Nanowri-uh-o ~ Day #2

Short update today since I’ve had a long school day today and am going to be helping out with HKU’s info day tomorrow.

Today I’ve been catching up on the student blogging challenge commenting, since I am a bit behind on them. So cool to see all these different bloggers from around the world being creative with the blogging medium! (They are also much more consistant with posting than I have lol)

I’ve got quite a bit to do over the weekend, as I need to catch up on some of my homework and upcoming projects. In particular, there are a couple of field courses coming up that I need to read about as well as a debate for a history class I have on Drugs and Alcohol in Colonial Asia from 1750-2000.

Only need to type about 500 words today since my commentating is about 1000 words more or less (I tend to leave pretty long comments).

Still will be a bit short though as I need to prep for other things.

It will be my first time helping out with info day with the Faculty of Science, as I’m helped out before as a Student Ambassador with the Equal Opportunity Unit (handing out fliers and attracting people to our booth for hot chocolate & souvineers). It was quite a bit of fun last year, so we will see what this year brings!

I’m stationed at P4 for one of the talks tomorrow. Not quite sure where that is (since I missed the briefing due to a lab) so I’ll probably get there a bit early so I can catch up on stuff.

Literally as I typed this sentence out, I noticed there is a little word counter on the bottom right had side of the text box area… why have I not noticed this sooner? Since I’ve been copying and pasting my stuff over to an external word counter to verify how many words have been typed…

I seriously need like a tutorial for wordpress since I keep missing little things like this until I do Nanowrimo or Daily Post challenges. I think the last time I did something similar, I learned about tagging my posts so that people can actually find them in the first place.

So according to the counter, I’m at about 380 words (assuming it is accurate). I’m probably going to type up to 420 words at most, then end this post off.

Why?

  1. Because my favorite number is 42 (Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy anyone?)
  2. As previously mentioned, I can’t spend that long typing today
  3. Like my cold turkey post from yesterday has shown, when I start making lists with no substance, I’m already scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes for things to write about

So I’m just going to quit this post now while I’m still ahead. Until tomorrow!

-Rebecca

P.s. Oh shoot, I need a title for this thing… Quick! Think of an awful Nanowrimo pun that sums up how I feel about the challenge so far!

 

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I’m Late. Here’s why. (Spoilers: it’s not very interesting…)

I’ve been meaning to post more frequently, but instead over 2 weeks have gone by and… nothing.

Like actually – capital N – Nothing.

Sorry about that, I’ve been using my reading week (so the week before midterm exams at HKU), to catch up with some academic stuff. And also de-stress by procrastinating on other things.

Yup, I’m in my 3rd year and still can’t get it in my head that a bit of work now means less panic-filled, sleepless, deadline-fighting nights later…

Great job at setting a example, Rebecca.

Also I’ve been dealing with some technical troubles (mainly that I accidently dropped my new phone in a puddle and have been freaking out trying to get my photos off of it when it keeps glitching on me)

Pro tip for future me: MAKE BACKUPS OF STUFF! (like for EVERYTHING)

So what else have I been up to recently?

  • Insect collecting around Hong Kong (for my insect ecology class)
  • Volunteering as a commentator with the Student Blog Challenge
Student Blogging Challenge Commenter
You should see a badge here. If not, I’ve messed up somehow….
  • Chatting with some of my secondary school friends
  • Reading books – atm I’m rereading The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum
  • Catching back up with diary writing
    • and now having to make-up a few blog posts due to the afformentioned lack of posts without a good reason
  • Revising for classes
  • Watching German movies (more about that later…)

So yeah, I should post more so that these weekly posts don’t just become ever growing bullet point lists of “random-things-I-would-write-more-about-but-can’t-because-of-how-much-stuff-there-is-to-say”.

I’ll try to get a few of those on the list but again, dealing with cellphone death at the moment so a bit preoccupied.

Until next time,

-Rebecca

p.s. Also, the big one which I somehow left off, EXCHANGE PLANNING. Holy F- I am less than 3 months away from that trip, yikes!

Typhoon Mangkhut & Hurricane Florence – My problem with hanging “leopard signs”

Currently stuck indoors due to typhoon Mangkhut (also known as Ompong in the Philippines since they go by different names).

It’s a BIG one, Catagory 5 on the Saffir–Simpson scale (the highest the scale currently goes to) and a T10 warning has been called for the Super Typhoon in Hong Kong. Luckily, it won’t pass directly over us (it will come about 100km away from HK island) but it certainly feels like it lives up to the monicker of Worst Typhoon in Living Memory.

Lights were flickering earlier today but things seem to have settled down momentarily, so we should be good (we are also prepped just in case things get worse! ). The main road in and out of where I live in Hong Kong has been blocked off by a downed tree, and the tv/social media/online news keeps talking about skyscrapers with smashed windows or flooding, but overall HK is as ready as it will ever be for it.

Tree
From the community FB page

Anyways, since I’m stuck indoors all day today, why not write a blog post?!

I need to talk about the reporting of the typhoon by certain news organizations, in particular, Fox News.

Now… (this is your cue to leave if you don’t want to listen to me talk about media bias in USA news)

I’m not the biggest fan of Fox, but it popped up in my news feed and I’d thought I should read through it before making a snap judgment, as so often happens these days on the internet…

And it may be because I’m a double-majoring Ecology & History university student, thus I care deeply about climate change while spending a good chunk of my time possibly over analyzing the underlying reason/meaning behind the use of certain words.

But this article annoys the heck out of me.

It is titled “2 storms, Florence and Mangkhut, different as water and wind” 

(Linked using donotlink.it so you won’t boost the site’s search engine standings, nor will it the website be able to track where you are coming from) – Check it out if you want to, and keep me accountable!

The general gist of the article is the two tropical storms occurring at the moment – Hurricane Florence in the USA Carolinas area & Typhoon Mangkhut/Omopong in South East Asia (mainly the Philippines, HK, Macao & China – although my relatives in Taiwan also felt some of the storm’s effects) are extremely different – like “wind and water”.

(By the way, meteorologically speaking Typhoons and Hurricanes are the same thing – tropical cyclones – they just refer to which side of the International Date Line the cyclone happens)

Specifically, it points out how:

  • Mangkhut has been a Cat. 5 storm while Florence was lowered to a Cat. 1 before making landfall
  • Mangkhut is “faster-moving” while Florence has been moving “at a pace slower than a normal person walks”
  • Mangkhut will likely be deadlier as it hit “disaster-prone” areas, while Florence’s “insured loses” will be higher
  • There are generally more cyclones in the Pacific than there are in Atlantic (23 vs 10 this year)
  • M was formed “further south and stayed south”, while F was out of the tropics by the time it made landfall
  • M grew in warmer waters, while F was “weakened by the dry air and upper-level winds”
  • M is much larger than F (325 miles/523km vs 195 miles/314km)

Harmless little article containing facts about two tropical cyclones….

Right?

Except as I’m reading it, the alarm bells in my head get louder and louder.

Because all I’m thinking is “Huh… so these cyclones are completely unrelated and it is just an odd, natural coincidence that they are happening at the same time”

And if that is from someone who has decided to make a career out of understanding the anthropogenic (=human-caused) effects on our natural world.

Imagine what the average, layman is thinking after reading this article.

Imagine the fuel this gives human-caused climate change skeptics (who dismiss our impact and insist that the soley change is due to natural fluxuations).

Imagine the ammunition it gives to ACTUAL climate change DENIERS (which is for some reason still a thing).

Since while the facts are mostly sound, they are organized to presents a specific, disingenuous narrative.

The article, by spending paragraph after paragraph pointing out the superficial differences between the two storms, fails to highlight the underlying point.

In the future, we will see wetter, windier and more intense storms like Mangkhut and Florence due to anthropogenic climate change.

Sure, the article does address the problem…

in an off-handed, cursory way…

using an indirect statement instead of a quote…

after 95% of the article…

which was spent pointing out every conceivable way the cyclones differ…

as well as how natural the large typhoons, especially in tropical Asia…

…and only mentions burning fossil fuels as a factor causing warming seas (a point so easily brushed aside by deniers that it might as well not be put in there).

It reminds me of the following exchange between Mr. Prosser & Arthur Dent in The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams:

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

2267252_1
Image Source: Teepublic’s design by metacortexpod4 

Let me emphasize this again.

Typhoons & Hurricanes like Mangkhut and Florence will not be the last of such intense storms to affect us.

This will slowly become our new normal.

We aren’t at the point where we can consider reversing climate change or even stopping in its tracks.

We are still trying to convince people that maybe  just maybe – it might be a good idea to ease the pressure we have on the gas pedal as we dive headfirst toward the Cliff of Runaway Global Warming.

Change needs to happen:

  • Not a couple of decades…
  • Or a few years…

It needs to happen now!

Stop hanging leopard signs over the issues.

Don’t put in a throw-away line about global warming at the end of your article and pretend like it was the focus of your piece when you have spent the preceding paragraphs undermining the issue.

Just as democracy is only as good as the information people get, information can only be as good as people’s ability to access it. I’m worried that this is the road media will continue to take in the future, not as a means of conveying impartial information, but as a mechanism to propagate a certain ideological stance.

True, it has been happening for a while now, but it scares me how subtle it has gotten.

I genuinely hope this was just a case of Halon’s razor:

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity/ingorance”

But honestly, I’ve been burned too many times before.

This post has honestly gone on for a while, so even though I have much more to say, I am going to give it a rest for now.

If you like these long-form posts, let me know! I’ll be trying out a couple of new things on this site and seeing what sticks.

Stay safe HKers – hopefully, there won’t be work/school tomorrow!

-Rebecca


Update 17 Sept: So even though the T10 weather warning was taken down before today, there is no school/work due to clean up. Which just goes to show how crazy intense the typhoon was this time around, since usually the moment the warning goes down, it is back to business as usual.

Also while editing this post, I noticed that Fox changed the name of the article to:

US hurricane, Asian typhoon: 1 brings water, the other, wind

Like it is word-for-word the same article, by the same person, just the name has been changed and it has been given a new link so this version is the only one you see on the front page.

Not exactly sure why, but the new title is less infuriating than the old one, so I guess it’s slightly better?

Still doesn’t address the underlying point I made – in fact it might make it stronger since it shows that they are trying to highlight the superficial differences between the tropical cyclones to undermind how connected they are to climate change…

Or maybe they just thought the new title sounded better, who knows. Going to Halon’s Razor this one since I’ve got bigger issues to deal with right now…

So I finally received more info about my exchange trip…

You know, in that email I waited all summer for since I presumed that it would include things I couldn’t get otherwise, or talk about a special process I need to apply though.

Yeah about that.

It literally just consists of a single link… to the exact same public application page I found by myself during the summer…

Except now, instead of having several free summer months to fill it out, I have until the end of October…. when all my midterms are…. Great, just great.

So advice to future HKU students going on exchange:

When they say just wait until you get the email, what you should actually do is go to the uni application page and try to get as much done as possible WITHOUT sending it off

By the way, there might be less content than I expected in the next academic year given that I’ll be commuting (one and a half hours… each way…) to university due to a tragic incident at my hall (Wei Lun) involving the warden (it’s a long story but you can find it online). I’m not gonna post much about it since this isn’t that sort of blog, but just wanted to put that update out there in case people were wondering about why some of my future posts will be very short (and why I’ll be complaining about lack of sleep more often).

Also I’m trying to get into the habit of scheduling posts during my “hei” weeks (canto slang post coming soon!).

Cus it just occurred to me that I can do that, instead of writing all these posts on the actual day…

No learn -> study -> explain post for last week since it was syllabus week (I’ll combine any of last week’s stuff with this weekends post)

-Rebecca

 

An Update – What I’ve been up to…

Hi Readers,

I’ve been taking some time off to rest and relax, since… welll…

I crashed and burned last semester trying to take 6 courses, many of which also had full lab components with weekly expermiments + lab reports etc.

So I was sorta ignoring this blog for a while to just get away from writing stuff that had to do with academics and school. I hope you all understand, I might go into more depth about it but that is for a future post.

But I’m back now!

With more posts on the horizon so that I can get back into a productive mindset for the new sememster coming up. Fresh new start and all that!

In other exciting news, I’m going on exchange to the University of Leeds during my spring semester! (yes during Brexit)

So if you want to know more about that, I have a new blog “Away in Leeds” that basically talks about me preparing for that trip. It will also have a bunch of stuff related to HKU university life, in case people are thinking about going on exchange TO my university.

Link to that blog is HERE! (there are only half a dozen posts there at the moment, but with much more to come – especially in 2019)

So what will happen to this blog?

This one will be more academic related and goal oriented, while the other will talk more about hku culture and exchange planning.

I’ll test this two blog format out and see if it works, but I wanted to have a separate blog for exchange stuff, so that people could just look at the stuff they are interested in, rather than everything to do with my university life.

Lastly, there will be a new post coming out tomorrow about registering to vote in the USA Midterm Elections!

(Both because it is an important topic and because I feel as though you all deserve to have more posts after such a long absence)

So see you all tomorrow!

-Rebecca

A Promise to You, The Reader.

It has been over a month since I last posted… sorry about that, I have been pretty busy.

Doing what you say? Well:

  • Volunteering at RISE tech conference 2018
  • Hanging out with some of my old friends (playing mahjong, chatting about life, eating dinner etc, the usual)
  • Checking out nest boxes around HKU campus
  • Helping host the IB World Student Conference, which was held at HKU this year

But yeah, I really should post more.

So now a promise.

I will post here every other week until the end of this year. 

In short, one post every 14 days, about something HKU, Hong Kong, travel, preparation or exchange related.

Let’s do this thing!

-Rebecca

A Long Overdue Update😅 + Happy CNY 🐶

I’ve been debating how to start this post off for a while now, since it feels like my first post after 3-4 month hiatus should be more exciting and interesting (or at least more thought out and edited). But since I can’t thing of anything really, here goes nothing!

Hi readers!

I’ve gained a fair few followers since I last posted on here (which was like 3-4 months ago) so welcome to my blog new people! (wow, real professional sounding there)

Anywho…

I’ve been a bit busy recently, so haven’t gotten the chance to post as often as I should.

Several new updates in my life:

  • Last semester… could have been better. I was basically playing perpetual catch up with my courses and lost motivation with some of the courses after I found out that they wouldn’t count toward my major.
    • Still I powered through it and while my gpa was down from previous sem, my CGPA went up (since y1-sem 1 was far worse). Plus I learned a ton and feel I got a fair score for how I did. Still need to work on not procrastinating on revision though…
  • Laptop blue-screened in December while I was visiting relatives abroad, so wasn’t able to get back on a proper laptop until I got back in January.
  • I’m taking 6 courses this year, so I’m a bit busier than last year. Luckily these course are pretty awesome compared to last sem’s ones so we will see!
  • Ran 10km again in the HK Standard Charter Marathon again. Was a bit slower this year (by like 3 minutes), but considering I trained less and I got wicked cramps 3/4 the way through I’ll take that time with pride
  • I’ve been nominated to the University of Leeds for my semester abroad next year! Super stoked! (I’ll probably blog about it here/another new blog)

I’ll continue with the goals thing starting March 1, as I’ve found it to be very useful. Even if I don’t manage to finish my goals, at least I have a typed out outline of the things I need to focus on, which is great.

🎆 Have a happy Chinese New Year and great Year of the Dog! 🏮 (恭喜發財!狗年旺旺! 🐶) and I’ll see you in March.

-Rebecca

 

P.s. Before I forget, the USA Mid Term elections are happening this year and the deadline for the primaries in several states are coming up soon.

If you are like me, a USA citizen living abroad, or a member of the military, you can use the Federal Voting Assistance Program at FVAP.gov to request your mail in ballot.

For people stateside, you can find the information you need here at the usvotefoundation.org  or EAC.gov. 12 states even have same day voter registration, so honestly you have very little reason not to vote if you are eligible.


p.s.s I didn’t want this to end on a downer or have this post be super political but it has got to be said. The USA needs to sort out its gun problem. NOW.

It is absolutely abhorrent that these shootings continue to happen and I’m always at a loss for words when nothing gets done except for offers of “thoughts and prayers”.

As someone who grew up in Texas, I understand the pervasiveness of gun culture and get extremely annoyed when people stereotype gun owners as red necked hillbillies or end of the world prepers. A few of my close friends and classmates were gun owners who used them for hunting and sport.  And this was just in Austin, I can only imagine what is like to have a gun in a more rural area. Gun culture is just a facet of life and there is little point in trying to ignore it or demonize others for it.

But something has gone wrong when you remember as an elementary kid having “unidentified stranger on campus” drills where you learn how to duck under your desk or hid in the restroom/closet while staying as quiet as possible. When you remember visiting to a Cabela’s just being stunned at just how easy for someone to get a gun. When you see in the news that another school shooting has happened and you are no longer shocked, only numb.

Gun culture and gun control are not mutually exclusive to each other. You can be a second amendment supporter and believe in common sense gun regulations. This should not be such a difficult concept to understand. Period.