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We typically imagine a conformist to be conservative, someone who abides by the rules of the society, but in a society or community where rule-breaking is part of the norm, breaking rules would be a process of conformity. In this sense, conformity does not necessarily equal conservatism. That is, appearance is deceptive in discussing what conformity is. Read »

Living in the East Village, New York, I often come across people who have vendettas against big businesses, their most notable targets being Starbucks, K-Mart, and GAP. Many socialist types seem to be allergic to any businesses that are big. Big for them automatically means evil. They complain about big businesses wiping out small local businesses. They not only boycott big businesses, but also persuade others to do so by affixing stickers and flyers everywhere. In over 15 years of living here and listening to their arguments, none of them had any logic that convinced me the value of their arguments. Read »

Boris Kortiak writes about why he writes. He hopes to find the answer by writing. Well, it’s the same thing we do with our lives; we live to find out why we live. Read »

Expressing our emotions in our workplace is seen as unprofessional. This unspoken rule is enforced as a common sense, but has anyone ever proven that suppressing or curbing our emotions make our work environment more productive, or that expressing our emotions make it less productive? Why do we assume that it does? Read »

I love Japan. But it isn’t all about cute teacups and bamboo placemats and good manners and steaming hot baths and the perfume of incense. When people ask me what Japan was like, I have trouble framing my answer, because it is so complicated. Read »

Throughout history, even before computers came into existence, human beings have wrestled with the notion of “real”. In the 60s, it was psychedelic drugs that inspired the question, “What is reality?” Now, it is the medium of computers armed with high-performance graphics processors that inspire the same question. Los Angeles based art cooperative C-Level seems to be keen on understanding the message of this modern medium. Read »

I received an email that appears to be a SPAM, but it took me a while to be sure of it. It is annoying but at the same time is amusing. Creativity can manifest positively or negatively. I just wonder: If someone is creative enough to come up with something as elaborate as this, why couldn’t he/she apply it more positively? Imagine what he could accomplish, but alas. This is my analysis of his creativity, whoever he is. Read »

TruthLaidBear.com provides an interesting snapshot of how Internet traffic is distributed among Weblogs. Website traffic is a closely guarded secret for most businesses, and no one has an accurate picture of how Internet traffic is distributed. Only the site owners with access to the Web server logs have the truth of the traffic they receive, but since they do not have access to the logs of their competitors, they do not know how their numbers stack up against others. The number alone with nothing to compare against is just an arbitrary number, and means very little. What you want to know is where you are in the spectrum of popularity. Are you a nobody, an average Joe, or a superstar? Read »

Sofia Coppola’s latest film “Lost in Translation” seems to be a national hit. The vast majority of critics are giving thumbs up, but there are a few critics voicing interesting opinions to the contrary. For National Post (Canadian), Robert Fulford writes a compelling criticism called “The joke’s on them - Why can’t the protagonists of Lost in Translation see what’s around them?”. This paper is written in response to his views. Read »

There is a controversy developing at Freedom High School in Oakley, California where a 15-year-old student Lisa McClelland wants to start a Caucasian club. Her rationale is: Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have clubs, why couldn’t white people have one? I have to agree with her. I find any type of organization based on race to be racist. Telling her that she could not have something that people of other races could, is even more racist. The reason why a white girl is not allowed to form a white club is because white race is perceived to be superior in our culture. By disallowing her to form a Caucasian club, we would inadvertently be reinforcing this perception. Read »

There has been a trend in New York for Chinese and Korean restaurateurs to open Japanese restaurants without knowing anything about Japanese cuisine. Here are some tips on how to distinguish the real ones from the fake posers. The paper also explores what it means to exploit a culture. Read »

Developing children into sexually healthy adults should be a natural progression, yet I find the path is rife with difficulty for both parent and child. Because the subject is so utterly personal, the first hurdle is getting past any inhibitions to discuss it. If we manage to get that far, then we must brace ourselves for the new adult image our children will reveal of themselves. Read »

Standing on Sheridan Square I watched the World Trade Center on fire. Powerful symbols of global economic domination burning right in front of me. Should I be excited? Was I excited? Thousands of people working in those buildings. Was I horrified? I should be horrified. I was watching and not knowing what I was feeling. My emotions buried deep beneath my face, as my mind ran on a thousand tracks. Read »

Some recent discussion with some immigrant friends prompted an analysis of what a friend is. We all agreed that clichés like the giving up the shirt on his/her back for you was pretty much common, but we had great divergence when it came to the issue of criminal activities. Read »

Sometimes some restaurants go out of business completely unexpectedly. One day, it’s bustling, people waiting in line to get in. Next day, it’s gone, like Enron. Leshko’s at the corner of Avenue A and 7th Street had every sign of a happening place. Read »

The current market share of Jazz in America is mere 3 percent. That includes all the great ones like John Coltrane and the terrible ones like Kenny G (OK, this is just my own opinion). There are many organizations and individuals like Wynton Marsalis who are tirelessly trying to revive the genre, but it does not seem to be working. Why is this? Is there some sort of bad chemistry between the American culture and Jazz? As ironic as it may be, I happen to believe so. Read »

Google’s PageRank is now the de facto standard by which all websites are measured. This has certain political and philosophical implications. Could or should a private institution be trusted to govern the power structure of the Internet? If they do in fact control the power structure of the Internet, does that mean we should direct our criticisms and concerns towards them? Doesn’t that make them even more powerful? This article explores an alternative to picking a fight with Google. Read »

Jonah Brucker-Cohen is a new breed of artist working outside the box of established institutions of art. Rather than making gimmicks out of technology, as some digital artists do, he merely uses it as a vehicle for his artistic expression. This review of his work is based on his presentation at Upgrade!, a monthly meeting of digital artists at EyeBeam in New York City. Read »

There is now much talk about how “real” reality TV programs are. Sometimes we become hung up on word usage, which in turn make us blind to seeing something for what it is. This paper argues that expectation of “real” as something absolute is the source of this trouble. It uses as an example NBC’s reality TV series “The Restaurant”. Read »

The blackout of 2003 was unexpected in more ways than one. In our post-9/11 era, I found myself second-guessing the information I heard on the radio. It’s difficult to take anything at its surface value. However, despite the possibilities of terrorism, I was surprised by how relaxed everyone was. This is my account of how my blackout of 2003 was. Read »

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