Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pictures and Sentences

So I finally imported all the pictures on my camera to the computer. But first things first, I need to explain my new experiment. You're going to have to earn looking at these pictures. A week or two ago I put up my thing about thinking and how you already know what you're going to think, do you actually need to think in complete sentences, etc. Now I want to try applying that to my speaking. Because for the most part, I feel like the second halves of sentences can be extraneous, their content being obvious from what was said at the start. Obviously in some cases, like if you're going to say, "but", and then add a thought in a different direction, then you would need to finish it yourself. But I feel like other than that, people could hold entire conversations that were still coherent without ever using complete sentences. Is this a perverse idea? It seems different in nature to me from IM-speak or abbreviations or things like that, but maybe it's only more extreme. In any case, it will probably entertain me if I actually do it properly because I'll be forced to always actually think about what I'm saying so that I can make sense and will stop talking when the rest of the sentence becomes obvious. Although I'll probably need to explain what I'm trying to do to people, otherwise they might get really frustrated. It could be interesting to discover how few people, notice, however, because I think there's a natural inclination to be predicting what other people are going to say before they say it, so they might just start talking as soon as I pause for long enough. One last thing, is that I'll be curious to see, especially if I don't tell people about what I'm doing, is if they're able to just start saying their own thought after I pause, or if they'll have to finish my thought for me. That would cool to find, if it really bothered people to leave the thought hanging, even if the ending were obvious. So that's that.Oh, that's just my mom, filtering her brain. Don't mind her.Here's my fish tank. It's hard to photograph well. But here's a close-up of some of the fish, anyway.The bigger ones are Green Cobra Guppies, and the small orange one is an Endler's Livebearer.

That's the freakish, horrifying lump on my chin. Thankfully, most of it turned out to be dried pus! So it's much smaller now.

To end on a nicer note, here's that picture of my moustache I've been promising for so long. I know the suspense was deadly.Also some things I'm excited about: my treasure chest is actually starting to look like a chest and not lumps of wood. Maybe I'll take the camera to the woodshop tonight and take some photos of it only half-done, plus some action photos. Maybe. Also, there's a new Terry Pratchett, which I will read soon. And finally, I just ordered some books by Stephen Potter, called Gamesmanship, Lifemanship, Oneupmanship, and Supermanship (in a collection), that are his satires on people's competitiveness, and what they're about seems pretty evident from the titles. But the basic premise is that if you're not one-up on someone, you're one-down. I think they should be pretty funny. And if they're not, that's okay, they'll still be my new guides for how I will live my life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So I am currently back at home, awaiting my dentist appointment tomorrow. Scarlet took a tumble on Friday, and so i had to get stitches in my chin and i chipped a tooth. For a while, I looked truly gnarly. Fortunately, I didn't actually take any photos, so few will know just how much like a hobo i looked. Especially when I still had a fat lip. All in all, quite a surreal experience.

In math today, we talked about how much of a revolution to conversion from a geocentric to a heliocentric solar system was. I argued that it wasn't that extreme, considering that the idea had already been floating around for thousands of years, all of the observations remained the same, and the math was pretty much the same as well, between Copernicus and Ptolemy, including diagrams. People in my class were pretty salty about this, because they wanted to make a big deal about the religious aspect and humans no longer being the center of the universe. But I stand by it. It seems like it was more of a revision than a revolution. A revolution would be something like Lavoisier or Harvey or Lobachevsky, that would remain significant even when taken out of context, whereas it seems like Copernicus wouldn't have been shocking if it hadn't occured during Christian-dominated times. I'd say this is because those other examples relied on fundamentally different methods, observations, and hypotheses, whereas Copernicus only changed the last bit. Hypotheses are always changing, but the other parts seem like they generally stay more consistent.
I was also reminded how difficult it is to truly have an original thought. Copernicus is generally known as the inventor of the heliocentric system, but it had in fact been thought of thousands of years prior to that. I feel like that's probably true for a lot of different "discoveries", where either I personally am unaware of the true originator, or the world as a whole has forgotten them. And while on the subject of discoveries, I was again fascinated by how frequently several people discover the same revolutionary idea at the same time. Like Newton and Leibniz with calculus to give a more famous example, or Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, who I would be really surprised to find most people know about. I suppose that happens because it's the natural next step in the thoughts process, so why wouldn't two people both take that step, and it would be a reinforcement of the idea that they had taken the logical next step. It's still pretty cool, though.
In final science news, some physicists are actually claiming that the reason the particle accelerator in Switzerland isn't working is because the collisions are causing particles in the future to come back in time that interfere with the machine. I'm not sure if that would be a good thing or not, but mainly, I don't believe it. Let's pop a quick intervention on those scientists for being so crazy. And once again I recommend people check out, it's got some really cool articles up about spiders, day-dreaming, and Earth-twins.

Friday, October 16, 2009


So, I finally got my fish, and they are all really awesome. Except for the two that have died already. But I'm pretty sure I didn't kill them. They were both happy and swimming around, and then I woke up two mornings ago and one of them was stuck in the filter intake (which most research I did said meant that it was sick to begin with). And then this morning one of them was just belly up at the bottom of the tank. So I'm not really sure what's wrong, but the rest of them still look happy and awesome, so I'm not too worried about it. Unfortunately, fish tanks don't photograph too well, especially when your camera is running out of batteries. But when I get new ones, I will definitely put up pictures of the tank and my moustache, which is definitely still going strong. The end of the competition was last week, and I think it's hilarious that still no one has shaved, because they're all too happy with their 'staches. Also, props to Mark, who tells me his whole house is bullish in facial hair.
In other shopping news, I had an awesome Long Weekend, I got lots of sweet clothes and room decorations from Unique Thrift. I also found out about miracle fruit, which is this berry that makes things taste sweet, so now my roommate and I are going to buy a miracle fruit plant. It's pretty much perfect, because it goes well with pickles, which are the only thing in my fridge; grapefruit, which I eat every morning at breakfast, and limes, which I just bought a bag of. I'll send out invitations to my miracle fruit tasting party soon.Also, last night was the seminar on Caesar and Cato the Younger, during which I was struck once again, as with Federer and Nadal, by the two types of greatness. Butch and Sundance are also a good example. The basic premise is the same as the Shakespeare quote, "some are born great, some achieve greatness..." Caesar was born to due great things, and Cato had to work his ass off his entire life to do anything. That's why we want to be Caesar/Federer/Sundance. We wish we were entitled to greatness like them, that it was our inevitable destiny and that it would come easy to us. We have mad respect for the Catos/Nadals of the world, but it's rare that someone has the willpower like them to hoist themselves up to greatness. Granted, Caesar did have to work hard, and Cato had a natural determination, but the distinction is what is interesting. I might write my sophomore essay on this idea, but I'm not sure if there's enough there, or if I would want to use Cato and Caesar as my basis. Just an idea, at the moment. In other updates, I have started a woodshop project, I'm about a third of the way through making a miniature treasure chest. Additionally, I made bread over Long Weekend and my roommate's sister is here visiting and she brought his bread-making stuff with her, so we'll be making bread like crazy. Plus I want to make borscht sometime. Also, check out these amazing microscope pictures from Wired:
And this quite hilarious video. Guaranteed it will make your day better:

Thursday, October 8, 2009


"Tarzan had become an omnivorous reader, and the world of possibilities that were opened to him in this seat of culture and learning fairly appalled him when he contemplated the very infinitesimal crumb of the sum total of human knowledge that a single individual might hope to acquire even after a lifetime of study and research."

So I've been re-reading Tarzan of the Apes and the Return of Tarzan, and they are still really good books. Additionally, I put in that quote from Tarzan because it's basically word for word what I said at one point in my Freshman Essay, as an argument for immortality. A whole lifetime could be devoted to one single field, who wouldn't want to repeat that over and over again with new fields? Or I guess you could just Wikipedia it and die happy, you fat loser.
I've realized that I don't like paintings or statues when they're of people. They just kind of creep me out. Especially when they're really ancient. I think part of it is that they never really look like people, but they're close enough that it's disturbing. Also I think old things have just started boggling my mind. Like that Euclid had written his Elements 2500 years ago, and yet we still learn the same geometry today. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that some 18 year old 2000 years ago looked at this manuscript and learned the same thing that I did. It's the same as when I walk around campus and think about how old the buildings actually are, and how people were walking through them 200 years ago. It doesn't make me feel insignificant, rather I'm sort of proud of how I'm in the same place as all these other people were, it's just hard to fully understand how something as stupid as the building is still around when everything that makes it interesting, like all the people who were in it are all gone. I was talking to my mom about this and she shared the sentiment, saying that it's weird for her to have all of her mom's old clothes. She doesn't want the stupid clothes, she'd much rather just have her mom around. So in that sense I don't think it really is that comforting to know that we can make an impression on people even after we die with what we leave behind, like buildings or writings or photos or anything like that. I'd infinitely rather just be around myself.
Anyway, it's Long Weekend tomorrow, which is crazy, I can't believe we're this far into school already. More importantly, it means the moustache-growing contest is over. I'll have pictures up tomorrow of how it looked at the end. I'm not sure if I'm going to shave it, I might let it ride, or let me beard grow out to accompany it, we'll just have to wait and see. Oh and by the way, the final dye count was 3 times. The roots kept growing out blonde again...