Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guest Blogger: Insights From My Asian Bro

***If you have yet to read any of my guest bloggers, today is the day you should start. My Asian Bro is insightful and stretches the mind and heart to think beyond the immediate moment. With any luck, My Asian Bro will be a frequent guest blogger. Enjoy!

Regression Towards the Mean

The Statistical Phenomenon

I am not a statistician. In fact, the only class that I ever worried I might actually fail was taught out of the statistics department. And they probably should have failed me. Nevertheless, statistics does intrigue me. In part, I think, because it can describe so much without ever really explaining anything. One statistical concept that has caught my eye recently is called “regression towards the mean.” I’ll spare you the full technical description. You all have Wikipedia. In inaccurate layman’s terms, it simply means that excellence and ineptitude tend to revert to mediocrity. Take a class of students. Give them a multiple choice test. Give them another similar test. Statistics (from my reading of Wikipedia) says that those students who scored the best and the worst on the first test will tend to score closer to the average on the second test.

The Phenomenon in Real Life

I find that this concept resonates deeply with me as a person. I have dreams. I make goals. I want to be a different, a better person tomorrow than I was today. On some days, I succeed. Wildly. I’m as kind as Mother Teresa and as diligent as Thomas Edison. I feel progress, and I get excited about having more of it. And then tomorrow comes. It is as if improvement was a 24 hour bug that I slept off overnight. Once again, I’m back on the corner of average and ordinary wondering how I got there.

I cannot tell you how many times this pattern has played out in my life. I’m generally a positive person. But surround me with negative people and before long I completely blend in with the crowd. Whether it is with developing desirable attributes, achieving worthy goals or simply moving away from the masses in a positive direction, I am prone to regress towards the mean. But why? Why is it so difficult to keep a standard deviation’s separation between me and my standard self? Between me and the prevailing norms of my environment?

The Latent Heat Problem

I am sure that there are many contributing explanations and would love to hear any that you have. I’ll offer one possible reason and abuse one more academic discipline in the process. My theory is this: The energy/effort required to really change is not directly proportional to the distance you need to travel. Now, I’ve never taken chemistry, but I am going to use the concept of latent heat to illustrate this point. Turning water into steam is a two step process. First, you must heat the water from its current temperature to its boiling point, 100ºC. Second, you must provide additional energy (heat) to transform the boiling water into steam. During this transformation, the water does not actually change its temperature at all. Surprisingly, or not, it takes six times as much energy to vaporize water as it does to heat that water from 20 to 100ºC. Six times. In other words, it is a lot harder to really change, to really be different, than it is to just make progress.

This can be frustrating. It can be difficult to keep pouring in energy when you do not see corresponding results. And the second you stop giving your effort, you quickly slide right back down to where you started. I think this is why I often make improvements that do not really last. I do not put in the energy needed to overcome the latent heat hurdle. If I want to stop regressing towards the mean, I need to commit not only to boiling mediocrity but to vaporizing it. Full steam ahead.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Retraction For My Nash Loving JN

Please see the below gchat as my retraction to Curry schooling Nash in my previous post. Per the stats I misstated (see stats below). Yet I am still very impressed with Curry.

Thanks for the correction JN, looking forward to the forgiveness that is forthcoming in 19 days.

Jaren: i really have to run to a 3:00 meeting
but i saw your gchat status and followed the link cuz i know you were at the suns game
2:55 PM you there?
me: yes
Jaren: first, i am jealous
second you are soo off
me: haha
Jaren: you said that stephen curry schooled nash
2:56 PM let me show you exhibit 1) final score, and more importantly exhibit 2) THEIR stats
Nash 12 pts off 11 shots (efficient) and 12 assists
+/- (impact to the game) +15
2:57 PM me: haha....true...I was mostly saying this in regards to their speed and grace in ball handling
Jaren: Curry 14 pts off 15 shots
8 assists
and -8
for his +/-
doesn't sound graceful to me to play MORE minutes than nash and get 50% less assists
2:58 PM me: I am humble enough to admit when I'm wrong
stats speaks to me
2:59 PM I'll print a retraction with the gchat ;)
(Curry is going to be better than Nash in the long run prediction)
Jaren: 2 time MVP?
3:00 PM he will be better head to head because nash is 15 years older
but prime vs prime, no way
3:01 PM me: valid argument there
3:02 PM will you be forgiving me anytime soon for insulting your beloved Nash?
Jaren: hehe after my trip maybe
3:03 PM me: when is that again? just so I can gauge when we'll be friends again
Jaren: starts sat goes for 15 days
anyways gotta run to a meeting
glad you enjoyed the suns victory
3:04 PM
me: I did! enjoy your trip if I don't see you and I'll be excited to be friends after that

Thank Goodness Bruce Had To Go To China...

KT got amazing seats to the Suns/Warriors game for last night! I've been banking for months that BC (the other half of KT) would have to be in China and I'd get lucky enough to take his spot. Who says dreams do not come true? What a great time. We were ten rows up. Watching such a close game was awesome, most NBA games I attend are blowouts so this tight game was appreciated.
I also am very impressed with Stephen Curry, who played for Davidson up until last year. He schooled Steve Nash most of the game. For being a rookie he has great potential and handles the ball really well. I also laughed that I was calling him short all night and he is 6 ft 3 in...obviously he's not short compared to me.

Thanks for being in China Bruce!! Thanks KT for a great FHE!

Do The Best We Can

The Lord doesn't expect us to work harder than we are able. He doesn't (nor should we) compare our efforts to those of others. Our Heavenly Father asks only that we do the best we can—that we work according to our full capacity, however great or small that may be.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Myths and Reality of Mormonism Video

Great video...check it out here!

Featured On Leilee's Blog

Tonight I feel like I've made it to the big leagues (finally)! I bet this is how it feels for a PhD student to be published or a lawyer to be cited in a law journal or for someone who's article submission makes the cut in say the Ensign or to be quoted by someone in Tweeter.

Leilee published my (technically Mama Berry's but mine too by relation and expertise in making them of course), cinnamon roll recipe on her food blog. Take a look here!!

Wow. Honored. Happy to see that the Mama Berry goodness is going viral. Proud of potatoes. Proud of Idaho. Proud to be "Potato Bubba".

Thanks Leilee!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

When Your Mama Emails...

and she starts off with:
Hey a few things to tell you.
1. boring blog these days, no updates, i'm sure there is
something interesting happening.

You start to hear Ricky saying to Lucy...Lucy you've got some explaining to do...

What I've been doing (in no particular order)

1. Spending time looking at this blog that shows the newest addition, Evelyn Jean (EJ for short of course) to my "extended" family. (Congrats Mike and SJ!).

2. It is the third greatest month of the year...MADNESS IS IN THE AIR! Did I mention I have a 55 inch screen TV as a roommate these days to watch the Madness in all its glory? After the 1st and 2nd round I follow close between the big bro in the Berry Oil bracket. I've picked Duke to take it. Do I feel bad for the saps that picked Kansas to win it all? Not at all...N. Iowa is a classic example of why the Madness is so sweet.

3. Having massages and acupuncture on a high frequency basis (Hey folks don't be jealous alright. I do have this thing called cerebral palsy so I need them more often than your average pampered person). Turns out after awhile you mentally become accustomed to feeling like a human pin cushion.

4. Weekly trips to the temple. What is a temple some may asking themselves? Read more here.

5. Weekly dinners with JP...having a personal chef is a perk that I'm starting to love.

6. Making Sloppy Dans (Dan, the originator of the recipe, of course is not sloppy but awesome!). I'm slowly working my way to perfection with each batch! My secret weapon: making Mama Berry's homemade potato rolls to go with the Sloppy Dans. Freakin' Genius. (pictures forthcoming).

7. Prepping for opening day of baseball season, mentally and physically. See the countdown here...minute by minute coverage folks! GOOOOO YANKKKEEESSS!!!!

8. Bridal showering.

9. Supposedly doing my taxes (hehe...getting there slowly).

10. Enjoying Pinkberry as much as possible, as long as they have unlimited toppings this Berry will be smothering her froyo with every Berry offered.

11. Mastering the art of eye makeup blending.

12. Focusing on making my own happiness. "Mortality is a precious drop in the bucket of eternity. Why not make each minute pleasant and fulfilling? We must make our own happiness. As President Spencer W. Kimball once said, ‘Happiness does not depend upon what happens outside of you, but on what happens inside of you. It is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life." Pres. James E. Faust “A Vision of What We Can Be,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 10

13. Working on several blog posts that are forth coming...

14. Waiting excitedly for some of my Boring Berrys to arrive in PA on Wednesday!

***Blogging with diligence will be picked back up soon. Have a little faith and maybe I'll even get a few guest bloggers in the lineup too.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This boy got into an awesome MIT graduate program on Friday! What a great way to celebrate a birthday...even if he is moving to the devil's playground or as some call it "Boston".

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thanks SEC!

The day after Christmas I went through the LDS temple and received my endowment in the Rexburg LDS Temple (to learn more about LDS temples click here). Afterward SEC gave me this beautiful water color painting of the Rexburg LDS Temple. The photo doesn't do justice to the quality and beauty of this gift. I love all my SEC artwork, but this one definitely is the most precious of all. Thank you SEC, you are so very talented and such an amazing friend.

My Testimony of Christ

***For those that have questions or are curious in learning more of the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints please feel free to comment on the post below.

The Savior, Jesus Christ, did live and died for each of us individually and now lives again. It is in and through our Savior that eternal salvation is made possible. My Savior is my brother, my Redeemer, my friend, and my light through mortality. With absolute certainty I bear humble witness that Jesus is the Christ! Christ willingly accepted his role in the plan of salvation. He suffered both for our sins and our pains, sufferings, and infirmities. He knows my every joy, my every pain, my every disappointment. He knows me by name and by my heart. Oh, how crucial this knowledge has and will continue to be in my life for my happiness and strength. The Atonement is available to all who come unto Him. The Atonement of Christ heals me from my sins and enables me daily! Also through the great sacrifice of our Savior, I have the amazing opportunity to be both spiritually and physically perfected. I know that when the Second Coming of our Savior comes I’ll be resurrected and have my imperfect body made whole. What a glorious day this will be! Christ offers peace from the storms of life if we will come unto Him.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One of The Many Reasons Why I Heart SJ!

I'm learning something new everyday...lifelong learning in progress here folks. I even got the orange down with choking from goose laughter. Thank you master SJ for this valuable lesson!

Friday, March 5, 2010

What Happens When You Shop With Me

You find the craziest outfit in the store, I dare you to try it on, then I shamelessly take a photo of said outfit with you in it, and then follow that up with posting it on my blog.

Good thing we found JP a killer dress too that night. ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jess Berry Quote Of The Day!

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Inner Workings Of The Stanford Junior Mind Part 12


From my little study of history I've found that history revolves around prominent leaders. Historians love to research these important people, resulting in hundreds of books. One side effect of the national prominence and fame is that anything that an important person touches becomes significant.

So I work at a place that researches history. Under the student work desk there is a document folder that keeps falling over and landing on my knees. Kind of annoying. I usually just pick it up and lean against the side. One day in frustration I opened the huge folder, lo and behold there are two pieces of legal sized note paper framed in a large sheet of plexiglass with President Reagan's handwriting. THE President Reagan. I'm not sure what the papers say, I've tried to read them, multiple times. Yes a piece of history hits my knee every time I sit down and to be honest it is kind of a pain.

I hope one day my college physics notes will make it in plexiglass. My notes would also be illegible, but at least mine would have interesting doodles in the margins.

What Happens When I Am Bored

(Yes I am attempting to measure myself...I learned I'm still short)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spread Kindness With Your Words

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is.

Blaise Pascal