Jumping the Sidewalk

Hi Everybody!

I'm changing this site! From now on, every post will be on 257vancouver.wordpress.com, including the ones already on this blog. There will still be pages on this blog directed from other sites; "hidden" if you call it that. Wordpress.com doesn't offer "hidden pages".

But I have tried "Blogger" for one year and sincerely believe that the blogging service at wordpress.com is considerably better. Looking forward to a new blogging season!

[Click HERE to Proceed to 257vancouver.wordpress.com]



Five Reasons why the BC NDP lost on May 14, 2013

Political pundits and BC citizens have been scratching their heads about what happened this Tuesday. Albertans are celebrating, some are in despair, but most have been taken off guard by the result. Here's the top five reasons for which the NDP lost.

5) The NDP didn't show off their Leader.
Christy Clark maintains that: When governing, your performance is compared to perfection; but when campaigning, you are judged against your opponent. When comparing two people, voters look at a range of implicit or explicit differences such as their leadership qualities, political views, wittiness and even personal life and history. Despite a lower disapproval rating, Clark had something Dix didn’t: the confidence of the BC people. Clark looks like a leader. It’s not that Dix isn’t a leader, or doesn’t have leadership qualities, but Clark truly looks and sounds more natural as a leader and premier. This was especially evident during the debates, when Clark looked comfortable in front of the cameras, while Dix was shy and awkward at points. At campaign stops, Clark was the gifted communicator who really understood the trick of getting a conversation to go her way. Clark was able to inspire and bind together a strong liberal team for their campaign with the focus on being elected.
"Clark truly looks and sounds more natural as a leader and premier."
The vast majority of the voters know nothing about Adrian Dix: his family, his former political life, his education etc. To some, he is an instinctive MLA who happened to be vaulted in the role of NDP party leader. And the NDP did not even try to show off their leader; the NDP did not introduce or show off the personal history or biography of their leader. They left that job up to the “Concerned Citizens for BC” group, a group that branded Dix as a secretive politician who played dirty politics in the 90’s.
This is what most people don’t know about Dix: he has no children of his own, is born to European immigrants, studied at UBC, and is diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Most people also don’t know Dix’s personal history or his interests and hobbies. Not knowing personal snippets like these brands Dix as more of a cold out-of-touch politician rather than a family man.
Citizens know much more about Clark compared to Dix, such as about her lovable son, her education at SFU, and work as a reporter for CKNW. The extent to which Clark values her son and family was shown throughout the campaign, culminating with a pathos inducing hug at the end of the Victory Speech. Clark’s familial devotion proved to be an asset, and she was seen as more approachable, kind, trustworthy and likeable. Dix on the other hand kept his wife out of the spotlight, and rarely talked about family and his personal life.
Though this may be small differences, it's these things that add up and are subconsciously embedded in the voter’s mind and can affect their perception on a leader.

4) NDP Advertising failed.
The NDP explicitly and continuously emphasized that they were to run “positive campaign”. They should be commended for their efforts, but the execution of their positive campaign was terrible. The “positive” ads distributed throughout Youtube and Television are more neutral than positive. In the ads, there exists not hopeful positive music, or happy statements; the ads just show a bunch of citizens speaking about issues and Dix advocating for “change”. Compare real true “positive” advertisements 1) here, 2) here and 3) here. These three positive ads truly inspire voters with hope and optimism, and a real purpose of voting for a great future rather than voting for change.
In the end, the NDP realized their “positive” ads were not working, and resorted to more-negative-than-neutral advertizing. This ad was seen as desperate, too little, too late. The ad also fails through common sense: Why would a person go to a park dressed in a suit? The same technique of advertising by speaking directly to a camera in a park led to disaster for both Paul Martin and Rick Perry.
"The NDP ads were more neutral than positive."
In comparison, the Liberals campaigned solely on the Economy, with ads depicting the NDP “spend-o-meter”, an extremely effective campaign that stuck to voters minds. If election talk was about the economy, it would definitely help the liberals. Thus, the Liberals advertized to give themselves the upper hand on economic issues.
3) The NDP took the election for granted.
The NDP came into this race with an enormous lead. They thought that they could glide through the election with ease. Even though they explicitly said that this election would be a tight race, they acted otherwise. But like a hockey playoff series, the overwhelming favourite still must show up to play! Most of the time, the problem isn’t that the favourites don’t work hard, it’s that they lose motivation to keep skating, and the mental toughness to keep fighting disappears, all while the underdogs play as if there is nothing to lose. The NDP came into this election season as the clear favourite to win, and sat back to defend its lead, and were busted by the Liberals who were on their toes.
How do we know the NDP took the election for granted? First, they committed to run a “positive” campaign showing their confidence in their lead. Second, the NDP acted safely without taking any risks. The campaign introduced no controversial policies, kept tight on exactly specifically what they would “change” after the election, and conformed to the important issues that voting intention polls were showing that voters cared about. ie. the campaign said exactly what voters wanted to hear, and tried to please voters by appealing to the majority.
Because everyone was expecting the NDP to win, they acted that way; their actions implying that they had already won the election days before the election.

2) NDP Policy was unclear and did not connect to voters.
The main issues at stake in this election that voters identified were Transportation, Economy, and Jobs plus other less important topics such as health care, environment and education. The Liberals successfully campaigned around the single topic of the economy (and jobs), while the NDP took up not one of those talking points. The NDP identified the most important issue to be not health care or transportation, but “change”. When they did advocate for real issues, their campaign only touched on each of the issues, with nothing clear about what exactly they would do. In ads, they advocated to “invest in skills training”, “doing something about child poverty” and “better health care”. The NDP never elaborated on these three issues with further advertising leaving voters in the dark about the specific thing they would do.
The NDP did have a few campaign specific ideas, but relied on third party media to actually get their campaign ideas out. The NDP mostly only stated the obvious, such as: investment was “needed”, and that the issue was “important”, without truly stating their plan to change. To see what the true stance of the NDP is on issues, voters would need to go to their website and search their platform, without being guaranteed that they would find anything concrete or specific.
In general, the NDP failed to inspire voters because their policy did not connect to what voters really cared about, and their campaign never comprehensively pitched any of its real campaign ideas to voters. Thus, voters thought of the NDP as advocating for change without having any explicit policy to state what exactly they would change.

1) The NDP Motto was terrible.
Lets say we take two words that are embedded each party’s campaign in every speech, in every advertisement: the theme of each campaign. For the Liberals, the words would be 1)“Economy” and 2)“Debt”. The entire Liberal campaign is centred around how their party is strong on the Economy and will work hard to reduce debt. For the NDP, the 2 words would be 1)“change” and 2)“positive”, two words that mean nothing.

A clear and strong motto that makes sense is one of the most important aspects of a campaign. The Liberal’s Motto is “Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow”, a motto that is forward looking and to the point. In just four words, the Liberal motto not only states its party’s vision, but also states their method to achieve that vision. Eg. The Liberals will: Ensure the Future (tomorrow) is hopeful and bright (secure) by investing in the economy (Strong Economy).
The NDP’s motto: “Change for the better, one practical step at a time”, is meaningless, unclear and divisive. What exactly does change mean? A change in the seating in Victoria, a change in direction, a change of leader? There are too many different interpretations of “practical change” or “real change”. In “change for the better”, what truly is better? Unlike the Liberal party motto, the NDP motto does not reveal their policy focus, or how they will achieve their priorities.
"The NDP motto was meaningless, unclear and divisive." 
But the main flaw in the change is in the word itself. According to a pre-election poll, 59% of voters want change. This may at first indication seem like it plays into the hands of the NDP. It doesn’t. By arithmetic, 41% of voters do not want change. The NDP motto of change divides the BC electorate into two parts: those that want change, and those that don’t want change.
The desire for change is fueled through hope that change is good and will improve the province. Vice versa, the opposition to change is guided by fear; fear that the province will backtrack to the 90’s and again become a “have not” province. The emotion of fear is much stronger than hope, and the fear of change is what motivates many voters to actually go to the polls. Thus the significantly higher voter turnouts in Liberal-won-ridings occurred because the opposition to change forced the voters to show up at the polls. When the current government was elected by just 21% of all eligible voters, and about 41% of the electorate was motivated to vote for the Liberals partly because of their opposition to change, this is how the Liberals won the election. The NDP’s motto of change scared thousands of voters into believing that an NDP government would lead to real change, something that they didn’t want. The NDP’s motto led to self destruction.

In a nutshell:
The NDP lost because their campaign and leader was not able to connect to voters or address the issues that voters cared about. They focused on their campaign on two words: “positive change” which proved to be disastrous.


Are Translink's Fare Gates Fairly Distributed?

Above is the picture of the faregates on the North Side of the South Side of Commercial Broadway Station. You see: There are 9 (NINE!) Gates at this side of the station, each equipped to handle 40 pph. And this is the less intensive side of the station, where the only transfers are between the 9 or 20 and the skytrain. You may be unaware of the degree of overshoot until you see how many faregates are at Broadway-City Hall:

There are 5 (Five!) This Exit is more than 3X busier than the North side Broadway Station Exit above. Think about it; this is the major transfer between both directions of the 99B-Line and the Canada Line! Each Train that arrives at the station gives at least 50 people during rush, imagine the chaos if the 99 and the Train arrives together. My point is that with only gates, that is only 2 gates one direction and 3 gates the other direction. The maximum capacity for one of the direction with only 2 gates is 80 people. With more than 40 people getting off the bus at one time and even 80 people off the train, the waits just to enter City Hall station faregates will be >1 minute! Imagine lining up 70 seconds just to get into the Canada Line station!

This shows extremely poor planning on Translink's behalf, overshooting that side on Broadway station, drastically under calculating the volume of people using the City Hall exit. From my perspective, the only way 8 gates will be used is if the overhead walkway is closed down and people need to go down and back up again to transfer. But then again, there is a new walkway being built, and I can't imagine why there needs 160+ ppmpd (people per minute per direction) capacity at this exit.


LPC 2013 - My Perspective - Justin Trudeau

The Liberal Party of Canada is at a crucial point. With the 3rd leadership convention in 8 years the LPC lacks leadership and stability, but hope is on the horizon. I see a bright near future and long term strength in the LPC. Remember, after rock bottom, there's no way to go but up! The faster you fall, the better your recovery will be.

Politics in Canada is a Sandwich. The Conservatives are the bread on the top, maybe a little miracle whip which gives them a bit of 'zing'. The NDP are the bottom bun, with melted cheese. The Liberals? Right in the middle, just as they have always been, in the middle. The Liberals are the Veggies, the meat of this sandwich. A sandwich without the meat, is, well, bread. So it is very important that the Liberals stay in the middle, and don't, say merger with the NDP to become a piece of bread. People buy a sandwich for the meat and veggies, not for the dry, uninteresting bun. And I could keep going with this analogy but lets rather consider the alternative.

Lets see how well politics with 2 polarized parties are doing in the USA; the country is basically split dead in the middle. Almost exactly half the country is on the Democrat party and the other half the GOP side; the USA is a completely divided country, because they have no middle party. The LPC, as the meat of the sandwich, are the best of both sides, doing what's best for the country rather than pleasing their core supporters on the right or left.

* * *

Why Justin Trudeau?

Justin is seen as an approachable, friendly young man who knows the issues (and the latest pop culture). He is a remarkable speaker, and a master at appealing to our emotions; He is fluid and soft in his speaking. Just see his commercials: [here] [here] and [here]. See how Justin looks approachable in these videos? He looks in the camera and speaks to you, uses a low quality camera, has a soft voice, wears a t-shirt, and smiles. And, of course, he's cute.

Why not Justin Trudeau?

Justin is a flip flopper. One day, yes to gun registry, another day, no to marijuana, then no to Gateway Pipeline, but yes to trade with Asia, and now Yes to Alberta Oil, and yes to Exporting energy, and Yes to fewer CO2 emissions. Make up your mind already! I sense that Justin himself is confused with the terms "Gun Registry" and "Accessible Guns". Yes to "Gun Registry" means No to "Accessible Guns".

But Justin makes a good point about at the end of this Global Interview:

"People want to know where you stand; even if they disagree with where you stand, they're going to want to know what your position is. Sure it gets me in trouble and it will continue to get me in trouble [but] I will continue to say what I think and think what I say, If it means stumbling every now and then because I've said something too direct, well so be it I know Canadians can handle it."

It is good that he knows and and admits that he's a flip flopper, and this is what makes Canadians believe that they can trust him.

Yes there are other Candidates in the LPC Race, but No I don't think they have a chance to win especially considering with preferential ballot, people will give Justin a 2 or 3 if not a one. And I think it's good that Justin will win; he is the only one out of the nine (except maybe George) that doesn't look like an out of touch politician (meant as an insult) who cares about partisan gain or one who just is too old and bad looking to win over Canadians (Marc looks like Iggy who lost over looks).

Another issue is spreading word that ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS CAN SIGN UP TO VOTE FOR THE NEXT LIBERAL LEADER FOR FREE!!! Walking in the streets of Vancouver, it is vastly apparent that all technologically disabled (most over 50 years old) and the politically inactive, don't even know that there is a leadership race going on, let alone signing up to vote. IT'S FREE. SIGN UP TO CHOOSE THE NEXT LIBERAL LEADER NOW!


On Memory, Thought, and Intelligence

Through my studies, I have found that one of the single biggest discrepancies between people with autism and NTs is memory.

Personally, I have excellent long Term Memory. Facts, pictures, conversations, diagrams, experiences, music, ideas, knowledge, I have no problem remembering it once it is in my LTM. Short Term Memory, not so much. My long term memory is almost exclusively in pictures. There may be a few exceptions (eg SOHCAHTOA and the Seabus announcement) are embedded with words, but my prime mode of memory is pictures. I have tried to remember Pi through reciting words to failure, but I do have long term memory of the first 35 digits of pi by simple recitation. My memory of pictures and speeches is also excellent, as I can recite entire speeches I gave months ago word for word with no review.
What makes me so smart is not only my LTI though. It is also my ability to manipulate and control my thoughts to think and "feel" literally. I like to call this "conductive analysis" because it sounds nice but is in fact just a nonsense term. An example would be my ability to "feel" literally what a football player would be feeling when it is 10 minutes from kickoff for the superbowl, I am actually feeling exactly what he is feeling, the nervousness, even though I am 900 km away. Another example is my ability to look out the window at the park, and make a gigantic shape that is located on the grass field, completely 3 dimensional, and I can "fly" over it with my mind and envision what it would look like from different angles.

Of course, I have just finished Temple Grandin's Thinking in Pictures and have only very recently (while reading her book) realized to the extent at which my "visual thinking" and "visual memory" and "ability to Connect" to others' feelings differs from so many of my peers, and is so similar to those that people with autism possess. No wonder the majority of my elementary friends possessed autism, because I was able to relate to them.

Like Temple, I can design facilities or systems in my head and mentally "run" them without actually operating the system. An example is one I use frequently, especially when designing transit networks, is to mentally be on the bus, to mentally see the sight that I would see on a regular trip (again, I think in pictures so I can actually reproduce images of the moving streetscape in my mind), reproduce the sounds and feeling and even smell and what I would be doing if I were on the bus mentally. This way, actually being on the bus, I would tell any errors in my schedule, the traffic on that route and estimate the time recovery should be, and count the traffic lights that would delay the trip.

Though I have to admit it, I can think in words, which is the main discrepancy between me and autistics, that they cannot in any way think in words, but what differs me from NT peers is that I can, again, I CAN think in pictures if it is easier.

So to clarify, I think in both words and pictures, but only remember in pictures and feelings. What is new, is that this has been my main language since... Forever. I, until reading her book thought that everyone thought that way (I had suspension last year but she verified it), that everyone could actually mentally "see" or visualize their bed in front of their mind at any time. But it is crude reality that they can't. Similarly  I encountered crude reality again here: I thought that people got C+ and lower grades because they weren't trying, but this was only partially correct. What I found is that people, even if they tried, couldn't get anything better than a C+; that they really were that stupid. The reason for this is, to repeat, they lacked visual thinking, visual memory, and with that, an adequate LTI. What has been my main mode of thinking for all my life, I thought existed in everybody, and it does, though just more naturally in me than almost all others.

Note that as I am typing this, I am not forming sentences before I type, I start typing what I am seeing in my mental picture, then typing each word as it fits the picture; I think in pictures and instantaneously translate it into words, I have no idea of the words in the sentence I am about to type before I start typing, but I already mentally with pictures or feelings know what I


Khan Academy Revolutionizes Education

 Above is the vision of Khan academy. That's how we can use it. Below is how real schools are using it.

 The full potential of this technology has yet been unleashed. I can't wait to see how this will reach a tipping point and suddenly flood into every district throughout the continent.