Archive for September, 2009

I often get into arguments between the importance and validity of social sciences as a SCIENCE and physical/natural science as the ONLY TRUE HARD SCIENCE. While, yes, social sciences are considered “soft,” they are as much sciences as biology, chemistry and physics.

And, while it is (I’m sure) very important to study the hard sciences (many of you have or will be taking at least bio, chem and physics), social sciences are often neglected in the process. Those who are in hard science majors tend to look down at social scientists, and social scientists end up fighting against each other for importance. However, social science works the same way as natural/physical sciences: you can’t master one social science without having experience in other social sciences. And yet, with many social science majors, the importance in having a general knowledge of “The Social Sciences” is forgotten.

Take economics for example (I can’t believe I’m criticizing my favored social science). Econ majors have few to no classes in political science, and are usually not required to take psychology, even though both will play major roles in how the economy works. Political Science majors, similarly, are interested in criticizing politics (or are interested in playing the politics), but don’t even have a clue how macroeconomics works. International Relations majors don’t even understand the first rule of FREE WORLD TRADE.

How fucked up is that?

Besides combating each other, the social sciences still have to prove themselves as “real sciences” in the minds of hard science majors. I don’t even want to think of all the times I’ve had to fight to prove that economics takes as much work as, say, physics or biology. We have to do as much math, take as much data and weed through as much bullshit. Models in biology get rejected as often as models in economics do!

And if any of you silly bio/chem/physics majors even think of saying it’s easier than their major, I dare you to take an econometrics course. That class is so filled up the bum in math.

In any case, I wish social science classes were better taught, more recognized and more appreciated. Not only do they broaden our understanding of the world in which we live in (by providing us insight or an alternative view, or by providing us information which sheds light on a topic), but they are important to being a well rounded individual. I wouldn’t want to talk to an individual who only knew about microbes or atoms. I don’t want to spend all my time during a date making fucking punnetts squares.

Plus, it allows us to develop our own ideas about world/current events, instead of letting the news pass through our eyes and ears.

What I’m trying to say is, social sciences shouldn’t be disregarded, or though of as a “fake science,” because it takes as much effort and work to be a social scientists than as a physical scientists. Sociologists, economists and IR scholars don’t make up ideas out of nowhere. We have our fair share of ethical and unethical experiments, and we modify our models just as science modifies a theory when it is proven wrong.

On a slightly less relevant note, I think economics should be a required course in any college class. If more people applied the idea of opportunity costs to real life, we certainly would be more logical and rational people.

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Wah. No.

Not posting today. Mind is elsewhere. Mainly on the death of William Safire, a brilliant columnist/journalist. and, in my opinion, one of the best writers NYT has ever had.

Also on this:


It’s kind of lame cause it’s a video contest, and I’d do much better in a writing setting than a video competition. Plus, it’s kind of lame cause it’s more of a popularity vote than anything else. Plus, some chick is going to do the damn video naked and take the contest by storm (not likely).

Plus I have no idea how I am going to video tape myself.

Haha. Jo is made of fail.

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I really should be writing my sociology paper (journal) on racial/gender/group stereotypes, but I stopped reading after a charming little research paper called “New Racism” by a professor in Duke. Were you to put that noun (charming little research paper called…), it would be soaked and dripping in some visual representation of SARCASM.

The paper discusses how white supremacy still resigns supreme in a less direct, more “kind” form, which the professor (Eduardo Bonilla-Silva) describes as “New Racism.” He goes on to describe how this new form of white supremacy is imposed most on the middle-class African-American community, and how the white community has created “safe minorities” such as Colin Powell.

He then goes on to talk about affirmative action and how white people don’t support it because they’re not supportive of equal opportunity (which apparently affirmative action promotes). Therefore, these white people are supremacist.


Affirmative Action, if anyone is unfamiliar with it, describes policies that would promote diversity in an environment (work place, school, ect) by encouraging others to take race, gender, ethnicity and other things into consideration. Encouraging a diverse community is one thing, but to fill a job or a seat in college based off of race or gender is unfair to the people who DID work very hard and just happened to be a race or gender that was a majority in said community.

For example, I would be offended if I learned I got a programming (web design?) position simply because I was female. I’d like to think that I got the job because I’m better than my competitors, not because I don’t have a Y chromosome. Yes it makes for a more gender diverse community, but a job is not about creating a more even male:female ratio.

It’s like not getting a seat in MIT because someone is an Asian male and MIT wants more Latino women in their physics program. Never mind if the Asian is CLEARLY better in all things math and physics, because MIT wants to show they have a diverse community, filled with inept people who got in based off their gender, or their ethnicity.

Plus, it’s humiliating. When you ARE a female in a programming community, a lot of people naturally EXPECT that you got in based on your gender. Then you have to work twice as hard to prove that you’re not only as good as everyone else, but you’re better. If employers were not so insistent on making a diverse community, maybe more people would believe I’m actually a good programmer. Yea, maybe the community or program would be like 90 males to 10 females, but at least you’d know those female were GOOD programmers. At least guys (or majorities) would be less bitter about losing positions and jobs due to affirmative action. At least people would be getting jobs they DESERVE.

But back to this white supremacy deal. Denouncing Affirmative Action apparently safeguards white control by giving minorities an advantage based on their race, gender or social upbringing.

He expands on this by bringing other minorities (rather than just blacks and whites) and explaining how there is a Latin Americanization of Whiteness, where there are three distinct communities: Whites, Honorary Whites and Collective Blacks. Bonilla-Silva uses this structure because it is similar to the social structure of Latin America, where skin tone plays a major role in “how white you are” and “how white you’re not.” It also considers the other minorities of America (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans fall under “Honorary Whites”, while Filipinos, Vietnamese and Laotians fall under “Collective Black”).

The big kicker was when he tried explaining that Asians were natural prone to anti-Latino and anti-Black sentiments. He also went on to explain that Asians support the end of Affirmative Action, which puts them in the “Honorary White” section. As if Asians were whites.

I was throughly disturbed when Bonilla-Silva essentially put Chinese/Korean/Japanese Asians (We’ll call them Oriental) in this “honorary Asian” group, and South-East Asians in the “Collective Black” group. You CANNOT simplify racial discrimination into three categories. ALL races have very individual problems. Asian Americans (or Asians in America) have their own shit, their own stereotypes and their own social problems to deal with, just as any other culture does. I still have people who are shocked and amazed that I can deliver a speech without some chinkish accent, so I don’t see how we could be clumped up with the white folk at all.

Or clumped with the black or latino folk (I am South East Asian, after all).

And to end the lovely paper (there goes that sarcastic lacing), he discusses how social scientists should support this sentiment because if 25% of our population is African American / Latino, 25% of all Doctors, Lawyers and Government Officials should be African American / Latino.

Well then. Since 73% of the population is white, 73% of all rappers/hip hop artists should be white. Oh, maybe we’ll even have an Asian in the entertainment business who doesn’t do fucking kung fu.

This is not racial equality. This is a disgusting piece of biased sociology trash that has been put forth for no reason other than to bitch, moan and complain. Yes, racism is rampant, but it is not so easily defined into the three bullshit clumps of society he described. Affirmative Action is not racial equality, it is minority supremacy.

As an Asian and as an American, I am horrified and deeply offended that this shit would be put in my college textbook.

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Sorry I skipped last week’s blog post! Everything is still trying to patch together, as far as my schedule is concerned. I have been working diligently in class (blah blah, good student, blah blah), and it’s been doing me well so far!

Until today, when I woke up with a cold. This, to risk not having it blossom into a ridiculous 2 month long flu (which, if anyone knows me, it always does), I’m skipping a class to nip it in the bud. Hence why I’m here at 11:35AM when I should be in my Asian Theatre Survey class. Hurrah.

In any case, the post below was written in my sociology class last Thursday. It was around then that I considered writing two blog posts (to make up for last week). SO, if you happen to see another post sometime in the afternoon, do not be alarmed.

Currently Listening To: Nothing.
Currently Drinking: Water
Currently Eating: Nada!
Currently Reading: Nothing. Suggest me something!
Picture of the Day

During my sociology 100 class (since all fun and odd things happen there), I spent my time observing a girl who sat two seats down and one seat right of me (she sat in the front row). She seemed like the “I want to be unique” type, complete with faded blue hair dye, studded belt and worn-out backpack (which had H.I.M.’s heartagram logo painted in wite-out… that’s right, she’s a rebel). he was answering calculus questions on her Mac by plugging it into google and researching it on Wiki / Yahoo Answers.

No, this is not a post about my poor use of time in sociology class. The reaosn why I bring this up is because she was so… bothering. She never said a word to me, she never looked my way, but her simple existence made me want to cringe. I was throughly repulsed by her black nail polish, cliché Celtic rings (which adorned every finger, including thumbs), and cleaned-up converse shoes, and it bothered me enough to spend my precious time (HA! PRECIOUS!) taring at the back of her head (which was two seats down and one seat right from myself). Why? Why was I so bothered by this girl?

It’s because she was like everyone else. This very much reminds me of my blog post about Individuality (to be like everyone else), since I guess she was trying to fight the mainstream “conformist” attitude and it, in the end, made her mainstream herself. I wasn’t even as bothered by the popular girls (with their short shorts and ditzy attitudes). Perhaps it was because these popular girls were OKAY with being mainstream, while the other chick was so insistent on NOT being mainstream that she became like everyone else. It was like a poor imitation of the punk-rebel attitude for, well, sake of being fake punk rebels so they don’t have to be popular (when, in actuality, they still want to be popular and well liked among their peers).

Not that anything is wrong with being unique, or rebellious. But, for whatever reason, being “rebellious or unique” is a new fashion trend. It takes precedence over being happy, or comfortable, and true to yourself. And, through this importance of “being difference” and “not conforming to the man,” a new group has emerged. Said group has, essentially, standardized all that is now being considered “rebellious.” What happened to being rebellious for the actual fact that conforming was just plum dumb? Conforming into another group doesn’t make you a rebel from mainstream society!

What makes this especially irritating is that it STILL insists on being punk-rebels. That’s their selling point: Want to be rebellious? Join us, and you won’t have to worry! Anarchy tattoos and poorly done hair jobs! Just add hot water! But they still have a set of social norms, they’re still exclusive to “punk-goth-rebels” only, and I don’t think Hot Topic is very different from A|X in that their main selling point is their label (the difference? I can manage wearing A|X because they actually make wearable clothing).

I feel the saying, “You are what you hate,” applies only too well here. These people, who bathe in their ability to rebel and be unique, are exactly like their preppy counterparts. They just exchange white shoes for dirty converse and badly stitched up belts (I also couldn’t help but see the similarities between preppy plaid and Punk Plaid).

In conclusion, I want to end with this brilliant and marginally relevant xkcd comic:

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Hello everyone! I’m sorry this post has been so delayed. College has been keeping me busy, so I am sticking to the tradition that my post will be as late as ever.

But never fear! I will try to write on Tuesdays as much as possible, and when I become more familiar with my schedule, I will be able to write at a more consistent time. For now, you will have to live with what you get.

This specific post is about the Health Care Reforms that are being enacted under a bill entitled “American’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” It is a 1014 page bill that covers health care reforms in America. It is currently being discussed in the Senate and has been the topic of many a debate in the media.

As a disclaimer, my opinion on the matter is that this bill should not be enacted. I am not a supporter of a public health care option (nor am I a supporter of other governmentally funded welfare projects such as social security).

So uh. Read. Enjoy. Hope you learn a little more.

Currently Listening To: Love Story (Taylor Swift)
Currently Drinking: Pepsi Cherry
Currently Eating: M&Ms
Currently Watching: Toradora
Currently Reading: My textbooks
Random Image of the Day

So. Health Care.

Yea. Health Care Bill.

Tonight, President Obama’s speech was all about addressing the concerns of Health Care reform and answering all the questions on the 1000 page bill that is passing through the House of Representatives (that’s right, it hasn’t even gotten to the Senate). It was a very long speech about how the health care reform would not impose itself upon the American public, and how there were many misconceptions (mostly on the Republican side) about how the health care system would be ruined.

So, to get it out of the way, let me explain the bill in a little detail.

It is NOT some Nazi program bent on destroying the world. There are no death panels, and not EVERYONE would HAVE to have public health care.

The bill has two purposes: creating a public health care option and fixing the problems with the current health care system (the exact quote is “enact strong insurance market reforms”). These reforms would include creating a maximum up front payment for the patient, forcing everyone to have health care and, as previously mentioned, creating a public health care option that would be available to all American citizens. This public health care plan would enter the market as a competitor to private companies, to encourage choice and competition.

Also, each health care plan would have to be reviewed by a Health Choice Commissioner, who would regulate which health care plans were legally available. To be available, the plans have to contain essential benefits and protections, and would (obviously) have to be affordable.

In total, the plan would cost 9 Billion (count those zeros with me: 9,000,000,000) dollars over the span of 10 years. Yes, this is cheaper than the Iraq war, but that doesn’t make it any less pricey.

President Obama says the intention of the bill is to reform the health care system by regulating private companies and creating a public option that will allow all citizens to have health care (regardless of health history) and will encourage private companies to keep their health plans low and available to everyone (all health care plans must guarantee availability and renew-ability to ALL citizens).

President Obama also claims that the health care plan is self-sustaining, with revenues being brought in by premiums, other insurance companies (who have to pay fees if their plan is too expensive) and by cutting down on money that is being spent frivolously. How he and the government intends on jump starting the program as a whole is still a mystery to me.

One of my biggest concerns when it comes to cost is that government plans have a habit of costing more than they’ve been predicted to cost. Take Social Security for example, which has been following the “this is going to be a self-sustaining program” concept since 1939. Five (5) adults currently pay for one (1) senior citizen who is on social security. This cannot be sustained for much longer, especially with the baby boomer generation coming into an age where they can start collecting their social security benefits.

Or take the welfare benefits that discourage people from finding jobs because they make more money on welfare than they would finding a job. Don’t forget we are also paying for the Medicaid system, which provides health care to poor and low-income families.

These were all programs that started off with wonderful intentions to provide happiness and comfortability to all the citizens and legal residents of the United States. But these are very expensive, very abused programs which are practically at the brink of failure.

The new Health Care bill is not much different. It is intended to be a program for the American Government to, once again, provide some sort of social welfare for the country. However, I find the bill to be too vague and too expensive. Nine billion dollars is a lot, but I’d venture to say that people will use it as an excuse to spend more money.

Which brings me to my next topic. I first heard this concern from 20/20 (which my mom had fallen asleep watching). In the show, they compare the need for health care with the need for groceries (not a perfect metaphor, but it serves its purpose). If an individual paid a “grocery insurance,” that person would put a certain amount of money down to get a certain amount of grocery products, just as health insurance allows you to obtain health care coverage.

Well, if a person had an option between the steak or the chicken (both of which would be covered by the grocery insurance), the person would obviously choose the steak.

This is true for health insurance, with many people choosing more expensive surgeries because it is “covered under the health insurance: “When we pay for health care with someone else’s money, it creates nasty incentives. It’s good to be covered in case of a medical catastrophe, like a heart attack or cancer, but when patients pay for almost everything from physicals to acupuncture using third-party money, they have no reason to care about cost. Because the buyers don’t care about cost, neither do the health-care providers.”

20/20 uses Lasik as an example. Because Lasik is not covered under any insurance policy, doctors have to compete to encourage patients to buy from them. This competition is what drives the price of Lasik down. Buyers have to “shop around” for prices, just as they do with other products.

This is the same type of competition that President Obama talks about in his Address to Congress about the Health Care Reforms. He claims that having a public option will drive down prices and create competition between health care because the public option will inherently be cheaper BECAUSE there is no behind-the-scenes-money-wasting.

Bullshit! For one, public health care may not always be the cheapest. For two, it is not competition if public health care has clear advantages in the market. While private companies will have to pay a fee for expensive health care plans and will have to go under the scrutiny of a Health Choice Commissioner (who is and will be federally paid), public health care will not go under the same lenses BECAUSE it is a government program. Also, the reforms REQUIRE that every person have health insurance. President Obama says this is because every person “has to do their part, or the system will not work.” However, I feel that it is a person’s choice to want or not want health care, just as it is a person’s right to not get a job, lie under oath and commit suicide. All of these actions have severe consequences (expensive hospital bills, no money, going to jail and death, respectively), but they are still “options,” even if they are not the ones you would chose (I would personally buy some good health care, get a job, not lie under oath, and live).

For example, if a small business owner does not want to provide health care (DOES NOT WANT is very different from cannot), it is his/her right to not provide said health care. Because it doesn’t provide health care while its competitors do, that small company (the one not providing health care) will suffer a labor shortage and will eventually go bankrupt/fade out. It’s a simple matter of “this is a poor business choice,” and I would rather a small business owner want to provide health care than HAVE TO provide health care.

I am all for the goals of reforming health care system (whether it has to do with drug companies, medical malpractice laws or insurance businesses). However, I feel that the plan leaves too many holes open for future abuse of the system, and will end up as a detriment to the US Economy (since it’s going to get ridiculously expensive one day). I’m glad that the Obama Administration is taking steps to improve the health care system in America, but I feel that there should be a separation between reforming the health care system and adding a public health care option. I also feel that Obama should be concentrating on other things, such as improving the economy. Were this bill to be enacted, none of the laws would go into action until 2013 (when President Obama will either be out of office or serving his second term) anyway. I feel there are more pressing matters at hand.

I feel the same way about this bill as I do many of the other government social welfare/insurance programs. Good intentions, bad implementations.

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Fall 2009 Classes for SUNY Geneseo started in Monday, and today I finalized my classes, which means I have been hard at work reorganizing my calendar, ordering my books, fixing my dorm and deciding when to blog. Yes, that is right, I will be attempting th put time aside to blog.

This semester, I will be taking a total of 6 courses that amount to 19 credits. The classes are as follows:

Asian Theater Survey
International Politics
American Politics
Sociology 100
Public Speaking
Astronomy 100 (and subsequent Lab)

Most of the classes are more lax than most, so we’ll see how the year turns out. I will also be doing my regular CKI stuff, which gives me a grand total of…

a lot of work.

I have yet to actually decide on the dates I will blog, but they will most likely be Tuesday and a to-be-determined-other-day.

In any case, I wanted to make this general announcement to say that I am still alive, I am still working on a health care post, I have an awesome schedule and I love lamp. And my room. My room is friggin awesome.

Also, I am shamelessly advertising my brother because he is an awesome artist and you all should commission from him:

Awesome right? Yea, you know it is. So go, ask him what his prices are, and be amazed at the work of a 16 year old kid. You can contact him via his email: apple_cannon@hotmail.com, or contact me to contact him!

Okay, that’s all for today. I’ll see you guys when I actually BLOG.

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