you have a long way to go. You know something? I don't think you will ever make it." -Helen Ramirez to Harvey Pell, contrasting Harvey to the hero, Marshal Will Kane
  10. Very well said indeed. Last one to Alpha Centauri is a rotten egg!
  11. By the way, if you are looking for engineering schools with very practical curricula, there are a few I have heard of which strive for this explicitly. One I visited (when deciding where to transfer to for engineering) is Rensselaer in New York (I was impressed with what I saw there, but ultimately chose UIUC).
  12. I would just like to point out that most engineering graduate programs do not require subject based tests (typically only the general GRE), so GPA will be particularly important in the case of the OP.
  13. This (the union of theory and practice) is certainly one of the most important aspects of an engineering curriculum. I have mostly been very impressed by the department here in this regard. Most of the core classes involve significant and challenging lab/design exercises. To give you an example, I took a robotics class in which we applied inverse kinematics and simple computer vision techniques to program manipulators to move blocks around on a table; I thought this produced a near perfect combination of theory and practice. There have been a few courses (maybe 1 in 5) which I felt could have used a stronger practical component, but this is the exception rather than the rule in my opinion. I have heard that it is difficult for international students to get much financial aid at public universities, but I have no direct experience with this, and I don't want to give you misinformation. I would suggest asking your contact here about this. That is the correct page, but make sure you click on "All" to see all course offerings (not just the ones for any given semester). I took a quick look at the link you provided, and I would say that the coverage is comparable, but it seems somewhat broader than the courses here; we have separate courses in ASP, DSP, and image processing. What really matters, or course, are things like the quality/difficulty of the homework assignments, and I don't know how this compares (I tried to access your assignments, but they are password protected). I know very little about telecommunications/electromagnetics, but I would say yes, there are many courses in all the areas you mentioned. You might look at the descriptions (from the page you linked to) of ECE410, ECE420, and ECE418 among others. Yes, ECE445, our senior project lab (in which Yang and I were lab partners, incidentally) is like this. We also have a core digital systems lab which is strictly design/experiment based, and one is required to take at least two additional classes with large lab components (most people would take more).
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