1. What is one of your best memories from childhood?
DIscovering fossils in my backyard.
2. Which field of applied science do you see being the most influential to humanity over the next century and what advances do you realistically expect to take place in that field?
Crossing my fingers for nanomachines and cybernetics. I totally want an unaging cyborg body.
3. Is there anything currently illegal that you think should be legal or vice versa? If so what are they?
I have something in mind, but I am not sure what the actual legal status of it is. So I'll remain silent for now.
4. If you could have dinner with any three polymaths who would you choose and what would you converse about?
Aristotle (just to tell him how wrong he was about everything), Goethe, and Benjamin Franklin - Da Vinci is up there as well.
5. What is your favorite vacation that you have been on and what would be a dream vacation for you?
Vacations have always been rather weird for me - but if there is one that stood out, it was going to Paris for a week.
My ideal vacation would be to go study for a few months Latin in Rome, or Greek in Athens. I like hiking as well, so perhaps several day of wilderness hiking in some beautiful mountain landscape.
I need activity and focus in vacation - otherwise I get bored.
6. If you were in a talent show what talent would you display?
Oh dear... magic? I've always wanted to be a magician.
7. What are three things you want to do before you die and what do you think are the chances you'll get to do any of them?
1. Rule an Empire - arguably small.
2. Make my kids watch all the Ghibli movies - fairly high.
3. Become a successful writer - arguably small.
8. How much of a person's personality and temperament do you think is determined by their enviornment (ie. culture, state, or familial influences) and how much is determined by their biological makeup (ie. genetics, neurobiological structure, etc.) and what do you make of the phenomena that may be a combination of both (ie. epigentics or brain plasticity)?
I fall strongly on environment/nature in these kind of debates. Biology has an impact, to be sure, but if speak of temperament/personality, I feel it is dominated by the kind of experience one has gone through.
9. What was the last book you read and how was it?
For work or for pleasure? Because I've read a lot of book recently for papers, but few for pleasures.
Let's see... the last one would be Adam Ferguson's "An Essay on the History of Civil Society", a very interesting work by a man who has been largely ignored because he found himself on the losing side of the enlightenment.
10. What is your favorite holiday and what is your prefered way of celebrating that day?
Christmas. Halloween has always been up there, but since I don't trick or treat or decorate anymore, the appeal as greatly diminished. Christmas is celebrated unsystematically in my family. Since there is quite a bit of distance between me and my relatives, some year it is celebrated within the direct family unit, other years it's kind of a family reunion deal. My mom makes the best buns, and we usually have a sort of breakfast feast, exchange gifts, and kind of loaf around or play outside, before enjoying a Christmas dinner.
11. What is your favorite type of cuisine (Italian, Chinese, French, etc.) and what are some of your favorite foods?
Hmm... I enjoy French and Italian cuisine the most. My favourite foods are deserts - pastries, chocolates, and cake. My parents did a lot of work in food and commerce when I was young - we were born in chocolate, they liked to say. Otherwise, to me, few things beat a good bread, a good cheese, some deli, roasted or marinated vegetables, and proper jams.
12. What was your favorite activity when you were little?
Hm... playing with dinosaurs/playmobiles/legos.
13. How fast can you solve a rubik's cube?
14. What is one lesson in life you've had to learn the hard way?
People are assholes.
15. How do you think the world will be different 300 years from now?
Very different, and yet, suspiciously the same.
16. You're taking a two week road trip and you can bring any two people along with you, (dead or alive, real or fictional), who are they and why them?
My friends. No more information is available.
17. If you had to live in any nation, other than the one where you currently reside, for the rest of your life where would you choose to live and why?
Classical Era Athens - not perfect, but the one I admire the most.
18. What type of women do you prefer dating ( in terms of looks, personality, temperment etc.)?
I don't have much dating experience. I guess I am partial for an active, curious and adventurous personality. Someone who would complement and balance out my melancholic disposition.
19. What are the traits that you think most women find most attractive in yourself? Why?
My roguish good look and intelligence. ;D
20. Least attractive? Why?
No idea. I am terrible judge as to that - I don't have a very positive opinion of my self.
21. If you were to be reincarnated as an animal of a different species, what animal would you want to be?
22. What's your favorite novel and who is your favorite author?
I'm not sure... maybe Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain or Gabriel Marcia Marquez' A Hundred Year of Solitude.
23. Which school of Economic thought is closest to your viewpoint between the Keynesian, Austrian, and Chicago economics?
But seriously, though, none of the above are particularly good, in my opinion. Keynesianism is perhaps the lesser evil.
24. Do you own or want any pets?
I want a big fluffy dog.
25. What invention or scientific breakthrough in the past 150 years do you think has been the most significant for mankind?
The computer and its technological environment.
26. Favorite mythological deity?
27. How close are your zodiac and chinese zodiac descriptions to being accurate?
Fairly close. Both the Lion and the Monkey describe me, but in different terms or aspect.
28. Who are some of your favorite couples in fiction?
Dr. Kasukabe and Haru.
Arguably, there are more, but it's late and I can't really think.
29. If I were to give you a massive amount of money with the stipulation that you had to give at least half of it to a charitable cause, what would you donate the money towards?
No idea. I've never been really interested in philanthropy. I believe in socio-political action. Private donations are dubious to me.
30. In the classic trolley problem, (it's in the spoiler tag below if you aren't already familar with it) what moral obligations if any does the bystander have in that situation? What would you personally do if it were you in that position?
Change the track - if that one person can't see the trolley come or doesn't get out of the way, clearly he was not fit to live to begin with.