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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Just a Quick Post

By: Michael Akerman


First off, I'll be changing my blog "soon" (which, of course, means sometime between now and the heat death of the universe). I hope to build all the changes without rolling them through until I'm done, then introducing them all at once. I'm especially focused on the carpet and drape scheme, by which I mean, background colors and frame arrangements.




Now, the subject of this post:

I went to see Harry Potter 3 today (very good, by the way) and it got me thinking (again) about time travel. Incidentally, I posted this on the Halo Revolution forums.

"Time travel is interesting, you know. If you assume a continuum, then you cannot affect anything through time travel. For instance, let's assume that you attempted to go back to the 1940s and save Hitler's life. Well, if that we're the case, in a continuum where the past constantly leads into the current present, Hitler would already be alive, as you had spared him in the past. So, paradoxically, you would have no motivation to save Hitler, since he had already been spared. If you had no motivation, you would not go back and save him, so, following the normal course of events, Hitler would have died. Now, of course, you have your motivation back. So you head to the past and save him; however, he was already saved before you time traveled, so, logically, you wouldn't expend the effort to time travel and save him. The only logical answer, of course, is that you were motivated by some other factor to travel through time to save him, thereby creating the present where he is saved. Of course, in our case, this is not the case, so the only thing that could have happened is some time traveler accidentally killed Hitler in the 1940s, leading, through the normal course of time, to our present."


This also leads to the conclusion that time doesn't exist. Following normal scientific principles:

The past cannot alter the present.
The future cannot be altered, as it doesn't yet exist.
The present cannot be observed or measured, as it is an abstract, infintessimally small span of time.
If neither the past, present, or future can be affected in any means, and the current time period at any time, the present, cannot be observed, measured, quantified, or otherwise known to be, time cannot exist.

Therefore, time is merely an abstraction: a method to attempt to give order to things by simplifying measurement of planetary rotation.

~Michael,
...more to come, probably, about something Harry Potter brought up...

Friday, June 11, 2004

Ruminations

By: Michael Akerman


First off: GOD! I hate those freaking Extra gum commercials. I wish whoever is creating them would either be fired or die.




::coughs:: Anyways...




As one grows older, one begins to ruminate more. It's simply a fact of life. More time is devoted to thinking about life. I'm not sure I would say less is spent living it; I think it's just that life becomes automatic enough that one can devote concentration to thinking.

It's odd for me, because I've always felt that I was old. I can't remember when I didn't think a lot. Of course, in elementary school I pondered concrete subjects and scientific fundamentals much more often than the abstract, truly important subjects.

Which leads one to the conclusion that I must understand these abstract topics better now. On the contrary, I simply have firmer theories about them. No one truly understands those issues that are really important; we simply decide what we believe, look for supportive reasons, and, hopefully, maintain the ability to see these issues from other perspectives and change our opinion if these alternate viewpoints have better reasons than our original beliefs.

Which is why debating (arguing, as my mom calls it) is a great thing. Remember, it's always easier to see your own beliefs clearly, especially if they are deeply rooted. When debating, assuming there is no forced assignment of positions on topics (that really defeats the purpose), the opposing viewpoint has reasoned their position much better than you ever could.

I was about to forget what I was going to talk about. At any rate, I've written myself into a corner, and I have no segway to what I was going to talk about after writing about all that aging stuff, so...

TRANSITIONING...

When I was a kid, everyone wanted to grow up. Everyone wanted the freedom, the knowledge, the power, the respect, and, according to Freud, sex. In retrospect, it's obvious to any halfwit that these are grandiose pipe dreams. Most wonder how children could be so deluded. I wondered the same thing. When I say wondered, I mean that at that age, I did not look forward to growing up. Because frankly, it didn't make any sense. If every year of childhood carried more responsibility, why would that pattern break? Don't get me wrong: I'm not pessimistic in nature. I'm merely rational. It's fine deluding yourself, as long as you are deluding yourself on purpose. If you are obviously wrong, but don't notice, it is simply foolish.

Really, I loved childhood. I knew I had freedom, and having fun was socially acceptable. I also knew that, eventually, I wouldn't be allowed to really play pretend anymore. It's sad that American Puritan morals demand formality and rationality at all times from adults (which is why we regard comic book and fantasy nerds who dress up in character as weird). Come to think of it, I still play pretend. I'm really very childlike. I just play with a new, socially accepted medium. I'm a gamer, which is an interesting compromise, since playing pretend physically is considered delusional, but when separated from the imaginary world by an obvious, non-mental barrier, it's generally acceptable.

Anyways, I never looked forward to fundamental shifts in age as a child. Not birthdays, of course. People don't treat you any differently after a birthday. Rather, graduations from one grade to another never struck me as something "good." It's merely a responsibility, like paying taxes. I still don't think graduations are something to celebrate, really. Maybe I'm just able to take them in stride because I understand the ramifications of graduating, while most have that odd mix of wonder and fear of the unknown. They find themselves in this predicament because they don't seek enough information, but I can't do anything about that. I can only suggest to others and lead by example.

Maggie asked me once why I never seem bothered by things. I think most people forget that everything is temporary. There are very few things that can truly affect your life in any noticeable way. As long as you're generally plugging along in the right direction, mistakes are nothing to sweat. People always expect the fallout to be worse than possible. Most expect that they will suffer social distancing of some kind, as others view their mistake as a fundamental personal failing. Yet they forget all the times this never happened ever, in the history of the world. No, one must only worry about general negative trends. Oddly, these are generally more damaging because they don't worry about these. Possibly because they are less immediately noticeable, alcoholism, marijuana and other drug use, wanton sex, and other hooliganism is often overlooked by society until it has festered to a fundamental, stable failing. Compounding this, these activities are praised.

At a certain point, one can hold an internal dialogue that rivals any interpersonal dialogue. I believe I can do this, and that, I suppose, is what I just did. But now I'm tired, and I could continue this post relatively indefinitely if I didn't stop somewhere. So, I'm stopping here.

~Michael Akerman,
..."See you, space cowboy!" -Cowboy Bebop

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Linkies, my blinkies!

By: Michael Akerman


[EDIT] I forgot one. Alton Brown, most awesomized chef ever, has a blog. Go to www.altonbrown.com and click on Rants and Raves at the top. [/EDIT]




Ahem! I'll get right to the point. My brother's copying me right now. He set up a blog here. I have a feeling it will be much more social/personally oriented than mine.




I've been messing with news aggregators recently. I finally found one that supports the blog's Atom feed. You can get it here, for a 14 day trial. It's called NewzCrawler, by the way. It's neat, but I don't keep up with it enough, so it gets overloaded.




A Sad Day... Sort Of



President Ronald Reagan died today at the age of 93, peacefully in his house. I must say, that would be the way I want to die. I suppose it's not terribly sad, since he was that old and he had such a debilitating disease as Alzheimer's, but it is entirely appropriate to honor him. Thus...



Frankly, I don't think I'd want to live with Alzheimer's, but I am cerebrocentric. 93 is quite a respectable age to die at, too. Nice and old.




Ceremonial Saditude



It boggles the mind.

Frankly, I have something to say to those people who prepare for an event for years, then cry when it comes:

You are an idiot.

And you know who you are.

For instance, at graduation (and immediately before), all these people started acting bummed out, some reaching the point of crying. Honestly, you knew this day was coming. You looked forward to it since junior year, at least. It could only be stupidity, or foolishness at least, that prevented you from understanding the ramifications of the event before the point of the actual ceremony.

The same goes double for weddings. The weddee has no reason to cry, ever, unless the other weddee has forced them to do this. The only person who ever has reason to be emotional at a ceremony like this are the parents and grandparents of the participant, and always because of pride.

And frankly, weddings and graduations are nothing to be proud of. I'm going to confidently guess that 96% of people graduate high school and 95% get married at some point. These events are to be expected. There are certain events that relatives may feel extreme pride at, generally ceremonies that were extremely hard to come by (i.e., Eagle Scout banquets), events that are rather uncommon (graduating from medical or law school, or otherwise getting an upper level degree (MD, PhD)), or events that represent the continuation of a family tradition that the relative helped effect (again, at my Eagle ceremony, my grandparents have 3 Eagle Scout sons, and now I am continuing as an Eagle grandson).

So quit crying, you pansies. Unless you find yourself surprised by something monumental (winning an Oscar) or this is an astounding personal success (being born a poor black crack addicted baby in the ghetto in Iraq and graduating with a PhD from Harvard) that took a lot of extreme effort (as in, 100% of your effort, since there's no such thing as "giving 110%"), keep your emotions under control. Everybody else can.

~Michael,
...rant completed...