Sunday, December 31, 2017

№ 345. Prayer for the New Year

Prayer for the New Year

Sunday, December 24, 2017

№ 344. Christmas Carol

What's a cure for old age and death? For chaos? For pandora's bane?

When world peace is a sight unseen in a galaxy far, far away, when death and sickness come bearing down on our doorposts, what's the proper response?

The year 2017 will come to a close soon. Like in so many years before it, people will again hope for a better year, for a better world.

World peace will always be a cliche. Climate change may soon be a tired slogan on a fake campaign platform. Gender fairness is so 1990s as one writer admitted.

Humankind is a never ending craft.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

№ 343. Essential Algorithms

In our realities, there are many underlying, invisible truths. Gravity is one. It's a physical phenomenon. But there are other social rules which are just as intractable and vexing.

Here's one social algorithm:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

№ 342. Waking Up to Binary Dreams 6

Was Bitcoin created by an AI?

No one knows for sure who invented it, but is it possible? Is this the beginning of the end. Or is this just a blip in a technological event horizon? The first series among the many waves to come?

I was watching a rerun of Animatrix. The dystopian prophecy still strongly argues for a plausible future given a set of many quite valid assumptions, more than ten years after its release.

During the Matrix runs at the turn of the 21st century there were no Social Networks or even smartphones yet. Year 2017, the Watchowski brothers have both chosen transgender identities and Facebook boasts of more than two billion users. Apparently we are still in fluidic space and time.

But I have an alternative future in mind that is far less radical than the ones envisioned by the Matrix. The future in my head will be more accommodating to a creeping hybrid of silicon and flesh. Science fiction will still have to yield to pragmatic concerns such as business, logistics and the law of supply and demand, among many other mundane realities.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

№ 341. Waking Up to Binary Dreams 5

Cognitive computing. Creation of a hybrid of human and artificial intelligence to solve BIG, complex problems. Borg.

"The US must also determine a national strategy for how aggressively it will develop new systems, operational concepts and organizational constructs that exploit artificial intelligence advancements in warfare, according to the report.

Kitt the sidekick smart car was an early
pop culture example of benevolent AI. But I think,
in one episode, Kitt turned rogue.

An important part of that strategy relates to 'autonomy' which results 'from delegation of a decision to an authorized entity to take action within specific boundaries,' Work told CNN."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

№ 340.Throwback Wednesday

I haven't seen this movie in ages. Still charming and funny. There's a poem by Auden too. What's not to like?

As I Walked Out One Evening

As I walked out one evening,
  Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
  Were fields of harvest wheat.

Monday, November 13, 2017

№ 339. 21st Century Empires, Globalization and Nation-States

It's ASEAN week in Manila.

"Looking at the different summits that are taking place in our region this week, one cannot but be inspired by the high-mindedness that seems to have summoned the world’s most powerful statesmen to this part of the world at this time. Yet, one cannot miss the irony, too. Here gathered are presidents and prime ministers purporting to offer collective solutions to humanity’s most intractable problems — solutions that, alas, are ultimately drawn from the shallow well of their respective national interests."

Saturday, November 11, 2017

№ 338. Summer in November

Tower Records in Japan is alive and thriving. The branch in Osaka beside our hotel closes at 11 PM! Whooppie!

Among the many compact discs (CDs) finds is this:

So 80s and so retro, looking back.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

№ 337. Love in November, in the Time of Diarrhea or After Ragnarok

"Para kay B is the first novel of scriptwriter par excellence Ricky Lee, published by the Writers’ Studio and launched in a grand bash last December. Subtitled “O kung paano dinevastate ng pag-ibig ang 4 out of 5 sa atin,” the novel deals with love and its wreckages. True to form, Lee conveys his insights in a manner that shatters the usual realistic narrative mode of Philippine literature in Filipino. For in the end, he lets the author of the novel within the novel question not just the nature of love, but the nature of narrative itself. Who, in the end, gives meaning to a story? It also mirrors the novel’s central point: who, in the end, benefits from love? And if love is so melodramatic and so sad, why do we even need it?"

I read Para kay B after Ondoy. It was one of the promised dry lands after that flood of end-of-the-world proportions. That--- meaning the flood, I swear, is not an exaggeration. It was Biblical. Or to borrow from another mythology: Ragnarok.

After Ondoy, the wreckage and the materials recovery, came the forced perspective of fragility and a whole lot of Beta --- that's uncertainty in finance.

Monday, October 16, 2017

№ 334. LA Envy

In Annie Hall, Alvy Singer hates Los Angeles. He worships New York. LA, he thinks, is the antithesis of NYC. 

Seinfeld and the gang definitely loved New York, its minutiae, and nonsense. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

№ 333. Waking Up to Binary Dreams 4

"If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” But, really, how can you tell? So much of what is happening between the public and Silicon Valley is out of view — algorithms written and controlled by wizards who are able to extract value from your identity in ways you could never do for yourself."

№ 332. Forgiveness in the Time of Terror

"The incident that led to the first-ever legal challenge to President Rodrigo Duterte's Oplan TokHang is a story made for the movies."

I wonder, after enough years have passed for all of us living this age to care, would reconciliation be possible? Would forgetting help us heal and move on? Is this an unexpected or even an unwelcome purpose of forgetting?

We forget in order to forgive. Time will erase from our collective consciousness the scarred memories of the killings today.

And sometimes we do things so stupid that even God struggles to forgive us. --- Crime and Punishment

The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I [The quality of mercy is not strained]

Friday, October 6, 2017

№ 331. Waking Up To Binary Dreams 3

Is it safe to assume that being tongue-tied lost in translation will become obsolete with Google's new technology? 

Yes? No? Maybe? Don't know? Who cares?

№ 330. Barak Obama

"My mother laughed once more, and once again I saw her as the child she had been. Except this time I saw something else: In her smiling, slightly puzzled face, I saw what all children must see at some point if they are to grow up — their parents’ lives revealed to them as separate and apart, reaching out beyond the point of their union or the birth of a child, lives unfurling back to grandparents, great-grandparents, an infinite number of chance meetings, misunderstandings, projected hopes, limited circumstances.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

№ 329. Nothing Gold Can Stay

Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

№ 328.Lies, Lies and More Lies 2

To rebuild belief in the power and value of truth, we can’t dodge its complexity. Truths can be and often are difficult to understand, discover, explain, verify. They are also disturbingly easy to hide, distort, abuse or twist. Often we cannot claim with any certainty to know the truth. We need to take stock of the various kinds of real and supposed truths out there and understand how to test their authenticity.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

№ 325. Escher Tuesday

They called off work. Its typhoon Tuesday. After getting up 530 am and haling, Uber quickly for work, passing flooded streets, I learned that SC twitted the suspension order. No work. I stayed in the office until nine and just browsed the web and waited for the rain to die down.

Here's what I came across:

Monday, August 28, 2017

№ 324. Monday Night Virtues

Watched the endGame of Thrones (GoT).

After the season finale, I realize it's going to be a long wait. 2019. Two years long. Twenty four months. 

And we're counting. Starting now. HBO, quickly now.

"Patience wears my grandmother's filigree earrings. She bakes marvelous dark break. She has beautiful hands. She carries great sacks of peace and purses filled with small treasures. You don't notice Patience right away in a crowd, but suddenly you see her all at once, and then she is so beautiful you wonder why you never saw her before."

~J. Ruth Gendler

Saturday, August 26, 2017

№ 323. Hokkaido Through Square Lenses 2

More pictures, field trips and food finds....

№ 322. Hokkaido Through Square Lenses

Summer in Hokkaido. Food tripping for food lovers and a rather sleepy companion, friendly folks and fun excursions to factories and farms. Our letter today is f*x&%$# "F".

№ 321. Paris Through Square Lenses 2

Here's more from under the hood of the digital chest. It's good to remember happy memories. Makes the rainy days more fun and sunny.

№ 320. Paris Through Square Lenses

Spring 2014. Three years ago, we revisited the City of Lights. Still charming and, yes, expensive. But worth the visit, nonetheless.

A few of the Instagram pix I was able to dig up from my digital treasure chest / memory box.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

№ 319. Urban Sketches

Time & Tide

"Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last."

Friday, June 9, 2017

№ 315. Saturday Fun Machine

"The experience of research takes place as a struggle with the mystery of reality, according to the partial but original perspective offered by the scientific method. In various ways, scientists are moved by the hope of grasping the order and direction of the natural world, taking account of it in the cosmic context in which we live, and catching sight of the possible unity of the universe behind the multiplicity of forms....

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

№ 309. Sunday Full of Grace

Do you know what it means to be struck by grace?

We cannot transform our lives, unless we allow them to be transformed by the stroke of grace. It happens or it does not happen. And certainly it does not happen when we try to force it upon ourselves, just as it shall not happen so long as we think, in our self-complacency, that we have no need of it.

№ 308. Happy Mother's Week

"We are born of love. Love is our mother" --- Rumi

Mothers, love em, hate em, and love em still in the end. Through and through. I know I'm a week ahead. So Happy Mother's Week, then.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

№ 306. Sunday Through Square Lenses

Lectores de las palabras perdido (Readers of the lost words).
Blindfolded, the Jesuit reads a catechism,
the Augustinian, a novena in Tagalog, while
the Recollect recites a Visayan prayer.
The Dominican holds a box with the tithes
collected for all the lost words.

The Philippines was colony of Spain for about three hundred thirty three years. Yes, 333 years! 333 years divided by 20 years, for every generation, equals 16.65 generations.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

№ 305. Waking Up to Binary Dreams 2

Layered Realities

Are we real? What if we're just a dream? A meme? Or looped replay of a song created by a civilization long gone? What if we’re living in a computer simulation?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

№ 304. Mulanay Through Square Lenses

Field trips are fun. I haven't joined one in a while--- for about a year.

Fellow hunters of good angles, light, food and laughs.

Happy feet are feet on field trips.