Friday, September 18, 2009

Thoughts on singlehood- updated

I wrote about being single and its implications on life a little less than a year ago. I was a long time singleton, who assumed on a fundamental level that I would stay single. I am good at being single. I am well suited to having a well developed life and personhood as defined by me and me alone, but alas I find myself once again in a relationship.

So the plans would have to be altered if this were to become a permanent thing. I will have to compromise some level of autonomy in order to experience long term companionship.....and as I dip myself back into the flow of an intimate dynamic, I feel no clarity on the reference point question, middling confidence on having the capability of sustaining/creating a dynamic that mostly enriches, and real curiosity about what happens next.

Holy Crap, so cool!

Kid helps save the world!

"At that time, I didn't have a lot of knowledge about engines. I knew that there must be some problem with the engine's combustion [to have all that black smoke coming out] and I knew that an engine is about the combination of two elements: gas and air. I started looking into the gasoline side, but there had been lots of efforts to improve the gas - all sorts of additives - and none had really worked.

"So I started to think about the air side. I realized that if I wanted to change anything, I had to treat the air before it reached the combustion chamber."

From that initial brainstorm, after much trial and error, the Z5 emerged. In layman's terms, the device, built from a special alloy, improves the air flow into the engine in such a way that the combustion is much more efficient. By being more efficient, the car both uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions.

How does a teenager with a dream and lots of will power actually create a product? Trial and error, according to Badash.

"We had an old large generator in our house that used to put out lots of black smoke. I started trying to put different metals into the air filter. Then I would measure the amount of gas used and try and gauge whether less black smoke was coming out."

"It took a long time, with a lot of trial and error, until one day I realized that I was actually making a difference in the amount of smoke coming out," he recalled. "Well, I was very excited when I realized that I had discovered something which worked. It's not every day that a 16-year-old invents something.

"I went to my father and we took it to the next level. We spent two years perfecting it, finding the right metals. Now we've started to market it."

The next step for this budding inventor and entrepreneur is one familiar to most 18-year-olds here: Badash will soon be drafted into the IDF.

Asked whether he had any other ideas up his sleeve, Badash replied with a laugh, "We'll start with this right now and see where it goes."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Being Alpha

I am pretty sure that I have a naturally competitive personality. I have always wondered about the nature/nurture question as it impacts gender identity. Specifically, since there is anatomical proof of structural differences between male and female brains, what of it. Are there traits that are universally female or male?

An interesting study by Gneezy, Leonard, and List (2008) explored the role of culture in determining gender differences in competitive behaviour. They investigated two distinct societies, the Maasai tribe of Tanzania and the Khasi tribe in India. The former is patriarchal while the latter is matrilineal. In the patriarchal society, women were found to be less competitive than men, a result consistent with studies using data from Western cultures. But in the matrilineal society, women were more competitive than men. Indeed, the Khasi women were found to be as competitive as Maasai men. The authors interpret this as evidence that culture has an influence.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

After watching the healthcare speech

I needed some good news. Here is what I found.

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.