Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Arrow Securities

I didn't want to make the title "Fate v. Free Will," but that's what this is going to be about.
Conflict: If God is omniscient and omnipotent, then how can individuals do anything of their own accord? Doesn't God have a plan for everyone? Who are we to be able to resist his plan and do what we want?
Resolution: We can have fate AND free will. Here's how (and you thought macro was silly): God still stays omniscient and omnipotent. You live in a world where there are many possible states that can be realized. Basically, I believe that God holds Arrow Securities in every possible realization of the state. I do NOT assume a constant structure for probability. It is almost certainly NOT iid nor Markovian.
Every time somebody makes a decision, the future is altered. We are on a different course than we would otherwise be. Butterfly effect and all that crap. However, at time t=0, God knows what will happen in every possible state, contingent on it occurring.

Contingent on when you are born, there are areas of 4-dimensional space-time that you cannot visit. The possible realm that you can visit at any given moment is restricted by your past light cone and your future light cone. However, this limitation does not take into account the interactions you will have with other beings. Imagine in the equation above that it is only for one agent and that each person has a unique possible path to follow.

In sum (ya, pun intended) you are predestined to a set of possible outcomes. The choices you make take you down only ONE path (until I'm convinced otherwise, I assume that you can only move forward in time). After making each decision, you seal off a set of potential future paths. Constrained free will.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pick #35

Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland 1945

First heard on a mix CD given to me as a Christmas present by Sona, mixed with the help of Mike D.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moby #5

“5 Speaking of those who preach hate and violence, I need to say how absolutely horrified and sickened I am by supposed Christians who promote the use of violence against abortion clinics, doctors, the federal government, and anyone else who rubs them the wrong way. As citizens of democratic nations we are bound to revere and respect the democratic process. This leaves no room for people who violently take the law into their own hands. The very idea of Christians of all people promoting violence towards anyone is mindboggling. Some of the central tenets of the teachings of Christ are nonjudgementalism, non-violence, and humility. How can these people call themselves Christians and at the same time call for and celebrate brutal acts of violence? I love Christ, but I’m utterly dismayed at the teachings and actions of a lot of these supposed ‘Christians.’”

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Moby #4

“4 I just went to the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust in Manhattan and it was driven home to me that almost all of the state sponsored atrocities of the 20th century occurred with either the complicity and/or awareness of the world’s governments. Before and during World War II the Allied governments tightened quotas on Jewish immigration, thus leaving most of the Jews in western and eastern Europe with nowhere to go. Whenever we’re aware of a despotic regime victimizing a segment of its population, we are all to some extent responsible. We’ve known about atrocities as they were being carried out and done little or nothing to intervene. As compassionate citizens we need to be adamantly intolerant of regimes that openly and intentionally victimize segments of their populations. Institutional racism, prejudice, homophobia, antisemitism, and hate of any kind are, at the risk of sounding absolutist, always intolerable. And we need to make sure that our elected representatives do their utmost to make the world an unsafe place for despots, demagogues, and all those officials who preach and carry out hate and violence.”

Friday, July 27, 2007

Moby #3

“3 Oftentimes when I meet someone they ask me why I’m a vegan (a vegan is someone who neither eats, wears, or uses animal products). Before I list the reasons why I’ve chosen to be a vegan let me say that I don’t judge people who choose to eat meat. People make different choices for different reasons, and it is not my place to judge the choices that other people make. Just being alive is inevitably going to cause suffering. But anyway, here’s why I’m a vegan. 1) I love animals, and I believe that a vegan diet causes less suffering than a diet centered around animal products. 2) Animals are sentient creatures with their own wills, and it seems wrong to force our will onto another creature just because we’re able to. 3) A great deal of medical evidence points to the fact that a diet centered around animal products is terrible for you. Animal product based diets have been repeatedly proven to cause and exacerbate cancer, heart disease, obesity, impotence, diabetes, etc. 4) A vegan diet is materially more efficient than an animal product based diet. By that I mean that you can feed lots more people with grain directly than by feeding that grain to a cow and then killing the cow. In a world where people are starving it seems criminal to fatten up cows with grain that could be keeping people alive. 5) The raising of farm animals is environmentally disastrous. All of the waste from animal farming gets washed into our water supply, poisoning our drinking water and fouling our lakes, streams, and oceans. 6) Vegan food is nice to look at. Compare a plate with grains and fruits and vegetables to a plate with pigs’ intestines, chicken legs, and chopped up cows’ muscles. So that’s pretty much why I’m a vegan. If for some reason you ever decide to become a vegetarian or a vegan, please do so carefully. Most of our conventional diets are so meat and animal product based that when we give up meat we don’t know what to replace it with. Although a vegetarian or vegan diet is a million times healthier that a carnivorous diet, making the transition away from eating animals needs to be done wisely. Most health food stores and bookstores have good books that can help you to make the transition from an animal product based diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet.”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Moby #2

“2 It horrifies me that we allow prisoners to be treated so poorly. If someone is found guilty of committing a crime then we as a society have given ourselves the right to punish them by locking them up. But we also acknowledge that even someone convicted of committing a crime retains some basic civil rights. Unfortunately our prisons (especially here in the U.S.) are places where people’s basic rights are trampled on pretty much as a matter of course. Prisoners shouldn’t have to fear rape, abuse & murder while they’re incarcerated. A civilized nation should concern itself with protecting and maintaining the rights of all of its citizens, be they prisoners or not. A prisoner should be able to pay their debt to society with ample, constitutionally guaranteed, protection from harm. And while I’m getting worked up about the rights of prisoners, let me take a minute to point our the utter absurdity of consensual crimes in a supposedly free society. How can we justify locking people up for committing actions that have no demonstrable repercussions to anyone else? If someone’s actions compromise the rights or will of another individual, then fine, punish them. But if someone’s actions don’t affect anyone other than the person committing the actions, then what business is it of the state’s? I’m specifically referring to drug use. I don’t use drugs, and I think that drugs can be terribly destructive and dangerous, but I don’t see how the state can arrest an adult for doing something to their own body. An enlightened state should warn its citizens about dangerous activities, but it shouldn’t be allowed to lock people up for doing things to themselves. I do not want any government making decisions regarding what I can put in to or do to my body. An individual’s own body is not the jurisdiction for the state. Although we may find suicide, drug use, abortion, self-mutilation, etc, abhorrent, we cannot as an enlightened society make criminals of people that do these things to themselves, so long as their actions don’t compromise our rights. Because we find something distasteful is not justification enough for us to deem it criminal.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Moby #1

Over the next few days, I will be sharing with you some of Moby's essays off the lyrics sheet of the Play album. There are certain points that I disagree with, but they are good essays. I will try my hardest not to make any typographical errors in any of Moby's essays and keep all the punctuation intact just like he has it. Sorry if I mess up.

"1 Fundamentalism (of any kind)troubles me. The world is too big and too intricate to conform to our ideas of what it should be like. In my experience I've found that most fundamentalists aren't so much attached to their professed ideologies as they are to the way in which these ideologies try to make sense of a confusing world. But the world is confusing, and just because we invent myths and theories to explain away the chaos we're still going to live in a world that's older and more complicated than we'll ever understand. So many religious and political and scientific and social systems fail in that they try to impose a rigid structure onto what is and inherently ambiguous world. I'm not suggesting that we stop trying to understand things. Trying to understand the world can be fun and, at times, helpful. But if we base our belief systems on the humble assumption that the complexities of the world are ontologically beyond our understanding, they maybe our belief systems will make more sense and end up causing less suffering."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

If You Can't Feed 'Em...

This video clip on CNN.com shows a sign outside a bar saying "welfare started as a hand up not as a generational lifestyle!!!" The first person interviewed for the clip is a black woman in a car. She said that the sign is racist and that the bar's owner is "singling out nationalities." Umm...I didn't see anything in the sign that mentions race or nationality (take that, Canadians!).

The black woman in the car also said that she disdains the phrase previously posted on the sign "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em." Question: what kind of altruistic parent would want to raise an impoverished child? OK...maybe I understand having one child as a companion or a project to enrich your life or something like that...but if the bills aren't getting paid with n children, what makes you think that (n+1) children is a better idea??

Yet another sign in front of the bar said something to the effect of "we pass a drug test for our paychecks, why not for our welfare checks?" Apparently, the town sheriff asked the man to take the signs down. The owner refused. He's protected by free speech. He's not cursing and he's not singling out anyone based on race, religion, gender, age, etc.

Go, bar owner guy. Keep voting!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pick #34

Damien Rice - The Blower's Daughter

Thanks, Natalie.

You're Austin Boyle??

So, in the spring semester, I was at a party when some girl walks up to me randomly and asks "You're Austin Boyle??" I didn't know how to respond to that, so I just chose an affirmative "ya??" Turns out that she is Erin Boyle and is a few years younger than me. She went to the same high school I did and people always asked if she was my little sister. How random is it that I met her at a house party in Tallahassee? Anyway, it turns out that my little brother knows who she is, but she doesn't know him (I told her it's the guy with the camo truck).

I was amused.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Grandeur of the Seas

Even if the rest of my cruise kinda sucked, a couple good pictures came out of it. Sarah took a good B/W of me that I used as a facebook profile picture for a while. I took this one. I don't know what that thing is...I presume it can raise and lower things (like lifeboats??).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tortilla Española

Ahora que cocino para yo mismo (cuando Nick no cocina...normalmente, cocinamos para ambos...compartimos) puedo probar lo que quiero. Recientemente, pienso en hacer una tortilla española. Busco recetas en la red. Probablemente encontraré una buena después de una busqueda pequeña.

Hablando de comida española, he preparado huevos con atún desde tener mi propia casa. Si preparo bien la tortilla, puede que tratara de formar bocadillos. Excepto horchata (de chufa, por supuesto), ¿que otra comida típica de España hay? Es que no puedo recordar (sanduche mixta!).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Big Bike Ride

I rode from my house to school, to drop off my backpack. Then took the St. Marks Trail all the way to St. Marks. Met Glenn @ the parking lot just south of capital circle. Did a little bit of ass-hauling. My legs got pretty tired by the end of the trip. I'll probably be at least a little sore tomorrow. I like the trail. Lots of shade. I like my bike. Made some minor adjustments and it rides nice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bike #2

When I purchased my bike about a year ago, I hoped at the time that it would be the last bike I ever bought. One thing led to another and I found myself in wont of a road bike. Most of the driving force behind that desire is the urge to complete another triathlon. Glenn is starting to ride his bike often, so I can't borrow it even for short periods of time.

I was casually searching for a bike via internet and telephone, mostly as a means of procrastination. About a week and a half ago, I came across a promising listing on craigslist. Unfortunately, the bike was listed as $550, "firm on the price." That was about double what I wanted to spend on a bike. After running the specs past Glenn, he informed me that it was an incredible deal...it must be gone after being listed for a few days. I called the guy up; he said the bike was still available.

Last Tuesday, I went to take a test-drive. I liked it. Also noticed that the guy was moving (which helped me think that he wasn't trying to pawn off a lemon). It's super light. Silver, black, and red. Zero to sixty in well, I don't think I can hit 60...but it's fast. I'm going to get those bike shoes with the cleats on the bottom that clip into the pedals and give you a lot more power.

Here are the specs:

SIZE: 60 cm
FRAME: Alpha SL Aluminum
FORK: Bontrager, carbon
WHEELS: Shimano Tiagra hubs
TIRES : Bontrager Select, 700x25c
SHIFTERS: Shimano Tiagra STI, 9 speed
CRANK: Bontrager Select 52/42/30
CASSETTE: Shimano HG50 12-25, 9 speed
SADDLE: Bontrager Race Lux (but I bought a more comfortable seat for non-race riding).
SEAT POST: Bontrager Carbon
HANDLEBARS: Bontrager Sport
STEM: Bontrager Select, 17 degree
HEADSET: Aheadset Slimstak w/semi-cartridge bearings, alloy
BRAKESET: Alloy dual pivot w/Shimano Tiagra STI levers
PEDALS: Wellgo (RC-713) single sided SPD clipless

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hi Atom, Bye Atom

Remember my post "Everything is a Part of You"? I heard an NPR story about how in one year from now, 98% of the atoms in your body won't be there. They will have been replaced by new atoms. You lose atoms through not only excrement (including sweat), but by cutting your hair or fingernails and by shedding your skin. As I was listening to the report, I thought that the atoms in your DNA should stay put so that they could instruct the new atoms how to form the proper structures. Near the end of the piece, my suspicions were confirmed.

I'm not sure what the figure is on the rate of replacement of atoms in other living things. I wonder if it's lower for trees. Or tortoises (or anything with a slow metabolism).

It's nice when you hear somebody else clarify your idea. Now I have a quantitative figure behind me too (which is good for those science types).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Humane Society

Written - 5/25/2002

Is the Humane Society really such a great saver of animals? Or are they a ruthless killing machine, disposing of thousands of seemingly unwanted animals every year?

I'm not entirely sure. However, I think that the animals that they do kill would have been killed anyways, so that nullifies most of the wrong of killing them. Especially because they try to get the animals they kill adopted before they meet their end. They also manage to find a safe and loving home for the animals that are in their shelter.

I got a dog from the Humane Society a two Decembers ago (2000). She has been the best dog ever. It is obvious that she had been abused before she arrived at the Humane Society. She had been there for a while without being adopted. This may have been because of a tail that was truncated before its natural end...this could have been the result of abuse by previous owners or just an accident. She also could not sit without falling on her side. She had been there for about 3 months and it was evident that her time there was limited. When we went to look at dogs, I wanted another one, a more aesthetic one, but this dog was a door dasher and had problems listening.

As it turns out, her tail does not bother her in the least. I think now that it adds to her personality. She has been such a great companion. I have wanted a dog that I could run with ever since I started running. Abbey (my Humane Society adoptee) runs up to 5 miles with me. And she's fast too. She is well mannered and extremely personable.

I would recommend a dog or cat from the Humane Society to any of you who are looking for an animal. Not just because it is a lot cheaper, but it also reduces unwanted animals running around by spaying and neutering the animals before they leave. Also, anyone who buys an animal from a pet store is condoning the existence of puppy mills where bitches are forced to continually stay pregnant and give birth to endless litters...until the day when they are not producing as they should be...then they are exterminated...cruelly...please don't but animals from pet stores.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One-Dollar Coins

In the US, we've tried to circulate a dollar coin a few times, but it never seems to work out. There was the large, silver dollar followed by the smaller gold-colored ones. Most recently, I got a dollar coin with George Washington's mug on it (goodbye Sacagawea). According to this reliable source, there's a new president's face gonna come out on one of these here coins for a little while. I bet you can guess where I got that darned dollar coin...that's right!...the Post Office!! It seems like they're the only ones who use it. Try putting that coin in a non-stamp vending machine.

The smallest denomination paper bill in Euros is worth 5. There are coins for 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, and 2 euros. Although it took a little bit of getting used to, I ended up liking the 1 and 2 euro coins. It was also initially weird not to have quarters. I just don't think that Americans are willing to carry around and use one dollar coins. Why do we keep making them? Perhaps they'll be worth something to collectors in 50 years.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007



Too bad I live in a stupid town without the convenience store carrying the greatest "slushy" beverage known to man.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Roommate Bullshit

I need a roommate. What? You thought I had one lined up? Well, I did. Let me go ahead and say that I kicked Neil out early (thus forfeiting rent $$$) so that this guy could move in. And I've turned down other people asking for a place to live because I thought this dude A was going to move in. This past Saturday, A called me and said that he found a place to live with one of his friends for $100 cheaper per month. Who could blame him for not wanting to live with me. It's just too bad that I didn't get news of this until such a late date. I am pretty sure that A wasn't trying to mess with me. He came up to Tally from Orlando just to check my place out.

After I got the message on Saturday about me needing a new roommate, I did the first thing that came to my head: I asked Micah (new econ student, not from the HC) to let me know if any of the incoming econ students need a place. He is in touch with all the incoming econ students. He brings his A-game. I also put word to Dr. Bullock who shot an email to department heads of grad programs campus-wide. Hopefully this will turn out alright. My mom seems to think that there's "a reason this happened." I hope she's right.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Liquid Bandaids

Liquid bandaids work like this: There's a bottle of liquid that you drop onto an applicator. A reaction takes place, you rub the activated applicator over the wound, and a seal forms. The seal keeps all the bad stuff out. It's also less visibly noticeable than a regular bandaid and doesn't need to be reapplied. Pretty badass if you ask me.

About 8 days ago, I stepped on a piece of glass at a party at my neighbors' house. The bottom of the foot is a hard place to keep a bandage. It's hard to keep it clean too. At the very least, your foot sweats a lot. Not to mention the possible foreign material that can get lodged in there when you walk around barefoot.

Whitney says that she's always thought that bandaids are for wusses, but concedes that liquid bandaids aren't. I wonder what kind of cool factor they have. Sometimes you want people to see you visibly wounded and other times you don't. Enter liquid bandaid.

Mani says (and I've heard other places) that you can use super glue to do the same thing. I think super glue is a little cheaper, but maybe not quite as sanitary. And I'm not sure how I feel about the super glue-solvents getting into my system.

Pick #32

Sheryl Crow - Hard to Make a Stand from the self-titled album.

I brought all my CDs up to Tallahassee, and I've been going through and listening to entire albums. Some of them haven't been played in about 5 years. It's pretty cool to go back and see what I used to listen to. Some of it's crap (what was I thinking when I bought the Chumbawamba disc????), but other stuff is classic (Live, Boston, No Doubt). I think I got the Sheryl Crow album for "A Change."

Saturday, July 7, 2007

New Pictures

New pictures are up on my picasa site. I added the "People" album and put some pictures in "Animals," "Pretty Pictures," and "Benches and Stairs." Maybe more to come in the near future...but I don't really know.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Emotional Rollercoaster

I'm pretty emotionally stable. I don't have very high highs or low lows. My peaks and troughs don't last very long. Overall, I am a happy person. It's hard for me to get to such great heights. For instance, I say that I don't have fun very often. Some people disagree with me, but I define fun as a sensation of being caught up so much in the moment, enjoying every moment of what you're doing that you forget about everything else. I also say that I don't miss people (very often). Some friends beg to differ, but I guess instead of associating "miss" with "fond memory," I associate it with "long for their company."

Likewise, I rarely get mopey. If I am down, it usually lasts for less than a few hours. In fact, it's always a new day tomorrow and tomorrow always starts fresh. It's kind of interesting how certain people can affect my mood more than others. Today, one of those special people had me excited to see her, then I didn't get to see her and I was down for about an hour. I think this builds on my expectations hypothesis: don't expect too much and it's harder to get let down. I think now that it's better to be pleasantly surprised than a little bit disappointed.

I'm not saying that you should be a pessimist. I like to think of myself as a realist. Set realistic goals and achieve them. If you lower your standards a little, then you can reach your goals more easily...but each accomplishment isn't worth as much. On the flip side, lofty expectations can be unattainable (especially if they involve other people who can drop the ball along the way) and failing to reach them can leave you down.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Globes & Maps

The Strozier Library has a nice collection of globes and maps in the basement. There are some cool globes that are unlike any I've ever seen. For instance, one of them is an elevation map, but instead of just being different colors, the land is 3-D...the mountains actually pop out!

There are weird filing cabinets that you can get the maps out of...they're long and wide and shallow. I'm not sure how they're organized (although I haven't spent much time trying to figure it out).

There are all sorts of maps, but I think the ones that interest me the most are political maps. Especially old ones where you can see different names for countries (like Czechoslovakia) or different borders...or East&West Germany... I like really old maps where things are the wrong size/shape. I like non-Mercator maps and maps with labels not in English. One map that they don't have that I would like to see is a map of the plots on the moon that people bought on eBay and what real estate is left for me to buy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Wasted Time Online (and other places)

Written 5/1/2002

I wonder: how much time have I idled away online in the past year? I bet it's enough to have ran about 80 miles. Which brings me to another conclusion...
Running about 850 miles per year takes up a lot of time itself. If I averaged 7 minute miles, then I ran for about 100 hours (this doesn't include stretching, putting on the running shoes, etc.)

But I guess: What better do we have to do with our time than something we enjoy. (It beats the h3ll outta wasting time at school in a class you hate *which by the way is probably everyone's biggest time waster*).

So I don't mind idling online because I like it. I don't mind taking up a lot of time to run because I like it. I don't mind going to school (on A-Days) because I get a lot of knowledge for a relatively low price. However, B-Days are just about worthless and I wish I could work or stay home and sleep or run or do some math or something!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pick #31

The Get Up Kids's song "Woodson" is the lead-off track from the Woodson EP. Although the EP is only 4 tracks, all of them are good, and I think it's what got me more into listening to these guys. It did piss me off that I didn't know it was an EP before I bought it (it was on sale at FYE or one of those type of music stores).


I just got up from about a 4 hour nap...I'm about to go to bed for the night. I had a heavy day of drinking/not caring for myself. I got up around 10 to see off Beerman and Jess. I had 3 donuts for breakfast. I finished (well, almost finished) cleaning up the house. I got hungry in the process of cleaning up and noticed smoke coming from the neighbor's grill. Nick and I went over to their party (they invited us on Friday). It was fucking awesome. They had a full bar stocked with: Grey Goose, Patron (plata), Stoly, Bacardi, Southern Comfort, Jager, grenadine, all kinds of mixers, Tanqueray, all top-shelf shit. Not to mention that they invited about 6 professional bartenders. I think I had 10 drinks in the first hour. That was enough to get me to slip-n-slide without wearing the proper attire. I jumped in the pool wearing cargoes. I mean, it was raining anyway.
When we got there, I was very surprised to see Nick spitting game (and it seeming to work) on this girl named Nicole. They started playing beer pong on a team together. Lost. I thought Nicole was pretty good looking, so after Nick went home because the cops were called, I tried to get her to come to our place to get away from the cops. It magically worked. I was happy about this. She asked me to put her towel in the dryer. About 3 minutes later, she had a cell-phone call and split. I thought she went back to the party. She didn't. StEEEEE-rike. Hungry for play, I made a phone call (while still pretty drunk) to a girl who I thought was into me. Turns out that she must really not be that into me.

When I awoke, I looked at my phone and I thought it said that I called Sarah around 8pm. I was a little concerned about what I might have called her for. Turns out that she called me and all's well...except for that cut on my foot. I stepped on some broken glass at the party. It's not too bad. Not as bad as a soda-can cut on my foot. I had some girl dig the class out with her fingernails.

By the way, I realized that I only had 1 hamburger, when my initial plan was to go over there and eat their food! I was malnourished today.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

HC Reunion @ My House

Today, the following HC people were gathered in my living room: me, Beerman, Walker, Jess, Nick Yanes. Sona and Sarah joined us on the phone. This morning all but Jess (and the telephone girls) played wiffleball in the street. It feels good to be a kid again. We watched a movie, I got to drive Beerman's new car a little bit, we grilled hamburgers for dinner (after the rain stopped). Good weekend.

If the goal was to get an HC reunion, we could have done a lot better since many more alumni live in or regularly visit Tallahassee. This was a sort of impromptu thing. Walker told me on Thursday that Jess was coming and Beerman surprised me on Friday night.

I wish I could keep my house stocked full of cool people all the time.