Personal Update August 2009

Lately I’ve been spending near all my time studying books.  The past several months I’ve done very little “work” to earn money at all.  My studies have been mostly science related.  I’m about 3/4 of the way through an astronomy textbook, which I’ve been working on.  I’m finishing up some final studies in electromagnetism — which I probably should have already finished, but haven’t yet.  I started studying a bit of quantum mechanics, but then decided to wait until I finish the electromagnetic studies.

All of these studies are time consuming.  I see months and months go by, and slowly make it through one book.  The thing about studying physics is all the mathematics.  It just takes a lot of time and effort to study it all, but I find it all very rewarding.

After recently writing that big post on greed, I learned I need to do a lot of studying related to the development of the human species, and our base drives.  There was a lot of subtle questions I didn’t quite understand leading to some off-base conclusions.  Greg gave me a call, and we started talking about some of the issues and he gave me some good information.

One of the questions I didn’t understand was why we as humans are so particular about hygiene, and why we waste so much time beautifying ourselves.  Why we’re always taking showers, women taking so much time with make-up, and all the time we spend styling our hair.  That sort of thing.  Why would we evolve to waste so much energy?  What benefit does that serve us as a species?

Then Greg explained to me that I was missing a few key factors.  Most notably, he explained the concept of “fitness indicators” to me.  Take a lot of birds for instance.  They’ll develop these flashy, fluffy, colorful feathers to impress a mate.  We look at that and think, “What in the world!”  It’s beautiful, but why?  Why do they go through all these mating rituals, flashing big tails, and all of that.  The reason is to show that they have extra energy to waste.  They are healthy, so they have all this excess energy to waste building this colorful tail, and wasting time with all those rituals.

So when humans fix their hair, style themselves in clothing, clean themselves, and more, they show how much energy they can waste, and still be ok.  That’s why we pre-judge a person with long straggly hair, and unshaven, as a dead-beat.  Unconsciously our minds tell us, “This person hasn’t had extra time and energy to waste maintaining their appearance, therefore they must be struggling to survive, and are unhealthy.”

Strange to think that way.  Encounter a cute girl at the store while waiting in line.  You think a thought, “Her hair is really pretty,” which is really just a reaction from your unconscious mind which is saying, “See how symmetric her hair is?  She must have had a lot of time to waste this morning styling it.”  It’s an indicator of excess energy to waste — a fitness indicator of health and prosperity.  Combine that with other fitness indicators, such as being fit (not fat – she could catch prey), breasts (to nuture children with  milk), youthful (not aged and old – she’ll live long enough to raise the children), and other indicators, all combine to say, “She’s a suitable candidate to spread my genes, therefore I’ll secrete the proper chemicals and make sure you’re attracted to her.”

These fitness indicators are also the reason youths will do harmful things to themselves in front of a social crowd, trying to impress them.  They’ll be at a party, drink a huge bottle of strong alcohol and say, “See, I can hold my alcohol!”  That’s a fitness indicator, showing how much damage they can do to their body, and still be ok.  They’re trying to show us they’re a suitable mate.  They’re attempting to prove their worth and strength.  “See, my body is good and strong.  I’m very fit and able.”

Greg gave me a list of six core factors like this, and showed how all human behavior can be broken into those six factors.  He referred me to some books, which I’m going to be purchasing and reading here soon.   Those sorts of studies are what I’ve been lacking for a long time.

Besides those books, I’m going to be ordering a bunch of books on anthropology.  I’m going to spend a lot of time studying humans and their origins.  It’s sad when I’m watching some crazy conspiracy theorist on the internet, and thinking, “Huh, that sort of makes sense.”  I don’t like to tell someone their ideas are “crazy” unless I can give them a rational reason why they must be wrong.  After hearing that guy, I couldn’t tell him a single reason why he was wrong, and that made me think, “I need to study more about humans, our anatomy, and more in-depth biology.”  I’m sure a lot of the questions I’ve been wondering will be explained.  I like it when things are broken down to base instinctual drives, and evolution.  That’s when things make the most sense.

Take one of the factors Greg was telling me about:  Openness.  Openness is how willing you are to change and accept new ideas.  Are you willing to try anything new, or are you a person rooted in tradition and wanting to keep things the way they’ve always been?  The core factor scientists have discovered which determines this trait is based on your immune system.  Depending on how your immune system is structured will determine how “open” you are.  There’s a lot of details.  I’ll write on all of this at a later time, when I dive into it all more heavily.  It’s interesting to find out that these things are genetic, and can’t be helped.

I have a lot of questions about things like that though. How much of it is social conditioning, such as events happening to you, and how much of it is genetics and your immune system?  How do they combine?  How strong is each influence?  It’s a combination of both, I’m sure, but how do the details  play out? I don’t know.

So that’s pretty much it.  I’ll be studying quantum mechanics, astronomy, cosmology, biology, and anthropology.  That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing, living off money I made quite a while ago, keeping my expenses down to almost nothing, so I don’t have to waste time working.

I also have been wanting to buy a series of books on economic history.  In-depth books on economic policies, studying individual countries over time, and the effects of those policies.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to study that.  Studying their currencies, their banking systems, their regulations, and other details of their economies.  Man, that’d be great.  But how am I supposed to have time for all this?  Arrggghhh. I have literally all day to study, but still can’t fit it all in!

Today I’m studying neutron stars, which originate from Type II supernovas.  The past week I’ve been studying star formation, and their processes.  Before reading this astronomy text, I was under the impression that all elements were forged in the cores of stars during nuclear fusion, but I was wrong.  All elements of higher density than iron actually form from Type II supernovas.  Reading that though, I have to take what they say at face value.  I didn’t understand some of the nitty gritty processes which go on, even with all the physics I’ve studied.   When getting into things like the Pauli Exclusion Principle, I haven’t studied that level of quantum mechanics yet.  When it comes to quantum physics, I’ve just barely scratched the surface with my studies.  I only know the basics of the basics.

I also wish to get some textbooks on geophysics, and meteorology.  I just love learning this stuff.  The astronomy book I’ve been reading was going into the root origins of various weather patterns on planets, and I just loved it.  I wanted to learn more, but all that was there was one chapter.  I read all that and thought, “Wow, this is awesome!  I never knew how all this worked.”  I’m sure years from now I’ll get to those subjects too.  For now, they’ll have to be put on the shelf.  Too many other studies are higher priority, for the time being.

I guess that’s it for now.  Hope things are well with all you guys out there!  I tried emailing some of my old friends I haven’t been in touch with for a while.  If you haven’t got the emails, or if I didn’t respond to you, it MIGHT be due to email problems with the server.  Greg recently switched my domain, as well as some other site domains over to a new server, and it has some sort of SPAM guard system.  We were getting a lot of SPAM so he upped the protection settings really high.  It MIGHT be deleting messages before I even get them.  I don’t know.  I’ve somewhat suspected that, but maybe not.  Also, I now send my email through this same server, whereas I used to send email through my ISP.  So stupid.  Sucks living in a small town.  ISP has no idea what it’s doing, and decided it wouldn’t relay email messages anymore for its customers.  Now I have to worry about whether or not my server’s IP is blacklisted, and other stuff like that.  It’s a pain in the butt these days just to send email.  Sometimes email isn’t even delivered to people.  At one point I think my domain was blacklisted, for some reason.  Maybe some low-life hacker got in and started relaying SPAM through the server?  I don’t know.

I hate techie crap these days.  Worrying about whether emails are delivered.  Spyware.  Viruses.  The other day my Vista computer got a virus, and I literally wasn’t doing anything.  I was just sitting there and then all the sudden a window came up which said, “I’ve detected a virus!”  Then crap appeared in my systray, and pop-ups galore came up, and I just shook my head and thought, “Sorry Microsoft.  My next computer will be a Mac.  I’m not dealing with this anymore.”   Greg’s also switching to a Mac.

I tried out several virus programs for Vista, to try to clean it off.  They kept detecting crap, scanning for hours, claiming to clean it off.  I’d tell it to do what it needed to do, then it’d say, “I can’t delete this process why the computer is running, shall I scan upon reboot?”  So I say yes.  It then scans for literally 6 hours or more prior to boot.  Hard drive crunching away.  Windows comes up.  I log in.  Detects more viruses.  Wants to reboot and do that scan over again.  This same sort of thing happened with several anti-virus programs, and spyware software.

So yeah.  I’m done with Windows and PCs.  Probably going with a Mac laptop of some sort.  I’ve never even used a Mac, but who cares.  I’ll learn.  I’m not dealing with this stuff anymore.  Computer wasting tons of resources.  Getting viruses and spyware.  No more.

My Vista installation is so hosed right now.  I tried to uninstall the anti-virus program, and it wouldn’t come off.  At one point I tried AVG, because I’ve seen ads for it.  I installed it.  Ran scans.  Didn’t do anything.  Flailed away at the virus but couldn’t remove it.  Tried to uninstall it, but it wouldn’t come off.  Then I installed another anti-virus, Avast.  Ran it.  It cleaned the virus, but now I have two anti-virus things running.  These programs scan my web browsing, slowing it all down.  I hate this stuff.  Can’t even uninstall it either.  And I don’t want to format.  The computer has too much stuff on it.

As for my PC, I installed Linux on my computer, and have been running that lately.

I’m able to read PDFs, surf the web, and watch videos online.  I can type documents in MS Word, running through Linux’s WINE emulator.  That’s all I need.  It’s nice not worrying about viruses, or my base operating system using over a GIGABYTE of ram, not even doing anything.  Base operating system uses a gig of ram.  Vista uses A GIG OF RAM.  Linux uses a little over 100 MB, runs faster, is more customizable with its interface… It’s just too bad there’s not much software for it, besides a lot of these shoddy open-source programs.  Some of them are good, such as GIMP, OpenOffice, VLC Media player, and their PDF and DJV viewers.  Other software though, was junk.  I can still use Firefox to surf the web, and plugins work.   The Flash player for Linux is considerably slower though, which disappoints me.  A flash ad can come up on a webpage and max out processor usage.   I don’t like that at all.

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