Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Change for Others?

I was watching a show called Community and the main characters are concerned for one of their friends, Abed, because he's a bit unconventional. They worry for him because they find out that some girl might like him (and she's actually attractive). They're afraid that he might not get another shot at a girl like this. They try to change Abed by giving him advice on how to behave, act, and talk. Abed follows their instructions only to have the group realize in the end that they didn't really need to "help" him.

In the end, they find out that he actually never had a problem with girls - that he even pretty much has enough game to get any one that he wants; and he does. He tells them that people try to help him all the time and they get frustrated when he doesn't let them he lets them find out for themselves and he changes for his friends because it matters more to them than it does to him.

"Changing for other people isn't such a big deal when you know who you are and what you really like about yourself." - Abed Nadir, Community

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas (With Statistics)

Read this somehwhere:

Is Santa Real?

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 1 in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purpose of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc.

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 time the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, the conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting the "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload -not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force. In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Merry Christmas!

Seriously - have a Merry Christmas & all that crap (lol). If you don't celebrate it, then enjoy your day off. And if you don't have the day off, then sorry your life SUCKS. hahaha


- knowledge

Friday, December 9, 2011

lmao..How is This a Real Song?

I've included a video with the lyrics so you can follow along. I'm trying to figure out if a religious person should be offended, or if it's actually a legitimate reason to pray for.

"Oh Lord, don't let me cheat on my girlfriend. But Lord, if you can't stop me from cheating, just don't let me get caught (neva eva. Neva eva)". Hahahaha

Good luck with exams, everyone

- knowledge

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"A Very Brave Woman"

It sucks 'cause she probably wouldn't have to do that if care about appearance wasn't so slanted towards women.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a vendetta against make-up. Up until that video, I actually despised make-up...but I hate it a lot less if it makes people like her feel better. Must be hard as hell to deal with that stuff. Especially when it's in their teens/younger adult years when it matters the most to the rest of the world.

I've always said that beauty lied primarily in facial structure (if it had to be physical), but I do know people who care about their bf/gf having clear skin. I feel for you ladies (in general) - there's just so much pressure that it's hard not to care about appearance.

But I still don't like make-up. I've never seen anyone who I honestly think NEEDS make-up (not even the chick in this video). I don't find her repulsive, but it saddens me that other people might.

Either way, I think it's admirable that she outed herself like that. Good for her.

- knowledge

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street...Boss

IDGAF - this is boss as hell. Stay hungry ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is Tuition Really THAT Unreasonable in Ontario?

E-mail from the student federation at my university:
In May of this year, student representatives from across the country voted to call a national day of action in 2012 to demonstrate Canada-wide support for a national vision for higher education. This means on February 1, 2012 students from Victoria to St. John's will be taking to the streets to demand reductions in tuition fees, greater investment in college and university education and measures to alleviate student debt.

Is tuition really THAT bad? I did some calculations and on a bad year, it'll be 8k a year including textbooks. Minimum wage (10.25) for 20 hours a week, for the rest of the year will earn someone roughly 9000 dollars after tax returns and all that crap for students. Now, you factor in that minimum wage isn't even mandatory - there are plenty of student jobs that pay 12/hour at the very least. That comes to around $11000 dollars after tax returns. So that gives students more than enough spending money. If they want even more spending money, they can find plenty of jobs that'll pay 15/hour. Or they could even find a higher-paying job, work less, and still afford this "insane tuition" (which, by the way, is 10000 - ~50000 a year in the United States).

On top of all this, it seems like people forget that OSAP is a privilege; not something that we're entitled to. If you can't work and focus on school at the same time, then the government's nice enough to give you an interest-free until you graduate. I'd even go so far as saying that being able to go to a university in another city isn't something that we're entitled to get a loan for.

WTF gives? Are students just whiny little babies, or am I missing something here?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Bay Street (Toronto)

For the people that don't know (or the people who saw some sort of sad excuse for a protest on TV), the crux of the Occupy movement is that 1% of the world essentially decide life for the other 99% and control around 42% of the world's wealth. 

The protest is SUPPOSED to be about inequality...when the real issue is capitalism. There are a bunch of people realizing that capitalism doesn't work. Or that it does, but with an end-life. And we're just unlucky enough to be at the pinnacle of it. The very concept of capitalism is competitive...and with competition comes a wider gap. It's funny 'cause it emphasizes hard work, but the longer a capitalist system goes on, it becomes more about luck. I like capitalism; it's the reason I can have the things that I need an/or want. But I'll admit that it sucks for the people who haven't had much luck in it. After all, that could've been me.

I think it's way too easy for the people who are well-off to say "suck it up and deal with it" 'cause they'd like to think that they deserve to be where they're at, and everyone else just brought it upon themselves. But that's not the way the world works - some people CAN'T help themselves...or if they can, it's not enough to actually fix things. But capitalism's never been about equality - which is what democracy's here for (ie. banks mess up the fancy world we live in and we have he right to protest about it). It's the only check we have against that system, and to be honest, it doesn't seem like we have many other "systems" to try out. Power and wealth differences will always exist because it's at the heart of capitalism. I don't think people realize that for someone to do well, someone else needs to do worse. 

I get what they're protesting, but I'm not sure there's really much that can be done. You can prolong a "failing" system by patching the leaks, but it's eventually gonna end up the same way. Given that, there's 2 ways to take this: accept capitalism and the idea that some people flourish and some are **** out of luck, or move towards a more equality-based system where everyone's doing okay. But that leads to another problem. No one wants to be "okay". Everyone wants to be great. No one wants to be okay because we'd all rather be happy, even if it meant risking that we'd be sad at some point. 

The rebuttal here is that it CAN be fixed - that you need to have regulations in place to control the rich who get greedy, which wrecks the economy for everyone else. But until you can fix people, that **** isn't gonna happen. It's especially NOT gonna happen in a system where the rich call the shots. You can't tell people who are the reason we even had or saw success in the first place what to do. Not even if you're the government (unless you're richer than them).

I saw the protest and it does more damage to the cause than anything else. It's a shame it wasn't better-organized. At the same time, the media's doing a good job of diffusing the issue - they use any chance they can get to bring attention to how disorganized it is, rather than trying to explore the different issues and factions. For such a big city, our version of occupy was such a sad demonstration (or maybe a testament to how we don't have it that bad).

A lot of people say that they're identifying the issue, but not proposing a good fix. Maybe 'cause there isn't one. So basically, hey're bringing attention to how we're all screwed and there's not much that we can do. And that's what I'm trying to do here. Here's to hoping (and in some cases, knowing) that some of you guys (will) make it in to the 1% club. ;)

Friday, May 6, 2011

So Trippy!

My friend tried this while he was drunk and he fell over. Try it!


- knowledge

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No vote = No right to complain?

(Written on May 2)
So today's the day and I still can't decide.

I figure that if I really can't pick, I just won't vote. But then I started thinking: if I don't vote, then am I not allowed to bitch for the next couple of years until the next election? It's not like I'm going to stop paying my taxes this year, so surely, I still have the right to care about how well (or horribly) fiscal management goes.

Does my refusal to be a part of the process exclude me from the repercussions (or benefits...if we're lucky. ha). And if it does, then how is that any different from the next guy who votes for the candidate who DOES end up being the most atrocious tax-money spender?

Does democracy still extend to the non-voters? About 40% of Canadian citizens don't vote. So then I started thinking that maybe voting should be mandatory. Several countries do have this - it's illegal not to vote.

 But would this go against the very concept of democracy? How can people be forced to choose? Would the pressures of mandatory voting actually lend more harm to the process (through random and careless voting)?

Just some questions for the mind, I guess.


- knowledge


I'm also putting together 2 years worth of textbook picture fails. Hang tight for that one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yearning for Symmetry

No explanation's needed


- knowledge

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

5 Years Old and Already So Indoctrinated

*Don't worry, I didn't just find the video now (I found it a couple of days after it went viral)*

I know it's supposed to be cute, but her conviction makes you question whether it's really just a joke. It's a little bit scary, no?


- knowledge

Sunday, April 17, 2011

God and Evolution

Just looking through the pos that is moodle, and I came across a discussion that I barely even remember having (it's a phil 1000 class. lol). Honestly, it's a really interesting read after the first couple of posts when it becomes more about evolution. We end up discussing panspermia, macroevolution, microevolution, speciation, and genealogy. If you do know wtf those terms mean, then you might find it  interesting. If you don't know wtf those terms mean, it'll probably be even more interesting:

Alex: Let's say that God is an all-knowing omnipotent creator. We as humans are not all-knowing nor omnipotent. Because God knows all since the beginning to the end of all existence and humans are only aware of their own, God and humans operate on an extremely different level of 'reality'. If God is aware of human existence yet knows all till the end of time, then he does not have the correct necessities of what it is to be human, therefore God does not have what it takes to be emotionally and physically connected to the human experience and does not have interest in the human condition.

Me: if god's all-knowing & omnipotent, then wouldn't he have the knowledge or at least understanding of the human experience? 

It sounds like you're trying to attribute anything unexplainable to god.

I do see merit in the whole concept of there being an Alpha - in other words: I can agree with there being some sort of god...but I highly doubt that it cares about us (like we like to believe).

An analogy that I'd use would be: if you had an ant farm, would you really care whether or not they praised you, worshipped you, and bugged you? Personally, I'd let the ant farm do its thing - I'd imagine that:
-  (a) god has more important things to care about or
- (b)that we're just too insignificant to care about. 

The latter makes a lot of sense to me, considering how some people are blessed and others are just SOL - some deserve it, and some don't. I can't see a just god doing that to its people (but like I said earlier: it probably doesn't have any real reason to help us, anyways).

Andrei: Re to the ant farm analogy: that may be true, but it's not exactly the same. the ant farm you simply grabbed some ants, put them in a box with soil and watch them live.

Now picture that you created every molecule, every atom in their bodies, created natural laws that govern those ants, set in place complex cycles of water, energy, food sources, etc. Would you not care about them then?

And as for existence of god...I think most (if not all) would agree that universe didn't always exist. So it must've had a beginning, because if it didn't then by 2nd law of thermodynamics the sun would've burnt out by now (among many other things).
That means at one point there was no time, space or matter, in other words: no "nature". so nature couldn't have caused it to come into existence (big bang, creation, etc.) Then by definition the universe came into existence by supernatural causes, unless you're willing to violate causality.
Also, if there is no God, that means evolution is true, and if it is, then all species (humans included) should be trying to produce the fittest population by killing off the competition (other members of the same species) - survival of the fittest. this is obviously absurd. in fact we know the opposite to be true.

and lastly, personally i think that believing that DNA came into existence by accident is like believing that Scott library came into existence from explosion at Kinkos. I just don't have enough faith to be an atheist.

Me: That would depend, then: do you care for everything that you create? Do artists love everything that they create? Scientists? Chefs? Etc.? I'm not sure that the creation of humans is anything to be proud of (I'm sure it was a novel idea at the time...but we didn't exactly turn out so well for the world :P).

If I created something, and it horribly back-fired (have humans done anything good for the world as a whole?)...I wouldn't exactly be proud of it.

Since not every single person in the world can be said to be horrible, I'd say that it would be more fair (for the good people, at least) for a god to just let everyone be, than for everyone to be wiped out of existence. But then again, why wouldn't this all-powerful god just wipe out the bad in the world? Again, this re-inforces my point that if there is a simply doesn't care.

Why can't we see god & evolution going side-by-side? Could it not have created things with a mechanism for progress & development? Why can't god be the Alpha, that designed everything, or (at the very least), was responsible for creation of the particles/event that led to the first protobiont?

Andrei: Again, it's much more intimate than simply organizing things (what chefs or artists do - they organize produce or colors) but actually make the constituents, not simply organize them... i guess it's a bit difficult to imagine actually creating the matter smile

And the whole thing about "if God is so good then why is there suffering in the world" is in my opinion a bit different than whether God exists or not. there are several arguments but they both assume that God exists and attribute certain characteristics to him.

The reason why i don't believe that god could just give the big bang a "kick" and watch everything else happen as evolution takes over...
well, 1. there is no evidence what so ever that life did or even could come from non-living molecules. (origins)
2. there is no evidence presently that macro evolution is happening (one kind of animal changing into another kind of animal)
3.there is plenty of evidence limiting the age of the earth to well below billions of years needed for evolution: for example, Earth is slowing down as it spins; and if we go back 4.6 billions of years, Earth would be spinning so fast that winds would be 7000km/hr, no life would be able to form in such winds.
the moon is slowly moving away from the earth, again if we go back a few billions of years, moon would have to be almost rubbing against the surface of the earth.
there are many other factors that limit the age of the Earth to well below 30 thousand years. not nearly enough for evolution to take place.

Me: I was hoping to avoid the whole "humans can't understand god & his ways", 'cause that doesn't really go anywhere. What I don't understand is why you seem to assume that anything a creator WHOLLY creates, automatically makes that creator caring. If the creator's omnipotent, then it's really not that big of a feat...considering that anything's possible (by definition).

I'll agree with 1, but here's some food for thought: while there's no evidence of spontaneous generation TODAY, it's important to note the earth was a very different place back then. There was little or no atmospheric oxygen to attack complex molecules BUT energy sources were more intense than they are today (heat, lightning, UV rays, etc.)

Could you explain 2? Isn't macroevolution how organisms change over time? Regardless, it's arguable that there IS evidence. Some of the more famous examples are:
- the 2 strains of fruit flies that became a new species over a 4-year lab span (Dobzhansky)
- the fireweed (plant) that was doubled in chromosome count (Mosquin)
- The different species of Faroe islands house mice that developed over a 250 year time span.

But then again, it depends where you'd like to draw the line of macro vs. micro. Somewhere between the two, speciation occurs. For example, the many strains of bacteria can be seen as evidence for macroevolution...but it isn't exactly appreciated because they're such simple organisms (not many people realize how impressive bacteria developing new metabolic pathways is).

& in regards to your third point: how about Panspermia? Also, I'm not sure how much time needs to take place in order for you to think evolution has taken place - since it's a process. As for no life forming in the younger earth...never say never - there are forms of life in extreme environments of all types (even in places which people once said they could never hydrothermal vents, hot springs, glaciers, etc.) Organisms adapt to live. [On top of all this, he's assuming that the earth changes consistently and gradually. This obviously isn't the case. Think ice age, asteroids hitting, etc. Wind speeds wouldn't be linear if they were graphed]

There's a reason I talk about god being the Alpha (if anything at all) ;).

Andrei: oh i didn't say that the act of creation automatically makes god caring. it doesn't. i'm just saying i think if we assume god created us, it would make more sense that god would care about us than if we assume he simply nudged the universe into existence, it would make the "creation" less personal. but that's just my opinion.

in regards to #2 macro evolution is how one kind of animal changes into another kind of animal over time. that's different from MICRO evolution (the examples of which you provided). you had 2 different fruit flies became a new fruit fly... that's true, but they didn't become a reptile or even a dragonfly...
same applies to the other 2 examples
so all the evidence we have (one virus changing into a new virus, several breeds of dog producing a completely new breed, etc) are all examples of micro-evolution. it has never been observed that a single-celled organism (such as bacteria) can evolve into a more complex multi-cellular organism such as a fish.

3. panspermia simply delays the problem. if life on earth came from an asteroid, then where did it come from on that asteroid?
that's true that there are organisms that adapt to very hot conditions, but i've yet to hear of an organism that can live on the surface of the sun, because again, if for example we look at the sun, it's shrinking about 1.5m/hr in diameter, so that means just over 20000 years ago it would have been touching Earth. so again, it can't be billions of years old, which is needed for those adaptations.

Me: Each of those examples were classified as a new species. The last generations of the fruit flies were genetically incompatible - they couldn't even mate. The plant had a completely different chromosome count. Look how different humans are (& except for the deviations), we still have the same number of chromosomes. Same goes for the mice on the Faroe islands.

The problem with people who deny macro evolution is that the bar used to measure evolution always gets conveniently pushed back when it needs to be. You said it yourself:the Earth's very young. Give it time; with the lengthy (unrealistic) criterion of macro evolution, of course a skeptic isn't going to see it happen in their lifetime.

Do primates evolving into humans count as macro to you? We have a 98% genetic similarity to them. It's sort of chilling how the only difference between apes & humans stems from the 2nd chromosome, no? Evolution posits that Archaea, Eukarya, & Eubacteria all came from a common ancestor at one point of time. This theory will probably never be 100% proved (unless the manage to find remnants of every single living thing that ever existed at some point in time)...but there are solid grounds for a strong induction.

I'll agree with you on Panspermia. The only reason I suggested it was because you said that the earth was too young. If the earth's too young/the sun was too close/it was too windy/etc., and life came from somewhere else, then the fact still remains that from the point that life arrived here until now...there have been adaptations, microevolution, speciation, and macro evolution (but I suppose this is arguable - depending on the scientist that you ask).

Andrei: yes, they were classified as new species, and i wouldn't argue otherwise. but i never postulated that every single species was created, because the definition of 'species' changes constantly. i was talking about different kinds of animals. i think every 5 year old knows that a horse and a frog are different kinds of animals. and again, in those experiments you mentioned - those were still flies, not crabs or jellyfish or even cockroaches. same with plants and mice.

and same could be said about people who believe in macro evolution - the bar gets pushed to the point where adaptation within same kind of animal is considered evidence for macro evolution (like some finches having thicker beaks - it's still a finch, not a hawk).

so by your argument, the fact that we can't see macro evolution happening in our life time, but we can imagine it, is proof that it happened? well then i think evolution is just as much of a religion as creation, i guess if people want to believe it, that's their personal choice.

and yes, primates evolving into humans would count as macro evolution - again, one kind of animal changing into another kind.
it's true that humans and primates are similar (some studies say it's 96%, some say it's 95%) but even that difference is in millions of base pairs. and 0.1% change of those 2-5% is fatal to an animal. so how could it go from being one to being another without the animal dying?
i mean if the basic car structure (4 wheels, frame, doors, windows, engine, steering wheel, etc.) is the same for all cars, does that mean they evolved from a skateboard 2 billion years ago?

by the way, the fact that we all live on the same planet, with plenty of sun, water, and carbon has a lot to do with our organisms being similar - if a selenium-based life form that required argon for breathing evolved here somehow, it wouldn't be able to survive - not enough material for it to live. not to mention, if plants weren't made of carbon, animals would have no food source - to me that's evidence of intelligence.

and again, i wouldn't argue on micro evolution, speciation and adaptation - we observe those to happen, but i don't see that to be proof of macro evolution.

Me: So are you discrediting the whole concept of genealogy? Organisms become more complex over time...but I've already addressed that.

The fact that we can't see macro evolution in our life time doesn't mean that the only way to verify it is by imagination. After we die, other people do continue to live on. I'm saying that if it's not empirically verifiable by us, it can be by someone else. Just because you won't be around to see it, doesn't mean that no one will. If you're going to discredit a theory because you can't see it happening within your life span, then that's your decision to make - but life goes on after YOUR death. This would be like saying that gravity doesn't exist, assuming that if it can't be proved while you're alive it must not exist, then dying.

It's also a bit of a stretch to call evolution a religion. Yes, it does require belief...but it's subtantially less blind belief than religion requires. Evolution is a theory. Now I'm not saying that evolution doesn't have holes that you can poke through...but it's definitely a lot more valid, objective, and empirical than a lot of the stuff that passes for doctrines in religion.

Your point about animals becoming another without dying is a moot one. Let's say that 10 000 primates exist (5000 male & 5000 female). If 4999 pairs died & there was the chance that the last pair was able to live...then their successful genes carry on. The hard part is the initial survival - this is where "survival of the fittest" comes into play. The one pair that survives are able to pass on their SUCCESSFUL genes to produce more offspring.

Also, you can't compare a car to skateboard as an analogy for different organisms. First of all, skateboards don't reproduce. Second of all, skateboards lack genetic composition. Thirdly, skateboards and cars are assembled by humans. You see where I'm going with this? If you wanted to compare an animal with 2 legs to an animal with 4, then it'd be a lot more viable (but again, it'd take time which = macro evolution).

You're arguing that macro evolution is impossible. I'm only arguing that it doesn't make sense to say that it'll never happen (& that it may or may not have already happened, but that depends on which scientist you want to ask). It seems like (to use your examples) you're expecting frogs to turn into horses within 100 years. Simple to complex doesn't always just happen overnight.

Andrei: depends what you mean by genealogy. 

you gave examples of cross-breeding to produce new species, but i don't see where you mentioned that they are more complex species.

the problem isn't that we can't see evolution in our life time, the problem is that we can't see evolution in the time fifty thousand times longer than entire recorded human history, so there's absolutely no way to verify it, for this, the next and 10000 generations after us, which by definition makes it bad science, if you can even call that science.
which is why i think it's just as much of a religion - they both attempt at explaining origins of life. however neither creation nor evolution can prove their explanations. neither one has conclusive evidence that either one happened.

when i said an animal cannot change without dying, i wasn't referring to survival of the fittest concept, i was referring to the vast differences between humans and primates. although 95%, 96% (seems later research tends towards 96% rather than 98%) similarity seems pretty close, even at 2% difference it is still about 60 million dna base pairs. a change of only a few base pairs is fatal to an animal. so how do you change 60 million of them without an animal dying?

obviously we both understand how ridiculous the example of cars evolving form skateboards is. all i'm trying to show is how unreasonable it seems to me that just because 2 things (or organisms) are somewhat similar means they must have a common ancestor. as I said before, even 2% difference in genetic terms is huge.

well, even if evolution made sense given billions and billions of years, i brought up a number of factors that undeniably point towards earth not being more than a few thousand years old, which is why i have a hard time accepting a theory that requires those billions of years.

I stopped at this point. I'm of the opinion evolution has gotten to a point where there's reasonable evidence that it is occurring/has happened. I'm also in favour of evidence of the earth being more than a few thousand years old. I was also willing to look past some of the leaps of logic taken in the end and the reductio ad absurdum in the spirit of charitability, but any other point has been discredited and I really didn't see it going any further.

This'll be the last religious topic for a while! But then again, I think I would count this more towards science/evolution than religion.


- knowledge

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"You Only Live Once!"

So my new thing as of late has been saying "you only live once". Usually, it's for dumb shit that doesn't make sense. But I also say it because I've realized that "you only live once" is actually as much of a reason not to do something as it is to do something.

If there's anything that I've learned from the short time that I've been here, it's that regrets usually suck much more than disappointments do. I'd rather know than wonder. 

Why not eat that baconator? Who cares - you only live once. Why not talk to her? Who cares - you only live once. Why get on a motorcycle? You only live once. Why not date another asian chick? You only live once. Haha...okay, this last one's just silly talk. 


By the way, my next post is a shitload of pictures which took me thousands of pages of reading, people in the library looking at me while I laugh to myself, and that annoying-ass sound that your phone makes when you take a picture, and 2 years to compile. I should have some more free time after this weekend + school's done, so I'm really hoping to put some of that long-lost time back into my blog.

I'm also considering vlogging/doing verbal pieces on my bike, so we'll see how that goes - I'm still undecided, but I may cross-post bike vlogs on here from time to time.

Lastly, sorry for being so hard to get ahold of this past two months - it's been really hectic. 


- knowledge

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Nice Guys Finish Last

I know it's been covered before, but I did a quick search and couldn't find anything that covered it from my angle. 

I see a lot of relationships that don't work out. I also see a lot of guys who get friend-zoned permanently. And the reason both of those things happen is because girls think that a boyfriend and a best friend are supposed to be separate things. It's sort of like diversifying; by keeping the boyfriend and best friend opposite, they don't risk putting all of their eggs into one basket. In the event that something goes wrong, they still have the other one left. 

But this seemingly reasonable thing to do is also the reason why it tends not to work out for a lot of people. Or if it does, it's not as great as they deserve/it should be. Maybe it's just me, but a significant other IS essentially a best friend that you're intimate with. If you look at all the relationships that have turned out well, you'll notice that most of them have established a pretty solid friendship before taking it a step further. 

Girls figure that when the boyfriend leaves, the best friend will be there for them. But what they don't realize is that the boyfriend's less likely to leave if they're each other's best friends, too. It's a simple formula, really - you find yourself someone who you can't get tired of, and you continue to see them. Have you ever heard someone talk about their significant other when they're madly in love? Listen to what they say, and that's essentially the formula.

I used to wonder how someone could get tired of their girlfriend. If that's the case, then maybe she shouldn't be your girlfriend. If you're not inclined to see them, then there's a good probability that you should be seeing someone else (someone who you want to see). I'm not leaving out of consideration that people get busy, or that everyone needs their own time every now and then...but sometimes I hear people bitching about how they're getting pretty tired of their boyfriend/girlfriend. And I always ask why they're still with them. The answer always seems to be "I don't know". Yet, they stay together only to realize that they should've seen it coming when they break up months later. I also realize that feelings fluctuate, but should they ever drop THAT low?

I've even heard couples scheme about how they're gonna trick their significant other and get away with something. I don't know about you guys, but I really have no real intention of lying to any of my best friends. If I have to lie to them, then I probably don't trust them enough to be their best friend (unless you're a compulsive liar. You know who you are! hahaha). I really don't see the point of playing mind games. Not only is it a waste of's pretty fucking annoying - if you absolutely must do that shit, then do it when you're courting each other. How the fuck are people still playing hard to get when they're already together? 

But maybe I'm asking for too much. Maybe you're supposed to get disappointed every time you separate the best friend and the boyfriend. Maybe it's supposed to be that way (no sarcasm). Of course, all of this goes out the window if you're just fucking around. But most girls aren't - so give this method a try and see how it works out for you. 

Or maybe some of you people don't want it work out for you - and if that's the case, then I get why, but I sort of don't get why you bother. Playing around with people's feelings just to boost your self-perception and security is not only a dick move, but it also ruins it for the guys who have to date the girl that you just made insecure (same applies vice-versa). 

Lastly, it's not always the girl's fault. "Nice guys" get friend-zoned because they don't have a backbone. Try being a giant pussy and see what girl wants to get romantic with a mirrored version of herself. I'm not recommending that you be an insensitive asshole - I'm just saying that you can't be someone's bitch and expect to be anything more than that.

Sure, there's less risk in diversifying. And quantitatively, there's less to lose. But qualitatively, you lose so much more. Bigger risks tend to yield bigger rewards...and if you're only in this for safety and security, then maybe you're playing the wrong game.


- knowledge

Oh, and my quote of the day is: "Even garbage cans eat steaks sometimes" - Tasha Mack. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Appreciation of Etymology + A Good Quote

"Boguard it, every moment is precious" 

 Instead of telling you guys what it means, look into the etymology. It'll make the phrase THAT much more meaningful. Forget pictures; words can sometimes say just as much.

 Post up if you think you get it. Maybe you'll understand why I love good quotes so much. 
Hint: You'll need more than one site to figure it out.


 - knowledge

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beauty Is A Cruel Mistress

Related/linked blog posts (reading these might give you a more thorough understanding of what the post entails):

For a good portion of my life, I've always held that we owe it to ourselves to be as good-looking as we can. Or at the very least, we shouldn't be so quick to "let ourselves go". The reason we owe it to ourselves is because life--or at least life in the Western society--is all about opportunities. And a good part of having opportunities available is being able to market yourself; either through looks, or some sort of merit (intelligence/proficiency/etc.) Until personal appearance stops being a factor in the potential for opportunity, any rational person will see that being well-groomed, or looking after themselves is an investment of time that does yield rewards.

A couple of weeks ago, someone said something that had me re-thinking my whole stance (Berni):
You'd assume that if you were a girl you'd want to be good looking yet they are the least confident human beings? Where does that leave plain girls?

I think it's a lack of maturity and overall world view. Lots can't seem to be able to deal with the constant pop culture onslaught that dictates what they should be and look like. That's a lot to ask of a young mind.

When I was in my teens and 20's I would look at fashionably dressed and tarted up pretty girls in a positive light, from the point of view that they got it going on and stuff.

As I got older it seemed more like these girls came from a position of weakness. Like it's not good enough to be born pretty and healthy but they have to squeeze that last ounce of "look at me, I'm a going concern" out of every public appearance.

He likened it to a neighbourhood of houses, where one goes way out of their way to set themselves apart or look good; they use lawn ornaments, have decorations all over their house, etc. But at the end of the day, everyone can see right through the fact that they're trying to prove something

But I argued that maybe striving to be better-looking isn't about having a tacky house. Maybe it's more about making sure that the walls aren't grimey, that the walkway doesn't have mildew, that the grass is healthy and neat, that the shrubs are maintained, etc. (Get your minds out of the gutter, guys. haha). Maybe it's about maintenance.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: why are we so quick to condemn beauty? We tend to see this dichotomy of beauty and intelligence, where one matters more than the other. But I couldn't see any real reason for them not to be equally regarded. Granted, beauty's always gotten a bad rap for being an unearned, arbitrary, lucky roll on the genetic die - you just happen to be good-looking and life works out a little better for you. But couldn't the same thing be said about intelligence? We always have this notion that being good-looking is inherited, while intelligence is something that you work on. But what a lot of people don't realize is that like beauty, intelligence has a baseline, too. To be intelligent, you also need to have the capacity for it. In a sense, you need to be born with whatever characteristics allow you to become intelligent. If this weren't the case, then people who aren't intelligent wouldn't exist (because everyone would have the potential). So if it's clear to see that both require a bit of luck, and a lot of work, then why is beauty looked down on so much?

For weeks, I thought about the conversation and the questions that it raised. The answer only came to me while I was watching RockNRolla: "beauty's a cruel mistress". 

It's insane how deep this statement actually is. The reason it gets such such a bad rap is because it doesn't last. Of course, I could argue that eventually, neither does intelligence - but I think the most important distinction is that intelligence lasts a lot longer than beauty usually ever does. Intelligence carries over to your later years, while beauty hits its peak a lot earlier (think models vs. professors).

You hit your peak maybe some time between 18 and 30 (I kept a big range because some people hit their physical peak in their early-mid 20s, but don't figure out what look works best for them until their late 20s). After your peak years, it all just goes downhill from there. You do what you can to prolong the onset of physical degeneracy, but at this point in your life, it's a complete shift over to intelligence (think of older professionals, lawyers, doctors, professors, etc.)

People think that the beauty aspect isn't important because of it's short-term effect, or lack of longevity...but what makes it so important is that it gets you the initial opportunity for any long-term potential. If you look at jobs that revolve around beauty, most of them don't last very long. Cheerleaders, models, marketing gigs, promotions gigs, all have very short careers (for the most part). But let's face it, someone has to GIVE you a chance for you to even have that very chance, to begin with. It's hard to give someone a chance when they're repulsive, don't take care of themselves, or are just downright ugly (as unfortunate as that may be). Or even if you can give them a chance, you're still more inclined to think that what's beautiful is good.

But at least now, I think understand why Berni appreciated it a lot less as he got older. The older you get, the less relevant beauty becomes. When your "opportunities" are secured, you don't need to do much more in the looks department. An example of this is how some guys stop working out once they get a girlfriend (which I disagree with, but is another topic altogether). Or when couples grow old an ugly together; when that happens, the relationship is about everything BUT looks, and it no longer matters. For jobs, after a certain point, your resume does all the speaking for you at job interviews. And after a certain point, the effort that you put into looking good begins to outweigh the rewards that you get from it (sort of like the women who spend thousands on creams and hours of their day putting treatments and masks on, just to look marginally younger).

But I'm torn between the two sides because it's hard to blame people for clinging on to their prime (in terms of their best physical years). After all, the alternative--realizing that beauty doesn't last and it makes sense not to care--is equally disastrous because you take the decline at full speed instead of trying slow the process down.

On the other hand, what you need to take into account is that (generally speaking,) the people who hold on to their beauty are the ones who were beautiful, and the people who often condemn it are the ones who never had a reason to value it. It should also be noted that people obviously miss things that used to be a big part of their lives. So the people who also condemn the whole quest for perfection or beauty are the ones who stopped holding it as one of their highest values.

But what makes "beauty [such] a cruel mistress" is the fact that people spend their whole lives with it as a side-project; something that always distracts them from giving some other (arguably more important) factor 100 percent of their attention. They spend their entire lives chasing after it, doing their best to keep it fulfilled, working towards it, and catering to it. But in most cases, it never lasts enough to warrant the lifelong effort that you might put in. In a way, people stay loyal to the concept or ideal of beauty - but that loyalty isn't mutual. One day, sort of like an ungrateful girlfriend who you just bought a new set of titties for, beauty just decides to get up and leave. 

And for some reason, it always comes as such a surprise to people (even though they saw it coming a long time ago). At this point, they start desperately trying to hold on to it - they wish that they still had it, or they spend a whole lot of time and money trying to coax it into coming back. Nothing physical ever lasts - beauty's fleeting at best, and irrelevant at worst. With all that in mind, it makes you start to wonder whether you should've ever been dumb enough to have a mistress in the first place. 

My solution? Put work into it until it no longer profits you. Until the (extra) work that you put in stops benefiting you in some way, it'll always be justified. There's no reason to be subjected to picking either beauty or intelligence - why not pick and cultivate both?


- knowledge

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Not Be A Broke-Ass Student

It's time for a practical post:

I don't get why students are in like 5000+ dollars of debt (not including OSAP). I don't see why people put themselves in situations that they don't want to be in. I've seen far too many younger people get numerous credit cards instead of just getting another part-time job or just learning to live within their means (or if you don't want to miss out, then increase your means). I don't see why people think that money's free. 

So here are my pro-tips; student edition. I know it seems like common sense to some of the older folks, but you'd be surprised how many students don't give thought to saving money/learning to spend wisely. This is partly why students are broke when they don't need to be: 

- If you're with Rogers, call them and say that you want to cancel your plan. You'll get transferred to retention - these guys will do anything to prevent you from signing over to competition. If you're with Rogers, say you found a better deal at Bell (vice-versa if you're a Bell customer). If you have a Blackberry/iPhone with a decent plan + data, you shouldn't be paying more than 45 dollars a month. If you have a normal phone, you shouldn't be paying more than 30 dollars a month. 

I've gotten friends about 30 bucks off each monthly bill by calling in and pretending to be them - it's a lot easier than it seems.

- For people living on their own: learn to cook. Bringing a lunch saves you about 7 bucks a meal (assuming that a decent meal is $10). 

- Quit smoking. Learn to smoke up occasionally instead of daily & when you do smoke up, don't toke more than you can take in - it's useless. Don't even smoke more than you need to; you're building your tolerance up for no good reason. Learn to pre-drink - especially if you have a high tolerance. 

- Don't get a girlfriend who's a money pit; get yourself someone who's self-sufficient if you're actually trying to have a serious relationship at this age or you can just find a **** buddy (lol).

- If you eat out a lot, let decide where you're going to eat (it puts all the deals from wagjag, groupon, livingsocial, dealfind, etc. all on one page). This site also has a bunch of deals on the most random shit - check it out.

- Learn to network - bartering is still the most effective way to get hooked up. Make yourself marketable by being able to give favours for every favour that you take.

- Buy a damn car that isn't a gas guzzler. You're a student, not a businessman. If you're dumb enough to already have a gas-guzzler, most stations have a schedule for changing their prices - ask the cashier. He doesn't give a **** if you know.

- Every store has a schedule for putting things on sale. If you're into Fashion, you'll know that Toronto has some of the most over-priced stuff - you can still shop at Yorkville and not be broke; you just need to know when stores have sales. Ie: I get all my fall jackets for the next year on boxing day.

- Learn to make use of warranties - break stuff properly before the warranty expires and have a good story for it. Another example is making use of applecare if you have an ipod. You can get a new ipod every couple of years for the price of the applecare plan - it's just the initial purchase that has to be pricey.

- Buy things that you KNOW you're going to buy anyways in bulk or ahead of time somewhere cheaper(gum, soap, condoms etc.). At the very least, avoid convenience stores/places like Shoppers(remember that they need to mark their stuff up to make some decent profit). 

- Do your Laundry during the times when everyone else isn't doing it. Also use cold water - with the right soap/detergent, it'll clean just as well, won't shrink, and dark clothes will hold their colours longer

- ALWAYS over-budget - it makes up for the rainy days. Use the extra to treat yourself to a vacation at least once a year or let it carry over to the next year for some big-ticket item that you're saving for.

- If you're going out with a relatively big group... then "it's someone's birthday" (that's what you tell the restaurant). At buffets where it's like $30 for dinner, doing this saves you all a couple of bucks if you all just split the final bill.

- If you go anywhere downtown regularly (like a girlfriend's place, a friend's place, the gym, etc.)...go after 9pm on weekdays and 6pm on sundays 'cause street parking's free after that. Or if you must go during the day, learn to find the secret spots downtown (almost every section of downtown has at least a couple of places where you can park without paying/getting towed every now and then)

- Get yourself a gym membership. You can get your membership subsidized at YMCA, just ask about it. If your time's valuable...then this is well-worth it. You'll have more energy throughout the day (I think cardio 3 times a week for 30 minutes gets you an extra 23 hours of energy, on average); you'll also be able to focus more easily; the bonus is that you can make yourself generally more attractive. As sad as it sounds, your chances of getting hired for that great student job are a lot higher if you're not a fat-***. Not to mention that everyone at your age is at their prime - you're at a disadvantage if you're going to let yourself go. 

- Don't pay for a parking pass at your university; rent a garage from a nearby house for half the price.

- Find yourself a job that doesn't pay minimum wage. And don't depend on retail for your primary source of income - you'll only make consistent figures during 2 seasons of the year if you work retail.

- Learn to make use of petitions and doctor's notes to get deadlines extended at school. Don't punish yourself by getting a grade that will make you need to re-take the course and spend another 600+ upgrading your mark.

- Almost all big brands have outlets in the gta - make use of them. ie: levi's, armany exchange, guess, holt renfrew, etc.

- Never use UPS, Fedex, or any private shipping company unless you absolutely need to. You'll be surprised by brokerage fees.

- There are cheap fixes to get clearer skin. Sleep on a fresh pillowcase or towel every night. Learn about what ingredients do what and figure out what your skin type is. The "best" exfolianting kits don't have to be $80 - you can use lemons and granulated sugar (I only use organic because your skin absorbs it). Also, dove is one of the few soaps that can double up as a face wash.

- Learn to hustle when you need extra coin. Buy things that other students will buy regardless, and sell it for slightly lower than retail (I do this with American Apparel). Everyone wins (well, except the retailer 
. But fuck them - they're doing alright 'cause they're not broke-ass students).

- All you can eat Korean Grill is 10 bucks after 10pm.

It's not about being's about not spending money that you don't need to, so that you can spend it on other things 

I'll update this as I remember things to put.


- LifeWithKnowledge

settlement loans

dreamweaver website templates