Miscellaneous and Useless Information


My German friend Clemens said this has a ring of truth to it:

Germans value letters attached to their name more than money, love or having children with nine out of ten rating a good qualification as their most important aim in life, a survey showed Wednesday.

Germans prefer letters after name to love or money — Reuters

Since I and so many of my friends are turning 30 this year, I thought this New York Times article would be appropriate: Smiling Through the 30th, a Birthday Once Apocalyptic

Once, turning 30 was slightly irritating, an embarrassing passage, and people were in no mood to broadcast the news. This was especially true for unmarried women and for men whose careers had not yet ignited. Today, when marriage is routinely delayed past 30 and the 20’s are often an extended adolescence — a time of romantic and professional hopscotch — a 30th birthday feels to many the way 21 once did, as the gateway to the more serious adult world. It is no longer a day to count up regrets stoically, but to pop the Moët & Chandon.

So far, I can relate to this article. Until this sentence:

Increasingly, it is celebrated with all the pomp of a graduation blowout or a wedding reception, with formal invitations, speeches, rented halls or yachts, and guest lists drawn from every stage of the person’s life.

Uh, okay…

I guess I haven’t been in suburbia during Halloween for a while, because I don’t remember so many Halloween decorations on houses when I was in high school. It’s starting to rival Christmas! And then there’s one home which decided to incorporate Christmas lights into their Halloween decorations. Thinking ahead…

As the scale of the enormous disaster in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama becomes clear, two things come to my mind:

  • Despite the mandatory evacuation orders, 20% of the population stayed behind to ride out the storm. Let’s just take the New Orleans metropolitan area, which has more than 1.3 million people. That means about 260,000 people did not evacuate. If 1% of them died, that’s 2600 people. And that’s just New Orleans.
  • Do I have enough food, clothing, and supplies to last a week without any assistance from the government, after a major earthquake? Do I have enough gas to drive long distances, just in case? Right now, I don’t. (I should have bought gasoline on Sunday…) Time to get an earthquake preparedness kit.

Native Americans have been dealing with the loss of their culture through assimilation and interracial marriage for over 100 years. But those claiming to be Native American have jumped substantially in the last couple of decades, including those who don’t “look” Indian. How do Indians deal with such challenges? What does it mean to be Indian? It reminds me of another ethnic group facing similar challenges: Japanese-Americans.

The recent killing of ducks near a car wash in Campbell has spawned outrage and a reward fund of over $17,000. Now, I’ve seen enough of the security video footage to know that it was a barbaric act. But I strongly agree with those who say that people seem to care more about animals than other people. How did this end up on the front page, and not the thousands of people starving in Niger?

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