On Asking Stupid Questions

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” -Abraham Lincoln

I find all too often people are afraid of asking things because they don’t want to appear stupid, which is why I consider Ask A Stupid Question Day to be one of the most important non-holidays of the year.  I’ve had way too many of my classmates tell me they are afraid to ask a question in class or answer one of the teacher’s questions because they don’t know absolutely everything about the subject and they don’t want to look stupid.  It’s okay to not know something, and it’s okay to be wrong.  What’s not very okay is to be afraid of learning because you don’t want to admit you’re not omniscient and infallible.  This doesn’t just apply to students in schools.  Everyone runs into situations where they don’t know something and they’re with someone who does.  And it’s okay to ask a question.  And if you’re in a situation where you’re talking to an expert and you’re not sure about something, say it anyways, and maybe mention that you’re not sure about it.  If you’re wrong, the other person will say so and you’ll learn something and that’s always good.

So although Abraham Lincoln might have said that it’s better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt, I think he’s wrong.  I think it’s better to speak out, because that’s the only way you can learn something and stop being a fool.

Happy Ask A Stupid Question Day!

Pi Day

3.14159265359…

Today it’s one of my favourite holidays (for my absolute favourite, you’ll have to wait until September).

I’ve always loved numbers.  In first grade, I read a book in the library about magic squares and was hooked.  Fast forward eleven years, and I still love the beautiful intricacy of mathematics.

I had to write the BMAT for university applications, and this year’s paper included several questions involving the four-colour theorem.  I really, really enjoyed working on those questions and researched the four-colour theorem on my own afterwards (and in the process came across a pretty awesome book called “Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities”, which I highly recommend to anyone who likes doing mathematics for fun).  During my mock exams, I actually spent some of the leftover time doodling in the margins of my biology exam trying to use graph theory to figure out how many colours could colour a 3D map.

I also enjoy reading posts on a Tumblr blog called visualisingmath; here is a post I rather liked.

Anyways, mathematics is fun, and having nerdy holidays like pi day is even more fun, so Happy Pi Day!

Also, look out for Pi Approximation Day (22/7), Fibonacci Day (1 1/2 3), e day (2.7, February 7th), or if chemistry is more your flavour, try Mole Day (6:02 am to 6:02 pm on October 23rd…for 6.02*10^23).

Valentine’s Day

This post has no focus.  Whatsoever.  You have been warned.

I’m probably the last person on Earth who should be writing about Valentine’s Day, considering that I’ve never been looked at by a guy, much less had someone to celebrate a very relationship-oriented holiday with.  That said, it being my blog and all, I’m going to say my $0.02 worth anyways.

Around Valentine’s Day, I see people around me giving gifts to their significant others… There are a lot of chocolates, flowers, special dinners.  It seems people feel somehow more compelled to be nice to their significant other on this one day, but why not let them know how special they are to you every day?  Why not be spontaneous and pick a random day to do something special and fun?  Show up on their doorstep with chocolates and a good movie on a cold January morning, or bring them flowers and take them to an amusement park on a sunny day in July.  I’m not saying that celebrating Valentine’s Day with a loved one is bad, but celebrating one day doesn’t mean it’s okay to not make your relationship a priority the other 364.25 days of the year, which is what too many people seem to do.

Enough about relationships…  If you’re like me and chronically single on this holiday where it feels like everyone around you has found someone, know that being single doesn’t mean you’re unloveable.  Go out and celebrate your freedom, and spend the day showing yourself how special you are.  Or spend the day complaining about how love is overrated.  Whatever works for you.

I kind of wanted to end with something written by Sam at mommadeankat.tumblr.com because she says it better than I ever could.

Hey fellow aces and to all on the romantic spectrum.

You are not weird and there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t have a Valentine this Friday (or any day really). I know that day gets really uncomfortable for a lot of people in our spectrums due to the BLAST OF SEX AND ROMANCE everywhere even more than usual and everyone going around all up in everyone’s biz about who’s dating and why aren’t you. Not to mention a million other things that make us uncomfortable on this day. Shoosh people who feel pity for you if you’re single. Dating actually isn’t the most important thing in the universe. Don’t let anyone try and pressure you into doing anything you’re not comfortable with (this goes to everyone tbh). To heck with people who make fun of you for not wanting a sexual/romantic relationship. A romantic/sexual/etc relationship isn’t for everyone. It really isn’t. You deserve respect for your choices and your orientation and your label and your comfort.

Also, Valentine’s can be about platonic love for our friends and people we have squishes on etc. I don’t think that kind of love gets enough attention.

Celebrate or don’t. And to everyone please respect others.

Regardless eat lots of yummy food!

Welcome to Midnight

900 years of time and space, and I've never met anyone who wasn't important. - Doctor Who

The Doctor’s words of wisdom…

Another year is over.  Finally over, or unfortunately over.  I hope it was a great year for you.  It wasn’t really one for me.  But that’s okay.  Because a new year is a time for change, a time for healing.  Change is absolutely terrifying, but it’s also one of the most profoundly beautiful things in the universe (which has to do with the title of this blog, Le Chatelier’s Principle).

Every year at this time, people all around the world make resolutions.  Today is a time to take an honest look at our lives and rebuild them.  And that’s what I plan to do this year.   For the past year, I have let my struggles with depression, self harm and anxiety rule my life.  For the past year, I have fought my demons, winning sometimes and losing sometimes.  For the past year, I’ve fought my demons mostly alone, because I didn’t feel I deserved to share, to reach out, to ask for help.  This year will be different.  My promise to myself is to not let my belief that I don’t deserve help get in the way of my asking for help that my friends and family are waiting to give me.  I’ve survived this year, and that’s a great thing to celebrate.  But what I’d much rather celebrate is my commitment to not be ashamed of my truth.

*****

The following was taken from the TWLOHA blog and was written by Jamie Tworkowski.  It can be found here.

Five.
Four.
Three.
Two.
One.

The ball drops and fireworks. Resolutions are made.
People scream and people kiss and is it possible to change?
Is it really truly possible to leave the past behind?

Welcome to Midnight.

Another year comes to a close. Another year begins.
With a moment in between.
Why the fuss?
Why the fame and fireworks?
Is it more than hype? More than something else to sell us?
Is there something to this holiday? Something true inside it?
Because isn’t there something inside us that aches for change…
Dreams it to be possible…
To let go.
To hold on.
To leave it behind.
To start again.
To be new.
Is it possible?

If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs, then you’re alive today tonight right now.
And who can know how long we have here…
And is it a gift? Was it ever a gift? Did that ever feel true or could that one day feel true?
Are there things to fight to live for?
Moments and people… Weddings and children and all your different dreams…
Love…
Is your life more than just your own?
And are there broken things you were made to fight to fix?
Broken families, broken friends… Injustice.
Will you move for things that matter?

Wouldn’t it be nice if change took just a moment?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Midnight and we’re new. Midnight and the past erased. Midnight and we’re free.

It seems to come slow. It seems to be a surgery.
Forgiveness. Healing. Sobriety. Letting go. Starting over.
It seems to happen slowly over time.
One day at a time, the choice made new each morning.
Will you fight?
Will you fight to be healthy?
Will you fight to be free?
Will you fight for your story?
Will you fight to get the help you need?

Change takes more than a moment, but maybe there’s also something to this celebration of a moment, something to the way it speaks to us, something to the way we fear it, and dream it to be true. Maybe it’s the most honest moment of the year.

It’s possible to change.

Welcome to Midnight.

Here’s to the possibilities.

Peace to You.
jamie