The world is running out of gas.

Something y'all may want to note: HYDROCARBONS ARE A FINITE RESOURCE!

An ex-president of a major oil company is predicting $5/gallon gas by 2012. Okay, worth a look, but what if this doesn't happen until 2020? To that I say, so fuckin' what? The point of my little tirade here is that we will begin to run out of oil and that it will happen in my lifetime.

Oh, but we're American so we don't have to worry about it. We'll just go knock over another oil-producing country's regime in the name of "freedom," and take all their resources, amiright? It's worked since WWII, why wouldn't it work now?

Well, there's fatal flaw with this way of thinking.

Sure, we have the most powerful military in the world, but we're losing the economic and geopolitical influence to back our military might up, rendering it worthless. Our republic is circling the drain because we've spent the last seventy years pursuing war and overconsumption instead of progress and prudence. As a result, we'll have to compete just like everyone else.

The only solution to this problem will come too late. Brace yourselves. I'm only glad I have such a short commute to work.

The Singularity - a point at which all that we have known is rendered obsolete.

This is a subject for which I've been in deep thought.

"It is a point where our old models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown."

I would like to see a lot of our current values and systems discarded and replaced. Traditional gender roles, homophobia, our patriarchal society, religion, racism, war, unsustainable energy, and our monetary system are just a few examples of ideas and systems that have become useless to humanity at best, harmful to our species at worst. I think we're smart enough to find more effective alternatives, but that we're too intellectually lazy to see those alternatives come to fruition.
  • Current Music
    Beck - Novacane

Yeah. Good luck with that. haha

The repugnicans have the House. So effin' what? I don't see them getting anything they want through the Senate without a big hassle and across the President's desk without a big fat VETO.

We've still got this. We won't get jack squat done for at least the next two years - but NEITHER WILL THEY. :-D

Yeah, GOP, you've got the House. Good luck with that. haha
  • Current Music
    Black Flag - Fix Me

Ghosts and goblins and demons, oh my!

"A Rational Look At Ghosts: A Scientific Explanation For A Worldwide Paranormal Belief"

"This survival of alert and suspicious ancestors, and death of those that didn't notice a danger until it was too late, has given today's population the tendency to see and hear things that are simply not there.

Young children desperately tell sleep-deprived parents about the monster outside the window. Grown adults stare towards the corner of the room, convinced they've just seen something in the corner of their eye.

The human brain sees and hears things that are not there, because they have evolved to be over-cautious. With this in mind, stories of ghostly apparitions, foot-steps in the middle of the night, objects that change position, and whispering voices in a deserted churchyard suddenly have a rational, psychological explanation.

Add to this mix a culture of scary Hollywood movies, a wide-spread belief in the paranormal, and various religious sensibilities that assume the existence of ghosts and spirits, and the result is a population with a natural tendency to sense things that aren't there, coupled with an enormous amount of fuel for the imagination."

I must explain my end of this. I don't believe ghosts exist. I'm not the guy who will point at a believer, laugh, and say "You're full of shit! HAHAHAHA!!!" No. Perhaps folks who have "encountered paranormal activities" really do encounter what they encounter. Just like our ancestors encountered lightning and thunder and attributed it to the mythological entities and other paranormal odds and ends, even developing entire stories to support their theories, folks who encounter modern "paranormal" events are, in all probability, encountering natural phenomena. I don't agree with the stance the article takes, per se. I don't think that all people who believe they encounter "paranormal" phenomena are delusional (though some really are and are in need of professional psychiatric intervention). I think we're taught to label certain things we encounter a certain way as youngsters and that if such encounters indeed occur that the way we're taught to label these encounters is, at best, inaccurate.

The article touches on the human brain's fight-or-flight response which I think makes a pretty solid theory, but this does not account for the stories of people who are convinced they saw/felt/smelled what they encountered. The human brain is a tricky organ. We know less about our own minds than we do about outer space. Human perception is very easy to manipulate. Couple that with the ease at which human beings can be influenced to do or believe just about anything. Alas, we have scientology, the Jim Jones cult, and various military experiments to prove that. With that in mind, how can a reasonable person say that we cannot be influenced by our culture to believe things that aren't true or to incorrectly attribute what are likely perfectly natural phenomena? This leads to my theory about ghosts, demons, etc...

Knowing that the brain and human thought processes are so easy to manipulate by many different entities, I speculate that the human mind that perceives a "paranormal" phenomenon could be under the influence of any number of forces. Barring the influences of mind-altering substances, legitimate psychiatric illness, and human-induced brainwashing, one can only assume it's natural phenomena.

Let me explain:

The human brain conducts electricity. The magnetic fields of the earth and the moon are known to influence animal behavior. Solar flares and severe weather can wreak havoc on any electronic device in their path. Seeing that the brain is actually a highly complex mass of neurons that are constantly conducting information in an infinite variety of patterns, my theory (I'm no scientist, by any stretch) is that one of these phenomena affect the brain in such a way that we perceive what is known in our collective consciousness as paranormal activity.

Remember the thunderstorm analogy? We're doing the same thing when it comes to the paranormal. We perceive something and give it a name, even though we haven't verified what it really is.

I'm okay with not knowing, and I certainly won't be losing any sleep worrying about if, when, or where I will encounter some anomaly. What if I do? I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, but expect me to approach it with a critical mind and a healthy amount of skepticism. If I hear voices or see weird shit, I'll promptly report to the men in the white coats. I'll worry about, and take the necessary precautions against, that meth head roaming the streets that just might invade my home or the fact that I just might get in an accident next time I drive to the supermarket. I will examine these concerns and their statistical probability and act appropriately, but I refuse to live in fear. The Dark Ages are gone.

Middle school... something I have no intention of reliving except for...

I dedicated Hole's "Rock Star" to my eighth grade class in a facebook post yesterday. Here is what it said, in full, for the purpose of archiving on lj so it'll be easier to find should I want to pull it up again:

"Truthfully, I feel a profound sense of spite toward some of the folks that shared classrooms with me during the 1990-1991 school year. I was ostracized, rejected, and loathed (perhaps that was some of my own doing, IDK). In spite of all tha...t went down, I turned out okay. But the unfounded rejection? Seriously, I kick the crap out of myself for ever spending a second on trying to fit in with anyone in that little fish barrel of a town. With some of those folks, though, I have made amends. Some people grow up and get a bit of sense about them.

Still, fuck it to hell, I am bitter - and for all the right reasons. There's no good reason for people to act like that. My kids are being raised to treat all human beings with respect, regardless of their last name, economic background, frequency of church attendance, or lack of conformity with mainstream regional culture. They will know more than two races, two possible lifestyles, and more than one religion, if any religion at all.

And they will never, ever know what it's like to have an open mind and be stuck in Albany, Georgia. Never. I wish that emotional horror on no one. The years that encompass my passage into full adolescence are a complete, socially awkward, hormonally-charged blur to me, for reasons that most of you will never understand. That's fine. Just figured I owed an explanation to those of you who were cool with me back in the period of my life to which, at the ripe-old age of thirty-three, I still insist on bidding a giant FUCK YOU. Some of you share my sentiment. Some of you are reading this and wonder what hit you.

Many folks say they wish they could be a kid again. I am not one of those people. 1986-1991 are all years that I've taken most of my adult life to put behind me. Why would I want to bring them back?"

Hey, I like what I write. Sue me. :-)

Writer's Block: High school musical

If you had to choose a theme song for your middle or high school years, what would it be, and why?

For middle school, I would choose "Olympia," by Hole. Middle school was a horrible experience for me. There was ALWAYS a group of white kids that got their rocks off by randomly ostracizing people. Of course, I was on their list, since I didn't fall in lock-step with their social order. I caught a lot of flack. I maintain my personal integrity to this day, though. I've perused some of their profiles on facebook and have found that a vast majority of them have maintained their ignorance.

For high school, I would choose "Ramble On," by Led Zeppelin. I was unwilling to leave such an accepting environment, but accepted the fact that it was time to move on. I still love all of them to pieces and can't wait until all our schedules and finances coincide for one, kick-ass 20-year class reunion. Anyone who is part of Monroe Comprehensive High School's class of 1995 knows what's up!

Police: Can't Truss 'Em

This story really pisses me off. I'm very suspicious of cops. The ones here in the Vegas valley are opportunistic, lazy, reckless, thuggish, and sometimes just plain scary. Worst of all, they only seem to serve the portion of the community that most benefits them. My in-laws were stopped in MY CAR once because of "a broken tail light." I inspected the vehicle when they got home. None of my tail lights were out. Just so happens, I have a Citizenship Project license plate - one that uses an Aztec calendar in its motif.

And that wasn't the first time this sort of thing happened. I simply can't trust cops. Period. So, spare me the bleeding-hearted "they-lay-their-lives-on-the-line-every-day-for-you" rhetoric. Please. Spare me. They don't lay shit on the line for me, or mine. They do it for those from whom they benefit most.

How deep does this mistrust go? I found out today that this guy that works out at my gym is a cop. I already found him quite menacing anyway because he's a rather imposing figure who carried himself in that "I'm-an-authority-figure-so-my-shit-don't-stink" elitist sort of way. Now I know why. Perhaps he doesn't realize what he's doing. Perhaps he's a good guy. Admittedly, I have no intention of even speaking to the guy, let alone getting close enough to him to find out. Truthfully, I'm not sure why I still call 911 when I hear a domestic incident going down. What's going to happen, really? Usually, nothing. Nevada's laws do little or nothing to protect the victims of battering (another topic altogether), and the police usually won't lift a finger to investigate. In fact, if we ever have a break-in the only reason I could see us calling is for them to pick the unconscious intruder up off our sidewalk. We have lots of bats. And mace. Lots of mace. Two former Marines live in this house. Do the math.

Anyway, it's not that I think all cops are bad apples. A couple that I've encountered were actually quite professional and courteous. It's just that enough of them have crossed the line around here that I'm really leery of them and do everything I can to minimize my contact with them. Even though the guy in the article I linked was drunk, belligerent, and threatening, throwing a handcuffed man to the ground for calling you corrupt is bullshit - especially if it turns out you really are corrupt.

Police are getting out of control. They should answer to the community they claim to protect and serve, rather than terrorizing it. My two cents. Maybe you don't like it. I don't care.

I'm reacting to what I observe. If you haven't observed the same thing or are selectively blind to it, there's no use in debating this issue with me. Shut up and move on.

Men can benefit from feminism.

So says Gloria Steinem. A lot of the points she made at a talk during a gender studies conference at UT Dallas made sense to me. Peep the whole article.

Top 10 Ways that Men
Benefit from Feminism

Structured like a David Letterman countdown, Steinem’s list of benefits to men included the following:

10. Through feminism, men are liberated from stereotypes, too.

9. Women’s skills are required to raise children. But, men have them too.

8. Men have been shortchanged by being told to marry someone who can cook rather than someone who can be a companion. “I’m sure that men who have been trained essentially to marry their housekeepers were lonely,” Steinem said.

7. The women’s movement can increase a man’s life by an average of four years. Steinem said that if men were to eliminate causes of death typically attributed to masculine roles, including deaths from violence, speeding and tension-related disease, their life expectancy would almost equal women's.

6. Boys can remain close to their mothers.

5. If men aren’t hooked on dominance and hierarchy with other men, they are saved from the self-loathing that comes from the need for control.

4. Laughter can once again become commonplace, even in serious rituals. “In ancient cultures like Wilma’s, seriousness and laughter are not separate,” said Steinem.

3. Men can continue discovering talents, without being divorced from them.

2. Sex and race are intertwined. You can’t uproot one without the other. “There’s really no such thing as being a feminist without being an anti‑racist,” she said.

1. Eliminating the sexual caste system – the cult of femininity and masculinity – eliminates the root cause of almost all violence.

I'm down with that.