End of exile

Today I moved cubicle.  I moved back upstairs to the department I belongs to.  I ended my life living as an exile on loan to another department.  The physical environment is better.  The new cubicle is closer to the window, quieter and has more sunlight.  It is much better comparing to the old cubicle locating in the entrance of the aisle, which is noisy and dark.  The psychological environment is also better.  My department is much more organize and well managed than the on loan department.

It was like constantly fighting fire downstairs due to lack of planning.  The project is a disaster.  We are still finding bugs on the last day before tape out and push out the schedule.  It is very likely the manager will just say that’s enough and tape out the device once the last known bug fixed.  It is almost guarantee there will be more bugs hiding in the device if the device is in a constinous state of flux.  The device should reach a stable stage with no new bugs for a couple of weeks before tape out.  Not enough time to do testing earlier is not an excuse.  If the device is not properly tested, it is not ready to tape out.  They should either move out the tape out or put more resource in the planning phase.  Saying we will finish the tasks with best effort is just an excuse being too lazy to make a proper plan.

Once you heard the word “best effort”, you can pretty much write off quality in the work.  You can qualify the features, the scope, the priority, the schedule, but you can’t qualify what exactly is “best effort”.  At the end of day in the eye of the managers, the only measurement of “best effort” is long working hours.  It is a known fact that long working hours is not correlated to the quality of the finish product.  It is just a waste of time.  If time is tight, estimate how much work can be done, prioritize the work and do it right.  Sometimes we have to admit, we just don’t have enough time.  If we really can’t  move the schedule and we have to work over time, we should incorporate the over time into the schedule.  Be honest and say the project requires 60 hours a week to finish on time.  Don’t underestimate the work and try to sneak overtime into the schedule as a unpleasant surprise.

Canadian Gunnutz

Canadian Gunnutz is a probably the most informative forum for Canadian shooters.  A forum is a virtual meeting place in the net.  It is hard to meet people loves shooting in real life, shooting is not a common sports after all.  It is important for the nurturing of marksmanship by talking fellow shooters, exchange tips for the skills or experience with different firearms.  The website also has a buy and sell board, let the members can exchange their firearms.  I think it is probably the biggest 2nd hand firearm resources in Canada.

It is fun to read the endless debate on which gun is better.  I don’t know whether is it people grow to love the guns they own or they buy the guns the because they love them.  It is easier to compare different models.  you can always look at the numbers and objectively determine which one is the right gun for the right task.  It is a lot harder to compare same model from different manufacture.  I have been looking to get a 1911, but there are over 20 makers fro 1911.  Even within the same maker, they offer a dozens of variations.  A custom made 1911 can goes from several thousands to several tens of thousands.  Production 1911 sells from eight to twenty hundreds.  Chinese copy is selling for as long as four hundreds.  I think after reading all the postings, take balance between price and quality, I will go for a mid-range Kimber 1911 for the best value.

Parting with my toys

I have been collecting toys for many years. Over the years I bought boxes after boxes of toys and I end up having two display cabinet full of toys at home. It is time to part with them, some of them. There are a few reasons driving to say goodbye to my beloved toys.

First, I am getting marry, move on to the next stage of life. Pat always complain it is too boyish for a middle age man to buy toys. I do not dispute this claim, buying toys is indeed a boyish behavior. It is a treat for the child in my heart. I agree that I should cut back on my toy consumption.

Second, I am running out of display place. Both of my display cabinets are full. I have to free up space for new toys. I don’t want to merely putting the toys in storage. Toys are collectibles made for display. If you don’t display them, you are really owning them. One way or the other, why not sell them to recoup some cash.

Third, I am a perfectionist in toy collection. If I collect a toy, I would collect the complete series. I am an all or none person. If I couldn’t get the complete series, or at least a “complete collection” using my hard to describe definition, I would rather no getting any at all. My preference changes over time. A series may start off with some very decent toys, but later on the quality deteriorate so much that I have to drop the series. There is no point to keep just the first few toys in the series.

Forth, toys, especially die-cast toys do not depreciate much. I can sell them on ebay very close to the price I pay for a few years ago. Basically, I payed the shipping and have them displayed in my cabinet for free for the mean time. Toy in a seal box not only will not depreciate, the price could actually go up quite a bit depending on the supply and demand. Too bad that I don’t like keeping the toys in the boxes. When I buy a toy, I want to take it out, feel it and display it. Toys are not an investment after all. It would be silly to buy toys and wait for the price to go up. The market prince for the most “profitable” toy I have went up 3 times. I am seriously thinking whether or not I should sell it and take the profit.

Gundams One Year War Mobile Suites / Rx-78-2 vs MS-06S

img_0842.JPG Z Gundam MS / Evangelion

img_0843.JPG UC MS /Gundam Seed Destiny / Char’s Counter Attack

img_0844.JPG UC MSV / Macross GBP / Transformers

img_0851.JPG Macross: VF-1A Angel Bird, VF-1A Super / VE-1, VF-0A, SDF-1, VF-1A CF

img_0852.JPG Macross: VF-1S, SV-51, YF-19, VF-0S / VF-1A Low Vis

img_0853.JPG Macross: YF-19, VF-11, YF-22 / VF-1J Stealth, VF-1A Max

img_0854.JPG Macross: VF-1A Woodands, VB-1 / VT-1, VF-1D, VF-1A CF

img_0855.JPG Macross: VF-1J vs VF-1S / Skull Team

img_0856.JPG Macross : Max vs Milia

基督教思想史第一部 – 第六章﹕新教神學的發展










啟蒙運動鼓勵人民獨立思考 ﹐勇於獨立思考不盲目遵從他人的想法。啟蒙運動和理性主義﹐強調人類的自由性。神為世界定下自然規律﹐人類通過神賜與的理性﹐去了解世界和了解神。 人類不需要聽命隨意發佈神喻﹐通過理性人類不害怕神的無常。不知真偽的神喻﹐臣服於自然規律的權威底下。理性並不只是思考能力﹐人能夠明白真理與公義的能力。人類通過理性和自主﹐就算沒有任何權威的介入﹐透過人類行為背後的自然規律﹐必然也會達致一個和諧的社會。


哲學功課﹕墮胎的道德爭議 Is Abortion Morally Permissible or Wrong?



胎兒從那一刻開始是人的問題﹐只是墮胎爭議中最粗淺的一環。哲學家Judith Thomson提出著名的小提琴家思想實驗﹐說明就算胎兒當是人﹐母親依然擁有墮胎的權利。假設有個小提琴家患了一個很奇怪的病﹐昏睡不起需要另一個人身體去提供養份去繼續生存。那個小提琴家的支持者把你綁架了﹐用管道把你的身體和小提琴家連接起來﹐用你的身體來當他的維生儀器。小提琴家自然是人也擁有生存的權利﹐但他沒有權利使用你的身體當他的維生儀器。儘管沒有你的身體小提琴家會死亡﹐你也絕對有權把管道拔掉。在道德上你沒有責任去救小提琴家﹐而要整天陪他睡在病床上。當然若果你自願救人犧牲自由是一件值得稱讚的善行﹐但你要選擇自由也沒有人可以指責你做錯。同樣道理胎兒有生存的權利﹐但胎兒沒有權利用母親的身體當維生儀器﹐墮胎正是母親行使她的身體主權。

哲學家Don Marquis則從另外一個角度去反對墮胎﹐避開了胎兒有沒有人權的爭議﹐亦間接地繞過Thomson提出母親有墮胎的權利。他先解釋為什麼殺人不合道德﹐是因為殺人剝奪了受害人的所有未來。墮胎就是剝奪了胎兒的所有未來﹐因此墮胎等同殺人一樣的不道德。我這篇文章就是探討Marquis的立論是否充份﹐檢視他能否合理地推論出墮胎等同殺人的結論。這篇是我修讀哲學幾年以來﹐破天荒第一次拿到A級成績的功課﹐努力總算沒有白費。

Is Abortion Morally Permissible or Wrong?

In Don Marquis’ paper “An Argument that Abortion is Wrong”, he argues abortion is morally wrong for the same reason as murder. Marquis criticizes the classic anti-abortion argument and the pro-choice arguments both face problems that are mirror image of one another, hence a stand-off results. (p.129) By using a different approach, Don Marqui claims his argument can avoid the stand-off results in the debate of whether the fetus is qualified as a human whom process the right to life. In this paper, I am going to show Marquis’s argument will also end up having a stand-off result.

Marquis starts his argument with asking why killing an adult human is wrong. (p.130) Killing is wrong because killing deprives the victim of a future value. The killing victim suffers the misfortune of a premature death which consists of the loss to the victim of the future goods of the consciousness. In general, killing is wrong because it deprives the victim of a future like ours (FLO).

Marquis then further explains the FLO theory is a sufficient reason for killing is wrong. First he argues the nature of misfortune in terminal disease is the loss of FLO, which also the same for premature death. He also argues murder is the worst crime because it deprives the victim all of his future, not merely part of it. Then he argues the FLO theory does not the pit-falls of traditional pro-life arguments. The FLO theory is compatible with euthanasia because those who seek euthanasia have no future. The FLO theory has no implication to animal rights, since animal life is not a life like ours. Therefore why killing is wrong can be explained using the FLO theory alone. At last he applies the FLO theory to abortion. Killing fetuses deprive the FLO of the fetuses, therefore abortion is immoral. (p.133) Here I summarize Marquis’ argument in standard form:

  1. It is wrong to cause loss of FLO
    2. Abortion cause loss of FLO of the fetus
    3. Therefore abortion is wrong

In premises 1, Marquis did not take every case of FLO into consideration. He did not consider the cases when FLO is contradictory to our moral intuition. Let me illustrate the problem of FLO using a thought experiment. Assume a patient has a very rare disease that requires a very expensive medicine to keep him alive. With the help of the medicine, the patient can live pretty much a normal life without any suffering. Take away the medicine will definitely cause a loss of FLO to the patient. Are we morally required to pay for the medicine of the patient? Without doubt, it is a very charitable act if someone chooses to pay the medication bill for the patient. However, there is nothing morally wrong if we choose to spend the money on our personal enjoyment instead of keeping the patient alive. On the other hand, it is patently wrong if the patient purchases the medicine from us and we fail to deliver the medicine and cause a loss of FLO. It is not always wrong to cause a loss of FLO, unless doing so neglect our duty. Therefore premise 1 is not true.

The obvious reflective reply to my objection is to insist that always our duty to preserve any FLO. We should donate every dime we have to keep the patient alive. We are only allowed to keep the minimal living standard so that we will not starving to death, which generate more loss of FLO. All the extra money we spend on personal enjoyment should go to pay for the medication bill of others. Obviously this claim is absurd. No reasonable man will agree he has no right to decide how to spend his money. No one will agree he is morally obligate to give everything he has to preserve the FLO of others. Those who make this claim without taking a vow of poverty like the Catholic priests does are hypocrites. Hypocrites’ moral arguments do not carry much weight. I highly doubt Marquis, as a university professor, not a Catholic priest, would reply this objective by saying every man is morally required to take the vow of poverty in order to avoid loss of FLO.

Marquis may attempt to reply my objection by refining his premise: It is morally wrong only when someone take away the FLO of others; it is not morally wrong if someone chooses to do nothing and let the FLO of others perish. In another word, killing is morally wrong but letting die is morally acceptable. He could apply Philippa Foot’s argument that there is an important moral difference between killing and letting die. This distinction is best captured by saying that one person may or may not be the agent of harm that befalls another (p.174). Since abortion is an active act that takes away the FLO of the fetus, abortion is still morally wrong.

I don’t think Marquis can revise his premise by separating active killing and passive letting die without contradicting himself. Marquis says premature death is misfortune. Premature death is a misfortune, in general, because it deprives an individual of a future of value. We know that killing us is wrong. What makes killing us wrong, in general, is that it deprives us a future of value. Thus, killing someone is wrong, in general, when it deprives him a FLO (p.131). According to his claim on why killing is wrong, there should not be any difference in the case of letting die. Letting us die also deprives us a future of value. Thus, letting someone die is wrong, in general, when it deprives him a FLO. Marquis cannot reject my objection using FLO alone; therefore premise 1 is still false. Granted, he could use the agent of harm principle to save premise 1. However do so would nullify his claim that FLO theory alone is sufficient to justify why killing is wrong, thus nullify his claim that the FLO theory alone is sufficient to show that abortion is seriously wrong.

Marquis may try to revise his premises to render the thought experiment in my objection irrelevant to the debate of abortion. He can agree that we are not morally required to pay the expensive medicine for the patient. Sometimes a loss of FLO is morally acceptable because it is not our duty to perverse that FLO. He may revise his premises to the following standard form:

  1. It is wrong to cause loss of FLO that is our duty to preserve
    2. Abortion neglects our duty to preserve the FLO of the fetus
  2. Therefore abortion is wrong

My expensive medicine thought experiment may no longer irrelevant under the new premises, since it is quite clear that we don’t have any duty to pay the medicine bill for the patient. Yet, I can modify Judith Thomson’s violinist thought experiment so that Marquis cannot resolve the stand-off using the FLO theory alone. Assume there is a patient having a rare disease that requires expensive medicine to keep him alive. Your bank has a bug in the computer system. They setup an auto transfer to deposit every one of your pay check to the bank account of the patient. The patient needs the money to buy the medicine to stay alive. If you stop the transfer, the patient cannot afford the medicine and he will die. Fixing the problem will cause a loss of FLO. Is it moral for you to ask the bank to stop the transfer? What if the patient needs the medicine only for nine months and then he will fully recover? What if you want to setup an auto transfer to your own account, but entered the account number of the patient by mistake? The patient’s right of a FLO does not automatically translate into your duty to preserve his FLO. The supporter of abortion might say a fetus’s right to life does not entail its right to use someone else’s body to preserve its life (p.127). This implies the woman has no duty to preserve the FLO of the fetus. However, an opponent of abortion might point out that a woman’s right to use her own body does not entail her right to end someone else’ life in order to do what she wants with her body (p.127). This implies the woman has the duty over the loss of FLO of the fetus. Therefore, there is a missing link between the fetus’s right of FLO and the woman’s duty to preserve the fetus’ FLO.

In conclusion, the duty to preserve other’s FLO is in conflict with the rights to control one’s own body in the case of abortion. The FLO theory could not resolve the question on it is whose duty to preserve other’s FLO. The FLO theory leads right back to the stand-off result Marquis attempted to solve in the first place. Therefore Marquis failed to solve the stand-off result in the abortion debate.

Harlem Globetrotter

Harlem Globetrotter

Today, I went to watch a game of Harlem Globetrotter, the famous comedian basketball team.  Pat got two free tickets from her school for seats far away, but the stadium is only half full, so we moved down to the first row to get a closer look.  The show is really fun for the children and adults alike.  It is more like a staged comedy than a real basketball game.  The Harlem is playing against Washington Globe, which is a fake basket team that is part of the Harlem tour.   It is a very close game, the two teams always have tie their score to keep the game interesting.  Obviously, Harlem won at the end with a slight lead.

There are lots of funny basketball move and tricks never appears in NBA games, such as shoot the ball with their heads, their trade mark fancy slam dunk, pull down the pants of other players, pull an audience into the court in middle of the game, throw pop corn, water bottle, and water bucket all over the court.  One of my favorite move is the player stuff the ball inside his own jersey.  There is another good one.  A Harlem player somehow get a handbag from the audience, then he stole the ball from the other player and gave him the handbag in exchange.  It is really funny see the player holding a basket in one second and swapped with a handbag the next second.

The show is very entertaining and full of laughters.  However I think a 2.5 hours show is a too long.  There are some boring time in the middle of the game.  The Harlem has to repeat their tricks from time to time.  It would be just right if the show is condensed into 1 hour.  When I watched Harlem’s on TV, they only show clips last 10-15 minutes.  No wondering Harlem on TV is much more exciting and action packed.

.22 competition

I entered the .22 competition at my shooting club last week. I have to shoot 3 sets of 10 rounds from 20 yards in prone position, kneeling position and standing position respectively. The highest score is 300 rings, 100 rings for each target sheet. A ring the unit to count how many points you get in shooting. There are 5 bullseye circles on the target sheet and I have to put 2 rounds into each circle. The center circle counts as 10 rings, the next round of circle is 9 rings, 8 rings and 7 rings. You don’t have any point lower than 7 rings, because you are not hitting any circles on the target.

I got 97 rings in prone position, 82 rings in kneeling position and only 72 rings in standing position. It is easiest to shoot laying down since you have support for both arms. It is hardest to shoot off hand standing, since you really have to have a stable hands. The first shooter got 295 rings, which means he hit the bullseye almost every time he fired a round. As expected, I came last in the competition, but I am not too far behind from the 2nd last place.

Shooting competition is fun, it tells me how well I shoot. I can see my effort from my practice since September. Nervousness in the competition affect my results. However I found the experience shooting in the competition helps me shoot better. My best score so far is 98 rings in prone and 85 rings standing. My goal is archive 100 rings in prone and over 90 rings standing. If I can score my goal constantly, I can put down the .22 rifle and start practicing handgun. I can only learn how to shoot one step at a time. It won’t work very well if I try to learn everything at the same time.

Time Zone

Time Zone

I went to work at 8a.m. this morning, because I have a conference call with the Indian design center. The different in time zone make communication between the two sites really inconvenient. I have two options when to have the meeting, 8a.m. in the morning or 8p.m. in the evening. None of them fits my usual schedule. I pick the early morning from the lesser of two evils.

I can understand why different places have different the time zone, the world is not flat after all. However I am kinda surprise to find out India is 13 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Vancouver. Pacific stand time is GMT-8 and the India time is GMT+5.5. Where the extra 0.5 hours come from? It won’t make much different using a round number for time zone, since the time zone is not divided evenly anyways. Some part of China is right above India and the time zone is GMT+8. It would not save any power for lights by shifting a mere 0.5 hours. Why can’t the Indians use a nice round number relative to the Greenwich Mean Time?  Hold on a sec, before saying Indians are silly to have an half hour time zone. We the Canadians are equally stupid, Newfoundland has GMT-3.5.

I made some interesting observation from the time zone chart. Time zone GMT-11 does not exists anywhere! There is no place on earth has their clock set to 11 hours slower than the Greenwich Mean Time. We have Tonga Island has GMT+13 thought. It is another mystery why would they use GMT+13 instead of GMT-11. When I first know Indian have a 30 minutes time zone, I was joking why don’t they make it a 15 minutes time zone to have it more accurately. Actually there exists a place super stupid enough to use 15 minutes time zone. The Chatham Islands has GMT+12:45.

Maybe the UN should fix the time zone chart, get rid of all the 0dd ball time zone to make things less confusing.

Legal Languages

APEGBC Bylaw 1APEGBC Bylaw 2

Legal languages often doesn’t make any sense, here is a good example.

The APEGBC, the self governing body of BC professional engineers, is asking its members to ratify a bylaw amendment.  Recently, the court declared the section regarding the experience requirements of registering as a professional engineers is invalid, since someone who failed to register as a P.Eng take it to court to challenge the 51 years old bylaw.  The court require the associate to fix the bylaw, provide sufficient detail on experience requirement in order to registering new members.

The original bylaw has just a short paragraph.  In my opinion, it clearly states the experience requirement in plain English.  It has been using for 51 years and no one is confused about the experience requirements to register as P.Eng.   Somehow the judge think the bylaw is not detail enough, so the association hire some lawyers to encrypt the paragraph into 2 pages of legal language.   I tried to read the new bylaw.  I think is actually more confusing than the old one.  No lay person really know the true meaning of those legal terms.

The whole exercise of rewriting the bylaw does not change how the association registers new engineers.  The registration and review process is business as usual and the experiment requirements stays the same.  Everything is exactly the same as before except the bylaw is 2 pages longer and less readable.


I never cooked spaghetti before, since I don’t eat spaghetti at home.  Somehow I suddenly want to eat spaghett, so I decide to give it a try.  I always think cooking spaghetti is easy and I am right.  My first attempt of making spaghetti is a success.  Spaghetti fits my A+B+C combo cooking philosophy.  Item A can be spaghetti or any pasta.  Boil a big pot of water, throw the spaghetti into the pot then wait until the spaghetti is soften.  Item B is the spaghetti sauce.  I just any ready made spaghetti sauce from the supermarket.  I wonder how the taste is difference in those 50+ selections.  Item C is the meat.  I picked ground turkey, I wanted use ground beef but Pat said turkey is more healthy.  I also add some shitaki mushroom slices.   Cook the meat first, then add the sauce and mushroom when the meat is cooked.  When every ingredient is heated, mix the spaghetti with the sauce and the dish is done!