Second Thoughts

30 10 2008

First Impressions

30 10 2008


30 10 2008

the feeling of letting go

stolen from a thought in my mind I see you
slipping through a tree with your arms outstretched,
where are the mornings that I longed to kiss you,
by the banks of the ice river with our names etched

down in the study hall I write, between chairs
and the unworn ties
I watch a girl take eat her sandwich
while another boy catches my eye

cheated on the back of my hands
I take the test, where I am sent
to my parent’s high school
and left in a room with my finger clenched 

systems emerge like a corner
caught between two forced things
I find the rules where I meant to leave them
and I write things about the things I left


Hello, world! 

Life update: I am taking these classes:

  1. Justice, a Moral Reasoning core course that focuses on issues of applied philosophy, in particular ethics and political philosophy. Right now we’re reading Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. It’s outstanding; a defense of the legalistic moral attitudes (what mom calls the clear black-and-white) through this notion of the categorical imperative (i.e. should the principle you act on be applied to everyone and would that be good?). Delicious!
  2. Econometrics, a statistics course for Economics majors. We’re going over different methods to reduce omitted variable bias and, despite that this is the last required course for my Econ degree and I have a certain amount of disdain for strict requirements, I am enjoying this class. In particular, I feel more comfortable agreeing with the conclusions derived from Econ papers as I can attest to the reason behind their approach.
  3. Economics tutorial, a junior seminar. This class was once about diving into the research of our professor, Sendhil Mullainathan, while writing our research paper. The focus has shifted to studying our class’ research, extending and learning from the various approaches developed in our classroom in Littauer. I’m writing a paper on library late fees discussing rational reasons why people turn their books in late (e.g. it’s worth the money to hold on to the book as I am maximizing my utility) and psychological reasons discussed in economic terms (e.g. I forget, and when I remember in my room, the cost-benefit analysis leads me to procrastinate the task).
  4. Theories of Violence. Seriously, we take any theory of violence from parental abuse, drugs, psychiatric illness, biology, evolutionary psychology and study it from philosophical, literary, neurobiological, legal and historical perspectives. The broad approach is intended to answer the question: why does violence occur? So far, I’ve enjoyed studying the governmental abuses that occurred at Waco (emergent violence), Andrea Yates (psychiatrically ill), reading a transcript from Osama bin Laden and comparing it to the Battle of Jericho in the Old Testament (where the Israelites killed all the men, women and children in the city once they captured it as per God’s orders). I’m considering writing a paper on Dexter, the Showtime show about a serial killer who only kills other serial killers and the cultural significance although I’m interested in the question and might, should I come up with a good theory, try to answer it directly.
  5. Computer Science 50, a rockin’ class on programming concepts that I’ve watched many of the lectures online over the summer but am enjoying diving into the course, working to robustly solve the problem sets. Currently, the work I’m doing now is writing a program that reads a formatted (i.e. “erased”) disk and searches through the 1’s and 0’s looking for deleted photos (.jpg) and recovers them. We then have to figure out where the photos were taken around campus.

PS The links are _all_ worth taking a look at.

Life update, part two:

I’m working on developing my political and moral philosophy, working out the kinks alongside my reasoning in Justice class. I would like to start writing but am waiting for a breath of air as I have been working non-stop all day with lectures, sections, homework, midterms, soccer practices and games (captaining/coaching the team’s 2-2 season, scored three goals last game, dribbling through all of Lowell House.

                At some point I need to start thinking about where I am going to work next summer, which for the moment only confuses me. I’m also thinking about plans more broadly and am considering taking time off after this year to write down the political philosophy, write a few economics papers (might work with some classmates on this soon), and write a senior thesis that combines computer science and economics. I am currently considering a joint-concentration in computer science.

                Strange; while I was free with loads of time three weeks ago, adding CS50 so late meant I had to work hard to catch up, meaning everything has been on quicker feet since. Funny story: I had thought about whether or not to take the class all weekend and come the Tuesday (Monday was off as it was Columbus Day), I decided in the 0th hour, 5pm, that I would take the class. The Resident Dean wouldn’t sign off unless I took it pass/fail but since I hadn’t gotten the professor’s approval on it, she would either have to let me take it for a grade or not at all. At that point I saw the reluctance in her face and said, “Come on coach, put me in. I can play, just put me in, I can win!” :)

                So, these things being said, I very much miss all my readers in California (and family and friends elsewhere). I am working very hard on my studies and with renewed dedication to making the most of my undergraduate experience. Oh, and I’ve taken to making comic strips. I shall put them up soon.