Time Will Tell


One of the most consistent features of getting older has been the changing nature of my relationship with time. It’s not just, as the cliche goes, that it flies by, but the passing of days takes on a very different tone and architecture. I remember how agonizingly slow the world felt as a child. I remember staring helplessly at the clock in school, knowing that the very act of watching the hands tick was increasing my agony.

Tick. Fuck. Tick. Fuck. Tick. Fuck. Tick.

But lately, days blur seamlessly into weeks and months. Some of this is circumstantial; I now work entirely from home, and it is not uncommon that I go weeks without prolonged human interaction, even while I live in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. I have no commute. No morning or evening routine. I have virtually no interruptions during my day. I work. I read. I might play some games for an hour or two. I watch some lectures or a movie. I sleep.

When I look at the clock, there is no anticipation, nor any dread. Time is just a number to make sure I don’t forget my appointments. Once in a while, it’s a pressure, a deadline, a countdown — but I love my work, so I have no resentment for this aspect.

Memories begin to slip through my fingers more and more as there are fewer landmarks to orient my internal narrative. For perhaps a brief moment recent experiences stay near to me, but it’s not long before they disperse into a vast ocean of thoughts, or become lost inside the dense forest of my subconscious. Though I know these experiences are still a part of me, floating somewhere in the expanse of my cognition, many are no longer retrievable as distinct events.

Continue reading Time Will Tell


I attended a forum at Cornell a few months ago, framed as a dialogue between two scientists, one Christian and the other atheist. To be frank, the entire thing gave me a headache. I was disappointed at both sides, but for quite different reasons.

The Christian plasma physicist Dr. Ian Hutchinson spent much of his time railing against a notion which he described as “scientism”, the philosophical belief that the only valid source of knowledge is scientific inquiry. At no point did he name any relevant person or theory that could be accurately categorized as submitting to this fallacy, but he was nevertheless quite passionate in ridiculing it. Following this, he then claimed that there exists no conflict between science and faith, going so far as to admit that he believes the laws of nature can be broken at any time and place.

To my great frustration and disappointment, his atheist partner in this discussion, Nobel laureate Dr. Roald Hoffmann, failed to counter Hutchinson at any of these junctures. What’s worse, Hoffmann abandoned a number of key epistomelogical pillars of secular humanism, stating that he felt analyzing and describing human behavior at the level of neurons and neurotransmitters was overly reductionist and threatened to destroy the magic of such experiences as beauty and love. Although I would like to take the time to expound more on reductionism, it is outside the scope of my current focus.

Continue reading straw


Another thing I wrote for this lame psych class. The prompt this time: why is depression & its treatment so popular in American society?

For better or worse, America is a highly individualistic society. Self-reliance is generally considered to be a major virtue. Once an adult, an American is expected to provide for him or herself with minimal dependence on family or friends. In general, people who have not attained the expected level of independence are considered lazy or slothful. A failure to perform well in school or work is usually called a flaw of that person’s work ethic before anything else. In short, Americans tend to believe that most of a person’s successes and failures are up to that individual, and too much help will make them weaker and dependent. While these beliefs have probably helped maintain strong economic performance, they have encouraged behaviors and attitudes that leave Americans vulnerable to psychological instability.

Continue reading dividulous


I wrote another thingadoodle for my abnormal psych class. The prompt was “How is the DSM IV a vital tool in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders? How is it an obstacle to the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders?”.

In the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, the Judeo-Christian god interferes with the attempts of mankind to build a temple that reached to the sky (now believed to be a Babylonian ziggurat) by inflicting a curse upon the men building the temple. The curse was that of individual language; by causing each man to speak and understand only his own language, they were no longer able to collaborate and finish the complex task of constructing the temple, and it was abandoned. This story speaks to a basic truth of mankind: collaboration requires that we have a shared understanding of one another. The DSM-IV is our current best attempt at achieving this shared understanding in the field of mental health.

Continue reading standardly


Of late, I’ve had a certain experiment on my mind. It’s a well-known study that involves placing an electrode into a specific area of a rat’s brain, and putting the rat into a box with a lever that activates the electrode.

Rats will perform lever-pressing at rates of several thousand responses per hour for days in order to obtain direct electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus. Multiple studies have demonstrated that rats will perform reinforced behaviors at the exclusion of all other behaviors. Experiments have shown rats to forgo food to the point of starvation in order to work for brain stimulation or intravenous cocaine when both food and stimulation are offered concurrently for a limited time each day. Rats will even cross electrified grids to press a lever, and they are willing to withstand higher levels of shock to obtain electrical stimulation than they are to accept for food (thanks Wikipedia)

Reading this, I immediately see myself pressing the levers that make the pretty pictures appear on my screen and sounds burst from my speakers. My relationship with technology has been highly isolating. For as long as I can remember, my pattern of behavior has often resembled strong addiction and compulsion. I’ve spent a great deal of time wondering what my life would be like in an age without computers, the internet, and the many video games I’ve devoted tens of thousands of hours to. These entities have also enriched my life in myriad ways, enabling me to acquire knowledge and hone skills that have become the foundation of my identity. If I have any claim to mastery over rhetoric or vocabulary, I owe that to technology (and my grandmother, for all those games of Boggle). But the internet is a poor teacher of self-mastery, and my lack of this has been my continued downfall.

Continue reading acclaim


I can’t pretend that Ithaca could be called a city, but the resemblances are budding if you look closely enough. At the State St. house, I was precisely halfway between collegetown and downtown, which are the focal points of most activity in the area. It’s as busy as this town gets, which is quite dull. Still, it’s a few steps away from suburban, and I was surprised at the quantity of adjustments I found necessary. It took me a while to sleep through sirens a few times a night (on weekends especially), or just the generally constant passing of traffic. Once I adjusted, though, it became like white noise not unlike the whine of cicadas. Not unpleasant, and perhaps even a welcome reminder that the world is still going on. It even made me feel a bit jealous on those days I was bedridden with disease, knowing that everyone else was doing their thing while I could not.

There was, however, a sense of aesthetic disconnection from nature. This feels strange to say given the sometimes awkward artificiality of suburban landscapes (even in Ithaca), but there is something to be said for the sheer quantity of greenery consuming the visual field. Roads, sidewalks, power lines, and buildings gradually become more densely packed while trees and bushes seem more at odds with their surroundings. The roof was a delightful escape from this offense; at somewhere between three and four stories tall, the house was just tall enough to see above the tree canopy. It was distant enough from the ground and obscured from the main road by trees, so it bestowed just enough privacy to feel at ease. It was also well above the street lights, allowing for a very wide view of the stars at night. It was a place of intense excellence.

Continue reading urbanly


The most recent issue of National Geographic featured an article on animal domestication – in particular, that of foxes. I highly recommend reading it (there’s also a great Radiolab episode that discusses this topic), but for the purpose of this post I’m going to quickly summarize some of the most important details so that I can dive into making my point, which I’m hoping will blow your mind. Fingers crossed.

In the 1950’s, this guy in Soviet Russia started breeding foxes for domestication by selecting the friendliest ones to breed. Just nine generations of breeding later, he had foxes that were completely in love with humans from birth, without any conditioning. They weren’t just friendlier foxes, though; they adopted a whole suite of behaviors and many of their physical characteristics transformed as they became more domestic. Here’s a short list of changes that appeared:
– Multicolored/spotted coats
– Floppy ears and raised tails
– Tail-wagging, face-licking, barking, and whining
– Higher intelligence, more able/willing to learn human social cues and commands
– Can breed twice as often

Some of these qualities are present in wild juvenile foxes, but are quickly lost as they reach maturity. In domesticating the fox, researchers essentially ended up making foxes that are, in many ways, permanent adolescents. There’s two quotes in the article which I think will help illustrate where I’m going with this:

‘…they remind me a lot of golden retrievers, who are basically not aware that there are good people, bad people, people that they have met before, and those they haven’t.’ These foxes treat any human as a potential companion…

‘They didn’t select for a smarter fox but for a nice fox,’ says Hare. ‘But they ended up getting a smart fox.’

Continue reading domystify


Video games have been a defining force in my life as far back as my memory goes. The relationship is complex and varied, but it has remained, for me, totally unexplained. What have the 20,000 hours of my life spent immersed in virtual entertainment done for me? Why do my friends and I find such continued delight in them? Are they really just abstracted pleasure buttons, isolating us from the real world? Do video games actually have anything to offer society aside from escape?

Continue reading emulation


Early morning found me awake, so I decided it was time again to see how my old church was faring. As I hoped, the visit brought forth a slough of new perspectives on ancient paradigms. This time, my ponderings focused on the concept of “living by faith”, a phrase often employed in many religious contexts.

I’ve learned that a critical part of the process of reevaluation is finding a functional definition of the concept at hand – one that shies away from vagueries and can be envisioned practically. To this end, I felt this description accurately described the act of “living by faith”: engaging in any behavior where the outcome is uncertain or unknown. By nature of going forward with an action where there are a high number of unknown and uncontrolled variables, the risk of a negative outcome is much higher. Uncertainty naturally engenders much anxiety, which is why this concept is often paired with a call to trust in god to provide a positive result.

Continue reading grain


The feeling of being a part of something bigger and greater than yourself is something that many chase for the whole of their lives. Being a part of the generation that will determine the fate of the Internet’s usefulness is thrilling in its own right, and the opportunity to fan the flames of revolution from the comfort of home is immensely enticing. Yet I find myself more concerned, than excited.

Much of what happens on the internet is essentially narcissistic.

For one of my psychology classes, I did a report on altruism, and in my research I came across a study that suggested that contributions to the Internet are fundamentally about attention, not altruism. Certainly, less nefarious motives can certainly be found in every aspect of the web. I am not about to suggest that retwittering feeds from Iran is wholly selfish, but more that the drive to support freedom of speech and democracy would not be enough to set the revolution in motion were it not for some modicum of desire for recognition.

There’s an instinctive desire to be the first, when it comes to participation and discovery.

Who wouldn’t want to tell their children they were among the fleet of internet denizens that helped to topple the Iranian government? This isn’t so much about attention, but about being “ahead of the curve”. There’s a sense of pride that accompanies seeing a video, an image, a fad, or a meme before it went viral. Being first initiates a sense of ownership and responsibility for whatever ensues in the aftermath. It’s why so many comments on popular articles are battles for the first post. Perhaps the very reason I am writing this, is to feel that I am the first to point these things out.

There is very little regard for source in the content of the internet.

I wrote about this a while back, but memes are crowdsourced. Although someone sent the first rickroll, and another personal created the first lolcat, it would be pompous and foolish for anyone to attempt to claim ownership over such entities. They become what they are through mass participation, not because of the genius of its author. Similarly, the number of reliable sources for information of what’s actually occurring in Iran are sparingly few. The reports from those on the ground are certainly moving, and it would be callous to turn away when something is obviously awry. Yet the headlines on Digg, Reddit, and BoingBoing are more than just a little emotionally manipulative. Only the most intense and outrageous tidbits are passed along, because that is how content on the Internet spreads. As my long-time hero Ze Frank points out, only one Western poll has been conducted concerning the election’s actual results, and they did not point to a victory for Mousavi.

Obviously, there is more than just an election that’s being disputed here. It’s about transparency and peace and cooperation, about making a government that’s for and by the people. It would, however, be irresponsible to fail to recognize the other elements that are at play here. It is not as if the Internet suddenly rose up to altruistically defend the rights of the Iranian people. It happened for a reason, and those reasons may not be particularly pleasant.

The internet has a very short term memory.

Perhaps it is insensitive to label the Iranian election as a fad, but it fits the criteria. In several months, the avatars on Twitter will go back to their normal colors. #iranelection will cease to top the trending topics. The conflict in Iran may go on or it will be resolved; but with time, the collective interest in Iran will return to where it once was. Maybe it will become an artifact of internet history, receiving reference whenever a new issue is championed by the internet. Only time will tell.


I’ve spent the last three weeks holed up in my room, for no particular reason. After oversleeping for a test in my logic class, I suddenly lost all desire to keep going, and here I am, accomplishing quite little. It’s relatively the same circumstance I found myself in a year and a half ago.

I’ve been consumed with the concept of purpose. The popular mindset is such that purpose is equivalent with desire. We do not have a distinct purpose outside of what we want; we seek something, and we do what is necessary to acquire it. It is unsurprising, then, that the nature of depression lies in apathy. If our purpose is derived from the basic notion that we have something we care enough to pursue, we lose purpose when either we lose that which we used to care for, or we cease to care. Statistically, suicide is most common among individuals that have recently experienced significant loss – a job, family, etc, or have very weak ties to those entities in the first place.

The pervasiveness of simplistic evolutionary theory in my psychology classes has thus far been rather depressing. I don’t buy that most of our facilities can be reduced to functions of mate selection and special superiority. That just isn’t how I live my life on a day-to-day basis, nor anyone that I know. I recognize the importance and necessity of evolutionary theory in, say, biology, but I’ve come to think of the matter in this way: if we have evolved such that matters of morality, of love, of art and music, of poetry and film, are merely abstractions of survival mechanisms, then perhaps it is best to treat them at their abstracted level, rather than attempting to simplify them into more quantifiable terms. The process strips all that we gain in that abstraction, leaving us with very little that, to be rather blunt, makes us happy.

Perhaps what is so attractive to me about love is that it is both a desire and a purpose.


Every night, I step outside to assess my situation. The stars are mostly unsympathetic to my questions, and I can’t blame them; thousands others have groped for answers under their dim light, and I doubt I am all that different from my predecessors. It’s comforting to imagine that on a night like this, somewhere in the world another man is stepping onto the balcony of his apartment to stop and consider just what kind of man he is, and that he will be looking at the same sky that I am. Perhaps Socrates did the same thing, shivering in his fruity little toga as he watched the moon wax and wane in precisely the same manner as it does for me. He probably didn’t have any trip-hop to listen to while he did this, though I’m certain he would have liked some.

The timelessness of the universe is shocking, to me. When I consider the earth, it feels so tumultuous and unstable. The trees around me can only count their years in decades, but the stars above have watched for eternity. The stars are so overwhelmingly countless. Consider this picture of the Great Orion nebula. Look at all those goddamn stars. Each of them in their own solar system, most of them larger than our own. Millions of planets and moons, asteroids and comets whose light is unfathomably old. How would Socrates feel, considering himself in the glow of such ancient entities? I am but one person, standing alone upon a stretch of snow, in a city of thousands, in a state of millions, in a country of many millions, in a world of billions. Though Socrates’ world was so much smaller than mine, his sky was just the same as mine, give or take a few supernovae.

I often consider how my understanding of such realities changes with my philosophy. When I began to conclude against Christianity in England, the first question I asked of myself was this: what does it mean to look at the stars as a Christian? What do they become, when I deny Christianity? More importantly, who do I become?

In my brief time off between Christmas and New Years, my family went down to Pennsylvania for our first gathering with my mother’s side of the family in a few years. Inevitably, my aunt probed me about my experience in England, and when I revealed that L’Abri’s tireless encouragement of asking questions and embracing doubt led me to conclude against Christianity, a three hour battle ensued between myself and the whole of my family (or at least, my grandparents, parents, aunt, and uncle). I dearly love a good debate, and I enjoyed the challenge quite thoroughly, but the attitudes revealed throughout the course of the discussion were exemplary of why I’ve left the faith. I should make it clear that I love my family, and that our disagreements have not left me bitter or feeling any less fond of them, but I’m also of the conviction that they’re wrong. And so the discussion went forth.

A key argument for my father and grandfather lay in the idea that Christianity is responsible for the majority of modern progress, and that Eastern societies have only succeeded once Christianity entered into their culture (they cited China as an example, lol). In particular, they cited democracy as a Christian invention. Christ’s focus on human equality, they argued, was a new idea and is the primary reason that modern democracy is able to succeed.

I was quick to point out democracy existed long before Christ’s time, but I focused more on pointing out that it could be argued far more easily that Christianity ended up stifling the rise of democratic government because of the reign of the church in the dark and middle ages. Which brought my aunt and uncle to argue my next example of infuriating thought: Anything that might seem to be a negative product of Christianity, was brought about by false Christians.

Around this time, I started flipping out a little. It was about two and a half hours in and this was an argument they’d brought up repetitively, and each time I pointed out the incredible convenience of labeling anyone that makes your faith look bad as false or confused. Although I can certainly recognize that more than a few folks have taken up the label of Christianity with devious purposes in mind, they seemed to stress that true Christians can do no evil, that any evil that might seem to be a product of Christianity was actually a product of sin. Furthermore, at several points they attempted to distinguish Christianity from religion. When I pointed to the Crusades or the Inquisition, they claimed those were products of religion, and not Christianity. These were impossible arguments to overcome, and I confess that my temper flared just a little in the face of such ridiculous defenses.

A third attitude that left me vexed was the notion that science is ultimately futile. This came up when I was arguing that science offers new ways to understand ourselves as humans, to pinpoint why we are the way we are, rather than dismissing crime and malevolence as sin and exploring no further. They scoffed, however, citing how scientists are constantly contradicting each other and releasing studies that invalidate research released just weeks prior. My attempts to explain the scientific method did not seem to satisfy their qualms with this cycle.

The discussion ended on the topic of homosexuality. After attempting to explain the important discovery of the role of genetics and environment in determining sexuality, my grandfather simply stated that “Science has shown all homosexuals to be liars”, at which point I shook my head and bowed out – further debate would most certainly have led to more regrettable words. My father later came outside to commend me for my performance, a gesture which speaks much to his credit.

After all this, I’m left feeling quite strongly that if Christianity were true, their faith would not produce such convictions. I believe quite firmly that the truth will set you free – but I do not see freedom, here. A faith that produces the belief that “circular reasoning is okay if you’re right” (a quip from my father, during this debacle) is not, for me, intellectually honest. God would not grant us intellects of truth and logic if he did not intend for them to be fulfilled.

There’s a lot more to say on the matter, but I’ll leave it at that, for now.

“In truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.” – Nietzsche

doctor, heal thyself

Once upon a time, stories of demons, angels, and miracles excited me. They spoke to the reality that I was taught of, but had never seen. They hinted at something beyond my own experience, a plane of nature that I would be forced to regard with fear and reverence. A shard of that remains, but it lies defeated after little nourishment over these past few years.

On my last day at L’Abri, my Swedish tutor asked me if I ever prayed. I told him no – it feels a useless activity. I have yet to see a tangible response. I might as well talk to a wall, and in fact, that is what I used to do, from a literal standpoint. He scoffed and asked if I believe in God – which I do. What kind of God do I believe in, then, that I do not pray to him, my perfectly good and all-powerful creator?

Sources are everything. Many, I believe, find their source of faith in anecdotes of old women rising from the firm grip of death. That shard within me yearns to have my belief confirmed by a lovely story such as this. But I cannot escape the fact that leaping for miracles is a wholly useless activity. It defies logic, progress, rationality – if we were so impatient as to pass off our ignorance as miraculous, we would be nowhere and a half. Praying for miracles is, I believe, a mostly foolish activity. Miracles are, by nature, the exception. To expect the exception is poor faith, to say the least.

All that to say, I wonder what my source of faith is. My faith is tremendously weak – I know, I understand, but my belief sees a paltry level of realization. Having walked away from anecdotal evidence and hand-me-down stories, I am left with frustratingly little – a handful of people I admire, and a book of eerily accurate wisdom about human nature and the surrounding world. The moments where I can only say “I don’t know how I know this to be true” are becoming more frequent, and this endlessly vexes me. I’m tired of uncertainty. I’m tired of being unsure. Yeah, Crede, ut intelligas, but that whole belief part isn’t just a choice. It has to come from somewhere.

Where the fuck am I supposed to derive my beliefs, with so little to trust?


I will start this off simple by revealing the not-so-surprising fact that I do not like Optimal Purchase, and I do not find my job to be filled with any measure of joy. While it’s good to work, and the money will eventually make it worth my while (since most of this will be going towards my Europe experience), it does nothing more than serve its purpose. Yet what floors me is that so many of my co-workers are positively thrilled to accept it at that. They have absolutely no true vision for their future.

Not every person is so deluded or thrilled, and in fact, the majority of them treat it for exactly what it is: a job, with a paycheck, and some benefits. Yet they, too, have no desire to move beyond their current position, and seek nothing more than the next step up in pay-grade so they can make the down-payment on that new (insert object of desire) coming out next month. Where the hell is their vision? What happened to bring people to such a level of mediocrity?

People have, from the beginning of their societal integration, been trained to separate their identity from work. What you do and how you do it is not a reflection upon your true self. (long side note: it’s for this reason that I dislike jobs that require you to hide jewelry or tattoos, to wear company-branded polo shirts, to mask self-expression for the sake of uniformity and organization) Work, school, these are just necessary hoops to jump that we can seek meaning in the rest of our lives, via marriage/family/kids, or through houses/cars/boats, or by climbing the social/political ladder. Life is not viewed as a whole, but as a series of experiences that must be suffered or enjoyed. To reach the moments of joy, you have to wade through a mire of despair – and to handle this, people have broken it down to a daily cycle, in doses that are deemed safe for general consumption.

I cannot deny that some parts of life just plain suck, but what the fuck – when it was determined that life sucks and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that was based on the presence of elements like death, sickness, the cruel nature of humanity. Those are the basics, and I don’t think those will be going away at any point in the nearby future, even with epic technological innovation. Yet, people seem content to live in a never-ending pattern just so they can try to grasp at trails of true happiness, hoping that maybe this time they’ll be content and that all of their hard work will have payed off.

I think this view of life is what pushes people into many of today’s most common ailments – loneliness and depression. It is not surprising that a man that hates his job so fiercely would eagerly desire the devoted company of another woman – yet how attractive is a man that hates half of his life? Depression, likewise, is a natural progression from such a hopeless and repetitive functionality as tossing yourself into joyless activities. People look to sex and drugs to solve these problems, but the solutions are not so skin-deep.

I often think about the classic experiment Rat Park, when considering what makes people truly happy. For those that have not heard of it, professor Alexander was studying the nature of drug addiction. He found that rats placed in healthy environments – environments that enabled appropriate amounts of exercise, social interaction, and entertainment – would not choose the morphine-laced water. The rats placed in cold, dark isolation, however, would always choose the morphine-laced water. When these rats were brought to the aforementioned “Rat Park”, they would, with time, stop taking the morphine-laced water, and would not drink it again, no matter what incentives the researchers provided.

My point is that happiness is holistic. We look to patchwork solutions when, in reality, there’s much more to look at. What’s required is a complete re-evaluation of our lives and what we deem most valuable and worthy of our time. The difference between the rats, and us, is that we are capable of crafting our environments as we deem fit (or so I believe). We have control over how we live – yet most people are perfectly content not to take advantage of that control, to sit by and let life happen to them.

My cynicism is hardcore, but I don’t think my observations are inaccurate. I’m not filled with angst, or even despair; I simply believe that there’s a hell of a lot of people that are capable of so much more than what they are, but they don’t even know it. Ignorance is not bliss, in this case.

Food for Thought

Although extremely generic, the title is fitting. I was pondering momentarily on the earth in general after reading an article about how bananas will probably become extinct for a while, until some genius finds a way to resurrect them. And someone will, because there will be huge money behind it. But, it made me feel deeply sad in general to think of the possibility that I’d be telling kids 20 years from now what a banana tastes like, and how banana-flavored items don’t taste like banana anymore (not that they do now).

Now, I’m not a frothing environmentalist by most standards. I like my hybrids and I think the earth is getting warmer, but whether or not it’s our fault is up for grabs, in my opinion. But for once, I was actually deeply saddened that a common product might not be around in 10 years. It’s not even my fault, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t even like bananas, but now I want to like bananas, because of the thought that they might die out soon.

Isn’t that funny? It’s so human to miss things we don’t like just because they aren’t there anymore. I’m not even a sentimental person, but by golly, bananas can get me in the gut just as much as the next guy. So, please, next time you fill your gas tank, think of the children. Think of the bananas.

Yo! Banana Boy

I was gonna write something more than a paragraph, but I have to start the Physics soon to finish before midnight, and I want to get some F.E.A.R. in. Shut it.

I got home today and JonAthan (he’s back!) was downstairs with Brian. I wanted to play F.E.A.R., but the hockey would disturb my focus, so I pulled out the headphones, but when I handed them to JonAthan, he rebroke them (i glued the ears back to the frame, they’re so bootleg), and my already very tired mood was kind of sent further down. After giving him a “…” look, I went upstairs to find the superglue. I come back down, and Brian is doing his absolute best to break the headphones in more pieces, and was mostly succesful in doing so. I start glaring at him, but JonAthan starts prodding me with a wrapped present.

I now have a brand new pair of Altec Lansing (read: not Sony) headphones, very sturdy, with a mic (although at the moment I can’t get it to talk at any reasonable noise level). That kind of brought my day around. I have had an otherwise not good day.

Where should I work? I haven’t checked with Ian yet, ’cause I’m not sure I want a desk job (even if it’s better pay) after being in school for 6 or 7 hours. I mean, if nothing else comes around, I’ll go for it, but I was really up on the idea of being a busboy for Joe’s. Any ideas?

EDIT: I hear the school delay got approved. Hooray! Too bad I’ll only experience a year of it.

EDIT: Snap, today’s getting better. Pennsylvania judge owns ID!

Mmm, Pie

Once again, I bring to you a revolution in my thinking on a popular topic. Marijauna is today’s subject. I bring to you a poll, reflecting the opinions of a whole lot of people. Some of you have given me your thoughts, some of you haven’t.

As you can see, it is mostly balanced. Many of those who said yes are my more conservative friends. Interestingly enough, the ones who said no are not stoners. For those of you who are asking yourselves “Wait, he said marijauna, not Cannabis!”, Cannabis is the name for all species of marijauna, that which is used for hemp as well as drugs.

As a starting point, I suggest some of you go read the wiki on the Cannabis drug. I know a lot of you don’t want to do that, so I’ll summarize the important points. I’ll try and be as non-biased as I can.

Cannabis has been around for practically ever. It isn’t new. At all. Scythia and Thracians used it (about 2000 years ago), and was a big part of most Western culture up until the early 20th century. What happened, you ask? Fear-mongering, akin to the Red Scare of the 50’s, produced by a single man seeking political power. Does this kind of slogan sound familiar to you?

Beware! Young and Old – People in All Walks of Life! This may be handed to you by the friendly stranger. It contains the Killer Drug “Marihauna”, a powerful narcotic in which lurks MURDER! INSANITY! DEATH!

This is lead to extreme taxes on all marijauna (Maria Joana), contrary to the advice of the Amercian Health Association at the time. Think $100 per pound. That’s crazy expensive even now, and insane at the time. It also required all merchants selling marijauna to register with the police, giving them all their information, a violation of the fifth amendment. This was not smacked down until 1963, but by then, all 50 states had banned marijauna outright. Posession or use of Cannabis was not made a federal crime until 1970, with the CSA, placing it alongside Schedule I drugs, like Heroin, Ecstasy, and LSD (Schedule I is the “most dangerous”, Schedule IV is “least dangerous”). It’s a full schedule above Ritalin and Speed, two schedules above steroids, and three schedules above Rufies. Look ’em up.

It is obviously considered a highly dangerous drug. So it’s got to do something bad, right? Time for a bulleted list. The bad effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lowered coordination
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Enhanced stress or anxiety*
  • Enhanced nausea, dizziness, or headaches*
  • Short-term memory difficulty (this is debated)*
  • Hallucinations (in large doses)*

Doesn’t sound good does it? Note the asterisks. Those are effects that are supposedly uncommon or rare. Those effects are generally dependent on the person using them. Marijauna has the opposite effects on the positive side, so they obviously don’t happen all the time. Speaking of the good effects, let’s have another bulleted list:

  • Mild Euphoria
  • Increased appreciation of humor, art, music, colors, patterns, and food.
  • Increased mental acuity, sensory perception, and awareness.
  • Enhanced memory of past events and introspection.
  • Reduces headaches, nausea, stress and pain.

That about sums up all the good and bad effects with the short term. I won’t even touch the benefits for those with any kind of potent illness. Read for yourself, there’s tons. THC (the main active chemical) has a lot of uses, and marijauna in its entirity has even more. As for the long-term problems? I will list off all the common mythical problems with long-term usage. A bulleted list is again in call here.

  • Death

There are no recorded cases of an overdose of marijauna. It is estimated that the only way one could overdose on marijauna – requiring 42mg/kg of weight in the human body. Basically, for a 165 lb male to overdose, he’d have to smoke a minimum of 22 cigarettes with the maximum potency, with no loss of THC (the “killer” element) whatsoever. The last two factors make this almost entirely impossible, let alone the feasibility of doing so. Marijauna makes you sleepy, who knows how tired you’d be before the end of that run.

  • Addiction

Marijauna is not naturally addictive. The most addictive use of it is as a sleep aid. In this way, it is as addictive as sleeping aids. Even then, withdrawl symptoms include feeling mild depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety. THC also stays in the system for several days, causing the withdrawl to come very gradually. And no, the effects don’t last for that period of time.

  • Lung pollution

Marijauna is, in fact, a mild pollutant to the body. Compared to cigarettes, it is much less harmful. The tar in marijauna sticks to the lungs differently – it does not reach the alveoli, meaning it inhibits breathing less, and comes out much faster with time.

  • Psychosis, Schizophrenia, and Depression

These are symptoms evident in a certain group of users. It was initially thought to be apparant in all users, but upon further study, it has been shown that mental disorders only develop under two circumstances: frequent adolescent use, and genetic predisposition towards these illnesses. To develop these requires frequent use over a long period of time (months, possibly years). This ONLY occurs in those with a genetic predisposition – adolescent use increases the chance of those with the predisposition. Marijauna can also conflict with other drugs, causing problems, but generally only in cases of antipsychotic medication. That’s basic medicine though, it’s why alcohol plus basically any drug is bad.

If you still think marijauna is bad, think about alcohol. Alcohol has a lot of contributions to society. Just think about it. Drunk driving, enhancing violence, enhancing depression, overdosing, alcoholism, it’s just a great thing. Obviously we stopped trying prohibition because it just didn’t work, stopping millions from using it entirely is almost impossible. I consider alcohol fine in small amounts (ex. a few glasses of wine or cans of beer, know your limits), although I personally only like really sweet wines, and on occassion champagne.

My conclusion? There is no reason it should be banned from medical usage. If it were to be totally legalized, there would have to be an age minimum (18, as per usual). Benefits to this would be that the government could tax it. The total revenue from the uses as hemp, medicine, and recreation would be huge. And we all know the government needs more money right now.

All that said, I’ve never touched the stuff, and don’t plan to. If it were legalized, well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. The big concern is the decreased inhibition. My logic is that if alcohol is okay (as in, you won’t be acting like a duck in the midst of communist Russia after a glass of Guinness), how different is this? This is the question it comes down to for me. Challenge me here.

You no take candle!

This so, so so isn’t ready, but I desperately want to post. I’ve been dreaming about it. I kid you not. This blog is wonderful to me. I love it dearly.

We’ll backtrack from here to then.

I’ve spent the past 3 days pretty much just playing World of Warcraft. I caved in and used Paul’s 10-day free trial, after which I will continue playing. At the moment, I’m a level 13 priest, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Very good game. But none of you have waited a month to hear about that.

Work has improved marginally. At this point, I’m basically getting paid to learn/do AutoCAD, which I shouldn’t be complaining about at all. It’s actually been a really good learning experience – I’ve learned how to mail all kinds of packages (I only knew how to mail letters before), stain wood, do stuff at the bank, lots of random things that are kind of useful for every day doings. It has a lot of boring moments though, mostly when I don’t have enough variety in my work. This last project in AutoCAD I’ve been doing has just shot my nerves – every day, something new changes or happens and I have to redo a lot of work. Frustrating, let me tell you. Thankfully, I’m not under any deadline, so nothings going to fail because of me. Actually, the project I’m working on right now is for a building that will be going up where Dominoe’s (that don’t look right O.o) used to be, next to the Gateway Center. It’s a pretty spiffy building. Maybe there’s an NDA on it or something, so I should probably be hush hush….

The only other significant thing in my daily life (e.g. that consumes time) is Jen, whom I still don’t like. She’s mostly house trained, but she’s still a puppy, and thus retains puppy-ness. How quaint.

In important news, Jonothan gets back from Iraq September 15th. He actually arrives back on the 5th (this Saturday), but has to stick around for a many number of days for whatever reason. I’m really looking forward to seeing him. I won’t be able to go down and meet him because it’s 10 days, but, whatev, I’ll see him soon. Before I got WoW, I was playing lots of Zelda (the gamecube version, which I will get to, and OoT), which brought back some great memories from our first Christmas here. We’d get up in the morning over break, grab some hot chocolate and all the blankets we could find, plop down in front of our little monitor and play for many hours. I can’t remember how we worked it out, we probably took turns or something, I dunno.

No word has come in on Christopher’s discharge (still). I’m hoping he’ll be here before Thanksgiving, at this point.

Let’s see….I’ve acquired a job with a cool old Russian dude. He’s a retired professor from Cornell, like 80 years old, so I help him out with gardening and stuff. It lasts basically indefinitely, which is how I’m going to be paying for WoW.

Zach lent me this CD from a band called Bloc Party – it is growing more, and more, and more on me. The lyrics SUCK, basically the same phrase (which was good the first time he said it) over and over (not so good the 8th time). However, the music is excellent, and my constant techno-listening (6 hours a day minimum, thanks to work), I can phase it out and listen to the good stuff.

And now, for the rants that have been brewing for a month.


I can’t stand it.

I can tolerate a literal interpretation of Genesis, but the ID mindset has gone too far. For once, Bush has really ticked me off. As most of you know, I was once a big fan of him, but he’s servicing the “religious” right, giving them everything they want while he has time. I can’t stand it. Whether I’m a part of the people he’s blowing kisses towards or not, I don’t want the tax dollars I am now spending (I pay income tax now! Huzzah!) to go towards a movement to stick a “science” like ID in schools. A Slashdotter put it perfectly: Once the ID crowd are willing to say that the Intelligent Designer (God) is falsifiable, then and only then can ID be considered as a possibility. And I know well enough that it’s impossible for that to happen. Faith is the hope in things that cannot be seen, proven, or denied. As with most things that are written in the midst of emotion, I will probably regret a specific phrase or sentence which does not reflect what I mean. But we’ll see. Open fire.

The Gamecube Zelda.

It sucks.

It sucks majorly.

I could live with cell-shading. I could almost live with playing a child, with child-like characters in a child-like work. I could just about live with the sailing. But not. It sucks. I want the next version, which has been delayed until 2006.

Nintendo, if it isn’t good, I sincerely hope you go down in flames.

I wish you all well on this night. I will slowly improve the blog as I desire, but it’s readable, and that’s what matters at this point.

Evolutionary Napping (…)

This week has sucked. Not in that “oh teh woe is teh me, my girlfriend has left meeee” or “omg world must die omg”, but that “i’m tired, i’m hungry, i’m cold, and i’m still not done with my homework” kind of way. I’m not actually cold, or any of those right now, but that’s the general feeling I’ve had all week. I’ve had no time to socialize during the week. Monday through Friday have been spent hard at work improving those grades I got.

  • German 3H, Bronfenbrenner: D
  • Math 10H, House: C
  • Principles of Engineering, Peters: Passing (probably A or B)
  • Global 2H, Rumney: C
  • Programming 2, Teukolsky: C
  • English 10H, Asklar: F
  • Chemistry, Smith: D
  • PE, Palmer: B

These are officially the worst grades I’ve ever recieved in my lifetime. My first D’s ever, my second F ever (first was last quarter, remember), and the most C’s ever on one card. Unacceptable, to say the least. The grades have all risen by about one letter by now (that’s how much I’ve been doing). You know what? I’m gonna say it again. I hate Mary, German, I hate it all. Every time I step into Ms. Smith’s room I want to shoot myself, just from listening to her for 45 minutes. That counts for an entire month’s worth of being emo, so I’ll stop there.

In addition to fixing grades, which have caused the generic lack of sleep, and an increased hunger, other things have been happening. Most important of all is that of a recent reform to my creationist beliefs. I was what is knows as a YEC (young-earth creationist, they believe God created the world in a 6-day period, instantaneously). Due to recent evidence I came across while doing research for a bible study lesson I was teaching last Tuesday, I’ve changed my opinion rather drastically. I had previously had good faith in the Big Bang, simply due to the empirical evidence already available, but had not actively pursued trying to apply it to the Bible. Upon reading, I came to the conclusion that the Big Bang and Evolution work in a Biblical context – they are not the enemies of common Christian theology. You have to know my history to understand how big of a change this is. You’re reading the blog of a boy who stood up in front of his 7th grade Life Science class to debate evolution, and had several almost heated discussions with his teacher. This is a guy who’s argued with at least a dozen people over the physical evidence for evolution, almost on a regular basis. I really believed evolution had been disproven and was prepped to collapse in on itself. I didn’t just change all that in a moment, you see. It’s taken a good 20-25 hours of researching this week to get me to a point where evolution is believable in a scientific context. I still have my doubts, and I may not accept evolution in the end, but it’s comforting in a lot of ways knowing that I don’t have to fight it anymore. It sapped a lot of energy from me, always arguing and struggling against my friends over it. If nothing else, I’ve gained a more open mind. If you’d like to see my resources on this, just give me a line, I’ll be glad to show you. For now, I supply to you a rather important verse on which this is based.

Romans 1:20
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

This is giving away a little bit of the bible study lesson I’m doing next Tuesday, but basically, God has not put anything in Creation that would be a road block for someone coming to faith. Everything we see is evidence of him, not against him. I’ll get off my soap box now.

Other than that, I’ve just been plain busy. I took a nap after I got home today, and went to Sho’s for an hour. That was a little akward, it’s a little hard to describe, but suffice to say, it was akward. And with that, I take me leave to continue playing Mario RPG.