Friday, December 14, 2007

Post 30 - Just means that I am slow.

Earlier today the ever-present lady love of my life was rereading some of her bible, specifically genesis, and found herself amazed by some of the claims set out therein. Remember, the bible is the word of god and therefore, though scribed by men, reflects the words, thoughts and intentions of the creator of the universe.

It is nice that mankind has had a constant reminder of our perfect creation and that simple facts, taken in context, have bolstered and reinforced scientific discovery of the means, places and mechanisms set out during our creation.

One can only wonder though, has the original story stood the test of time or should we take a closer look at some of the details. I know, I know. The devil is in the details. But so is the truth, is it not?

Now I looked at 5 or 6 different translations of the bible at the free site (link) and they were too varied and cryptic to compare next to one another. Now I don't want to pick one and then take crap for getting the wrong translation (technically it shouldn't matter but I split literary hairs much thinner than some of the publishers) so I decided to go with a list from these guys.

Here's a synopsis by action and day. I have added comments as to the possibility of this order with the current set of physics [my comments are bracketed, the parentheses are from the original list]

Day One

  1. Watery, formless planet Earth suspended in the darkness and void of space (no stars, no sun, no moon, no planets - except for Earth). [This is obviously a typo with no stars and other cosmic features earth would be a cold dead lump of ice. Since earth contains elements heavier than Iron there had to have been at least one supernova before its creation. There's no other way to create super heavy elements without some catastrophic action occurring before hand. This explanation is also inconsistent with the Heliocentric model of the solar system.]
  2. Light. [One will have to wonder where the light came from since the Sun, moon and stars are days away. Taken literally it's not so hard to imagine but the common 'oh a day back then could have been a million years' argument makes this seem like an awfully long time to be holding a lamp.]
  3. Separation of light from the darkness - and the first indication that the planet is rotating (day and night cycle produced). [The planet rotates, that's fine. But why not just create the sun first to make things easier? If I was going to build a car in my garage I wouldn't wait for 3 days to turn the light on. Even using a temporary flashlight/glowstick/lamp would be clunky and inefficient. Oh well, Day one is over with.]

Day Two

  1. Formation of Earth's atmosphere, separating the water into two parts:
    (a) oceanic and subterranean water
    (b) atmospheric water. [I would like to call Shenanigans here because there are a few details left out. 'Atmospheric water' is never mentioned in any translation of the bible I have been able to find. Most editions allude to...well here's the King James Version: "6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

    7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so." Now one has to beg the question. I just checked my physic's book and found no mention of 'firmament.' In fact I had to check wikipedia just to come up with some interesting answers. I will let you judge them.

As I see it this verse only goes to show how the world works. There is the flat, solid overturned bowl of the earth sitting between two great layers of water. One is above the earth and the other is supporting the world from below. Need I only invoke the words 'gravity' and 'outer space' to convey the correct view. The earth closely resembles a sphere with bumps and valleys that rock and sway to the tune of isostasy and tectonic motion. Also the sky is not a layer of water, even atmospheric water it's air with evaporating water in it. Let's move on.]


Day Three

  1. Dry land and oceans. [Fair enough. Spade work on a very large scale could accomplish this. It's odd that there's no mention of the world being a single landmass before breaking up and drifting out into our modern continents.]
  2. System to water the entire land surface using subterranean waters (involving springs or mist, or both). [Oh everywhere on Earth gets water. I guess this place doesn't count for much. No biggie.]
  3. Vegetation, seed-bearing plants, trees that bear fruit. [Here's another example of where the bible doesn't quite shine. Without animals, insects and symbiotic relationships these plants are going to have a shitty time trying to reproduce. If the seven day account is true then that's ok. But if it isn't then god must've taken care of all that pollination. Either that or all the animal and insect species evolved on their own from single-celled creatures. No wait, there's no mention of evolution in the bible so god must have taken care of it.]
  4. Garden of Eden (probably). [And where did that end up? Oh right, it got smooshed in the
    flood way later.]

Day Four

  1. Sun [Bout time! Now god can relax his flashlight hand. I bet his thumb smarted a good bit after so much time. At least now, with a sun, we can justify having a planet out in the middle of nowhere without a universe to pester it.]
  2. Moon - complete with established orbit so as to mark passage of time (months, seasons, and years). [Nice touch, god. Throw in a little reflector action so night time isn't such a hassle for the plants. It should be noted that nearly every translation does not say the sun and the moon but rather the 'greater light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night' That stinks. Moonlight is really starlight. Must be another typo right?]
  3. Stars and other planets. [Genesis 1:16 is about as far as I can usually get into the bible before I have to put it down out of principle. To spend this amount of time and then dismissively mention 'he created the stars also' is like writing a book on one skin cell and how it was put together and then casually mentioning that there are six billion other people out there. No big deal though right, this is how the universe came to being.]

Day Five

  1. Water creatures of all kinds. (All that had “the breath of life” were vegetarian.) [Well I hope this includes algae and plankton or a WHOLE lot of fish are going to be pretty hungry. I wonder why there's no mention of the horrific freakishly weird critters that live in the deep dark of the ocean (also in my nightmares) What's weird to me is that terrestrial plants (dry land) all bear weird similarity to sea plants. Stranger still the fossil record and DNA evidence suggest that life came out of the ocean onto land and not vice versa. Typo?]
  2. Birds (all vegetarian).

Day Six

  1. Land animals (all vegetarian): (a) creatures that move close to the ground (small animals), (b) large animals, and (c) animals of use to man as livestock. [We've finally managed to get close to some consistency with natural observation. Land animals did come AFTER sea critters. However I am fairly certain that some fishes had figured out that eating their neighbors works just as well as a survival strategy. I mean there are flesh eating microbes. Come to think of it the emphasis on vegetarian life is a little weird. Oh well, could just be a typo. Spell check much, god?]
  2. Man. [No comments]
  3. Woman (saving the best for last?). [Ah now we come to my favorite part of the bible. God is done and now it is up to people to get busy with the babies. It does seem a little gross that Seth and Cain have to get busy with their sisters but hey. That is out of scope for this post.]
So as we can see it is so easy to forget that the bible is one hundred percent accurate and contradiction free. However, and I know I'm just being difficult and proud here, there are a few questions I have that make me wonder if a couple parts got skipped or shuffled around.

Consider cosmic background radiation. Even the coldest deepest darkest corner of space is about 3 degrees kelvin. Pesky scientists would say that's just residual radiation from the big bang. Maybe. Or maybe god flicked a giant cosmic booger into the great attractor just to be funny.

Earth is round. Why not just make mention of this simple and obvious fact? If you sculpted a world hanging in the void of space and intended it to rotate your options for shape are a little limited. Round or...well round is about all you get. Earth would have been much more interesting as a ringworld but oh well. Maybe next time.

I really worry about that line 'he created the stars also' because there are an awful lot of stars. IN the milky way alone there are hundreds of billions. Our galaxy is not unique either, there are billions if not trillions of galaxies out there. I cannot convey the scope and scale of the universe. No one can. It's like our brain only evolved to suit life on a single planet that would never discover our true place in the cosmos. No wait! I mean its like our brain was designed to only comprehend life on earth and nowhere else ever.

Lastly the whole Adam before Eve thing just makes me wonder. See dudes have a Y chromosome which is basically a retarded X chromosome. See our reproductive gear is much simpler since we don't gestate babies we just spam out the Y's. You'd think that would imply that females would come first and then men would be derived from them but that's not what the bible says so I must be wrong.

I hope at least one person found some enlightenment from this post. I would also like to provide shout outs to Biblegateway and Christian Answers

It has been fun but now I must go. If anyone manages to read this and likes or dislikes feel free to comment as you will.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Every day is a good day to be an atheist...except the day you die.

I feel like I got pwnt at the Y today, and not just because I overdid it in the pool. I overheard some folks talking about their Atheist son and 'what to do' with him because of all the trouble his disbelief was causing.

Being the asshole that I am (hey I can admit fault every now and again) I stuck my big fat nose out and said 'Why don't you just let him believe what he wants and see if he stays an Atheist or comes back around.'

You always know its a bad sign when the three guys having a conversation are all bigger than you and they stop talking all at once.

"Because I don't want him to die and go to hell before he comes to his senses!" Replied the boy's father, a 40+ dude in a decent suit.

Shame, shame on me! I was hoping to be that random person that turned a bunch of angry thoughts into a more contemplative tone. Boy did my judgement fail! If I had a picture of those guys (not keen on the camera in the lockerroom...so much hair...bleh!) I'd have to slap the ol' DO NOT WANT caption on it.

Granted I can sympathize with other parents when it comes to a limited number of issues. As the midget continues to grow that list will only grow longer. But it got me thinking about how I would feel if Alex came up to me at some point in high school and said 'Dad, I have done my research and concluded that I believe in scientology'

I would not take something like that lightly. In fact if my 40 year old self is much like my current, soon to be 26 year old self then I can already imagine the unruly tearing dilemma I will face at such a moment. Do I get angry, do I say 'well that's fine by me' or do I just burst out laughing that it was scientology out of all things.

One wonders.

However, and this is partially inspired by watching the Golden Compass last night, I am beginning to find my urge to smite stupidity and weirdness strangely waning. Although I write about it more than ever the actual intrinsic feeling just doesn't match what it once was. Perhaps this is a symptom of age but I wonder if it's a discovery of the limits of my concern.

After all while I do not believe in a lot of the strange, hokey and sometimes just downright retarded beliefs (homeopathic medicine, that means you!) I don't automatically hate on people for having them.

I guess what I really hate is when people limit the freedom of others to believe in what they want. And I say that meaning full well that everyone has the right to talk shit about beliefs of their own and others. Some times this will lead to feelings getting hurt but I would really love to see the way when someone in public could make a statement and it would be socially acceptable for a perfect stranger to say 'prove it, bitch!' And then passersby could join in the discussion.

I get chills just thinking about it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Malevolent Design

Yes mate you've struck a rich vein of cynical consternation. And yet for all the discomfort caused by the truth distortion I begin to turn my scowl into a wicked little grin.

A revelation has come along sliver by tiny sliver into a cloud of one-dimensional razors. Here it is in short form. The longer version will follow suit later.

Even though I submit that Intelligent Design is undoubtedly false and arrogant beyond measure there are people that will leave this earth with their last thought being 'oh goodie, now i get to go to heaven and see my lord...'

That's when their brain shuts down and they get nothing. Or, to be optimistic and pull straight from the fat teat o' knowledge via Kurt Vonnegut it might be purple and there might be a hum. Hmm.

Before this turns into another tirade, unfocused and unkempt I will submit two simple tidbits.

First: Every one has been to a funeral or found out that someone died and felt like shit because words just don't suffice sometimes. It is very sad and on a day like that an Atheist really doesn't have a lot of comforting things to say. (In case there is any doubt never use the term 'worm food' at a funeral, jesus christ)

But so what. Every other day of your life the Atheist has more reason to be hopeful than the believer. Even though no one is watching, and no punishment or reward is to be had once we doff this mortal coil I submit that every day lived for this life is better than a lifetime just dragging your feet through life thinking about the great big ice cream van in the sky.

Second: Intelligence is a really tricky word. According to wikipedia...

Intelligence is a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. However, some psychologists prefer not to include these traits in the definition of intelligence.

Lots of words and the exact means and mechanism remains more or less clear to everyone if the definition isn't just a little hazy. I'll use a simple reduction to simply put that an entity possessing intelligence has the ability to analyze and process information in some format(s) that results in probable gains for that entity.

Simple, clunky, like a rollar skate with a severed foot still in it. Intelligence does not at any point require anything like human consciousness. It is hard to believe or accept but the part of our brain that we consider 'us' isn't really the most important. Think of a novice programmer sitting at a grossly over powered computer cluster. The system executes commands with infinitely greater speed and reliability than the human programmer and yet without those inputs the server cannot process much of anything. Consciousness is the hapless nerd, the rest of the brain is the super cluster.

Now in order for intelligence to make any sort of 'design' it has to carry some benefit or there is no gain and therefore no reason to waste energy on it. So there must be a reason not only for the design itself but the results of it as well. For example you can't design a perfect car that's 6 feet wide to drive on 3 foot wide roads.

Since ID relates to biological evolution we'll stick to that as our yard stick and we'll consider the pre-life universe as the 'road' onto which our 'cars' will be built. Certainly the cars themselves will be important as well as the features but so will the roads. And so will the road maker. THAT is where I hope to direct the most visceral of my arguments. For the road and the car function together and not in isolation.

And that interaction, as well as the individual features of both components, and their functions as whole entities is what I will shed my light upon.

And when I do...well, you'll just have to find out.

Ben Stein...you sad sad man...

How many times have I seen a tiny vial of eye drops and thought...'wow' in that Ben Steinish voice.

More than I care to remember. And I remember the days when Jimmy Kimmel was just a stooge hanging out on Ben Stein's barstool. It was an excellent show, no doubt, but the current contest is not so amusing.

Expelled the movie. What a disheartening venture. A while back I watched a trailer and it struck me as being really awesome because it looked like an honest-to-the-flying-spaghetti-monster truthful look at the purported debate between ID and Evolutionary Theory. *I capitalize ID only to distinguish it from id*

But no. No no no no no. Having updated the trailer one can only wonder what has happened to the man calling roll in Ferris Bueller's day off. He is now apparently an ID proponent. Shame on you, Ben Stein. Shame on you!!

Setting aside my deep seated hatred for the slithery wiles of insinuative religious bullshit just for a moment I would like to make a simple comment. Free speech is awesome, I love it to death and I can't see myself living in an America without it. Your opinion is yours to keep or share or whatever you choose to do with it and that is fine by me.

Science, on the other hand, does not look kindly on 'free' speech. Opinion does not have any effect whatsoever on the speed of light through a vacuum. It does not alter the planck constant nor diminish the grasp of universal gravitation. Science doesn't give a flying fuck what you think unless you can test your theory and make predictions based upon it.

Further setting aside the mounting rage that threatens my blood vessels into flirting with spectacular rupture I concede that evolution is not law. Darwin was not a prophet. DNA is not the new gospel. Moreover there are more holes in the fossil record then there are craters on the moon. (That may or may not be true, FYI)

Ha! You might say. I have fallen victim to my own incomplete theory and there is no other alternative than some dipshit intelligence that spun life into existence. I admit nothing to this except that given the choice between random chaotic evolutionary forces hammering out the ecosystem we see today and some mystical dogooder that actually had the nerve to DESIGN the world this way I would choose the one with better evidence, not with more appealing arguments.

Many creationists are quick to throw out 'Darwin recanted' Guess what? He probably did not and even if he did who gives a shit!? Not me.

I don't care if after publishing 'The Origin of Species' Darwin changed his tune and said that finches were extra-dimensional beings who traveled through time destroying the critters that they did not like. It wouldn't matter a bit.

The idea itself is what comes into question. The modern theory of evolution is not simple natural selection as Darwin observed. It kills me to see how much progress biology has made since 1859.

I also admit freely that Natural selection is not enough to explain the origin of life, the perseverance of weird critters and the genetic diversity that we see in modern life. Luckily in the 148 intervening years between 1859 and 2007 science has come a long way.

There are a number of key features about the theory some are more important to people than others but none are so important, for me, as the genetic similarity that we see between creatures of similar origins. Case in point: Humans look, act and seem very similar to our closest relatives: the great apes.

We do not derive from any modern animal stock but it is easy to see how we could have shared a common ancestor. Naturally things have changed for us, but they have also changed for our primate cousins. Now this raises some interesting questions.

If evolution is a reasonable theory then similar animals would have similar DNA. We can make this point reasonable because if a single species branches into two groups then each of those groups will continue to move apart from each other. Bigger genetic differences imply longer seperation, more mutations and less chance of interbreeding.

Now if all life was designed by an external intelligence why the hell would he/she/it (hereafter referred to as 'shit') design it with such similarity between similar species. If we do not share our ancestry with the great apes WHY THE FUCK DO WE SHARE SIMILAR DNA!?!?!

Is that not enough to make you scratch your head and wonder. What possible reason is there for this deception? What sort of creator would purposefully do such a thing?

Think about it. And then consider, just for kicks, that the great apes have 48 chromosomes. Humans have 46. Whew, that was cloes. Different chromosomes, different species right? ID says that there's not continuity between species and never has nor ever will be. Good thing right?

Wrong. For the explanation just click here.

Tricky eh? The trial that Dr. Miller is referring to related to a school district fighting ID in the classroom. Specifically they were ripping on the science teachers having to read a statement that evolution is 'only a theory' and not the only one out there.

Yikes.

Well they lost, a victory for reason. Here's the problem as I see it. Religious types will kindly ignore previous examples of the church smashing on controversial scientific ideas such as a heliocentric solar system, spherical earth theory and the age of the earth being a few orders of magnitude older than claimed by so called young earth creationists.

Ask anyone if the earth is flat, revolves around the sun or is suspended in celestial aether and you will probably get a laugh and a resounding no. The earth is demonstrably round, the sun demonstrably the relative center of our solar system and radioactive dating methods such as potassium-argon (read more about the process here) prove that the earth itself is billions of years old.

More importantly if you look up at night, with the naked eye, you can see stars that are older than the supposed age of the earth. That is, if you can see the stars from your house. Since the figure fluctuates with new discoveries I'll just say that we presume the universe is older than 10 billion years. I've heard everywhere from 8-15 so I try to be vague.

I have no doubt that the universe is old as balls. True I don't know the exact number of years. I couldn't possibly. We may never have an estimate of the universe's age to within even a thousand years. I personally would be impressed if we could could nail it to within a million (considering the scale of the time needed to evolve a universe) Does that mean we throw out the notion of the age of the universe and demand that only She/He/IT knows?

No! That would be retarded. We don't chuck a good theory because it has loose ends. If we did science would not accomplish much of anything. Then where would we be?

Here's where things get tricky. I agree that science should challenge the status quo. If it did not challenge the status quo then it couldn't function. The very means by which science is accomplished is antithetical to human thinking.

I agree that potential ideas should not be discarded solely because they resist our current understanding. However, ID is not rejected so wholeheartedly by scientists and teachers and people with functioning brains because of moral, political or spiritual conflicts. It is so vehemently rejected because it IS NOT SCIENCE.

Oh but they have biologists and physicists to agree with them. True enough. But contrary to popular myth lone scientists rarely accomplish much of anything. It certainly appears that they have in the past see Einstein, Newton, Galileo and all the big heavy hitters of their respective eras but these men had contemporaries and a knowledge base built from the past up until their lifetime.

Strength in modern science does not derive from loners who have labratories up in dark shady places it happens in teams. You think Intel or IBM freelances chip design out to single people? They don't. You think individuals can manufacture nanoscale equipment? Well guess what, they can't.

I love science, odds are overwhelming that most people that enjoy it are alive today because of it in part or in whole. Now just because something butts heads with the status quo doesn't mean its a valid theory. Belief in anything supernatural will never be scientific BECAUSE if it is not a natural or observable process it cannot be tested, duplicated or verified independently.

Sorry ID, you lose right there. People's insistence that we give credence to nonsensical beliefs simply due to their popularity is not now and will never be anything approaching scientific.

Obviously science does not operate in a vacuum. Most of the research that's being done on planet earth is either to further or create something with tangible economic games. Never mind the benefits to society brought about by computers they sell like hotcakes in the developed world.

Once again I realize how big a piece I have bitten off and only managed to nibble around the edges. Here I will drop a nuke towards the core of the matter. ID is no better than creationism in terms of its usefulness to humanity. Granted it's a little different but it is no better at explaining the nature of the world.

ID serves no useful purpose. It is not testable. What is the criteria for what constitutes design versus happenstance? Species are not clear cut. Life is mutable. Genes are not the sole influence upon the world. People are animals and subject to the same forces, chemicals and weaknesses as any other animal. Culture-bearing creatures or not we are fucking primates!!

What more does it take people? Now I would hope no one makes a decision based solely on an emotional plea for one side or another. Therefore, non-existant readers, I intend to take a stand against this bullshit. And I shall now make this claim that my first, perhaps only, work of non-fiction will be a condemnation of Intelligent Design.

I retain the hope that Ben Stein is just using this movie to lure people in and then blind side them with an opposing message. This I hope, but we shall see.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time just rolls on...

Over a month has passed but I doubt that I have offended anyone in my absence. Once I get a few things smoothed out I will try and post something with some more substance. In the meantime consider this...

NO THIS!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Splash damage (and other video game terms I wish cropped up more in casual conversation)

After 27 and perhaps a half uneventful laps this morning at yonder YMCA a tiny movement altered the course of my whole day. I was just doing a little backstroke when a lateral movement of my right arm caused something dreadful to happen.

It pops out sometimes, my shoulder I mean, right out of the socket. Ever since that night at the young life camp in Saranac where I tripped onto a root and my clavicle let go of my humerus and scapula it has happened every so often. Hell that phenomenon has been a major obstacle towards getting back into swimming for the better part of a decade.

Finally, this iteration, it happened. Dear god it hurts like hell when it does. Just think of splitting a chicken wing into the drumette and two-bone sections. Then imagine that is your arm at the biggest point of articulation.

As if swimming doesn't wreak enough havoc on the rest of me! Now I know its zero impact but there are plenty of ways for the pool to hurt you. Lets consider a few.

Muscle fatigue is the combination of lactic acid buildup, micro tears and all the usual goodies that come with psychotic quantities of aerobic exercise. Its like having a three dimensional sunburn all the way down to the bones. Sometimes I can almost feel where the ligaments meet with bone tissue starting to peel and fray.

Then there's the irritation issue. Sure being totally stripped of all the oil in your body comes in handy, cuts down on deodorant costs and leads to wicked awesome hair effects but it comes with a price. I always feel stuffy and snotty at the same time. Way back when it was so bad at times that I would just leak mucous all day from my nose. There's a great feeling! Its like snorting a pureed jellyfish and then slowly drizzling it out for 9 hours.

My feet feel like stress balls ringed with sandpaper. Part of that is due to the scum I no doubt pick up from walking around barefoot on the perpetual christian wetness that is the ymca locker room floor.

Huzzah though, its working at least. While my physique remains somewhere well within the boundaries of endomorphic masculinity at least, after so long, there is finally hope again.

Now on the topic of physical health and sanitation (in my case tri-weekly chemical sterilization) I have to expound. My time between service orders today and more significantly last night has dwelt heavily on a few major points.

Meth Mouth: Holy.....Crap....It.....Is......Gross.

Intellectual Honesty: I wonder, and I hate that I cannot even breach this discussion without eyes rolling away. But why do we segment what we treat with skepticism and what we treat with faith?

I know I know, change the record man. But I don't want to change the record. I just want some homogeneity when it comes to how people process information. I mean it is SO OBVIOUS how 'ID' people are lying and obscuring the truth (as best we know it) to suit their ridiculous agendas. I hate it. I hate it because it muddies the waters. Granted its certainly not as idiotic at the hydroplate theory. I mean you'd have to be pretty FN dumb. Just look at the site, its totally retarded.

And I intend to smack them around for being douche bags.

Friday, November 2, 2007

God Billboards...suspiciously non-canonical.

What follows is a textual list of the 'God speaks' billboard advert campaign. You can find the original images scattered around your highways and interstates or at this website. The caveat is if you want to see the images you have to click the link below. And to do that...

Click here and you admit that the traditional idea of god is washed up and unforgivable.

Ha, I am cruel. But in this case I believe that scorn and anger are wholly justified. These people are lunatics. Read the list, each line is a different sign.

Let’s meet at My house Sunday, before the game.
C’mon over and bring the kids.
What part of “Thou shalt not…” didn’t you understand?
We need to talk.
Keep using my name in vain, I’ll make rush hour longer.
Loved the wedding, invite me to the marriage.
That “Love Thy Neighbor” thing…I meant that.
I love you…I love you…I love you.
Will the road you’re on get you to My place?
Follow me.
Need directions?
You think it’s hot here?
Tell the kids I love them.
Need a marriage counselor? I’m available.
Have you read my #1 best seller? (There will be a test.)
Do you have any idea where you’re going?
Big Bang Theory, you’ve got to be kidding.
My way is the highway.

I was tempted to go through and snipe each inane and intellectually ugly little comment. But I held back unlike with my church marquee blitz a while back. (on the old blog, if i can find it i'll repost)

Well the bill board bible blasters bave been bat bit bagain band but bout bthis bew bist bof bayings.

I love you…Te amo…(Asian characters, presumably meaning I love you. More likely they just mean Kung Pao Chicken...mmmm, yummy)
As my apprentice, you’re never fired.
One nation under me.
All I know… is everything.
If you must curse, use your own name!
Need a marriage counselor? I’m available.
Life is Short, Eternity isn’t.
The real Supreme Court meets up here.
Feeling lost? My Book is your map.

Let the sniping commence!!!

[I love youX3] - Now this is an interesting intro to the hypocrisy of Christian adverts. Consider, from the good book itself, Genesis 11, Verse 1: 1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

Now Genesis 11 verses 5-7: 5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

Damn it ALL!!! We could have had flying cards by 7AD and instead, two millenia later we're still just beginning to handle jetpacks!? Fuck. What a dick move on God's part. "Hey, stop inventing things and being intelligent!" Ick and more ick. But hey God loves you in three different languages so its all good. [/I love youX3]

[As my apprentice, you’re never fired.]

Did the big man ever take an apprentice? Because as we've just seen illustrated God apparently doesn't like things to be built or improved upon. I hate to think what god has to say about George Carlin's 2 commandments.

[/As my apprentice, you’re never fired.]

So far so good. The third statement is where things really get interesting though.

[One nation under me.]

Wow. I actually find myself in agreement. I know you think I am about to scream out something sarcastic, caustic or just plain ol' mean but I am not. The founding of this, our great nation, was largely due to a group of rich while dudes many of whom were deists. Now deists believe in a god but they take the more enlightened view that if god really created the universe it shouldn't require constant hotfixes and updates. It just needs to run out its perfection, like a watch ticking away until the end of time.

That is a God I can get behind. In fact as a young man whose sincere prayers went unanswered time and time again I can only express doubt as to whether any omniscient beings were listening in. True omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience would make it POSSIBLE for a god or gods to hear. As to whether or not they give a shit...well, that remains to be seen.

Deism is practically atheism but it sounds a lot less scary to believers who may or may not be holding torches and pitchforks. A grim thought no doubt but one not totally unfounded. If someone put a gun to my head and said 'do you believe in god?' *the implications should be obvious* then I would probably either 1) Lie and say yes or 2) Crack a joke about the dick with the gun.

Neither outcome really suits me but thats the way the world works.

[/One nation under me.]

[All I know… is everything.]

Can of worms anyone? Worms in a can, let out, squirming all over? I never really got that expression and yet the message comes through. Making a statement so bold and crass is like opening a can of worms. I don't mean they all come spilling out all over I mean it just stinks. How long could a bunch of words survive in a can anyways?

Consider the implications. And most people rear back and say 'god didn't create evil he gave men free will and they cooked it up themselves.' which is fine by me. I accept that men (and women, especially women) create plenty of evil in the world without invoking supernatural forces.

But one has to wonder. The appendix appears pretty darned vestigial. Was that intentional? I mean if I was designing the ultimate motherboard I wouldn't put an ISA slot on it just in case. The appendix isn't even that useful. Its like including a 386 with a Quad Core Processor. The thing is obsolete and unaccessible. And yet, our genetic code grows and maintains the thing. It costs some amount of protein and calories to have a nonfunctional appendix living inside you.

So if it does nothing good for us, and yet can become inflamed and potentially lethal *not so much these days for first worlders anyways* and it exists therefore it costs us food and resources to maintain.

Lets consider that. According to the FDA 2000 kilocalories should represent average intake for an american adult. Lets take someone who weighs 152.5 lbs and do the math. 400 calories go to the brain leaving 1,600 for the rest of the body, yikes. So 1600 calories / 150 pounds = 10.67 calories per pound of non-thinking flesh per day. I wasn't able to find a good indicator on the mass of the vermiform appendage but they say its about 2cm wide and 2-26cm long with an average length of 10cm *bout 4 inches*

For simplicity's sake lets say that maintaining the appendix costs 1/10th of a kilocalorie per day, per person and do some more oversimplistic word-problemesque BS type math.

At the time of this writing the current world population is estimated at 6.75 billion people. For reference on my birthday in 1982 it was about 4.65 billion.

For only twenty-five years that is TREMENDOUSly scary. If we look at the resource cost of even 1 billion people the results are staggering. Remember only one tenth of one calorie per day is necessary. Over a billion people that means in one day the human appendix costs the human race... 100,000,000 calories of food energy. For 6 billion its 600,000,000 haha, that was too easy.

But even 100 million calories robbed from the ecosystem for some arcane purpose that modern medical science has yet to uncover? That is half a million krispy creme donuts people!!

I ask you people in all sincerity what sort of malevolence a creator would show with such drastic waste. I am appalled.

[/All I know… is everything.]

[
If you must curse, use your own name!]

Ha, ha. Gee Seth damn it!! just doesn't quite have the kick I like out of forceful ejaculations (i wanted to link this so bad but only because most people don't really get what i mean.)

[/If you must curse, use your own name!]

[ Need a marriage counselor? I’m available.]

Annual divorce rate statistics in America:

Median age at first marriage: Males: 26.9
Females: 25.3
Median age at first divorce: Males: 30.5
Females: 29
Percentage of married people who reach their 5th, 10th, and 15th anniversaries: 5th: 82%
10th: 65%
15th: 52%
Percentage of married people who reach their 25th, 35th, and 50th anniversaries: 25th: 33%
35th: 20%
50th: 5%
Granted those living to their 50th anniversary are probably nearing their 70's but still. If you get married at 25 then your chance of remaining together for the next 25 years is only 1 in 3.

Ok, so what does that mean? Well consider also that about 80% of Americans consider themselves religious in some way shape or form.

It could be, and maybe this is just a radical thought on my part, maybe people just make bad choices for their life mates. Maybe people aren't always meant to last as couples for a long time. Maybe the kids cause them to stay together until they leave the nest and then its go time!

Obviously there are problems with marriage. Whether they need to be fixed or the practice be abandoned I cannot say. However the emphasis on its place as a proper and fixed ceremony seem to becoming less and less applicable *Natalie if you read this I love you and no one else and please don't think I mean you and me* to society as a whole.

Granted it is hard to imagine a world without marriage and the traditional family but then again it is hard to imagine a world without the internet. But it once existed, I swear, look it up in wikipedia if you don't believe me.

[/ Need a marriage counselor? I’m available.]

[Life is Short, Eternity isn’t.]

Oh, snap! The scariest thing in the world is burning in hell for all eternity. And that is what awaits those of us who engage in lewd and lascivious (love that word) behavior all the live long day. Eating meat on a Friday: Hell. Sleeping with anything that isn't your spouse: Hell. Poking a badger with a spoon: Not sure, probably hell.

What irks me the most about the whole heaven and hell thing is that eternity is a state of permanence! It just goes on and on with no end. Usually I can cut off a concept or thing when proton decay or heat death of the universe comes in to play but eternity?

Harsh harsh words. Striking fear into the hearts of non-believers is good at putting butts in pews but COME ON is anyone really going to be a good believer if they join purely out of fear or self interest? It just seems like bad psychology to me. People are less likely to do bad things to others when they healthy, happy and educated or at least too busy to get into trouble. I firmly believe that people would do fewer bad things if they had better hardware or software cranking out their decisions.

For example: At some point in college, we'll shamefully admit that it was in Calc II, I realized my brain had hit the limit of its understanding. Shit! That's a terrifying concept. Things can be learned, relearned and approached from a new angle but hitting a wall like that was a bad day. I felt like less of a person because I knew my brain had smacked dead on into a limitation. Now maybe thats an overly harsh example and maybe if I REALLY REALLY studied my butt off I could crack it open.

But then again I could open a restaurant or start training for a marathon or do any number of things are considered admirable by others. I don't have time to do them all. Even if I had a thousand years to live I could never experience all the good things and all the bad things in life.

If I did then I might consider judgment day a fair step afterwards. But it isn't so I can't abide any deity that can't see what a few psych classes can teach a flawed and mathematically challenged individual can see plain as day.

Besides free will is largely a myth.

[/]Life is Short, Eternity isn’t.]


[The real Supreme Court meets up here.]

Comparing the heavenly host to a group of crusty old judges appointed solely for political reasons. Hmmm. Nope, I don't even need to comment on that.

[/The real Supreme Court meets up here.]

[Feeling lost? My Book is your map.]

Sanctu biblio, holy book, a truly large and interesting volume of text. Its like the beaten egg in the custard of literacy that spans almost 2 millenia. And yet, for all the majesty and splendor in the written words of god almighty there is not a single scrap of humor.

Irony and awkward situations yes but I challenge you to find a single passage intended to make a reader laugh.

There will always be physical, emotional, historical and biological contradictions to any and every faith of mankind but surely if we were created in the image of our 'father god' then he would make us smile once and a while.

I like to think so anyways. Then again, I never created a universe so maybe I ask to much. Perhaps god is simply tired and we should let him chill out for a billion years or so. That seems fair. So please to all you billboard sponsors and every poor schmoe that comes across anything claiming to be god's word I implore you: give god a rest. He's been through a lot lately.

[/Feeling lost? My Book is your map.]

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The nightmare begins anew...

So non-existent fans today marked the day of my latest project. I began work on a story set in "The Night Lands" but as of right now I don't have a title, place to begin, name for the protagonist or a real ending.

Hence I just started on it. Without going into detail I'll say that it relates to the classical error in judgement that imperfect people will ever create a harmonious society. There's also some sure fire military blunders hardwired into the whole philosophy and stance of the novel.

For the 99.99 percent of people who haven't read the night lands here's a quick primer. Several million years in the future the sun goes out *wrong!* a big valley opens up in the earth *wrong!* and it becomes habitable incrementally to eventually be settled by people. However the place gets overrun by monsters and 'eaters' who chow on psychic energies of people. All 500,000,000 people left alive kick it out in the great redoubt, a giant pyramid surrounded by a force field that repels all sorts of evil.

People do go out and bash in some monster skulls now and again but there are so many degrees of horrific butt-fuckery stomping around in the alternating cold and volcanic regions that nearly everyone dies with tremendous flair.

In just about every story someone goes out or stays out or knows someone that talks about going out. I am slightly more interested in the looming and painfully obvious question. How the FUCK do you get that many people all in one place (and no noah's ark apologies please) AND not only are they all crammed into the house they get along greatly and murders are super rare if not absent for decades and centuries.

Now I know even as late in the game as star trek the future is believed to be neat and tidy and everyone gets along just dandy. Well that seems a little shady to me. More likely the future is like the new battlestar galactica involving the black market. Its ugly and dirty and human whims remain the shameful and base things that they are. Maybe the night land future people have their brains scrubbed of such things, maybe not. I think not.

More likely, if the late author had ever bothered to address it, there would be the same sort of defense against corruption from within as without. What I am talking about is a single impenetrable layer of defense and then...

Nothing.

That's right. No defense in depth for the siege of humanity. Seems a little scary but thats how it was set up. Therefore it will be my goal to slip a tiny little person past that wall of culture/technological ignorance. Its been twenty million fucking years where the hell are the badass computers!?!?!? In such a chilly environment they wouldn't even need active cooling...ye gods think of all the YOTTAFLOPS and scary-ass data storage potential!!!!

Oh no, 1912, best calculator in the world was...I dunno some savant or one of the japanese abacus wizards. Who knows? The point is they weren't even close to computational viability and that totally FUDGES up the whole story. How would the pneumavores react to a Matrioshka brain? Can you suck out the soul of a personality upload?

Well give me a month or so and we'll find out. I'm going to post a few excerpts only, maybe some descriptors of how its going. To the pit of despair!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Achievement!!!

You probably won't believe me if I just told you that I did something scary today so here's the proof.

Look down dummy!!


If you don't see the amazing part of the above picture I direct you towards the text under the black blob (good information hygiene pays off!!) You'll notice the relevant info with some unusual characteristics. The chip in question has a nominal clock speed of 2.6ghz ([FSB 13x] X [200 Cpu Clock]) Oh and if anyone asks I didn't get the black box version.

But it don't say that!!

By increasing the CPU mulitplier in small increments I was able to crank it out to 3.93 ([FSB 13x] X [302 Cpu Clock]) Now as you may guess there were some thermal consequences.

Here we can see a screen shot from my main PC of Beebe (aka Build II, AKA the over clocked PC)
Notive the Speedfan CPU temp at the bottom right near the time. In the foreground we see a nice breezy 26c but in the background its 64c. The chip isn't rated to fry until about 75c but that's still a good ways away. Bear in mind this is at full load. In case you can't see it the red icon immediately to the left of the time on Beebe belongs to the Folding@home distributed computing project.

Also remember that Beebe is used almost exclusively for FAH and file storage. I champion FAH because its a hell of a lot more practical than SETI bullcrap or GIMPS. Whether you have a decent PC or not you can always configure it only to run when your screen saver is running. Even a few work units will help in the long run. Just one may help to save the life of you or someone you love. Science is NEATO!!

Crazy Sexy Cancer...that's the name of a show.

So the old ball and chain made me sit through the tail-end of this lifetime wanna be show about some ladies and their dealings with breast cancer. It caught my attention because one of the closing arguments of the show was that 'cancer can be a catalyst for something wonderful' or some such hokitude.

In typical Seth fashion I remarked 'It's not the cancer, its the fear of death that motivates people to change' and of course Jonesy told me that one of the girls had already said so.

Boo hoo on that. Fear is a powerful motivator, it certainly starts a lot of people on a path towards jogging. However it is amazing to me how complex fear reactions can become when people and culture mix and mingle at certain densities.

Consider the following problem: Billy gets three dollars a week for allowance. He wants to save up for a bike that costs fifty dollars. however Billy also spends 1 dollar a week buying candy. If he starts with ten dollars how many weeks will go by before he can get the bike? How much faster could he get the bike if he stopped buying candy every week?

Now I didn't bother to actually answer that problem. For one thing word problems always struck me as stupidly simplistic. There are ALWAYS outside variables to consider. Billy might find some cash lying around or pilfer the loose change from his dad's change dish. He could steal some dough or loan out his ten bucks to a weaker kid and charge interest. Maybe he gives up on candy for a few weeks but snaps one day and spends five dollars on candy instead of one. Hell its more likely he'd give up after a while and just buy a shit load of candy to forget about the bike.

All that's just silliness of course. However its interesting to look at a simple money problem and expand it just a little bit. Doing simple dollars and cents arithmetic is a good learning tool for kids but trying to extrapolate some of the more arcane financial complexities? That takes genius, or evil, or probably both.

Fear strikes me as a similar feature of human life. Consider the effects of fear as a survival tool. You see something that can eat you, you run away. Case closed. Well not so fast, there are other things to fear. Hunger, thirst, cold, heat, disease, boredom and [lump of social fears] are all pretty terrifying to most humans.

But like money, fear can become very interesting if we manipulate it just a little. Back to the original example. Maybe you are afraid of something that can eat you. Maybe you're so afraid you just crap yourself and freeze up (thus you get eaten.) Consider still that you are afraid enough to run away and save yourself but the fear remains with you. That eater is still out there somewhere. I must kill it to truly be safe, one might think. Now if you were an ancient human who managed to kill something that could eat you there is also a BONUS!!! Odds are good that the eater was an animal. And animals are made of meat. Meat is food. Food is good.

Now man has the option to gamble with his fear. If he wins, he kills a predator thus protecting himself and getting some nasty carnivore meat. If he loses, the carnivore gets some tasty human meat. So it all balances out.

However the more people that are killing dangerous animals the few animals there are to kill. SO the prey becomes stronger and can multiply more freely. But that means that people need more food. People are afraid to run out of food so they more actively hunt but this still only leaves enough food for a small number of people.

Enter agriculture. Hey guys, some one says. Lets stop chasing these stupid animals around for food. We can just plant this stuff, stay here and keep an eye on it, and we'll have ten times the food we could get otherwise. No doubt some laughed at the early attempts at agriculture. It was probably a gradual enterprise but for this case we'll pretend a group of people tried it and another very similar group did not.

It is tough work growing food. I couldn't do it without hating a good part of my life and something tells me most people couldn't either. But Group A grows their grain and Group B does not. One hundred years later Group A's descendants have become twenty times more numerous that the descendants of group B.

[Human history up to this point]

So that turned out really choppy and I don't even feel like going back to edit it into some semblance of coherent thought. It all made sense in my head but oh well. Next post I will just tell another swimming story.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The quest for enlightenment...

All to often we, as Americans and as people, consider only what we want. The emphasis here is not whether or not the things we want are good or proper, but that we want them in the first place.

Take these three things, all of which I want.

A big ass case fan.

Guilt-free leisure time.

Immortality.

Why do I want these things? Well reasons vary but of course I can narrow them down to my own desires. Let's take a closer look shall we? The answer is YES.

You may ask yourself "What good is a 250mm case fan?" and if you even have to ask then shame on you. 25cm is about 9.8 inches!! You could move literal tons of air per day with such a monster. The net gain in airflow would be simply huge. That would save me money because it would allow me to push back investing in a new processor for at least 2 weeks *from when the time comes, for now, muahahaha*

I like my PC's. I also like progress. Therefore I can simultaneously enjoy my dinky little p4 dell AND look forward to the day when I can scrap it for a better folding at home box. Likewise while Build I maintains my livelihood and Build II helps me further my microscopic inklings about graphical linux they will one day mean no more to me than the PIII gateway from so many years back.

Hopefully ATX specs will still be in fashion so I can scallop out the guts and keep the case.

The point is that life's fundamental character has changed dramatically from the early years up until right...NOW. Certainly I miss having enough time to swim for 20 hours a week thus keeping myself fit and freakishly warm during the year. However I don't miss living at home, being limited by age restrictions (I can FINALLY rent a house, huzzah!) and walking around with the smug affect of one who has not come to terms with either his own mortality or certain matters deserving consideration.

Next item: Leisure time.

It was once the ill-fated belief of most Americans circa mid twencen that the future held miraculous fortune for the middle class and that leisure and not material gain would be the goal of technology. There's just one problem.

Leisure time is economically incomparable to sweatshop labor, machine automation and good ol' fashioned slavery. Well god dammit if people didn't study their psychology!! Greed may was well be genetically hardwired into the psyche. I know some people say 'well i'm from xxxxxx and we're not like americans' or back in xxx2 things were different.

That is possible of course. However we didn't have wikipedia back in xxx2 (or xx33 either) so there's no telling and if you're from xxxxxx well then you're obviously jealous or don't understand the american mentality.

You can't sell time well spent with your kids or kicked up on the couch. And if people have that time well guess what. They get bored eventually and when they do they want some type of entertainment. Well guess what people with leisure time are also people with MONEY so they buy various things to entertain themselves. Now people that sell entertainment know damn well that you don't sell good shit by sitting on your butts. No no you work hard, or better yet con others into working hard for you, and then rake in the cash.

Since the human appetite is infinite and varies greatly capitalism will never run out of steam until perhaps we run out of stuff to burn for steam (and therefore electricity - the foundation of modern industry and all that)

That stinks but it also means that there will be more entertainment in the world than any human can consume in the conventional lifespan.

Hence, IMMORTALITY!! The only way to get everything you want is to live long enough to run the entertainment world into exhaustion. However this would also mean crushing enough of the entertainment industry to get some type of restriction on the quantity of new entertainment so you could actually progress towards a positive rate of consumption in regards to the whole range of entertainment.

However even as I write this I forgot about one simple detail that will prevent a shortage of entertainment for all time.

And thats the way life goes.

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I couldn't resist a quote from the final link " Myth: But everyone's doing it! Reality: Surveys have repeatedly shown that up to 5% of Americans don't Masturbate."

Sinners.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Update

Behold, the true atheists nightmare video.

This is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In regards to Kirk Cameron...

I open with an excerpt from my last telegraph to Kirk. It reads:

Kirk Cameron. Stop.

That's it. Last night at a wholesomely interesting dinner at the Lynnwood Estate Lucas mentioned a certain video featuring a certain former star of growing pains and a prime example of Musa sikkimensis

I literally could not believe what I was hearing and seeing as Kirk's sidekick opened with "Behold the Atheist's nightmare!" My heart fluttered for several thousand nanoseconds before I realized this nitwit was holding a piece of fruit.

There is no shame in admitting wrongness right away Mr. Cameron and your reverend dinglehop. Atheists are not shy when it comes to eating fruit, nor vegetables nor any sort of carbohydrate whether simple or complex. If there is anything unique about an Atheist's diet it is that he or she can't seem to choke down on bullshit.

Now over the span of one full minute Ray Comfort goes onto explain how a 'well made' banana is ergonomic, convenient and delicious. Indeed its remarkable that it comes with a 'pop top' and a biodegradable wrapper.

Miracle!!!

Only its not. Before I could even finish the video I noticed a nearby response that summed up nearly everything I had planned to say. I would like to it but its not working now. More on that later.

Then I made the mistake of watching some more stuff with Ray Completelyfuckingsanefort. What idiocy. The additional material in question was from the rational response debate in which the amazing duo prove 'scientifically' that god exists without mentioning faith at all...except that he does pull out the usual nonsensical 'this coke can didn't create itself' spiel and then ties in to the ten commandments.

What got me is how he insisted all you need to understand are 'eyes that can see and a brain that works.'

Well, dear sir, my eyes need a little correction for true visual acuity by my brain is mono fucking filament and your argument, well its not a ceramic spindle so I just can't stick with it. If you don't get the reference well our book lists just differ like that.

Why don't people get it? Really I can't believe sometimes how people fall for the same old swindlers and bullshit reassurances so blissfully. I remember 7 years ago or more sitting in a big room at NCSU with a cadre of wide-eyed students laughing about how a modern building would never occur in nature.

I laughed because the speaker, in the course of the metaphor revealed that his knowledge of electricity is less than sterling. Granted I am no expert but I do know that you need more than one wire and a switch to make the lights come on (the current needs to come from somewhere, he just sort of left that detail out)

Similar strains of arrogance and presumption haunt my everyday life. The more I think about it the more I realize how often the nutcases are 'informing' the level-headed types. It's like hearing a chiropractor lecture a brain surgeon on treating something severe.

Anyway this is fine and dandy, the church in all its form and grace, has been making a mockery of reason and intelligence since long long ago. Do I fear for Atheism as a cause or choice in life? No. Do I despair that people will stub out rational thinking in the world? No I do not.

This is why. Geeks, nerds and whatever archetypal thinking people reign in the land of tomorrow will be more and more necessary to maintain and expand our infrastructure until the end of time. I've never met a christian coder, i'm sure they do exist but by and large whatever faith, color or background if you give a nerd the chance for some booty I guarantee they'll take it 1100011 times out of 1100100. Think about it.

Society does not depend on religion anymore. The morals and values flung from 'the mountain' are supposedly essential to an orderly society but have no place in a technical one. Life is different. The closet light is on and guess what, world, no monsters! Huzzah!

No sexy mermaids or forest nymphs either, drat!

Now as a young lad and quite literally a child of science fiction I always harbored a healthy respect for the prevalent notions of mid twencen science fiction. Notably that people would, in more or less current form, take to the stars with great ships of war and exploration and that society was being ordered into ever neater tiers of understanding. Great sentiment but that notion doesn't even carry past the atmosphere.

What now seems obvious is that as a technical society we will be forced at some point to deal with all the debris in the fishing net. By net I mean technology and by debris I mean nut jobs and con-people without scruples or sense enough to do something useful in the world. After all as the world becomes ever more tame and quantified it becomes less threatening.

Long has it crossed the gray matter that we really don't think beyond the tip of the iceberg unless we really have to. I am speaking of humans in general now. True most people know that meat comes from animals which have to be grown, slaughtered and processed *butchered if you're up for it* and then packaged so that we can eat them safely. Logically people know that this happens to pigs, chickens and cows but seeing the 'early stages' still makes people queasy.

It is very easy for things to seem possible or rational without understanding their origin or root cause. At Computer Stupidities the constant vexing almost unbelievable stories are the ones where people file, drill, bolt or chop up some component 'to make it fit.' Granted people are becoming more PC literate *I say nothing for the Macs and their goddamn tyrannical hardware!!!* but it took time for that shift to occur. Absorbing the new norms and functions associated with personal computers took some time. I imagine if early auto mechanics were taking notes they had some HUMDINGERS about people's abuse to their cars.

Strange as it may seem as our technology takes away the rigors of physical life (replacing one tedium with another as capitalism sees fit) we do not aspire to better understand our world we just soak up the goodies it has to offer. Sure people produce and construct but most of us just regurgitate and filter feed to get along. There's a really good quote from Firefly where Mal says something like "most people are the middleman and they don't take kindly to being cut out of a deal" It's truer and truer everyday.

Being a lamb is much cozier than being a lion. Lions get to travel more.

I don't lay blame heavily since I crossed the line back and forth around the same time as ol' Kirky did. Granted we started and ended on opposite sides but I like to think my transition was a little purer. Kirk relates a story of hanging out in his sports car, at age 17, and wondering if his transient popularity isn't a little fleeting and lame. It was fear, you see, that lead him down a sad path. Reason is a far greater compass.

Granted there are tripwires and land mines all along the way between any two wildly different belief systems but if your faith is smote to ruin or your logic spins out of control one day you are always free to try again. It took years of consideration, hours and days of studying, thinking, introspection and inspiration to settle it for me finally.

Thomas Paine rightly said "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly." People often say I seem angry or defensive about my beliefs and I am quick to agree *with a caveat or two*

I was raised in a more or less religion neutral environment. Say what you will or will not about those you disagree with but I gave faith every chance and benefit of the doubt that I could muster. I felt my brain bend and stretch under the weight of self-contradiction and ideas that I couldn't quite get behind but couldn't oppose outright either. The words and ideas just weren't there yet. Most of my high school swimming periods, and these were EPIC were spent in such contemplations. From Junior year in HS to freshman year at NCSU I struggled and raked at what really deserves to be listened to.

When I made up my mind it wasn't some awesome cacophony of ethereal music and epiphany. It was just the cold breeze of the men's locker room and the slap of my wet feet on the little tiles. The exact day or month I cannot tell you because I was there for weeks before I realized it.

So what caused me great effort and heartache to achieve is dismissed in mere seconds as cocky or shallow does not offend me it enrages me. How dare some pissant former child actor with convert zeal dripping out of his smug shaved head say "I used to think just like you did" No you didn't, Kirk.

If you had you would have realized what a twisted nest of recursive bullshit arguments upholds your faith. You probably think that I, as a neutral type meandered to faith and recoiled after a careful exploration am wrong for opposing reasons. Well guess what, dick you're wrong about that too.

Also Ray Comfort is a fucking idiot riding on your coat tails to glory.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Does this look like a nipple to you???


It sure looks like it to me, the hand kind of makes it appear to be one GIANT boob but oh well. Its actually *I hope* a woman holding a swollen baby cocoon, natch.

I was thinking about my helium posting habits and decided to cut back on volume in favor of a slightly better output. After all in these days quantity takes a back seat to quality...ha!

Actually, as per usual, my thoughts have largely dwelt on tech and swimming.

Specifically the progress I am making with my moderate weight loss strategy in its current form. All in all I have dropped a few pounds, maybe 5-10 but without 20 hours to devote solely to exercise per week I am just not seeing the same dramatic hoohah of the olden days.

Sucks!

But there could be hope. I did some checking on the wide and dubious internet recently and found a slew of conflicting caloric info. Consider the examples I found for differences across a plethora *no pinatas* of sites. For each site I tried to gauge the benefit of 1 hour of swimming at various activity levels. I put an hour because while I usually swim upwards of 1.5 hours I rest and stretch and slack a little when my brain goes off on some long tangent and before I know it I am rambling on about caterpillars liking socks over shirts or...SHIT! It just happened.

Anyway here are the results. 60 minutes and weight remain more or less constant.

Self.com

Light - 572
Moderate - 667 (Ram Speed!!)
Vigorous - 1048

Nutristrategy

Light - N/A
Moderate - 690
Vigorous - 960

Coolnurse

Light - N/A
Moderate - 720
Vigorous - N/A

*Healthstatus

Light - 580
Moderate - 756
Vigorous - 932

Diet and Fitness Today

Light - N/A
Moderate - 756
Vigorous - N/A

Calorie Count

Light - N/A
Moderate - 476
Vigorous - 680 (that's 22.7 carrots!!)

Health A to Z

Light - N/A
Moderate - 725
Vigorous - 908

Averaging all this out equals...

Light - (572+580)/2 = 576 (I did that one in my head)
Moderate - (667+690+720+756+756+476+725)/8 = 599 [=617 without the Calorie Count]
Vigorous - (1048+960+932+680+908)/5 = 905.6 [=962 without the Calorie Count]

I don't really care enough to get standard deviations and all that but its a pretty big difference at first glance. Sadly I don't really feel any more educated I am just frustrated because there's a shit load of variables and unknowns. Consider the relevant factors.

Stroke Composition: Percentages of relevant strokes IE freestyle, breaststroke and all that.

Stroke Efficiency: Poorer swimmers burn more calories by distance because they waste energy flailing around, self correcting and

Buoyancy: Fat people drag more but have to spend fewer calories propelling themselves upwards so at a given rate of speed a chunky butt like myself is skimming along while the denser person tends to sink and constantly has to adjust for it.

Water viscosity: This is probably fairly constant but you never know. Someone does I am sure.

Water Temperature vs Waste Heat: Swimmers are water-cooled athletes. Sure landies can sweat which evaporates and pulls heat away but swimmers get direct heat dispersal via convection. Naturally being cooler helps muscles last longer and work harder but you're constantly churning up waste heat which has to be replaced to maintain your body temp. Naturally at 80 degrees you'll lose heat much more slowly than at 60 *it would be almost unbearable to swim at this temp, I know.

And finally there's the Hot Girl Factor: Something I noticed *but NEVER did myself* being around male swimmers and girls in bathing suits is that pacing and timing can be shot straight to hell by the arrival and actions of sexy people. Its distracting and you might miss a breath or bang your head during a flip turn or just try and crank out a higher speed to keep up (I hate getting passed by anyone but if its a girl that's just sad) To put it without the brazen clang of misogyny the other people at the pool will affect how well you swim. Maybe not during a meet but during practice its always a factor.

Sadly there's just no good way to measure all these variables, none that I can find on the internet anyways.

More on that later.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I might have to rename the blog...

Lately instead of my rantings and ravings falling out of my head bonking off my keyboard and winding up here I have been spending time with the lightest of the noble gases.

Its been a truly gaseous day at work and I am glad to finally get back to the Y since last week I was only able to swim once.

Thrice it is and thrice it must be!!!

I leave you now to sow my aquatic seeds (not really that's super gross when you think about it) so that I might reap a healthier tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Someone noticed!!!

Well its official. I got my first solicitation due to my blog today. I can't tell you how warm and gooey that makes me feel. Wait. Nope, just some gas.

That said today's post relates to my favorite aquatic activity...2nd favorite if you include this.

That means swimming! For perspective I will include a rough diagram of how the pool at the local Y is set up.

So thats the pool. Primarily I swim in lanes 1 or 2. It should be noted that Lane 1 sucks it with two people because there's metal stuff sticking out from the side. The hollow squares are lifeguard 'towers' which I included only because the text feature of mspaint is so freaking clumsy.

Yesterday I was cutting it up in lane 1. A larger female was swimming to my right in lane 2. (the bottom of the picture is where I orient myself.) Part of swimming etiquette is that when you're in a lane by yourself you are obligated by common courtesy to allow exactly one other person into your lane. That way 2 people can swim and only marginally get in each other's way. Usually when you're the person who wants to jump in on another lane you hang out at one end and wait for the person to hit the wall and then belt out heymancanisharealanewithyourealquick!?

They say yes, you jump in, and huzzah.

Yesterday this woman was standing at the foot of my lane wearing normal clothes speaking directly to the woman next to me. I thought it an odd mix of postures (keep in mind 93% of the time I'm under water and only glance up for breaths every few seconds) but I had a few laps to finish so I went on my way. If she really wanted to swim in my lane she could just put her feet in.

Now as I came to a halt at the (bottom) wall I took a rest between my 1000 yd freestyle and my 400 yard mixed stroke sets for a drink of water and some stretches. As I did this the women to my right conversed in all manner of 'technical' speak relating to swimming strategies. Strategy in the pool to me usually means that you're up to no good but hey, different strokes.

After a few minutes I deduced that this CHARLATAN was none other than a sports psychologist from the other woman's church. For ease we'll call them Swimmer and Talker. Talker had a lot of interesting ideas and I wanted to slap out a few tidbits in case any other would-be sports psychos feel the need to dispense this tripe as advice.

Shitty Statement the First: "Some people swim a length freestyle and then get out of breath so they just swim the next length doing backstroke to catch their breath."

I might agree with this if you were talking to a 4 year old. To someone so small a 25 yd pool looks like an underwater football field. To a six foot tall woman...not so much. I watched this woman breathe just fine with the usual 'turn your head out of the water and inhale method.' Why switch to backstroke?

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find anything to prove that breathing in swimming is almost as important as your stroke technique and physical fitness. During my early days as a swimmer I would just breathe whenever I could or felt compelled to. When you're using a majority of the body's slow-twitch muscles you want to pant like when you're running hard but you cannot do it.

That sucks but then again swimming for an hour burns about 900 calories (for me, for you its different and there's a lot of leeway for temperature, time of day and all that mess.) It isn't a good idea to base life decisions on personal experience *but everyone does it so I can too!!* but I strongly believe that part of swimming's overall efficacy is due to simulated altitude training.

Think about it!!! Most of the time you're breathing in-out-in-out all day every day. When else do you have to wait a few seconds between breaths? Never. There's plenty of analogies I could use but lets think about Milk. Thats right milk.

2% milk has more calories because its 2% milkfat. Skim on the other hand is more or less calcium water with some lactose thrown in for color and opacity. The body is a very deterministic system and you can only usually get it to change by forcing change upon it. That said sealevel air is like 2% and high-altitude air is leaner skim. By spacing out breaths you're diluting the available air (milkfat in this example) with water. Adding a little water to 2% doesn't change the milkfat content but the calorie density lightens.

Its not a very good analogy but it still seems logical to me that a broken supply of rich air balances out to similar levels of rarefied air *at altitude.*

Shitty statement the 2nd: "Lifting weights and doing aerobics will help your swimming."

I do not disagree with this statement. I can't. It is without doubt a true and honest configuration of words.

Despite that I still consider it bad advice for several reasons. I have known swimmers my whole life who tear a hammy or blast out their shoulder or something terrible happens to a part of them that ought to remain firmly affixed to bone or muscle. And these bad things almost ALWAYS happen outside the pool

Now consider this. You're a newb in the fitness world. You are asking advice how to maximize the safety and effectiveness of your aquatic workouts. If you don't know about basic principles of fitness then you're probably unaware of certain fundamental differences between cardio and weight training or aerobic vs anerobic exercises. It's a good way to get hurt.

Shitty Statement the Third: "A lot of people forget to keep kicking no matter what. Even if you're just doing your cool off make sure you're still kicking at least twice per stroke (during freestyle and back stroke)"

Where to begin. I'll throw in a caveat that girls swim differently than boys. Doodz have a lot more upper body strength to rely on but men and women alike are held to certain principles of physics and biology.

Kicking uses a lot of energy which is good for burning calories. However kicking has a very low ratio of energy use to actual forward motion. In fact unless you're wearing fins or you're at a swim meet where not kicking will get you in trouble its wise to barely kick at all. I'll come back to this sentiment with the fourth and final statement.

Suffice to say I have done my fair share of swimming. Kicking actively belongs during sprints and when you're using a kickboard explicitly to increase leg strength. During laps or medium paced exercises the legs are more useful for balance and stability than for speed.

Shitty Final Statement: "The most important factor in swimming is strength."

Even typing this makes me want to link to Penn and Teller Bullshit just to hear Penn's loud bombastic voice screaming about how inane this is. Maybe for some 'elvis never did no drugs' action also.

The fundamental principle of swimming is not physical strength. The greats of any sport will naturally have great strength but it is technique that really defines just about any athlete. Think of how great dancers and gymnasts would be with their bodies but without the years of training for the balance and rhythm that coincide.

Swimming takes balance, it takes grace and it takes an extreme measure of focus to do it right.

Lets analyze these things. Balance seems a little silly in the water. After all you're being supported completely by a buoyant force equal to the mass of water that your body displaces. That force is uniform. Your body however is not.

Side note: Its actually easier for chubby people to swim than well-muscled types. With a wad of belly fat your pool profile looks like --- that. If you're muscle-dense your legs sink and your torso tilts like / so you have to swim at an upward angle. Granted once you start moving your body acts like an airfoil but lets not digress.

Grace is not something often attributed to me. If you've seen the bizarre flailing ineptitude of my dancing you should know what I mean. However pathetic I may appear above ground my fluidity underwater is lovely. Not one percent of all the people in the world can swim like I can.

I take pride in that.

Focus is key for the usual reasons and a few unusual ones as well. Timing strokes, breaths, kicks and turns takes a lot of mental dexterity to do well. Its not hard to not to do well but if you want to coordinate a smooth approach to the wall, an artful turn and all without having to break stroke for a breath well that takes something special.

Yes of course I am biased but only because I love to swim and I know what benefit it can hold for both myself an others.

I'm nearing the end of sane posting limits (actually I've gone on typing all the way around the world and I am coming back to the starting line now) so I will sign off.

09.18.2007 - 2 Miles
09.20.2007 - 1.5 Miles
09.22.2007 - 1.66 Miles.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kathy Griffin, Phil Donahue and Jesus...suck it to you all.

When did free speech die in America? I mean really I thought the founding principle of this nation is that we can say and do whatever the fuck we want regardless of whose feelings it hurts. Oh boo hoo, says Phil. Its hate speech, its offensive, boo fucking hoo!

I say 'suck it jesus' almost every day! Why aren't I being interviewed by Larry King?

Now normally in situations like this I would say that its just a bunch of celebrity hype but she's not even worth calling a celebrity. She's a crappy comedian with a really bad show. And you all know how I feel about female comedians.

So what sparks these bullshit 'controversies?' Really if some dude on the street said 'hey suck it jesus' you might either think 'hey that guys an asshole' or maybe 'fine just don't tell me you need gas money and then get all pushy.' There would not be a huge press conference or any of that crap. One person's opinion is not to be trifled with.

Now if you got 2 million people to sign a web petition saying "Jesus is my favorite fictional character" or something that might be news worthy. But really a single sad excuse for a celebrity rejoicing over a much undeserved award that actually makes a non-conventional statement?

Allow me to explain. Every human on this planet grows up slightly or radically different than every other human (same planet.) Now these differences in upbringing, weather patterns, language and regional differences (also ethnicity, wealth, religion and 3490347 other little bits) lead to differences in character. No one comes out perfect. Statistically everyone on the planet has had something weird or flaky happen to them at least once. Most people get this more than once.

I got assaulted in middle school by a black kid who tackled me down a small set of stairs into an old radiator with flaking lead-based paint. For a while I hated black people. I really thought of some awful shit because this stupid assed kid had believed his dumbass friends who said 'hey man that kid called you a nigger.' Now believe it or not I didn't even call the kid a nigger. I was in 6th grade he was in eighth. I didn't want any trouble, I didn't even know who he was or anything about him.

After a month or so I realized that it didn't really square with my beliefs. I was good friends with Eddie Vick so I knew I didn't hate all black people, just the stupid violent and impulsive ones. But then again, I didn't like stupid violent impulsive people of any race. So after a while I cooled down and realized that I don't hate any other race, just the assholes of all races.

So I learned my lesson. What does this have to do with an over entitled twat saying suck it jesus? Neither my story nor her comment change the reality of who jesus was or what black people do. Maybe you felt a little empathy for me but its very unlikely any will read this (period, haha) and say 'hey, now I am going to be racist because of that story' or 'well I guess I learned something about racism and its not for me.' Even if it does change your opinion just wait a few days.

A few days later you're probably back to normal and you've forgotten the whole thing. See, beliefs can weather bumping into other beliefs without shattering into a million pieces. You can take a healthy normal, or abnormal, person and say something extremely awful and they will not shrivel into people-raisins nor will they explode into founts of chaos and despair.

Kids might take things more to heart but adults just don't have the plasticity issues that kids do. Beliefs are resilient, people. Someone could walk right up to me and say 'Jesus is your lord and master and to disagree brings eternal damnation' and that is ok with me. I know that just because someone says it doesn't make it true.

Or does it?

Monday, September 17, 2007

If anyone can read this...

Hi, on the off chance you are reading this purely by chance please feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you exist. If you want to add some praise or flame on me you can do that too!

Today's subject falls in between the normalcy and extraordinary qualities of my day. Shit went down. Events of significance cascaded and swirled. Actually it was like trying to climb up a greased ladder while being bombarded with sting rays. Significant sting rays but flat flabby marine animals all the same.

I don't really have the heart to share it here but I'm going to miss Sean.

This will cheer you up though.