Monday, July 31, 2006


ok, so israel bombed an apartment building in qana in southern lebanon, killing at least 55 innocent people, including 37 children and 12 women, and at least 15 of the children were physically or mentally handicapped. then after international outrage, israel promised secretary of state condoleezza rice that they would stop all air attacks on southern lebanon for 48 hours unless they had explicit knowledge that a rocket was about to be launched. so then hezbollah stopped attacking israel with rockets, trying to show a little goodwill, that they would be able to hold to a cease-fire, right? and then what does israel do? just a few hours later, the liars in israel go back on their promise, and start the bombing campaign in southern lebanon again, pretending that they never made a promise to stop. and even the promise they made had too many caveats; it was just ridiculous. it was only for 48 hours, only in southern lebanon and not all of lebanon, and only covered air bombings, and even with all those caveats, they also had to say that if they received intelligence of a rocket about to be launched, they would bomb the rocket launcher. i have been trying hard to give israel the benefit of the doubt and not think of them as having moral equivalency with the terrorists. but, i am afraid it is no longer possible to consider anything the israeli government says to be true. they have proven themselves to be boldfaced liars. and they have not only undermined lebanon’s peaceful, democratically elected government, but also undermined u.s. secretary of state condoleezza rice, who already has very serious credibility problems. we in the united states supply israel with all of their weaponry, and our government gives ridiculous amounts of foreign aid to israel, much more than to palestine or lebanon. we gave them precision laser-guided bombs, and the most advanced military technology in the world, and what do they do with it? they use it to kill innocent people! you can say all you want to try to justify what the israelis have done, but they should have verified the target was a military target and not a civilian one prior to attacking. period. the israelis keep making the dishonest claim that they do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. bullshit. i don’t think we should listen to the israelis or anything they have to say, until they stop being such remorseless liars. i mean, i tried to give them the benefit of the doubt after they killed all those civilians yesterday. but now that they have shown themselves to be complete and utter liars, i do not think there is any more doubt about whether the statements of the israeli government can be trusted to be honest anymore. announcing this half-assed 48-hour ceasefire was just their way of giving condi rice at least something she accomplished when she was there, and then they pulled that rug out from under her less than a day later. it is making the united states look bad too, for taking israel’s side in this, and for handling the crisis so incompetently. and this war in lebanon is creating more terrorism, not less. president bush needs to tell israel to stop doing this shit.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

the real mel gibson, just like in south park

well the real mel gibson turns out to be just like the mel gibson that appeared in south park. the crazy, jew-hating, complete lunatic mel gibson that appeared in south park. check out the story. so he thinks the jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. wow. i wonder if that includes world war 2. the jewish banker elite sure was brilliant when it engineered world war 2 for its own enrichment. oh wait? 6 million jews died in the holocaust? well don’t worry, mel gibson’s dad said that none of that ever happened, and mel gibson still looks up to his nazi daddy. and he tried to unzip his pants in the middle of a jail cell to pee in the middle of the floor right in front of a bunch of cops. he called a female cop “sugar tits”. he tried to escape from the police when they were getting him into the police car. and he slammed a telephone so hard it almost broke. and he treated the cops arresting him like dirt, and said he owned malibu and would ruin their lives. and he kept telling one of the cops he would “fuck” her (that was his word, not mine). and of course he was drunk driving. not just a little drunk, but very, very drunk. is this guy a role model? is this the type of person our youth should look up to? is his ultra-violent, anti-semitic movie “the passion” something anybody should ever watch? what is wrong with this dude?

now mel gibson is not a partisan republican, by any means, although he is a far-right-wing christian fundamentalist fanatic. on foreign policy, he is actually opposed to the war in iraq, and he opposes the neocons, since he thinks it is all a jewish conspiracy. he blames everything on the jews. so, when i criticize mel gibson, please note i am not criticizing some guy who is a loyal republican. this dude agrees with me that the war in iraq is a bad thing, and he and i both hate the neocons. it’s just that we hate the neocons for different reasons. i hate them for being stupid warmongers who go around starting wars and can’t ever get anything right, who waste all of our nation’s money on reconstruction projects that fail miserably, with all the money being embezzled by private contractors with no oversight. the war in iraq is basically a giant get-rich-quick scheme to defraud the american taxpayers and funnel the money to a small number of wealthy executives in defense contractors and the oil industry. but, then again, the medicare prescription drug benefit that the republicans enacted is similarly a giant get-rich-quick scheme to funnel taxpayer dollars to enrich the executives of phamaceuticals and hmo’s. now, conspiracies are secretive, and this stuff is all out in the open and publicly known, so i would not exactly call what the republicans are doing a conspiracy. everyone knows they are a bunch of crooks, except that by definition whatever they do is legal, since they write the laws. it is just that everything they do is highly unethical, but since they write the laws and enforce them, they can hold themselves to a much lower ethical standard than they hold anybody else to. anyway, none of this has anything to do with a few people at the top happening to be jewish, or with our alliance with israel, a peaceful, democratic country in the middle east. recently howard dean called the president of iraq an anti-semite for failing to condemn hezbollah as other arab leaders did. and really, everyone should condemn hezbollah, because they are using the lebanese people as human shields to protect themselves from israeli attack. by choosing to locate their military operations in areas which are full of innocent civilians, hezbollah makes it impossible for anyone to attack them without inflicting massive civilian casualties. they always shoot their rockets out of highly populated areas, for instance. now while it is certainly legitimate for people to criticize israel for having a disproportionate response, for killing 10 times as many lebanese as the israelis that are killed, criticism is simply an expression of free speech, and in no way should criticism of israel be interpreted as support for hezbollah, or as anti-semitism. on the other hand, when someone like mel gibson makes broad accusations against the whole of world jewry, this is the same sort of unconstrained anti-semitism that adolf hitler engaged in. when hitler denounced the jews, he denounced all jews, without any ifs, ands, or buts. he did not say “there are certain elements among the jewish population that are destroying germany,” he just went all out and said things like “the jews are destroying germany.” criticism of jews is legitimate only if there is enough nuance present to limit the criticism to only apply it to those individuals guilty of whatever they are accused of. for example, if a person were to denounce certain jews such as paul wolfowitz and joseph lieberman as being ultra-zionist warmongers hell-bent on completely reshaping the middle east, that is a legitimate criticism, as long as you limit it to only those individuals responsible, and do not generalize it to include millions of ordinary civilian jews who had nothing to do with starting the war in iraq. and it is intellectually dishonest to claim that solely the jews are responsible for the war in iraq, when it is evident that there are actually many other non-jewish people who also had a hand in it. for example, condoleezza rice and colin powell both had a hand in starting the war in iraq, but can we really blame black people for starting the war? no. and even pointing out that they are both black is not something worthwhile, because that should not matter. so i say, let us forget about who is jewish and who is not, and instead focus on who wants peace and who wants war, who wants human rights and who wants torture, who wants western civilization to set higher standards for itself than the terrorists, and who wants to fight fire with fire and get down dirty with the terrorists and do everything they do right back to them. the main problem in the war on terror is, we have to try and stop ourselves and our nations and our militaries from becoming as awful and bad as the terrorists we are fighting. we can legitimize attacks against terrorists, even if some innocent civilians are killed. we can come up with moral justifications for torture, if it saves lives of innocent people by finding out about future terrorist actions. the more we legitimize awful things like killing and torture, the more we become like the terrorists. the terrorists also legitimize and justify everything they do, and they think everything they do is morally right. for us to be morally superior, we have to be morally humble, and acknowledge that none of us is a supreme authority on morality, and that sometimes we do make mistakes or do things that are wrong. mel gibson has apologized for his anti-semitic comments, which is good. there is another mel in hollywood who is well known for his anti-semitism, but he gets away with it. the other mel is mel brooks. mel brooks is jewish, so he gets away with insulting jews and writing plays like “the producers” that feature hitler and giant nazi flags. that is because people can tell that mel brooks does not really mean it if he makes fun of jews, because he is one himself. mel gibson, on the other hand, practices the same religion adolf hitler practiced. so, he has a little more explaining to do. perhaps his ideas are more nuanced when he is not drunk, and he does not really hate all of the jews, just the few neocons who got us into iraq. if that is the case, then i forgive him. i just wish he were a little less crazy. and i hope he has not donated any money to hezbollah. maybe the irs should audit him just to make sure he has not donated any money to islamic terrorist organizations. just to be on the safe side, because ya never know who might be supporting terrorists. i mean, heck, your neighbor next door might be a terrorist sympathizer or an al qaeda fundraiser or even a future suicide bomber. anything is possible these days.

and as for whether mel gibson will work in show business again, don’t worry. the jews don’t control show business, and neither do the communists. nowadays, everybody knows that the scientologists control show business. as long as mel gibson does not defame the memory of l. ron hubbard, his hollywood career is fine. but i doubt he will keep many allies on the right wing now that his anti-semitism has been revealed, because the right wing in the united states is trying to seduce the american jewry into becoming republicans, and mel gibson could undermine this whole plan. i hope none of my fellow leftists are foolish enough to embrace mel gibson and his anti-semitism, which might be a temptation to those who oppose the israeli invasion of lebanon. although i disagree with the tactics used by the israelis, i agree with their objective of getting rid of hezbollah. but we would all do well to heed the words of ignignokt, one of the infamous mooninites from aqua teen hunger force: “the innocent shall suffer... big time.” truer words hath never been spaken. ignignokt and err are two of the greatest 2-dimensional philosophers the moon has ever produced. we must all bow before their ineffable wisdom.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

opera, harnessing blog power

the opera browser recently came out with version 9.0, and is working towards the release of a 9.01 updated release. they are using this blog i link to, to test new beta versions every week. they have been employing this strategy since february 13th of this year, about 5 months ago. and their browser is not only the only browser that runs on windows and passes the acid2 test, but it is now working on the vast majority of websites. i have been trying it out. of course, firefox and internet explorer still both work on more web sites than opera, but it used to be that like, half the websites on the internet didn’t work in opera. that fraction is steadily decreasing. and practically everything works in firefox now, as well as internet explorer 7. and it would be ridiculous for something to not work in internet explorer 6, since that is what the majority of people still use. anyway, all of the websites i regularly use work perfectly in opera now, except for one, which is a real dramatic turnaround from a year or two ago. and since opera is the fastest browser, that is another selling point. but what is really amazing now is how fast they are innovating, because of this new blog. of course, the people working on internet explorer 7 have had a blog longer, but do they post new beta versions every week? nope. they only post one every few months, and they are not at all as good at responding to user feedback as the folks at opera. the folks at opera actually listen to their customers and what people comment, and do what the people ask. what do the folks making internet explorer do? see for yourself. people complain about the same things again and again, and they never get fixed. like the new-looking user interface that nobody likes, and its inability to be customized at all. nothing but complaints about it, but do they fix it? hell no. that is not the way to do software development. i just wish worked in opera... writing this blog in opera is such a pain, since nothing works right. this is really more the fault of the people who run than the opera browser’s software developers. i think perhaps this is because google has chosen the side of mozilla firefox in the latest round of the browser wars, and google might not want opera to be undermining firefox, perhaps. who knows? but it is a shame opera still cannot be used for, because still uses browser-specific code (though, in their defense, at least they support both internet explorer and mozilla firefox, instead of just 1). i would really like to be able to use opera as a general-purpose browser. oh, and i have uninstalled internet explorer 7 beta 3, and am back to internet explorer 6 sp2, which i never use. it turns out internet explorer is very tightly integrated into the operating system, with some .dll files used by both internet explorer and the rest of the operating system, and a part of both of them. so if you upgrade internet explorer, it upgrades those .dll files. which is kind of bad, because then your system is unstable and it can break other applications. and it messes up stuff in the registry. i found out how messed up this was when i tried to run a standalone version of internet explorer 6. internet explorer 7 beta 3 had screwed up all the settings so prior versions don’t work anymore! so i got rid of that crap. it simply does not make any sense to have any part of your operating system be a beta version. that shit is too important to leave to chance. and as for internet explorer 6? it’s almost as ancient as internet explorer 5, or netscape 4. does anyone use netscape 4 anymore? no, so why should anyone use internet explorer 6? seriously... we just need to get these folks on the team. i would like to have a viable alternative to firefox, but it seems opera is not quite there yet. not because it is opera’s fault... it is the webmasters’. but opera is doing its best to catch up, with this blog. and when it comes to features, of course opera is ahead of the pack, and everyone else is copying features opera had for years. opera needed those features to compensate for the fact that it could not display a large percentage of webpages correctly. now, everyone is starting to have the same features, in all the different browsers, and the webpages are starting to all be made to work in any of the modern browsers. so these web browsers, which were once so completely different, are now converging towards something similar. all of the old oddities about opera’s font rendering that i used to notice are now gone, and the websites that used to look totally messed up because of this are now finally working! i don’t know exactly when they fixed that stuff, but i think it might have to do with the fact that my computer and my parents’ computer both have over a thousand fonts, including many that were converted from mac fonts to pc fonts. the ones that were converted from mac fonts to pc fonts looked messed up in opera, but not in internet explorer or firefox, until recently. now they are working just as well in opera. pretty amazing stuff. the reason i converted all the mac fonts to pc fonts was, my dad wanted a font called palatino on all the pc’s he used, but that font only comes with macs, so i got a program to convert fonts, and i figured, i might as well go for it and convert all of them, since some of those mac fonts are pretty neat and might be cool to use on a pc. and they worked in every program except opera... well, they mostly worked... actually they do not work too well in microsoft word, at least not on the screen, but they print out correctly at least. microsoft word was the only other program besides opera to screw these mac fonts up, and it still screws them up, but i am not expecting anything to change in that regard. i mean come on, it’s microsoft. microsoft is releasing a whole lot of beta software to the public these days, and having blogs and such, and trying to be hip to the new changes, and they are even getting totally serious about security and stuff. but like, ok... they are still way too big and corporate to really innovate efficiently, like small companies such as opera software can do. microsoft has just become too big for its own good, and found out how economies of scale do not really apply to the software industry. they just get to stay #1 because of market rigidity, caused by practical concerns about backwards compatibility, as well as the stubbornness of consumers who only know one thing (windows/internet explorer/ms office/etc.). but ok... who uses napster, now that it is the new corporate sellout napster that costs money to get downloads? nobody. who uses netscape 8, aol’s corporate knockoff of mozilla firefox? nobody. see, nobody is interested in using inferior products. now maybe there is an exception for norton antivirus... but that is because norton antivirus used to be the best, back in the day, and developed quite a good reputation, and it takes awhile to lose a good reputation and get a bad one. microsoft is mainly just coasting along on the inertia of being #1 for so long, and they delayed the release of windows vista for 3 years, doubling the amount of time, while only getting half the work done that they originally said they were going to do. a good portion of that delay had to do with making windows xp service pack 2, which proved to be quite a diversion for microsoft, but something which they actually did remarkably well, almost perfectly. but why? why pour new life into windows xp, 3 years after it comes out, with better security, even though everybody already has it? and not even charge money for the update? and this new windows vista will have very high system requirements, and not run on most existing computers. how do they plan on making money? meanwhile, ubuntu linux is like, the next big thing, and maybe everyone with old computers might end up using it instead of windows xp. yeah, microsoft still makes money by selling a new copy of windows on every new pc, but for how long will that last? there are already lots of computers being sold without windows by major companies, and even dell is doing it now. and if mit succeeds with its $100 laptop initiative, this would weaken microsoft more than anything. but opera is there to show that there is a real alternative to large corporate software producers and to the open-source community, and that small companies can be quite competitive as well. i think that is a very powerful lesson, and perhaps if a company like microsoft became more decentralized and operated more like a coalition of small businesses that are strategic partners, rather than like a giant behemoth, maybe it could be more efficient. until that day, opera will catch up with firefox in terms of website compatibility, while firefox catches up with internet explorer. all 3 will continue to try to copy each others’ features. firefox will copy opera to pass acid2, and internet explorer will do that last of all. opera and internet explorer will both develop alternatives to firefox extensions, and internet explorer will develop something akin to opera skins or firefox themes. opera will copy internet explorer and firefox to have a phishing filter, and firefox will try to pack as many awesome new features into version 3.0 as possible, having been unable to do so with version 2.0. and firefox will have to do something about its excessive memory usage, while internet explorer will need to finish fixing its implementations of xhtml and css. and, the developers of all the browsers will probably eventually all be using blogs to put out new beta versions all the time. and what about safari, apple’s browser for macs, which was first to pass the acid2 test? it will keep up with firefox and opera for the mac, as they get better. but new versions of safari will require new versions of mac os x. so, less and less people will want to use web browsers that are integrated with their operating systems. and more and more people will use opera and firefox.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

why so one-sided?

people may wonder why this blog, or for that matter, any blog, or other forms of verbal (written or spoken) content by human beings is so one-sided and biased. i have a very simple explanation for that: i am a human being, and we human beings, by nature, are one-sided and biased. a person cannot really hold two contradictory opinions at once; if someone does, then they do not really have an opinion, since they cannot make up their mind, and therefore they are not really ready to say much of anything coherent on the issue they are ambivalent about. in order to talk coherently about something, you have to understand it to at least the point where you have formed an opinion on it. we human beings are, by nature, fallible, and none of our opinions is ever infallible or unquestionable. so does this mean, opinions are worthless, and nobody should waste their time spouting their opinions, or reading or listening to other people’s opinions? no!

opinions are the product of human intuition (which we have because we are complex biological organisms). computers cannot form opinions on their own; they can only use logic and deal with facts, which is quite limiting, in terms of their ability to reason about complicated topics where not all of the information is known. human intuition, unlike the mechanical deterministic logic that computers do, is nondeterministic, and there are multiple possible outcomes for what decision a person might make. on the other hand, everything a computer does is completely predetermined ahead of time, if you do not allow any nondeterministic user input to muck things up. so even the smartest person has some probability of arriving at an incorrect opinion, even after thinking things through a lot, because opinions are quite different from facts.

thus, you have this blog, among other things. you may disagree with things i say sometimes, which is entirely natural and appropriate. obviously, i feel that my point of view is much closer to the truth than the point of view of anyone who disagrees with me, if we are just talking about a single issue. like gay marriage. i think there is nothing wrong with it and it is not a threat to anybody so it should be legal. and if you disagree with me, i think you are wrong and totally out of touch with reality. you may disagree with me on that or any other specific issue i have addressed. and obviously, since i am a fallible human, i am almost certainly wrong about a certain percentage of things i have opinions on, just like everybody else. so the probability i am right about all of the things i have opinions on is minutely small, even if you assume i have a 95% chance of being right on any given particular issue, since there are so many issues i have opinions on. but i think the most important thing is what is the most likely percentage of issues on which i am correct, i.e., closest to the truth? i think that for me, this percentage is much higher than for most people. but, then again, this is simply the bias of the ego, and my thinking on this is typical.

so, let us say you disagree with me about religion, or about israel, or about men and women, or about which political party to support (if any), or about any other subject. you may, at times, strongly disagree with some of what i say, and perhaps it may make you angry or think i am an idiot or crazy or something. these are, of course, emotional responses, precipitated by the fact that you have different biases than i do, and our points of view are mutually incompatible. ultimately, of course, most such disagreements on matters of opinion are actually based, in part, on a disagreement about fundamental facts. therefore, if humanity were able to establish an unquestionably objective source of information, which everyone universally agreed was factual and correct, most of these disagreements would be resolved with one side conceding it is wrong, and agreeing with the other side. i, for one, am intellectually honest, meaning, if i realize that i am incorrect about something, i am actually willing to admit to being incorrect, rather than continuing to defend a position which i actually know is wrong. so, under normal circumstances, i only advocate a position i agree with, unless i am doing a satire/parody such as what stephen colbert does, or the famous short essay “a modest proposal” by jonathan swift. but when i am writing satirically, i try to make this as obvious as possible, so that only a blithering idiot could miss it. this is also quite similar to my honesty. i am a very honest person, except when i lie. but when i lie, i tell completely ridiculous, outrageous lies, ones that are so obviously false, nobody would ever believe them. and then if someone says i am lying, i am honest, and immediately admit to it; i do not continue lying at all after that point. if someone does not get it that i am lying, i continue, with lies that are more and more outrageous, until they get the point.

my ultimate concern, though, is for the truth. i believe the truth is too often overlooked or ignored or even outright contradicted by people, because it is too inconvenient for them to deal with. reality is a very unforgiving thing, and the truth does not change because we wish it to. the truth does not change to match our opinions if we get too far off base. but i think, there are very many people in this world who have long ago abandoned the truth, and gotten very far off into never-never land. and when i discuss issues, whether i am direct and honest, or use satire to show the absurdity of another point of view, it is all for this one purpose, to help people get a better sense of the truth, a better sense of reality. i am not sure if this endeavor makes me have a better understanding of reality, since perhaps i may simply reinforce my own bias, but i am certain it is helpful to those whose bias conflicts with mine. when you read something you disagree with, it makes you think a lot more than something you agree with. you look through it, try to pick holes in the arguments to refute them. it helps you develop critical thinking skills. so even if i were wrong about everything, this blog would still be a useful thing for people to read to help understand reality a little better, since by deconstructing my bias, they would also be deconstructing their own bias too. i often find it rewarding to read things written by people i strongly disagree with. it helps me keep a handle on reality and not go overboard with my bias. if i simply read stuff by people who agree with me, it would not help very much with this. that is why i like reading the huffington post much better than the daily kos, because the huffington post is full of conflicting opinions and bitter arguments, while in the daily kos, pretty much everyone agrees on most things. nobody gets banned from the huffington post for having unpopular opinions, which is why i love to read it. but i never post on it, or on other sites like that. i think having this one blog is enough. there are enough people out there who agree with me that are already arguing in favor of what i believe in, that i am really not all that necessary, although every bit helps, in shaping public opinion. and why am i so concerned with shaping public opinion? because i believe the public is completely misinformed about a great deal of things, and it requires a lot of effort from a lot of people to change that and help humanity become more realistic and stop having so many people off in never-never land, believing things that are untrue.

like for example, saddam hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. there is no such thing as ghosts. there is a rational scientific explanation for every ufo ever seen in the sky, and none of those rational explanations involve space aliens, because they simply live too far away, according to the drake equation. raising the minimum wage means a higher standard of living for the vast majority of people. tax cuts do not increase government revenue, they decrease it. global terrorist networks cannot be defeated through unilateral wars; in fact, unilateral wars are almost guaranteed to strengthen them, because worldwide cooperation is needed to defeat terrorists, and unilateralism undermines global cooperation more than anything else can. the scientific theories of evolution and global warming have both been proven, and there is not any dispute about this in the mainstream scientific community. although jesus christ preached a message of peace, christians later became warlike and used violence and intimidation to force everyone to be christian, by burning heretics and “witches”, and sending missionaries to accompany colonial conquerors in subjugating the peoples of most of the world outside europe. these are all simple truths, but so many people out there are misinformed about them. if a person’s religion is almost entirely determined by the religion of their parents and what country they live in, what basis does someone have for claiming that the religion they were raised with is correct, and the religion somebody else was raised with is incorrect? or, more importantly, what is the basis for the claim that people of one religion go to heaven while those of another go to hell, given these demographic facts about how your parents and what country you are in are the primary factors determining your religion? how can mel gibson claim that only roman catholics get into heaven, and that his own wife, a protestant who he admits is a good person, is nevertheless going to be damned to hell for all eternity? people need to think about things a little more carefully, and not cavalierly assume that they are right, without even making sure that their beliefs are not self-contradictory or in contradiction of the facts. as i said, i for one make no claims of infallibility, and i wish nobody else would make such claims either, because it is absolutely ridiculous.

still, i will continue to express my opinions despite the fact i know they cannot all possibly correct, because of the statistical improbability of such an outcome. i hope people will continue to read what i write here, despite the fact that, statistically speaking, it is almost certain that i will get things wrong from time to time. i do try to hold myself to a higher standard than most other people hold themselves to, in terms of thinking about things thoroughly and evaluating all possibilities as impartially as possible. but despite it all, my bias remains, because to be human is to have bias. which is why the idea of having a mainstream media which is unbiased, or a centrist political affiliation which is unbiased, is completely laughable. any attempt to eradicate bias will simply succeed in covering it up and making it harder to see directly, but it will still be there, stronger than ever. i believe people ought to admit to being biased, and not try to hide it, because that is the only intellectually honest approach. thus, i think most news anchors are intellectually dishonest, because, in pretending not to have bias, or hiding their bias, they subvert the ability of the public to evaluate the validity of what they say, in the full context of knowing what the speaker’s bias is. i applaud the new trend of how some journalists like lou dobbs are abandoning the pretense of impartiality, and are showing their cards, so we no longer have to wonder at what they really think. now obviously, journalists should never abandon their regard for the truth, as pundits like bill o’reilly and rush limbaugh have done. for a real journalist, truth is paramount, and trumps opinion. but without knowing the reporter’s opinion, the audience is not getting the full story, and something is missing; the viewer cannot put things in their proper context. i think this is really one of the main factors behind the public being so misinformed. but i cannot misinform you on this blog, because it is obvious that i am one-sided and you are not seeing the other side of the story here, so if you consider everything i say within that context, you can never go wrong. although, of course, it is self-evident that my point of view is indeed correct, and my side of the story is closest to the truth. that is, if you agree with me, which i personally believe would be a good idea.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

computer fixed

i got my motherboard in the mail, re-assembled my computer in about 15 minutes, and got it fixed perfectly! it was easy! now i finally have a working computer again! and i applied at lots of temp agencies. my sister came home to visit the parents and me for a few days, and our nuclear family was finally whole once again. however, the lawnmower is acting up, and not working right. but it is so great to have a working computer again!

now sometimes people might read some of my blog posts where i am down on religion, and wonder, why do i hate religion so much? well, just about everything i have ever heard about religion is bad. especially in history books. or in the news. and religion does not even make sense. i think it distorts people’s reasoning and keeps them from thinking logically, and makes them come to the wrong moral judgements on a very consistent basis. so, what is so wrong with religion? here is a little summary:

the crusades. the spanish inquisition. european colonialists, imperialists, and missionaries, who went out and conquered the world, and taught its people they were inferior to and subservient to white people. all of the great religious leaders being men (jesus, muhammad, buddha, moses, abraham, l. ron hubbard, j.r. “bob” dobbs, etc.). cults like scientology, or crazy suicide cults like heaven’s gate, or david koresh, or jim jones, or sun myung moon. the dark ages in europe, when people were kept illiterate, uneducated, and enslaved as serfs, and religion was used to keep people down. the israeli-palestinian conflict, where both sides are motivated by religion to kill and destroy, because they think the same land belongs to them, because their god told them so. pat robertson and jerry falwell saying that 9/11 happened because of gays, feminists, and the aclu. islamic terrorists, who kill us because their religion tells them to. the destruction of the great scientific knowledge of past civilizations, by monks in the dark ages. the persecution of great scientists like galileo. the salem witch burnings. abortion clinic bombings. people who oppose saving the environment because they think that the rapture is coming and that god gave mankind domain to exploit the earth. the “promise keepers”, who think women should be like slaves to men. how back in the 1800s and earlier, religion was used all the time to justify slavery. you see, if you study history, and if you look at how religion is used today, it is very very clear that religion is an evil force in this world. it is a force of destruction and violence, a force of hate and oppression, a force of irrational disregard for logic and reason. how can you possibly trust the judgement of a person who cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality? you see, i see no difference between an obscure ufo cult and a major world religion. i see no difference between the infamous preacher fred phelps of topeka, kansas, and any other preacher. to me, all religion is the same. to me, all religion is dangerous and evil. i cannot believe anything unless i have proof that it is true. to me, it seems like insanity for someone to believe something without proof. the very concept of god is self-contradictory, as i have often discussed. i think, even if a religious person is the most nonviolent pacifist in the world, they are still a dangerous force, because they base their beliefs on something that is unproven and almost certainly untrue. there is simply no way to verify that a person who is religious is able to act in their own enlightened self-interest, since religion can delude people into thinking things like “slavery is right” or “we should burn her because she is a witch” or “the end of the world will happen within 5 years so it does not matter if we destroy the planet”. in today’s world of weapons of mass destruction, where there are enough nuclear weapons to end all human life many times over, i feel tremendously unsafe having religious people in charge of nuclear weapons. what if they actually believe they will go to heaven when they die and that the end of the world is going to happen soon anyway, and think they are a part of fulfilling some ancient prophecy? what if they think god will protect us from our enemy’s nuclear weapons, even as we nuke our enemy to smithereens? there is simply no way “mutual assured destruction” can work if either side seriously believes in religion. i think that religion is basically the #1 threat to the continued survival of humanity. now maybe there is good religion and bad religion. i don’t know. i do not understand religion one iota; it seems like complete nonsense to me. i think someone can only really be trusted if they do not believe in religion, because then, they are likely to act in their own self-interest, and if they are smart enough, it will be their enlightened self-interest. and if someone is acting in their enlightened self-interest, their behavior is fairly predictable, and they will certainly not go around killing people for no reason, or doing other crazy things that religious people do. you see, how is the religion of a typical american different from the religion of an islamic suicide bomber? sure, they would worship jesus instead of allah, but really, does christianity have a better track record than islam, in historical terms? what about the great religious wars of europe, crusades, inquisitions, witch burnings, etc.? and why do people claim that only members of their own religion go to heaven, and everyone else is damned for all eternity? i cannot see how that would be a justifiable, since there are good people and bad people in all belief systems. the problem with religion is, it turns good people bad, and makes violence and killing happen unnecessarily. the most religious people in the world are the terrorists. the least religious people in the world never cause any problems for anybody. because, if someone is so non-religious that they do not believe anything strongly, they are certainly not going to believe in a cause strongly enough to be willing to die for it... they are more likely to just go along with things and try not to get in the way, or offer some mild resistance to things they think are probably bad, until things get too unpleasant for them to continue their opposition. of course, nobody is 100% non-religious, certainly not me, for instance. i still believe in some things. i know, it is bad, to believe things without proof. but, for some reason, it seems to be inescapable, part of the human condition, to find yourself adopting certain viewpoints and positions and beliefs. it is not something that i wished would happen to me, but it did happen, and i am sort of a pawn in this game. my beliefs are a result of things i have heard or read, things said or written by other people, and really they are not an original product of my mind. they have thus been corrupted through repeated imperfect communication from one person to another, just as a religion gets corrupted because beliefs cannot be taught, as they come from within. a religion can be wonderful and benevolent, like the religion that jesus christ tried to teach his followers, but then become a horrible malignant force, oppressing humanity, setting back scientific advances a thousand years, and generally causing more problems than it solves. i do not think it is good to have an outlook based on unthinking devotion to a certain set of beliefs. so, for example, although i believe in evolution and global warming and the promise of embryonic stem cell research, this is simply because i have heard time and time again that the vast majority of scientists believe in these things, and all of the peer-reviewed papers in those fields also uphold those viewpoints, and i believe that the scientific method produces superior factual results than any other method of human inquiry. this does not by any means mean that i think any of those things is infallible, as i think nothing is infallible. but, i think those ideas are inherently superior to anything faith-based like creationism. i simply do not believe that religious fundamentalists have anything even remotely similar to a realistic viewpoint about any subject where they disagree with the scientific consensus. on what do they base their claims? some book that is full of contradictions that was used to justify slavery and war and oppression? or actual impartial objective reproducible experiments where people actually observe how things really work in the world around us? religion and science have such a long history of being at odds that i think religion has thoroughly discredited itself. and that is why i dislike it so much.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

try firefox 2.0 beta 1

hey everyone, please try firefox 2.0 beta 1. it was just released a few days ago. i have found most firefox extensions work perfectly on it, but you will have to get new themes for firefox 2 since the old themes do not work anymore. you will also need an extension to re-enable your other extensions: the nightly tester tools. with the nightly tester tools, you can get all of the extensions for firefox 1.5.0.x to run in firefox 2.0 beta 1. almost all of them will work perfectly. none of the extensions i use have had any problems. anyway, this is a good way to test things out so that when firefox 2.0 is released (probably in september), there will not be any problems. if you have any problems with extensions or themes, please email whoever made the extensions or themes, so that we can get as many extensions and themes working on the new version of firefox as possible. this new version of firefox is codenamed “bon echo”. firefox 1.5 was codenamed “deer park”, and firefox 3.0 is “gran paradiso”. i would not recommend trying out “gran paradiso” any time soon, as it has many big big changes in it. “bon echo” makes hardly any changes in the underlying way things work, which is why almost all extensions still work, but “gran paradiso” will be a much bigger deal. so i urge everyone to go ahead and download firefox 2.0 beta 1, even though mozilla only recommends that developers and testers download it. go ahead! be a beta tester! it is fun!

and check out this video with 2 firefoxes in it! they are an endangered species! the firefox is more commonly known as the “red panda”, or ailurus fulgens. it is found in the himalayas, in nepal, bhutan, myanmar, china, india, and laos. in the past, they have been classified as bears and raccoons, but now they are classified in their own category. firefoxes are incredibly cute. “panda” is the nepalese word for a creature that eats bamboo, so firefoxes really are pandas. in china, they are supposedly called “hunho”, which translates literally as “firefox”. however, i read on another website that the chinese actually call them “xiao xiong mao” or 小熊猫. try searching google for 小熊猫. (more results than in english!) so where does the name “firefox” come from? i think it is actually from the latin name of the species, ailurus fulgens, rather than from the chinese or nepalese names. fulgens means fire-colored and ailurus means fox, so ailurus fulgens is latin for “firefox”.
they are also known as the “lesser panda” or the “bear-cat” or “cat-bear”. first discovered by whitey in 1821, thomas hardwicke originally called it “wah”, but that was a stupid name. he also reported the nepalese name “poonya”, which was bastardized to “panda” in english. frederic cuvier, a french naturalist, was responsible for coining the latin name “ailurus fulgens”, from which the english word “firefox” is most likely derived, and he called the species the “bright panda”. then, in 1869, when the white man discovered the giant panda, the firefox was renamed the “lesser panda”. nowadays, the most common term is “red panda”, because they are red and they are pandas. anyway, here is the video, i think from japanese television:

the bbc has some more videos of firefoxes here. they are sooooo cute! some japanese site called has some more videos of them here. and here is a picture from china’s xinhua news agency of 2 baby firefoxes, that are ultra super cute:

2 baby firefoxes

war in lebanon

so ok, here is how it happened. a month ago, an israeli warship killed a woman and her kids, who were just out on the beach on a nice sunny day, for no reason. in response, hamas, the terrorist group in charge of the palestinian territories, took an israeli soldier hostage. the israeli government then destroyed the only power plant in gaza and killed more innocent civilians. so, a few days ago, hezbollah, a lebanese terrorist group with funding from iran and syria, kidnapped two more israeli soldiers, because they had seen how crazy the israelis behave after their soldiers are kidnapped. hezbollah is actually a part of the lebanese government, and its forces control southern lebanon. and hezbollah has been firing rockets at northern israel, just like hamas fires rockets out of gaza into israel. ok. great. let me explain a few things here.

first of all, israel is way more powerful than anyone else. they have the most advanced military, well-trained and well-equipped, of anyone in the region. they have proven time and time again that they can defeat all the other countries in the middle east, combined. there is no doubt whatsoever about israel’s military capabilities. secondly, the muslims who fight israel have to fight as terrorists, and resort to asymmetric warfare, because they simply cannot afford all of the high-tech weaponry that israel has. when you are fighting terrorists, to win, you have to unite people in different nations against the terrorists, and keep them from getting any popular support. also, you must refrain from ever adopting the terrorist tactics of targeting innocent civilians. unfortunately, israel has failed, and they are not careful enough about picking and choosing the targets to attack wisely. they keep spilling the blood of the innocent, and they have even deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, such as the main beirut airport, bridges, highways, etc. israel has proven through their actions that they are no more civilized than the terrorists they are fighting. the ultimate victory of the terrorists is to make the enemy the terrorists are fighting become just like them.

so, what should israel be doing? well, they could try targeting hezbollah, instead of the innocent civilians of lebanon, for starters. honestly, the united states is not setting a very good example in iraq. just look at abu ghraib or haditha (where 24 innocent civilians were murdered by u.s. marines in cold blood), or what about that mentally ill soldier who raped an underage girl and then killed both her and her family to cover it up? i am just saying, it is not in israel’s interests to kill innocent civilians and make themselves even more hated than they already are. why do they always undermine their own interests all the time? the israelis have a fundamentally flawed way of thinking, where they think any problem can be solved through the use of overwhelming force. they simply cannot realize, the more times you kill innocent people, the more enemies you make, the less friends you have, and the more you undermine your own standing. there is a reason israel is not diplomatically recognized by any of its neighbors, and it is israel’s own behavior militarily, going back many decades.

now what about islamic terrorists? obviously, they must be defeated. but how can you defeat terrorists if you stoop down to their level? you have to be better than them, to not only have superior military force, but also the moral high ground. is it really worth it to inflict higher casualties on the terrorists, if it costs you the goodwill of the people of the world, and makes you discredited and hated? in most countries of the world, jewish people are nonviolent, law-abiding, civilized people who do not cause trouble. what is it about the jews of israel that makes them so violent and bloodthirsty, so different than the jews elsewhere in the world? have they learned nothing from the holocaust? one would think them most fundamental lesson of the holocaust is not to kill innocent people because it is wrong. the holocaust teaches us that although a prosperous country with a large military budget and a democratically elected leader can engage in genocide against millions of innocent people, history will harshly judge anyone who allows this to happen, takes part in it, or enables it in any way, shape, or form. those who resisted the holocaust are considered heroes. so why is it today, that israel is killing so many innocent civilians, and destroying infrastructure in gaza and now in lebanon, despite all the holocaust survivors in israel? i think the jews in israel, unfortunately, learned less from the holocaust than anyone else did.

or rather, the jews have learned from the holocaust, but they did not learn the proper lessons. they learned to be paranoid and think everyone who is not jewish is out to get them, and to instinctively side with other jews and not question whether the other jews are right or not. they learned to accuse people unjustly of anti-semitism. very often, american jews who are pro-israel accuse anyone who speaks out against israel of being anti-semitic. they even level this accusation against their fellow jews, against those few who dare to speak out against the ruling clique of the american jewry. we have seen from the aipac espionage scandal that pro-israel american jewish organizations are not really on the side of the united states of america. that was also demonstrated by the sinking of the u.s.s. liberty. both israel and the palestinian territories, both israel and lebanon, have democratically elected governments. so if the united states is really committed to peace and democracy, why do we keep supporting the militaristic bullies of the middle east who go around imposing their will on everyone else all the time? you have got to think, maybe we in the united states are really kindred spirits to the israelis, since we are also militaristic bullies imposing our will on the rest of the world.

but israel is really on the front lines against terrorism, since they deal with it every day. we in the united states have not really been attacked since the september 11, 2001 attacks, and subsequent anthrax attacks. none of us has ever had to deal with what the israelis go through every day, unless we were soldiers stationed off in iraq or afghanistan or something. but even then, it is different, because we would be off in another land, a foreign land, and not know the terrain. the israelis are fighting in their own backyard. the thing is, awful situations like that should not turn people into monsters who do not have compassion, who support the killing of innocents. i think all this exposure to violence and killing has desensitized the israelis, as well as muslims in the middle east, to that sort of thing, and made them much more willing to support it or participate in it. people over there do not seem to be able to learn that this violence is wrong! they have some crazy-ass sort of mental block in their brains that prevents them from ever learning from their mistakes.

anyway, i simply cannot abide by the killing of innocents, whether it is done by terrorists, the israelis, or my own american military. all sides have blood on their hands, but we need to stop this senseless killing. i do not see what is so wrong with the kidnapping of soldiers, however. in any war, you can take enemy soldiers prisoner. it is better to be alive than to be dead. israel should be glad the soldiers taken prisoner are still alive (assuming that they are). what the terrorists are doing that is really outrageous, of course, is the killing of innocent civilians. in the case of the terrorists, we can be certain that this killing of innocents is deliberate, because, luckily, the terrorists are simple-minded enough not to hide their motives or lie about it. the terrorists are honest enough to admit that they deliberately kill innocent people. the militaries of the united states and israel, on the other hand, always officially maintain that they avoid as much as possible the killing of innocent people. of course, i see no reason to believe them, because this seems like a blatantly dishonest ruse to avoid being held accountable for their actions that kill people. ultimately, of course, in both countries, there are civilian elected leaders in charge, and there is really a failure in leadership, a failure which is partially responsible for these atrocities taking place.

the israelis keep using that tired old excuse, we have the right to defend ourselves, and we can’t just sit idly by while our soldiers get kidnapped and our cities are bombed. great! nobody is arguing with that. the problem is, the choice of tactics the israelis make, in “defending” themselves. it seems like all they ever do is provocation and collective punishment. why is it so hard for them to identify who their enemy is, narrowly defined, and then target and destroy that specific enemy? i do not see the need to destroy civilian infrastructure, or to purposefully kill innocent people. there is no way for any decent person to justify any of it. terrorists are uncivilized, horrible people, because they destroy civilian infrastructure and kill innocent people on purpose. but now it seems, there are more terrorists than just the muslim terrorists. there are terrorists in the militaries of the united states and israel. i think our military probably has less than israel, but the guys who did the killings in haditha, definitely would count as terrorists. i don’t know how many other soldiers in our military are terrorists. some people say it is a fraction of 1%. i can only hope that is true. as for the israeli military, we cannot forget that they are drafted into that military against their will. the united states did the same thing in vietnam, and it resulted in atrocities. i would hate to think how many israeli soldiers have taken part in atrocities, although to be honest, they cannot be held personally responsible for everything they take part in, especially if they are just following orders. then again, going back to the holocaust, we must remember that the nuremburg tribunals established that just following orders is not a valid defense for war crimes. we cannot be “good germans” and stand idly by or support what is going on in our names. if we do not stand up and oppose war, then we shall have a great war, against over a billion muslims, a war we are gradually being drawn into, one that keeps escalating. that is an unacceptable outcome, and for the sake of humanity, we cannot allow such a war to ever occur. we must end the war, and get the muslim terrorists to end their jihad. we as americans should not support israel at all in this conflict, even though we have just as much innocent blood on our hands as they do. would that make us hypocritical as a nation? yes. but we are already very hypocritical as a nation, so it would not really be much of a change.

and do not for a moment think i am a defender of islam, from what you have read in this post. i have been and remain a staunch opponent of that religion. they believe in nothing but superstition, they reject modern science, and their system of morality is oppressive and totalitarian towards individuals. they have a horrible record when it comes to how they treat women, homosexuals, or people of other religions. islam is an absolutely indefensible religion, causing nothing but misery and suffering around the world. the prophet mohammad was a child molester, for crying out loud. still, i think we must avoid war against islam as a whole, as diligently as possible, because there are over a billion of them, and it would suck if we ended up fighting total war against all of them. christianity also has a very poor record, what with the crusades and inquisitions and burnings at stakes and all, and by the way adolf hitler was a christian. and as for the jews, well we all know israel is run by jews, and look at all the violence they have been carrying out lately. all in all, i think all of the monotheistic religions have thoroughly discredited themselves through senseless acts of violence. any religion that teaches people to kill and destroy is not a religion worth saving. but, people still have the right to decide for themselves what to believe in. that is kind of implied by freedom of speech, that people have the freedom to believe whatever they want, no matter how stupid. so even though i disagree with a large percentage of the world’s population about religious doctrine, i do not hold this against them as human beings, and i am still a staunch defender of their rights as people. and i do not think it is fair for us to discriminate against muslim countries just because of their religion, like we do with iran. if we claim to believe in tolerance, how can this be true if we show no tolerance towards other religions? tolerance is part of the basis of our moral superiority to the terrorists, the basis of how we can philosophically prove that we are good compared to how evil they are. we must be as different from terrorists as possible. terrorists kill innocent people, so we should not. terrorists are religious fundamentalists, so we should be atheists or agnostics or something like that. terrorists are intolerant, so we should be tolerant, and maybe that means we don’t have to be atheists or agnostics unless we want to. terrorists are almost all men, so we should be almost all women. mmmmmm... i can hardly wait for that last one.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

time travel happens all the time

you may not realize it, but time travel is not only possible, but it really happens. all the time. it is incredibly common. here is how it usually works, in everyday life:

the diagram above shows how the most common type of time travel occurs. a positron is an electron going backwards in time. note how the photon is at a 45 degree angle in the diagram. a 45 degree angle means that it is going at the speed of light. a steeper angle indicates something is moving slower than light speed. since electrons and positrons are both matter (or rather, a positron is antimatter, which is matter going backwards in time), neither of them can move at the speed of light; they both go slower. and nothing can go faster than light speed. so anyway, what happens in the diagram above? what the hell is going on there?

here is the first way to describe it. the electron is just bumbling along, minding its own business, and then suddenly decides, hey, i think i am going to radiate some energy, in the form of a photon. so the electron shoots a photon off at the speed of light, and the recoil from shooting off the photon propels the electron backwards in time. kind of like when you shoot a shotgun and the recoil from shooting the shotgun pellets so fast knocks you backwards. well, time is just another dimension like space, right? so the electron was shooting off a photon the same way you can shoot a shotgun, and it clean knocked the durn electron back in time. git er done! so then the electron is now called a positron, since it is going back in time, and anything going back in time switches from being matter to antimatter. about this time, the universe starts to get pretty pissed off about the antimatter existing, plus the positron, a.k.a. electron moving backwards in time, is hard up for some energy, like some kind of whacked out drug addict with no money who can’t afford to buy his/her next fix. remember how the electron had suddenly decided to shoot off a photon for no reason? crazy stuff. but sometimes electrons do stuff like that, if they are the wild and crazy type. so yeah, the universe says, hey, i’ll send a photon to hit that positron head on, and knock it back to its senses so it is an electron going forward in time again. and whaddaya know? it happens. the positron gets hit by a photon, and bam! suddenly everything is normal again, and the electron is going forwards in time again. but, for a certain period of time, there are 3 copies of the same electron, simultaneously existing. except one of them is going backwards in time, so it counts as -1 copies. so actually there is just one copy, since 2 of them cancel out. technically. but you and i both know, there are 3 copies of the same electron existing at once. it is possible to do this to more than just an electron. people have actually done this shit with entire atoms, and maybe someday they will be able to send people back in time. but that would be really fucking hard to do.

ok, so what is the more conventional way to look at this, for people who don’t like time travel? well, according to the conventional model, time is always going forwards. so, in the conventional model, the photon and electron are both just going along, minding their own business. then, the photon suddenly decides to split into an electron and a positron, one particle each of matter and antimatter. the new electron goes off into the distance, while the positron collides with the old electron. and bam! they both get obliterated, destroyed, in a flash of energy, shooting out a new photon, which just happens to be identical to the old photon, going in the same direction, with the same amount of energy. so, how the fuck is all of this shit possible?

well, this dude named richard feynman was a physicist, and he helped come up with a theory called quantum electrodynamics, or q.e.d., and he wrote a book about it, called qed. i was reading the book and that is where i found out about this shit. you see, in the q.e.d. theory, people use feynman diagrams, things with lots of arrows in them, like the one above that i show. well i am not sure if it is a feynman diagram actually, but it is just like one he had in his book, except instead of using colors to tell the electron, positron, and photon apart, he used different types of lines, either wavy lines or straight lines. ok. anyway, in this theory, you have to look at all possibilities, even ones that seem ridiculous. so, why on earth would anyone come up with this possibility?

well, when light is going through a material, it does not actually go at light speed. what the fuck?!? but no, it’s totally true. ya see, light keeps hitting electrons, which absorb the light, and then a little while later, the electrons release the light. then the light keeps on going, but it is running late, because it got held up in traffic by the goddamn electron that cut it off. so, we can observe the state of a system, before and after all this happens. the electron and photon both start at certain points, and both end at certain points, and in between, something happens. but there are like, a bunch of totally different possibilities as to what happens in between, and practically anything is possible. maybe the photon hits the electron, the electron changes direction for a bit, and then the electron shoots the photon off again, and goes back in its original direction again. maybe the photon hits the electron and is shot off from the photon at the exact same instant. or maybe the electron shoots off the photon before it absorbs the photon. there are like, an infinite number of ways this can happen. and in a certain percentage of the possibilities, stuff actually goes back in time, for a little while. that is just how it works. and this shit is indisputable. the theory that says all this happens, quantum electrodynamics, has been confirmed to be true, to an incredibly high accuracy. it is much more accurate than newtonian physics or the theory of relativity, in describing the physics of these interactions between electrons and photons. q.e.d. is a great success story of 20th century physics. and richard feynman wrote an excellent book all about it, where we find out about these seemingly absurd consequences of the theory. but, isn’t it cool that stuff can go back in time? maybe someday, we will be able to build time machines, and go back in time to change history. we can already send entire hydrogen atoms back in time (first done in 1995 by the physicists at cern in switzerland). and we have been able to send electrons back in time as positrons for up to 2 weeks, according to feynman’s book. when stuff is converted to antimatter and going back in time, it has to be kept away from actual matter, or else it will be vaporized and turn into light. not fun. so, if someone builds a time machine, they should test it out on animals before any humans try it out. it might not be very safe. i’m just warning ya. still, it might be a lot of fun, even if it’s dangerous. actually, i don’t think it would ever be feasible to send an entire human back in time. even a single atom is incredibly difficult to send back in time, so imagine sending billions of them back in time. in 1995, they only managed to send 9 of them back in time, and each hydrogen atom only managed to go back in time by about 40 nanoseconds, or 40 billionths of a second. not very promising.

but what is remarkable is, when sunlight is going through a glass window, at least some of it interacts with the electrons in the glass in the way i described above, causing electrons to go back in time. this also happens when light is going into your eye, or going through water. it even happens a little when light is going through the air. this interaction between photons and electrons is what slows photons down and results in the index of refraction for a material. it is why stuff underwater in a pool looks funny if you look at it from above the pool. antimatter is all around you! you just need to pay attention, and you might notice it next time. just read richard feynman’s book qed and find out about it. so why is there so much more matter than antimatter? because time goes forwards. otherwise, we would be stuck at the big bang (the beginning of time), since time wouldn’t be going anywhere. obviously there wasn’t any time before the beginning of time, so the antimatter had a hard time existing back then, since time went backwards for it, and it got stuck at the beginning of time and had to turn around in the time dimension and become matter again. matter, on the other hand, can keep existing forever, since time goes forwards for it. so that is why there is so much more matter than antimatter, and why nowadays antimatter particles have such short lifetimes. it is because the universe does not want anyone fucking around with time and making things go backwards. you can still do it, but the universe tries to stop you by sending matter to annihilate your antimatter. what can you do to defend yourself? usually, scientists use a strong magnetic field. if you are sending a charged particle back in time, you can also protect it with an electric field, which helps a lot more. since a hydrogen atom is not charged, it is much more difficult to protect when it is going back in time, so you cannot send it as far back in time. that is just how it works. neat, eh?

now you might be wondering, hey what about paradoxes when you go back in time, or can you remember the future, or stuff like that? well, apparently there are not any real paradoxes about any of this. it just works. quantum physics is really messed up, especially when you get down to the nitty-gritty of what happens at a subatomic level. it seems to violate all sorts of traditional notions of how things should work. but who cares? this is how the universe works, and the universe does not care if you think it is weird. the universe will continue to be weird, regardless of what your opinion about how it operates is. so, you might as well try to understand how the universe operates. and try to remember that antimatter is the same thing as matter except it is going back in time. now what about light? can you send light back in time? yes, but time never passes for photons, because at the speed of light, time is slowed down to zero, according to the theory of relativity. and only things with zero mass, like photons, can go that fast. they always go that fast, although sometimes they seem like they are going slower, because they keep being absorbed and re-emitted by matter. even in a vacuum, light will occasionally split up into a matter particle and an antimatter particle for a little while, and then the matter particle and antimatter particle will recombine into a photon again. this slows down the light, since matter and antimatter move slower than light. these random things happen because of quantum uncertainty. you never really know exactly what will happen, you only have probabilities. but you know what? lenses are amazing. they change the direction of light, by taking advantage of how light goes slower through a lens than through the air, and having different widths in different areas. the lens in the human eye does that. and so do corrective lenses, and telescopes, and microscopes. and in all the equations, when you add up all the probabilities, they must always have a sum of 100%, or else there is an error. and without accounting for the possibility of antimatter and things going back in time, the equations would not come out right. without antimatter, your glasses would not work, since there would be a paradox. amazing...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the best antivirus

hey everyone. just wanted to let y’all know the best antivirus is called nod32, by a company called eset, and it is their only product. they have very good tech support, and their product is practically flawless. it does a better job finding viruses and other malware than any other antivirus, yet it is also faster than any other antivirus, having the smallest impact on system performance. sounds too good to be true, but it actually is true. you see, these are not the new kids on the block. their company was founded in 1992, so they have been developing a better and better antivirus product for 14 years. all this, from a small company in slovakia. you can get the nod32 antivirus here. it costs about the same for a yearly subscription to updates as norton antivirus... but nod32 is much much better. or, you can use it for free... but after 1 month, it stops giving you updates. not to worry, since you can uninstall and reinstall again, once a month, and keep using it again and again for free, legally. but, these people actually deserve your money, unlike the bastards who make other antivirus programs like norton or mcafee. i am just frustrated with the fact that people are still wasting money on norton and mcafee and then wondering why their computers are so slow and why they still get infected. especially norton... it is quite bad. unless you have the newest version of norton, you only get weekly updates. everyone else in the antivirus industry has updates at least once a day. nod32 still works on old versions of windows, and also works on other operating systems like linux and dos too. with programs like norton, the system requirements keep getting higher and higher with every version. isn’t it good that at least someone cares enough to make sure their program still works in windows 95? and nod32 is mostly written in assembly language, for optimum performance. if you go without updates for a long time, you can still catch a remarkably high percentage of new virii, because nod32 has the best heuristics for detecting virii. so even without updates, it can still keep you relatively safe. so, please, do not waste your money on an inferior antivirus product. if you ever buy an antivirus, just get nod32, because i would hate to see people install inferior software on their computers.

that being said, there are also excellent free antivirus programs, too. the main ones are avastavg. i am not really sure which one is better, but they are both quite good. neither can compare with nod32 of course, but they are both pretty good considering they are free. they are both probably better than norton or mcafee, too. if you don’t want to go around wasting money, then go ahead and get one of them.

symantec, the company that makes norton antivirus, does actually make a pretty decent antivirus program, called symantec antivirus corporate edition, and it is only for large organizations. it is still not as good as nod32, but certainly better than anything you can get for free. symantec antivirus corporate edition is what cornell university uses. it is pretty good. certainly much better than norton antivirus, the crap aimed at consumers. unfortunately, there is a security flaw that exists in symantec antivirus 10.0.x but is fixed in 10.1.x, or something like that, except it is more complicated than that, since i think you might be able to patch 10.0.x to fix the flaw, and the earliest versions of 10.1.x might still have it, but anyway, it is pretty bad. but symantec antivirus 9.x and earlier are totally safe. and so are the newer builds of 10.1.x. still, maybe symantec antivirus corporate edition might not be quite so safe after all. you never can tell with this sort of thing. then again, who really knows if nod32 has any security flaws, because it is not a major target for hackers or virii. but i read online somewhere that nod32 is the main antivirus they use internally at microsoft now. and if someone says it on the internet, it must be true! that being said, microsoft has its own antivirus now, but it is pretty new. i think they use nod32 as the thing they test theirs against, since it is like the gold standard.

anyway, please, people, do not buy any other antivirus products besides nod32. you are simply a part of the problem and not part of the solution, if you waste money on other crap. think before you spend! compare the wikipedia entries for nod32 and norton antivirus, for example. which one is a glowing review and which one is full of harsh criticism? now there are a million other antivirus programs out there nowadays, such as panda, trend micro, f-prot, kaspersky, etc. please do not get distracted by all that nonsense. the reason there are so many is, the biggest 2 players in the industry, norton and mcafee, are crap, so other newcomers can come along out of nowhere and write something far superior to the best-selling product. but only nod32 has a proven track record of consistently being the best, since before some of those other antivirus programs had ever been written. does it always come out as #1 in all the newest comparative tests of antivirus products? no. but it is #1 more often and more consistently than any other product. i just find it very frustrating to observe that such a superior product has such a small market share, while the most inferior product has the most market share. why are consumers so ignorant about this?!?

Monday, July 10, 2006

dog or cat?

are you more like a dog or a cat? which one do you act the most like, or feel the most affinity towards? i always thought of myself as a dog person, because i like dogs a lot and i understand them and can get along with them. i do not understand other people, because of my asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism that, among other things, means i do not have any “empathy”. but what exactly is “empathy” anyway, and why does everyone think it is so great? i do have sympathy for those who are suffering, and a strong sense of right and wrong. but empathy is something completely different. empathy apparently refers to some sort of psychic powers, to the ability of people to magically sense how other people are feeling and what motivates them, and to really figure out what people are really like inside or something like that. i don’t really know what the hell it means. but i have been thinking, and it seems to me like dogs have a lot of empathy, whereas cats have none. at least this is what is apparent to me after interacting with a cat the last few days, and thinking back on other times i have interacted with dogs and cats. a dog, you see, has some sense of friendliness or hostility, and can judge the intentions of someone pretty well. at first, dogs are usually hesitant to make any snap judgements, but after observing you for a little while, they make up their minds whether you are friend or foe. if they judge you as a friend, they will let you do pretty much anything and go along with it without complaining, whereas if they judge you as a foe, they will fight you ferociously. a cat, on the other hand, has no empathy at all, and appears to be just like someone with asperger’s or autism. a cat does not have any real sense of friend or foe, and cannot figure out anyone’s intentions, so some cats are always suspicious, not trusting anyone except perhaps their owner, whereas other cats are friendly and trust everyone, even strangers they have just met. cats behave strangely, because they have such a great difficulty telling friend from foe. this is incredibly frustrating for them, it seems, from observing them. yesterday this cat was looking me straight in the eyes, and was quite scared it seemed, because the poor creature did not trust me and had no idea i was friendly. cats have a natural hatred for authority or being bossed around, have no empathy, and are basically loners. while some of them do become friendly and socialize, they also have no empathy and are still frustrated by how unpredictable everyone is. you see, if a cat expects me to behave one way and i behave a completely different way, this is not something the cat likes to see. and a cat, with its tiny little brain and inability for rational thought or words, is basically just a dumb animal. but one that is just like me, or anyone else with an autism spectrum disorder. a dog is also a dumb animal, but dogs have empathy, because dogs are excellent at pattern recognition, operate on a simple pavlovian level, and have a pack mentality and a strong sense of loyalty. this is a fundamentally different way of thinking from cats, who think in terms of me versus the world, and are basically hardwired to be independent, not trust anyone, etc. for a long time i simply thought cats were crazy or stupid or something, because of how ridiculous they behave compared to the sensible behavior of dogs. but i have realized, perhaps the cats are the smarter ones after all. yes, they act really dumb sometimes, being nice and cuddly one second and then suddenly cutting your skin open with their claws with no warning the next second. but really, doesn’t this behavior serve a useful purpose? it acts as a deterrent towards people doing things the cat doesn’t like. don’t many cats have an irrational level of fear, and go around afraid of everything all the time? yes, but this does keep them out of danger, and it would be better than being dumb and getting into situations where they get killed. my point is, although i like dogs a lot better than cats, and i understand them much better and can get along with them a lot easier, i think i am actually a lot like a cat myself. and i certainly cannot understand people, because people are far too complex to ever understand completely. but when i look into the eyes of a cat and see its fear and lack of understanding, i feel a sense of understanding myself, and feel like i understand the cat’s point of view and can sympathize. i think maybe that is empathy. so, now i can have empathy towards both dogs and cats, but still not towards people... they are just too difficult to figure out.

cowboy diplomacy

ok, let’s get a few things straight up front. cowboys are gay. i saw the movie brokeback mountain, i know all about it. secondly, cowboys are dumbasses. just look at dubya, the cowboy from texas who thinks he can be president. so, the new issue of time magazine is all about how cowboy diplomacy is dead, how it is a massive failure. uh, hello? the whole point of being a cowboy in the international arena is that you hate diplomacy, you are antisocial, and you just want to get on with the business of starting wars and killing people. this is all pretty fucking obvious stuff. of course in the 2000 presidential campaign bush said he wanted a “humble foreign policy” where we would not tell other countries what to do, yet as president he set out to do the exact opposite of the foreign policy he had campaigned on. liar? no, a liar is someone who actually knows that what they are saying is not true. bush is way too retarded to be a liar, in what he said in the 2000 campaign. he was just a complete dumbass. so really, why do we even call it “cowboy diplomacy”? why not just call it “brain-dead foreign policy”? ron suskind has a new book out, the one percent doctrine, about how dick cheney and other neocons have a doctrine to treat something that only has maybe a 1% chance as if it is completely certain. and now peter hoekstra, the chairman of the house intelligence committee, is writing an angry letter to bush about being left out of the loop on secret illegal intelligence operations, and only hearing about them because of whistleblowers who leaked to the media. it is wonderful to see that government functions so smoothly under republican one-party rule... peter hoekstra and george w. bush are getting along so well together. i am kidding of course; it is plain to see that the republican party is abandoning bush in order to try to hold onto control of congress. nobody should be fooled by these half-hearted attempts by republicans to distance themselves from bush: they were staunch supporters of him for so long, they have lost all credibility, and certainly do not deserve the public’s trust. they have shamelessly abandoned all principles they once claimed to uphold, such as balanced budgets, smaller government, keeping the government out of people’s private lives, accountability for presidents who abuse their powers, etc. it is not surprising that they have a double standard for presidents depending upon party affiliation, but what is surprising is the depths of their hypocrisy and how far they are willing to go out on a limb to defend the indefensible actions of the bush administration. and now they are pandering to the very vilest segments of public opinion, on issues where the public is hopelessly misinformed, like flag burning and gay marriage, trying to amend the constitution to reduce people’s rights, rather then increase them like almost all of the previous amendments. once they tried a constitutional amendment that reduced people’s rights, and it was called prohibition... this led to a great deal of organized crime, and was a massive failure. but that was an aberration; normally, constitutional amendments increase the rights and privileges of the average citizen. the only people who would want to ban flag burning and gay marriage are those who want the government to micromanage the lives of private citizens. yes, you and i do not go around burning flags and getting gay married, but what is next on the list of things to ban? first they ban those things, and then what is next, for these social crusaders? what if they ban premarital sex? or abortions? or contraception? or the use of swear words in public? what if they ban alcohol, tobacco, and even caffeine? what if they make rap music illegal? or video games? see, we have to defend people’s rights to engage in activities we might think are evil, as long as they do not harm anybody else. the public has no right to punish individuals for victimless crimes such as this. people have a fundamental right to pursue a wide variety of diverse lifestyles, some of them riskier than others. and as for the nations of the world, each nation has the right to govern itself and not be interfered with, as long as it does not do anything that severely threatens other nations and avoids massive human rights violations. sometimes, wars end up happening, despite all the well-meaning people around the world who try to speak out against it, and the main thing to do then is, stop people from killing each other and end the wars, because it is just plain dumb for there to be this organized mass murder and to have ignorant syncophants cheering it on, in a jingoistic fervor of self-righteousness while watching on the sidelines of a fight to the death. yes, i am a pacifist, but i am also a revolutionary. i believe that if there is an evil dictator, the people need to rise up in a revolution against their own leader. the business of running a nation is not just the business of a few leaders, but of every citizen, and when things are going wrong, it is the duty of every citizen of a nation to fix it. if a nation is being led the wrong way, the people must find a way to rise up against the leaders. look at sudan, for instance. the terrorist-supporting islamic fundamentalist regime in sudan once hosted osama bin laden, for several years, and let him build terrorist training camps in sudan. they oppressed people from ethnic groups different from the sudanese government leaders, people who did not speak arabic (in darfur), and people who were not muslim (in southern sudan). so the oppressed people rose up in revolution against their oppressors. or in a democratic nation like the united states, we rise up every election year and vote. in either case, the people have to find a way to make their voices heard so they have more influence over how their country is governed. right now in iraq, they are having a problem because they can’t figure out whether it is better to choose their leaders in democratic elections or to fight in armed conflict against that country’s government. it is understandable that after many years of living under saddam hussein’s dictatorship, they would be confused about these matters and not really understand democracy or have enough faith in it to not take up armed resistance. there is also the matter of the various ethnic and religious divisions such as shia and sunni, arab and kurd, that divide the iraqi people, and cause those in the minorities, especially sunni arabs, to distrust a government of shia and kurds. each of these communities, to protect itself against threats from the other ethnic and religious communities, has found it necessary to establish private militias for self-defense purposes, but unfortunately, these militias all too often end up fighting on the offense instead of just defense, and committing atrocities. it is interesting to note that the u.s. constitution protects the rights of americans to own firearms and set up private militias, just like in iraq. except, of course, the militias and their members would have to be law-abiding citizens here. so, in a way, iraq is like a utopia for the national rifle association; it is the gun owner’s paradise. in a country where everyone has a gun, theoretically, there would be no crime, at least according to how the nra envisions it. of course, iraq seems to disprove that quite dramatically, but at least the nra are optimists. still, i think it is rather ridiculous that we keep trying to impose texas cowboy-style solutions on the middle eastern muslim nation of iraq. why do we always inflate external threats out of proportion? why did many of us think there were weapons of mass destruction? i think, since we americans are an optimistic people, we should not be afraid of anyone. there are no threats to our national security. nobody could possibly hope to defeat us. i think that is the proper attitude, rather than a paranoid, security-obsessed attitude. if you assume we are invincible, then we do not need to obsess so much about defending our nation, or worry about bad things that might happen. of course, i do not mean totally invincible, but i mean that nobody could hope to beat us in a sustained military conflict, or anything that involved weapons of mass destruction, since we have more of those than anyone. the doctrine of mutual assured destruction is the basis for this assumption of security. and to any terrorists or rogue nations who might want to attack us, we can simply warn them: you cannot possibly hope to ever defeat us, and we will wreak bloody revenge if you attack, so since you wish to preserve yourselves, it would be illogical for you to attack. to back this up, of course, we need more allies. a more peaceful, less security-obsessed nation that respects the rule of law and human rights would do a better job at making and maintaining fragile alliances worldwide. and alliances are really the key to everything. if we focused on behaving ourselves so we could get along with everyone else, we would form a united front against the terrorists, and they would have no chance of winning. unfortunately, the war in iraq and cowboy diplomacy have deeply divided the international community into the united states and its close allies versus everyone else. that is the real objective of the terrorists: to divide the international community and thereby prevent united worldwide efforts to defeat them. the only way to defeat them is through global cooperation, alliances, and peace. that will deny them safe havens and allow the united international community to work together rather than have nations fight amongst themselves while the terrorists continue to wreak havoc. so really, cowboy diplomacy and the whole doctrine of pre-emptive war and unilateral foreign policy is completely idiotic, especially for a global war against terrorism. in fact, it is the worst possible way to fight terrorism that exists, because it has to be a global fight that is united, and pursuing a unilateral course that divides the international community is a surefire way to undermine any potential international cooperation. it is about time people realized this, and abandoned all of their anachronistic xenophobic notions of nationalism and unilateralism. it is simply pathetic that we have learned nothing from the vietnam war and continue to repeat the same mistakes again and again, endlessly. at least our form of government allows us a peaceful means to democratically change our nation’s leadership. that keeps things from going too far off track... usually. then again, adolf hitler came to power through democratic elections, too. and so did the president of iran, mahmoud ahmadenijad. so, we should just keep things in perspective, and not get too crazy about things like national security... because our nation is merely just part of the world, and without the world, there is no nation.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

new jersey

so i am down here in new jersey, and spent a good portion of the day in cape may, the southern tip, where there are beaches and stuff. it is kind of a nice place, i guess. the weather is too hot! and the sky is all grey! weird... the buildings are victorian architecture there. i toured a building that was once a church and is now subdivided into 3 luxurious apartments that are each now being sold for over 1 million dollars each. 1.1 million, 1.3 million, and 1.6 million. two of the apartments were pretty nice, but one of them i did not like at all. it had such tacky decorations in 2 rooms that were supposed to be for kids. and there was not a place anywhere where you could fit a computer on a desk. the showers in the bathrooms there were all open, with no doors or curtains. it was just a lot of tacky sorts of weird-ass architecture and design and art. and i ate a hamburger at a restaraunt, but it was a really big 8 ounce hamburger. i had a hamburger yesterday too, at another restaraunt. i am such a typical american... oy vey! at the beach there were all these pretty girls, some of them in just bikinis. but my family and i were not allowed on the beach because of the communist policies of the new jersey government. the new jersey government is so communist, they make you PAY MONEY to gain entrance to a PUBLIC BEACH! wtf? florida doesn’t do shit like that! i like florida better than new jersey! and the state government in new jersey is shut down. apparently the governor and state legislature don’t get along, despite them all being democrats. helllooooo? stop being idiots, you morons! christ! get some work done! in my state of new york, they occasionally manage to pass the budget on time, and even when it is late the state government is not shut down. so they don’t have to resort to communist beach policies to make money. what are you comrades going to tax next? my use of publicly owned highways?? the whole point of taxes is to PAY for that stuff, not to MAKE MONEY off it! we only need to have ONE tax if we set the rate HIGH enough. probably around 99% would be needed... anyway, i hope new jersey doesn’t start its government up again any time soon. and why does gasoline cost so much here in new jersey? maybe the people here are rich enough to pay for it? i don’t know, but what i do know is, i did not see any aqua teen hunger force on the south jersey shore, even though that is where the show takes place. where are you meatwad? come on, fry guy! git yo ass over here, masta shake! i don’t even know if carl lives next door anymore... i think he moved away.

so i heard in the news ken lay is dead... but for some reason he was in aspen partying and having fun, after getting convicted of ruining thousands of people’s lives and defrauding investors of millions of dollars. it was a heart attack. my question is... did he overdose on cocaine on purpose to kill himself before he had to go to jail? and why wasn’t he in jail already? our judicial system is a joke, if it lets criminals like him go free after being convicted. and joe lieberman is in real trouble now, abandoned by hillary clinton. guess what, hillary clinton! now i can support you with a clean conscience! i know you voted for the war too, but at least you don’t write about what a great job president bush is doing in an op-ed piece for the wall street journal! it is about time democrats started acting like democrats again, instead of being closet republicans who go both ways! there is nothing wrong with centrism, as long as you pick the right issues to compromise on and the right issues to stand your ground on. but the real problem with lieberman is, he is putting his personal priorities above of what is best for the democratic party. he needs to forget about running as an independent. if he promises to support whoever the democratic nominee is, maybe he can still be that nominee. i think the voters could forgive him if he apologized profusely enough for his betrayal. and guess what north korea? your taepo-dong-2 missiles suck! at least nasa knows how to shoot shit into the sky and not have it blow up anymore! but why are they even using the space shuttle anymore? what is this, the 70s? why hasn’t anyone landed on mars yet? we could send a death row inmate on a one-way trip to mars. and if he doesn’t make it, send another one! that is a good form of execution. or you know what? if saddam hussein is convicted of war crimes, why don’t we send him on a one-way trip to mars? that would kick ass! he would be the first martian suicide bomber! anyway, later y’all!