Rahil Patel

| (• ◡•)|/ \(❍ᴥ❍ʋ).

Creativity as Organization from Chaos

26 November 2014 by Rahil

The further one is from society, the more disorganized the world appears.

The more disorganized the world appears when one creates, the more creative the result.

It is the way one organizes information that dictates the level of aesthetic beauty.

During certain points in travel I came with these ideas:
A public vending machine for barter. The machine allows a user to place one item inside and take one item out.

GPS track a pigeon and/or a dancer to get flight pattern data for a robotic dodo bird.

A film that contains video footage of a GoPro camera traveling around Taiwan, using JRPG music to fit the natural and artificial settings.

A film from real video footage of animals in the jungle to display high culture ideas of humans.

Live robot exhibition. I am the robot. The robot moves depending on interaction (touch, possibly other senses) according to a set if rules. There is a pattern to find. The winner gets a candy.

An art installation dealing with video game memory cards.

A multi-player game installation in which the game installations are physically separated, but have a map to one other installation.

A smartphone application that allows users to create things in real space, allowing people to interact with a digital world atop a real one.

Leave a comment | Categories: Thoughts, Uncategorized

Reading and Listening to eBooks

26 November 2014 by Rahil

After listening to a great lecture series on philosophy via The Great Lectures, I thought listening to lectures and books (with the addition of films and games) surely replaced the ancient knowledge transmission through reading. And for the most part, I agree.

But there are still quite a few books I’d like to read, and in the Information Age, it seems the methods to get them are contrarily not so simple. Furthermore if one wanted to do research, then going to the library or building a personal one still seems the best way. Skimming through a bunch of eBooks sucks.

Recently, I bought a Kindle. It’s beautiful, but just too slow, I was unable to gauge the content of a books. It may be okay for literature, where one is likely to read the thing entirely, but for knowledge, research, or just general playful reading, it’s useless. I returned it, and instead ordered an iPad Mini.

The Kindle app for iOS is free, but the library can be expensive, and sometimes, the format is inferior to the actual book, missing pictures or linkable items.

Then I read somewhere that some eBook readers can link to Dropbox to read eBooks. Great! Then I found Voice Dream Reader. It is the best application I’ve found to read AND listen to eBooks. The application excels because both options are available simultaneously; The text always exists, and one can see the text highlighted as it is being read. This makes it superior to audiobooks and normal books. With audiobooks, one can’t gauge the contents, and skimming is fruitful, especially without any sort of markers. Another great feat is that it keeps the original format and can convert the format on the fly to a more readable version similar to Kindle. The original formatting is nearly always superior, even if it doesn’t quite fit on the iPhone screen. The only time to use the readable version is for more passive reading of fiction.

The app has a slew of options and is quite customizable. It handles epub, PDF, and word documents (no Kindle formats though). The voice is pretty darn good, I feel happy at 250 to 300 words / minutes; Any slower and my mind wonders. There’s highlighting and notes, which is kind of a pain on iPhone because the text is so small, but perhaps better on iPad. Like the Kindle, one can highlight words and search it in a dictionary or wikipedia. It is indeed a dream. I can choose books from dropbox, skim through the original format like a Wikipedia article, begin listening to any part of it, or read it like a Kindle.

Though this is the best way I’ve found to read eBooks, I still find it inferior to a public or a personal library of books, but not by much. I used the Mac Kindle application to read The 21st Century Backpacker’s Bible because it was free on Kindle Unlimited (free for one month). I used Voice Dream Reader on iPhone to read some of Debt: The First 5000 years. I still haven’t received the iPad mini yet.

It’s still quite painful to find ePubs or PDFs. There a quite a bunch of online bookstores, free and not. Googling seems to be the best way to cover them all. Thankfully having access to Dropbox makes organization painless.

eBooks are important to me as I can’t have any books while traveling, they just weigh too much. Furthermore, from my experience in libraries and bookshops in Taipei, most selections are translated to Chinese. My goal was to devise a method of reading and listening while traveling, and it seems an eBook reader in conjunction of other medias, is the way to go.

Leave a comment | Categories: Technology, Travel

Struggle and Convenience

25 November 2014 by Rahil

A thought from Japan:

Is it possible to strive toward something great while living such a balanced life? Life needs tension. Fine art provides this without real life. Without the time and money of going to the slums of India.

A quote from Tsai-Ming Liang:

“I want a few audiences, who have been hurt and worried about life, living, agony and grief, to see my movies.”

Human struggle is almost necessary for art. The way one struggles is different in the middle class suburbs and in the city.

In the city, one can visibly see struggle on the streets, and of the many institutions one passes by.

In the suburbs, it’s more likely one will only see struggle through art.

There is a difference in the potency of the affect because one is real and one is not. One should, if possible, see it visibly first, then rely on media, or else there will be a detachment of reality.

Leave a comment | Categories: Thoughts

Cash Crannies

25 November 2014 by Rahil

Perhaps an efficient way to make money is to stumble upon niches in life. Some may not even require a specific skill. Examples: Indian wedding photographer, writer of graduate admissions for Chinese students, English tutor for rich foreigners.

Leave a comment | Categories: Thoughts

A World without Media

25 November 2014 by Rahil

It’s hard to imagine.

Just a few decades ago, there was only books, newspapers, magazines, comic books, posters, and televisions with a few channels.

I feel that the less information there is, to a certain point, the less likely one will believe at face value, question it, and perhaps, react to it.

Now, that there is so much information, it seems people have become more indifferent to media. Do Americans shrug at imperialism, knowing but not caring? Or is it the discontentment of failed urban planning and a failed government?

I can’t imagine solidarity in action similar to Taiwan and Hong Kong in America. Does America even have the protest experience and institutions anymore?

Leave a comment | Categories: Thoughts

Homeless East Asians

25 November 2014 by Rahil

Homeless East Asians are special. Testaments of the crime-less, thrifty ethics of East Asians; Modest modern scavengers of urban waste a la recyclables, they fertilize the city’s sidewalks every night, take care of the city like under-appreciated mothers do their shit-spewing babies.

I’ve always had a fascination with bums since I first moved to a city. A fascination for the human condition perhaps. They are incredible beings.

The Asian kind, especially. I feel no difference between the Asian recycling ladies of New York and certain night market vendors of Taipei whom clean the streets every night. Perhaps they are the same. I walk down the streets with them, comforted by their presence, inspired.

Wherever I settle, I hope they are always near.

Leave a comment | Categories: Essays, Literature, Sociology, Thoughts, Urban Planning

Fear of Solitude in America

25 November 2014 by Rahil

When going from a densely populated area to a sparsely populated one, perhaps in addition to the lack of social liveliness, a fear of solitude comes about.

Simply, if one human is having a problem, without another within vicinity, how will that person get over it?

Densely populated areas feel safe because there are more people. More people more justice.

More desolate areas allow have more space between people and less light. Both of which attract petty crimes.

Favelas are populated, yet have crimes.

Are those crimes only restricted to dark alleys and unlit pathways?

Another thought.

If one grows in a house where one is accustomed to lock the door, turn on lights at night, come home before night, never walk alone, never go out without a car, a fear to go out, and perhaps a fear to meet people (“strangers”) could develop.


The lack of crime in East Asia is factor of freedom. One doesn’t worry about where they are, how, or when they will get home. Sleeping outside is a viable option.

I can’t say the same for America, especially suburban America, even after traveling.

I had a more positive view during my nights in New York after travel, but there’s still a bit of insecurity.

When I came back to New York, I decided, out of exhaustion, convenience, and change in cost of living, to sleep in Washington Square park. There were a few bums playing music and a few drunk university kids enjoying it, both equally harmless. Later there were just drunk university kids. I believe, the bums were cleared out by the police (I’ve seen them clearing bums out on a different day).

Over-policing cause the bums to continually move toward other covers from wind for warmth: under bridges, in subways stations, in underpasses. An unfortunate migratory pattern.

From my experience in East Asia, I did not see this. A homeless person (and a drunk university kid, and a businessman) could sleep in a public park. They appear quite alright, perhaps tired from the world, but unagitated.

Homeless Asians are special.

Property is a concept I struggle to understand. To pay an enormous amount of money for space above earth. Does this directly derive from slave and slave-masters? Shouldn’t this concept be dead in the Information Age? [todo: read Debt: The First 5000 Years]

Even after much travels, the place I fear the most is where I am now: a large house in a gated community. A whistle is useless here.

Leave a comment | Categories: Thoughts, Travel, Urban Planning

The most powerful forms of art

25 November 2014 by Rahil

The characteristics are:
One that contains knowledge
One that directly affects humans via physical interaction.
One that is social
One that is beautiful

These are also forms of pleasure.

Physical interaction can be satisfied without manmade objects; The sublimity of nature is enough. So is eating and exercise.

In another view:
One that affects the mind, and
One that affects the body

The potency of art depends on the potency of the characteristics of the art and the audience. A more sensual art more strongly affects a more sensual person. A more mindful art more strongly affects a more rational person more. Beautiful and social arts affects everyone.

The more potent, the greater chance of reacting to it.

If social, potency, and therefore chance of reacting, is multiplied.

Hmm, is a social experience the end?

Or the beginning of another?

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Thoughts

The Sublime

23 November 2014 by Rahil

The tourism of Taiwan is beautiful. It’s built around the nature of it. Roads follow rivers through mountains, shops exist beside places where the earth was shaped in amazing ways. They hire architects from other countries to lead projects. How could I have lived in cities, spend time in front of screens, for so long?

Leave a comment | Categories: Thoughts, Travel

← Older posts