Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spam shower

Does anybody else ever check their junk mail folder? Like many others I keep other email addresses that are hungry for junk mail (, and use these for registering for free porn passwords and what not (or anything else that might cause a bunch of junk mail... like registering to post on other blog servers... jeez... the internet isn't just great for porn). My actual email address is fast, and its spam blocker is effective, so it's easy for me to open my spam folder and check for real messages before I delete them all (gmail is hands down the best email server I've ever dealt with).

Those of you who check your junk mail folder, or are active on public message boards, will know that there has been a throbbingly large number of viagra and cialis adds poking their heads into to our private [digital] spaces. These guys pop up everywhere... and they aren't going away anytime soon. There's also the constant cultivation of Miracle-Penis-Gro type products. All promising inches and one of the following:
-a satisfied wife-ish character,
-or a trick ho', who clearly picked the Washington Monument as her favorite Washington landmark.
They claim, "Your loaf will be like Jesus's, big enough to feed 5,000!" .... If you never check your junk mail folder, you get the idea.

Lately the winds have changed. I noticed the first last week, and since have noticed more and more spam for products that increase the amount and power of ejaculations. Now, I can see this being a reasonable product for people having troubles conceiving, especially if the male spent half his life underwater. However, it's not billed as such. It's billed as something you can brag about in the locker room... something that will make airbrushed breezies come running at you like cows to the slaughterhouse. I'm wondering if this is just a phase, or if we will see an explosion of these type emails.

Personally this isn't something I've ever thought to worry about it. So the question remains... is a larger volume of ejaculate something women desire and/or something that some men are self-conscious about?

I also wonder if these products could be considered doping in any traditional austrailian sports.

And no. Penis humor isn't dead (it is tired).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A bit of this, a bit of that

Jason, this video is dedicated in part, to you. The video is from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie, which I plan on seeing upon re-entry to the US.

So I had another talk with my Spanish roommates. I just can't seem to convince the sisters that we should treat things based on the actual threat, rather than the perceived threat. Mostly we're talking about terrorism, but of course this goes the other way for treating many of the health issues in the US today (and spreading to the world). We'd had these discussions before, in regards to the West VA school shootings (my roommate said she would be scared to go to school, even after I proved to her my chances of being shot at a college were statistically equal with being struck by lightning). Lately the topic has been reklindled by the Freakonomics guys. I'd highly recommend you check these out. Part 1, Part 2.

There's an interesting paradox in their belief that, "it's a war... it's us against 'them.'" When I said "war on terror" they looked at me like, "oh, no. we don't agree with that." They are against us being in Iraq, but also think the US should have removed their dictator about 60 years ago.

I am disappointed in my inability to convince them we should spend our money elsewhere, and that fighting terrorism is a waste of effort. Until I can convince my peers of these ideas, I seriously doubt my potential abilities in politics or as a teacher.

In Brazil, speed limits are enforced by automated machines that read your speed and take a picture of your plates. A ticket is mailed to your house. I made the comment that I like this system better because it was completely objective and didn't allow for girls to get off the hook all the time by fake crying for policemen. This made a woman in the car call me "sexist" (not a Brazilian mind you). That pissed me off. Luckily science is on my side. A study of 64,000 stops shows that women have a much lower chance of getting a ticket than men. I hate chauvinists, but I hate feminazis more.

On the same note... I'm getting really tired of people that argue against all the potential improvement by saying the change "isn't sustainable." Well, guess what... humanity isn't sustainable right now, but does that mean we should keep burning oil until it's gone while waiting for cold fusion? So we can't use any of these non-sustainable improvements, even if only for a hundred years or so...maybe we should we just start the eugenics program right now to keep the population in check. Along those lines I have posed the question to people, "Seeing as I believe I have above average genes, should I procreate? Even though it goes against my belief that we are reproducing too much and too quickly, should I try to "raise the average" and leave progeny who can help others better the race?" No one's really had a good answer... which probably means there's something very fundamental missing from both sides arguments. This site has a very strict stance on the issue.

My good friend Erika will be in China soon... I may have to blog more because I won't be able to talk to her about the problems of the world. She will be there for two years, and I will be unable to write to her about religion or government, due to the controls the Chinese people live under. Good luck Erika. Also, Greg is moving to Mexico within the month also. I hope to visit both of them, and as they will both be there for two years, I just might be able to pull it off.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

GOP Debate from Iowa

Was held on Aug 5th.
I'm going to let some thoughts flow while I watch this.
Here's a link to the first section.
Brownback = douchebag
Romney, and Guliani - giving good answers
Huckabee is a straight shooter, but not rock star enough to be our president.
Second section
Ron Paul says good things, and receives applause. When the camera pans the audience, you notice the applause is not from the majority. It's unfortunate that he has no chance.
McCain has lost.
Tommy Thompson looks like a fish... my eyes are glazing, he should do us a favor and withdraw
Ron Paul still wants out of Iraq. Mitt Romney says "is he forgetting about 9/11..." WTF?!?! We already know Iraq was not involved with 9/11... us going into Iraq errantly was, but the truth is Iraq was not... what rock has Romney been hiding under?
Health Care: Some of the Republicans actually talk about a preventative culture for medicine. Why don't the Democrats talk about this at all? Maybe they have, but I don't remember it, and I've seen all the debates so far.
Republicans make a pretty good stance against socialized health care.
George Stephanopolous is the best moderator so far. He doesn't take much shit.
Guliani is a strong 2nd... but that's all he's going to be. Yeah Romney is going to stay in the front, barring Fred Thompson ascending to neo-con sainthood.
Yeah, truthfully, republicans don't like Ron Paul... they must be stupid. 9/11 messed their brains up.
McCain has lost.... also at 3:37 he refers to us as, "a shining city on a hill" a reference to a Regan speech during the 1984 elections. Post coming on that soon. Cuomo's response was fantastic, I was less than one year old.
This election is a classroom for future politicians. The book is called "what not to do" it has at least 15 chapters.
This is why Guliani is in 2nd place... he has good answers every now and then.
Mitt Romney's wife is good looking. Go Mormon!
McCain only has two answers. "Must win Iraq" & "Pork barrel, Pork barrel" He's sooo 2004.
Skip this section. I'll sum it up. Republicans think Cheney has too much power, but they're afraid to say it because still has 30% approval ratings... which means atleast 60% of their constituency still supports Bush. Yeah, skip that whole section.
Fair tax... interesting idea - just a 23% sales tax... that's it, no other taxes.
Romney doesn't like the flat tax because among other things, "buying a new house would be taxed, buying an old house would not. What would that do to the construction industry?" I'll tell you exactly what it would do, it would hurt it a lot, and help ween a lot of American's of their "need" to buy a cookie-cutter home in the suburbs.
Governor Thompson lost his mother-in law to breast cancer, his wife and daughter also have it. He vows to "end breast cancer by 2015 for all the women in America." A beautiful gesture, but completely and absolutely worthless. It's like demanding a cure for pancakes.
Brownback will work for Jame's Dobson after he loses the nomination.
Summary: Well done Stephanopolous... or however you spell it.
GOP Race- Pretty sure it's Guliani or Romney... of course Fred Thompson still could be a wild card, he's bordering on arrogant by staying out much longer.
I think Ron Paul is too smart to be out president. It's great for Americans, and unfortunate for him, that he sought a life of public service.

Sorry that was boring, but hey, it was faster and less painful than watching the actual debate, wasn't it?

BTW Tomorrow three Americans will show up to chill with me in Brazil... I'm stoked about sharing this experience with someone.
In other news: I just ordered 3 of my favorite childhood books that are now out of print... I'll read them when I get back, and I'm curios see what I think.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Minimum Idealism

Firstly and unrelated, interesting answers on street gangs via Freakonomics.

Minimum wage has bothered me for a long time. I've had a good amount of cognitive dissonance on the topic. Dissonance be gone! I have my answer, until somebody forces me to reconsider with errors in my logic, or better logic.

I've felt for many years that increases in the minimum wage were generally a good thing... not increasing minimum wage to $20/hr or anything like that, but at least keeping minimum wage in proper adjustment with inflation. I would like people in general to have better standard of living, and I feel sensible minimum wage increases can provide that. There's always been the republican friend counter argument that "if you are working for min. wage, you're time or abilities are only worth that (or less)." This clash is just fighting insanity with insanity.

More recently I discovered the economic arguments against raising or even having a minimum wage; as with most market issues, when the government gets involved it's just not a good thing for the market. Yet, I believed then, that people living on minimum wage didn't have good lives especially when compared to their top level employers. Next, I had an internship in a factory and saw that incentive programs are fantastic... people who wouldn't be making much can make good money if they work hard. Then I started a business, and had to consider how quickly my small business would be broke if I had to pay people minimum wage. Later, I came to Brazil, where the minimum wage is less than $150 a MONTH (less than $1 an hour)! That's after the giant raises.

Here's the answer: We should not have a minimum wage. This can only happen with good standard of living if the market determines that the vast majority's time is worth more than minimum wage. Once again, it goes back to the government ensuring that everybody can do great things. The government must ensure that opportunities are available; handouts are never good for the majority in the long run (increases in minimum wage, reparations for slavery, welfare.... .what about social security?). In regards to education, the opportunity must be provided for all, and for those that choose not to take that opportunity, the government should feel no need to support those people beyond their value to society. How does free education differ from a handout... in the same way that giving somebody an apple seed is different from giving them an apple. One require initiative and work for betterment, the other requires only that the recipient use and deplete the resources given.

There are arguments that handouts can be invested, but if you are actually using that argument you haven't looked at trends in disparity of wealth, or read anything on the topic... it can happen, but the government's money would be better spent distributing lottery tickets to the lower class; we've all heard the adage that "the lottery is a tax for people who are bad at math." Well the government giving handouts only proves they are bad at math (or trying to win the votes of the lower class).

In a perfect world, a minimum wage wouldn't be necessary, those willing to work harder would enjoy the best quality of life. In a perfect world, the market will be flooded with graduate degrees and we'll find a shortage of cooks, and trash men (in which case their wages go up). Their wages won't be equal... but they would be proportionate to the blood sweat and tears one invests in their own life.

Ron Paul has said in the GOP debates that we have to rid ourselves of the idea that the government should take care of us from cradle to grave. He's couldn't be more correct.

What am I saying? If shit was done correctly, we would not need and should not have a minimum wage. In the real world, I'll strongly support ideas that empower people opportunity;, and I'll continue considering approving moderate increases to the minimum wage. That is, until I can be sure the raise would help more lazy people than unfortunate people (a question that might be answerable today, but not before lunch).

EDIT: And I notice headlines today of Hilary calling for 1 billion to help people pay their mortgages... I'm all about cutting off abusive practices, but I'll let you decided if that 1 billion is a handout or something else.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I've got the urchins in me!

I kicked one of these guys yesterday. I was walking around on some coral reefs that were full of these urchins. Eventually probability got the best of me, I lost my balance on the irregular surface and my big toe went on mission to restore balance. Well, it did restore balance, after stopping at the same place as a whole bunch of little black spikes.

So I had 6 pieces of sea urchin in my big toe; I was lucky enough that they broke off underneath the skin so they are very hard to get to. I sat down on the coral and broke a spine off a big urchin and used it as a needle to remove the biggest piece that hadn't penetrated very far. I have 5 more nestled comfortably in the callus of my big toe. I dug in for one of them with a pair of cuticle scissors last night. Went far enough to draw blood and couldn't get to the spur. Any ideas?

I also read some astrological material on the Sagittarius man last night (sent to me via first class snail mail courtesy of Cassy). I figured if it came from Arkansas to Brazil it must be important. As usually happens with astrology, a few things in there hit me right on the nose, and a few things hit me right on somebody else's nose.

Let's assume for the moment astrology is nothing more than the art of bull shitting. Firstly I have several friends that would be great astrologers. More importantly, astrology is great for studying how a person reacts to various stimuli (this particular text subscribes frequently to the Scott Adams school of thought on public speaking or writing). It's a great introspective study if nothing else, it might be a bit to complex to really warrant any great clinical studies, but psychology will get there eventually.

Switching gears, assume for a second that there might be some truth to astrology. Just as most rumors, legends, myths, religions are born from a seed of truth. Consider the same possibility for astrology. Why couldn't there be noticeable effects from the environment present while in the womb or when new-born? Just thinking about seasons, and how the environment of the mother could change tiny characteristics as a very very important time in development... why not? Given my knowledge of the human body and the science of child-bearing, it's not an illogical hypothesis.

On a closing note... the urchins and reading all happened at a friend's beach house. His fam had a churrasco (choo-Hass-ku)...the Brazilian equivalent of a BBQ. All the cousins and aunts and uncles were there, and of course the kids were too. The kids found interest in me and came over to see what I was reading. This particular text contains many sections akin to the following:

"Sag's overall athleticism suggests a tireless roll in the hay. Any such suppositions would be right: With unparalleled stamina and staying power, this bucking bronco can kick it all night long, hardly ever needing to slow down or beg off."

Good thing the text was in English. Finally, Robert Goulet was a Sagittarius.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Brazil, my wife

My stay in Brazil is coming to an end. I'm ready to come back. Ready to graduate. I have a friend who is coming to visit me for 18 days, and is bringing two fine ladies with him (one of whom is his girlfriend, how cool is that for them?).

We've probably all heard the legend about Archimedes and the king's crown... but we've probably all forgotten. One version is that the king had been given a crown of gold... but rumors caused him to question it's purity. He posed the question to Archimedes, "how do I know this is gold?" Archimedes troubled himself with the problem for sometime, skipping meals, not shaving... just engrossing himself in the search for a solution. Eventually Archimedes' wife convinced him to take a rest. She convinced him to go to the bath house and take a bath. As he lowered his body into the water he realized the amount of water spilling over the edge was the same as the size of his body, and was independent of his weight. Mass over volume, the formula for density was born. Archimedes ran into the streets naked and dripping screaming "Eureka! Eureka!" ("I've found it!").

Two things.
1. It appears that all truly great minds have an ability to focus their brain for long periods of time. It's said about Percy Bysshe Shelly, Einstein, Telsa, Archimedes, and so on. Einstein said "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." Tesla was said to construct entire machines piece by piece in his head, and start them running, weeks later he'd take them apart and inspect the for wear... in his mind. Sweet. (People like to talk about serendipity, but Archimedes would never have had the serendipitous moment without his utter mental commitment to the problem)

2. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to take a step back. Sometimes it takes a rest to get out of your rut, and use your existing knowledge to start down a new path that may or may not lead to the Pot O' Gold.

Well, Brazil has been my wife. I've had a lot of downtime here; I have noticed my problem solving ability has improved (in the sense of real world problems that don't have concrete answers). Interestingly enough, I discovered via the my email to grandma that my dad has a great ability to remove himself from situation and analyze things very objectively (forwarded it to mom... dad saw it and was not pleased...) I wonder how this affects his faith (dad is a pretty devout Christian), and how he learned the quality? He's the president of a facility in Tracy, CA and I have to know this ability comes in handy. Did he move up the ladder because he had the ability? Or because someone correctly saw the potential for ability? More importantly, why didn't he teach me this stuff... clearly I wouldn't have listened.. but I think he could have taught me just be asking good questions.

Anyway, I've been able to step back from a lot... and take a somewhat fresh look (I think if America and Congress could do this, Bush would be impeached, for example). For math nerds only: The problem is the solution space is not convex and we move towards solutions as if it should be... sometimes we get lucky.