All posts in learning.

  • ‘Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive’ by Phuc Tran

    I finally watched this video that my brother sent me a while ago. And I think it was perfect timing because I just finished When Heaven and Earth Changed Places this weekend, a book about a Vietnamese refugee’s experiences during the war and coming back to Vietnam years later as an adult. (This video isn’t actually about being Vietnamese refugee, but that’s how he launches his story and it was just an interesting tie into what I was just reading).

    Tran talks about how the subjunctive (what might have been) isn’t a part of the language in Vietnamese, only the imperative is present. Since he grew up in the America, he the English language ‘allowed’ him able to dream about what could be, but that he found real value in the imperative speech of his family. Sometimes it’s better not to speculate on what could be, should be, would be in an alternative reality. It was a refreshing reminder for me, someone who constantly lives in the subjunctive.


  • What I know now // 025

  • ‘The Power of Vulnerability ‘ talk

    Last Friday, after the wake of non-stop paper editing, I took a break at went to the final presentations of a Creating in Social Complexity class being taught at CMU by two amazing people. They were thoughtful presentations on discovering, describing and dealing with the complexities of what it means to be human in a world of humans. The presentations had a lot of great material that I wanted to look up later. One of them was this great Shel Silverstein poem:

    Another was this TedTalk:


  • My membership in ‘The Cult of Work’


    This doodle I drew last year during finals week. I have always had a problem with overworking. I said one of my goals was to improve my work-life balance, but I’ve haven’t said much more because I think it sounds like a humblebrag. At CMU, the stress culture is expected and understood. Everyone doesn’t sleep and everyone will tell you about it. It’s been normalized.

    But I happened to read this great Medium article today, “The Cult of Work You Never Meant to Join” (Jason Lengstorf) about the creeping overwork culture of a lot of tech companies.

    The insidious thing about the Overkill Cult is that it masquerades as all the things we like most about ourselves: dedication, ambition, follow-through, responsibility.


    It tells us to push harder, stay later, sleep when we’re dead. It tells us we’re never going to get ahead if we don’t show up first and go home last.


    Cleverly, wickedly, the Overkill Cult persuades us to hang ourselves with our own strengths.

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  • Seeing with your tongue

    Someone submitted this to my thesis project and I just thought it was the neatest thing! Since seeing is just a sensation created by the brain, some researchers have found a way to recreate the sensation using stimulus from the tongue! Check it out!


  • What I know now // 024

  • “Chasing Ice” video


    I happened upon this video yesterday out of glacier curiosity and thought it was beautiful, but a little abstract. It’s the largest glacial calving event ever captured, but it’s a hard to really understand the scale when watching the video. But in the last part, they cut to a a presentation about it and apparently it’s the size of Manhattan!* —Just breaking off and rolling into the sea.

    You know, glaciers calving is a natural event so I was a little skeptical that this was a cause for alarm. But the presentation also explained the unprecedented rate that the ice is disappearing: it’s melted more in the last 10 years than it has in the previous 100 years!

    Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.25.49 AM

    I would love to see the complete documentary (also called ‘Chasing Ice’) as well, I’ve heard it’s very good. One of my goals is to visit Glacier National Park before it melts…


    *The size of Manhattan…but taller

  • What I know now // 023

  • Time well spent


    My stupid xfinity internet has been out all week so I didn’t get to post this on time. But I’m my grad studio now so I can post this lovely video about interaction design. I really loved the message of thinking deeply about why we’re designing and what we want to get out of it. I don’t like the idea of people always striving to do things faster and easier and that being the ultimate virtue of a product. If everything is easier or automated, what do we really want to do with our time? How is your ideal free time spent? If it’s laying around then I’m not really that impressed with the prospect. I know from winter breaks of the past that relaxing isn’t as enjoyable when you do it all day….

    Sorry that was a weird rant. My point is that I like how this is striving for a more positive future.

  • My 5 favorite talks from Interaction15

    Didn’t get to go to Interaction15?

    Wouldn’t even if you didn’t know about it because you’re not an interaction designer?

    Never fear! here are my favorite talks in a nutshell (and why). I will preface with telling you that there were usually three talks going at a time and so I certainly didn’t attended all of them, but I still really liked the ones I ended up at. They’re each about an hour long.

    Mike Monteiro: Keynote from Interaction Design Association on Vimeo.

    This is a great talk for any creative to learn how to talk about themselves and Monteiro is a super engaging lecturer. He’s talking about how important it is to be able to see your work with conviction and why you need to. Something that a lot of people working in creative industries struggle with.

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