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Sun, Aug. 2nd, 2009, 12:19 am

Your result for The Lightsaber Duelist Test...

Obi-Wan Kenobi

"I'm getting too old for this kind of thing."

From talented Padawan to mighty general to crazy old man, Old Ben Kenobi always fights with style, grace, precision, and above all, his mind. Always looking for an advantage in a fight, he defends himself long enough to size up a foe & find those weaknesses that allow him to triumph. He delights in the elegant fighting style he has perfected- but is prepared to lay low when it is called for in the name of victory. His weakness is his faith in his friends.

Take The Lightsaber Duelist Test
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Fri, Jul. 31st, 2009, 07:24 pm
Research Idea: Liberalism, Conservatism, and Altruism. Pt. 1

Hypothesis: Altruism/theft is a continuous trait representing personal preference for allocating finite resources--a flow--including personal investment and effort. Altruism/theft can be allocated differently between the individual, small groups, and the population of all humans. These differences in allocation have fitness implications through the effects of multilevel selection. These differences may also be derived from cultural, genetic, and developmental differences.

Independent Variable 1 (IV1): Altruism

Operational Definition: (To be determined)

Independent Variable 2 (IV2): Causative factors of altruism

Operational Definition: (To be determined)

Dependent Variable (DV): Fitness.

Operational Definition: TBD.

Predicted Relationship: Predictable patterns of altruism will result in increased fitness. These patterns will correlate with cultural, genetic, and developmental traits.



Subjects: TBD.

Procedures: TBD.


References: TBD.

Thu, Jul. 30th, 2009, 10:00 am
That was an interesting dream...

My sister was elected Mayor of some small town, I was dating someone in the catering business who was a handwriting > printing nazi, and Jack Klugman stopped a suicide-death pact by two teens about to cause a major explosion by blowing them through the fourth dimension with a modified shotgun.

Oh, and for some reason, the person I was dating was breaking up with me and her adult daughter (!) started hitting on me which set off the mom and was annoying as hell.

(Note to self: Avoid dating women with adolescent/adult daughters.)

The most mind-boggling part of it all was my mother suggesting I run for Governor and--while the girlfriend was dumping me and her daughter was trying to flirt--me thinking "This isn't going to go over well at the election."


My brain pulls some interesting combinations of things. If it wasn't for Quincy and the Magic Smoothbore, it would almost have been a soap opera.

Sun, Jul. 26th, 2009, 08:54 pm
Those that got called today for help/assistance...

...the problem has--at least for now--been resolved.

The linkage in Em's car between the manual shifter and transmission cables broke. It's a small plastic piece in the console. I sort of identified the problem as she was calling her insurance's road side assistance. Because they only cover the first $50 of towing, the cost to tow her car to her home would have been over $100.

So, we tried to call more local friend with house to see if we could temporarily tow car there. (That's the low cost/no cost favor, K.) Didn't get a response, probably away from phone, and thought about it while trying to call Em's parents then thought of my sister. (Only 5 miles from where we were.) They said okay... and then we decided to push car 1/2 mile to plaza place with restaurant.

I am not as young as I once was.

I pushed a bit more than 1/4 mile, and it was--honestly--kicking my ass. Speedbumps were the worst. Got help from someone with a truck though.

(When I was young and dumb, I pushed a much heavier vehicle about a half-mile by myself, half or it on gravel because I was young, dumb, stubborn, etc. I probably could have made the rest solo, but I... Well, I wised up and accepted being helped.)


Tried Em parentals again, they finally called back and were on their way. Turns out they were at church.

We chilled out at a place called Meatballz on 75th Ave and Greenway. Pretty good pizza and pasta, BTW.

Parentals showed up and Em's dad--rather loudly--said something about helping her and her "loser boyfriend". Ignored it. He went to work trying to diagnose the problem as I explained. It was funny as he tried to ignore what I said until it hit him that I was probably right.

Pulled the car's central console out again, this time could get the wires off the window/mirror controls and found the exact problem as I described.

Did not say "I told you so."

Anyway, there are two cables linking the shifter to the transaxle. The connector to one of them is a ball and socket joint with the socket being a press-in piece into a ring. Well, the socket was broken. We started with trying to glue it back together with epoxy (conveniently) on hand before the parentals left for parts store.

Couldn't find correct part, but came back with vaguely similar part that her dad jury-rigged to fit, but it kept popping loose when shifting. I suggested wiring it together to hold it in place and that--after a few tries worked.

So, Em drove over here to dorms with parentals in chase car. Em grabbed her stuff, and they left a little while ago with her dad driving her car and Em riding chase car.

Tomorrow, she intends on trying to find actual part and getting it replaced so she can put her central console back in.

Lessons learned today:

* How a mechanical shifter in a Saturn is connected.
* Albertson's fried chicken gives me the shits.
* Meatballz on 75th and Greenway is good eating.
* Em's dad still really doesn't like me, although her mother is civil.
* Look out for speedbumps in Em's car.

Tue, Jul. 21st, 2009, 09:55 am
In dreams I learned to ride a motorcycle.

Why, I have no idea. Why I signed up for lessons at someone's home that I don't even know, I also don't know.

Why lessons took place on a muddy gravel road around a flooded quarry while a Renaissance Faire was going on, I understand even less.

No one got ran over by me and I didn't drown or crash, so that's good.

*shakes head*

I don't even know if the controls were even in the right (real world) place.


Oh, well... Must get foods and go to school.

Sun, Jul. 19th, 2009, 10:20 am
Universal Health Care.

Universal health care works as long as 1) Everyone is basically health or 2) You can force everyone to be basically healthy on the cheap or get them to leave the program/country/service. or 3) Your population has more money than brains and doesn't mind being taxed to death for everyone else's health care/social welfare along with tolerating governmental involvement in every aspect of their life or 4) Something else kills off the sick/week before you need to invest much in their care.

The problem with universal health care is that the cost depends on the health care needed and you have a very, very wide difference on what health care is needed by what person along with the fact many health problems--at least in part--are "self inflicted". You can't force people to be healthy and minimally help those that aren't, that's not ethical. You can't force people to pay out there ass for everyone else's problems without complaint--even if the relatively tight economic system could afford it.

The military has "Universal health care" and it works for them.


Because the mission has certain health requirements and a lifestyle that promotes a basic level of fitness. Those that can't maintain it and/or can't return to it in short order are simply passed out of the system and into the civilian VA or other system.

Simple, elegant, works only within the bigger system and greater mission.

The UK has universal health care and it also works for them, mostly by sucking taxes from other financial systems like national defense and the people themselves. It also forces--when there are lower cost alternatives--people to accept the low-cost alternative. Like pulling teeth instead of trying to keep them somewhat functional and limiting access to many long-term, but expensive treatments. Neither end works really well.

They also have to put up with mass exodus out by trained medical professionals at times because the system is less competitive along with mass influx from patients coming in from abroad seeking health care.

The problem with trying to do it here is--unlike Britain who--nominally--has help from the rest of the EU--we are more independent and probably have a much higher variability in health needs than England simply due to population size, demographics, and an order of magnitude less control over individuals. To cover universal health care here--if it doesn't collapse the system--will probably alienate massive areas of the country to the point of risking another civil war or at least resistance.

On gun rights, something with a significantly lower level of direct economic risk--we have multiple states passing or discussing laws to nullify federal laws in their state, one state that has overtly mentioned secession, and we're not even talking about the financial costs this system is going to force.

I agree that people should have more access to medical care. The ideal way would be to create situations where people are--without coercion--more healthy. I just have doubts about trying to make things more onerous for everyone else.

Sat, Jul. 18th, 2009, 12:05 pm
Some people have too much fun...

Wed, Jul. 15th, 2009, 10:07 am
What you can learn online...

Last night, I went looking on a website with old death certificates from Michigan and discovered my mother's father's mother's father... (Pause while you try and conceive that) ...according to his death certificate, first married at 63, died at 71, and fathered 5 children, all five still alive at his time of death. (That--given the time, 1897--is unusual on its own.)

He was a farmer born here--in Pennsylvania--and died of "dropsy" (edema) from a heart problem and old age.

My mother's mother's father--also a farmer and from here--born in Indiana--conceived my grandmother at age 41 as one of 16 kids by three women and she had at least four younger siblings/half-siblings. He died at 90 on my fourth birthday. He was later a carpenter.

It really made me think being a late starter or someone who changes and keeps going into old age isn't so unusual in my ancestors. Even the age gaps between me and my current love interest are almost tiny compared to the almost 30 year gap between William Rust and Mary A. Ellis.

It's an interesting perspective.

Of course, I now have a few death certificates located that I don't know exactly if they are related and how, but they have the right (rare) surname in the right small area of Michigan at the right time and the right original birth origins...


What else?

Strange almost post-apocalyptic dream that turned into an escape and evasion dream. Then a dream about a visit to a (Democratic) Senate public affairs sensing session that somehow ended up with me trying to locate something I left behind at a building I once lived in. Only, it was a building I've never been to in real life, with rotting, missing stairs, a hole in one side of an elevator floor, and it looked more appropriate to someplace like Chicago or New York City. Missing big sections in the stairwells and having to jump was kinda' freaky.

Anyway, must get ready to go to school.

Mon, Jul. 13th, 2009, 10:30 am
I did one other thing this weekend...

...looked at--with GoogleMaps--a few of the campuses I want to apply to grad school at.

Wow, lots smaller physically, than ASU Main.

Some in pretty small towns--like Pullman, Washington. It would be interesting to live in a small town again. Haven't done that for a while.


Fri, Jul. 10th, 2009, 11:44 pm
Trying to decide how to respond on Facebook...

Somebody I knew answered a poll about same-sex marriage.

I voted yes, I was for it and said:

"Honestly? It's a formalized social dynamic that's useful for most people AND it forces questions about the ethical power dynamics of "conventional" marriage. The common initial question "Which one's the husband and which one's the wife?" leading to a an answer of "Why does it matter and what's the difference?" in rational terms will probably end up being a very good thing for anyone and everyone so inclined to get married."

My sister replied:

"In all your rhetoric, dear Brother, you leave out a very important fact: marriage is an institution, CREATED BY GOD, between one man and one woman. If people want to have a relationship outside of that definition, that's their business. But don't call it marriage. Apples are apples, oranges are oranges. An orange cannot be an apple no matter how many people pretend it is, and no matter if the socialist government tries to legislate it into being."

To which Stacy replied:

"Marriage as created by God is not a fact because God is not a fact."

See, I don't feel like alienating my sister (and probably mother) by outright giving kudos to Stacy for hitting the nail on the head. Personally, although I have questions about me and marriage ever again, I support the choice of people to make durable attachments when both parties are so inclined. I think there are more problems than people expect--like changes in personality, situation, and experience--but people should be able to say "We've got a special attachment."

I don't like the idea of built-in, preset controlling situations that seem to be the de rigueur state of most marriage ideas, especially Western religious marriage ideals.


What to do?

This is what I posted:

"Sis, I suggest you actually look at the bible and then decide whether anything about modern marriage really resembles "Biblical marriage" at all. In the bible, the only part a woman had in deciding who she was married to was whether she agreed with her father or patriarch and who he GAVE her to or whether he or someone else killed her. Marriage... Read More in the bible is a binding contract for women--comply or die--with a lot of options for men. Even divorce is the realm of men only. Besides, even the bible says it's a temporary, Earthly thing. Read Mathew. It's also a sign of weakness according to the Apostle Paul. If you are going to argue that marriage is God's will, unalterable by man, you're doing it wrong. If you want to argue that your problem is the terminology, you've got greater problems because man has changed both the original language and the original concept. I'm not a fan of socialism in general and have serious questions about it, but I think arbitrarily denying...

...a voluntary and stabilizing bond based on an ideal that's long been modified and altered in everything including name based on the misinterpreted fluffy-bunny interpretation of scripture is a little odd. Marriage--as it is practiced in the modern Western world--is now as much about politics, economics, and social control as it once was about ... Read Moreprotecting the family herds, controlling the women, and making sure you bred enough kids to fight, die, maintain the herd, and repeat the cycle endlessly until you defeated everyone around you.

The reality of Biblical marriage is not what most people think it is and you're smart enough--if you take your belief seriously--to read the bible, critically consider it, and understand this. Assuming there is a God and he made the universe as it is with underlying laws and a respect for--once you understand some of the intricacies--logic and rationality, what's written and the way it's written smacks more of man than an omnipotent, omnipresent God."

Fri, Jul. 10th, 2009, 08:40 am
Tired still...

Woke up from not quite a nightmare. The dream itself was good, it was the rational thoughts after waking up that kept me from falling back asleep. The dream itself was about seeing Caelen and watching him for a while. That was great.

The rational thoughts on waking were "Where was Julie?" and "What would be the consequences of seeing Caelen again?"

That jacked up the anxiety level and I'll probably be looking over my shoulder all day.

I really wish I wasn't so... yeah, scared of her.

Thu, Jul. 9th, 2009, 09:56 am
Well... I guess the ex-sister-in-law came to terms with whatever was bothering her...

...and joined "my" tree. Where she merrily started adding people on her end. I did ask Natalie to invite her--hoping the invitation read "Natalie's Tree"--and maybe that did it.

I sent her an apoligy through Geni.com's messages and included a link to http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi which--after a quick search for her Dad's surname--showed only 21 results including her Dad, her paternal grandparents and some others who have died. It only shows date of birth, death, and last residence... oh, and SSN's, but it's useful because--with precise dates--you can find other records. For the most part, not useful to me because ARMSTRONG and SCOTT are way, way too common to know who is who.

For her, it's useful because her great-great's came over from Poland and truncated their last name. Since only a few of then did it, it means there are only a few here that applied for citizenship and... yeah.

I also looked on Geni.com and found other people with her last name that had a tree containing her father and his siblings with imprecise information. So, I sent that guy a message to contact her for more information about her Dad. Maybe it will be helpful... Would be cool.

I found that some of my relatives--not quite blood because of the bastardry thing--came from England in the mid-1800's, I believe. The one's I do know are blood related (Maternal line) are all German surnames and a Czech surname by way of--probably--Pennsylvania, Michigan, and maybe Canada. It's interesting.

Oh, and I found out that my biological father may have died last year. I don't know if it's actually him. But he had the right name/middle initial, his last residence was in Walden, AZ and he had the right birth year plus/minus. Not sure how else to check unless I can find a database of Vietnam-era enlistees.

Wonder what he died of?

Tue, Jul. 7th, 2009, 01:12 pm
What IS a family?

Two days ago I got a Facebook message from the ex-sister-in-law where she was really upset that Geni.com had a "profile" or her dad and her sister and her dad's parents and that I had put them there.

See, Geni.com is a family tree building website and I (actually, I think Julie made the initial entries) made a family tree with what information I had and some I found about some of my ancestors.

About two years ago.

I made the basic pages, got lucky and found her dad's death certificate through the Maricopa County Recorders Office (now hidden or offline) and put in the info.

Then, I invited her mother and Natalie. Natalie joined and--by altering her "Family" privacy settings--made it so I could see parts of the profiles on her side, but can't edit most of them.

Anyway, the ex-sister-in-law is now pissed. I invited her so she could alter it, but it's really upsetting to her that it's inviting to "Carl's Family Tree".

She thinks that ex-spouses and such just drop out of existence after you divorce them. She totally forgets that--via my son and daughter--I'm still related to her dad in a way.


What the fuck?

Honestly, the only info I had about her father was straight off the Death Cert. I didn't put him down or anything of the sort.

It's just frustrating because of the irrationality of it and the assumption she controls...

Hell, in spite of the fact I hate her fucking guts and am still afraid of what Julie can/will do, I'm technically still related to her via Caelen.

Anyway. Just annoyed and frustrated. Especially considering I was trying to offer an olive branch and hoped she would work on it with me. Some people just are too scared to help.


It does increase my interest and desire to do the research project I was thinking of. If only I was good at Calculus and Linear Algebra.

Wait... Maybe I can ask Stargazersilent... *grin* Just basic Calculus, I hope...

Anyway, have to go to school. Influenza Pandemic of 1918 today.

(THIS is the stuff I should have had for the social simulation project last semester. Damn it!)

Mon, Jul. 6th, 2009, 08:49 pm
Retread from 15 June 2002: "First Entry..."

This is my first attempt, strike that, second attempt at this sort of thing. The first masqueraded as the main page of my now long gone personal web page and served as sort of my personal stump to give inside info to others who new what I was talking about.

This time, I will try and share what I think and feel while dancing on the fine line between the utter truth and that near-shadow of it that won't get anyone in trouble. (BTW, the names are changed to protest the... er, "innocence").

(And, Thank you for the code, Missy.)

What about today?


I have a number of relationships floating around in various states...

One is a marriage awaiting a divorce, another is a love that sometimes seems stillborne as the gods, god, divine Tao, whatever's out there, seems to be fighting against us, a daughter that's, well, a mess, and a sort-of friendship with a woman trying to escape the clutches of a psychotic.

(My FEW's sister... My FESIL... Future Ex-Sister In Law... A redhead that's very attractive to me, thinks I'm a bit strange, and already has a fiance, so my unresolved fantasy of a natural redhead with authentic temper and (slightly) older woman remains unresolved...)

Today, after a week (Okay, 4 days) I got a call from someone I dearly love to hear from... and I forgot the freakin' cell phone while I ran some ice to my Mom! Grrrrrr...

I just hope BeM. (We'll call her that for now.) doesn't think I snubbed her intentionally. I think, considering how blue and lonely I've been today and yesterday, it'd leave me an utter wreck.

I just hope she doesn't read that and feel pressured...

I have this "thing" about "pressuring", "violence", coercion, and force in general when it comes loved ones...

...I can't stand it.

I feel relationships should be entirely voluntary and based on wanting to be together. I loathe people that try and force things or turn others into possessions... and hate myself when I think I've unintentionally done it.

One of the minor reasons for my failed marriage.

I found out she'd done a lot that she really didn't like because she thought that's what I wanted.

Then again, she did a lot she really wanted to do because she wanted to... and wouldn't extend me the same courtesy.

Maybe I'm just weird?

(Now I'm going to stop and see what this looks like...)

Mon, Jul. 6th, 2009, 08:48 pm
Writer's Block: Firsts

What was the subject title of your first-ever LJ entry?

"First Entry..."

Mon, Jul. 6th, 2009, 10:04 am
The emergency hamster ball.

Picture a low, dish-like structure, something like a snow toy, with a small tent over it with a single zippered entry point on one end. You climb in through the opening and zip it closed. Only, there are two zippers. You have to lay on your side on the flat part of the curved disc. If you have time, you can strap yourself onto it in the fetal position.

There's a pull tab. A really big, day-glo yellow one. You pull it and the disc below you hisses as it puts high pressure O2 into your "tent", blowing it out into a sphere very quickly. Your ears will probably pop. What you don't see is two other pressurized bottles release at the same time. The second releases into a thin void between the interior layers of your "tent". It's a hardening foam resistant to water and other fluids. The third canister in the disk is actually a form of lubricant and fills in between the outer and inner layers of your tent. (The reason for two zippers.) It's a flame retardant, but primarily, a very low friction lubricant and keeps the inner and outer layers from sticking very well.

Now, the semi-rigid tent gets dropped off the back of a train or from a low-flying airplane, or something else going fast, like a speedboat that's falling apart.

Theoretically, the speed should be slowed a bit by the "sail" properties of a large, air filled "balloon" whether moving forward or down. It's about 6 or 7 foot in diameter. Then, when it hits the surface, as long as it's not moving vertically too much, it should bounce, a little, and roll to a stop. The outer layer should act like a "wheel" for the interior layers, allowing the inner layer to slow down much more quickly. Also, with the semi-rigid form and flotation, the "pod" should work as a temporary lifeboat. More so as the foam hardens.

The trick is--of course--to find a way to allow the movement required, yet have areas of the top portion pass air in and out without allowing hazards in.

Anyway, just an idea I woke up with. Someone else's probably thought of it first though...

(Anyone see any glaring errors?)

Fri, Jul. 3rd, 2009, 10:39 am
Note for me:

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: Degree: in operations research; or at least 24 semester hours in a combination of operations research, mathematics, probability, statistics, matematical logic, science, or subject-matter courses requiring substantial competence in college-level mathematics or statistics. At least 3 of the 24 semester hours must have been in calculus.

Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009, 01:00 pm
Lost a day there somewhere...


Will post later. Promise.

Wed, Jul. 1st, 2009, 12:59 pm
Today is overcast...

...and it's hot, but the odd thing is that it really brings out the wanderlust in me. I know part of it reminds me of the South and when I was in the Army. I really enjoyed--every so often--having to move somewhere else or get on a bus and go somewhere different for a couple months.

It also really reminds me of Fort Sill for some reason. I know one part is just the age of the place and how... different it was. When I was there in 1991, I was training to be a Field Artillery Meterological Crewmember at the Target Acquisition School. It was a small class in an old building. The breakroom was in the basement. Many of the students there were officers and some were foriegn. I think that added an almost collegiate atmosphere in my mind. Almost like the old Monroe School downtown when it was still the Military Entrance Processing Station. The old architecture, wood, brick, and wide halls.

The weather also really makes downtown Phoenix look different. I noticed places today I've ridden/driven by I don't know how many times. It made me--in spite of the heat--want to walk around and explore downtown.

No money, but the curiosity's there. All those little "private" areas so close to and so isolated from all the others...

It's odd but it's fascinating.

I'm so applying for graduate school somewhere outside of Arizona. Whether I get to or not, I don't know, but I can hope.

Tue, Jun. 30th, 2009, 11:55 pm

Baby steps...

Actually re-read the Biometry Final I need to complete and started thinking about how to write it up. Also completed most of the dishes today, just no laundry yet. I have realized I have a ridiculous amount of clothes here and some that I just don't wear for one reason or another.

I also started working through the modeling library book. So, a start.

I really need to use my shuttle bus time more profitably.

Hmmm... what else?

Saw a mom and two little guys on Main Campus and it made me instantly melancholy for a while wondering what Caelen is doing and what he looks like now. I flashed the last time I saw him and hugged him and told him that--no matter what--Daddy loves him.

I doubt he'll remember it, but sometimes... I just hope.

To admit the fact I left and stayed left because I'm afraid of Julie and what she threatened if I didn't really bothers me sometimes, but I don't know what else I could have done/could do. There's just too much that woman is willing to do and too much I know she's done to optimistically assume she won't lie, deceive, do violence, or whatever else it takes to get her way.

It's just hard sometimes.

One reason I push myself school-wise is to be someone my kids want to know or will want to know when they get older. I want to be "worthwhile" in some way. Also, to disprove whatever Julie may tell Caelen about me. I know how she slants things.

Anyway, I'm not depressed right now, mostly because I try to stay future-focused on this sort of thing.

Need to go to bed now.

Tue, Jun. 30th, 2009, 09:38 am
Still sleepy...

Two strange dreams about getting out of screwed up situations and an odd confidence about it.

The main part I remember is in a partially below grade construction area in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of people. There was an accident of some sort, so there were police, fire, ambulances around. It was a graveled floor area with treas at the fringes and a partially demolished major building with the first two floors still there that extended into the grade. It was sort of exposed on the near end and still below ground on the other.

All I know is that I was more witness than participant until we heard this rushing, crashing sound. I looked over and saw water crashing through the trees. A lot of water. And I ran into the building with two other people. We hauled ass into the still covered part of the building as water rushed in--waist high at first--and then back out before returning with a vengeance. We made it to some stairs to the next story, made it up with some help from swimming and the force of the water...

...to find a sturdy, locked wooden door horizontal across the opening to the next story!

The area was used to store tools--nothing as useful as an axe--but I found an old, rusty sledgehammer with a dried out handle and started trying to bash the lock off. Quickly, we were waist deep even on this second story (probably the upper of two original basements). Through a small, square window in the glass we could see another stairwell up.

I looked around and saw a cardboard box of tools with sockets and various hand tools on a table just as it was kicked under water. I turned the hammer over to the other two and went in after it. Most of them spilled, but I found a ratchet, a small collection of possibly fitting sockets for the door bolts, and a chisel.

We ended up using the chisel and the hammer to get the lock off and into the stairwell above. As we did, another surge pushed the water up into the stairwell. We raced up and found the top opened onto a small portion of the remaining roof. We were surrounded by water in all directions to a level just lower then the tree tops. The new "lake" was probably about a mile wide and filled this small valley the construction site had been in. We could see two people hanging onto the mast of a crane and another one below us holding onto the building. We started to look around for rope and someway to get to the shore. The idea to wait for rescue never really occurred to me until after I started typing this.

It was interesting... an adventure.

The second dream was a melee in a restaurant with a big guy, his little kid, and this other guy. All we wanted to do was keep the kid from getting hurt and the big guy calmed down. He thought the other guy was boning his wife, it turns out. No one I knew/know in real life though.

Was odd that I got involved in that one.

Anyway. An interesting note to start the day on. I guess, in addition to knowing your nearest hard cover, my brain suggests knowing my nearest high ground in the event of a flood!

Mon, Jun. 29th, 2009, 09:42 pm
Well... I essentially did nothing on my list...

...but I did help Emily replace her side mirror on her car and learned that Teriyaki marinade > Garlic and Herbs on pork ribs.

I also seem to be more playful and less romantic now than early in the relationship. I'm not sure how to react to/fix that. I guess not-sad-me is naturally more playful.

Stuff to ponder.

Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009, 10:43 am
Objectives for this weekend:

1. Download all of last semester's stuff off blackboard.
2. Identify what Biometry labs are outstanding.
3. Work on one Biometry lab.
4. Do at least one chapter in Modeling book.
5. Finish reviewing the Y-chromosome article I have up in Firefox.
6. Throw out at least 3 more resumes.
7. Laundry, laundry, laundry.
8. Post.
9. Try making the Em happy.
10. Clean room a bit more.
11. Consider writing in to http://25thingsaboutmysexuality.blogspot.com/ *smirk*
12. Catch up with/finish cleaning my e-mail accounts.

That is all so far.

Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009, 09:40 am
A reply to a Yahoo Answer question or Why Hippies are amusing.

How much love will be needed to completely cover the whole world ?

How much love will be needed to completely cover the whole world ?

So we can eliminate hatred from the face of the map ?

Um... in order for love to overcome "hatred", you would need a few things.

My responseCollapse )

Fri, Jun. 26th, 2009, 12:03 am
Getting it now...

When I was in the Army, we got classes on personal hygiene and--as a medic--enforcing hygiene and food safety and where to dig holes to go to the bathroom. I went through the week long Field Sanitation Team Member course (twice) and learned about a couple species of mosquitoes, rats, and arthropods...

...and got a little bit about how these things can cause problems with the military. A couple of stories about diseases causing problems in the past.

Now, this class, I've seen pictures of Swiss-cheesed brains from worms you can get from improperly cooked steak or pork.

It's enlightening now, would have been nicer to know then...

...although I'm not sure the others (or even, perhaps, me) would have had the tools to understand it.

I keep reading about "operations research" and wondering about it... Maybe if I don't get to do grad school for psych or anthro...

Thu, Jun. 25th, 2009, 10:16 am
All the news about South Carolina Govorner Sanford and that Elliot guy before him make me snicker.

Mostly the "Oh my God!" and "See? Another bad man!" responses. Some people assume it's narcissism. others understand that political capital has reproductive consequences. Personally, while believing the latter, find the moral judgments of the masses and the media the most amusing. Here are a bunch of people so fixated on the social rule compliance of these people that they are willing to ignore how the system works with them. The assumption that politicians--chosen by the people, usually because of how similar they are perceived to them--are beyond human is nuts. Literally insane.

It's like picking one of a herd of horses and expecting to find it's a camel.

It's also why I think Presidential politics is so disappointing to many, many people. The frustration many people felt towards George Bush's more obvious humanity--whatever other faults or talents he had--shown by ascribing it to his "stupidity" when he did what most people do on occasion was particularly amusing. The glossing over and hiding of similar Obama gaffes becomes troubling, in a way, because of the potential for the "suspension of disappointment" through the use of denial.

Guess what? These people are human. *snicker*

Sorry. A political rant. Not really partisan, mostly pointed at the people en masse.

Wed, Jun. 24th, 2009, 10:22 am
I'm going to post something. I've told myself I am. To get back in the habit. Random stuff.

I also need to go through and reply to the things I told myself I was going to.

I had a strange dream about pregnant women (not my fault) and an alien take over. Flying an AV-8B Harrier in an area with wire nets. Didn't make too much sense.

I've realized that--in spite of more familiarity with the Browning Hi-Power, Beretta M9/92FS, Glock, etc. almost every pistol in dreams that I pick up is a M1911-variant. Considering the operational similarity to the Hi-Power, it's not something I worry about. It's just a little odd.

I've determined I'm not going to be maudlin this year for my birthday. I feel bad about other peoples' birthdays I've missed and been too broke to buy presents for so I do not expect any one else to buy anything for mine or want them to feel bad about it. I figure--someday--when I get money again... Yeah.

Still mulling through a research idea I should write up here. Is interesting--to me, anyway--and maybe useful as a starting point towards next semester. I also really, really need to start working on my Biometry stuff even though Dr. Sabo hasn't returned my last e-mail.

Anyway, have to head out and get food to make the bus.

Tue, Jun. 23rd, 2009, 10:00 pm


I have learned more new place names and learned to hate the Caribbean through these quizzes in the last two days.


Tue, Jun. 23rd, 2009, 10:13 am
What have I been up to...

Not a whole lot other than seeing Emily, going to class, and trying to find job around school. With bus passes no longer being free and not having the money to buy one for Summer II, I'm kind of stuck here for the most part... unless/until I find local job.

I have been a little lazy on Biometry. I really need to work on that. At the same time, I'm trying to work through a library book on mathematical modeling so--with what I learned a semester of two ago--I can make a working model for my research idea before Fall. (Remind me to post the idea.)

My new roommate is more elusive than Alberto was. He's a WOW-aphile.

I've learned to cook pork ribs by baking them. Emily did most of the work this time, I helped. I also make decent (real) mashed potatoes. *smirk* I'm making progress and we have fun with cooking together.

My eldest is probably going to repeat 7th grade because he doesn't want to do summer school and he--like me--doesn't work well when he's bored. And... he gets bored at school a lot. This also does not endear him to other kids so, he'll either end up a PhD or a supervillain or both. *joke*

He'll figure it out eventually. I did.

Was talking to my daughter the other day and suggested maybe she get a blank book and write during the summer. She says she already does that and she's written one story and is almost done with another. I was happily surprised and told her that was cool and to keep going. I was almost mad at her mom for not telling me.

After I talked to my daughter, I asked Natalie about it and she didn't even know. *grin*

Hope she's a good writer. Hopes she keeps going.

I guess Natalie and Matt are doing okay. Hope that ALSO keeps going.

Haven't heard anything about Caelen. I hope he's doing good too.

Have to go shower, eat, and get ready for shuttle.

I really am trying to write more. Really.

Tue, Jun. 23rd, 2009, 10:04 am
Writer's Block: When I Was Young

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Nothing, really. I don't think I've ever lost my curiosity and want of learning. I haven't stopped being playful. I still get taken care of sometimes--just not out of "duty".

The biggest differences are access to "big boy toys", including girls and sex in my prospects, and now I have to back myself up or find ways how to. (Then again--considering my mom--I had to look out for my self quite a bit for a long time as a kid anyway.)

Sat, Jun. 20th, 2009, 06:48 pm
Been lurking...

Lots of stuff I should be doing, must work on it more.

Still attached--happily--and probably making next semester my last undergrad semester for financial reasons.

Starting to really feel I have a chance at succeeding in graduate school.

Tue, May. 26th, 2009, 11:21 pm
Not much done today...

...except the all day trek to ASU Main to talk to my Biometry instructor. Essentially, the deal is I do all the missing work during the summer and turn it in.

I can do that.

What else?

Completely moved into new room. Only the second floor. Have another room mate across the living room, but this is my room only.

Have a lot of books.


Have a "sensing session" tomorrow afternoon about the dorms. Should be fun. Food, drink, and $20 gift certificate for participating.

Learned to cook home-made mashed potatoes. Not too bad.

Hmmm... more tomorrow.

Fri, May. 22nd, 2009, 12:24 am
Writer's Block: There Can Be Only One

Do you believe in monogamy?


This is what I know from experience: Women that don't get their needs met get frustrated. These can be sexual needs, emotional needs, resource needs. If this frustration exceeds their tolerance level, they tend to either go insane or they tend to resolve those needs elsewhere.

Also, what needs are a priority for them can change rapidly.

So, the only guy that's ever going to get a crack at lasting monogamy has to have the money, the time, and the sexual prowess to satisfy a woman from whatever age they start until one or the other croaks.

Now factor in the fact she changes as she ages, has kids, changes jobs, etc. And the fact he changes... and now you have a situation vaguely like trying to juggle eggs while walking on a waterbed...

Possible? Yes. Likely? Only if the woman's tolerance (or fear of failing) is sky high or the man is a super-stud his entire life and she likes that. (Or they are in a religion where the fear/cost is so high no one dares cheating, lest they get caught.)

Paint me cynical, but women are not simple and to get them to stick around, you got to consistently make them need you while still getting your needs met.

Thu, May. 21st, 2009, 09:55 pm

Moving from B wing to A wing for summer. New room is about the same but set up for disabled students. I have rails in bathroom, lower sink, hand held shower head, and no storage under either sink.

New roommate in other room. Don't know much about him except he's young, likes WoW, and let his girlfriend stash her stuff in his dorm room for the summer. (Can you say "Hello Kitty toaster?")

Rebuilt two separate bunks into an upper (sleeping) and lower (sexing) bunk. Still have stuff to move tomorrow... like all my food.

Oh, and I installed my ergonomic keyboard I bought when I got the PC... er... last January or February. I mean 2008.

Will take some getting used to. Is forcing me to touch type.

What else?

Going to eat with my mom tomorrow, maybe see friends afterward along with finish (mostly) moving.

Until next week--have to go see Dr. Sabo about my incomplete--pretty much boring and housekeeping.

Some of it mental.

Playing with new wiki: http://deathbunnyspace.wikispaces.com/

Transferring NANOWRIMO story over. And some other stuff.

Like's wikis.

More later.

Mon, May. 18th, 2009, 05:12 pm
So... What have I been up to?

Essentially, I have all the classes I need to graduate. I have passed them. The only thing holding me back is one Incomplete class (Biometry) and the fee to graduate.

I'm still taking two classes this summer. If I do well, it will help "wash" my GPA for the "Last 60 credit hours". (To about 3.5 from my overall GPA at ASU of 3.13 right now.)

It will--finally--push the last semester I got a GPA under 2.00 beyond the 60 hours.


This semester, I got a 3.33 GPA.

ASB 430 Social Simulation A-
BIO 431 Genes, Development & Evolution A
BIO 462 Endocrine Physiology C+
PGS 494 Topic: Health and Social Relationships B+

There is no little irony in the fact that what I learned in Endocrine Physiology showed up in the papers for both the Psych class and the Genes class. The A-, well I've bitched about the causes for that one.

Yeah. Now to try and get a grad school to give me a chance...

More later.

Mon, May. 18th, 2009, 11:33 am
Dreams again.

Talking to E. about my mom's collecting habits rolled over into my dreams.

For some reason--in my dream--my mom was living in what--I assume--had been a large cafeteria-like restaurant with dishes, glasses, and even old food places. She had her other stuff in there too and a bedroom area and a bath area and...

The dishes and kitchen hardware looked like it had been used, hauled in there, and dumped.

There were people there--a couple of young guys--I didn't recognize but I think my mom had hired to help her clean up. I don't know why I did it, but I took it on myself to start cleaning.

I made sure my mom was elsewhere in the place and I put one guy to work collecting and disposing of the old food. I mean, there was a frigging DONUT display with--I don't know how old--donuts still in it.

The other, well... I collected glassware. Actually, I looked for "sets" or multiples of the same style. I washed them, broke the others as I went along, and put the other guy to work carting out broken glass and food.

I don't know how long I did it, but I was making progress and I had to go outside for something. I wanted to get done before my mom realized what I was doing to her stuff. I wanted to bring order to the stuff, I guess. Leave her with the better, more useful stuff.

Something changed when I came back. It seems it was a functioning restaurant and I was in charge of it.

We were just opening up and looking for partners. It was now situated in the middle of an open mall area in the middle of the business part of town. We did something interesting. We would--at the customer's request--send runners to other restaurants in the area to pick up either prepared food or unprepared food to prepare there. (Say, you were at Burger King and your kid ONLY wanted a Happy Meal. We would send a runner across the street to get it.) They would pay a small surcharge for it. We made arrangements with these other local places to do this. They got money for their food without the wear and tear costs for their storefronts...

Anyway, this was an old building, like from the '20's or '30's and was laid out kinda' wierd. When I arrived, I had an assistant--who was wearing a business suit.... Actually, I was wearing a business suit too. Which is odd for me.

Anyway, he kept telling me we had a problem and I needed to talked to a close friend about something. Only, he was being very, very vague. I said okay and we went towards my office in the middle of the building.

Awesome office. It was old--all antique furniture, red velvet wall coverings, a two-story room with a skylight. Sitting in my office in these ornate wooden and padding chairs was someone I think was a Senator and his son.

I was about to greet them when my assistant shook his head and led me toward a small door labeled "Emergency Exit Only". I apologized to the Senator in passing and went through the door with my assistant. Through the door was another two story (actually, two and a half) room.

One side was this dusty, yet-to-be-refurbished area with a pool table, roulette wheel, jukebox, and poker set-up. The other side with stairs down to it was a mechanical area with a roll-up door and a couple of yellow motorcycles.

On the stairs were two middle aged women--local business owners I had arrangements with--and someone who might have been Jay Leno.

I guess--we'll call him Jay--had problems with his daughter? son? The kid was getting into drugs and needed to a) stop and b) dry out. So, we sat on the stoop in this room, let the Senator wait, and talked about what Jay had to do.

Then I woke up.

First, I've never met or really watched Leno. I don't know any Senators, and I've never had any desire to own a restaurant.

Second, it was interesting to be a problem solver...

Wed, May. 13th, 2009, 11:48 pm

I was trying to figure out how to proactively block the ex-psychotic on FaceBook... and accidentally sent her a fucking friend request.

Because it was an E-MAIL one, I can't unsend it. If she had an account, I could though.

Go figure?

*shakes head*

Yeah, go me.

Otherwise, okay day.

Still waiting for two grades to post. The other two are an A- and a B+. I also got into contact--finally--with the Biometry instructor and he wants me to do some supplementary work to resolve the "I" (Incomplete) I'm running in the class.


Need sleep now though. Promise to actually post more here.


Thu, May. 7th, 2009, 09:17 pm
Links to wade through...

...some for my paper due tomorrow.

























Sun, May. 3rd, 2009, 10:07 am
Interesting Strange Dream

I worked in a small railroad stop helping to run security for an inn with a bar and a hotel. For the most part I was just passing through and working for a little while. I made sure guests didn't get out of hand, they checked out (and paid) on time, and just was the go-to guy.

That was the normal part.

The odd part was, I had flash-backs to combat in the Great War, I remembered this future, it was the mid-1920's but the war was still in a low, distant burn, and three of the guests were a pair of aliens (almost like Roger from American Dad) and Julie. Oh, and I was walking around in a three-piece suit most of the time, a shoulder holster with a M1911, a pair of M1908 Colt Hammerlesses, and a hat. (Which is odd for me.)

Oh, and Julie was with (biblically?) the aliens.

They--through Julie--who knew I was from the future--were blackmailing me to help them not get caught. I guess the 1920's version of the men in black knew where they might be and were looking. Julie thought I was a faker about the Great War service which--in that time--really meant something. I mean, later I kept getting job offers out of hand, but we'll get to that.

Anyway, my idea to help them was to wait until the MIB arrived before the next train, let them be seen in their room, then torch the room as they duck out a smuggler tunnel I found under the room. (Prohibition) Then, just collapse the tunnel and make sure they leave on the next train, unseen. Sayonara aliens, sayonara Julie, I leave later going the other direction. It would be night, everyone would see the fire for a long ways--the train stop was on a ridge overlooking a city to the (probably) West.

Only, the aliens got edgy and nervous and refused to wait. So they start torching the room early and leaving alien-related items and a mutilated corpse I have no idea how they got in the room.

I say, "fuck it", walk out of the hotel, into the bar, grab a knapsack I had stashed, my tips/pay, and just start walking out of town following the tracks toward the city. After a while the tracks divide and start going downhill. There was a railroad bridge with no footpath on it--scary a bit--and then a small group of houses where there was grass between the sets of tracks and families were picnicking naked.

Walked further and there was a small water tower/mail stop and a man offered me work after asking if I was a vet. He had one of those visors and wore a white shirt with arm garters.

I went on.

I finally got to a rail yard at the edge of the city, passed through, ignored by rail police, and got up onto a wide sidewalk that ran along the fronts of a lot of very, large buildings. The sidewalk seemed to be roofed over and it was cooler out of the sunlight. I stopped and looked around. There were stairs up to the doors of most buildings, but most were pretty narrow and rather steeply angled compared to now. There were propaganda posters pushing production and rail and supporting the occupation efforts. Occasionally, there was a man in an Army or Navy dress uniform--officers--pass by. Most were very young looking.

It was lit with yellowish incandescent--even in daytime as it was--but still felt

I walked up a set of stairs and inside the lobby. There wasn't much of a lobby, just a short, wide hallway with a potted plant in the corner and a cube-like elevator at the rear.

An older man, shorter, well-dressed in pin-stripes, followed me in. He had salt-and-pepper hair and was probably in his 50's. He was walking a small dog. I got in the elevator and it was just him and me. There was a printed poster on the back wall of the elevator and it caught my eye.

It had a picture of this guy--I had a flashback of him on a battlefield somewhere--and talked about his engineering firm. Only, it had pictures of Sherman tanks, M1 Abrams, and helicopters!

I mumbled "That's not right."

The man in the elevator with me--long, slow, ride--asked me "Are you looking for work?"

"I might be." I said, but I was still focused on the poster. It was small and I ripped it off the wall.

"What did you do in the War?" he asked.

I looked up at him and shrugged. "I got things done." I had a flashback of some night battle and got the impression I was leading it for some reason. I really had no idea what I had done in "the War", but my mind does get creative and I decided to run with it.

"The man in the poster is a competitor. I would like to find out more about him." The man said. He said his name was Mr. Ro-something that sounded French. "I might have a job for you."

The elevator doors opened on a proper lobby with people and reception desk and then there was like a flash-forward in the dream.

I was in a hallway--wood-paneled, old building style--in a skyscraper in possibly the same city. I handed the elevator man a five dollar bill that looked almost black and white and he closed the elevator doors and left me there. I went to one of the three doors on this level--one of which was the stairs--and looked at the door. Beside the door was a small metal box that looked like a speaker box. I grabbed it and pulled and it flipped up to show a keypad from a phone in the 70's. All silver metallic buttons with the finish slightly worn and the alphabet--minus a letter or two--under the numbers.

Only one number and the star key was worn though. I pressed the worn key four times and then the star and the door hummed, clicked, and unlocked. I closed the box and went in.

I think it was the inventor's flat. It was all white and modern looking, but all the appliances were old 1920's items.

There were sketches and books from the modern day all over. models in wood and clay, and small bits of modern technology like cell phones and an obvious non-functional laptop. It was sort of wierd--in a way--because there I was in the 1920's and here's all this familiar stuff, and I didn't feel any attachment for it.

I pretty much took my time and cased the place. I figure--whatever the guy was doing--he had access to a elementary school's library from the future and was trying to figure out how to reverse engineer things using only pictures and general statements from the future.

He had a gun safe with modern guns though. I actually stole two of his .45's. I think they were Kimbers, and tucked them into the pockets of a trench coat I was wearing. I figured they were so like the M1911's I had that most people wouldn't notice.

So, I was still looking around when the "henchmen" showed up.

They came in from another door--special elevator?--armed with some form of 9mm SMG. There were a few of them while retreating towards the guys bedroom. I got one or two with the Kimbers, stuffed them back into my pockets, and grabbed a pair of brand-new titanium-framed revolvers out of a smaller open safe beside his bed. I waited a moment while they regrouped, I could hear them talking. I backed out onto the balcony. It was night, the view was awesome. The city was brightly lit and you could see where a river wound it's way through the core of the city. It was interesting that it seemed to be all high-rises and sky-scrapers with not much in the way of a suburb though.

Anyway, there were two balconies. The other off the living room and separated by about a 10 foot gap. Below us two floors, there was a single, wide balcony and I was trying to figure out how to safely get down. The building didn't have vertical walls on the outside at this level, more a 10-degree slant outward at the bottom, as did the short balcony walls.

I waited.

Someone threw something into the bedroom and I ducked to the side so the wall protected me. I couldn't tell what kind of grenade it was, but it blew out the glass windows. Two men stormed out onto the other balcony and I shot them left handed. Then I could make out sounds in the bedroom and waited.

They threw another grenade onto the balcony.

I went over the short wall and towards the outside wall of the building. The wall was metal-plated--maybe copper--and I slid down the outward slanting wall onto the balcony below, rolling as I hit and slamming into the outside wall of that balcony. It knocked the wind out of me, but I still held both revolvers.

The grenade went off upstairs and chunks fell off the underside of the balcony floor above. I made to get up and catch my wind. The men above charged out onto the balcony with guns blazing and then two of them (all of them?) fell through the balcony floor. They hit like lead weights a few feet from me, their faces in shock.

I didn't wait, I gasped and shot them both.

I got up, made for the door, and then woke up because E. wanted to switch sides of the bed.

Yeah, I have some rip-roaring dreams when I'm a little less stressed, have had way too much caffeine and Rainbow Six: Urban Operations, and not been able to creatively write for a while.

Mon, Apr. 20th, 2009, 08:19 am
Rules to Avoid the Crazy Ex. (First 3) x-posted to "the_crazy_ex"

Some lessons learned with stories from my little slice of the world.

1. Don't let her become a stripper.
Read more...Collapse )

2. Don't date someone who's been abused and never had a healthy relationship.
Read more...Collapse )

3. Don't make her live on a pedestal.
Read more...Collapse )

Thu, Apr. 16th, 2009, 02:02 pm
Research Idea: Human politics/warfare and multilevel selection

Concept: Our intergroup conflict is a primary driver toward human eusociality producing a number of frequency dependent phenotypes.

Crap, where was I going with this?

Thu, Apr. 16th, 2009, 01:56 pm
I still live.

Slamming into the end of the semester and have lots and lots of work to do...

...and today is one of those days I wonder if I'm ready for thinking about grad school.

Ran into a bigger psych nerd than me who's also good with stats.

I hate those.

I mean, in defense of myself, I do seem to be good--sometimes--at explaining concepts and helping others understand it.



Sleepy but getting a ride soon. Maybe I'll post more often.

Sat, Apr. 11th, 2009, 10:47 am
I like the rain.

Because of the direction of said weather, we were able to sleep with the window partially open and--I have to say--even on the little mattress on the floor under the window, slept really well. Woke very rested.

Now, if there was only a way not to wake dehydrated...

Sun, Apr. 5th, 2009, 01:44 pm
What have I been upto...

Homework, homework, homework...

Weekends with E.

Trying to figure out what comes after Summer.

Still looking for a part-time job between homework and school.

Fun, fun, fun.

One of my job aps is trying to work as a research assistant. Another e-mail to try and get into a lab over the summer to work for college credit.

Probably more detail later.

Fri, Apr. 3rd, 2009, 06:27 pm
Writer's Block: The Geneva Conventions & the War on Terror

In 2002, the Bush Administration declared that the detainees of the War on Terror were not eligible for rights under the Geneva Conventions. Do you agree with the Bush Administration's decision? How might you have handled it differently?

According to the law of land warfare, only civilians, protected personnel (medical and religious), and legal combatants are eligible for Geneva Protection. Legal combatants include soldiers fighting under a recognized state, local population defending their land openly, and even mercenaries in some limited form.

The people in Guantanamo are not natives to the lands they were captured in, were armed and fighting, and are not representing a state/country.

By definition, these people are combatants and illegal.

See: http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/law-of-land-warfare_7.pdf

Look up Chapter II.

So--at least according to the Law of Land Warfare--the Bush Administration had it right as far as international laws on warfare are concerned.

EDIT: (My LJ won't let me reply to a comment. This is the reply:)

The Hague Conventions--if you read them--are oriented on one thing: the protection of the existence of the warring states as a hierarchy. This sounds like a bad thing in some ways--for example the Revolutionary War era American mindset. However, considering the modern reliance on a structured, hierarchical social system for most people's survival and existence, the failure of such a system results in the situations like Afghanistan or some of the sub-Saharan African regions in the not too recent past. The direct employment of external force in an effort to break down this societal system is more than crimes against a collective bunch of individuals--it's a crime against the ability for societies to continue to exist.

This is--in fact--many of the terrorists' goals because--they assume--it would force others to come to there personal way of thinking.

The problem is that the same "rights" and "protections" these men are being extended rely on the same social networks they seek to destroy. I also agree they don't merit these rights because of the hypocrisy of it all.

If they choose to fight a war to end these societies, then they should reap the prize of what they desire.

In many cases, the best punishment anyone can select for a transgressor is to give them exactly what they want...

In this case, being treated like the "infidels" they hope to destroy.

Tue, Mar. 31st, 2009, 02:58 pm
Research Idea: Mob formation.

Concept: During a traumatic event, stress hormones (NE, etc.) through the amygdala enable a "flash" learning about an event and emotional "coding" of the event.

In a collective (percieved) trauma, this emotional "coding" might include what the person considered a viable choice at the time: fight, flight, posture, freeze. If that's shared and people pervcieve the ability to do something about the trauma--i.e. fight--can you predict mob action if you know what percentage of the population feels this and are caused to remember it at the same time? Also, do they self-reinforce these memories?

Tool: Simulation model, perhaps.

References: See 30 March PGS 494 readings.

Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009, 09:14 pm
Research idea:


Some races--including those of African origin--show a more rapid attainment of childhood developmental milestones along with a significant difference in standardized test scores later on. During the same period of development, the human brain goes through an extended developmental process where it radically increases the number of synapses in the brain both through experience ("learning") and through non-experiential connections ("instinctual").

If physical development is correlated with the same speed inside the brain--perhaps through connections in the gene regulatory network driving maturation--could these two factors--infant development and cognitive function--be connected? Could the later differences in cognitive ability be due to a shortened window of early development?

Also, if these differences are connected, could they be correlated with social complexity or limitations on either group size or ability to assimilate others?

From an evolutionary perspective, prolonged infancy--especially during periods language and cultural components are assimilated--could allow for a greater opportunity to learn and function within a complex society. Could differences in religiosity and decreased flexibility in tolerance by those groups maturing faster be compensatory mechanisms to handling complex socio-cultural systems?

Just an idea.

Sat, Mar. 21st, 2009, 09:25 am
Strange dream and some news about my missing grandfather.

They found his car and body off the road near Sedona. He had been there a while. I don't know anything else. He was a WWII vet who was suffering Alzheimer's, lost one wife and two sons before him, and had remarried.

I hate to say this, but when my sister had told me he had been missing for a week or so already...

...I expected this.

I have to say--mentally putting myself in his shoes--as long as it wasn't with a lot of suffering, it's probably not too bad of a way/time to go. I mean, he had a pretty long life in pretty good health, left a lot of grandkids and people who remember him, and--after a fashion--went out on his own terms.

Can't really fault that.

I'm not sure how everyone else will take this, but I also have an unfair advantage at dealing with this sort of thing from spending my teenage years with my other grandparents and losing them. There's something to be said about not wanting to do the long wasting from cancer (my other grandfather).

The dream is almost anti-climactic but it has story potential.

The last of the humans are being hunted. It's in space and--for some reason--I'm one of them.

The hunters are a set of semi-visible aliens that manifest their movement by leaving black, smoky streaks, even in a vacuum. They sense humans by an unknown means--maybe we disrupt their world somehow.

We have help though...

These other aliens who look like someone took a translucent purple jellyfish and used it to replace the head of a giant, stretched out kangaroo with pointy tail are helping us to escape. They also can live in a vacuum and fly in a vacuum. They can also project a real-looking human form some distance in order to interact with us. Additionally, it seems, with enough of them, they can mask whatever the black smoky beings track us with.

Anyway, it started on a planet, probably Earth. I and about 60 other humans boarded ships to escape. Most of the planet was already a ghost town. There were three ships.

We lifted off vertically and--as we took off--we looked over and saw the smoky aliens envelop and start pulling one of the other ships apart. The jelly-aliens tried to hassle the smoke, but there was little they could do.

We got into space and picked up speed. The smokey aliens followed. We could see them by watching the stars blink out. The other aliens escorted us, flying alongside our ships.

We passed through some portal or gate or something that slowed down the smoky aliens. It was some sort of gate travel system because we were in a new solar system.

There were multiple planets--possibly inhabitable/inhabited--but we headed further out to a barren, gray moon without an atmosphere. It was a lot like our moon if it were covered in canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. Down, into the canyon system, we went along until we landed. Donning suits, we went out into the canyon and--with help and thrusters--we passed along the canyon until we got to an outcropping someone had built a glass-dome covered base on.

We entered it and it was an observation lounge for a larger base built into the rock. This is when the jelly-aliens manifested their human-looking "avatars" to tell us they were hiding us.

Then I woke up.

Oddly, not a nightmare.

Tue, Mar. 17th, 2009, 03:13 pm
Obama (and much of Congress) are frigging idiots.

A couple months ago, Sarah Palin--talking about the budget--got on her soapbox about pork in the budget and pointed out research on "fruit flies" as a waste because it didn't have anything to do with the American people in general. Understandable for a non-scientist without much interest in genetics, but to anyone with a class or two in genetics, she sounded like an idiot because they knew that Drosiphila is one of the most common model organisms for genetic research. To most of the people listening to her, they probably thought she was right at first blush.

For the last several days the news is stuck on people--Obama included--screaming about AIG's bonuses. Everyone is up in arms, they are wringing hands about the money and even senator's are suggesting these people commit suicide. I think it's a serious indicator these yahoos are exactly what they are--politicians--whose sole interest is looking good to enough people to get reelected. I doubt many have a clue between them.


An article in today's New York Time's has one reason--to not pay them is to violate the contracts and trust in the system opening the door for everyone else to do the same. This is a good point, but there's more to it than that.

AIG and any company is essentially a combination of a name, some information, some "stuff", and a lot of interconnected people who work together, establish relationships, and apply what they know to the information and "stuff" in order to make money. In AIG's case, the making money is based on other money moving around and what people do with it. AIG doesn't make anything tangible, they don't build anything or move anything. AIG's primary purpose and reason of being is making decisions, risky decisions.

This takes a bit of an unusual person. This takes people who are willing to take risks, have a track record of (mostly) succeeding, and who make decisions about money everyday--often weighing today's risk against tomorrow's payoff.

(Remember, the US Government--nominally you and me--own 80% of this thing.)

So, the only way to make money this way is to have the right decisions made.

This is a highly useful skill, applicable in many fields, and somewhat a rarity in the population. This means these people--even now--often have more job opportunities than average and--probably--the means to just say "Fuck it, I'm taking a year off."

What do bonuses do?

They keep these people in the job. They keep these people who know what they are doing, have the relationships to make it work, have an investment in making it work, and--even though they screwed up in the past--a good potential--as a group--of turning the company's fortune around.

So, what does Obama want?

He wants no bonuses. He wants vengeance or he wants people to think he does. What he doesn't want is money going to these people.

What does that do?

Simple. It puts those guys in a dilemma. "Do I stay here, get shit on for less than I was promised, and work in a hostile environment or do I jump ship, take my skills, go work at a competitor for more money than I'm getting at AIG, and suffer less public pressure?"

I don't know about you, but I would hope the smart ones are going "Fuck this, the better payoff is across the street." They'll take that same knowledge and those same relationships, the experience they got from AIG, and they'll take it to a company that can and will pay them. One that--probably--is in direct competition with AIG and is going to try and take money away from AIG.


Because that's the logical thing to do and the most fiscally responsible. Only an idiot with his own money is going to stay unless he gets some other sort of payoff down the road. (Like the current head of AIG.) The only ones that stay will be the idiots you wouldn't want to handle those money-making decisions. The gluttons for punishment...

And that is why Obama and friends are frigging idiots. Anyone who stays when the government and company reneges is an idiot and all of us--taxpayers, that is--are 80% owners of AIG.

That's our money he'll be wasting. Those idiots that stay and can't handle their own money logically are going to be spending our billions. The smart ones will be somewhere else getting paid about as much for taking away our money.


That's the system.

That's the way it works and--like Drosiphila and genes--the system is the way it is because it works most of the time.

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