Friday, August 31, 2012

Work Wasted?

This morning I thought about a web site that is now gone. I had breathed good life into its bones. Is it true that many thousands of hours of work were wasted? Is it true that all of the hours invested in coding, designing and refining the web site will be of no practical value, that is to say of no importance to any employer? I think that these conclusions are all true. All of that work was completely wasted. Probably it is true I could have been in coma and achieved the same result of nothing or close to nothing.

Work as an end to itself is a difficult concept to grasp. I often feel dismay about mountains of work that I have performed with no apparent reward and no trace of the work ever having been performed, a depressing outcome for an ego that looks for rewards.

So then I call upon my guide No-Ego, which apprises me of the view from up in the watchtower. I see over the horizon a future (or is it the past?) in which humanity does not exist (or does not exist yet), and it chills me, the thought not only of my own extinction but of my entire species, but it is also a sobering observation. It seems that all human accomplishments are doomed, because that is the nature of human accomplishments. Not only the things that I do, but even the works of kings and the fabulous artifacts of genius are temporary. Every song, story, building, machine and artwork pass from all recollection. Our planet is doomed according to the current thinking of astrophysicists. We are, all of us, building castles in the sand before the tide--a consolation for anyone who has watched some of his castles be devoured by an early tide.

Living in a finite existence, one grows accustomed to thinking in terms of time, of beginnings and endings, alpha and omega, but the cycle does not end. There is no end and no beginning, so what will come will be followed. Better, worse, greater, smaller, weaker, stronger, different, same, all are manifestations of the one. I cannot and I will not be more specific than that, because I am an ant crawling on a mound of mud on an island in an archipelago--about as aware of what is going on as that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Bank Teller

I had a funny dream last night. I was at the bank, waiting to cash a check, and one of the tellers, a man about my age, made a snappy comment about me. I don't recall what he said. Unfortunately, my recall of dreams has always been spotty at best. The minute I wake up, about 75% of the details are gone, leaving only the skeleton. At any rate, the teller had a mustache and unkempt hair with cowlicks going in every direction. I thought that was odd, as bank tellers tend to be neat and conservative in their appearance as a rule. He made a snappy remark, and I retorted with something like, "Why don't you comb your hair?" and the other bank tellers laughed at him. He made no reply. Then I went over to the little table set aside for customers to sign checks, and I signed a check that someone had written to me for $500. I did not recognize the signature, but it was someone from New York, judging by the address in the top left corner. I went to the same cashier, let's call him Mr. Clown, and he performed his job in a professional manner without making any further remark.

I started having a bad feeling about the check, because I did not know where it came from. Was it a forgery of some kind? Since I didn't have any recall of the check's origin, I decided that it must indeed be fraudulent. I told Mr. Clown to give me the check back, that I had changed my mind about cashing it. He smiled and said I had made the right decision, because he had doubts about the check's authenticity as well. I took out one of my own personal checks and wrote myself a check for $500, withdrawing from my own account.

That was the end of the dream. The only basis the dream has in reality is that I recently withdrew $500 from my checking account--via the ATM, not a personal check. I have not been inside my bank in several months and have never had anything but a pleasant experience with bank tellers. However, I have had an increased rate of forgetfulness due to adopting a new schedule with many new tasks and duties and many new risks and potential problems. I think the theme of the dream is "Vigilance is Required," because it was vigilance and caution that moved me to halt the cashing of the suspicious check. I think that the bank teller was actually another copy of myself, because my hair has a tendency to stand up, and each morning I have to apply a wet comb to keep it down. I like to use humor to offset anxiety and lighten otherwise tedious or stressful situations, so Mr. Clown was me serving as the butt of a mild self-deprecatory joke. I'm not sure why the check was from New York, but I have given some thought in the past to the idea of moving to New York and perhaps some day I will.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The ego believes in win and lose, life and death, success and failure, and is centered upon the self. All things to the ego revolve around self and are only judged by their relation to self. It is impossible to perceive truth as long as an ego stands in the way, because the ego distorts reality by centering reality around the self. This is like looking into a concave mirror.
No-ego does not perceive reality as revolving around self, but observes the self in its proper place, as a small part of the whole. No-ego is concerned with the whole, with all things, although there may be a focus upon human society because of its seeming importance. Entering the zone of no-ego, one can see for miles... Insight expands, uncertainty declines. Connections are made with the whole, so that there is not a separation between the observer and the observed, but the observer feels and senses what the observed perceive.

Dwell in the ego because you must, because of the animal-nature which requires selfishness in order to survive and prosper, but build watchtowers of no-ego for the purpose of expanding the vision beyond the short-term and the trivial.

Monday, August 27, 2012


An interesting article on male circumcision popped up recently in the daily news.

I don't have a strong opinion on it one way or the other. However, when I read that circumcision helps lowers the rate of HPV, HIV, herpes, and urinary tract infections, that is something I can't ignore. Personally I don't think circumcision really matters on an aesthetic or sexual level. If you love someone, then you will get used to whatever they have in the genital department; of if they love you, then vice versa.

However, if I were to be a father (unimaginable now) then I would probably decline the procedure for my newborn for the simple reason that I don't feel like I should intrude my own opinion or belief onto another human being in a way that will unalterably change their body for life. They might resent it later, and besides, new scientific research is always coming out and one never knows what next year's study might indicate. Just for the sake of human rights and all that jazz, I would rather each boy decide for himself once he becomes emancipated from his parents.

At any rate, if circumcision is indeed a human rights violation then surely it is a trivial one in comparison to all the others.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

ImgBurn is a Virus

ImgBurn is malware. After I installed it, without warning it replaced my home page and search engine and attempted to install an unknown add-on in Firefox. I immediately uninstalled ImgBurn. As far as I'm concerned it is no different than any other virus. I just wish my anti-virus program, Avast, had stopped it in time.

I think I have eliminated all of the changes it made. What an idiotic thing that Ask search engine is. I would never in a million years use such a search engine that behaves in such an obnoxious, intrusive manner. Not only did I remove it from the default search engine, I deleted it altogether from the list of search engine options, and if I ever see it on someone's computer, I definitely will recommend removing it. Ask is a search engine created by virus-writers.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


CNN posted a decent article on Depression along with many online resources. I think that young people should get help fast from professionals when they need it, rather than parents going into denial mode and thinking everything is okay or that Junior just needs to buckle down and study more. The reality is that no amount of extra studying and no amount of extra discipline is going to alleviate depression (such strategies might actually make it worse). If the depression is not treated by someone competent it will get worse. Unfortunately there are some incompetent or misinformed psychologists and psychiatrists out there in the wild. I would say that a good shrink works wonders and that is the one to select. Only word of mouth recommendations by forthright and candid current or former patients or their parents can help find a competent mental health professional, which by the way is also the best way to find a good mechanic, carpenter or air conditioning repairman. Also, not every shrink is suitable for every patient, because personalities, personal limitations and preferences do come into play, coloring the professional's judgment and reasoning at times.

In addition to being a mental problem, depression is a medical and physical problem affecting the brain and the body. It is not "all in the head" or imagined, it is real and causes real changes in the brain and the body.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Obama in 2012

I support Obama in 2012 because he has been a much better President than Bush. He hasn't gotten us tangled up in any foreign war. He has tried to offer relief to working Americans, though blocked at many points by Republicans, which points to the urgent need to elect more Democrats to Congress. I intend to vote straight-ticket Democrat, because Republicans in almost every instance vote against the interests of working Americans. Obama has better foreign policy, better domestic policy, better economic policy, better science and technology policy, and is better on all social issues. Gays can serve openly in the U.S. military now because of President Obama, and that is a big step forward. I am also pleased that Obama has announced that he supports gay marriage, because gay marriage is extremely important for gays to aspire to the same level of stability, happiness, and security that straights do. There may be areas where I disagree on one point or another but overall the choice between Obama and Romney is a very dramatic and clear-cut one, requiring all of two seconds.

Romney does not seem much different than Bush, although he has shown a surprising degree of flexibility on many issues, changing his positions to suit his electorate. I think Romney would involve the U.S. in additional wars. To finance the new wars, he would drastically increase the national debt, just like Bush. I think he would reduce funding for education in the U.S., because the more educated the electorate is, the less likely Republicans will be voted into office. He would certainly be amenable to cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, the "big three" government programs, as well as food stamps, mortgage relief and anything else that helps ordinary people.

Romney claims to want to turn back the clock on gay rights and abortion rights, but I don't really know how far he would go in that direction, because some wealthy donors to the Republican Party don't share the enthusiasm of the religious right for gay-bashing. I'm sure the Republicans would attempt some kind of mischief to hurt gay people, but it would probably be symbolic or temporary rather than permanent. However, I would vote against Romney on the gay issue alone, if for no other reason, because there is a real chance he could hurt gays with his foolish pandering to the hateful. Romney lacks charisma and intelligence, and so he will feel great pressure to pander and give in to pressure groups on the right wing. At risk are gays, women's reproductive rights, and minorities of every kind, but everybody will feel the pinch of his pro-war, anti-working class agenda. The only people Romney truly represents are the wealthiest 1%, while everybody else is dispensable in his view and only necessary to win an election or two. That is where all the new talk against gay marriage and abortion comes from, Romney's tacit acknowledgment that he needs to fire up the religious right in order to win the election. The religious right is less concerned about Romney's real agenda (more money for his cronies) and much more concerned about gays and abortion.

When I see polls indicating that Obama is only ahead by a small margin, I am really puzzled. I do not see any reason at all for anyone except a selfish billionaire to vote for Romney. The only way I can explain Obama being only slightly ahead in the polls is that many liberals are dissatisfied with his policies on various issues ranging the gamut, from foreign policy to the economy to gay rights and marijuana decriminalization. One of my friends has even announced she is not going to vote for Obama but is going to vote for the Green Party candidate, whoever that is. I would like to remind liberals that the choice is not between Obama and your ideal. The choice is between Obama and Bush #3. And that is a very easy choice to make.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Regrets are not helpful if they are not solvable. If one can do something about something, fine. But there's no point "crying over spilt milk." (Yes, Blogger, spilt is spelt correctly.)

One of the difficult life lessons I have acquired is to stop fretting over things that can't be changed. For instance, I feel that I could have risen higher than I have if I had chosen the right career, lawyer or doctor, at the age of twenty instead of indecisiveness, followed by the adoption of a path, the easiest one for me at that time, that led to quick but modest rewards, computer programming. Today, in the U.S., if you do not have two years of experience already in a specific programming language in high demand, you are locked out. You will not be able to find a job anywhere, because ten years of experience in an old language is worth nothing. People that do not program computers do not realize this. People who are already in the field do. I have abandoned computer programming as a profession due to the inability to find a job anywhere in the computer field.

Being perfectionist can lead to depression when one detects various oversights and errors in judgment made in the past. The very nature of the past is that it cannot be changed. Only the present can be changed and only a little. The future is the most fluid of all time frames. The only thing the past can provide is wisdom by way of little stories that illustrate possible outcomes for behavior, choices and beliefs.

Another tool for overcoming regret is being mindful of the limited amount of time permitted in a human life. Sure, if we had eons, we could learn what to do and what not to do, without relying in robot-like fashion upon the instructions of others but using direct experience and observation to achieve a state of being close to perfection. We have very little time and that is the chief problem of human existence along with a limited intellect and fragile body.

I often like to imagine nonexistence and think about the impending leave, that is, what the world will be like in my absence. Better? Worse? I foresee it would be little changed with the exception of those nearest and dearest to me, so that is a powerful motive for remaining in the world as a benevolent, helping and healing influence, but it also informs me that whatever I do or don't do is not going to make any big waves in society and that's all right by me. My goal is to act in such a way that things around me are improved to the limited extent I can improve them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Max Power Draw is 45W

I am proud to say I do not own a CPU or APU with a power draw greater than 45W. I think that in 2012 anyone who does is paying too much in electrical costs to maintain their computer--unless they have special needs or play some new-fangled video game. The trend in computers is to use less power, not more. I say that time and time again. Old school hackers don't believe me. Back in the day, the only thing that mattered was speed, because computers were too slow, and human beings hate to wait for a machine. Anyone who has been paying attention to processors knows that the situation has changed. Today's processors are fast enough for most tasks and in fact much processor potential goes wasted, with the primary exception of video games. If you don't play the latest video games--and I don't--then go green, ignore the "fastest processor" hype, and buy a motherboard/processor combination optimized for HTPC. Some of them today have a total power draw of 18W or less, which is extremely impressive. Processor power draws are getting down into Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb territory! What this means is that not only will we save money running our computers, we will also save on air conditioning costs (less power=less heat dissipation=less cooling costs) and enjoy quieter machines (cpu fans become optional with passive cooling becoming a possibility).

The chief disappointment I have encountered in shopping for HTPC motherboards is that motherboard manufacturers do not know what time of the day it is. They always include a parallel port and serial port without fail, both of which are completely useless to most users today. I disable these "features" on the BIOS of every motherboard I have. Typically, they cut the PCI expansion slot in favor of an unnecessary PCI Express expansion slot, ignoring the fact that their apu-provisioned motherboards do not require separate video cards (the usual consumer of a PCI Express slot). Also, most motherboards I have seen have Stone Age sound. They lack a SPDIF optical connection and suitable hardware HD sound support for a high-end surround-sound stereo system. Most motherboards also seem fixated upon HDMI, which I don't use--and I don't understand why anyone would use it unless they have a monstrously high-resolution monitor, in which case a little bitty green HTPC might not be indicated for their purpose.

Right Path

How can a fellow know that he is on the right path? For me it is a simple feeling of well-being, that things are moving in the right direction. Restlessness, boredom, anxiety, anger or depression are signs that one is not on the right path or that something is amiss in the environment and calls for a change in behavior, either individual or collective.


I really admire OpenElec, but it's not for me. I like my computer to be able to do a wide variety of tasks and don't want any "one-note Charlie" that is only good for playing videos or music. However, even though OpenElec isn't for me, that doesn't mean I don't like it. I like the OpenElec concept for an important reason--my Mother. I think it would be great for her as an HTPC because it is easy to use and won't present any demands in terms of maintenance. So I am keeping OpenElec in mind as a potential solution for users with somewhat less technical knowledge than myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Official Breakfast of Glorious Igor

My daily breakfast:

3/4 cup of dry oatmeal (either "old-fashioned" or "1 minute quick cooking" is fine)
1 to 2 tbsp of ground brown flaxseed (Red Mill's is a good brand)
1 tbsp of cocoa nibs
2 tbsp of dry roasted sunflower seeds

Add enough water. The precise quantity is unimportant. Experience will serve as a guide. If too little water is added, more can be added later. If too much water is added, simply cook for a longer period of time. Microwave for 80 - 99 seconds, but no longer than 99 seconds. The only purpose of cooking is to make the concoction palatable. There should be no risk of contamination with these fresh, dry ingredients. The absolute minimum amount of cooking is always preferred. Too much cooking destroys vitamins. After heating, make appropriate adjustments to the water level if the oatmeal is too dry.

Now add the following and mix it in with a spoon:

5 dried apricots
juice of 1/2 a lemon (put the juice of the other half in your cold or warm, not hot, tea)


Oatmeal provides carbs, fiber and a suitable base. Flaxseed provides Omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber. Cocoa nibs are an effective antidepressant, are rich in minerals and provide additional protein, carbs, and beneficial fat. Sunflower seeds offer a cheap source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Apricots contribute vitamin A, and lemon juice contributes vitamin C. Lemon is superior to lime due to higher concentration of vitamin C.

The overall flavor of this combination is excellent. The recipe is very flexible allowing the reduction or increase of ingredients based on taste or caloric needs, as well as the addition of other ingredients such as raisins, almonds, and ground pepper and other herbs. Note: avoid adding anything on a regular basis, such as chocolate chips, that will raise the amount of sugar, because sugar causes inflammation! Once in a while is all right but not every day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I have introduced a new additive to my daily breakfast of oatmeal--lime, squeezed into my cup of tea. It tastes great, but I am doing it for a cheap source of vitamin C. It is difficult to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin C through diet, but I am persuaded that C may be one of the most important vitamins. Vitamin pills have had such a bad rap in the media lately that I'm reducing my dependence on them.

Only after I bought the limes did I discover that lemons actually have far more vitamin C than limes. Oopsy-daisy! Well, next time I'll buy lemons. My purchase was influenced by the history of the British Navy, which provisioned its ships with limes sometime in the 18th or 19th century in order to counter scurvy among sailors, which was causing massive amounts of casualties, wounds and leaving sailors vulnerable to infections and tooth loss. After limes were introduced into their daily diet, British sailors began to be called "limeys." Limes may have been cheaper then. Today, the cost difference is negligible, so I think I will opt for lemons, which are superior in nutrition content.

I no longer trust juice for sale in the grocery store. Juice tends to be concentrate and water  with vitamin C injected into the mix. One might as well pop a pill rather than drink that sort of juice, because it is nothing more than liquid vitamin pill. Solid pills are cheaper and take up no space in the refrigerator. Lemons and limes keep better in a refrigerator than an open bottle of juice and are easier to use--just cut in half and squeeze one or both halves over a cup of tea or water. I think that freshness is a good thing. I also think juice is a bad deal if it costs even as little as $2 a half-gallon, because for that price I can buy 8 lemons, which is enough for 16 servings, and the lemons will last longer in the refrigerator and taste better.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I'm pretty good at competition--that is to say, in an academic or professional setting. Among all people of all ages I would guess I am in the top twenty per cent, which means I have plenty of company--good company--but also that I function at a level higher than many. But I don't think of myself as better, and I have decided also that I must not think of myself as worse, because either self-image is exaggerated and mistaken. In reality we are to function at the best of our abilities, within the limitations of our environment. There is no other option. If someone achieves better grades or better status than me, that is okay. If someone achieves lesser grades or lower status than me, that is also okay and does not mean I am to see them as inferior. I think that many people involved in competition lose sight of our shared mortality and shared humanity. A judgmental and Darwinist attitude can develop over time. It is most interesting to see this in people who are not high performers, but merely mediocre, and they are the precise ones most apt to look down upon those that achieve less. I observe such egotism and what immediately occurs to me is, hey, you're no Albert Einstein, and I don't think you invented the steam engine either. The truth of the matter is we are all mental midgets working in the shadow of just a few titans of science and the arts. I have no patience for egotism and can't find any room for it in my own mind. I know my limitations and as I get older I find that I am reminded of them more often. Perhaps it is young people who tend toward egotism the most, because so much is handed to young people on a silver platter at birth (particularly the ones from well-to-do families), and they have not encountered quite as many dead-ends, insurmountable obstacles, defeats and reversals.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Organized Religion

I have no problem with religion or to be specific with Christians. In fact I feel much more benevolent now than when I was younger and less experienced and more rebellious. However, it does rankle when theists presume a monopoly on morality or think that going to church or praying in public or chatting about their faith makes them better than others from an ethical or spiritual or psychological perspective.

Everybody is different, and some of us thrive upon a different path due to our background, experiences, personality, limitations, abilities, and preferences. I have always felt that religion is a personal and private matter, and it seems distasteful to cheapen it with public displays of religiosity. The words that are said and the things that are done in church have often irritated me and distanced me from organized religion because they are seldom based upon reason or upon right but instead upon the common orthodoxy about some matter to which no one gave any original thought of their own. Today we see mainstream Protestant organizations wrestling with a moral issue that seems a completely obvious and clear-cut good thing, gay marriage. The fact that they have had to dicker with it for so many years points out the limited scope of their ethical (or spiritual) development, and we need say nothing of the Catholic church or for that matter Islam, Hinduism or orthodox Judaism.

Only once in my life have I ever heard a sermon that inspired me, and it was delivered in 1963 by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., but it was more a political speech than a sermon. Really his speech was a masterpiece not equaled in the 21st century. I can't speak for other centuries but I never heard a better speech in my life. That is not to say it is perfect. There are some minor imperfections, almost unnoticeable, but they don't matter. Could he have given a better delivery? Yes, but one must consider the moment, a hot sweltering day outdoors among thousands of people, and the equipment--microphones and speakers from 1963--and the fact that there was no possibility of repeating the speech, and the fact that King used no teleprompter, but spoke entirely from memory. It is a masterpiece pure and simple by a human being and could scarcely have been equaled by a human being at that place and that time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Syria's Resistance Army

So far, I'm not surprised by supposed atrocities (or desecration of corpses) by untrained civilians in the Free Syrian Army against regime snipers or the bloodthirsty shabbiha, who have themselves committed so many unpunished atrocities against unarmed civilians. One cannot with any degree of realism expect the same standards experienced in peaceful, comfortable and democratic Western countries to apply in the Syrian conflict. A civilian population that has been brutalized, watched their own wives and children tortured and mutilated, and seen their people reduced to the status of animals can be expected to act out what they know, feel, and perceive. Although there was a possibility of a better resolution in earlier times, at this point, Assad's regime cannot expect much in the way of leniency. The Assad regime respected not the smallest shred of morality, and so their enemy may be expected to conform and behave in like manner. The regime appears to have locked itself into a genocidal conflict, which reflects a grave strategic error at the highest level of their leadership. It would have been far better to compromise, to offer the opposition a seat at the table and break bread with them. Fear is only an effective tool in controlling the weak, and even there it has severe limitations.

Assad may have been educated in a medical profession (although I am skeptical of how much he really understands even in that field), but he is a fool and a discredit to his university, because he did not understand even the rudiments of morality. There is an ancient problem with evil and a very good reason that wise men reject evil ways. He who renders evil unto others is liable to be repaid in like coin.


As I was driving home today, I worked upon composing a personal creed. I liked the following:

I am a soldier of the light.
I am sworn to the light.
I am joined to the light.
So there is no end to me and no beginning.
Life and death are not serious alternatives.
There were others before me and will be others after me.
Though this single instance that I represent diminishes, the light does not.
There is light in the darkness and it renews all things.
So there is no end and no beginning.

Covering Up His Own Incompetence

This article makes the case that Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the raids on legal medicinal pot dispensaries in order to distract attention from his own bungling of the "Fast and Furious" scheme, in which assault rifles wound up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Holder is incompetent and should be removed from his position on that basis alone. House Republicans were correct to hold him in contempt. The fact that he was appointed by Obama does make me wonder about Obama's judgment.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This afternoon, I watched a documentary--BBC's Storyville, episode one--that amounted to a reality show covering a legal proceeding in rural China between two poor and poorly educated Chinese. In watching them, I was reminded that the American South does not have any monopoly on rednecks, who are distributed all over the world, it seems, clustering around rural towns and villages. Only cultural strength defeats the redneck mentality. Human beings default to a level just above savage animals. I was also impressed with the Chinese legal system, at least in regard to domestic disputes. The judge seemed quite reasonable and moderate, not at all draconian or authoritarian. In fact the court proceedings were quite casual and informal, a bit more so than I would prefer. I think that court proceedings should be imbued with dignity and gravitas, and outbursts or threats of violence should not be permitted. When the husband threatened the wife in court, I thought to myself that in an American court, that husband would have been sentenced to time in jail for contempt of court, if not assault. The Chinese judge mildly rebuked him, which puzzled me. I think that women have lower status in China.

I was also reminded of a scene from my childhood, when my mother wanted to divorce my father. Dad cleverly manipulated me in order to dissuade her from leaving him. I remember when she was at the front door, suitcases in hand, and I flung my arms around her and begged her not to go. I succeeded, but I was wrong. I see that now. I was motivated by selfishness and an inability to understand the issues between them other than at the most superficial level. So she remained in a dismal marriage for love of us. Only later did I come to understand his ways. He is not evil, but his thinking is confused, his perceptions distorted. He is a prisoner to his destiny. Now I am of the opinion that she should have divorced him a long, long time ago and been done with it. I feel resentment for having been manipulated by him at a tender age when I did not know any better. He was motivated by base cowardice, a fear of being left alone with no one, which became in later years his actual destiny, because he drove people away with his resentments and disputes. I think that we all would have been better off if she had left him when she wanted to leave him, and I think that she should have moved far, far away. But perhaps we are all prisoners of our flaws and limitations to some degree. Who has the strength to always take the best path? Such a human being has never existed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Organ Donation

I do suffer from absent-mindedness on occasion, but that is because I have always been a daydreamer even from the earliest ages. My brain just gets bored with the modest demands of the present and likes to escape on independent, unscripted vacations.

While driving home from work, I was fascinated by another idea for a short story in which a young man in prime physical condition, for an as yet undetermined motive, decides to end his life, which is a similar plot to so many of the horrible stories we have read about recently in the media. However, my plot twist is that the young man, unlike the serial murderers, is highly ethical and benevolent, desiring to perform the maximum amount of good for the world that he loves even by his act of suicide, so he researches the hospitals of the country, finds one with a very high demand for organ transplants, arrives at a precise time when he knows (from espionage) that many skilled surgeons will be on site, and informs the charge nurse of his plans, handing the nurse his Organ Donation papers and then quite calmly terminating his life in a safe and controlled manner that minimizes damage to organs.

Possible plot twists further down the road might be that the young man was hired by a millionaire who needed an excellent body part right away and wanted to obtain it through legal and above-board channels. The money for services rendered would go toward a life-saving operation required by the young man's partner.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Profile of the Typical Republican

A typical Republican was profiled in the Los Angeles Times recently.

The Sickness of Amok

The recent senseless and vile shooting by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple is another symptom that points to a sickness in our people, a collective mental illness, a derangement involving a fascination with firearms and the idea that firearms somehow equate to an empowering masculinity, a large and dominating penis, an idea that appeals to pathetic and unstable white men. I think this illness has been long in existence, judging by our history which is stained with the blood of so many people from various races and various places.

White supremacists are ignorant of all science, reason, logic, morality, and philosophy; stupid, crazy and therefore dangerous, and I hope that they are being watched by law enforcement agencies. If they are not being watched, then the government is guilty of gross negligence.

No race is superior to any other, due to the simple, obvious and self-evident fact that human beings are individuals rather than collective racial organisms. Period. End of discussion.

Two suggestions that I would put forward to remedy the problem of amok would be to reduce alcohol consumption through a tax of five dollars per fluid ounce of pure alcohol, which should greatly reduce alcohol consumption among the poor, and tax guns at a rate that reflects their ultimate cost to society. Firearms other than low-caliber variety with less than seven rounds per chamber or clip should be taxed at the rate of a thousand dollars, while any weapon that can be converted to automatic, or any weapon with a firepower greater than the average .45 should be illegal. Bullets should be taxed at $1 per round with the exception of very low-caliber, ordinary (non-hollow point) ammunition, which being less deadly, should be exempt. Derringers and other "lady's purse" weapons should be exempt as they are primarily for the defense of women and other vulnerable people. The tax money should be reserved for shoring up Medicaid, Medicare and other government programs that are being taxed by the widespread prevalence of firearms and mentally unstable gun owners in American society.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Football and Mindless Militarism

I am continually perplexed by the enduring popularity of football and the fanaticism of a vocal minority of college students for football teams, stadiums, and lavish expenditures for a program that does not produce any benefits for students or society. Indeed in the case of Penn State, the cost of the football program was much more than anybody could have anticipated!

I admit football annoys me, because it devours so much of public funds. Always the football fans are taking away from other students and other citizens to finance their mindless addiction. Never do they pay for their dirty little habit themselves. Always they are expecting the government to pay their way. A new stadium, another team, more and more gifts to the team, more and more scholarships, and enormous salaries for stupid football coaches.

Football, like chess, is essentially a war game. I feel that football's popularity has to do with the fact that our people were always at war throughout history. War is in our blood. One can't escape the calling of the blood. The people who like football will serve society as cannon fodder just as their ancestors did. If only football fans would confine themselves to football, and not have the wars, then their addiction could be justifiable as a lesser expense, but no, they must have both the wars and the football.

I love chess just as much, or rather more than, others like football, and chess is just as militaristic, drawing upon the same skills that are so essential on the battlefield. In fact football is useless as a preparation for modern war, while chess is the single best method of training. In modern warfare, thinking and planning is more to the point than physical reflexes and physical ability. Perhaps the popularity of football helps to explain why the United States has not won a war since Korea, and why it now engages in wars that cannot be won by any means.

Based on the history of wars, I would estimate that the average general, if he turned his mind to the game of chess and studied it for his entire life, would achieve an ELO ranking of 1200. The exceptional generals, the really good ones, might rate about 1400.

Human Missions?

Humans are ill-prepared for space exploration. Until we create a new species that is better adapted for space travel, all missions should be of the robotic variety if they are to be cost-effective and efficient, rather than mere shows put on for public entertainment. Humans are only well-adapted to Earth. Putting a human into a hostile environment like space requires too many innovations and creates difficulty where weight and cargo space are at a premium. It is also extremely dangerous to the humans involved, although they are more than willing to risk their lives.

A space-traveling race would be small and lightweight, about the size of a mouse, with low requirements for food and respiration, requiring a smaller vessel in order to escape Earth. It might very well photosynthesize in order to supplement its diet. It would be highly resistant to radiation, gravity, and the absence of gravity. Its sole function would be to pilot a craft and react quickly to emerging opportunities and hazards in its immediate environment, eliminating the need for long-distance communication to ground control on Earth. Actual exploration and mining activity would be conducted by robotic units remotely controlled by the pilot.

I may be conservative in thinking that an intelligent species would need to be mouse-size. It is possible, though unlikely, that a species with our intelligence, or even more, could be the size of an ant, although I do not understand how except through some kind quantum mechanics hocus-pocus communication with a larger being on Earth.

I may also be mistaken in thinking that a body is needed for an intelligent species. The only advantage organic life has over computers is that we are are more effective at general tasks and general learning. The self-aware computer may exist right now in a laboratory, and no one should discount that possibility, but it is certainly not capable of translating its will into reality, while humans with their bodies do have that capability. Yet it is possible that a robot could do everything that a living organism could do and better. I don't like the idea, but it would be naive to dismiss it. Already, ordinary desktop computers with nothing special in the way of a processor or memory can very easily beat 99.99% of all chessplayers. That is enough for me to respect artificial intelligence and accept the fact that we are, all of us, obsolete to a large extent, and we are simply waiting until the next generation of technology replaces every single human profession under the sun.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The best thing I've seen in computers lately has to be AMD's motherboard/apu combos. For about a hundred dollars, a consumer has an easy upgrade solution to replace both cpu and motherboard. This deal is sweet: an apu not only is the cpu, but also functions as the video card, one that is significantly better than most on-board video controllers. Better can be interpreted as faster and also more conservative in power consumption.

The APUs are much underpowered in comparison to the latest and greatest and most expensive processors from Intel and AMD. But the only folks who need mighty cpus are gamers, mostly. The rest of us get by just fine with a basic, below average processor. The sweetest part of the deal is that apus are green in comparison to other cpus. An APU might draw as much as 36W, while most cpus begin at 65 W and can go up to 125 W or more.

Now I have a system that runs 24/7, and while the difference in annual operating costs between a 36W apu and a 65W cpu could be substantial, my primary motivation for upgrading (or downgrading, actually, in terms of raw computing power) is that my old motherboard seems to have occasional, intermittent problems communicating with my modem. Such occasional, intermittent hardware glitches are the bane of computer technology and nobody really wants to deal with them. The easiest solution by far is to replace the hardware.


Anybody that has walked into a chic-fil-a in the past five years knows they have sworn their souls to Satan just like most fast-food chains. The chain didn't exactly make a secret of their right-wing affiliations, either, and I don't see how anybody can be surprised by the latest brouhaha over gay marriage. They are risking probably nothing based on their average customer profile. They've been anti-gay since back in the day, in the same category as Cracker Barrel, but the only difference now is that suddenly a bunch of people have become aware of it.

Chicfila buys from the chicken farms that torture chickens and shoot them full of antibiotics and growth hormones. I didn't eat at Chicfila or any other fast food restaurant before, and I'm not going to be eating there now, but not because of the boycott or because they are against gay marriage. I'm thinking about my health, and you know what else, there are more flavors in the world than butter and grease, in case you tortured-chicken eaters didn't know. For a fast food chain to make claims to some kind of ethical high horse is just laughable, but to make things worse, Chicfila picked the side of evil.

Climate Change

I do worry about climate change, because it seems like the world will experience serious effects before I disintegrate into my constituent atoms. Beneath all the hubbub about the ailing world economy is the consistent and dreadful drumbeat about irreversible global climate change, which indicates that things won't get better but will instead get much worse. Like all our problems, the new problems just won't get solved because the politicians and the people who vote for them just aren't clever enough. A glance at the U.S. Congress is all one needs to know that the United States is in no position to solve any problem facing the world. We create new problems and exacerbate old ones rather than solving any problems.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions