Monday, April 30, 2007

Just What Is He Thinking?


Today's blog is quite possibly the most useless piece of writing in the blogosphere, nay, the internet! So if you read on and get angry with me for stealing 3 to 5 minutes of your time, don't say I didn't warn you.

I've often wondered what Max, the McQueen's dog, is thinking. Probably that life is 'ruff'.

When he barks and barks, he gets in trouble. If he goes completely nuts because of something going on outside, or we need to remove him for a moment because of a guest or something, we take him off to another room where, apart from some noise, he won't be much of a bother. (We let him out as soon as possible, mind you.)

Yet, when we come along and talk at each other, none of us gets taken to another room. Sometimes, especially when laughing, we can be quite loud. As far as the dog is concerned we're just barking at each other. When he does that, he gets in trouble. I bark at Pastor Jack, and Pastor Jack barks back. Then we all bark together. Then Max joins, in and he gets in trouble. This must be upsetting to him.

Now, whenever we're eating, Max wants some of our food. He has to beg for it. But none of us has to beg for food. I wonder if he wonders why we're all so special that we don't have to beg for food. And we get the good stuff, not the stuff he has to eat. And, if he asks me for food, I always make him do something for it; sit down, stay, go to his place, etc. But when Bruce asks me to pass the salt I don't make him do anything.

Perhaps next time we're having dinner and Bruce asks me to pass something to him, I'll make him roll over first. Just to be fair to Max.

Then when it's time to clean house, we don't get scared when the vacuum gets turned on. In fact, we control the vacuum. If anything, the vacuum is scared of us! I wonder if he thinks "How did they get such control over the noisy, tubey, sucky thingie?" Yet, the fact that we're not scared of it seems to be of no comfort to him. Perhaps he thinks that the vacuum cleaner sits between us and him in the pecking order of the house?

We make him sleep on the floor. He's not allowed on the couches or chairs. We tie him up when he goes out, but none of us gets tied up. He answers nature's call in the back yard. Yet, we insist on relieving ourselves right into his porcelain water bowl! Yet, he doesn't seem to mind.

Furthermore, we look different almost every single day. He looks the same everyday. He's got a shaggy white coat. One day I wear black pants, a blue long sleeved shirt, and a tie. The next day, I wear khakis, a short sleeved plaid shirt. I don't know if he is aware of clothes. He doesn't have any of his own. I've often wondered how domestic pets feel about being naked all the time. No protection from the elements.

Actually, I think he does know about clothes. When Jack and Wendy go for a Saturday morning run, he knows that and begs to be taken. And if you're wearing black pants he insists on rubbing up against you.

Then when we take him out for walks he's on a leash. I think he'd rather go free. But we don't let him. So you'd think he'd hate going for walks, constantly being restrained by these big, slow, restraining humans.

Then I noticed when he thinks he's about to go for a walk, and if he knows where his leash is, he might pick it up and bring it to one he thinks may take him for the walk. Perhaps he thinks he's taking us for a walk. He's probably thinking "Please tie this thing to my neck and hold on so I can drag you around the neighbourhood. And try to keep up this time." That is the logical conclusion, considering we walk behind him, pick up his poop, carry it around in little bags and store it in cylindrical receptacles.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Is It Getting Warm In Here, Or Is It Just The Climatologists? (Part II)

Today's article isn't so much of an article as an editorial. I saw this and haven't stopped laughing all day.

Click to enlarge.

Update: Well, it turns out that indeed it was written tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Sorry to ruin your fun.

Monday, April 23, 2007

You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Classroom...

...then you can beat him up and take his lunch money.

As many of you know, I have spent a lot of time in school, post-secondary school that is. In fact, many of you have made fun of me for being in school so long. "When will you graduate? When will you graduate? Get out of school! Enough is enough already!"

At first it was just my peers who made fun of me. Then some of the older people at church started making fun of me.

I learned something then about being a student. If you have a full time job in your field, but you take one course in school you're seen as a student who has a job, rather than a worker who's taking a class. For the record, I did my entire university degree while working as a computer programmer. Not exactly flipping burgers.

Anyway. I digress.

I have finished all of my classes to get a B.Sc. in Computer Science, and should receive my degree this summer. I have a job, but after ten years of post-secondary school, I still haven't got enough school.

No. I don't plan on going back, but I have found the next best thing! Podcasts!!!

I went into the iTunes music store and looked at the podcast section. I started finding the coolest podcasts. I found a few French tutorial podcasts, an absolutely terrific Japanese tutorial podcast, and some music podcasts.

Those were neat enough. But then I found something else. Berkeley professors have started recording their lectures, and putting them up on iTunes Music Store as a podcast. One psychology professor from my alma mater, Algoma University, is doing the same.

So I've subscribed to a number of these. They include Social Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Statistics, Human Emotion, and some general psychology. I wonder if I can get some kind of honourary psychology degree from Berkeley for this.

So, if you haven't yet, go to Apple's website, download iTunes (it's free), check out the iTunes Music Store, select "Podcasts" and search to your heart's content. Expand your horizons. Learn about something you've always wanted to know. Find independent music from Canada, and around the world. And best of all, it's all free!

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Have Something To Say

"Women have x words to speak everyday, whereas men have y words to speak everyday. Where x is greater than y by a factor greater than 1, and is often in the area of 4 or 5. (eg: x = 4y)"

People have long believed that women have more words to speak in a day than a man does, so after a day of work, women still have more words they have to say, while her husband has met his quota, and then some. She talks into the evening, and he stays relatively quiet.

Not so, according to Today's article. That's a myth with no scientific backing. Studies put the sexes at the same amount of words.

The article doesn't go into the details of any of the studies so I can only go by what the article says. The article seems to say that the amount of words that were spoken was what was measured. I don't think the old saying isn't really about how much men and women speak, but rather, how much they feel they have to speak. There's a difference.

I know, for myself, that I have a certain amount of socializing have to do in a certain amount of time. And with socializing comes talking. There are times, like during exams, or social dry spells (like when I was doing chemistry), when I hardly see any friends. I work mostly alone. I eat lunch alone most of the time, and after a while I need to socialize, darn it! I need to get out and talk!

On the other side of the coin, if I socialize too much than I no longer enjoy it, and I find myself to be listless, apathetic, withdrawn, and just waiting to go home and get away from it all.

So it seems I have a certain range of hours per week that I need to socialize. I'll wager most people have this too; a certain amount of socializing and talking they need to do. It's probably different for most people. Some, those we know as social butterflies, need lots. Loners need little. Some people who can get by on little, but still do well with lots of socializing simply have a large range of optimal socializing time.

And that's all I have to say about that.

UPDATE:  the original article seems to be gone, but here's a more recent article on the Sex Differences in Talkativeness.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm An Artist Too (13)

This is a character I've created. Mad scientists are so cliche, so this is the Angry Scientist. He's angry because his university canceled his chemistry course, causing his degree to be delayed.

Not at all autobiographical. :)

(Click to enlarge)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Is It Getting Warm In Here, Or Is It Just The Climatologists?

One thing that bothers me is when experts in a field disagree on something. It seems there's no real way for a layman like me to know the truth. Take global warming, for example. The experts can't seem to agree on it.

I think most scientists agree that the climate is warming. The question is one of cause. Are humans to blame, or is the warming due to natural changes and our contribution is merely a drop in the bucket?

A recent report came out that was put together by many scientists saying that we are indeed the cause. But there's still scientists saying we're not. This report was, apparently, pretty convincing. But then they found that global warming isn't localized to Earth. Apparently Mars is getting warmer. This implies it might not be our fault.

So, whom do I believe?

It seems to me that a lot of people, who are not climatologists, are pretty convinced one way or the other. I'm sure if I asked them who I should believe, they would tell me to believe the scientists who tell them what they already believe. If I ask someone who thinks we're causing the global warming, they'll tell me to listen to the scientists who say that it's our fault. If I ask someone who thinks we're not the main cause, then they'll tell me to listen to the scientists who say we're not.

And none of these people will be climatologists. Now, I know who most of my blog readers are, and I don't know of any climatologists reading my blog. If you're a climatologist, if you reply to me telling me what side I should believe, then you'll also have to tell me why I should believe you instead of the climatologists saying the opposite.

Since I claim ignorance, the confirmation bias can't really be applied to me here. One suggestion would be that I read the studies and decide for myself. But that seems like a waste of time. I'm not a climatologist, nor do I wish to go to school for the length of time it would take to become one. So I'll end up wasting my time reading stuff that I don't understand. And they could be pulling the wool over my eyes and I'd have no idea. Same thing if they were practicing bad science, I probably wouldn't be able to tell. In the end I'd still believe what I wanted to believe, or being just as confused as I am now.

(The confirmation bias is when you find evidence to support a belief of yours, and ignore evidence contrary to your belief.)

So, whom do I believe? Since I can't make an educated decision it seems my choice of whom to believe would be arbitrary, doesn't it?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Apparently, It Might Not Be The Tomb of Jesus

I recently posted about the tomb that was found in Jerusalem that Simcha Jacobovici thought to be the tomb of Jesus. I said it probably wasn't, and implied that to think it was Jesus' tomb was to employ some wishful thinking.

Today's article tells of scientists who appeared on the documentary are "backing away" from the claims that it was Jesus' tomb.

On this note, does anybody know of any historical documents from first century in Palestine that explicitly says there was no persecution of christians?

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Law Of Attraction

I've heard about this Law Of Attraction mini-phenomenon. It's the latest craze it seems. It was even suggested we get a copy for our team at work so we could all read it.

Well, I beat them to the punch...sort of. I found a free podcast that explains the Law of Attraction, and how to use it. It works sort of like affirmations. The idea is that things of similar "energy" attract. So, if you think lots of negative thoughts, lots of negative things will happen. If you think positive thoughts, lots of good things will happen to you.

And, apparently this doesn't just work for general things like "positive" and "negative" things, but specifics. The podcast host says she actively thinks positively about getting a good parking spot, and she always gets one. That seems pretty specific to me.

So I want to know if this is really works, or if it's a way for people to notice happy coincidences, and downplay bad things. I've decided to perform my own quasi-scientific experiment to prove the Law of Attraction.

For scientific process, I'll need a hypothesis that I can test. So I will think positively about something that I want, thus creating lots of positive energy that will attract me to my desire.

After much contemplating, I've decided what I want. Here it is: I want to see the Beatles live in concert. All four of them. John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I'm being specific. I don't want to see a tape or other recording or reproduction of them live in concert. I want to see them live in concert.

I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert. I want to see the Beatles live in concert....

Friday, April 06, 2007

Another Reason To Be A Steve Jobs Fanboy

As most of you know, I'm boycotting the RIAA because they're suing customers. (The latest is that they're suing a 10 year old girl who's disabled mother is on Social Security, for file sharing she allegedly did when she was 7. Come on! suing a 10 year old girl!? That's low.)

One of the other things major record companies do is putting DRM (Digital Rights Management) on their music when selling online. I think this is more dumb than it is evil.

What is DRM? It's encoding of a music file to prevent sharing of said file. The encoding takes into account the computer that owns the file. iTunes Music Store, until now, has DRM'd all their music. So if I buy a song from iTunes Music Store, it's encoded and will only play on my computer, my iPod, and up to 4 other computers that I authorize. Oh yeah, and on those computers the song can only be played in iTunes.

The idea behind DRM is that it makes the song impossible to copy so I can't give it to anyone over the internet. But it isn't that simple in reality. First of all, I can burn the song to a CD, then rip ("to rip a CD" means to copy the songs onto your computer into a file format, such as MP3) the song off the CD into MP3 format onto my computer. Then I can share it. Or I can just buy the CD and rip the music off of that.

Right now music bought on services, such as iTunes Music Store, makes up such a small minority that DRM probably doesn't make any difference to "illegal" file sharing. Steve Jobs doesn't seem to think so, anyway.

Today's article explains how iTunes Music Store will start to sell EMI songs, DRM-Free. It's a tiny bit more expensive than DRM'd songs, but it's also at a higher recording bit rate, meaning higher quality.

Both Apple and EMI should be applauded for this. But I find myself in a difficult position. My first instinct is to run home and buy some DRM-free EMI tracks from iTunes Music Store to show them my support for this move. But then I'm still supporting the RIAA. Perhaps I need to do a temporary suspension of my boycott.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm An Artist Too (11)

The inspiration for this picture, is of course, You Can't Do That On Television.

He's saying "That really cracks me up."

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Look'N'Feel

Today's post is relatively boring. Okay, it's not just relatively boring, it's really boring. At least it's short.

I got a new lookn'n'feel for the blog. It's neat. I can add news feeds, and other widgets if I so desire. Chances are, I don't so desire. But if I wanted to....

Anyway, see ya Wednesday for some more Coffee Cup Art.