Tuesday, January 31, 2012
January is nearly over, so I'll share with you guys a somewhat related video. I watched this quite a while back, but I just watched it for the second time today and it hit me harder than it did the last time. I guess I just didn't fully understand what he was saying the first time.
This video may go against your beliefs, so don't take it personally. But if you're like me and don't believe much of anything, this might be right up your alley. Particularly near the end when he says "What gives us any ghost of a notion that we're here, except by contrast with the fact that we once weren't?" I had never thought of it like that before, and for me that raises the question...would we realize we exist if death did not?
Just how much do we think we know only from the contrast of an opposite existing? There's a massive number of questions to ask, and if you're not firmly grounded in any belief (including science), there's hardly any answers. It's frustrating, and that's why we will be quick to follow the notion of certainty, even if it could be completely false.
"In the West, we inherit the idea of Law from those ancient conceptions of God, and it is even passed down into science where we discuss Laws of Nature. But one recognizes more and more in the sciences that what we call Laws of Nature are simply observed regularities in the way things behave." -Alan Watts
I hope that gave you some food for thought.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Have been spending quite a bit of time at the Khan Academy, the Astronomy videos are pretty fascinating to me. I would also recommend the brain teaser videos, if you want to go crazy trying to think of a solution for a day or two (or however long it takes you). I didn't, so I just ruined all the fun and watched the solution immediately after the problem.
Found a neat thing while watching Astronomy videos though, so I figured I'd share it for those of you interested in this type of stuff. It's a type of scale showing how big and small things are compared to each other in the Universe, but I'm no expert so I can't say how accurate it is. In the grand scheme of things though, ants and us are basically the same size.
Maybe something to think about the next time we feel like killing them. Who knows, there may be creatures out there who wouldn't think twice about smashing us either.
Anyway, here's the link so you can try it out: http://htwins.net/scale/index.html
Credit goes to the creators, Cary and Michael Huang.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Put your thinking caps on, because this website is gonna educate the $#17 out of you.
Directly from the website:
"The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.
All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge."
This site has over 2,700 educational videos covering a variety of topics, 290 practice exercises for you to complete, and even rewards you with badges and points (useless as far as I know but satisfying nonetheless) depending on what you accomplish on the site. There are also other statistical graphs that track the subjects you learn about that you can view.
This is personally one of the noblest efforts I've ever seen directed towards the benefit of humanity, and if we had a world full of people like Salman Khan then we'd be in really good shape. My thanks go out to him and everyone involved in the creation and daily improvement of the website.
If you have a thirst for knowledge and love to learn, what are you waiting for? Make your own account right now!
Friday, January 27, 2012
Do you ever think of things that are strange or really hard (if not impossible) to answer?
For example, what is consciousness? Is it electrical signals firing around in our brain, or do we have some sort of soul? Is it an illusion of all our senses working together, a few of them, or maybe just one? Do we know the exact criteria needed to be met for something to be considered conscious, or is it more abstract? Could planets and stars be conscious without us knowing? What about galaxies or maybe even the universe itself?
Senses are strange things too. Everyone is familiar with the big five (although there are arguably more), and we generally find anyone lacking one of them an interesting person. Most of us can't begin to imagine a life without both sight and hearing. Complete darkness and silence; only left with feeling, taste, and smell. How strange that must be...and unfortunate, if you know how incredible sight and hearing are.
What if a person were mute and lacking all of the senses but were still conscious? Could they be distinguished from a person in a coma? Would they be conscious that they are alive?
We call trees and plants "alive" and "dead". What if they only have the sense of feeling? We wouldn't be able to tell if they did or not. But if we knew they did, would we treat them differently?
I, for one, would probably find a lack of sight and hearing to be a fate worse than death. If you agree, here's a thought to chew on: how do we know we're not in such a state right now?
Before you answer, consider this. A person that has been blind since birth is incapable of fully understanding the experience of sight (without surgery), and a person that has been deaf since birth is incapable of fully understanding hearing (without hearing aids or what have you). Or an easier example to think about; a completely colorblind person has no idea what colors are like.
My question is, what incredible senses (if any) are out there in the universe that none of us have or know of and are thus not capable of comprehending? We can't just say "yeah right, those can't exist". An Earth full of colorblind humans would be wrong to deny the existence of colors.
Assuming there are aliens and keeping with the theory of evolution, what senses would they have if they were millions of years ahead of us? It's hard to even begin guessing. They could be capable of things we can only dream of doing, and have probably conquered death. If such beings knew of us, some of them might even say we are in a state worse than death right now.
Or maybe we're the most evolved thing in the universe.
There's so much more to contemplate, but I'll leave it at that for now. I hope this post gave you something interesting to think about.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Plenty of people know of Man Vs. Wild; I get the impression that this show is a bit less popular. Is it because of the title that isn't quite as cool? Maybe. Anyway, if you want to get a miniscule amount of experience with braving the wild without leaving your computer chair (like me) then you should give this a shot. If you want to go do the real thing, better learn to drink your own piss.
Les Stroud does things a bit different than Bear Grylls; Les does all the camera work himself and is alone while Bear has a cameraman. I'm not sure whether Les is more of a badass or is just doing things more inefficiently. Either way, I don't see much point in debating over which one of them is better, so I would recommend both of their shows to anyone interested in survival.
I've taken up a sort of fascination with survival and preparedness lately; trying to make my own bug-out-bag and stocking essentials. Such things could come in handy in a natural disaster type scenario, zombies, or other things.
The future belongs to those who prepare for it! And once again, you can watch this show through instant stream on Netflix.
That's all for now.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Went to the local gun show today around noon, wanted to see if anything jumped out at me. The cost of admission was $8, but it wasn't really worth it. It was small as far as gun shows go, and extremely crowded; you couldn't move and look around comfortably at all. I expected some huge place you could wander around for hours and hours that had everything (I have heard some gun shows are like this), what I got was significantly less.
I didn't get any guns, just a few melee weapons (guess they're legal to at least keep at your house here if they're selling them) and a decent knife. I couldn't decide for certain what kind of gun I wanted anyway, so I guess it's better that I just kept my money for now. I'll look for another means of purchasing a gun since the gun shows here are pretty abysmal.
Anyway, to mostly U.S. residents, what kind of guns do you own? Do you have a favorite? I personally only have a single-shot interchangeable .22 short rifle and .410 bore shotgun, but it's better than nothing I suppose. Hoping to get at least one more sometime soon.
Monday, January 9, 2012
I watched this 2008 documentary after a recommendation from a friend, and if you couldn't tell from the title it's about the debt crisis in America. I had done a bit of research about the problem prior to watching this, so I didn't take much away from the documentary. However, if you're unfamiliar with the inefficiency permeating through-out the US government and especially surrounding our budget --then you should probably give this a watch. Might be a wake-up call for some people out there.
As grim as the debt problem was at the time of this documentary, it has now gotten twice as bad. Many people aren't sure at this point if we can even pull ourselves out of the debt problem, or how to go about doing so. Ron Paul may have some feasible ideas, but without the full cooperation of those opposing him (and there are many), it may be a lost cause. I don't know how this debt scenario is going to pan out, but it probably isn't going to be pretty.
This movie is available for instant streaming on Netflix.
Friday, January 6, 2012
|1969 Rooster Cogburn played by the legendary John Wayne|
|2010 Rooster Cogburn played by Jeff Bridges|
If you're into Westerns, chances are you've seen one or both of these movies.
True Grit is a film originally released in 1969 directed by Henry Hathaway. It tells the story of young but headstrong Mattie Ross and her journey to avenge her father's death at the hands of a criminal named Tom Chaney. To do so, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn, a seasoned U.S. Marshal rumored to be a man with true grit. They are also accompanied by Texas Ranger La Bouef, who is seeking a reward for the capture of Tom Chaney, as well as to punish him for crimes committed in another state.
The remake released in 2010 is directed Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, a pair of brothers that have a respectable amount of good films under their belts.
I'm not the biggest fan of Westerns, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed both versions of this movie. They both have their strong points, I appreciated the additional storyline in the original and laughed at the well-written humorous dialogue of the remake. Overall I liked the remake better, but that's just my preference and they are both great films.
I actually had to turn subtitles on to understand Jeff Bridge's Rooster in some parts because his voice was so gruff, and you might also need to do so. That didn't bother me much though.
Both of these versions are available for instant streaming on Netflix if you have that. Don't like either of these movies? Yeah, well, you know, that's just like your opinion, man.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Not the most fitting picture, but it's a fire we had going last night and I don't have anything better!
Feel free to share your New Years resolutions in the comments below, I haven't been able to think of any good ones. (Either that or I'm not feeling very determined). Maybe I'll try to drink more water and less soda, there's a lot of sugar in that stuff...
I've been contemplating starting some sort of survival blog on the side, but I know there's already a lot of good ones out there and plenty of Youtube instructional videos to learn from, so whatever I throw out there would just be a re-hash of what I've learned from others. Still, it would probably be fun and if anyone learns something from it that would be great too, so we'll see.
A lot of people are expecting big things for this year since it's 2012, but we'll see what happens. Come aliens, apocalypse, ascension, or nothing at all, I hope you all have an exciting year! Thanks to all my readers!