Whaaa…. Good News?

I normally read the news expecting to get depressed.   Today, to my amazement, there was actually good news!

I went on the Huffington Post and found that a Federal Judge ruled that Bush’s wiretapping procedures were wrong!

*Eyes open wide*

I had to stare at the screen for about 10 minutes.  I was shocked in utter disbelief.  Good news for once!  There are still some decent folks in government.  Yay!


I also read that Obama signed a bill giving out billions in grants and aid to students.   I’d prefer all higher education be funded and paid for in entirety, but this is better than nothing.

One of the main factors behind a strong economy is how skilled and educated the citizen base is.  The greater the diversity of labor, and the more talented the people are at what they do, the better off we’ll all be.   The more incentive we give people to get educated the better.  You can’t lose making people smart.  Or smarter.  It’s worth the cost.

Let’s keep scanning down the page, see what we find!    This is one of those weird days where everything goes well.   Ooopp.  I spoke too soon.  Lookie here.  Jesse James giving a Nazi salute.  Oh good, he’s not a white supremacist.  That’s a relief.  Sarah Palin’s telling us all to reload and target government officials.  Hoo boy.   Senator has a brick thrown through his window.  Death threats.  Geez.  Obama’s drilling for oil.  Great, there goes those ecosystems.  Seriously, just build some nuclear power plants, and let’s use electric power cars.  *Sigh*.   More propaganda that Iran has nukes.  The neocons aren’t finished with the Middle-east yet.   Yale student jumps out of the Empire State building.  Ricky Martin is gay!  Uh oh, Shaq’s got a mistress.  Gitmo’s still around.  *Sigh*.   Some republicans got caught in a strip club.  Oh, how could they!?  *Rolls eyes*  Isn’t it amazing how hundreds of thousands can be killed in Iraq and people don’t seem to blink an eye, then some politicians visit a strip club and the media has a frenzy.

When it comes to sex, people are messed up in the head.  I mean, messed up.  Everyone wants to know about every sexually related affair.  Just study Sigmund Freud’s works.  The human psyche is largely dominated by sexual impulses.   Not too long back I read a book on the history of marriage and it was certainly interesting.  The Catholic church used to have a book they’d produce related to “sexual sins”.  During confession the priests compiled a library of various acts confessed to them regarding sex.   They then used this as a sort of reference guide to administer punishments to the confessing sinners based on what it recommended. I forget what Catholics call that.  Penance is it?

The book only allowed a man and wife to have sex in one position.  I believe it was missionary.  Don’t quote me on that though.  Every other position and act was considered sinful in various degrees.  Priests made confessors tell of their sexual acts in vivid detail.  It’s just repression, the priest’s anger being being taken out on the poor folks coming in to confess.

Sounds crazy but people aren’t any different today.  The culture’s changed around a bit, but people still freak out when it comes to sex.

I hope I don’t come off as a bad person here, but you know, people don’t seem to care about an affair if it’s with an unattractive woman.  You never see, “So and so had an affair with this fat chick”, though that happens too.  It’s almost always about a man and an attractive woman.  You see the celebrity, and then the picture of the gorgeous woman he slept with.  The picture of the guy almost always is one of him smiling, having a good time, and the gorgeous woman in a seductive outfit, or bikini, or something like that, if they have the photo.  That’s not a coincidence.  It all points toward repressed tensions and jealousy.

Yeah it’s terrible when a man cheats on his wife, but you have to ask why you’re getting so worked up over what happened to someone you barely know, especially when the event has no bearing on your life at all.  What makes you angry tells a lot about yourself.

People don’t get worked up over the affair with the fat chick because they’re not jealous.  The women don’t envy the ugly woman, and the men don’t envy the guy.  If she’s really unattractive, it almost has the opposite effect.  The guy becomes admirable, especially if he’s good looking.  I think the unspoken logic goes something along the lines, “Well, she must not have been treating him very well, because why in the world would he go for her, of all people.  The fat chick must be a really good person for him to leave his much better looking wife.  Good for them.”

Gotta love the news.

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5 Responses to Whaaa…. Good News?

  1. Timothy Fairman says:

    This is unrelated to your post, but I think you should check it out. I’ve recently been engaged in an online forum discussion about the seemingly simple question “What is truth?” This is a really great discussion and it has gone quite far. Check it out here: http://nerdfighters.ning.com/group/philosophicaldebate/forum/topics/what-is-truth? If the url doesn’t work let me know:)

  2. Everett says:

    Haha, I really enjoyed this post. I was in line at the super market today and all those magazines with celebs in it saying how messed up their relationships are. I have never actually been interested in what goes on in their life and its almost pathetic that our society cares SO MUCH about Sandra Bullock’s crappy marriage or whatever it said in huge bold letters. Give me a real magazine with actual news and something a little more worth my time than that.

    I also wanted to thank you vry much for that extremely long message you posted answering my question. I. was very enlightened with your responce and I think your methods of learning are wonderful. I’ve already ditched my math teacher and study pre calculus on my own…the odd thing is that it makes so much more sense now. although we are not allowed to have noted during tests with equations…I have them anyways because I agree with the stupidity of most teachers. memorizing long equations does not show your intelligence and mastery of a math problem.

    I had another question for you (sorry its quite vague) but what do you think about astronomy?

    Thank you,

  3. Heya Tim,

    I took a look at you guys’ discussion. The concept of truth is the most difficult problem in philosophy and is one that plagued me for years. It still does really. My recent studies in quantum mechanics has shifted my entire outlook as to what “truth” may be. When I get some time I’ll write up a post about truth and give my own views on the matters you guys were discussing on the forum. I’d write you a reply here, but it’d be very very lengthy and it’s late tonight.

  4. Hi Everett,

    I hope my advice helps you out. You know, it’s actually a bit scary seeing someone follow the same lifestyle I live. If you become too much of a rebel you’ll become very very intelligent though don’t forget that you’ll need to earn money, at least someday. Don’t neglect that area of your life. You end up in your mid 20s, meet an amazing girl, then it’s like… Dang it, I have no money or way to provide! Then you’re stuck at home and she goes off with another man.

    So all in all, be careful about ditching your teachers. I’m just saying that school tends to rush through important subjects, breezing over very difficult topics and then testing if you “understand” the material by memorizing facts or mindless calculations and procedures. But having a science degree of some sort is the best chance of getting a decent career and making some money. Life as an entrepreneur isn’t much fun at all. So much work. Much more work that going to college, believe me. And you may not even succeed! Waste years of your life working on projects that don’t ever amount to anything. Or business partners who try to screw you out of things. So much greed and so many losers.

    That’s ridiculous that your teacher won’t let you use your notes. God I hated school. I hated every hour I was in that place. I didn’t even attend my graduation. Thinking about that brings up some memories. They kept calling my name on the intercom saying, “There are still some students who need to buy their captain gowns.” Then they’d read off names of students who hadn’t bought theirs yet. As the weeks went on it got to where I was the only student who hadn’t. The teachers kept saying, “Jason, are you going to buy your gown?” I said, “No.” “How will you attend your graduation?” “I didn’t know I had to.” “You’re not going?” “I don’t plan to, no.” “What do your parents think about that?” *Shrug*

    Pissed me off. The school wanted me to buy my own gown for like $200. I wasn’t going to spend my money on something like that, because my parents didn’t want to pay for it either. And I didn’t want to attend anyway. It was a big hassle.

    I’m not the type of person who likes any sort of celebration of anything. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I’ll celebrate meaningful things, but not things I could care less about. I remember when I won a national computer programming competition. They had some olympic podium thing set up and the crowd clapping, and 2nd place to my right, 3rd place to my left. In the picture I’m just standing, far from pleased with the whole ordeal. It wasn’t even challenging, and I didn’t really care about some medal or applause. That medal is somewhere in the basement in some box. Who knows where. Give me a challenging fulfilling job, and pay me money so I can get my life moving! Could care less about applause. I also hate competitions. I don’t want to compete with anyone. The fight is in fixing the problems we face in this world, not “beating” the people around me in some imagined competition.

    I do my research for the sake of the thrill of learning. Give me a challenging problem! Even if I won the Nobel prize, I’d dread attending the ceremony. Most prizes I’d accept if they mailed it to me, though I wouldn’t give speeches. I’d respond to emails asking questions, whenever I had the time. I’d probably attend the Nobel prize ceremony though, as it’s such a prestigious award, it’d be too disrespectful not to. But if after talking to the Nobel committee, if they didn’t seem too offended at me staying home, I wouldn’t attend. I’d take the money though 🙂 Science equipment and world travels! Woohoo!

    I’m probably too independent minded. I enjoy working with a team, as long as they’re good. But I really hate wasting time. I’m very passionate at what I do, and demand that people I work with be the same. They need to be highly moral and dependable, and know what they’re doing.

    What do I think about astronomy? Haha. Yeah, that’s a little vague 🙂 Well, astronomy is an awesome subject really. One of the first astronomy texts I read, which is really good, is called “Astronomy: A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe”. The authors are Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan. I’d recommend it. You can get it for dirt cheap from Abebooks.com

    It has no mathematics. It just teaches you the stuff and tries to explain everything in words and pictures. I think that’s the best way to begin really. I think in every situation you encounter in science, you should have a good idea as to the answer BEFORE you even start looking at the mathematics. You should understand all the core forces and factors involved, how they interplay, and a vague idea as to what will happen before you even bother with equations.

    Say you’re studying the ideal gas law. PV=nRT. You should understand that the pressure is caused by little gas particles flying around colliding with the walls. You should be able to picture the volume changes cramming the gas into a smaller and smaller place, hence causing more collisions. You should also know that temperature represents the energy of the gas particles as they’re flying around. If it’s a monatomic gas, you should know they’re just flying around bouncing off the walls. If it’s a diatomic gas, you should know that besides just their movement about their center of mass, they can spin and vibrate, and so forth. And if you want to get really precise, you can bring quantum mechanics and energy states into the mix. But you should be able to picture the gas particles in the tube BEFORE you do anything. Have a general idea as to what they do under various simple circumstances. You should know that when you push down the piston the pressure and temperature are going to increase. When you do mathematics, it shouldn’t be just an equation. Those variables have to mean something to you. You have to know what they represent and what it is you’re calculating, and the relationship should be intuitively clear.

    What’s in astronomy textbooks? They normally give basic talks about Newton’s laws and gravity, then some basics into the electromagnetic spectrum, spectral lines, and so forth. They give a basic overview of how telescopes work, then they give you a walkthrough of the solar system. They talk about how they measure things, the origin of solar systems, the evolution of stars, galaxies, and all that. It’s all fantastic. You have to study it. It’s a must.

    I myself spend most of my time researching the origins of solar systems, and the origins of the universe. I don’t know why, but I just always want to know how it all began. How things got to where they are, and why things are the way they are. Though these days I’m coming to appreciate learning more about how things currently exist now, not just how they got here and their origins. Watching DVDs by David Attenborough helps out a lot in that regard!

    I’m amazed at how much information astronomers have to gather based on so little data. All they have is their telescopes and some detectors in satellites and they have to infer all this other information. Parallaxes, luminosities, spectral analyses… It’s all these subtle analytical relationships from light they receive. They see a little red shift here, see certain wavelengths of radiation blocked but others make it through, or analyzing how various stars are moving relative to one another and different wavelengths of radiation given off, and infer all the rest. They have to infer a lot of information from very little data. I’m amazed at what all they’re capable of figuring out from inference. It’s amazing how powerful it is to know the laws of physics.

    You definitely need to study stars. You have to. The sun is the basis of all life here on this planet. Neutron stars, pulsars, black holes… You just have to. You’ll see the universe in a whole new light.

    Naturally getting into astronomy you also get into cosmology and general relativity. That’s when you get into space-time curvature, black holes being windows to parallel universes, dark matter, the big bang, and all sorts of awesome stuff that you can pursue literally for your entire life. I love that stuff.

    I don’t know which interests me more – the universe, or the sub-atomic world of quantum mechanics. Both amaze me. Lately I’ve been studying how to compute specific heats for various gases using quantum mechanics, and how those methods compare to those used in classical statistical mechanics. Why classical statistical mechanics breaks down and why it can’t predict various things properly.

    I got to thinking about the wiggling world Alan Watts was talking about, and as I was out for a walk I got to thinking about entropy and thermodynamic processes. It’s all very sloppy to me. The transfer of heat is pretty vague. I would think they could control various heat flows better than they do, but it’s all very complicated. You see the principles used behind engines of all sorts and it’s just all pretty primitive to me. Especially gas engines. I can’t believe we still used that stuff.

    I want to study more sub-atomic processes and how heat flows, and maybe that will lead to research and insight into building a new generator or engine and help us solve our energy problems. I also like researching electricity flow indepth. Man oh man is it complicated. Atoms are just insanely complicated.

    I’m amazed at how little we know about everything. Oh yeah, we’re talking astronomy. Well, most of the universe is still a mystery. Most of the universe consists of dark matter, and we don’t have the slightest clue what it is, other than the fact that it somehow influences matter around it by gravity. We look at how galaxies rotate and think, “Well that can’t be right. It’s not spinning at the right speed.” We also know that some of our laws of physics are wrong. Right now scientists are studying “cosmic rays” which are doing things which defy our current laws of physics. They’re being heavily researched now using (of all things) water tanks all spaced out over huge distances. Combined together they make a sort of high energy telescope! (Pretty wild, huh?) These high energy particles from deep space slam into the atmosphere at close to light speed and then pass through the water and find themselves violating nature’s speed limit. Whenever these charged particles pass through the water they have effects on the electrons causing flashes of light known as Cherenkov radiation.

    These super high energy particles seem to ignore the microwave radiation of interstellar space and just make their way right on through without slowing down. They’re the big thing in astrophysics these days. Some think they may hold a key to understanding dark matter.

    I’m no jedi master when it comes to quantum mechanics or cosmology though. Those are the fields I’m studying now. In a year or two I’ll know a lot more, but for now, I still have a lot to learn. My mind has been twisting and turning, trying to figure it out. It’s all very strange. I don’t think anyone really understand this stuff though. Richard Feynman said that nobody understands quantum mechanics. And from what I can tell, nobody seems to understand these deep questions regarding space-time curvature, black holes, and all of that either.

    I was just reading in Discover magazine a few days ago about physicists who have different views when interpreting various things in quantum mechanics. One guy doesn’t even believe in the arrow of time. To him, the future influences the past! The things you’re doing right now are very weirdly influencing what you did last month. He also had laboratory evidence backing it up!

    When you study astronomy, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, general relativity, cosmology, and all that good stuff, your notions of time and space will become so different from what they are now, you won’t even think of reality the same way. You’ll walk around outdoors confused having no idea what you’re really looking at. I honestly have no clue what this world is anymore. It’s beyond anything I can possibly imagine. But it’s just so fascinating! It’s all there. It’s really there!

    Tim just left a comment earlier today asking “what is truth?” I could give the classic answer about coherence with empirical evidence, and go into the debates from philosophers from the past up until now, but a lot of those arguments become invalid when you get into quantum mechanics and relativity. At least, I think so. When the future is influencing the past, and the arrow of time doesn’t even exist, I mean, what the hell is causation? Nothing is the cause of anything. There is no longer any “laws of nature”, and if there’s no absolute laws governing things, what is there? Then you ask, “What is truth?” Well, what do you do about truth when there’s infinite parallel realities existing side by side with our own? Build a wormhole and warp to a parallel universe where you also exist and have a conversation with a 2nd you. Who are you? What is it that you see in the mirror? What does making a decision entail? What is the universe? I don’t know. I only have a vague idea that everything we think about this universe is completely wrong. Even our ideas of “truth”.

    Some even think the laws of nature may evolve, just like in biological evolution. Man it gets deep. I’ve taken the plunge sometime last year, and I’ve been way over my head, but man oh man, I’ve never felt more at home!

  5. Everett says:

    I know what you mean (or do i? haha). To me, these are the most fascinating subjects to study…lately I haven’t been attending school daily. It is a bad habit, I know…but I would must rather be home studying what I want to study then sit in a desk and listen to my teacher tell us about a subject so trivial compared to these interesting subjects. Especially since I pretty much already know it anyways… Gosh, I want out of high school. I dislike it so much. I literally come home from school everyday and whatever I am curious about at that moment, I research it…Spend a few days on it and then I am curious about something else. It all pretty much snowballs.

    But anyways, I really appreciate your replies. Thank you for your insight. 🙂

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