August 08, 2005

Everything could be gone in a flash

08/06/1945 Just another day in Japan for most. Children were at school. Mothers were on their way to the parachute/textile factories. Men were outside working on the roads. However, in one moment (8:15AM) in a brilliant flash of yellow and blue, hundreds of thousands of lives were changed forever.

You can read survivor's accounts of that day. They all basically retell similar stories of hell on earth.

I hope that there will never be another Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Not on friends nor foes. I don't wish that upon anyone. It was one of the biggest crimes in all of human history.

Posted by peter at 01:26 AM

August 06, 2005

There are no excuses, only results

These past few days have been surreal. After a couple years of working hard in a life of fantasy, I was beginning to see real returns. I, along with several other key members, built up an organization of 45-50 people with high goals. We wanted to be the best. We were a family, no selfishness and greed were tolerated. We laughed together, diligently worked together, and died together. I was respected, and people always came to me with questions and ideas. And we were only at the beginning of what was going to be a great rise to the top. I was at the center of attention, just how a Leo likes to be.

Meanwhile in reality, I forget to eat, and when I do, its whatever that can be cooked and cleaned within five minutes. I slept little, dreamt less. At work I put in just enough effort to get by, but not more. My grades were blunted, though sufficient. Even my desire to learn Chinese dwindled. And I spent less time talking with family and friends. I stopped listening to new music, or enjoying arts. Although I was disappointed with my performance and the way things were going, it was supplanted with a real satisfaction from being the best, being recognized for my achievements, and being relied on as a leader (although in a fantasy world).

I am an ambitious person. I want to be the best in whatever I do. Although I may get the satisfaction of being the best in an MMORPG, no one will ever see that potential. To me its real, but to everyone else its transparent. In what I consider to be the culmination of this situation, my advisor sent me a note:

"I thought that I should let you know that you could do a lot better for yourself by setting a higher standard for your performance. I think you are very capable, but do not reach the level of excellence we look for in a leading engineer/student.

Your first presentation at PICMET could have been a lot better if you really prepared for it.

We are in a serious endeavor, which really requires constant thinking and dedication."

To all those people that have been telling me, yes I know. I knew it all along. For my professor to tell me this was one the most shameful and humiliating experiences in my entire life.

The reason he told me was because I ended up in a poor position in our current project of developing the landing system for NASA's crew exploration vehicle (CEV). We began with a model of the spacecraft dynamics, leg model and a surface model. I personally was very interested in the surfaces of the moon and mars and felt that the uncertainty in the surface would drive the design, so I pursued studying it, while the other two were preparing models of the spacecraft and legs. It turned out that the portion of what they were concentrating on was key to the entire project, and that the surface slowly faded and became less important. I scrambled to try and pull odds and ends together, but never summed to anything impressive. I had fallen into a support role for the other two graduate students. And, to worsen the situation, I had already planned a vacation several months prior that lasted 6 days, and then another 4 days to attend a conference in Portland on Management of Technology and Innovation. I believed I worked hard in this project, but got dealt a lower hand and did nothing about it because I spent 40-50 hours a week playing a game.

When I received that letter, I knew exactly what to do. I immediately went home, signed in and fulfilled my last bit of responsibilities and said my goodbyes. It hurts to leave an organization of people who depend on you. I feel like I am letting them down. But, too, I am letting myself down by spending anymore time there. I will be in occasionally, but for all intensive purposes, I have quit until I can set things straight.

With this additional time, I will be able to:
5-10 hours to take care of my health (swimming, eating right, calling friends, etc.)
30 hours of additional research

Whatever you do in this life, you should strive to be the best. In order to be the best you have to sacrifice everything. People will not remember you for being a balanced person. They will remember you for your accomplishments, what they could not achieve themselves. To be an MIT student is to live a life of constant loss, accompanied with achievement and recognition.

Posted by peter at 09:17 PM