The Glass
Onion / Calvin's Page

Who Am I?

I've found that what people consider important in their lives by how they answer such open ended questions, so you tell me if you can tell how geeky I am by my answer to my own question. =)

First off, my name is Calvin Lin. According to my parents, they picked the name Calvin cuz it somewhat resembled my name in Mandarin Chinese. My parents are from Taiwan, but I was born and raised in the United States.

As of May 2001, I joined the ranks of the UC Berkeley alumni with a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I now realize that opting out of grad school and going straight to work was probably not that good of an idea, since the tech industry is in a slump at the moment, but I'm actually fairly happy working at Shiny Entertainment right now. It's been somewhat of a lifelong dream to try working for a video game company, but I assure you that the truth of the industry isn't nearly as glamorous as one might imagine. It suffers from the same problems as any entertainment industry: the business end of things doesn't always want to allow the guys making the product to make it to their satisfaction, and unless you're a superstar of the industry, the pay isn't very spectacular.

On the other hand, I have no regrets about working at Shiny. The team I'm on has great people on it with great ideas for games, but we've been crippled by problems over at our publisher, Interplay.

As you can see, though, computers and video games play huge role in my life. =) I'm fascinated with the potential that computers have for changing our lives, so I've particularly been interested in the notion of artificial intelligence. To this end, I actually took quite a few Cognitive Science and Psychology courses while at Berkeley (more than enough to fulfill the core requirements of at least the Cog Sci major, but didn't get a double major cuz I didn't take all the breadth requirements I would have needed). =)

I guess other than that, it might be interesting to quickly summarize my beliefs. All my strongest beliefs center around my blind faith in the power of reason and logic. When you get right down to it, this is no different from any religious assumption. I think one of these days I'll write something explaining strange things I've concluded over the years, but here is an example of how strange I am:

1. I myself minimize use of medicine and don't use any sort of recreational drugs (including alcohol or nicotine) because I don't believe that we fully understand the effects of these sorts of chemicals on our bodies yet and I don't want to take a potentially harmful substance into my body just for fun. I've got plenty of less chemically harmful addictions (like computers).

2. However, I believe that recreational drugs should all be legalized. This stems from the fact that alcohol has been deeply embedded in many cultures throughout history. Heck, some religions even use alcohol in their sacred rites. Thus I think alcohol is too strongly entrenched to be banned (also look in history to see what happened when we had Prohibition. heh). I don't believe in making exceptions for just one drug, though. In my mind, there's no strong argument for making only some drugs (e.g. alcohol and nicotine) legal while prohibiting others. It seems to me that the biggest reason they aren't legal is that the alcohol and tobacco industries are very politically powerful.

You may also note that drugs like LSD are not known to be chemically addictive and cause essentially no known chemical harm to the body in contrast to say alcohol that is chemically addictive and damages the liver in the long run. Additionally, various Native American tribes have used hallucinogenic drugs in their sacred rites, so there should be no reason to ban those drugs either.

3. My belief that people should have the right to choose for themselves is also a strong contributor to this conclusion. I myself have made a decision on drug use, but everyone should be allowed to make their own decision. (This also leads to various other opinions of mine like being pro-choice with respect to abortion regardless of what I would do if I were in a pregnant woman's situation. I honestly don't know what I would do if I were in such a situation, but I do know that I would want to at least be able to decide what to do instead of having someone else's beliefs imposed on me.). I say let people think for themselves as long as it doesn't harm people around them. In the long run, natural selection will run its course. heh

4. That last bit might lead one to assume that I don't believe in helping others or something, but really my point is that we should not impose our own beliefs on others when helping them. I've come to believe that man is a very social animal and hence we are all interdependent and must help each other and cooperate to accomplish great things. However, I believe that most of the strength of humanity comes from diversity of everything from beliefs to genetics. Thus no individual should naturally assume that he is superior to another with respect to any such attribute. (This is one of my big problems with most major religions. Many religions claim to be the one true faith and thus implicitly superior to all other faiths.). Thus people should respect diversity of beliefs instead imposing their own beliefs on others.

Ugh, I never realized how convoluted my mind is until I started trying to explain a simple belief. =) It's also kinda strange cuz most people who talk with me probably wouldn't initially realize how opinionated I am. That's cuz I haven't formulated strong opinions about most things, so it takes a while of talking with me to stumble into something I will go off about.

Contact Info

I welcome rational debate and comments, so if something I've written has elicited a strong response from you, I would love to hear what you think. Since there are way too many spambots out there crawling around looking for e-mail addresses in order to sell them to spam advertisers, I'll write my e-mail address in human readable form: oom_cow at yahoo dot com.

This page was last modified on 20 August 2001.