Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Old man and the cell

This paraphrase of Ernest Hemingway's book come to my mind when my grandfather had first 'come into contact' with cell phone years ago. I'm using the words suitable for out of space alien related events, but it just might had been the case for my grandfather and this item. He had constantly pressed the wrong buttons, couldn't navigate through the menus, send an empty text message, you know, the classics. However, after a few times of explaining to him how to make calls from his contact list and add new positions to it, he was able to do it. Up to this point, other functions in his cell are more or less redundant. Nonetheless, it made me think whether I will have difficulties with some new equipment when I'll be his age. I'm disregarding the person's ability to learn rather consider the generation changes / new technologies appearing. The conclusion is as follows. Me and the rest of this generation wont have these kind of problems. Why? Let me answer with another question. Have you ever read the manual of your cell phone? Firstly, who has time for that and secondly, for you, it seems easy to use so there is really no need to look into the manual. When you got your cell phone in your hands, you knew what to do and simply started using it, figuring out more functions as you went. That is why, in the future this generation wont have such difficulties - we were taught how to learn by ourselves. We are not afraid to click and check the result - we learn through experiment, or we google it :) Oh, and the layout is green now, because it composes nicely or is a good match for the previous, red one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The making of...

Recently, I've wondered about things that tremendously simplify our life. As human beings, we've been making them for as long as we exist. Some of them are big, some small enough to be left to our subconsciousness. I'm talking about assumptions and the way we make them. Generally, we use them as a sort of a staring point. What do I mean? Well, humanity has been developing for long time and especially recent years brought us rapid progress in science and technology but also psychology. A lot of people discovered a lot of things. This knowledge is compressed and passed to children at school. After several years of education we have this starting point that composes of information (assumptions) that are more rather than less true. But the process of actually making assumptions starts earlier. The first assumption you had a very good chance of making was when you were a baby. Back then you just cried to get whatever you needed at the moment. After a couple of times you noticed that someone usually comes, so the sequence of cause and effect appears in your head. It is natural for humans to use assumptions, because not only we are taught them but also we are accustomed to making them on our own. And there is nothing wrong with having them, because as I said, they make life easier. You assume that when you press a button the elevator will come down, or when there is snow outside it is probably cold, you assume that the old lady couldn't rob the bank. Everybody does that. They are helpful, hasten drawing conclusions and decision making. There is, however, a great problem with them. We assume that since everybody has assumptions and lots of them are indistinguishable to the details, the other person has the same set of assumptions. And that assumption is wrong (sorry for the overuse of the word assumption). That is why, things obvious to us are completely unclear for others. This can lead to serious misunderstandings. What is more, because of them you turn your attention to certain things, behaviors, words, actions while underestimating some other. Order and importance of them differs significantly form person to person (well, that's stating the obvious). Therefore, from time to time, I go over the process of validating my set of assumptions. I don't need to question every, single one of them but nonetheless I need to be mindful of them. It might come in handy, when you meet someone new, especially of the opposite gender.

Monday, November 12, 2012


To watch or not to watch? There is a high probability that when you where a kind your parents forbade you to watch TV for too long. They had many rational arguments to support their statement, namely: it will hinder your eyesight, there is too much violence and foul language, you should be doing your homework, go outside and get some fresh air, etc. The same applied to me. Now, when I'm older I can decide for myself. And the answer is easy: not to watch in general. Why? Because I have no time for it and when I manage to spare some free time and feel like watching something in TV nothing interesting is on. However, to every rule there are exceptions. I'm going to write about the funniest (in my opinion) TV series I have seen to this moment. It is rather popular so you might have heard about it. It's called Scrubs. Some jokes can be deemed as shallow, but mostly they are brilliantly crafted and you can barely stop laughing. Some are abstract, some hilariously simple. In terms of humor only The Penguins of Madagascar (sadly enough, only with Polish dubbing) can compete with Scrubs. Characters such as doctor Cox or the Janitor will forever stay in your memory. Of course, there is more to this series than meets the eye. It has a pinch (sometimes more) of seriousness. It mixes with laughter at a perfect ratio, making this TV show quite unique. For some time it was the only, new thing making me think there is hope for television yet.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I was back at home for the weekend, which was longer, because of the All Saints' Day. Somehow I felt the need to listen to some older U2 records. And guess what song stuck in my ear - Wake Up Dead Man. It may seem creepy at first (concerning the holiday), but when you look at the lyrics...
Jesus, I'm waiting here boss
I know you're looking out for us
But maybe your hands aren't free
Your father, He made the world in seven
He's in charge of heaven
Will you put in a word in for me
I had it in mind during the whole weekend. Today (Sunday) I listened to a powerful teaching about God's love and I'll try to compress it into 4 sentences:
1. God did not promise that He will keep us from hardship, but that He will be with us in the midst of it.
2. You may feel like God does not love you, but know that he does (Romans 8:38-39).
3. His love is personified in Jesus
4. God loves you, he always has, he always will.
Later this day, I drove my car back to where I study/work. On a highway, when travelling at 140 km/h (87 mph) I got a flat tire... and I guess Jesus did put in a word in for me because nobody (along with 4 passengers) got hurt, nobody. No other car hit us and my car itself was undamaged (except for the tire). God protected me, I know he loves me, praise the Lord!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Good read

It is one of these times I'll write of something less serious. I would like to recommend you a comic book. Not an ordinary one though and definitely not for children. It's called Thorgal. It is written by some Belgian guy, but illustrated by Polish graphic artist. It is set in Norse mythology, but soon you find out there is more to the story. Generally, it's about a man searching for peace in his life and ironically enough he has to fight for it. What I find most compelling in this comic book is the plot. It is action-packed, with heavy moral issues and with the best twists I've ever came across. What is more, it is drawn in this old-school, classy style, yet somehow unique and attractive for this generation's readers. I didn't tell you the best part yet. It is still ongoing! I enjoyed it much and hope you'll too, should you choose to follow my recommendation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Great power

I believe this dialogue between two men was in some Tom Clancy's book I read in secondary school and it goes something like that:
- With great power comes great responsibility.
- Churchill?
- No, Spiderman...
Jokes aside, today I was put in the position of great responsibility. For the first time, I alone was responsible for students in the physical laboratory, twice. In short, the first time I was totally ready, but the second time... My scientific supervisor had an emergency, so I had to replace him. The classes start in 5 minutes and I don't even know what exercise that are supposed to do. Somehow, I come back victorious from this trial, having understood, properly explained and supervised exercises. Although it wasn't a big deal, it made me feel good :) And it made me think. If responsibility is an indication of power (at least according to Spiderman), what kind of power are we talking about in my case? In general, when you teach someone, you gain power over one's development. It is in your power to shape them, push them in the right direction, to some extend of course. If you think this power is not so strong let me ask you a question. Did you like particular subject in school because the teacher was cool? Lets try the other way. Did you not like a subject because the teacher was horrible? Now think. For example, your math teacher was an old, mean lady, who yelled a lot, talk to fast and was surprisingly never ill. You associated her with what you learnt and in result you despised math. You never wanted to have anything in common with it, never took an interest in what is beyond of what you've learnt in class. In a way, she is responsible for you not studying finances/economics and not becoming the owner of a large bank. It is not all her fault, but she made it this much harder for you to go in that direction. That is why, in my opinion, teachers are powerful. And much like Spiderman, with this power they can be superheroes. However, if they don't realize the responsibility they have they become supervillains. I know this outlook can be deemed as naive and, since expressed by someone with little experience, disregarded, but maybe someone reading this will reflect on their teaching methods, or maybe someone will take an extra interest in physics even though the teacher makes the classes a living nightmare.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time travel

I couldn't resist to title this post differently. Sorry, but it is a little bit misleading. I'm not going to talk about the complexities and nuances of time travelling, mostly because I don't feel like and it's pointless, since it is not possible (well, not yet). What I want to talk about is how much time can be wasted when you travel. This last few months I have spent countless hours in journey. The situation would be different if I had a companion, but a vast majority of this travels I spent alone. Unfortunately, I slept through most of the trips. I wouldn't go as far as to say that all this times sleep was a waste, but in some cases for sure. That is why, I have recently started to read books, as simple as that! But still this thought appears that I could be doing something else, more productive, like read not... lets say... casual books but academic ones, or scientific publications. Not to mention I could study the Scripture, or learn verses by heart. I hate the feeling that the time is wasted, either because of me or due to reasons I have no control over. In the first case I can do something about it, hence the book reading and hopefully something more, but from time to time - I got to give myself a beak once in a while. Insomuch in the second case, since I'm powerless, my frustration grows. To end on a more cheerful note, staying at home doing nothing is surprisingly more often NOT time wasting.