Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blog resurrection, Part IV

Part IV lives and breathes, thank the lords of Kobol and sweet merciful Buddha in his wisdom.

This excerpt contains the seminal post relating why chicken strips are the source of human misery in this world. I swear, read it and you'll see.


I am sure many people have thought about redesigning the human body with bigger muscles or more eyes/teeth/bones. But modern computing has probably pointed out the biggest flaw in human beings. That being our brain.

Consider the traditional model of how to compute a shit load of data…use a computer with a shitload of power. Now that works well and all, but so does using a shitload of smaller and slower computers. Take an example from every day experience. Last semester I wanted to calculate 4^3,000,000,000 so I could know just how many possible combinations of base pairs on a strand of human DNA.

The calculator could not handle it, even the calculator on my computer couldn’t pass muster. What a sad time. So I recruited lucas to help write a program in perl that would calculate a very very big integer. Now, we let this program run for a day and a half as I recall. It never finished.

So I took another look at just what a huge number this was and did some preliminary calculations on how long it would take to calculate it. Lucas’s laptop is about 550 mhz I believe. An estimate of the number itself is about 1.8 billion digits long. To put that in perspective, it took up about 55,000 pages of word documents at 6 pt font starting with 1 and continuing with zeroes.

Now, an interesting fact is that there are only about 10^80 particles in the universe. That’s still a whole whole lot.


So basically the number was impossible to calculate with his comp even given infinite time (protons decay every 10^15 years or so.) But with 10^80 computers of the same speed and power it’d only take a few billion years to calculate.

Now that is a pretty big issue with data. Even if every particle in the universe were committed as a transistor to the cause it would avail us not much at all. And when you think about it, people have a lot more important data issues to worry about.

It occurs to me the point of my little spiel may have been lost, just remember (lots of little computers better than one big scary one.)

Look at some of the fundamentals of the human body. Bilateral symmetry divides us right down the vertical axis through our spinal cord and sternum. 4 major limbs attach to one torso which also attaches to the head. Nerves from the tips of your toes inward all convey their messages up axon after axon into the spinal cord, then the brain, and then back down to muscles or whatever. That’s a long trip when you consider the distance between the feet and brain.

If our bodies were wired in such a way that nerves were superconductors surrounded by super insulators then a single message could be carried to the brain and back almost instantaneously. It’d be pretty close to the speed of light, but remember it’s a miniscule distance for that speed. But they aren’t, we rely on action potentials carrying nerve message oh about 1 mm and then having to be refreshed, chemically, all the way up and up and up to the brain. And then all the way back as well.

Now for little critters this is no big issue, maybe a foot separates the brain and most extreme extremities. But there is a definite lag between stimulus and response in people. What would be a good way to increase that stimulus without replacing every nerve in your body with copper wire?

The solution, mini brains. Consider the orientation of the brain and most of our sense organs. Eyes in front, nose and mouth also in front, and ears to either side. But what about the rest of the body. Touch is a sense that pervades the skin and has the longest connection to make. Senses aside, your brain has to command muscles to move from all the way up top. Now, the brain does well for most of its functions so it stays where it is, and the rest of the body gets modifications elsewhere.

Before I go further I want to point out that this design is incredibly improbable if we tried to attain it with conventional selection. See, rather than fight off diseases inside the brain and spinal cord, there is a filter that only allows crucial chemicals and fuels into the brain. This is called the blood/brain barrier. Neurons do not regenerate much, they do, but not enough to withstand constant attack from disease and maintain working memory.

So I propose a new kind of cell with a new kind of function. The mini brain can be constructed out of all sorts of available parts, and nothing new itself is created, just improbably located.

What the fuck good is a little brain? Not much more than sensory motor action and with no demand on memory. So what, we’ve already got a brain that can swing memory no problem. But its all the way up top, and the hands/feet are all the way down there. What if no area of the body was more than 1.5 feet away from processing center? Imagine instead of every single axon having to send its little message all the way up it could send it to a smaller ‘brain’ in the forearms, spinal terminus or ankle.

It’d be a network! All the visual data you have is ready and bound before your muscles have a chance to respond to it. Even the heavy processing it takes only travels from the back of your eyes to the back of your head. Now if we could relay that directly and more quickly to action areas of the body we could be much quicker. The only limiting factor is speed of nerve conduction.

Axons are very small you see, they are also wrapped in myelin which helps keep signal strength from degrading as it travels. Making an axon thicker allows bigger gaps between myelin sheathes and less repetitions per message. Lets say a foot neuron wants to report a warm sensation. Sensory neurons fire off and each goes 1 mm before refreshing. If you are of the height that would make this a 6 foot journey, there would be over 1,800 different refreshes on the way. What if it were only 180?

It would be possible to make this happen but isn’t likely because of the physics of it. Nerves that could conduct 10x faster would also be about 100 times thicker. My teacher explained that part (kind of like the inverse square law). But if there were only a few connections to crucial places this could be a brilliant specialization.

Remember, there is a little brain in each arm at the wrist and each foot at the knee and spinal cord. Feet still have all their conventional nerves but they are routed to the brain in the leg. Leg brain receives all that data and slams it 10x as quickly to the brain which responds 10x as quickly to the other brain and back into the feet.

Consider the implications. Eyes pick up a thrown…well lets go with a ninja star to be dramatic. You want to dodge, deflect or catch it but only have a book in one hand and it is traveling at your face. Brain descrambles this and tries to move you out of the way but not quite quickly enough so you get hit in the eye and die a horrible death.

With minibrains, the coordination between nerves, muscles and the brain is evenly distributed throughout the body. As the ninja star is seen (movement is the first thing you respond to) you are already ducking, rolling and shielding yourself with the book long before it can get to you. The star harmlessly passes you by and you now have to face the ninja himself.

But he’s a cocky fucker so he keeps the sword in the sheath. Now with no training the only factors in a fight are strength, speed, balance and level of intoxication. Training increases effectiveness of strikes, reduces time spent calculating moves and gives you the fighting edge that helps ninjas fight all the time. Even though most of the guys bruce lee fought in ‘return of the dragon’ were bigger and stronger he fucked their shit up. Why? Because he’s a fast motherfucker that’s why.

However, speed is not just a function of strength, it’s a matter of reflex timing and strength. You wouldn’t need to be able to fight if you could outrun anyone, with mini-brains you could out reflex (and I cringe at using this as a verb.) any person without them.

Even just a little more oomph to the spinal terminal (the end in your butt) could have a huge effect. So having solved that mystery, I have to get back to studying.

posted by Seth # 10:46 AM
Christ I am such an asshole. 3 pages fell mercilessly to the horror of clicking on a link without posting or publishing first. Oh well, you live and learn, and then you get reamed. Fuck, well I guess I should just start over and quit whining, after all this is the Anti Blog.

First, the quote of the night (again) from Ms. April.

True love waits?
Fuck that, true love fucks.

Ain’t she a charmer. Though ironically enough my topic does involve girls and those wonderful things they do (no not drive, yuk yuk).

Ok, so I set out to smash my previous recent record of 3 miles with an attempt at 3.5. Well this is not what happened, I went all out for 3.75 but got fucked out of smashing the ever menacing 4 mile mark. Pause and revel in my skill and strength, could you do one mile? Ok, enough vanity for now.

No, that’s not true, because vanity is the topic of tonight’s mystery blog. This originally came second, but it was fresh on the mind so I’ll start and then address my other thought of the day.

Remember presence theory? If not look it up, jackass. Well strength and intellect are nice and important aspects, but there is a facet not yet mentioned or harped upon. Appearence, as much as you want to deny it really fucking counts.

Personally I know that the American standards for beauty are a mere reflection of an elite few that can resist the combined temptation of having more and more varieties of foods than any other people in history and the lack of back breaking labor necessary to survive. How do I know, because God told me that’s how.

Ha, no its more of something else I am afraid. Now there are some anthropological types that will tell you attractiveness is solely a function of perceived health of the other person. Comments like this really necessitate a good way to type a fart sound other that Because that is not the case by far.

Consider for a moment what other animals (on earth we are just another species) look at to gauge attractiveness. For dogs, its having something to hump. For birds its plumage, this is also true for some insects and crap. But what about lions and monkeys and the other things that eat meat and are really damned mean. For wolves, most of the big cats, lots of the herbivores and all that it comes down to power.

The alpha male is the one no one wants to fuck with, why? Because he’ll beta your ass. For the record I apologize for that joke, it had to be made though. But seriously, lets compare the wolf style to an eery similarity in our own culture.

Nice guys finish last. No, they finish holding a sock in their mom’s basement after getting off from broadband porn or some internet kiddie/oldie that gave them the usual cyber crap. Ha, the word cyber isn’t even the word perfect spellchecker, what a fucked up copy. (Niether is fuck or fucked, lots of little red squigglies)

Ok, now why do you suppose A) Nice guys don’t do as well. And B) Why they don’t just start following the motto “treat a hot girl like dirt and she’ll stick to you like mud?”

A is easy. Nice guys are whiny bitches that are usually so absorbed in their own expectations and ideals that they ignore that even the few girls they can pick up probably think they’re jackasses or just want a ‘safe’ guy because the last one fucked her to hard or beat her. Its sad, but nice guys get leftovers and rejects.

Now, the most common thing for these poor fellows to do is bitch about the unfairness of it all. “Why don’t girls like me, I’m nice to them.” Now you’re probably expecting a rant about how girls are all secretly masochists with a freudian urge to submit to the cock, and as tempting it would be to take that idea and run with it I must not digress. I actually think most nice guys deserve the fatties and washouts that they get.

Lets look at why guys are nice at all. Do they want something, or is altruism just something that courses through their veins with absolutely no intent of gain from it. Ha, nice does not get you laid unless you’re also rich. Why? Because girls can smell bullshit and weakness from a hundred yards off and upwind.

I know I don’t want some cranky slut with a righteous bug up her ass trying to tag along with me everywhere I go. So why would a female with half a brain (or a quarter in men’s terms) go along with that. Usually they don’t. But then again, the whole culture of dating is relatively haphazard and strange.

Optimally there would be a way to find someone perfect for everyone that would make things between them as good as possible as often as possible. You have only to look at the 60% divorce rate to know how naive you’d have to be to believe that shit. Even the ability of people at their reasoning best wouldn’t do so well, but there are so many confounding variables that destroy reason.

First, love is pretty taboo to question. Try and suggest that love is addiction to another person in Sunday school or among a bunch of ‘romantic’ types. I hate to admit that I liked the movie moulin rouge. The songs were ok, but my favorite part was the scene where satine was foolin’ around with the duke and ewan macgregor is walking all twisted up with jealousy and frustrated pain. Putting this in my terms, he didn’t want that duke to fuck his bitch but he couldn’t afford her.

Second, money is an issue. Maybe it has happened once or twice in history, but money is almost always the issue between two people. Maybe its just the relevant background experiences people get from being in their caste or how much a dowry is, but who picks up the bill is at the front. When girls say money doesn’t matter they are either determined to be the dominant person or they are lying through their teeth. 43% of people know that.

Third, people hold themselves and those close to them as exceptions to criticism and judgement. Yeah bill hits the pipe every once and a while but he’s an ok guy, just a bit hyper. No, bill’s a fucking crackhead. Or how about, sure Jill slept around on me, but it was just a phase. No, Jill’s a dirty fucking whore and you should have dumped her ass or made her beg on her knees to take you back. This fucks up people’s judgement because they think, or do they?, that things will work out for them because they’re special. Apparently thinking you’re special is a pretty common misconception.

Fourth, people expect to married as soon as possible. I feel the need to quote Darrin’s reference to the idea of moshing on 12 hits of acid “fuck that, FUUUUCK that.” Jodie got married at 18 and in less than two years it was fucked. One of April’s friends married a 16 yr old THIS YEAR and is getting a divorce sometime soon. Did people just not read the vows, to have and to hold forever in sickness and in health til death do us part. Or until I get bored or the next slut half a notch higher throws you a smoldering ‘come hither’ look (thanks neal).

Fifth, People are idiots. Why get married at all, unless you’re going to have kids there is no point. Oh some financial crap or tax relief maybe, just work a few more hours and save yourself the nightmare of being inextricably linked to this other person. Get old and let your sex drive dull down a bit before rushing into anything. Oh, and people that get married for sex should be shot, though ironically I bet they last longer than the average couple just because of church ties and the girl doesn’t wanna feel like a whore. But she is and we all know it.

Sixth, I think you get the point. But even so you’re probably still going to get divorced, its not even flipping a coin anymore! Now its russian roulette with only two EMPTY chambers. Though perhaps that’d be an improvement over a messy divorce.

Ok, enough of this. People are vain, and I am a person, so I too am vain. Don’t cry if I just stepped of the pedestal in heaven you have me placed upon, the fingers typing this are made of the same brand of meat that you’re beating later on. At least my vanity has a purpose, so its justified, right, well I’ll rationalize it anyways.

Physics pop quiz...what is the definition of a force? A force is a push or pull, to exert force you must be able to convert energy into useful work. Or you get nothing. Now, I have a fairly forceful personality around a lot of people. Shouldn’t I want my insides to match up with my outsides?

I know what you’re thinking...a chubby brown-haired white guy of average height that wears glasses...you’re going to stay inside all the time and devote your life to linux or jesus!

Hell no, I am going to change the outside to match the inside rather than live up to my current image. Gods below, the suggestion revolts me. If I were as nerdy and goofy as I looked...I shudder to even think it. Now the next thing in your thalamus after processing that is probably ‘ha, you already match up you nerdy bitch!’ Well fuck you, and I can prove that I am not.

Its simple, nerdy bitches do not swim 4 miles in a day or climb mountains or stomp their friends at racquetball with ruthless and almost mechanical precision (except for wade, that fuck!). They jerk off a lot, play everquest and steal software. And I don’t play everquest, jeez.

Vanity is a pretty god damned stupid human weakness though. Maybe the worst one, but one of the most potent. What makes it so stupid oh all knowing one?’ you may ask. And I may tell you its stupid because I said so.

If you live in america and make at least a living wage you cannot starve to death. You might get sick and die or get hit by a bus, but otherwise your survival is almost dismally guaranteed. Sure there are pitfalls of substance abuse, accidents and the occasional murder, but people just don’t die off these days. The goods and services available to the poorest town are enough to sustain human life.

One day before a show at ziggy’s I asked Special J about what he thought about the whole 9-11 thing. We were standing in a shitty strip mall in winston salem. He just gestured around and said ‘man, I just don’t get it. This is a shitty little mall but its still better than what most of the world gets.’ Shouldn’t we be thankful for constant sources of good food and medicine?

Well we aren’t. No people are more concerned on stripping the fat off their bodies than eating enough to sustain them. People don’t worry about having a car, they worry about icing out their fucking escalade or putting a homemade spoiler on the back. Dad once observed that the poorest rednecks in Concord couldn’t feed their kids but they would have cable or satellite tv.

Ours is a culture steeped, soaked and drowning in vanity. Used clothing, still as functional as ever, gets shipped to other countries after being vacuum sealed into chunks of clothes by the ton. Just because cosmetic differences vary and this somehow translates into the subtle changes to clothes are what make them important. Change over time, sounds like evolution right? Well it is, but in the stupid and wasteful sense. God we waste a lot.

Now present this idea to someone who grew up with only three clothing choices (the suit, the good suit and naked) and they’ll spit at the idea. But people grow up with tv and their friends, neighbors peers and parents making sure they get the latest fashion. What’s worse, people go crazy about trying to look good and flip out about it. Maybe its because even nerds and losers in movies have ‘cool’ clothes except for cases of comic value. But think about it, people have actually cried over not getting the kind of capri pants they wanted. I worry about anyone that would wear capri pants, but to cry about them...there are no words for my pity to fully settle on.

In conclusion people are vain because of relative wants and not absolute needs. Maybe absolute needs aren’t the best way to say it, because needs are perceived differently across cultures. But anyone today has more than almost anyone else did even 50 years ago. This goes along with the ‘desire is unlimited’ point. It is indeed limitless if you let your desire consume you.

There is the danger of self improvement, people focus narrowly on little aspects and perfecting them. Like with yesterday’s post, people only want the best and it doesn’t much matter if they go up or others go down. Work on nothing but strength and you become weak from lack of cunning. Focus all your time into learning and you detach yourself from the real world. Try to always have the best clothes/shoes/makeup and your money goes right down the toilet. Think about how much money is spent on clothes, and what good is that to you now?

The guy that wrote Ecclessiastes wasn’t kidding when he said “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

But one stinging ray of hope shines in my eyes. Moderation has been touted as the salvation of mankind in countless forms of religion, philosophy and golf instruction videos. And I think it is, but only if you want to match the inside to the outside. Rather than focus on feeding your urges for food or drink or sex, do something else or jerk off (for the sex example).

The kind of vanity I embrace is only because of the desires that I cannot help including the one to rid myself of this bland excesses we insist on indulging in. I do not improve as a person by swimming, or studying or writing this god damned time consuming bastard weblog...I only improve my image.

posted by Seth # 9:39 PM
Something cryptic for my reputation's sake..."Atrocity is the quiver, and I am the arrow."

I really think I may have stumbled on a big source of human misery today. For dinner tonight I got some Bojangles and couldn't decide what i wanted so I defaulted to the supremes dinner with french fries and iced tea. It occurred to me that's what I got last time. No big deal you know, but then i thought about dinner with the other kristy and her roomate/roomies bf the other night.

Having a favorite food is no sin in my book, hell its good to have some standard of comparison so you can broaden and define your tastes (given the luxury of middle class hedonism). This DOES imply that you will vary your diet and not eat the same damned thing every time you get the chance. At first glance I knew I was revolted by it but not sure why, and then like a shot of everclear from heaven all was revealed.

Luxury items are by definition things that are considered superior in some way to another food/brand/partner that will get the job done. If you only eat your favorite foods, health and artery consequences aside, they cease to become luxury, they just become food. Now maybe food isn't the best example since you don't really get tired of something unless you've broadened your horizons enough.

I use tristan's diet and lifestyle as an example. As a contrast, I realize that you cannot sustain orgasm quality pleasure for more than short bursts and that the most of life is going to be...well, boring or hurtful. The ups make the downs seem worse and the downs make the ups that much more worthwhile. It seems a human tendency toward not widening the gap between the ordinary and sublime but to narrow it.

I don't think i'd be happy surviving on pancakes, ice cream and diet soda but tristan manages to pull it off. He also expects concierge quality service from the general marketplace. I admit people are pretty lax about their jobs, but its so universal you have to allow for it or it'll drive you crazy.

Trying to only have the best is in one sense stupid, another greedy and a third entirely vain. (this is in general now, i'm done with tristan as an analogy.) Consider people that only eat the same foods. This is stupid barring unfortunate circumstances in which food is not an ordinary item but a luxury. Americans can get food pretty easily, and we have more available in terms of variety and availabilty thanks to the marvels of refridgeration and transportation. That would be like offering someone free reign on any woman he wanted in the whole world. I am willing to be he'd only go with the best, and yeah bragging rights would be off the charts awesome, but it would still be a loss of opportunity.

Consider what we define as beauty in america and then apply it in a psychological sense to girls at large. Hot girls in america are generally, blonde, skinny, well breasted, smooth skinned and slutty enough to dance like animals humping members of their own kind. IN our more civilized society girls just make out with each other without the necessity of humping. And you could have tons of these girls, literally it would only take 20 super models to make a ton.

That's fine for bragging and sexual purposes, but what if you actually want something more satisfying and permanent than an easy lay? Can you imagine the horror of only being able to converse with...models. Oh it would be, for me and i'm not saying you're inferior for not taking this view but I am thinking it so be warned. And maybe you don't just want skinny blonde bitches, maybe you wanna get a taste of the full genetic spread of womankind spread out across the earth like a poorly driven smorgasbord of pleasure and PMS.

This is the taste analogy. Chicken strips (or whatever your fav food is) are supermodels. They are easily accessed and give good short term pleasure. But they are such a minority of what 'food' can be. Lacking the benefit of having tasted many different foods you can't experience the same appreciation for other flavors. Last time I made ziti i overdid the balsamic vinegar marinade and the sauce was a bit acidic. But it ended up being damned good. now someone only basing their comparison on factory made tv dinners will not appreciate the variation. With a greater range of taste, you can have a greater range of pleasures as well as the good ol' reliable chicken strips.

Go back to only conversing with models for a moment. Human tendencies to adapt socially often go unnoticed or in subtle ways we only realize when someone points them out. In africa, the sudden and prolonged lack of viable females (according to our standards) did not seem like much of an issue. However, one girl within a decade of age range and not in fraction values according to Seth's Corrected Scale of Attractiveness (1-10 ranking) and that fucks up the range.

This girl shirlene was not hot or smart or even great to be around by american standards, or my standards at the time before and shortly after returning home...but holy crap she might as well have been aphrodite wrapped in bacon when we showed up in Chokomela. I kind of wish I hadn't taken a picture of her for my memory's sake. But at the time I couldn't imagine not wanting some sort of token of her 'incredible beauty.' Maybe the alcohol hit me harder than I give credit. The point is, you get used to what you're getting.

Another example is with relationships. Some stupid 'rules for girls by guys' mass forward found its way into my awareness via the intelligent but inexperienced in internet matters study buddy Jodie. This is really a dual example, what for her is clever and original is to me just another GOD DAMNED PIECE OF SHIT I HAVE TO WIPE OFF OF MY BOOT. But a saying in said rules caught my attention.

"Things will never be like they were the first two months we dated, so don't even expect it."

Strange how people rush into relationships so headlong that they often burnout or stumble in someway within months. To me, having been single for say... 94.594% of my life (that's to within a week) relationships are not commonplace nor would I treat them as simple sustenance. Rather, they are a luxury and not something to be strip mined and exploited for all they're worth. Yet this is common practice, it appalls the civil side of me.

One mistake most recently made was rushing into things with Bunn. Regardless of morality I see its better that there be some lead in both emotional and physical matters. In every other case there was some gray area between getting to know the girl and 'knowing' her. Bunn and I did not flicker into our relationship than a calmly lit candle, but rather someone threw a switch and suddenly light of Committment flooded my whole existance. I had no time to prepare, no head start in my quest to scurry under the sink. Irony is we both got stepped on.

Ok, well there's one more life lesson I have taken care of for you. But sleep has been a luxury lately, so I go to satisfy my exhaustion and look forward to smashing myself around in the pool yet again. In a backwards and probably to be considered nonsensical in the morning fashion sense this also applys to the rest of the post. You don't progress in the level of intensity, duration or variation in an exercise routine and your talent stagnates withing severely defined limits.

3.5 miles ought to be a sufficiently psychotic challenge to my resolve. Results to be posted later.

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