Posted in Philosophy

Bittersweet Dream

One still autumn night, a student woke up in tears. A teacher who found this peculiar asked the student:

“Did you dream a scary dream?”

“No sir.”

“Did you dream a sad dream?”

“No sir. I dreamed a sweet dream.”

“Then why are you crying so?”

As she wiped away her tears, the student said:

Because that dream will never come true.”

(from Bittersweet Life)

Posted in History & Literature


A professor was lecturing about communism. The students insisted that communism worked since no one would be poor and no one would be rich – a great equalizer. To show the students whether communism worked or not, the professor designed a social experiment. The professor announced to the class that all grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who had studied hard were upset while the students who had studied very little were happy.
But when the second test came, the students who had studied little studied even less and the ones who had studied hard before decided that since they could not make an A (even if they got 100%, the bottom half of the class would pull the average down), they also studied less. The second test average was a D.
No one was happy. By the third test, the class average had fallen to an F. Now no one was rich, but everyone was equally “poor”.

Communism ultimately fails because it removes one of the major driving forces of economies – incentive. Money is a key (but not the only) incentive that motivates people to work harder as they are rewarded with a better quality of life. But when private wealth is abolished and wealthy is “equally” (note that it is not “equitably”) split among the population, there is no longer motivation to try harder. Because no one wants to work for the benefit of strangers (due to psychological phenomena such as responsibility splitting and the monkeysphere), the economy does not grow and everyone becomes poor.

Communism essentially relies on the goodwill of the people while disregarding all realistic factors of economic growth. It is an extreme ideal that has failed in every instance in history. The only times communism works is in a small society setting such as a small village or tribe where there are less than 150 people (within the monkeysphere, thus people actually care about all of the others). The idea behind it is admirable – that all human beings have equal rights to a certain quality of life. However, it disregards the most important factor of economics; that resources are scarce and we cannot fulfil the infinite needs of everyone. Monetary incentives at least allow us to seek out these resources ourselves, with market economies rewarding such behaviour with money.

Thus, we should not focus on “equality”, which means that everyone should receive the “same”, but “equity”, which means that everyone should receive a “fair share” according to how much they have worked and contributed to the society.

Posted in Science & Nature


Coffee is a magical drink that can make a busy person’s morning. Coffee’s stimulant effect is due to the substance called caffeine. Caffeine can make the mind more alert and drives away sleepiness for about 3~4 hours. This is why students studying for an exam or people working late love to drink coffee.
There are many students who say they do not like coffee and drink energy drinks instead. These drinks tend to advertise that the substances guarana and taurine give energy, but an interesting fact is that guarana is just a plant where caffeine is extracted from. Taurine has many beneficial actions in the body, but has no effect as a stimulant. Therefore, an energy drink is simply made of caffeine and sugar and holds no advantage over coffee.

Although caffeine is beneficial in moderate amounts, excessive consumption leads to adverse effects. A normal adult can handle up to about 400mg of caffeine. Any more and they could suffer from anxiety, insomnia, headaches, dehydration, increased urination, fever, rising heart rate, stomach pain, nausea and many other symptoms. As everyone’s rate of caffeine metabolism is different, only they know how much caffeine they can consume. Furthermore, the more coffee or tea you drink, you build a tolerance towards caffeine and can consume much more without adverse effects.

The following is a list of the caffeine content in common drinks and foods:

  • Drip coffee(200ml): 150mg
  • Espresso(50ml): 100mg (this is because the cups are small, the concentration is about 3 times that of drip coffee)
  • Caffeine tablet: 100mg
  • Energy drink(250ml): 80mg
  • Coca-cola(600ml): 60mg
  • Chocolate(250g): 60mg
  • Black tea(170ml): 50mg
  • Green tea(170ml): 30mg
  • Decaffeinated coffee(200ml): 10mg

However, the best method to drive away sleepiness is by sleeping. If you are tired, the only way to recover is by taking a 30 minute to 2 hour nap, especially if you will be driving or have a night shift.