Thursday, November 26, 2009

Zero-G Art

I was thinking about life without gravity awhile ago, and I had a really cool thought: Zero-Gravity Art would be amazing. For example, you could just randomly assemble things in mid-air and they would stay there. You could "balance" a ridiculous amount of things on top of a pencil (although it's worth noting that that's only cool because of the impossibility of it).


What I really thought though, was the use of viscous liquids in the air would be really neat. Consider, for example, a spoonful of maple syrup. You could wave it in the air and a swirly pattern would form.

Even better: Ketchup and Mustard. If you had one of each of the classic dispensers attached to something that would spin, and then you squeezed the tubes while pulling the whole device backward, it would create a double helix in mid-air, of condiments.

Then, to complete the DNA model, take toothpicks or something and carefully place them joining the two spirals. A neat thought is that you could go to one end and blow sharply, and it would tear apart the construction.

Now if only space-travel wasn't so expensive... what would you do if everything floated? Second on my list would probably be to sit on the ceiling.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More often than you'd think....

I get a really strong urge to do something that just can't be done... like lay on the ceiling.

Monday, November 9, 2009

...I Admonished

Tonight I had the somewhat sad realization that I'm not a character in a novel. I was saying something, and I wanted to admonish it, but I realized that I don't get to choose what verb gets places after the hypothetical quotes.

"Get some sleep!" she bid him
"Same to you," he admonished.

Life would be so much more epic that way, I insist.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Living in Future's Past

Patrick Swayze died today. However, if you look at his Wikipedia article, it says in past tense: "...he died from the disease on September 14, 2009". When I read this, I was like "Whoa, that's today!" because it felt really weird to read about the present in past tense.

I found an even weirder sentence on the page about a show he was in that was cancelled due to his illness: "On June 15, 2009, Entertainment Tonight announced [...]. Swayze died of the disease on September 14 of that year." ..."that year" is this year.

I understand that they have to write the articles in a way that will still be accurate tomorrow, but I find it really weird to read it that way, today. It gives me an odd feeling of perspective, realizing that as this moment ends it becomes part of history... part of the past.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What is Love?

Awhile ago I posted something on love. I have, not surprisingly, further and more refined thoughts. This is based on Plato's Symposium (it was the bonus question of an assignment for my Theory of Knowledge class)

What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more. This is not love.

Love is a kind of bond that occurs from a person's acceptance of someone or something. It could also be called interpersonal peace, and comes simultaneously with inner peace. When one is in a state of acceptance, love abounds.

People have very little idea of what love is these days, but one fundamental way we do understand love is the idea of “love you for who you are”. However, this isn't quite right. Rather, love is when somebody “loves you – and you are”. Loving somebody for who they are implies that you might not love them if they were were different. This means that you are attracted to their characteristics, not to them.

Trying to change somebody is alright, and can still fall within the boundaries of love. Most of the time, though, it does not. This is because we typically try to change people without any respect or acceptance that they're in the current state they're in. This means, simply, that we are trying to fix them, for we have labeled their condition a problem without coming to terms with the situation. With love, one first accepts that the person is how they are, and this love allows the person to change.

As Diotima says, eventually one will develop a love for all beautiful things. This is easy. What is more difficult is to also love things that are not beautiful, or even things that are ugly, for they are much harder to accept. When we live without love we live in a state of denial, ascribing random value to things based on their perceived beauty. This is inaccurate and is fundamentally flawed. Somewhat like Descartes says in Meditations, facets of objects are not the objects themselves. This is a basic part of the deceit of the senses. We look at things and perceive them, but frequently we are not looking at an object itself, but merely examining some qualities it happens to possess. Love is beyond this.

However, there is a place for physical form in love, it is just not that of beauty. Anything that has a physical form is presenting itself to us openly. At each moment, we are bombarded sensually by everything. To not accept and love everything is to create hell. There is far too much coming to individually address everything, but with love one can take some moments to accept a few things. Loving in this way will allow you to move freely through life. If one stops at each moment and hates things (or does not accept them) then there is far too much resistance on the journey of life.

“If you love someone, set them free.” Richard Bach, in saying this, makes a very good point about acceptance and love – that if you love something you will also accept its departure. However, he continues to say “If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were” which is not at all true. The very nature of love is incompatible with ownership.

It has also been said that “love is an verb”. This is somewhat true, but not entirely. Love certainly is not an adjective, and the term “in love” almost infallibly refers to infatuation. However, love is not a verb, because there really is no sole action that is “love”. If I said “I love you”, does that inherently mean that there is any specific action I'm performing toward you? There may be some general actions that go along with love, but really,




love is an attitude.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Distinction between Race and Nationality (and Ancestry)

I realized something really neat a few days ago. It was kindof an a-ha moment, really. I forget why, but a bunch of people were sharing their ancestry. I'm from Scotland mostly, with a bit of Ireland. My Aunt has French ancestry, and some people had Finnish and German.

One said "It may not look like it, but I have African-American roots" (he's quite pale and has reddish hair).

At that moment I realized that "African-American" isn't a race at all. (This term, I won't lie, used to bother me, because it seemed to really be getting very vague about race. Personally, if I'm going to talk about skin colour, I use the colour words - "black" and "white". I feel they're neutral enough.)

"African-American", I realized, is a nationality. When the slaves were brought over they were separated from their true African nationality (which may not have even been a country name we'd recognize today) and when they final got rights and equality, they had no other roots to trace. All they can say is "I'm African-American", and that's quite different than being African.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Homonym Humor

One of my friends (who is a terrible speller) once told me with great conviction that she had a leek in her heart. Despite knowing exactly what she meant, all I could picture was...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Limerick About A Moth


A moth has an interesting plight
for it comes out only at night
and then seeks out the glow
from a lamp or window...
...doesn't the day have more light?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Del.icio.us – Bookmarks = Shared Links

I've recently observed a neat habit I have. When I come across a link that is kindof neat, but I don't think I'll necessarily click on it again, sometimes I still have this feeling that I don't want to lose it. Normally I'd bookmark it, but this ends up creating clutter and I rarely delve into my deep bookmarks anyway.

However, lately I've noticed (this wasn't a conscious decision) that I end up sending a friend or family member an email with the link in it. Most of the time, if I find something inspiring or interesting, so will at least one of my friends. Thanks to Gmail, my link is now saved forever, should I need it, but entirely out of my face. Also, I've shared something with someone, which is especially nice when I haven't talked to him or her in awhile.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Packaging Deposit - because bottles and cans aren't enough

Imagine if you had to pay a tiny deposit on all packaging you purchased, which would be refunded when you returned the packaging. This would encourage people to recycle, as throwing everything in a big black plastic bag wouldn't get them their money back. It would also encourage companies to produce products with less packaging because that would mean their products would appear cheaper on the shelves.

The infrastructure needed to manage this would be intense, but if done correctly it could open up many new jobs across the country and also make people and companies more aware of what they are wasting.

See also this post, about Extended Producer Responsibility.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Child Abuse

I try not to syndicate on this blog, so perhaps I should come up with something original to say on the topic of child abuse, but what I really want to do is share this:


The 10 Common Signs of Child Abuse
  • Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises.
  • Changes in behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
  • Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers.
  • Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
  • Changes in eating. The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child's eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.
  • Changes in sleeping. Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
  • Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children's injuries from authorities.
  • Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for.
  • Risk-taking behaviors. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
Some signs that a child is experiencing violence or abuse are more obvious than others. Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities. You do not need proof.



This is taken from the Help End Child Abuse pledge at thepetitionsite.com, which I signed. Part of the pledge was to share the signs, so here they are on this blog.

I challenge anybody and everybody reading this to sign and uphold this pledge.
(but don't worry - nothing bad will happen to you (dying, having the worst day of your life, your crush hating you) if you don't)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sticky a-Tac

A stop-motion animation for you. Enjoy!
(This is the first I've ever done. It's actually really easy and this took only like 20 minutes.)


Sticky A-Tac

(If you can't see the animation either click on it or go to the title page then wait for it to load. It's about 1MB)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Worth It.

I sign a lot of online petitions – at least one per week, on average – but most I never really think about again. Today I received an email message from Care2, one of the organizations (the other main one being Avaaz) that I sign petitions through. It said

"I'm writing with joy and relief to let you know that your signature made a difference: American journalist Roxana Saberi is free!

Ms. Saberi appealed her conviction on charges of espionage, and thanks to international pressure on the Iranian government including the almost 28,000 activists who signed our petition, she appeared in court to have her appeal heard yesterday and her charges were reduced. She walked out of prison in Iran today and was reunited with her parents.

...

Thank you so much for signing the Free Roxana Saberi petition - you truly made a difference."

This really brightened my day. I tend to sign those, thinking "It can't hurt, right?" but it was really inspiring to me and empowering to feel that just by the simple action of going to a site, logging in, and clicking "sign" I could free somebody.

This really shows the magnitude, and how such a tiny action on our part can correspond to such a monumental change for Ms. Saberi's life. This is the power of unity: one person alone could never make such a difference with even a large action on the internet, but when people come together, change happens. With such an easy way to make a difference, it's a wonder so many people choose not to.

Here's another easy and concrete way to make a difference from the comfort of your wheely-chair: go on Care2's Click 2 Donate page, where just by clicking a button you can donate money daily to saving the rainforest (7 square feet per day) or reducing your carbon footprint (1 pound per day) or women's rights, breast cancer, animal cruelty and more. Check it all out at http://www.care2.com/click2donate/. In just the couple of months I've been doing this, I've already saved over 200 square feet of endangered habitat (rainforest, marine wetlands, etc). That's alot.

The daily click, if nothing else, allows you to do something selfless every day, even if it's not much.

Below are a few still-standing petitions, if you're interested:
...and now I'm going to reply to the Care2 folks and tell them how grateful I am for the followup message.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Meaning of Life

I just reached out my hand and crushed a fruit fly that was flying in front of my screen. I killed it because it was a minor annoyance to me. I killed it because I'd rather not think about its existence. I exchanged my whim for its life.

Suddenly I understand the Buddhist philosophy of not killing any animal, and the idea behind everything being "one of God's creations": if you can't take the time to care about a life, no matter how small, what does life really mean to you?

Hm. I just paused for a moment and wondered if these musings would prompt me to become a vegetarian. I don't think so. Not yet, at least. Maybe someday.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Awesome Day (A Follow-Up To Last Night's Post)

Ok, so: Last night I concluded that there was never any reason not to have an awesome day. Before going to bed last night, I decided that today I was going to have an awesome day, so I did.

It was actually so much easier than you'd think. When I woke up, before I even opened my eyes, I was like "Oh yeah, I'm going to have an awesome day today". Then, as I was getting ready to go to school, even though I was a little late I kept reminding myself that I was going to have an awesome day. Whenever I saw somebody (I remembered most times) I'd prepare myself in case they asked how I was or how I was doing. If they did, I'd say "I'm doing great!" or "I'm having an awesome day!".

What surprised me was that people didn't ask why. I actually don't think a single person asked me why exactly my day was awesome. Some seemed kindof dejected, because their day wasn't, but yeah.

The other thing that surprised me, I guess, was that it worked. Not that I expected it not to, but I doubted a bit. At the very least, I doubted how much it would work. I mean, to be honest, it wasn't unbelievable, but it actually really did brighten my day. Definitely worth taking my own advice.

Don't Give Me That Attitude! ...or, Mood... just... Cheer Up!!

This morning, some people from Acadia came to our school to do a short presentation at our assembly. They got up and said "How's everybody doing this morning?" ...and we mumbled "Good..." so they (like people seem to do) asked again "Let's try that again - how are you all doing this morning?" Now, we weren't doing any better, but we answered a little louder just to appease them so they'd continue with their presentation.

There are a few neats points that can be derived from this. The first kind of goes back to something I've often pondered, which is the casual "I'm fine". However they aren't quite the same, because what happened today was designed to actually alter our attitude and make us energetic, whereas the casual "How are you?" is more of a normalcy checker. (If things are not absolutely terrible or strange, you'll answer "fine" or "good".

At first I groaned when they did this, but then I realized that (perhaps unwittingly) there was a life lesson contained in what they said:

You can choose your attitude/mood.

As tired as we may have been this morning, we still could be extremely awesome. I mean, really, we're alive! We have no justification for not having an awesome day! There really is no valid excuse for answering "Good..."

So next time somebody does that, answer extremely energetically, and you may fine that it will actually cheer you up, and maybe your friends too. It's a great reminder that you can always have an awesome day if you want to. (...and really, why wouldn't you want to have an awesome day?)

(Also, did you know that saying "eee" out loud makes your body think it's smiling and makes you happier?)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Palindromic Advice for Would-Be Investors

debtor as a rot bed

That's right. Don't invest in that guy. He's like a rot bed for your money.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A New Kind of Capitalism!

How long of a sentence can you form where each word begins (appropriately) with a capital letter? Mine has 16 words. Can you top it? Post in the comments.

"In Buckingham Palace, Great Britain, I (Queen Elizabeth II) Google Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlocke Holmes."


Prepositions and conjunctions are the hardest part.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Eyes, Mirrors, and Sinks

There are three images above, drawn in Paint. Guess what they are. I'll give you some space.






The first one, yes, is an eye. But what about the other two? When would you see something like that?






The second one you'd see if you were in a public washroom and were looking in the mirrors, and to your left and right were white sinks. They reflect in your eye. What about the last one?






It's from a round mirror with a white border. Eyes reflect things like these, and it looks really cool - in fact, the ring gets bigger or smaller if you move closer or further from the mirror.

I just wanted to share how much I love the effect that white objects have on the appearance of eyes.



Also, if you haven't seen Wes' post on Validation, check it out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Resolutions & Habits

I just decided to reassess my resolutions and lessen them somewhat, mostly because I'm not acheiving them anyway and might as well adjust them so they are reasonable - which will help me focus better. I read an article by a blogger I'm fond of and realized I had made way too many resolutions.

I am starting a new habit today though - meditating 10 minutes before sleeping each night. This said to choose a trigger - something you do every day, after which you do the new habit. I eventually realized that there are only about 3 things I do every day:

  1. wake up
  2. eat breakfast (actually, I don't on weekends)
  3. go to bed
Everything else is either optional or very indefinite in time or duration. The problem with the first two is that they frequently have to be in a hurry. This (waking up earlier) is another habit that I want to change, but I'll do it later.

As for the meditating, I know of a few ways to do it including technology like Holosync and just trying to clear your mind, but a new technique I've found says just think "in" as you breathe in, and "out" as you breathe out. Repeat. I shall try it tonight.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Know Your Dating Discrimination Rules - They're not all the same!

I have come to realize there are certain strange societal rules about choosing dates or partners that apply only to physical appearance or race, which are completely the reverse for religion:

Physical Features:
It's okay to say "I really like blonds" or "I love Asian chicks" (well, the second one only sort of). It is not, however, okay to say "I won't date black girls" or "I could never go out with a redhead".

Religion (OTOH):
It's okay to say "I couldn't date a Catholic" or "I'm not allowed to go out with anyone who's Buddhist". It isn't okay to say "I think I'd like to date a Jew" or "It would probably be really fun to go out with her - she's Muslim".

Naturally, this isn't true absolutely, but it seems that for physical traits, we are only allowed to discriminate positively, and for religion, we're only allowed to discriminate negatively (the exception being for sameness: "He's Taoist just like me"). This all makes sense when you think of the history of each, but it's interesting to ponder.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Onside with Relativism

"Everything is relative."

Obviously a foolish statement to make, considering that it is absolute. However, I'll try to offer a (less-than-perfect) proof that absolutism is just as impossible to validate: (Feel free to challenge me on any of this in the comments ^.^ )

Assume the opposite - something is absolute. However, how can we know that something is absolute? By what reference can we know or declare it to be absolute? There must be something to compare something which is absolute to something which is not absolute (which is done even simply by calling it absolute) and that something makes it relative.

Any statement about something is inherently relevant, as an adjective only applies as a comparison, and a comparison is relative. For example, peanut butter is sticky and adhesive, but not compared to glue. However, this may not be valid (I see a shortcoming in my own logic) as it could be said that something which is absolute is not on any sort of scale of absolute-or-relativeness.

Here's another example consider physical relativity: could there be a point in the universe somewhere that is absolute, or static? That would mean that while everything else moves, it does not. As such, there is nothing else to compare it to for stillness – furthermore, such a comparison would be to make the point relative again – ie., "This point is still - we know it because this point is still as well."

Just as "everything is relative" includes an absolute statement, "something is absolute" contains relativity as part of its definition, for that something is being compared.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Homosonoambiphrase

You've heard of anaphase and telephase? It's not that. You've heard of Isograms and Pangrams?? It's not that either. A palindrome? Well, those are pretty awesome and I'm going to post one soon (a palindrome I made) but I have in fact created a new kind of awesome phrase!

I call it a Homosonoambiphrase, and it is a phrase that if read aloud in one language can sound like a phrase in another language. Mine:

  • EN: Satan dons a coat eh - Day done.
  • FR: C'est un danse à côté des dons.
(the French part translates to "It's a dance beside the gifts" ... which doesn't really make much sense, but neither do jackdaws, sphinxes and quartz)

The name "
Homosonoambiphrase" comes from "homo" meaning "same", "sono" meaning "sound", and "ambi" meaning "both".

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Go Now and Worship

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
He is also perfect.

Why then should we worship something we could never be?
Instead, maybe we should kneel before the human who is most kind and forgiving.
Even better, we could stop our praying and go out and be kind ourselves.
In fact, this is probably what that person would suggest, if faced with a bunch of followers...
God probably would too...