Monday, December 20, 2004

substance vs style

I went Christmas shopping today, and I noticed that many teenagers wore "gothic" clothes. I doubt many if any understand what counterculture is, or what it stands for. By trying to fit the stereotypes of a counterculture, they cheapen the ideas that the culture stands for. If you are going to identify with something, you should know exactly what they stand for, for both your sake and their sake.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

An interesting thought on pop culture

Pop culture, by definition is the cultural identity that most people ascribe to. Implicitly, this means that people will follow it by default. Only being dissatisfied with it can cause people to look elsewhere for a cultural identity. But the fact that it is the "popular culture" has the additional effect of making it very difficult to make that move, since largely it means abandoning the values of those around you. I often feel very alone, as I ascribe to a value system that says that a majority does not define correctness. People often conform to the values of those around them, so they feel like they belong. A sociologist, Solomon Asch, did a study where he put subjects in a room with "confederates" (people who appear to be studies, but are actually part of the study) and showed them pictures with lines on them. The subjects were then asked to point out the line that was longest. On certain slides, the confederates would all choose a line that was obviously not the longest. The majority of the time, the subject would choose the same line. Here is a wikipedia link for more info. This just demonstrates how often people will choose going along with the group, even if they know the group is wrong. Culturally, this holds true too. The vast majority of cultural information (core values, fashion, entertainment) are defined by mass media, and enforced by the fact that everyone else around them does it. In reality, this is horribly damaging, since a core value transferred is blind conformity without question. I've asked people tough questions about pop cultural beliefs that they hold, and most of them have never actually questioned it. Telling, isn't it?

Now it's time for more finals.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Looking back at the past and finding mistakes you made is easy. Even learning to avoid the same mistakes is not especially hard. The truly difficult, and probably the most beneficial thing that you can do is to learn to avoid other mistakes from that experience.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


What is hope? According to hope is "To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment."

But why should we be hopeful, even when we get let down, when things don't turn out right?

If you don't hope and believe that things can change, or get better, then they will not. Good stuff rarely happens to people who believe it can't happen to them. If I believe America will continue down the path of governing by political parties that don't serve the people, then I will act in a way that will not promote the change, thus making it more unlikely. By hoping that change can actually occur, it will become more likely.

Likewise with personal goals, if I don't believe I can do well in math, sure enough, I won't. But if I hope that I can do better, and act in a way to achieve those ends, it is very likely.

Hope things can get better, and hold on to your dreams, if they will truly make you happy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Giant's Drink

In the book Ender's Game, there is a computer game the main character, Ender, plays, where the player is met with various scenarios. At one point Ender meets a giant.

"How about a guessing game?" asked the Giant. So it didn't any difference - the Giant only played the guessing game. Stupid computer. Millions of possible scenarios in its memory, and the Giant could only play one stupid game.

The Giant, as always, set two huge shot glasses, as tall as Ender's knees, on the table in front of him. As always, the two were filled with different liquids. The computer was good enough that the liquids had never repeated, not that he could remember. This time one had a thick, creamy looking liquid. The other hissed and foamed.

"One is poison and one is not," said the Giant. "Guess right and I'll take you into Fairyland."


He drank the creamy liquid. Immediately he began to inflate and rise like a balloon. The Giant laughed. He was dead agin.


He stared at the two liquids. The one foaming, the other with waves in it like the sea. He tried to guess what kind of death each one held. Probably a fish will come out of the ocean one and eat me. The foamy one will probably asphyxiate me. I hate this game. It isn't fair. It's stupid. It's rotten.

And instead of pushing his face into one of the liquids, he kicked one over, then the other, and dodged the Giant's huge hands as the Giant shouted, "Cheater, cheater!" He jumped at the Giant's face, clambered up his lip and nose, and began to dig in the Giant's eye. The stuff came away like cottage cheese, and as the Giant screamed, Ender's figure burrowed into the eye, climbed right in, burrowed in and in.

The Giant fell over backward. The view shifted as he fell, and when the Giant came to a rest on the ground, there were intricate, lacy trees all around. A bat flew up and landed on the dead Giant's nose. Ender brought his figure up out of the Giant's eye.

"How did you get here?" the bat asked. "Nobody ever comes here."

This excerpt is a great example of how people only look at the obvious routes, even though the one that isn't seen is the one that will lead to success. If you liked the excerpt, then read the book. The author, Orson Scott Card, makes a lot of really good points about how people live their lives.

Being Real

How can we know what we believe? When you ask someone the question "What do you believe?", you can get all kinds of answers. But they may not be telling the truth. Furthermore, they may not even realize they are lying. I believe that the way a person acts is far more telling about what they believe than what they say. You can claim to believe certain things all day long, but without actions to back it up, all the words you say are meaningless.

So what should be done about this? My short answer is live in a way that the beliefs that you speak match the beliefs that you live. Getting to this point is not easy, but then you won't be a hypocrite, or a liar.

In summary, saying that you believe one thing and living inconsistantly with that is pointless, and helps no one.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Quickie

When I ask people about changing the world, they say they want the world to change, but they act in a way that will make it harder to change the world. I think this is best exemplified in a couple quotes:

"You should be the change that you want to see in the world." -Mohandas Gandhi

The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it." -Ayn Rand

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election 2004

To start off, I would like to post the lyrics to a song that, in my opinion, is an accurate description US politics:

Four more years of War is Peace, Ignorance is Stenght and Slavery is Freedom.
Four more. May all your interventions be "Humanitarian".
Four more years of pay-to-play politics, power and influence.
Four more years of legalized bribery and served corporate interests.

Vote for tweedle-dum or tweedle-dee
And a framework of debate narrowed for you courtesy
Of the ultra-rich and a media that filters
But any voice that challenges their power
(like Nader bounced in Boston by state-troppers
Cos he don't speak for oil-xycoons and bankers, oh yeah
Whose pursuit of happiness and liberty
Demands a rhetoric of fear to be
The litmus test for viable heirs to
The phony drug-wars, the trumped-up rogue-states, the permance of a war-economy).

I feel less hopeful and less human
As I'm reduced to nothing more than
Cheering on embassy bombings
As the liars pave their way through

Four more years of War is Peace, Ignorance is Stenght and Slavery is Freedom.
Four more. May all your interventions be "Humanitarian".
Four more years of pay-to-play politics, power and influence.
Four more years of legalized bribery and served corporate interests.

Propaghandi - War Is Peace

For popular vote results that include every presidential candidate, go to The Washington Post

Now for my prediction about politics from here on out.

I think there is a chance there will be a lawsuit filed by the losing candidate. But more importantly, the media will completely ignore third party candidate even more than in the past. The will spin elections into the "lesser of two evils" so that people feel they cannot "waste their vote" by voting for a third party. Essentially, I think the media will help entrench the two-party system, because I think they are in bed with both parties.

If you want to help stop this, vote for third party candidate, especially for local elections, or run as a third party candidate. If change is going to happen, it will happen initially at the local level.

Either way, I don't think the country will be better off, no matter who is declared the winner.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Badnarik '04

Remember to vote for Michael Badnarik for president

Thursday, October 28, 2004


I like feedback, and so I set the "post comments" setting to anyone, so anyone can post a comment without having to register. It helps me write to the people who read my blog.

But don't troll or flame, I want intelligent comments.

And don't forget to vote, especially if you are voting third party.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A random rant

I don't look at numbers when I think about what I believe. Just because a given belief has more followers, doesn't mean it's right. I look at all sides, and then figure out what I believe, regardless of whether or not other people believe it. I think we would all be better off if we all did this.

With that said, I endorse Michael Badnarik for President of the United States. He stands for true freedom, and small government.

Remember, take everything anyone says with a grain of salt.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Internet Browsers

For all of you still using IE, you should switch to Firefox
a open source, cross platform browser. It is also extensible. I have extensions on my browser to allow me to control my music player from the browser, one that displays local weather conditions, one that randomly renames my browser, and one that blocks ads among others. It has popup blocking built in, and is not vunerable to spyware installation via ActiveX.

Seriously, check it out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


People like to conform too much. When you think about it, conformity is really just accepting an idea that is given to you, often by a social group of some sort. Stuff like how to dress, act, think, what to buy, what music to listen to, and other stuff like that.

The problem is, once you start conforming in a few areas of life, others naturally follow. When everyone starts dressing the same, they are more likely to think the same. When people begin to conform to a certain way of thinking, it naturally precludes new ways of thinking. By definition, this effectively prevents truly new ideas from surfacing.

The massive amount of conformity in our society is holding us back, and must be reduced.

Read that last sentence again, trust me.

There is good news, though. When people begin conciously examining a few areas of their life to determine whether they are conforming, or are truly being themselves, it naturally spreads to all areas of their life. Many people trick themselves into thinking conformity is who they are, though. One must take a step back, and ask themselves "Do I really act in a way that is consistent with what I truly and most fundamentally believe?"

Sleep deprivation makes me sound more intelligent to myself.

Monday, October 18, 2004

I got a blog!!!

I got bored, so I got a blog. Real content to soon follow.