.motion .bodies .communities .technologies

I got TB meningitis

Blog

No Comments


Share this post

Surrounded by wonderful relatives on my 35th birthday while recovering from meningitis.

Hello friends, family, and colleagues,

So. I was in the hospital for 16 days because of recurring fever and headaches that I’ve had for the past two months. Before I checked myself into the hospital, I saw two different doctors on three separate occasions, neither of who saw anything more dangerous than a viral or bacterial infection, or even—in the case of my third visit—a depression so pronounced it began exhibiting itself as physical ailments. I checked myself into the hospital soon after that last consultation because the headache was so severe that I couldn’t believe it was just physicalized depression. The pain drove me to tears.

At the hospital, most of my tests checked out: blood, urine, stool, x-ray, MRI. It wasn’t until they did a lumbar puncture that they saw very elevated levels of protein in my cerebrospinal fluid. It meant I had meningitis. And though the tests aren’t definitive, my doctors believe that it’s caused by (at the very least) TB. It took two weeks of antibiotic and anti-TB treatments before I could experience a full 48 hours with neither fever nor headache.

Oh. And in the process, they found out that I’m HIV positive. That’s a whole another story that I’ll reserve for another another blog post.

Update: With the donations I’ve gotten and support from UP, I’ve covered all my bills! To those who chipped in: you know who you are, and you know how much I love you not for whatever specific amount you put in, but the fact that you care enough to want to help. Love you guys.

So now I’m out of the hospital feeling a bit woozy from all the antibiotics and anti-TB drugs I’ve been taking. And I’m stuck with a gigantic hospital bill. Healthcare for all? Not one of the Philippines’ strong points. SOOOO I’m going to suck it up, swallow my pride, and use this opportunity to tell those who know me how they can contribute to helping me pay off my hospitalization bill (which came to something along the lines of $6100 Canadian, only part of which will be covered by my insurance!):

  • For Canadians out there, you can do an Interac email transfer by sending it to dmaranan@upou.edu.ph
  • You can also PayPal your donation (for which you will have my undying gratitude) to dmaranan@upou.edu.ph
  • Vancouverites: If you bank with Vancity, I can give you my Vancity branch and account numbers
  • Pinoys: I have a savings account with Banco de Oro, under the name Diego Silang Maranan, account number 250813483.

Can’t really think of a snappy, witty way to end this, other than to thank you from the bottom of my heart (and other internal organs). Thank you.

Read more

Creativity and Cognition 2013 Presentation

Blog

No Comments


Share this post

YouTube videos embedded:

Read more

Tacloban airport, November 28, 2013

Blog

No Comments


Share this post

Read more

Kelly McGonigal: Stress is bad only if you think it is, or if you don’t reach out to help others, or if you don’t seek comfort from other people

Blog

No Comments


Share this post


Kelly McGonigal claims that stress is only bad for you if you believe that it is. Citing one study (Keller et al 2012), McGonical argues that people who believe stress is bad for them have worse health outcomes than those who didn’t. Her argument (which the study doesn’t actually discuss, so it presumably is based on her own research) is a physiological one: when you don’t believe that stress is bad for you, your body reacts differently, particularly with the way your blood vessels constrict.

Citing another study (Poulin et al 2013), she also argues that the negative physiological effects of stress can be mitigated if you reach out to other people for comfort in times of stress, and/or reach out to other people and help them in their time of need. She links this argument the hormone oxytocin, which actually is a stress hormone (Lang et al 1983). The so-called “cuddle chemical” which is associated with only feelings of love and well-being is also (paradoxically) associated with fear and social anxiety.

Stuff to read!

Keller, A., Litzelman, K., Wisk, L. E., Maddox, T., Cheng, E. R., Creswell, P. D., & Witt, W. P. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 31(5), 677–684. doi:10.1037/a0026743

Lang, R. E., Heil, J. W. E., Ganten, D., Hermann, K., Unger, T., & Rascher, W. (1983). Oxytocin Unlike Vasopressin Is a Stress Hormone in the Rat. Neuroendocrinology, 37(4), 314–316. doi:10.1159/000123566

Yomayra F Guzmán, Natalie C Tronson, Vladimir Jovasevic, Keisuke Sato, Anita L Guedea, Hiroaki Mizukami, Katsuhiko Nishimori, Jelena Radulovic. Fear-enhancing effects of septal oxytocin receptors. Nature Neuroscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3465

Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health, 103(9), 1649–1655. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300876

Read more

Kinect and Arduino workshop in Manila

Blog

No Comments


Share this post

This landed in my inbox this morning:

Dear friends and colleagues,

This week we are conducting a 9-day workshop on creative coding for artists and creative people interested in using current technology for their projects.

This 9 day workshop will introduce coding to artists who want to incorporate programming into their work, starting with basic elements of the Processing language and moving into topics including 3d modeling, using peripheral devices like the Kinect and Arduino, data visualization, computer vision/sensors & interactivity, and generative art inspired from nature, statistics, biology, and computer science.

We will also work on projection mapping techniques, and filmmakers and visual artists are invited to bring content and a concept, and we will help set up the tech for installing it.

More info here:

http://terminalgarden.tumblr.com/post/54098044947/generative-art-workshop-when-july-5-13-m-f-6pm

For interested applicants, please register here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EtRDUElFdAFDcffBWBDESrWj5Jg3cMKTFMizb8JxCUA/viewform

On a related note, my LeapMotion order is about to ship! Getting excited about that. Here’s what it’s all about:

Read more

Reinterpeting jugaad: Can Non-Europeans Innovate?

Blog

No Comments


Share this post

Originally published in The Curiosity Chronicles.

In an article published on the Design Altruism Project, design researcher Sumandro reflects on colonialist readings of jugaad, which is often taken to mean as “startling ingenuity in the face of adversity.” He asks a provocative question: can non-europeans innovate?

Why do the Indians need a special word for a phenomena that Europeans (not in the sense of the continent but in vague civilizational terms) simply call innovation?

He argues that jugaad is not a strategy practiced only by the poor. Instead, he looks at jugaad as a cognitive and strategic response to any unknown, confusing, or potentially overpowering system. Everyone practices jugaad.

Jugaad is neither a strategy of informal product economies, nor does it emanate from the ‘worldview of the poor.’ It is not an artifact of an older community-based sustainable product culture, which is under threat from globalised commodity cultures. It is a form of imagining and engaging with formal systems — of design, of governance, of urban planning and so on… it is practiced by the poor and the rich alike, resulting in widely different ethical and material consequences.”

…The first moment of jugaad lies in being face-to-face with an unknown or exclusive system— be it the modern electricity distribution system or a new car engine. The practitioner of jugaad, or the jugadoo, then addresses this unknown/exclusive but in-your-face system by innovating and often subverting the formal logic of that system— for example, by illegally ‘hooking’ from the official electricity lines, or by repairing the car engine using unorthodox/recycled/self-made parts. This is the second moment of jugaad.

However, Sumatro admits that simply framing jugaad as a respose to an unknown system and subverting its formal logic to suit the user’s need renders his definition to be so general as to be useless. Jugaad is jugaad when it is a shared experience.

Jugaad refers to a culture of understanding and taking part in formal systems, which are unfamiliar but excessively real, and have deep everyday consequences.

In our research with communities traditionally regarded as belonging in the informal economy, such as sari-sari store owners, we’ve seen how the both informal and formal economies are part of a larger financial ecosystem that are in continuous relationship with each other.  Ultimately, the responses of sari-sari owners are fueled by their everyday understanding and experiences of power involving formal systems. The sari-sari store owners we work with are often nanays who bring with them experiences, perceptions, and assumptions related to both to being a parent and being a woman in their particular community. When trying to understand how sari-sari store owners interact with product distributors, what we wish to understand is the logic the distributors mobilize, how sari-sari store owners challenge that logic, and what the corresponding logic is behind their resistance. How they feel engaging with these distibutors, activation agencies, and brands? Do they feel powerless against these formal systems? Do they feel like they can dictate any part of the agreement?

Read more

Test

Blog

No Comments


Share this post
hello again world, this is ridiculous

Read more

Stuff for giving away

Blog

No Comments


Share this post

martini shaker, set of six plates and bowls from ming wo (may be missing one bowl), solid metal grill pan with grilling ridges, BPA-free Sigg water bottle

old-school karaoke system, CD-tape-aux player thingy (there are speakers somewhere if you want em)

LPs (classical and a lot of Joni Mitchell), Filipino movies, CDMA telus phone, Alcatel Android phone (SIM card slot doesn't work but other connectivity components (WiFi, Bluetooth)do), Anthology of Western Theatre book, digital alarm clock

expandable file folder, thingy for keeping a book open and upright (good for looking at recipes while cooking)

contraption to make foot more pointe-y (this is a dancer thing), heavy exercise band with handles

clothes, clothes, clothes

Read more

Culture overload this Saturday!

Blog, Vancouver

No Comments


Share this post

So many cool things are happening this Saturday. The Southeast Asian Cultural Arts Festival starts at 10 am and goes till 5. Kirtan Vancouver starts at 3pm and goes till 9pm (I’ll probably be going to the Kirtan Star Quest bike ride at 7pm). And somewhere in between I’ll be attending a BBQ that Mable Elmore is hosting. Oh, and the night before, I’d like to see MACHiNENOiSY’s Law of Proximity.

Woohoo!

Read more

Decision fatigue: why willpower is a limited resource, and why we succumb to sweets

Blog, Food, Psychology, The body

No Comments


Share this post

Constantly making decisions is tiring, and now there is scientific evidence that suggests why this is so. Jian Ghomeshi inteviewed New York Times science writer John Tierney on the CBC this morning on a column that Tierney recently wrote about “decision fatigue”. It’s a fascinating concept, and one that is consistent with many people’s experience.

Read more