Watching, Listening, Learning

I have been thinking about how education could be improved with technology.  Actually, I came up with an idea first and spent most of the time trying to justify the idea.  Does the order matter?  Of course, there is more self-hypnosis going on in one direction than the other.

For one thing, I believe too much emphasis is being placed on reading and writing.  A baby does not learn by reading and speaking comes before writing.  Reading is like eating which requires one to digest and integrate what one eats into.  Reading is tedious and forced reading is torturous.  Don't bother thinking too much about these bits.  They are mere justifications.

The idea, which I am amusing myself coming up with justifications for, is learning-by-experience, helping kids learn by letting them just watch and listen.  Instead of explaining how to count 1 to 10 or the multiplication table, just let them watch numbers being counted or multiplied, leaving them to discover the rules by themselves.

Learning-by-experience doesn't require technology, but technology can accelerate the rate of learning by increasing the amount of experience a child consumes.  As to the downsides, the idea turns kids into young couch potatos.  Also, some experiences will not learned but burned into the person's memory, a brainwashing of sort.

Anyway, it was a fun 10 minute break.

How BitTorrent Works

BitTorrent can be difficult to understand so I'll try to explain how it works.  Let me know if there are any mistakes.

BitTorrent is NOT Napster

BitTorrent is not a file sharing technology.  It's a download sharing technology.  With BitTorrent, you share with others what you are downloading while you are downloading.

What is a Torrent?

A torrent is just a web resource served by a web server and accessible by a URL.  Usually a torrent maps to a file or a folder of files.  Link to a torrent can be published and shared like other links so torrents are blogosphere-friendly.

How do I download a Torrent?

To download a torrent, you need to install a BitTorrent client that will run when a torrent link is clicked on.  Note that there is no need to launch the client explicitly so don't be surprised if there is nothing to launch after installing the client.

While Downloading a Torrent…

As mentioned above, clicking on a torrent link will cause the BitTorrent client to start downloading the torrent.  Torrent-enabled web server keeps track of the downloaders and refer them to each other so they can share what they downloaded so far.  If there is just one downloader, there is no one to share with so it's just regular file download.

If there are many downloaders, some of the downloaders will have parts others don't and could share those parts with others.  This reduces load on the web server and allows it to handle large number of downloaders easily.  Bandwidth saving also means a shocking ISP bill won't wipe the slashdotted smile off your face at the end of the month.

Corrupted Torrent?

While a torrent is being downloaded, some (all?) BitTorrent clients will scramble the content for reasons I am not sure of.  If there are more than one file in a torrent, all the downloaded files will be scrambled until all the files are downloaded completely.

Where Do I Find Torrents?

Websites, blogs, and Google.  There is no central directory like Napster.

In my opinion, flash flood nature of blogs will be well served by BitTorrent.  Likewise, link-happy nature of blogs will complement BitTorrent well.  Ultimately, I think a tailored variation of BitTorrent should be built into blog clients and servers for download sharing of feeds, images, enclosures, and other blog-related resources.  BitTorrent will encourage media-rich blog posts without applying power-law to the bloggers' wallet.  BitTorrent means blog torrents.

First Korean Pilot

Korea's first airplane pilot is Hee-sung Park according to a recently found pilot's license issued in America on July 7th, 1921.  He was one of many young Koreans sent by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, established in Shanghai on April 13, 1919, to be trained as soldiers in America.

According to Early Korean Immigrants to America: Their Role in the Estabilishment of the Republic of Korea (88K PDF – HTML version), some went to the Korean Young Soldiers' School in Hastings, Nebraska to receive ROTC-style military training before joining the independence armies in Manchuria and Russia.  Mr. Park and a few others went to Willows Flight Academy in Northern California to receive pilot training.

The heart throbbing part of all this that there was a plan to bomb the Japanese Emperor's Palace.  Since there wasn't enough resources for a more ambitious plan like the one General Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders pulled off, the plan probably involved suicidal missions.

While I think the bombing would have delivered a shocking blow to the Japanese and given hope to Koreans struggling to free the country from Japan, I can't help pondering where the line between acts of heroism and acts of atrocities lies.

Gonzo

Last time I have been in an adult shop was about two years ago.  My wife was in Korea visiting her relatives and I was bored and horny but too lazy to go hunting for some skin.  Yes, it's the sad story of a Don Juan turned couch potato.  Anyhoo, I haven't been in an adult shop for a long time so I thought a visit was called for.  Besides, my wife not being at home widens the range of raunchyness I can mix with popcorn.

While checking out the boxes, I saw that many of the boxes had a category sticker labeled Gonzo.  Gonzo?  Is that some new fetish for the X-Generation?  So I asked the perv standing next to me what Gonzo was.  Despite his apparent embarrasement and suspicion (?!?), he explained that adult flicks with outrageous actions are labeled as Gonzo.  Gonzo!

You see how educational blogs can be?  For more education on a similar subject, read Tim Bray's Debbie does BitTorrent.

My Google Number

Latest Google fad seems to be calculating Google Number (via Elliotte Rusty Harold).  A person's Google Number is the number of results return by Google when queried with the person's name in double quotes like "Don Park".  Bill Gates and Michael Jackson are both around 2,900,000.  Dave Winer is 194,000 and Don Box is 127,000.  My google number is 83,700 which seems too high.

The problem is that my name is not unique enough, which means there are several Don Parks contributing to my google number.  Unfortunately, it's difficult to figure out what percentage of the Google search result is associated with me because results are sorted by Google page-ranking scores which is affected by my being a blogger.  Sampling first ten pages reveals that only about two percent of the results are not associated to me.  Hmm.

Anyway, Google Number is good for ego masturbation.  Try it when you are feeling depressed during the holiday season.  If your head gets too big, go stand in line at the nearest DMV for an hour.

Herons and Egrets

An hour ago, a mixed flock of herons and egrets came by and stood around long enough for me to take a picture then disappeared like magic.  I know that the fat one in the middle is a local (that's his fishing spot) but the rest are migrants.  Mixed migrating flock?  Hmm.

One of these days, I'll bike around Redwood Shores and take pictures of all the resident herons and egrets.  I think they somehow divided up the waterways in this area because I have yet to see them fight over their favorite fishing spots.  At each spot, I see the same bird day after day which makes me wonder if they sleep there as well.

Mind Pool

One discovery I made about myself since I started blogging is how my perspective about myself differs from most people.  For me, so called self is like a cat sitting on a wall that separates the real world from the inner world.  When I look at myself, I am looking down onto a community of emotions that interacts with each other like balls on a pool table.

When something happens that affects my inner world, I am sitting on the wall watching the balls move and bounce off walls or collide with other balls.  Under high emotion though, the cat will jump onto the table and become a large fast moving ball that knocks everything out of its path.  Watch out!