Duck Duck Go

(Originally posted at on February 18, 2011 7:43 PM)

If you have concerns about privacy, you might want to avoid using Google as your search engine.  I tried using AltaVista, but found it somewhat annoying.  (I couldn’t use it to search for exact phrases using quotation marks.)

I’m currently trying Duck Duck Go and it seems quite nice.  (Try using it to search for The Simpsons characters [without quotation marks].)  I searched for Combinatorics on words and my short presentation about it was listed as the sixth entry (at the time I wrote this blog entry).

IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy!

(Originally posted at on February 15, 2011 8:37 AM)

First it was IBM’s Deep Blue versus chess champion Garry Kasparov.  Now it’s IBM‘s Watson versus Jeopardy! champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.  (For a short video showing Watson playing a mock Jeopardy! game, click here.)

Jean Llorin

(Originally posted at on July 28, 2010 4:56 AM)

My mother-in-law, Jean Llorin, whom we call “Nanay” (the Filipino word for “mother”), passed away last July 7, 2010.  Many have already written about her.  (For example, see this and this.)

Her curriculum vitae lists her areas of expertise and experiences as training (gender sensitivity, violence against women, parenting, adult learning methods, community organizing, value clarification, team building, organizational development, cooperative formation), peace advocacy (conflict resolution and management, marriage counseling, family ministry, formation of peace zones), organizing (youth volunteers for HABITAT, rural poor volunteers for housing, women in politics), and advocacy for lay spirituality (inter-religious dialogue, retreat direction, spiritual direction, facilitating recollections).  It also mentions that her personal mission is “To journey with persons and help each one find God in their lives.”

There is a saying: “Madaling magsalita; mahirap gumawa” (Talking is easy; doing is difficult).  Nanay not only spoke about what the world needed but also did something about it.

The picture above was taken by Nanay’s relative, Rita Dulay, at Ateneo de Naga University’s Church of Christ the King right before Nanay’s burial.

Dr. Seuss’s 1977 Commencement Address

(Originally posted at on April 4, 2010 8:43 AM)

On June 1977, Theodor Seuss Geisel was invited to give the commencement address of Lake Forest College (outside Chicago). Here is his 75-second address entitled “My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers” (from Judith & Neil Morgan, Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1995, pp. 234-235):

My uncle ordered popovers
from the restaurant’s bill of fare.
And when they were served,
he regarded them
with a penetrating stare …
Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom
as he sat there on that chair:
“To eat these things,”
said my uncle,
“you must exercise great care.
You may swallow down what’s solid …
you must spit out the air!”

And …
as you partake of the world’s bill of fare,
that’s darned good advice to follow.
Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.
And be careful what you swallow.

Judith and Neil Morgan add: “As Ted sat down, there was bedlam.  Students shouted, cheered and flung their caps into the air.  He was startled, for it was his first experience with the fervor with which many young Americans had begun to canonize Dr. Seuss.  These graduates were of the generation most critical of the Vietnam war, and from their earliest memories of Dr. Seuss books they had assumed that he too must be skeptical of the establishment.  Now they’d heard evidence from the master’s lips.”

On a related note, if ever you are asked to give a commencement address, try not to copy from others.  (See this, this, and this.)