Thursday, January 15, 2015

Message of "End of Course" for "A Brief History of Humankind" Coursera course

To me, the purpose of studying history is purely to learn what has happened in the past, without objective such as predict future, etc. The problem of studying history for a particular purpose like predicting future can make what is learned biased.

This view of mine doesn't change. But today I read a message from the professor of the Coursera course "A Brief History of Humankind" and I liked it. So I copy it here:

 "People often ask, what is the purpose of studying history? They sometimes imagine that we study history in order to predict the future, or in order to learn from past mistakes. In my view, we should study history not in order to learn from the past, but in order to be free of it.

Each of us is born into a particular world, governed by a particular system of norms and values, and a particular economic and political order. Since we are born into it, we take the surrounding reality to be natural and inevitable, and we tend to think that the way people today live their lives is the only possible way. We seldom realize that the world we know is the accidental outcome of chance historical events, which condition not only our technology, politics and economics but even the way we think and dream. This is how the past grips us by the back of the head, and turn our eyes towards a single possible future. We have felt the grip of the past from the moment we were born, so we don’t even notice it. The study of history aims to loosen this grip, and to enable us to turn our head around more freely, to think in new ways, and to see many more possible futures.

 I hope that by introducing you to the history of humankind, this course has helped loosen the grip of the past."
(Dr. Yuval Noah Harari

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

RVM Homebrew problem on Mac OS X Yosemite

I was trying to update Ruby to 2.1.4 using RVM (Ruby Version Manager). Then I encountered an error:

/usr/local/bin/brew: /usr/local/Library/brew.rb: /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/bin/ruby: bad interpreter: No such file or directory
/usr/local/bin/brew: line 21: /usr/local/Library/brew.rb: Undefined error: 0
ERROR: '/bin' is not writable - it is required for Homebrew, try 'brew doctor' to fix it!
Requirements installation failed with status: 1.
Unable to install ruby ruby-2.1.4. Please install it manually to continue.

It was because I updated Mac OS X to Yosemite, which has default Ruby version 2.0 (/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.0).

I tried various suggested solutions. But they didn't work.

In the end, I created a symbolic link /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8 from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/Current, which is also a symbolic link from /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8.

Then updating Ruby succeeded.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mac OS X: Comment utiliser les touches pour accents français sur le clavier anglais

1. Ajouter Français.

1.1 Ouvrir "System Preferences"

1.2 Selectionner "Language & Text"

1.3 Selectionner "Input Sources" est cocher "Canadian French - CSA"

2. Selectionner le Français et ouvrir son clavier sur l'écran

2.1 Selectionner le Français

Ça montre son clavier sur l'écran

Maintenant, par exemple, appuyer le touche pour "|" sur le clavier anglais de l'ordinateur, et puis "à" est écrit.

3. Japonais

À propos, si Japonais "Hiragana" est selectionner, le clavier sur l'écran change à cellui japonais automatiquement.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two TED talks - "Wireless data from every light bulb" and "Are we ready for neo-evolution?"

It's been a while since I last used this blog.
Here are two interesting TED talks, mainly for me not to lose where they are.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cancun Climate Change Conference - a little more detail

Following up my last blog post, I just briefly write what happened because some of the news I found and read don't seem to capture it.

During the first week, at the Plenary, when issues were raised, instead of being discussed there, consultation was done outside the Plenary. At the same time, at the Plenary, most of the delegates were just making their national statements.

Then on Saturday, at an informal Prenary, a document revising what had been worked on in order to give a guidance to prepare for the draft that was to be presented to the ministers for the high level discussion starting the following Tuesday. It was for transparency.

Then the following day, the president of COP/CMP (Patricia Espinosa), announced how they moved forward from that time on. She emphasized on transparency and inclusiveness. And in order to get ministers involved in early in the negotiations, she announced that she had asked ministers to work on each subject (such as Mitigation, Adaptation, Finance, etc.) as a pair, for example, the minister from Australia (a developed country) and the minister from Bangladesh (a developing country) to work together on the issue of Finance inviting all the delegates. She announced that ministers were not allowed to do political negotiations with other ministers and that they still leave the delegates to negotiate.

During those consultations lead by a pair of ministers for each subject, at the door of each meeting, the name plates of all the countries were placed, and all the countries were invited to join the consultations. So they were not closed-door behind-the-scene negotiations.

Informal Plenaries were held time to time to report the progress.

Then Thursday night, at an Informal Plenary, the ministers for each subject reported the progress, what had been agreed and the collected options for an issue that had not reached on agreement. Again, this was for transparency. Then the president announced that she would prepare draft documents based on the works so far. And she announced that they (the Parties) work through the night to work for it. And there would be another Informal Plenary at 8:30am on Friday, which was actually postponed because of the important negotiations going on (the president reported on Friday).

So throughout the process, all the Parties were able to participate and because the ministers lead the consultations for each subject, they made progress instead of delegates just not having a choice but stating their national positions.

Big contrast to Copenhagen, where many things were decided behind the door and pushed to the official Plenary. Multilateralism lead to a good result. Compromise was the key. And transparency and inclusiveness were assured throughout the process.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cancun Climate Change Conference

It's not over yet.
But I would like to say that the president of COP16/CMP6 has done a great job. She coordinated and lead the conference toward a positive way.
At the beginning of the Informal meeting of the COP 16/CMP 6 President, resumed 2nd meeting, which is currently going on, the participants gave standing ovation to her.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Derecho de la madre tierra

I think that's what the president of Bolivia said, meaning the right of the mother earth.