The bảohouse is the journal of inspiration & change engineer bảo.thiên.ngô who loves to help comm­unities move towards an equitably enjoyed multicultural society.
Jul
14th
Mon
Henrietta Lacks’ ‘Immortal’ Cells
Journalist Rebecca Skloot’s new book investigates how a poor black tobacco farmer had a groundbreaking impact on modern medicine.
She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died.
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Henrietta Lacks’ ‘Immortal’ Cells

Journalist Rebecca Skloot’s new book investigates how a poor black tobacco farmer had a groundbreaking impact on modern medicine.

She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died.

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Jul
13th
Sun
Comments 2 notes
Jul
12th
Sat

Tuổi Ngọc
Composed by Phạm Duy
Performed by Thái Hiền

Awww yeah… Viet Rock from the 1970s. I’d love to see this music video remade in two ways… the first in trying to maintain as much fidelity to the original so that you can practically play them simultaneously (the music has to be redone in that classic 1970s rock ‘n roll style, not the 1990s modern rock style).

The second way, would be an homage, but done in an acoustic indie pop music style with the youth riding on beach cruisers.

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Jul
3rd
Thu
Confucius’s family, the Kongs, have the longest recorded extant pedigree in the world today. The father-to-son family tree, now in its 83rd generation, has been recorded since the death of Confucius. According to the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee, he has 2 million known and registered descendants, and there are an estimated 3 million in all.

Conficius @ Wikipedia

Imagine having two to three million cousins.

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Jun
27th
Fri
I had a dream-thought-experiment about the decay of existing nation-state borders that became reorganized based on watersheds, whose governing bodies focused on the stewardship of the environment and all life therein.
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I had a dream-thought-experiment about the decay of existing nation-state borders that became reorganized based on watersheds, whose governing bodies focused on the stewardship of the environment and all life therein.

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Jun
6th
Fri

The Eight States of Nothing

Having done computer programming for awhile, I’ve had to deal with very subtle meanings of nothing:

  • 0 (zero) - Used when you know the quantity of something, for example, how much cash you brought to dinner when hanging out with friends.
  • yes/no or true/false - When no simply means no, and there are no gray areas, like when someone responds to your “Would you like to go out?”
  • N/A (not applicable) - When the question/query does not really make sense, like a friend who was born in international waters having to answer the question “What country were you born in?”
  • null - When a quality/property of an object is known to not have an assigned value, or is in its neutral or default state, like having blank spaces on a form.
  • unavailable - Something is preventing us from finding out the truth. Don’t confuse it for an actual value/condition, just come back later.
  • unknown - You’re aware that you don’t know something, like asking if the NSA has tapped into your email/passwords.
  • undefined - When you’ve never addressed the topic and don’t even know what condition it’s in… like being asked, “Which presidential candidate would you support in the next Icelandic elections?” (Unless you actually follow Iceland politics.)
  • unmentioned - You don’t want to change the status quo of something, so don’t talk about it. If you talk about it, people will think you have an opinion of it or stating some truth about it. Just hush, and let whatever exists out there simply be. Shhhhh!

Sometimes I feel like a nihilist.

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May
13th
Tue
What Colors Mean in Different Cultures, by David McCandless.
Kind of an old post, but I thought it pertinent that the world sees through different colors.
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What Colors Mean in Different Cultures, by David McCandless.

Kind of an old post, but I thought it pertinent that the world sees through different colors.

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May
11th
Sun

One of the reasons why science fiction is fascinating to me is how the genre evolved, really, out of philosophy to explore possibilities of the universe. Lately I’ve been thinking about brain augmentation, a topic written with great exploration in Ghost in the Shell, set in a world where technology has advanced far enough that allows for cyberbrains that can connect to various networks. It’s fascinating to me because how it explores the relationships and possibilities of intelligence, gender, and socialization in a world that is trending towards transhumanism.

I wrote a short introductory piece called BÀ NØ1 which began with the premise of an intersection of Vietnamese ancestor worship and semi-artificial intelligence. If there’s a way to record the memories of a human brain, and you had a piece of software that can make decisions based off of known data (as in the case of IBM Watson that was able to go head-to-head with human Jeopardy players), what if you really could converse with the dead, where Watson infers conversational responses based on the known memories in its database? How do you decide that who/what you’re talking to is either considered a fancy trick, or genuine memories of a relative who raised you? I think I hinted at this with a personal memoir I wrote, The Telephone Answering Machine as a Family Altar, where my mother kept a voicemail of her late husband who passed away years ago. And although it was not an interactive as it was merely a recording, it does point out the relationship we have between our spirituality and technology. I particularly was fascinated by an example of this when I visited an exhibit back in the first ZERO1 Festival in San Jose in 2006, called Mission Eternity, which led a project to create sarcophagi to house the memories of our deceased in digital form.

image

As to the point of the title, mimetics versus genetics, if genetics is the study of the copying of genes that becomes passed off to our offspring, then in a world of data, the copying of memories and passing them off to our offspring sounds like mimetics. The most familiar use of the term is the notion of an internet meme, and examples of internet memes include the Harlem shake, and Rickroll, although those are more humorous take on the idea of memes. But I think memes can also reflect a more serious and integral part of our lives. Public education, after all, is a two-decade lifestyle of knowledge acquisition through mimetics. We learn by memorizing and repeating what we learned (although that is not to say that education is only about repetition). The question about mimetics in our society has always been: What knowledge do we wish to impart to our future offspring? For while there is importance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (your so-called STEM), there also equal importance to the issues of sociability, tradition, ethics, and morality (the other STEM). To me, the idea of a family altar has been a space to converse with one’s mimetic ancestor and ask: “Am I doing the right thing?”

In a near-future digital age, the idea that one can query a database of knowledge and experience accumulated from all of your ancestors, as well as the necessary brain augmentation to record such memories, presents interesting ideas for stories.

  • Hiền lost his mother at the age of 7 due to a plane crash. It would be many years before his father remarries, but for the rest of his upbringing, Hiền is raised on an artificial personality of his mother. While he is aware of his mother’s death, his little brother, Minh, still in grade school, believes his mother is still alive.
  • An, Bình, and Chamomile are a set of identical triplets (which happens in one in a million pregnancies) who actively shares their thoughts in realtime in a local brain network. Aside from finishing each other’s sentences and awkward dating situations, one of them becomes pregnant and the trio begin to contemplate about motherhood in unison.
  • Paul wonders about the encrypted memories of his late grandfather and asks his grandfather’s digital persona to unlock it, but the A.I. refuses to do so. It is only by talking to his grandmother’s persona that Paul learned that she kept a similar secret unbeknownst to her husband: she knew of her husband’s infidelity. The A.I. grandfather repeatedly denies this and insists Paul delete the encrypted memories.
  • Lam-Anh goes over to the house of her friend, Khang, to fix the family altar. Khang feels that the digital personas of his ancestors are too saccharine (they never once argue or criticize when they speak with him). She discovers an unflushed content that was slated for removal which details of Khang’s adoption, and the fate of the real son whose identity Khang assumed.
  • When Jonathan begins to talk to his ancestors, he is suddenly told for the first time that he is the descendant of the retainer to the old Vietnamese monarchy. He is asked to meet with the royal lineage and support them before government intelligence agents eradicate all traces of their history to proactively suppress any chance of restoration of the crown.
Comments 2 notes
May
2nd
Fri

moncoeurbleedscourage:

Today is the 39th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, also known as Black April

In 2006, I wrote a spoken word poem titled, “I am not Vietnamese” 

In 2011, the poem was adapted into a short film.

In 2014, I am ready to release it and share it with the world. 

There isn’t much I could say but I know I would not be here if the war never happened. Yet, I wish the war never happened, even if it means I was never born. Though, here I am, and here is this piece and I hope you enjoy it. 

SourceComments 8 notes
Apr
10th
Thu
Haiphong 1902 - Gravure presse - Doumer au Tonkin, femmes annamites by manhhai on Flickr.
Female Annamites (French term for the Vietnamese) paving the grounds near a railway station in Haiphong in preparation for the Paul Doumer festivities (Paul Doumer was Governor-General of French Indochina from 1897 to 1902, and would later become President of France). A fascinating picture, if not harrowing.
Click to enlarge

Haiphong 1902 - Gravure presse - Doumer au Tonkin, femmes annamites by manhhai on Flickr.

Female Annamites (French term for the Vietnamese) paving the grounds near a railway station in Haiphong in preparation for the Paul Doumer festivities (Paul Doumer was Governor-General of French Indochina from 1897 to 1902, and would later become President of France).

A fascinating picture, if not harrowing.

Comments 3 notes