October 15, 2014

1.  Wine, beer and cheese contain amine rich molecules that can act as indirect sympathomimetics (agonize/activate the sympathetic nervous system) which means people that are on MAOis (MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitors such as Phenelzine (antidepressant)) should not consume wine, beer, cheese, chocolate or other amine rich foods because normal degradation of monoamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine will be inhibited, resulting in an exaggerated sympathetic response.  HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSIVE)

Selegiline is often used for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

2.  Amphetamine blocks NET (norepinephrine transporter, a reuptake transport protein in presynaptic post-ganglionic neuron terminals) and VMAT (Vesicular Monoamine Transporter) which prevents normal norepinephrine uptake into the presynaptic terminal as well as into the secretory vesicles leading to reverse transport and release of NE into the synapse.  Methylphenidate is a drug used for the treatment of ADHD that has a similar mechanism of action as amphetamine.

3.  Psuedoephedrine and Phenylpropanolamine are also catecholamine transport modulators (cause NE release) that are indirect sympathomimetics.  Very few side effects of psuedoephedrine.  

August 28, 2012

as i have neglected to keep up with this blog for the past two years…

updates from me… can be seen at http://kenliu.tumblr.com or http://www.youtube.com/kenliu

see you guys on the other side.

May 12, 2011
What Happens to All the Asian-American Overachievers When the Test-Taking Ends? -- New York Magazine

(Source: twnty7)

May 5, 2011


I started out clicking strategically… and by the end was just wildly clicking and dancing in my chair.





this is amazing fun.

(Source: mandaflewaway, via cinders-and-snow)

November 2, 2010
NPR: Profile Of The Republican Voter


90% white (10% nonwhite)
60% are age 50 and older
67% conservative (30% moderate)
57% attend church weekly

89% disapprove of Obama, 71% strongly
90% disapprove of Congress
82% want government to do less

67% are Tea Party supporters
40% say their vote was to send a message in favor of…

(Source: NPR)

October 20, 2010
October 20th, 2010

Why hello there 7 things blog.  Oh, how I have neglected thee.  Life has been busy busy… but the learning does not stop.

1.  Praxis is a word meaning the process by which new theories and ideas are implemented/actualized.  What kind of application could this word possibly have in your life?  Well, let’s say you are one that is into reading self-motivation/self-help books and you understand all that is being said, and what you read inspires you to want to get better at what you want to improve… The praxis is the gradual assimilation of that new behavior or attitude into your everyday personality.

2.  Inchoate is a fancy word for not fully developed.  People that develop inchoate arguments never fully explore the ramifications of their ideas, and oftentimes others have difficulty understa-.

3.  Type I errors (in medical statistics) are false positives.  A test with high specificity (which is true negatives/(true negatives + false positives)) has a low type I error rate (which means the percentage of people without a disease that are correctly identified as not having the disease… people that are falsely positive do NOT have the disease, but the assay identifies them as having it).  Type II errors are false negatives.  A test with high sensitivity (which is true positives/(true positives + false negatives)) has a lower chance of having false negatives (which means it will correctly identify someone that has the disease).

4.  People’s first impressions are really important.  In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, he talk about thin slicing, which is how people make snap judgments about other people.  There was a study where people were given short clips (2-15 seconds) of a professor giving a lecture, and were asked to give their opinion on whether or not they thought the professor was a good teacher.  They compared these results with people that had taken a full semester’s worth of classes from that same professor.  The results were pretty similar, so a small amount of time with someone will make a deep impression on people.  Make good first impressions.

5.  I want a MacBook Air/Pro. ITS SO COOL.

6.  I love traveling.

7.  This is really time consuming. Going to sleep… will try again soon. Maybe tomorrow.

September 23, 2010
found this somewhere.

Twelve principles of political moderation

1. People of good will can eventually resolve their differences without rancor or recrimination.

2. Sincere, well-intentioned people can disagree. They can look at the same information and arrive at different conclusions.

3. Someone who disagrees with me is an opponent, not an enemy. Those who disagree with me or my party are almost certainly not evil, dishonest or unpatriotic.

4. People who disagree on some things rarely disagree on everything. Today’s opponent is often tomorrow’s ally.

5. Opponents are to be defeated on the specific issue in question, not obliterated, extirpated, crushed or ruined.

6. Half a loaf is better than none. Compromise is an essential element of the political process.

7. Everyone opposes crime and favors education. Nearly all political disagreements are about methods, not goals.

8. Sometimes, there is more than one acceptable solution to a problem. It is often better to implement any among them promptly than to argue interminably about which is the very best.

9. As the end doesn’t justify the means, so the means don’t justify the end. If the best information and intentions have resulted in an unworkable or unjust solution, it’s time to try something else.

10. Sometimes, one’s best efforts on behalf of a cause or position are unsuccessful. When that happens, it’s time to proceed to the next issue without lingering ill will. Civility in dissent is essential.

11. An opponent’s personal life is none of my business. An opponent’s family is entitled to privacy and respect.

12. No political party, philosophy or cause has exclusive rights to the Diety.  No political party, philosophy or cause has exclusive rights to the nation’s flag.

July 16, 2010
zen or then

this is a passage written by kai krause in the book what we believe but cannot prove…

i have always felt, but cannot prove, that Zen is wrong. Then is right. everything is not about the NOW, as in “the here and now,” living for the moment,” and so on. on the contrary: i believe that everything is about the BEFORE THEN and the BACK THEN. it is about the anticipation of the moment and the memory of the moment, but not the moment.

in german, there is a beautiful little word for it: Vorfreude, which is a shade different from “delight” or “pleasure” or even “anticipation.” it is the “pre-delight,” the “before joy,” or, as a little linguistic concoction, the “fore-fun.” a single word captures the relationship of time, the pleasure of waiting for the moment to arrive, the can’t wait moments of elation, of hoping for something, someone, some event to happen - whether it’s on a small scale (like anticipating the arrival of a loved one or that moment in a piece of music or that sequence in a movie) or the larger versions (the expectation of a beautiful vacation, of the birth of a baby, of your acceptance of an Oscar).

We have been told by wise men, lamas, and maharishis that it is supposedly all about moments - to cherish the moment and never mind the continuance of time. but ever since childhood I have realized somehow that the beauty lies in the time before, the hope for, the waiting for, the imaginary picture painted in perfection of that instant in time. and then once it passes, in the blink of an eye, it will be the memory that stays with you, the reflection, the remembrance of that time.

Nothing ever is as beautiful as its abstraction seen thru the rose-colored glasses of anticipation. the toddler’s hoped-for santa claus on christmas eve turns out to be a fat guy with a fashion issue. waiting for the first kiss can give you waves of emotional shivers up your spine, but when it actually happens it’s a bunch of molecules colliding-a bit of a mess, really. in anticipation, the moment will be glorified by innocence, not knowing yet. in remembrance, the moment will be sanctified by memory filters, not knowing any more.

In the Zen version, trying to uphold the beauty of the moment in that moment is, in my eyes, a sad undertaking. not so much because it can’t be done: all manner of techniques have taught us how to be a happy human by mastering the art of it. but it implies, by definition, that all those other moments live just as much under the spotlight: the mundane, the lame, the gross, the everyday routines of dealing with life’s mere mechanics.

in the Then version, it is quite the opposite: the long phases before and after last hundred or thousands of times longer than the moment and drown out the everyday humdrum entirely. bluntly put: spend your life in the eternal bliss of always having something to hope for, something to wait for, plans not realized, dreams not yet come true. make sure you have new points on the horizon, that you deliberately create. and at the same time relive your memories, uphold and cherish them, keep them alive and share them, talk about them.

make plans and take pictures.

i have no way of proving the rightness of such a lofty philosophical theory, but i greatly anticipate the moment that i might, and once i have done it i will most certainly never forget it.

June 7, 2010
things i’ve learned at work.

“…a professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.”

– Alistair Cooke (1945- ), British-born American journalist, broadcaster. Six Men, 1995, p. 136.

I think today at work I had a realization of sorts.  I’ve always been kind of shy to back away from conflicts at work in the hopes that people should always be able to get along.  I’ve always thought that by communicating better that people would be able to understand one another and that as a result, there would be less tension, conflict, and peace, which ultimately would make everyone happier.  But today, I have come to accept that that tension and conflict is a part of not only work, but also life.  

There are always those people that make you feel uneasy just by their presence.  Whether it is past experience with them, or some recent occurence, sometimes it it is hard to feel completely comfortable being around them.  We can try to avoid them as much as possible, or even treat them coldly when forced to deal with them.  However, dealing with people at work means we need to keep an even keel and try to be as professional as possible.  And if we can’t deal with certain people at a given point in time, it is best to ignore them as best as possible while staying focused on the work at hand.  Eventually things will blow over…

Sometimes people just can’t get along.  Whether it be someone that doesn’t listen, someone that thinks they are always right… there are always going to be conflicts between people in the group based on their beliefs of what is right and best.  It is very difficult to manage and balance various personalities within the group to maintain optimal work efficiency.  But again, I feel that strong communication between parties and action on the communication is what builds a strong team.  People need to feel like they are heard when they have issues, and that they are being dealt with.  When their complaints go unnoticed and seemingly ignored or unappreciated, it makes for low worker morale.

Dealing with your peers is one part of work.  Establishing a strong working relationship with your immediate supervisor and even his/her higher ups is even more important.  This kind of relationship I’ve had bad experiences with, and good experiences with.  I think when I was younger, I had a harder time trying to understand how to develop a professional relationship with my supervisor.  I was inattentive, uncommunicative, and arrogant.  I was gone after two months at that job.  I was too prideful and too confident that things would just work out because I was young, felt entitled, thought I was going to conquer the world, and brash.  After some time off, I matured a little and realized I needed to be more proactive in establishing a strong relationship with my supervisor.  Every worker-boss relationship has a different dynamic, and maybe I just wasn’t in the right situation before, or I wasn’t matured… but I feel like what I’ve learned at my current job I will be able to carry over into whatever future career plans I have.

Other things I’ve learned are how to multitask and solve problems.  I remember going into an interview awhile back and they asked these questions to me and I did not have a cogent answer.  Today if asked how I would juggle many things at once… I would reply by saying…

Every situation that calls for multitasking requires a more in depth analysis of what needs to be done and how to go about completing it.  Depending on what the company needs, I would adapt or juggle my priorities to fit in line with what the company needs.  Also, sometimes it is possible to perform many tasks in parallel if we schedule, plan, and organize our day in a way that makes it possible to be that efficient.  Or, it is possible that multitasking could be facilitated by better teamwork between people in the group.  There are many ways to finish more than you thought possible, and I have experience being flexible in how I go about handling various tasks at the same time.

One example is at work when I have to take on other people’s responsibilities when they are out on vacation.  I would get a head start on the next days work by staying late to prepare a little bit to save myself some time the next day.  I would also communicate with the other members of my group and see if they would be able to help.  In addition to handling the other person’s work, I was able to still finish my work in a timely manner because of teamwork and organization.

Another thing I want to say about teamwork is… there are certain workplaces that encourage creativity and foster team building.  I feel like if less people are given more work than they individually cannot accomplish, they are more likely to work together and find ways to have synergy.  If there is too little work divided amongst people in a group, people will end up competing and bickering and sitting around wondering what else to do.  People for the most part want to be busy at work.  It keeps their mind off how annoying their coworkers can be at times.  If people have enough work to do… there will be less time to make drama.

Now, I want to talk about solving problems at work.  Solving problems is about patience and understanding the issues and then developing a quick plan of attack to get things running back on schedule as soon as possible.  Most of the time, solving problems that arise requires quick thinking and improvisational candor.  Make it work however necessary.  Sometimes, with experience, spotting problems and developing solutions comes more easily.  We develop mental heuristics for each of these familiar situations and program our response to problems from those experiences.  Other times, when faced with a completely new problem and situation that everyone is inexperienced in, it requires a different kind of problem solving acumen.  

Issues are complex and can arise from many small problems along the workflow.  When you don’t know exactly what is wrong with something, see what changed between the time something was working, and now when the problem appeared.  By tracing back your work step by step, we are able to identify places that problems could have occurred.  Diagnosing problems is an improvisational art.  Fixing things requires creative mental acuity that I find fun.  Obviously, it is frustrating when things don’t work like they should… and no matter how what we try, things just don’t seem to work out….. but I think I’ve come to be okay with that too.

The things that are too big for me to fix or solve, someone else can take on.  I do what I can… to the best of my ability.  And anytime, I make mistakes or come across new problems, it is an opportunity to learn something and to improve myself.  And hey… there are just going to be some lingering unresolved issues sometimes at work and in life… and we have to be okay with that too.

Lastly, I feel that the biggest thing I have learned at work is to be confident in  yourself and to try to maintain a positive attitude.  It is so easy to get down and negative sometimes, and no one wants to be around you.  No one ever got anywhere in life by going it alone.

March 29, 2010
March 29th, 2010

1.  More on sleep.  In his book, Chasing Life, Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes that a lot of chronic health problems can be associated with a lack of sleep.  He cites a study that correlates lack of sleep with higher BMI (body mass index) in a group of 1000 adults between the ages of 45 and 75.  The findings of this study suggest that the less one sleeps, the more our body adapts our metabolism to conserve energy and fat.  As a result, sleep deprivation leads to fat being hard to burn off which then translates to heart disease.  Other studies have shown that people that are sleep deprived also have higher levels of the hormone ghrelin (an appetite stimulator) and lower levels of leptin (appetite suppresant).

2.  An earthquake occurs every 11 seconds.

3.  The Japanese word Kaizen, is a term used to an attitude or philosophy that believes in continuous improvement in business practices including manufacturing, engineering, management, and other aspects of professional culture.  The most recent This American Life episode featured a joint venture between Toyota and GM called NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.) that sought to implement Toyota’s Japanese production efficiency to a problem GM plant in Fremont, California in the 1980s.  The inefficient GM plant workers were sent to Japan for training where they learned that the Japanese stressed teamwork and Kaizen.  People were willing to help one another and often brought up suggestions to management that were heard and responded to frequently.  With the new attitude of Kaizen in their minds, the GM workers returned to their factory in California and began to implement some of the practices they learned in Japan.  The factory became more efficient for awhile, but many problems prevented GM from implementing Kaizen practices at other production locations.  Anyways… we should practice the Japanese art of Kaizen in all areas of our lives.

4.  Another This American Life episode details the Garbage industry.  Towards the beginning of the episode, Ira Glass says that on average, every American produces 4.8 pounds of trash a day.

5.  We have all taken pictures where sometimes people appear to have red eyes.  This effect is caused by the bright flash of a camera that causes light to be reflected from the blood vessels of the retina (inside the eyeball).  When the flash is needed, our pupils are often dilated because of lower light levels.  As a result, it is more likely that a bright flash will end up reflecting the red color of the retina back to the camera.  The smaller our pupils are, the less likely it is for that light to travel to our retinas and bounce back producing the red eye effect.  Oftentimes, cameras are equipped with a red-eye reduction feature that flashes twice (the first to reduce the pupil size) to acclimate the eye to the bright flash, and the second time for the actual picture. 

6.  Esperanto is a language created in the hopes of becoming the universal international Earthen language.

7.  A lucid dream is a dream where you realize you are dreaming.  Upon this realization, you may or may not gain control of your actions during this dream.  Native Americans believed that during a lucid dream, if you look down at your hands, that you would be able to take control of your dreams.  Many scientists have been interested in lucid dreaming, and some monks even have a type of meditation that aims to reach a lucid dream state.  People have dreams about all different kinds of things… so… if you want to take control of your dream, maybe you should try looking at your hands in your dream and then the dream world will become your playground!  That is only if it is a good dream though… if it is a bad dream… then by all means… wake up.