Thoughts on The Unsustainable Autonomy of Reason
My thoughts onThe Problems of Transhumanism: The Unsustainable Autonomy of Reason
Man, what a great article, I think I'll have to read it a few times really and spend some time mulling it over and perhaps following-up on a few references, but that being said, here's my initial reaction (and I'd suggest of course that if you haven't already, you read the article first and come up with your own interpretations before looking at mine...)
Overall, I _think_ I agree... Not sure if because it's just so damn well written, but honestly I don't think I've really thought about it this way before... I guess I've been like the residents of the floating glass house, confident to look at the architecture and stick my chest out spouting my trust in reason and the scientific method without admitting the fact that yes, it's not REALLY on any solid foundation. I recently read LOGICOMIX, a brilliant graphic novel about Bertrand Russell and his project - Principia Mathematica and then Godel's destruction of it - I was aware of the general history of it via reading Hofstadter, but again, it seems like the naturalists dirty little secret... :)
At the end of the day it seems like it's beyond or (or has been beyond us thus far) to be able to build a system of logic which requires no unproveable assumptions, I mean it's all a strange loop... Sure, without a doubt, once you make those one or two very REASONABLE assumptions, I doubt many would argue that post enlightenment philosophy and science have generated a body of knowledge and a worldview that act as a much more accurate and intellectually satisfying MAP for the TERRAIN called REALITY vs. those worldviews that are grounded in dogma and superstition, but at the end of the day, we have to accept that we still do have these assumptions, and to be honest, really this is the choice that one needs to make...
- Am I willing to accept those assumptions that ground the naturalistic world view
- Do I prefer to make the assumption that faith is a good thing and that one or the many ancient religious texts is written by the creator of the universe...
Once you've made that choice there are NO arguments that really matter...
Cheers, thanks for listening, hope you're having a good Sunday :)
Generally speaking, I think everyone agree that we'd all like to have more free time. In modern society it seems that demands of work, family and social commitments leave little or no time for us to really feel we have the freedom to do whatever we want.
With my recent reduction in working hours, I've now been given this opportunity.
It's been about 4 weeks now, and for the most part I've been pretty busy, running errands, enjoying lunches with my wife, relaxing, but today, I'm sitting here feeling a certain level of angst.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! But, I'll be honest, I'm struggling, not with BOREDOM, but with having to make a DECISION of HOW to spend my time...
There's no rule book to look to which can tell me, of the 3 1/2 hours that sit between me and when my oldest son gets home from school, how they should be carved up and used or spent, or invested, or wasted.
...hop on my bike and go for a ride?
...go for a run, training for my 1/2 marathon
...do some housework
...read a book
...learn some new technical skills
...play video games
I could do any or a few of, or all of these things, and I could probably come up with justifications as to why they were the best choice, and perhaps the choice isn't even the point of this post.
I'm just trying to express that HAVING to make that decision isn't insignificant, I know it's as a result my thinking too much, this is something I need to do a bit, not put so much pressure on myself to always make the best, most productive use of my time.
Anyhow, I think I will go for a bike ride, take a long my book and my laptop, do some reading and e-learning, have lunch and then head back.
Question to ponder - how should one develop one's own guidelines of how to spend one's time? What should be a reasonable ratio of time spent on fun, personal development, exercise, housework? I get that everyone's answer would be different, but what would a strategy be to rank a person's own priorities and then organize the time accordingly.
I haven't been posting to my blogs for a long time. There isn't a single reason, it's a combination of (a) being busy with work during the day and other activities when not working, (b) increased usage of Facebook, leading me to either summarize my thoughts in a status update, or post them via a Facebook note, and (c) Using Google Reader's 'Share' feature, making it easy to pass along an interesting article.
Since February of this year (2008), I've moved from full-time to part-time with my main client, so I now find myself with more free time, so I'm definitely going to start blogging more, I think I'll be concentrating on technology, and my other interests like positive psychology, transhumanism, and fitness.
I've just registered a few new domain names - www.askjohn.ca
- I'll be setting up web sites shortly. I'm using www.GoDaddy.com for domain registration and hosting. They're a HUGE hosting company, offer very competitive pricing, they advertised heavily on DIGGnation, a video podcast I used to watch, so I figured I'd use them, so far so good.
As opposed to starting to code my sites from scratch, I'm going in a more up-to-date direction, planning to use Drupal
, a content management system (cms), I think this is definitely the direction to go for most web sites these days, unless they call for some very unique features/functionality.
So, stay tuned as I develop and launch my latest web presence, I hope to provide some useful streams of memes for my friends and anyone else who shares my interests.
Blogging More, and Tools...
I really do need to get back into the habit of blogging regularly... It just seems that I'm consuming so much of my new media via Google Reader, and there's no easy, one-click way at the moment to sort of 'send to...' blogger and then allow me to put my own comments in and share it.
I'm also just posting stuff into Facebook, since I know most of my friends still aren't really RSS-enabled and I don't blog enough that anyone should be bothering to actually go visit the site regularly...
Anyhow, I just found this new tool via TechCrunch - "BLOG IT", a Facebook app that integrates w/ a blog, so I can quickly post something via this interface... Let's see how well it works and whether this will get me back into blogging more...
A possible solution to The Fermi Paradox
The Fermi paradox
is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.
For me, anyway, this is a fantastic philosophical question, great for giving the brain a good workout as there are so many different angles you can take it.
Obviously there's no RIGHT answer, but here's my current thinking on this...
- It's reasonable to assume that evolution on our planet is normal, if our planet is an average planet, orbiting an average star, in an average galaxy, we have reason to doubt this.
- So I think it's also reasonable to assume that on other similarly-sized planets that when intelligent life does evolve, it would do so at one particular spot on the planet.
- Those intelligent beings would relatively early on in their evolution develop the ability to travel long distances and then begin to spread out, migrate across the planet.
- This then creates the opportunity for distinct groups to begin to develop independently of one another, and thus in an asynchronous way.
- Some groups will advance quicker than others, whether it be due to weather, availability of natural resources, etc.
- If you fast forward several thousands years, you end up with (a) groups of intelligent beings that have really advanced technologies, potentially including technologies that in the wrong hands could spell existential risks (Nuclear Weapons, Nanotechnology, etc), living alongside (b) groups of intelligent beings that still believe in ancient mythologies, and believe that their worldview is the absolute truth and that anyone who does NOT share their view (including those in group (a)) should be destroyed.
- Once group (b) gets a hold of the technologies created by group (a), in their attempt to follow their beliefs & mythologies they end up wiping out the entire planet, and voila... We see no signs of intelligent life in the cosmos....
I'd love to hear some comments, am I totally offbase or it is reasonable to assume that this is not only a possibility, but perhaps a distinct probability and almost a universal challenge?
Next Question: Is there ANYTHING that can be done to get all of humanity on the same page in terms of what it will take to allow our species to escape this possibility...
I've made health/fitness a bigger focus since the beginning of the year, here are some of my new learnings. None of this is rocket science by the way, just perhaps some new ways of interpreting things...1) Sleep
- Getting a good night's rest is a key element of weight loss. This is something I'd read in a number of places, but it never really made sense to me. How is laying on your backside helping you to lose weight? Do you burn calories while you're sleeping? Then over the past few weeks, in tracking my own well being and weight loss I discovered a corrolation. On days when I'd not gotten say 6-8 hours sleep the night before, I generally felt sluggish, had low energy levels (ok, sure, that's obvious). But perhaps what wasn't so obvious is that, when you're awake during the day, and can't say NAP to get energy, how else do you get it? EATING! So when we talk about needing sleep in order to lose weight, you can really say that SLEEPING provides you with Energy WITHOUT any calories... It would be interesting, actually to try to draw a mathematical formula, basically tie in a # of equivalent calories from a subjective 'energy level' perspective that you GAIN in getting a good nights sleep, thus avoiding consuming some potentially BAD calories at lunch or as an afternoon snack in order to compensate.2) Weighing in / Tracking -
When I'm tracking what I'm eating and getting on the scale EVERY DAY, I'm more likely to stay on track. This keeps the metrics in your mind, and helps you to make good decisions about what you eat. It's really like any goal or project, you want to have all of the appropriate information available in order to make a good decision. So when choosing what to eat - it's important to know what your weight is, what your goal weight is, how many calories you're entitled to in a day, how many you've already consumed, how many are in the food you're considering eating. Some people may find tracking what they eat to be too tedious and time consuming, but my argument is, IF your health/fitness are a priority for you, then spending 20 minutes a day tending to this (by tracking your food via some online tool (like www.Sparkpeople.com
- the Daily Plate, or others), is time you're INVESTING in your health and fitness, not WASTING.3) Good Protein Sources
- I'm still struggling a bit on finding a good balance between healthy eating and getting sufficient protein. As a vegetarian, it can be challenging to structure your meals to provide the required amount of protein. The formula of how much you should be getting is roughly 1gm of Protein per Kilogram of body weight. I weight 178 lbs = 80 kg = 80gms of Protein a day. In order to keep within my calorie range ~ 1500-1700/day, it's tough to get 80gms in IF I'm not really selective about what I eat.
I need, on average to consume 5.3gms of Protein per 100 calories.
I can't just eat carbs and veggies!
Example - People talk about Peanut Butter for instance being a good source of protein, well let's then look at a Peanut Butter Sandwich:
Whole Wheat Bread (2 slices) - 250 calories, 8gms of ProteinPeanut Butter (2 tbsp) - 190 calories, 8gms of Protein
Total - 440 calories, 16gms of Protein = 3.6gms/protein per 100 calories
So I really need to be looking a Tofu, Soy Milk, Cottage Cheese and other options that providing HIGHER protein/calorie ratios...4) Push-ups
- Near the begging of the year I started thinking, gee, doing pushups is a dead-easy thing, so special equipment, can be done anywhere... And I've set myself a goal of being able to do 100/day. Starting out, I'd struggle to get in a set of 20. But even within a week, I was able to bump that up to 25, I'm now able to do a set of 30 pushups! My plan is to do 2 sets a day, and work my way up to doing sets of 50, so 2 x 50 = 100 pushups...5) A Healthy Breakfast w/ Egg Beaters -
I really enjoy having egg & cheese on a bagel for breakfast, I see it as a really enjoyable treat, HOWEVER, having a whole egg w/ cheddar cheese on a whole bagel is a lot of calories. So what I'm now doing is just having half a bagel, or once slice of whole grain bread, or two slices of Weight Watchers bread, and using the Egg Beaters substitute - which is basically eliminating the fatty yolk party of the egg, and using partially skim-milk cheese - this way I still enjoy a savory treat, but it amounts to about HALF of the calories, still retaining most of the protein. I'm not saying I'd have this every day, but it's certainly more nourishing than just an banana or apple.
That's all... I'm planning to shave off another 5 pounds or so this month, and finally push into that "Health Weight" category of the BMI chart! Whoohoo!
Then Beer/BBQ/TFC Season starts and who knows what'll happen! hehehe...
The Morality of File Sharing
Excellent article which discussing the current zeitgeist around Morality & File Sharing, and I couldn't agree more...http://torrentfreak.com/piracy-morals-and-the-need-for-change-071323/
The industry keeps trying to advertise that what people who download are doing is STEALING. It's not STEALING... STEALING is when you take something from someone so they don't have it anymore.
If someone steals my car, I don't have a car anymore, I can't get around, they've taken something from me.
If I download a song, I'm not taking that song away from anyone. People might argue that I'm taking money away from the record label, but I wouldn't have bought 95% of the music that I download anyway... If the labels would embrace the technology embrace the cost savings of electronic distribution and pass that on to the customers, great! But as long as they expect me to pay 99 cents a song, they can go screw themselves...
One interesting point made in the article is the 160gb iPod... Have you considered how much it would cost to fill that with legitimately purchased songs? I did a quick calculation, let's say you put 3mb songs on there - I know that's small, but let's say they're not the best possible quality, the 160GB would store 53,000 songs, at 99cents each (which is reasonable if you say an average album is $15 and contains around that many songs... So it would be like $53,000 to fill the iPod with music... That's hillarious...
Exercisng Feels GREAT, thoughts on WHY
Hit the Rogers Centre gym this morning, man it felt great to get a good workout in, followed by a relaxing 15 minutes in the hot tub... Aah
After about 5 minutes on the ellyptical trainer, I was feeling totally awesome, as the beads of sweat began to develop across my forehead, heart rate up to ~ 150, YES! music cranked on the iPod...
For 100,000 years, Humans have had it tough, we've HAD to work hard physically to survive, it's only over the last hundred years that large numbers of people had the luxury of sedentary lives. It feels GOOD to exercise, it feels GOOD to get a work out and to actually USE your body... Our bones and muscles didn't evolve to sit around on the couch! They evolved to hunt, to gather, so intrinsically we feel good when we do that which we've evolved for.. Ok, so I'm not hunting animals, but getting a good cardio workout by playing a sport or going for a run or whatever is physically in the same ballpark.
Anyway, I just want to reenforce to myself how amazing I felt after the workout in hopes that I'll remember this on mornings when I don't REALLY feel like getting out of bed and getting my gym stuff together... I'm trying to cement those synaptic pathways in my brain, to encourage the habit...
Anyone want to join me at the gym sometime? I want to make at LEAST a Thursday morning visit a regular habit for the next few weeks and then look to make it 2 days a week when possible.
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I've got a bit of a conundrum... My youngest son has joined the Beavers, this is the youngest program in Scouts Canada, for boys aged 5-7... I was actually a Beaver when I was this age, though I did follow through on it much more than that.
I've got a bit of a problem with the program... The first step in becoming an 'Eager Beaver
' is to learn the Beaver Law, Promise and Motto
... Here they are:Beaver Law
: A Beaver has fun, works hard and helps his/her family and friends.Beaver Promise
: I promise to love God and to help take care of the world.Beaver Motto
: Sharing, Sharing, Sharing
I've got a problem with the God part...
I'm really torn on this and would love some comments on the right way to handle this...
I've done some reading online tonight, and it seems that how the whole God thing is handle varies quite a bit from one scout organization to another. Not suprisingly, Canada is more liberal than in the US where Atheists are actually expelled from the Scouts program. Canada appears to allow all religions in, however, lack of a Religion is somehow seen as a negative. It doesn't seem that being a Humanist counts for anything...
I hate being seen as a hypocrite, and there's no way that I'll be praying or anything when we all head up camping this weekend, but I'm struggling a bit with this promise. I don't feel comfortable with Henry saying that he promises to love God... I'm totally fine w/ the help take care of the world part, that's great, I know I could just not let it bug me, but it DOES bug me... We need to open peoples minds and show them that one can be an Atheist and still be a good moral person. I definitely think I need to address this somehow as opposed to just going along with it, but I want to make sure I do it in a tactful, positive way...
Thoughts on the Lack of Wealth in Tropical Areas
This is a problem that I've thought a lot about over the years. Any time that I visit a country in the caribbean, I'm amazed at the poverty that exists and puzzled as to why it exists? It's as if the industrial revolution had never happened, you still have thousands of people living in beat up old shacks, there is little to no wealth generation going on.
Obviously there is no simple answer to his question and I'm sure that a historian familiar with each country could provide a compelling historical account of why things are the way they are, I've come up with a new theory that attempts to answer the question in a general way.
Ultimately people take the actions they take in order to be happy.
In the west, it is generally accepted that having more money will make you happier. I think this belief is tied very tightly into capitalist culture and is therefore seen as being an intrinsic truth. The reality is that studies have shown that once people get to a certain level, able to satisfy their base requirements for food, shelter, etc, that beyond that, additional wealth has very little effect on happiness. That being said, most people don't pay attention to scientific studies and research, they're too busy watching Entertainment Tonight and Dancing with the Stars. What I'm getting at is that most people's minds are more filled with advertising than with scientific knowledge, and thus their behaviours can be predicted in this way.
Since the TV ads that are so prevelant in the West teach us that MORE is better, we strive to acheive this.
So this explains why we ARE in fact, so wealthy in the west, we've been trained that we'll be happy if we do this, so we strive for it. Are we, in fact, any happier? No, not really.
So, now let's look at the experience in these caribbean nations. The people that we see as we drive from the airport to the resort appear to be living in squalor, very poor, and not really doing anything about it. We imagine (based on our own set of beliefs), that since they are very poor, therefore, they must be very unhappy. While I haven't stopped to interview many of them, I imagine that this is a false assumption. Since they have grown up in a very different sort of place, haven't been indoctrinated by consumerism, they have a completely different picture of what is necessary for them to be happy. Most likely for them to be happy, they want to have some food in their stomach, and plenty of time to spend enjoying the weather. Therefore, for them to head into the city, get a factory job, spend years obtaining an impressive education, these actions do not get them closer to achieving more happiness, quite the opposite, they negatively impact these goals.
So, in effect, things are exactly as they should be. For the most part, these people who to us seem to be living in misery are in fact, exactly as happy as we are - which probably varies day-by-day, but we're incorrect to assume that they're missing the point, because since the studies show that we aren't happier when we're richer, than perhaps it's OUR goals that are misguided and perhaps we should all quit our jobs, move to a shanty town in the caribbean and get happy...
Food for thought...
We are building a Religion
Here's an idea... How can atheists be more successful at converting
the masses? By learning from religion, by taking the elements that have made religions so successful and using them... Let me explain...
Religion can be thought of as a very successful collection of Memes.
Richard Dawkins & Susan Blackmore
have described in this way before, and I think looking at religion this way is very useful.
Religion has been historically, is even today is arguably the most powerful shaper of beliefs and therefore actions.
The most popular monotheist religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) have themselves evolved over centuries and through various iterations based on their fitness as a collection of memes. The documentary film The God Who Wasn't There
goes into detail showing how many elements of Christianity are actually repurposed myths and concepts from earlier religions.
When speaking of Evolution, this requires elements of change and a way to guage fitness. In the case of religion, fitness would be measured in the religion's ability to be spread to others and encourage new believers to not only believe, but to further spread the word. This element of religion brings comparison
to the behavior of a virus.
So this helps us to understand how and why religion has been so successful, it's got very little to do with it being true. Now, centuries after these religions were created, the knowledge of humankind has advanced exponentially beyond the primitive understanding of the world. Science and education, technology, the enlightenment, modernity, transitions through the industrial revolution, yet despite all of this change, the infectious nature of religion means that these very old, very outdated religions and associated belief systems continue to exist and in some cases continue to grow.
Despite all of the social, cultural and technological progress and changes we've seen, our brains themselves are still essentially unchanged, they work the same as they did 2,000 years ago.
If we want people to move beyond religion, we must accept that the best and perhaps only way to achieve this is to essentially create a better religion, create a better virus, create a better collection of memes. Frame the message of belief in science in such a way as to make it as attractive, as contagious, and as addictive as religion.
We need to take the whole grain bread of scientific naturalism and make it taste like a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
What I'm saying is that even if we're able to conclusively prove the claims of scientific naturalism, humanism, etc, that's not really the point, and while that may be a compelling reason for highly intelligent, well educated, intellectuals, that only accounts for a small percentage of the population. In order to change the word, that message needs to be reframed and sugar coated if we actually want to sell the masses on it.
That is the challenge that stands before those of us that want to promote reason and secular values...
BTW - I had this train of thought launched by the song Comfort Eagle by Cake
More Thoughts on the Ontario Election Results
What Lessons Can Learned from the Provincial Election?Ontario voters are conservative in nature
I was shocked at the result of the electoral system referendum... This clearly shows that the average Ontarian citizen either didn't understand the question, didn't understand MMP or is just uncomfortable with changing the status quo. There were so many good reasons to make the change. The current electoral system was designed at a time when people who lived in a particular geographic area shared similar concerns... When you look at the popular vote and the spread of vote within ridings that is clearly no longer the case. Therefore, it makes so much sense that if a particular party - Green for instances, gets 8% of the popular vote, shouldn't they be entitled to 8% of the seats in the parliament? Instead they get 0 seats..., while the Liberals who rec'd 42% of the popular vote get 71 seats (66% of the 107 seats), how does that make any sense?
As a result, we're stuck w/ Liberals despite the constant attack on McGuinty and his broken promises. This begs the question... Given the situation, what, exactly were citizens they voting FOR?
Clearly McGuinty can't be trusted to do what he says he is going to do, which means that essentially most people were voting AGAINST John Tory's "Faith-based Education" fiasco... Meanwhile, McGuinty DOES still fund a faith-based school, it's called the CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARD. Some interesting links & facts & figures regarding education funding
The latest census reports available on the web (2001) show that of the 11.2 million citizens of Ontario, 3.9 Million are Catholic, that's 34% of the population. (as an aside only about 13,000 self-described as Agnostic, Atheist or Humanist).
The 2006-07 Ontario Budget has 11.7 Billion dollars for Education... Want to know where that's going? Yikes, take a look at this web page -> it's a disclosure of all 6 figure salaries in the school boards
, that's a big freaking scroll down isn't it? 3,001 staff all together! Not too shabby... That's over $300 million...
Ontario Schools fall into 72 district school boards, of which 35 are Public and 37 are Catholic. That's right, just over half are Catholic, to support 34% of the population...
4,002 Elementary schools and 884 secondary schools.
Looking at a detailed breakdown of funding (amazing how much info is available on the web!) on a school board by school board basis
, and analyzing the public and catholic school boards of Toronto, finds these interesting stats:06-07 Estimates
Toronto District School Board
Total Funding: $2,263,415,354 (yup, 2.2 billion)
Total Students: 248,544
Toronto Catholic District School Board
Total Funding: $794,992,770
Total Students: 86,631
Well that's fair, that gets back to the Education Funding Formula, at least there is parity there, and we're not paying MORE to fund the smaller school boards...
You'd have to wonder, though, if there wouldn't be some more economy of scale, and/or consolidation of administrative functions by consolidating the public & catholic school boards...Being married to your ideas
Looking at John Tory's Funding for Faith-based schools, I guess you can give the guy credit for trying to stick to his guns, but when everyone (even some of his more honest fellow party members) are telling you the idea stinks, LISTEN! It's so dangerous when people get married to their ideas and then completely ignore contrary opinion. I recently learned about Cognitive Dissonance,
if you've never heard of it, read this article, it explains a lot about human behaviour...Leaders seemingly unwilling to admit mistakes and admit bad news
I was really frustrating hearing the various political people being interviewed on election night, in particular Conservatives, NDP and Green Party folks, who all should have been miserable, frustrated, disappointed, angry at the results, both of their own parties relatively poor showing and the failure of MMP and yet they all seemed to be living in a dream world, going on about how pleased they were, how they'd fought so hard and made good progress and blah blah blah bullsh*t. Tory should have stood up and admitted that he'd completely f*cked up w/ his faith-based school initiative (if he was smart, he would have done this a month ago). I think people are smart enough to be able to forgive people for mistakes. Admit you were wrong, you're allowed to change your mind (especially when you're WRONG!). Move on! No sense putting blinders on and ignoring the evidence.52% voter turnout - worst ever = apathy
Seems voter apathy is at an all-time high... Generally speaking when things are good, people can't be bothered to make a change, and dispute McGuinty's mistakes, things generally do seem to be going pretty well... If I were a Green candidate, I'd be knocking on doors and the first question I'd ask would be, are you planning to vote? If the person says No, that's a person to spend time with... If you could convince some of those people, who don't really have a strong opinion to bias them, I think you're on the road to victory as opposed to trying to change the minds of people who already have them made up and will likely just dismiss your arguments.Review of Statistics of Popular Vote - Green
Despite not having won a single seat, I suppose Green does have something to be positive about, their considerable growth in popular vote. I suspect this # would be even higher if anyone thought they actually had a shot of getting into power, and I suppose that similar to the NDP, you need to hit a certain critical mass before people start taking you seriously... Looking at this table from Wikipedia:
Green Party actually show the large % gain in popular vote, +5.2% from 2003. If you look at the #'s a different way, looking at the actual # of votes that Green rec'd... In 2003, they rec'd just 126,651 votes out of 4,497,244.
In 2007, 4,421,628 votes were cast, with Green getting 8% of the vote, that's approx. 353,730 votes, or a 358% increase! So if they can continue that momentum heck they'll quite possibly overtake the NDP next time around... To be honest though, I hope they recruit a better leader, I can't say I was overly impressed by De Jong...
Ok, this is the most time and energy I've spent on politics in my life! I think I'll get back to doing something useful, like playing FIFA 07 on my XBOX... :)
Ontario Election Thoughts...
Well, I have to say that I'm disappointed at how the Ontario Election went... I felt that Dalton McGuinty got absolutely destroyed during the debate, felt that there would be a significant swing to the Conservative Party, but in the end Tory's pledge to fund faith-based schools ended up being 'the issue' and I think, clearly, was a major screw-up.
The last few elections I've voted Liberal, but this time out, I took a bit more time to explore my options, and ended up reading more about the Green Party's platform and felt that it best suited my ideals, so I voted Green.
I had no illusions that they'd be elected, but that's where my vote went.
I think what disappointed my most about the election is that the referendum for electoral reform failed to go through... Pretty much everyone I spoke with agreed with it, so I was shocked when I saw that it only recd about 30% of the vote... Wow! This has to be a real disappointment to the Green Party, who rec'd about 8% of the popular vote, but unfortunately didn't win a single riding :(.
Oh well... What can you do?
What about Astrology?
I recently saw an Astrology chart posted by a friend of mine on Facebook... Got me thinking a bit... It seems some people still believe in this stuff and actually think it affects peoples personality...
Have scientific studies been done on this, to check and see if personality traits are actually linked to the stars?
Yup, studies have been done... Guess what they determined?That Astrology is Bullsh*t...
Ok, this isn't actually an x-ray of my ribs, but I was close to getting an x-ray today... Ugh, fell awkwardly last weekend player soccer, I'd been taking it easy since, but played with the family again yesterday and yikes, they've flared up something fierce.
Went to the walk-in clinic, the doc checked me out and figures it's either a slight hairline fracture or just bruising to the muscle in between the ribs... Said that I could get an xray just so I'd know, but there's nothing you can do for it, just rest... Figures it should take two to three weeks to heal....
Jack & George's Birthday Party Sleepover
Well we have a pretty cool party for the kids, it's just wrapped up and we've sent them packing...
Both Jack and George invited 4 friends over, they arrived at about 6:00pm last night.
We started with some games, then Pizza, Presents & Cake, then a movie out in the sunroom using a data projector.
10:00pm and we cranked up a great campfire, did some marshmallows and running around with flashlights.
Campfires in the backyard can't compete w/ XBOX Karaoke, then around Midnight I hauled them out into their tents (we set up 3 tents in the backyard), they crammed into the tents w/ sleeping bags and pillows, and by about 1:30am it finally got quiet...
They were up again around 6:30am and back onto the video games. We did a little soccer game around 8:30am, then breakfast, packing up and more video games...
They were all picked up around 11:00am this morning...
Friday afternoon laugh...
Haven't posted in a long time, which means I've been busy, busy, busy... I do quite a bit of communication up on facebook now, it's such a great platform, but I will try to get back to blogging regularly, certainly lots to talk about.Music
I've discovered some new bands recently, some really great music...
Art Brut - English indie band - Great witty lyrics and catchy music, I'd say if you like Artic Monkeys' you'd like this - not as punky as the Monkeys, but some similar lyrical content.
Interpol, Bloc Party, Editors, the Bravery - If you like She Wants Revenge, you might like these bands, they are mostly 80's inspired, sort of alt-rock bands
Also - new albums from Chemical Brothers, Korn, Smashing Pumpkings, White Stripes, all good and worth a listen...Trips
I've done a bit of traveling - I was down to Portsmouth New Hampshire in August, visited the Portsmouth Brewing Company Brewpub, excellent beer... Then was over in Newcastle for a day early september, saw the Toon beat Wigan 1-0. In Lucerne, Switzerland for a 3-day IT Meeting, and home again.Food
Still maintaining a semi-vegetarian lifestyle - I probably eat meat about once or twice a month, typically a wild craving... Had a sausage roll in Newcastle, and some Chicken Wings on Monday night :) I think I'm Ok with that... I think if you really ask yourself, if it worth trying to 100% vegetarian, it's tough to justify the inconvenience and the missing out on meat - the odd time that you REALLY do crave/desire it. I mean, if EVERYONE were to adopt a 95% vegetarian diet, that would solve all the issues of factory farming, etc, etc, that extra 5% really isn't the issue, it's the eating meat 2-3 times a day when there are really easy alternatives I think is the bigger thing... Of course I'm just trying to justify my own behaviour, but it is something I've thought alot about.XBOX 360
Almost bought a 360 the other day - went to Factory Direct, a big PC & Electronics refurb-type place, anyhow, they had a deal on, the Premium system for $269, I went to get it, they had 1 left in stock - the unit in the display case, the guy goes to boot it up... red ring of death
- so I walked out... Ah well, I'll end up w/ one eventually...Nike+
If you're into jogging / fitness / technology - check this out - very cool little system - it involves some hardware - a gadget that plugs into your iPod Nano, another bit that goes in your shoe, and some software & a website that you can use to track your running, sort of a pedometer x 100! check it - http://www.apple.com/ipod/nike/
That's all for now...
5km Run Tonight
Yeah! Ran 5.2km tonight... As per Tim's suggestion, instead of trying to gradually build up to 5km, just give it a shot... Well it was really freakin' hard, but I did it!
Man, really tired, also played soccer w/ the kids early, so had already had a decent workout, but I did it... Tracked the route on gmaps pedometer...
read between the lines
Felt really good last night, went for a run.
Worked today. Had a really good veggie burrito for lunch, from Burrito Boyz, f*ck that place takes a long time to make a Burrito, but they're good and it's worth it.
Came home, my family had already eaten, that happens when I work late, so I ate alone.
Took the whole gang down to Jack Darling Park. It's a nice place, used to play on the beach there when I was a kid. It stunk of rotten fish on the beach. What a stench.
My ankle began to hurt, it actually started in the afternoon, was hurting just a bit, in the joint, perhaps from the jog the night before? Had I done something strange to my ankle or something? Couldn't remember...?
Slowly, ankle got worse.
Limped along, to the park, I climbed on the monkey bars, I couldn't do that a year or so ago... Still hard on the hands, but doable. You have to go quickly, don't hang around.
Limped back to the car, ouch.
When to McDonald's for some ice cream, split an Oreo McFlurrie with George. He thought it was pretty cool that the spoon was used to mix it up. Jack and Henry each had an ice cream cone.
Back home, ankle really starting to hurt, still can't figure out why, then it dawns on me. It's the mother f*cking gout. Odd thing though, it's not the classic spot by the big toe, it's in the main joint in my ankle, big toe joint isn't bothering me at all. But as the pain begins to really set in, it all clicks together, I recognize that pain. I take an anti-inflammatory and can't wait for it to start working.
I'm in the mood to watch a movie, so I pop downstairs and take a look. Hmm... Fight Club? Apocalypse Now? I decide it's Apocalypse Now - Redux. I bought it from Best Buy for $14.99 like 2 or 3 ago, it's still in the freakin' shrink-wrap.
I throw the movie on in the sunroom, I've set up a temporary movie theatre in there using a data projector from the office projecting onto a bed sheet - about a 12' screen.
Apocalypse Now is an amazing, amazing movie.
I saw it for the first time while I was in college. I was on duty living in residence as a resident assistant (RA), sort of like a 'don'. It must have been a long weekend or something because the floor was unusually quite, most everyone had taken off home or something. Anyhow, I watched the movie on the TV in the lounge by myself. I remember when it was over feeling really different. It's the type of movie that really affects you. Well it affects me. It's in the sound, it's in the music, the storyline, the feeling of the music. The insanity of war, the insanity of the situation. The pace of the music is slow, but that pace allows you time to think, that time between messages provides you the freedom and opportunity for you to develop your own meaning from the film, and this makes it more powerful.
Watching the movie again tonight gives me that same feeling again.
I think about the insanity of the Vietnam war, I think about the insanity of modernity. I think about how incredibly messed up the world is, how it can't possibly be any other way.
Earlier today I began to wonder if perhaps through man's evolution and development of advanced society with advanced ethics and morality if we are now, in fact, breaking evolution. If evolution and natural selection is successful by rewarding the individuals who are 'fittest', then perhaps modern society with it's social safety nets, advanced medicine and altruist, charitable ways are in fact breaking that system. If, instead of having weaker or unfit members of our species die out, we divert energy and resources towards them, that continues perpetuate the problem. Just a thought. I still think that it's a good thing to be altruistic and to do your best to reduce human suffering, to maximize human happiness, but it was just an idea that I had.
The anti inflammatory seems to be kicking in, ankle is getting a bit better, hopefully in the morning after another pill with breakfast it'll be almost better. f*cking gout. Just when I'm trying to get into jogging too... Argh, gotta remember to drink more water.
Could we make Dinosaurs like in Jurassic Park?
Through learning more about advances in understanding of genetics and biology and understanding the exponential growth of technology, I was curious to revisit the question of "Could we bring back Dinosaurs like they did in Jurassic Park?". I found this article which provides a fairly reasoned, objective answer to the question:http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/dnadino.htm
An Essay on Too Much Stuff
This is a really great article... This is one of the topics I've been thinking about lately, I'm currently reading a book called "It's all too much...", this article has some really good ideas in it...http://www.paulgraham.com/stuff.html
One of my favorite parts:
A cluttered room saps one's spirits. One reason, obviously, is that there's
less room for people in a room full of stuff. But there's more going on than
that. I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model
of what's around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you
have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally
Wow! Canada is good at Poultry production!
From a 2005 Agriculture Canada PDF:
Poultry production and processing are
among the most highly mechanized sectors
in agriculture. One person can operate a unit
of 50,000 broiler chickens, which, with seven
lots per year, will provide 640 tonnes of meat
annually. Poultry processing plants in
Canada are effectively mechanized, which
allows them to slaughter and prepare 25,000
broiler chickens for market per hour.http://ats-sea.agr.ca/supply/factsheet-e.htm
In 2006 Canada produced 973,649,000 kg of eviscerated Chicken
Chicken consumption in Canada has increased by about 50% in the last 20 years.
The average Canadian consumed 21.2kg of Chicken in 1987, up to 31.8kg by 2006!
So does this mean that for every vegetarian, someone is eating 63.6kg of Chicken?
Some stats from PDF's found here...http://www.chicken.ca/DefaultSite/index.aspx?CategoryID=8〈=en-CA
This is some interesting stuff...
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July 26th - Friendly - Newcastle v Celtic - Goals!
Very cool, future-looking science story... A researcher has created an early working prototype of a robotic fly. Just another example of how technological evolution is taking over from biological evolution. Within say 50 years of the first earliest forms of robotics, we're able to create something this small that can fly... How long did biological evolution take to create this? Millions of years...http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19068/page1/
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Camping was awesome
Just returned from an awesome 10 day camping trip with the family. It was our 3rd time heading to The Pinery Provincial Park
, a really fantastic place.The good news:
The bad news:
- Not too far away, about 2h45m from Mississauga (Google Map), just south of Grand Bend on the shore of Lake Huron.
- Amazing Beach
- Burley Campground has big, private sites
- Trails for Hiking
- Takes about 20 minutes to out to the highway, so a trip into town is a good 90 minutes return once you stop to get something.
I got to do some serious relaxing, got about 150 pages into a great Philosophy book. Lots of time to think about life, simplicity and happiness. I'm hoping to get away camping again this year, as the 10 days just flew by, could have stayed for another 10!
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Ok, this is sort of technical, so perhaps it should have gone into Geeky Tech, but EVERYONE uses E-Mail, so I think this is generic enough that pretty much everyone could benefit from this.
I've been reading a lot lately about personal productivity, and there's a very popular set of tools & techniques associated with the book "Getting Things Done",
often shortened to just GTD
Anyhow, I read yesterday about a very simple way to get and keep your INBOX to Zero, and I've just tried it out and I like it, here's the article:
Anyhow, I tried it out and got from over 200 messages, down to.... ZERO! Whoohoo! I don't think I've EVER had ZERO items in my INBOX, and it feels GREAT!
Reading old Blog Posts...
Back in March of 2006 I wrote:
I'm on a diet and I've started a new fitness regime, I'm feeling great and
very positive and I'm committed to losing about 20-25 pounds, getting back to a
much more reasonable weight and size.When I weighed myself for the first time in
a long time last Wednesday morning, I was 226.5, this morning I'm 222... So I've
already lost 4.5lbs in just over a week, so I'm quite pleased... If I can lose
approx. 5 lbs every 2 weeks I should be at 200lbs by the end of May.I'm going to
get into a few little friendly competitions with friends Roger, Pete and Jason,
to ensure that I keep up with my cardio and weight loss, take a good look at my
gut the next time you see me because it's going away, for good! :)
Feels good to know that I did actually stick with it... Not only to 200lbs, but I'm not hoving around 180! Just imagine... Setting a goal and sticking to it!
Thoughts for Today...
First off, damn it feels good to be exercising again... I'm really glad that I joined this men's outdoor soccer team, it's given me the drive to get active again and I'd forgotten how amazing your body feels when it's being pushed... Muscles are warm, cheeks are flush, adrenaline pumping through the veins... It's all good. ONLINE PEDOMETER
I've found this great web site - http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/
- It's a Google Map Pedometer - Basically you can map out a route and it tells you the exact distance, and if you put in your weight it tells you calories burned as well... Very cool! So I've mapped out a 3k route and a 5k route. I'm going to start doing the 3k AT LEAST once per day, preferrably twice... Each time is 277 calories burned. If I do it twice thats over 500 calories burned, do that every day for a week that's over 3500 calories = 1 lb of fat.... WEIGHT LOSS
I'm motivated once again to kick it hard core and get rid of my last 10 lbs of fat... I think if I get down to the 173 range then I'll be in really good shape, belly will be gonzo... I figure I can probably take off 1-2 pounds a week, so I can make it down there by say end of July... Why not??VEGETARIANISM
It's going really well, haven't had any meat at all in the past week. I've enjoyed some Yves fake turkey on sandwiches... I love the 7-layer veggie crunch wrap from Taco Bell. the Veggie Roti from Calabash. Nature burger from Licks... I've had some decent protein shakes with bananas, had a Vegetarian Thali from an Indian place I found downtown for lunch today, it included Palak Paneer, something I'd seen many times before but I don't think I'd tried, it's basically cubes of sort of firm cottage cheese with curried spinach, really yummy, I think I'll order that now along w/ Channa Masala (chick peas), instead of the usual Chicken-based curry.
Being Veggie is Easy!
I'm actually quite suprised, but becoming a vegetarian has actually been easier than I thought...
For the first week or two it was tricky, but I wasn't beating myself up... If I felt like some meat, I had it...
But over the past 3 weeks, I think I've only had just a bit of chicken (in some Indian food) after having a bunch of drinks.
To be clear, I'm an lacto ovo vegetarian
, meaning I'm still eating eggs and dairy products. I may decide to cut these out at some point, which would make me a vegan, but I'm not in a big hurry to make that step, I want to really get it together with my current diet, make sure I'm getting all of my vitamins and nutrients, protein, feeling great, etc, before taking that next step...
Today was a test of sorts, I was at the Keg for lunch, and the special sounded awesome, a steak marinated in Guinness with fried onions, etc, OMFG, anyhow, I had a salad instead! It was great!
I'm typically having a bagel or toast for breakfast, either with peanut butter or an egg. I might also whip up a smoothie in the blender, using plain yoghurt, some fruit juice, whatever fruit we have on hand, mandarin oranges, strawberries, banana, whatever, they taste totally awesome!
Lunches could be a salad, a veggie burger, vegetarian chilli, a bean-based soup, veggie & bean curd w/ rice from Yueh's,
a bean burrito, lots of options, especially in ethnic cuisine. I find by focusing on spicy foods as opposed to greasy foods you still can really enjoy you meals, but eliminate meat and fat...
Dinners have been sort of all-over the place. In order to make sure I'm getting enough protein, I've had plenty of nuts on hand, a few handfuls of peanuts or cashews or something can make a difference.
Just picked up a big jar of Protein powder
- that stuff that body builders use... Anyway, something like 35 grams of Protein in 1 serving, you can make like a little glass of chocolate milk and wham, it's something like 30-40% of your required daily protein...
Anyhow, just wanted to kind of dump some of my thoughts about how things are going... My thinking now is that it's so easy, why doesn't everyone just do it?
Facebook is an amazing success story and great example of how technology continues to provide powerful tools that improve our lives. Here are a few thoughts I have on the topic...
First, a thought about the growth of Facebook
. In Ray Kurzweil
's the Singularity is Near, Ray talks about how as the rate of technology progress continues to increase, we're seeing that new paradigm shifts, and new technologies are being embraced much faster than ever before. I see Facebook as being a perfect example of this. Prior to September 11th, 2006, Facebook was only open to College and High School students. So in less than 1 year of becoming open to all Internet users, they've grown to over 20,000,000 users (That stat is as of March, 2007), and I understand they're growing by more than 100,000 users per day. Within approx. 6 months, the site has gone from being virtually unknown by people over age 30 to becoming a core part of most people's web history.
Next, what is a friend?
a person you know well and regard with affection and trust
Now, with Facebook, it seems the concept of a friend has been substantially diminished and can mean something more like acquaintance:
a person known to one, but usually not a close friend.
I'm sure others who use Facebook are experiencing the same phenomenon as I am. I'm receiving 'Friend' requests from people who I haven't seen, (or even thought of ) in 15-20 years... 15-20 years ago, I would have called them a friend. How should one respond to these Friend requests. I don't want to seem like I'm being a snob, but at the same time I want to use Facebook as a useful tool for communicating with people that I do truly consider as friends, who I know well and trust.
Can Facebook be a useful tool to reconnect, potentially rekindle old friendships, absolutely. But adding friends shouldn't be like collecting hockey cards or be seen as some sort of popularity contest, because I feel that just waters down the concept of a friend and renders the site unusable. I don't really want to know what bands all of these people like, or what their status is... If I didn't care to look them up and email them over the past 10 years, then sure it's fun to get a message and hear how they're doing, but that's good enough. If we start an message thread up and find we still have things in common, then fine, let's be friends, but I think to send friend requests to everyone you've ever met is not the right choice.
Lastly, I've touched on this briefly already, but I think in order for Facebook to be a useful tool there are a number of things to consider. Centralize your social messaging... Unless you're dealing with something urgent, encourage your friends to use Facebook messaging for all personal/social electronic communication. In that way, you'll find your work email is less cluttered and you're less distracted using the work day. When you're taking a break, or after work you can login to Facebook and go through all of this in one spot. Secondly, trim down your friend list to people who meet the proper definition of friend. Do you know them well, do you trust them, do you hold some affection towards them. If not, then remove them, they don't get a notification or anything so don't worry about offending anyone.
I'd like to hear comments on this topic! Cheers!
Great Onion Article...
Do you love the Onion? No, not the yummy vegetable, the online satarist website:
Here's another hillarious article!