Thursday, September 30, 2004

My Weekend - Part II (Saturday)

Up earlier than I would have liked because I didn’t sleep that well, but it was nice to see my mom in her usual spot reading the paper. J I drank some chocolate milk (so good!) and read the comics; which I’ve missed apparently (the jumble, too). I chatted and tried to sleep more, called about my luggage (it’s in Vancouver), read Far Side and then got ready to go to Guelph for Dave’s wedding. Dave and I met when we were 4, so this was a big moment to see my friend get married. We have wonderful discussions about many things but it usually turns into a religion ‘versus’ science debate. It’s important that we are still great friends despite some obvious intellectual disagreements. I was really happy with what I wrote in his card: May purity be your guide on this ineffably beautiful journey. I think it works for life as well.
Off to Guelph and let me say that good music and driving on a highway Ra-ocks! First, Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle,” then “Where the Streets Have no Name,” and then “Alert Status Red.” I was giddy and groovin’! The clouds looked nice and it thankfully wasn’t too hot out. I soon became acclimatized to the ‘niceness’ of Torontonian drivers who seem to need to get two spots ahead. Boo-urns.
I made it to the church and saw Dave outside with his wedding party (Black suits, ties, and converse sneakers J) and gave him a big hug. It is kinda weird that the last time I saw him was in Korea. Along the same lines, several of the people at the wedding I also met in Korea. Not one’s usual frame of reference for recognizing people (Hmm… didn’t I watch a bootleg dvd in an illegal viewing house in Korea with you?). The ceremony started soon after my arrival. It was beautiful!!! I was so happy for one of my best friends in that all important moment…I was beaming! Granted, Dave and I have differing views on theology and consequently much of the content was… not my thing. Dave and I even shared a smile regarding this difference. Alternatively, the feeling of being surrounded by people, singing in unison was a heart-warming experience. I got’s to get me some more of that! The vows were nice and the priest was decent. A friend of theirs played Sexsmith’s “The Least I Could Do,” and it was so good I thought it was a cd. An amusing photographer took a group photo and then onto the receiving line.
Eventually we made our way to the Arboretum for the reception. A good dinner (so hungry!) and some fun socializing. Leslie’s father’s speech was fantastic. Warmed your heart and well as touched it. “You see your child just trying to walk and then you turn around and they are running down a basketball court. You watch them learning to speak and soon they are discussing foreign politics and globalization. I am just so happy to be…. your father. (Referenced a line in ‘What a wonderful world’ that I often think of). I had to get something from my car and let me tell you running along a path in the dark in an arboretum is exciting if not bright. (Good moon, too) Dave made a slideshow of pictures (there was a cute one from our childhood) and then rocked out! He, Leslie (bride), his brothers and friends played 4 songs. Very cool, especially song two.
I had to bolt to make it home for my good friends who were waiting for me in Toronto. Driving along at decent speed only to find the highway stopped in traffic. I look over at an ‘on ramp’ and see people backing up. Hmmm… they could see further than me. I became a defector and joined others doing U-turns and driving up the on-ramp. Emergent illegal behaviour, such are the tendencies of humans. So, where the heck am I? Right of left? Meh, go right (U-turn sort of). Driving along, the speed limit kept increasing and I kept feeling things were getting sketchier. Consequently, I stopped at a gas station (with others in the same boat… what boat?) and found out how to arc over the highway. I went on a fantastic roller-coaster ride in the darkness of night with hills and swerves… yeah, it was exciting. I made it to the highway, made it home and told my friends I was a ‘very bad man.’ They were late too, so I didn’t feel too badly.
I was exhausted, so I lay on the floor of living room making silly noises. We grabbed some food and then made our way downtown to the Maddy. It was good to catch up with them and be in a familiar place. Saw someone from Queen’s and managed to not really impress some unimpressive girls. (It seems that I still want acceptance from people of whom I do not fully approve. Bah.) We decided, “Man, this place is dead anyway” and made our way to the lakeshore for a tripartite tree watering (ugh) and gorgeous moon action. I’ve missed my lakeshore! The skyline was pretty (despite the disgusting advertising) and the water was pretty, especially the moonlight shimmering on the waves. We had an unnecessarily contentious political discussion, after which I decided I would make greater efforts to not raise my voice in discussions and try to end ‘unreasonable’ discussions or not engage certain people in discourse. Regardless, it was a good night and hugs with good friends. A tuckered out Darren made his way to bed, after some Far Side’s of course.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My Weekend - Part I (Friday)

My weekend begins with an abrupt awakening at 5:00am to get to the Lord Nelson by 6, so I can be an hour early for my flight that leaves at 8:50. “Guh” was the best way to describe my mood. Whilst walking to the hotel, I noticed that it was a little cold out. I didn’t quite get the weather on the news but I thought I heard something about it being ‘fricken freezing’ (and something about ‘bigglesworth’ oddly). During my walk I noticed some stars I haven’t seen before, a thought that soon changed to those are probably stars I don’t usually see in that position.
Made it to the hotel fine and lucked out! A cabbie was taking some other people for the same price as the shuttle. Coolio, 70 minutes became 25. We were all amused by him getting out to fix his window/door because it had some issues. Anyway, I noticed the stars during the drive, as well as the early dawning sky increasing in that beautiful blueness of morning. Listening to the radio about Haiti and Sudan wasn’t exactly happy times, but it is important to be informed about the world.
Arrived at the airport about 6:30, really dang early for my flight, so I see if I can check in. Well, isn’t that nice, you can! I checked my two empty bags, which I brought to bring stuff back to Hali and then went to see a bench about some sleep. Turns out the bench was in, but wasn’t really communicative. Consequently, some awkward reading of Dennett and lying there exhausted ensued. Fun times!
I got some ‘hash browns’ from Burger King that was really just an excuse for me to eat massive amounts of ketchup (and made me think of the Japanese saying “fried po-ta-to”). On to the plane (yes boss, da plane) was exactly how it usually is, with me being happy with my window seat. During the acceleration before take-off I was pleased to watch water droplets travel across the window, much as they do on car windows during rain. I am fascinated by flight! It almost fascinates me more that most people don’t care at all. I love looking at the ground as it begins to move away, the clouds above or below, and whatever else I can see from my window. Humans made it so metal can fly.
The flight was decent (so tired!) and I read a bit of my Discover mag about Einstein. What a nice man. Sure he had some flaws, but truly quite an interesting existence. In 1905 he actually published 4 papers, each of which was amazing in its own rite, but it was the one on special relativity that got the most attention. No references, no citations, no math… not bad for a paper that changed the world (and it did, it is important for GPS stuff among various other things).
In Toronto, my Dad picked me up and it was good to see him. We waited for my suitcases that never came. Sigh. Out of the airport I noticed how much busier Toronto was (wow, look at all the cars) and could I have some cutlery to go with this air (bleagh!)
Fast forward to going home to see my mom (love my mom!) for 5 minutes before back out to get my health card renewed, which of course took annoyingly long. Home to sleep (my bed!) and then feel like arse for a couple hours. Called some friends to plan visitation times (like I’m in prison), watched a bit of In Living Colour and then (thanks to mom) interviews with Jay Leno (actor’s studio) and Jon Stewart (Ellen).
My friend Sara arrived, it was great to see her and even better because she helped me pack (not really, because I had no suitcases, but organized things). Then my friend Jenn arrived and it delightful to see her as well. It was amusing to watch good friends speak simultaneously and interact because I often see my friends individually. My mom was wonderful making dinner and leaving me time with my friends. They wanted to know what had been going on in ‘Dland’ so I talked about Halifax, my courses, the nice people I’ve met, the one arch nemesis (just seeing if you’re paying attention), and any other thoughts in my head. It is good to have the ear/feedback of those who know you and love you when you discuss life goals, ‘metaphysical/existential angst,’ or even just being silly. (There were cookies!) I drove my friend Jenn home and then had a discussion about politics for nearly an hour at midnight with my mom. No disagreements, just talking about what we’ve ‘heard’ lately or thoughts about November. A good night. It ended with me reading “Far Side” cartoons until I went to sleep. What a wonderful take on the world. Moat, bozone, inconvenience all made me laugh. I hope everyone else had a good night as well.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Downtown Dromedaries?

Whilst walking downtown with several friends, we passed a girl standing in front of a store. Her clothes were a little tight. You've heard of a camel toe? This was the entire hoof! We all noticed it and wondered what would possess someone to purposely dress like that. I wanted to say, "You know, if you had your pants just a little tighter (*peers closer*), people could measure when you shaved in hours not days."

Is that with an 'F' or a 'Ph?'

I was invited to a Fantasia party on the weekend. So, I show up in my cloak and hat, and I even brought a broom friend to carry some water. But uh... yeaagh, ooh... uh, well let's just say it wasn't what I expected! ;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Smile

Despite feelings of fatigue, I'm currently thinking that this quirky life is pretty good. School begins again, new relationships are forming, a good friend is getting married, missed people will be visited, 170+ pages were printed, chinese food was eaten, the sky, clouds and trees were respected and many smiles were had during my rare 14 hour day. Things are wonderful.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Beauty of Gray

Beware of those who dichotomize! Numerous times in conversations, from the everyday exchanges to greater intellectual discourse, people present situations in which they imply that you can have only two opinions or feel only two different ways. This is not only unlikely, but it almost always a false notion.
The more I learn and experience in the world, the more I see that things are almost never black and white, but shades of gray. It turns out things are complex. Natural phenomena, created institutions and morality are not easily nor accurately dichtomized, but are best described by continua which reflect their complexity. As soon as someone tries to put you in a position where something "has" to be one way or the other, you can reject their argumentative attempt on the grounds of being illogical.

In summation,
You're either With us, or Against us! (or you're actually reasonable and are somewhere in the middle)

Two more things:
a) Apparently another definition of dichotomy is when 'the phase of the moon, Mercury, or Venus when half of the disk is illuminated.' neat.

b) The group Live wrote a song awhile back and I thought I'd share some of the lyrics I was thinking of when I wrote this post.

"The Beauty of Gray"
...
The perception that divides you from her
Is a lie
For some reason we never asked why
This is not a black and white world
You can't afford to believe in your side

This is not a black and white world
To be alive
I say the colors must swirl
And I believe
That maybe today
We will all get to appreciate

The beauty of gray
...

Sleep is not overrated.

I just wish I was experiencing multiple "z's." I think I'd like to start with a capital one, followed by... say two, no, make it three, lower case ones.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Time for another war?

Apparently, Iran is about to follow Iraq, but will the US bite? Go to Matt's Sunday, Sept. 19th blog and look around while you're there.

Home


The camera adds 10 pounds (actual mass: 5.98 x 10 to the 24 kg. The problem was finding a large enough scale)

Popular Notions & Scientific Realities - Evolution

(My goal here is to offer corrections to popular notions about scientific ideas that are often misrepresented or misunderstood.)
Evolution is not synonymous with progress! There is no purpose, goal or intended direction in evolution, indeed there is nothing with intention at all; it is a mindless process.

The word evolution means the process by which something changes into something different. When most scientists use the word evolution they usually mean “evolution by natural selection,” in which things change over time because there is a copying mechanism (inheritance), the copying mechanism is slightly flawed (mutations) and there is differential reproduction (not everyone has kids).

A retrospective analysis of life on Earth would seem to display a drive in complexity, but is this progress? It is if you are measuring complexity! If we look at size, the planet has lost the dinosaurs and the larger Megafauna (cool!) from the past and is only left with a handful of large animals. That is not progressive, but only if you are measuring increasing size.

Everything has a measure, be cautious or at least aware of what you choose to evaluate. It is true that there is more complexity (measured how?), and that the brain size to body size ratio has been increasing, which enabled some organisms to try to describe the process of their creation. Yet, I must stress that there was never a ‘plan,’ things just happened and that is all.

Remember it is an adaptation to its environment that makes an organism succeed. Do not think ‘survival of the fittest,’ but instead ‘survival of the fitter.’

Friday, September 17, 2004

Just one question

If Jesus was a carpenter,
why are there so many broken homes?

Two of my fav songs.

"Omissions Of The Omen" by Matthew Good
(See lines 3 & 4)

Wait for me if I don't show up
Take from me this hypocrite's cup
And somewhere around the world
Someone would love to have my first world problems
Kill the moon and turn out the sun
Lock your door and load your gun
Free at last now the time has come to choose

Man makes god so god can make man
Man makes the devil so that he can understand
Why it is that every day,
Everything always turns out this way
You and me we were never here
You and me we were not that clear
You and me we died a long, long time ago

Don't think just come along
Do believe that it won't belong
Everything's open all night and all day anyway
Build me a ship of wood and steel
Bring me a net and fishing reel
Sail me to the place where I can find my brother
Safe and sound
Wait for me if I don't show up
Take from me this hypocrite's cup
And kill the moon and turn out the sun
Omissions of the omen

And...

Pillar Of Davidson by Live
(see 'Background lyrics' which I never knew until now!)

warm bodies, I sense
are not machines that can only make money
past, perfect, tense
words for a feeling and all I've discovered
I'll be along son with medicine supposed to,
designed to make you high
I'll be along son
with words for a feeling and all I've discovered

old, bad eyes
old, bad eyes
old, bad eyes

on loneliness comes
go see the foreman, go see the profiteer
on loneliness drives
we're takin' our time movin' shit for this holy slime

old, bad eyes
old, bad eyes
old, bad eyes, almighty fear

the shepherd won't leave me alone
he's in my face and I
the shepherd of my days
and I want you here by my heart and my head,
I can't start till I'm dead

Background Lyrics:
here I am locking horns with the stallion
failing to hold my head up, I'll go back again
pillar of davidson feeling to hard to go down
cheaper than all souls he will walk upon
deeper and deeper in love so I hold my head up
cheaper than all souls he will walk upon
pillar of davidson feeling to hard to go down

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Whaaaaa?

UnF—king believable! I actually got booted from The Second Cup! Granted, I have frequented the establishment several times (I’d say six times total) and I never buy anything. I do somewhat loiter and I usually put my legs up on a chair to rest them. Yet, I would say more than ½ the time I’m with friends who have bought things. It’s [was] a nice atmosphere, and the place isn’t usually packed. Imagine my surprise when I went in last night and went to sit on a couch in the back room with a friend and put my legs up that 4 minutes later a woman approaches me and in a very not so nice tone says “We know you, you’re always in here and you never buy anything, you just sit and put your feet up. Even the homeless guy has the decency to buy a cup of coffee.” I also believe that she indicated that I buy something or leave. Interestingly, my friend thought the woman was coming to ask if we wanted anything to drink, and was about to order something.
The woman did her hit and run. It was obviously effective because one cannot completely disregard such a social affront, so as I was on my way out I asked another staff member about what their precise policy is. I said, “I don’t usually buy anything, but my friends have, so am I required to buy something or just them.” He wasn’t prepared for such specificity but indicated that might be okay, but if it is only a cup of coffee you can’t really sit for 3 hours. Hmmm…. maybe they should post a sign. As it was 10pm on a Wednesday the place was not full and there was ample seating. My main issue was the nature of the communication: tactless and angry, versus communicative and confident. There are so many ways she could have said that better. Jebus Cripes, are we coming to a world where one cannot sit in a coffee shop?
Additionally, shouldn’t the homeless person (who had his feet up) be buying a protein bar and not a cup of coffee? I’m almost impressed that someone was ruder in Halifax than Toronto. Congratulations, bitch!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Look Up!

When you are walking around, look up! There are beautiful clouds that are puffy and whisping just for you. Leaves on the trees dance in the wind and flicker in the sunlight trying to get your attention. The sun brightens the oft negelected tops of buildings while planes are saying hi. Birds of a feather may or may not be flocking together, but they are usually out fluttering around in wonderful whimsical ways. Try to see all the beauty.

(plus it will likely help your respiration and posture)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Ugh.

Relating to my blog of a couple days ago, here are the faces of those that died. The whole thing is just so sad. If you want to feel creeped out look at the status bar while the photo files are loading. Or just move the cursor down and have the feeling of it not ending.
Of course, if you really want to be disturbed imagine your experience tenfold for the Iraqi deaths. Additionally, it must be remembered most of the Iraqi people that died were civilians.

A night on the town

Walking around Halifax last night, taking in the wonderful splendour that is the nightlife (not really of course, because I was out about an hour and returned home at 11:45pm). I came across various phenomena that made me feel oh(!) so connected to people:
1) the place where someone urinated.
2) the girl who spat out her gum after getting out of her car, before adjusting her clothes to look good for the bar.
3) The tipsy girl who said to me, “I really have to pee. Is that attractive”
4) The girls who all have cigarettes for probably no good reason.
5) The girl who just spat on the street (oh, that’s hot!)
6) The girl who was bent over sitting on the curb. I thought she probably felt ill, but could have had emotional difficulties as well. I was just about to say “Excuse me, are you ok?” when she threw up between her legs. Ooooh… classy.
7) The guy spitting on the street.
8) The guy revving his bike and then taking off in a loud noise (made me want to date him)
9) The person throwing their cigarette butt out of the car window. (this actually made me want to run after the car and flick in the window)

But there were 2 good things. The first was a band covering “Ahead by a Century,” which is a song that I love. The second happened as I was about to enter my apartment. There were two guys sitting on the entrance steps and one asked "Hey man, you got a smoke?” to which I replied "Sorry, I don’t smoke." As I was walking up the stairs the other guy (on a cell phone) looked up while turning his head and said, "Hey, did anyone ever tell you you look like that superman guy from TV?"
I smiled and said "Yes, I get that once in awhile." Now the first guy chimed in saying, "Yeah man, you really do... you just need the tattoo."
I said, "I have a tattoo."
They said, "Let’s see it! Let’s see it!"
So I flashed the tattoo. This act seemed to cause what could be best described as gleeful monosyllabic utterances. I said "Have a goodnight guys," and as I went in I heard the guy who was still on his cell phone say, "blah blah...Dean Cain..." in a delighted tone. They were both really happy about this situation. I must say that this brought a smile to my face and a laugh to the air in the elevator. It was good to end on a high note. :)


Thursday, September 09, 2004

A picture is worth a thousand lives


I just thought it was important to put a face to the situation.

We follow orders [and] people die.

I think most of us have heard the numbers of those killed, but it seems the news cannot help but communicate that American lives are worth more. They aren't. Young children are not the enemy and anyone who thinks these people are against 'freedom' probably has not really thought about it. I think this is important to know, but the scroll of Iraqi Civilian deaths is one of the most saddening thing I've seen.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Goodnight Moon

Mostly copied from Palmer’s Vision Science: Photons to Phenomenology (2000) pg. 322-324.

The Moon illusion is the universal perception of the moon as being larger when it is located low in the sky (near the horizon) than when it is high in the sky. Just so you know, the moon is about 450,000km from earth and it isn’t actually bigger near the horizon.

There is no agreed upon explanation of why this is so, but here is the best one I’m come across:
We use depth cues available from the surrounding context of an object we are viewing to determine distance. When the moon is seen on the horizon, it is seen in the context of the ground terrain extending into the distance. When it is at its zenith, it is seen only in the context of stars and empty space. The “apparent distance theory” (Ptolemy to Rock & Kaufman, 1962) hypothesizes that this makes the moon appear further away at the horizon than at its zenith, as though the sky were flattened not spherical. When the same-sized retinal image is seen as farther away (horizon), it will be perceived as larger than when it is seen as closer (zenith). But, if asked when the moon looks closer, people usually say the horizon moon, which the theory hypothesizes to be registered as farther. The response to this challenge is to state that people are consciously judging the moon’s distance from its apparent size, after the unconscious process has done nearly the reverse. This would mean it is a two-stage process: an initial unconscious one and a later conscious one.

Support
1) On a moonless night, people judged an imaginary point at the horizon farther away than one at the zenith of the sky.
2) When observers viewed artificial moons (whose size could be controlled) through a screen that occluded the ground terrain, the standard illusion disappeared.
3) Using optic tricks, Kaufman and Rock were able to reverse the visual context of the two moons, projecting the horizon moon with its contextual ground terrain upward into the zenith position and the zenith moon with its surrounding empty sky down into the horizon position. The moon illusion then reversed.
4) They showed that a smaller appearing moon is always judged to be farther away, regardless of whether it is at the horizon or zenith. That supports the proposal that the moon’s apparent size governs the answer to questions about its distance.


Hope that helps a little. I'm sure we've all thought about it at some point. :)

Monday, September 06, 2004

Isolated… ated… ated.

People are people persons. The desire for social interaction, relationships and companionship was breed into us from our evolutionary past and still exists today. For thousands and thousands of years, humans lived in social groups, not to hang out at the local Pleistocene mall, but for survival. No human can survive alone. There are various degrees of dependency, but if someone does not take care of you when you come out, you probably will not do too well. We needed each other for protection, food procurement, and wanted each other for a more enjoyable way to release endorphins. As our society changed, the helpful hands of others became hidden. I would assert that it is still the case that no human can survive alone, but after a certain age, they can manage to go without interaction with others. Isn’t technology great? Consequently, it is true that some people are socially reclusive, but they are few are far between, with the majority of people desiring and wanting friends, a family, and even just human contact. Those that do shun society are usually angry, insecure or simply highly meditative. I believe the troubled ones would often like social interaction, but do not know how to do this and/or are scared of being psychologically hurt by some form of rejection by others. When people say, “kids can be so cruel,” they really should not limit their generalization by age.

A curious thing has happened; there are now simulations of sorts and various degrees of what counts as a real interaction with a person. Some people find their friends in books or on TV, while others on the Net. As for the first two, the characters one reads about or watches are not real, but fascinatingly they bring many friendship-like comfort and entertainment. TV is definitely the more insidious of the two. The people on TV are always there. They will not reject us, and they always approve. Why bother with real people when you have access to ‘friends’ who are usually smarter, happier, funnier and more attractive than any real friend could be? (Or dumber and weirder, which then makes us feel better.) Well, the quick answer is that you would be living in a fantasy land, and it will only lead to false expectations that will cause problems in your actual interactions. Interestingly, the actors who play these characters cannot even live up to who they portray. The problem is both one of capability and the medium of TV that tends to distort all it presents. You might say “Yes, by definition of them being ‘actors’ that is likely true. So what?” I would then say your words are an obvious statement that is not often realized, so it is good to often repeat it.

The interactive nature of the Internet is what makes it closer to actually talking to people. Here one can talk to anyone from anywhere in the world. Of course, ‘talk’ usually means type, ‘anyone’ means anyone wealthy enough to have Internet, and ‘anywhere’ means any country or county that is wealthy enough to have the infrastructure to support the technology. That being said, the possibilities are nearly endless. The cost of communicating across long distances greatly decreases while access to people who might have your interests greatly increases. The latter could be very important to individuals who feel distinct and may have a limited sample of people with which to interact. But there is a catch: anonymity. By this I mean that people may lie and there is no way for you to check. I think the majority of Net users are (mostly) honest about who they are and what their life is about, but there is also the problem of poseurs. This practice ranges from people just having fun and playing ‘dress up,’ to the very frightening and horrid molester looking to lure. Variations on the former are not problematic, unless you want to have meaningful interactions. The nature of this anonymity leads to the other fact: physical distance from those with whom you interact. This in turn leads to a psychological distance. With a psychological distance in place, the customary social protocol diminishes or dissipates. People feel freer to act. Good for those who were previously to shy to approach others, bad for everyone else who is now more easily harassed. I would say that the defining point is that people care less. If one were searching for greater meaning, it would be understandable that one would be wary of a communicative medium that automatically reduces the level of caring involved when interacting with others. The Internet provides a plethora of interactive possibilities, but caution is urged regarding the sincerity of those experiences.

While the aforementioned mediums offer various options, I believe that most humans probably prefer the old-fashioned approach: meeting people ‘in person.’ The experience of meeting someone face-to-face is unparalleled, and potentially will be forever, but likely to remain unchallenged for at least the next 50 years. The reason for this is humans have many different ways of communicating aside from constructed language. A crinkle of the forehead, roll of the eyes, flip of the hair, kick in the shins (just seeing if you’re awake) and a curve of the lips are just some of the myriad ways people communicate with one another without saying a word. Most of the time this accelerates the communication process. Situations of blushing or expressing surprise may make us feel that our bodies say things we would prefer they kept secret. Less walls, more openness. While this can be scary for many, the rewards are much greater. An experience can be made memorable or even acquire worth just by the nature of it being shared. Whether it be a conversation, movie, sports game, book, people watching or nature exploration/appreciation, doing it with someone compatible is more enjoyable. (Conversations are usually better with someone else. I for one hate talking to myself, I somehow always manage to lose arguments.) But what does this notion of ‘compatible’ mean? I think compatibility is best described by two people that have sufficient overlap on a variety of experiences, inclinations, beliefs, hobbies, and ideologies to warrant an interaction that results in an overall positive experience. With an additional postulate that they may only need sufficient overlap in one category to have a positive experience within that category, and allow the non-overlapping parts to remain inactive both by environment and decision. What counts as sufficient overlap? That is a question only you can answer.

For some people, as long as another has a few similar interests, they will interact with this person and become good friends. Others are more selective. Such criteria could be about religion, lifestyle, occupation, disposition/outlook, politics, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, intelligence, hobbies, physicality, openness, and probably the biggest one which links some of the others-positions on issues of ethics and values. It must also be mentioned that there are varying degrees of compatibility. Some criteria will be fulfilled, others not and yet beautiful friendships can result. One need not find 100% overlap in all areas; it is unlikely and may actually be undesirable in the sense of seeking at least some novelty from interacting with another. Alternatively, some issues are going to be deal-breakers: those criteria which will prohibit future interaction with another or at least in the context of a decent friendship/relationship. Once again, the question of deal-breakers is a personal one.

I myself (what an interesting two words to start a sentence) have numerous near deal-breakers. I say ‘near’ because if other aspects of a person are highly valuable to me, there can be sufficient overlap for friendship. Different categories will bring about different degrees of attraction or repulsion to different people. Of course, if most people engage in a certain behaviour, those that do not will feel somewhat isolated from the crowd. Obviously this depends on the context, for even in a zero-overlap environment other factors can happily coincide and a pleasant time can be experienced. I would say that the more unique one’s criteria, the greater difficulty they will encounter in finding sufficient overlap for friendship. This situation would be exacerbated if one of the aforementioned unique criteria were a demand for greater overlap than most others. As well, once you’ve known what a great friendship/relationship is like, or seen how it could be possible, it is hard to accept otherwise.

I value thinking, introspection and silliness. I am trying to actualize my potential and be as real to myself as I can. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I dislike the idea of using a chemical substance to achieve a preferred psychological state. I am a naturalist and think that a God is not necessary to have the beauty or meaning that people want. I am trying keep the number of my sexual partners down, not raise it. I don’t not feel patriotism/nationalism is a good thing, nor are separations along racial or ethnic lines. I don’t watch sports, value fancy cars or most materialistic goods. I try to reject the societal urge to impress others by being a ‘big man’ and all that that entails. I have an extended sense of self, try to respect people and think about the consequences of my actions. I think about others in the world and how I only have first world problems and that in turn highly impacts on my actions. It is hard to find sufficient overlap.

I guess I could have just written “I’m lonely sometimes,” but I felt that wasn’t explanatory enough. Additionally, I think it might be presuming just a little too much to ask for you to infer two and a half pages of thoughts. ;)

Sound bite
If you want to feel divided from others do the following:
1) Reject materialism (commercial)
2) Embrace materialism (philosophical-scientific).

Dennitty Goodness

Below is an excerpt regarding free will, but I thought it relevant to other avenues of human thought. Which ones do you think it applies to?

This polarization is probably inevitable. When the stakes are high, one should be cautious, but excess caution leads to hardened positions and paranoia about “erosion.” If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, as they say. Beware the thin edge of the wedge, the slippery slope. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. Caution can also lead to a sort of unwitting self-caricature, however. In their zeal to protect something precious, people sometimes decide to dig the moat too far out, thinking that it is safer to defend too much than risk defending too little. The result is that they end up trying to defend the indefensible, clinging to an extreme position that is actually vulnerable only because of its exaggeration. Absolutism is an occupational hazard in philosophy in any case, since radical, hard-edged positions are easier to define clearly, are more memorable, and tend to attract more attention. Nobody ever became a famous philosopher by being a champion of ecumenical hybridism. On the topic of free will this tendency is amplified and sustained by tradition itself: As philosophers for two millennia have said, either we have free will or we don’t; it’s all, or nothing at all. And so the various compromise proposals, the suggestions that determinism is compatible with at least some kings of free will, are resisted as bad bargains, dangerous subversions of our moral foundations.
-Dennett, Freedom Evolves (p. 101)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Education and facial manipulation

I recieved these from a friend:

1) There is a difference.

According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington recently was faced with a unique problem........A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would put them back. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was
required.
He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.
Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY.. There are teachers, and then there are Educators

2) Stupid is as stupid looks?

Machismo

I was thinking of buying a Hummer and painting on the side "I have a small penis."
When I encounter people looking at me quizzically, I will say, "Oh, I used to have to work out a lot, but now they have cars." *wink with shooter guns*

(Oh, and I think I should get a spoiler for the back. I feel the end lifts up a bit)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

This should be one of the most meaningful pictures of your life


Perspective


In 1989 both Voyager spacecraft had passed Neptune and Pluto. Carl Sagan wanted one last picture of Earth from "a hundred thousand times" as far away than the famous shots of Earth taken by astronauts from the moon during the Apollo series.
The result is stunning. In Sagan's words, "Because of the reflection of sunlight off the spacecraft, the Earth seems to be sitting in a beam of light, as if there were some special significance to this small world. But it's just an accident of geometry and optics. The Sun emits its radiation equitably in all directions. Had the picture been taken a little earlier or a little later there would have been so sunbeam highlighting the Earth.
"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
"The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand."
--Carl Sagan
from Pale Blue Dot
 Posted by Hello

Ain't Gobalization Great?

1) I received a bubble maker 'kit' recently from my friend Sara and I thought I would share what was written on the back:
Bubbles made in Mexico from U.S. Ingredients.
Bottle, cap and label made is U.S.A.
Bubble toys made in China.
Packaging made and printed in Hong Kong.

I am amused how the first line makes me think that the air in the bubbles comes from either Mexico of the US. Hey, at least it was printed on recycled paper.

2) My friend Mike gave me a lamp, so I looked on the inside rim to determine the appropriate bulb wattage and found this:
Caution: to reduce the risk of fire use 60 watt type A or smaller lamp.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it looks like the sticker told me to get another lamp to reduce the risk of fire. If so, that's a great idea and could be used in numerous ways! I think a better one would be "to reduce the risk of fire, use sunlight." haha (not with a magnifying glass for all you anal types)