Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ECON 2302 - Microeconomics Notes

Microeconomics 101 Notes

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

The "War" on Christmas

This is a brilliant video that I stumbled across on in reference to the - quote unquote - War on Christmas.

Granted, it's by a British bloke and it's addressed to an English audience, but application of the message could/can/should be used here in the United States.

Friday, December 10, 2010

more scientists identify as democrats than as republicans

6% of scientists identify as Republicans
55% of scientists identify as Democrats
32% of scientists identify as Independents
The rest don't know.

To put it mildly, this isn't a shocking poll.

I wouldn't really call myself a scientist, but since I do hold a Bachelor of Science in Physics, I am - by at least some measure - a science-minded person. When I began college at age 17, I (yes, I can admit it) considered myself to be a conservative Christian. By the time that I graduated five years later, I was a liberal atheist. To be fair, though, I did - so far as I can recall - always have some level of doubt about the truth of the Christian claims that I was sold as a child.

The ability examine things critically, which is an idea that is central in science, can vastly change the way that you view the world.

SOURCES
  1. http://www.economist.com/node/21013751 (main)
  2. http://www.slate.com/id/2277104
  3. http://people-press.org/report/528/ (the poll)
  4. http://www.gallup.com/poll/126563/conservatives-doubts-global-warming-grow.aspx (poll demonstrating that conservatards doubt climate change more than liberals do)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

a response to religious bullshit

The following screenshot is a blog post from one of the social networking sites that I'm on. I blocked out the screenname and picture of the poster because I'm not a complete dick.


My response was as follows:

This is a stupid story, and it doesn't seem believable.
The professor made the same sort of God test that I made when I was seven. He also did so, according to the story, unprompted. It would be relevant to know what sort of course this incident occurred in, and if there was a religious discussion in a prior period.
I also don't believe that that the professor stood there, in silence, with the class doing absolutely nothing, for ten minutes. That just doesn't seem plausible.
However, for the sake of charity, let's assume that the story is true.
First, it implies that God is willing to use violence to convey his message. This sort of thing shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has read the Bible, but it still isn't something that any rational person would consider to be virtuous.
Secondly, it demonstrates that God, in one way or the other, responds to tests of his existence. I, and others, have been diligently searching for proof of his existence for two millenia, and have received no response. Why does God respond to some of these tests, but not others?
Thirdly, if God is busy protecting Americans soldiers, then why does he suck at it? How many thousands of American troops have been injured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Fourthly, if God is too busy to do one thing because he is doing another, then how can he still claim omnipotence?
As a corollary to number four, if God prioritizes his tasks, then how does he choose them? It seems to me that he should be focusing on the countless thousands dying of starvation, or suffering from cancer, than helping American athletes play sports.
[commenter on the blog] says that she really doesn't understand atheists. I don't understand how a rational person can read a story like this and not call bullshit.

I wonder if the OP will delete my comment or not!

Friday, December 3, 2010

adventures in online deception

I am a member of several internet dating slash social networking sites.

On this one particular site, the images are uploaded to the top of the stack. Users can have an infinite array of pictures, but the ones uploaded most recently are displayed first. Each profile displays nine pictures at a time, and the user has the option (though the the interface for actually doing so is horrible), to create photo albums and arrange the photos.

A while back, I became friends (only via profile friending - similar to the Facebook) with a larger, but still cute, girl. Her sizable (quantitatively) collection of photos showed off a lot of her, so there wasn't any deception there.

More recently, she added some new pictures. The site alerts friends to new uploads by other friends, so I immediately checked them out when I got the alert. She was noticeably thinner in all of the pictures that she uploaded, so I sent her a text asking her if she had lost weight.

She didn't answer the question initially, and instead asked me why. I told her why, and then after a delay she answered that she hadn't lost weight, and that the photos were old.

fan-fucking-tastic. I just unintentionally hurt someone's feelings, which is one of my least favorite things to do.

Regardless of how you feel about the gravitationally challenged, the offense here should be fairly obvious. Because of the way that this particular site handles photos, uploading old pictures without labeling them as such is deceptive. Granted, it was probably unintentional in this case, but it's still deceptive nonetheless.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Deep Fried Turkey!

I deep fried a turkey today for late-Thanksgiving.
It was delicious!















Monday, November 1, 2010

msnbc is NOT the equivalent of FOX News


1 Timothy 2:11-12

1 Timothy 2:11-12 (King James Version)
11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 
12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
What a load of shit.
The first apologist to tell me that I've taken this Biblical Quote out of context wins a prize!

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/1tim/2.html#11
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Timothy+2:11-12&version=KJV

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I remember. Do you?

too easily annoyed?

I went to the movies tonight.

I hear the sound of popcorn crunching, people (in the audience) talking, ice clanking together inside of cups, and candy wrappers crackling. 

I see the blurry screen (why AMC is still in the dark ages of traditional projection is beyond me), the flicker associated with traditional projection, and the constant lighting up of cell phones.

I smell what I can only describe as the unfortunate pairing of wet dog, and dirty carpet.

Perhaps I'm too easily annoyed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Olbermann's Special Comment on the Tea Party

Last night, Keith Olbermann gave a special comment on the Tea Party and the upcoming election.
If the Tea Party wins, America loses.

Thanks, Keith.
I didn't realize that it was that bad.

The video starts with a systematic outline of the tea party nuts that are running for public office:


If you already know that the Tea Party is nuts, then you can skip to the last few minutes (summary):


You can view the transcript here:

Read it.
Watch it.
Learn it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alien Anthology on BluRay!

I've been waiting for this release for a long time.
It's finally here, and the box art is gorgeous.

 





I didn't include the scan for Alien Resurrection because, quite frankly, that movie doesn't exist to me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The God Questions

There are two questions in play when it comes to God. One question addresses what you believe, and one question addresses what you know.

Question 1 [what do you believe?]
Do you believe in God?

  • If your answer is yes, then you're a theist.
  • If your answer is anything other than yes, then you're an atheist.

Question 2 [what do you know?]
Do you know if your belief about the existence of God is true?

  • If your answer is yes, then you're a gnostic.
  • If your answer is anything other than yes, then you're an agnostic.

In this context, "anything other than yes," includes: { I don't know, I can't know, I'm not sure, I don't give a shit, probably not, I haven't been exposed to this particular definition of God, etc. }


If someone asks you if you believe in a particular God, then claiming agnosticism isn't an acceptable answer because that label answers a different question.

In reference to any particular God, each person falls under exactly one of those four categories.

The agnostic atheist box is a different color, because it is the only position that doesn't carry a burden of proof.

Muslims and Juan Williams

Michael Moore absolute nails the situation in his open letter to Juan Williams.

If you hear conservatives talking about this topic in passing (I live in Texas; I've heard conservatives talking about this topic in passing), then you will observe that they don't give a shit about the facts. They don't care that they're making hasty generalizations, They don't care that they're condemning an entire group of people for guilt by association. The only thing that they care about is that a group of people that are different than them are living out their constitutional rights in this country.

That's it - it's just xenophobia. It's disgusting, but you can expect that sort of thing from the bat-shit crazy crowd on FOX News. That's what they do; they play on people's basic, primal fears, and they do it for theatrics and ratings. Real journalists, on the other hand, are held to different standards.

Juan Williams fucked up by trying to portray himself as a respectable journalist for NPR while simultaneously appearing on FOX News as a political commentator. You simply can't put, "respectable journalist," and, "FOX News," in the same sentence. The two are mutually exclusive.

Michael Moore really sticks it to Juan Williams with the following quote:
"Here's something else that I'd sincerely love to talk about with you: what do you think when you see rich middle-aged white men talking on TV about how they get nervous around African Americans on the street? And then they explain that we can't let political correctness stop us from talking about black-on-white crime?"
ZING!




Recommended Links & Sources:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Science versus Faith


I love having intelligent friends on facebook; they always upload/share/like the best stuff.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Teen Pregnancy, Religion, and Sexual Education

When it comes to matters of sex and reproduction, education is the key. Abstinence based education, which is one of the many retarded derivatives of religion, simply doesn't produce results.

In a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following data was presented showing the teen pregnancy rates in comparison to the United States' average.


If green (and light green) were blue, and if blue (and light blue) were red, then this could almost be a typical political party affiliation map. What does that tell you? Maybe, just maybe, those elitist, socialist, godless, liberals know what they're talking about when it comes to sexual education.


The map is the bluest (back to the preggo map) around the Bible Belt states, so it would appear that Christianity isn't very effective at preventing premarital sex or teen pregnancies.

statement from Planned Parenthood said the following:
"This new CDC report makes it crystal clear that the teen birthrate is lower in states that provide students with comprehensive, evidence-based sex education. The report demonstrates that the surest way to reduce teenage pregnancy is to provide young people with comprehensive, medically accurate sex education..." 
And which states don't provide students with comprehensive, evidence-based sexual education? The religious Bible Belt states. I wish I could say that this was shocking, but I'm not convinced that my sarcasm would translate well over the internet.

This is precisely why religion is harmful. There are no secular voices calling for abstinence only education; this is a religious deal. These religious conservatards with their Christian morality are the ones refusing to interject knowledge into the minds of today's youth.

That's a problem.
Teenage pregnancy is a problem.

It should be obvious but I'll say it again:
when it comes to matters of sex and reproduction, education is the key.





Recommended Links & Sources:

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Moral Landscape - my next read

Sam Harris' book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values was just released. I bought it today on amazon, so I should get it by the end of the week.

 

Even though I'm currently reading, Good without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, I think I'm going to read Harris' book first. I'm only a chapter or so into Epstein's book, and since Harris has more street credit (no offense to Epstein), I'm more excited to read his thoughts first.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Richard Dawkins is the man!


The title of the video is guilty of false advertising. As a couple of the commenters stated, there really wasn't anything cruel about Dawkins' response.

Religious people are just used to people coddling their beliefs, so rational responses are viewed as cruel or aggressive.

The essence of Dawkins' response is so true though; religious convictions can typically (not always) be attributed to the accident of time and geography. 

Jailbreaking iPhone 4, iOS 4.1

I still remember the first time I saw an iPhone in real life. I was waiting for a table at Texas Roadhouse with my girlfriend at the time, Janalyn, and the two girls sitting next to me were texting hardcore; one of them was on an iPhone 2G. It looked gorgeous, and I knew that I had to have one.

I got an iPhone 2G with my tax refund in February of 2008, and I've had every iPhone since then.

Jailbreaking only makes iPhone better!

This jailbreak was fairly straightforward. After updating iTunes, and saving everything that I needed to save from my phone (just in case), I upgraded to 4.1 from 4.0.1 as normal through iTunes. After that, I followed the instructions from modmyi.com. The jailbreaking tool is called limera1n, and it is completely free (geohot does accept donations though, and a donation is well worth it).

After the jailbreak was complete, I backed up my SHSH blobs using TinyUmbrella. Without getting too technical (because I'm not sure that I fully understand it myself!), this allows you to restore your iOS back to the backed up version if Apple releases a new version. For example, if Apple releases iOS 4.2, then they will stop approving iOS 4.1 for restores; you need the SHSH data to trick iTunes into thinking that Apple approved the 4.1 software file.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

go away, day

Sometimes when you're depressed, the only fix is when you can sleep it off, and hopefully forget the cause(s) by the time you wake up. It doesn't always work, but it's the only option that you really have.

I still have to hit the gym, get rid of the headache, and finish cleaning my room too.

Fuck.

Friday, October 15, 2010

a critical difference between liberals and conservatives

Sometimes, a picture that you find on facebook nails it.


other dietary supplements

In addition to the weight loss supplements, I also take these:

Optimum Nutrition - Opti-Men
This one is fairly self explanatory; it's a multi-vitamin for men.

Biochem Sports - Omega Burn
This guy is a collection of fatty acids: Omega 3, 6, and 9, CLA, flaxseed oil, borage oil, and others. Fish oils are generally credited with heart health, skin health, joint lubrication and weight loss.

Vitamin Shoppe - B-Complex 100
B-Complex is supposed to enhance energy levels, and promote mental & heart health.

weight loss supplements that work

a brief background on my reaction to stimulants

Over the years, I've tried a wide variety of weight loss supplements. Off the top of my head, I've used Metabolife, Hydroxycut, Hydroxycut Hardcore, Lipo 6, Zantrex-3, Stacker 2, and Stacker 3 with no observable results. My tolerance to stimulants has always been extremely high, and my metabolism seems to adapt to changes quickly.

I'm essentially immune caffeine products. Coffee doesn't wake me up in the morning (and it tastes like ass), and energy drinks don't really do anything except give me gas.

This resistance to stimulants extends to sleep aids as well. I can take over the counter sleeping pills like M&Ms with no effect. Prescription sleep aids like Lunesta and Sonata also don't do much except provide a minimal increase in drowsiness. Ambien works when I triple dose it, but that isn't realistic to use on a daily basis.

I give that background because it helps to put the products that do work for me in better context. Everyone's body is a little different, and what works for some people may not work for others.

products that work!


When I first started dieting I used a supplement from BSN called Endoburn NT. This product works. It didn't do much for me in terms of energy, but no product has ever delivered the appetite suppression that Endoburn NT did; I was literally, "not hungry," for most of the day.

In conjunction with a decent diet, and nearly daily exercise, I lost approximately 20 pounds while taking Endoburn NT.

The product, however, didn't come free of side effects.

Almost immediately after I started taking this product, something strange started happening with my sex gear. My erections were never, "full." If I had to quantify it, then I would say that I could achieve ~85% hardness. Additionally, I would cum extremely fast (within one or two minutes). The cumshots weren't really cumshots either; rather, they were more like the result of a slow, leaky valve.

When you're fat and not getting laid, this sort of problem is acceptable in the interim. It was actually kind of  nice not having to wax my carrot on a daily basis because the urge just wasn't there. I tried to compensate for the negative effects by taking a testosterone booster, but that really didn't work either.

The problem immediately disappeared when I transitioned over to a different weight loss supplement, Pro Xanthine 500-XT by Redefine Labs. The appetite suppression isn't as strong as with Endoburn NT, and as with everything else I've tried, there was no energy boost, but I've come to expect that at this point. In short, it works, and it works without any noticeable side effects!

I've lost 15 pounds or so to date on Xanthine 500-XT, so I can definitely recommend it.

I also take these other dietary supplements.

beautiful music

Some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard is below. Please feel free to share some of yours.

You don't have to be a Trekkie to enjoy this music.


Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan
Track 22 - Epilogue - End Title





http://amzn.com/B003QRWZXO

Star Trek III - The Search for Spock
Track 6 - Returning to Vulcan







Apollo 13
Track 9 - The Launch





In summary, James Horner writes beautiful music.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In the hall of the Mountain King

The scene that this music supports is from - quite possibly - one of the best movie sequences of the year. I'll probably end up seeing The Social Network again, and this scene is one of the reasons why.



The score itself is phenomenal too; Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails) did an awesome job. I listened to it before I saw the movie, and I didn't quite see how it would work in a movie, but it fucking worked.

The site for the score is here: 

You can buy the score for (it's worth it) from Amazon.com here: 

Also, go check out the film. It doesn't matter if you love, hate, or don't give a shit about Facebook. David Fincher is a master filmmaker, and the movie itself is worth the price of admission. 

quotes of the day

“No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.”
Charles P. Steinmetz 
Prussian Engineer and Inventor, 1865-1923




"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear."  
Thomas Jefferson
in a letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

if free-thinkers are Satan's slaves...

...then consider me guilty as charged.


You’re Satan’s slave; didn’t you know that?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

i BELIEVE in the lowercase T


Do you?

I thought that it would make a cool shirt, so I threw one up on Zazzle.

Friday, October 8, 2010

an example of religious hypocrisy and bigotry

My parents were watching the local nightly news this evening when I walked by.

The news story on at the time was about a theft from a Hindu place of worship (I'm embarrassed that I don't know what the Hindus call their worshiping huts). Some religious statues made of precious metals were recently stolen, and the segment was giving exposure to the Hindu temple and the theft. In the process of this, some of their rituals were briefly outlined.

My mom (a Christian) commented on how the rituals were stupid, and then went on to make fun of how some of the people were dressed. Oh the irony!

All I can say is that the apple fell really far away from the tree.


on sluts and being, "easy."

http://amzn.com/1587613379
"Is there, we wonder, some virtue in being difficult?"
pg. 14

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

if atheists acted religious

This is a youtube video that I can't resist sharing. To the atheist, it should be highly relevant; I highly doubt that the Christian will be able to sit through the entire thing though.


I can also appreciate the jab at the end about Texans rewriting books; we like to do that here.

I am a left social libertarian

I took a political spectrum quiz this afternoon. It was one of the longer ones that I've taken, and most of the questions were relevant (or interesting). Here are my results.

My Political Views
I am a left social libertarian
Left: 4.57, Libertarian: 4.78

That seems about right. I'm not as left as I thought that I would be, but hey, nobody is perfect. It would be nice if they would let you audit the test and see how each answer influences the final score.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lean Forward

Apparently msnbc is coming out with a tagline, "Lean Forward."

I like it. It's clean, it screams, 'liberal,' and moving to the future is always a good thing. Even if I hated it, it still wouldn't be a bold faced fucking lie like the, "Fair & Balanced," slogan used by FOX News!



I especially like the tagline on this Chris Matthews ad. Not all opinions are created equal, and there exist certain criteria that must be met for opinions to be respected. 

And do I have a crush on Rachel Maddow?
Why yes, yes I do; intelligent, liberal women are beyond sexy.


Jesus and the Dragons!

This is too funny not to share.


Thanks goes out to PZ Myers for the Tuesday morning laugh.

Zach Snyder is directing the next Superman movie!

With Christopher Nolan writing and producing, and Zach Snyder directing, the next Superman movie is poised to be one badass mother fucker!

is WWJD useful?

Earlier today I responded to a blog that a Christian girl (a very physically attractive one, I might add) had posted.  She was describing a work conflict, and she asked the audience what she should do.

I jokingly replied, "WWJD?"

She subsequently messaged me and asked me something to the effect of, "I see that you're an atheist, so why would you say, 'WWJD?'" The question caught me off guard because A) I was doing all of this while I was on my phone driving to school and B) it was a good question.

I've thought about it for a bit, and here is my response.

WWJD is an acronym that is applied to cases in which a good moral response is desired. The Christian is using the Jesus character as a source for, "the right thing to do."

However, I would be willing to bet the family farm that most of the Christians couldn't tell you anything significant about Jesus aside from the trivial basics. Even if they had some advanced knowledge of Jesus' teachings, and if the teachings were correctly transcribed, and if their interpretation of said teachings were accurate, the Christian would still only be using the idea of the Jesus character as the reference point for making a decision.

In the case of my attractive Christian girl, there is no instance in scripture that applies directly to the situation that she is trying to resolve. So, by applying the WWJD formula, she isn't appealing to the Christ character directly; rather, she is appealing to all of the various sources of morality that could be applicable to her situation.

Because Christians associate JC with perfect morality, asking the Christian, "WWJD," is analogous to asking them, "what is the best thing that could possibly be done?"

In that sense, the "WWJD," acronym is useful. On the other hand, by invoking Jesus, the religious myth is perpetrated further, and that is never a good thing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

another reason why I hate Customer Service

I sell used items on the internet from time to time. I'm not a mass reseller; I just sell stuff that I don't use or need anymore.

I recently sold a 2-Disc CD soundtrack on Amazon.com for $19.99 + $2.98 s/h. My ad, under the additional comments section, said the following:
ships USPS First Class from TX on next business day // both discs included // discs are in MINT condition // inserts & booklets in GOOD condition // CD case is cracked on the back, and the disc holder is broken (I will ship the discs in separate sleeves to avoid damage)
I shipped the soundtrack last week via USPS First Class as promised in a bubble wrap envelope, and an Amazon.com-generated packing slip with the item description was included.

This afternoon while I was on gMaiL, a new message arrived from the customer and I opened it immediately. He claimed that the case arrived, "shattered," that the item was junk, and that he either wants a brand new CD case (yes, the cheap plastic CD cases that you can buy at the dollar store for a dollar), or a full refund plus shipping costs.

He also claims that my listing had no mention of the defective case. Granted, the case could have been additionally damaged in the shipment, but he is ignoring the fact that my listing clearly mentioned the cracked case.

I initially overlooked the anger and the rudeness in his message because I understand that it's frustrating to not get what you paid for. I was fully prepared to give him a partial refund to mitigate the damaged case.

When I logged on to Amazon, I saw that this fucking asshole had already given me 1-star feedback, and posted that I misrepresent my items. So not only did he fail to educate himself about what he was buying, he failed to give me a chance to resolve the issue as well!

Customers are fucking idiots.
This is why I don't want to work in customer service. Ever.

I'm voting Republican because...


It's satire; you really shouldn't vote for a Republican, or for a Tea Party wacko disguised as a Republican.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the Truth about Judging people

If you watch people for long enough, then you might observe that people often speak out on, "being judged." They usually claim something to the effect of, "nobody but God has a right to judge me." These same people also claim to be non-judgmental.

All of this is grossly false.

Aside from the imaginary (God) part, these people are unrealistic hypocrites. What they're really saying is that they are uncomfortable with being judged negatively. If you gave one of these people a positive compliment, or a positive endorsement, then you wouldn't hear them bitching about being judged. In fact, they would probably be extremely thankful that you decided to convey your judgement to them.

If, on the other hand, you gave that same person a polite - but negative - comment, or if you condemned something about them, then that person would probably complain about being judged, and judge you negatively for revealing your judgement to them.

The fallacy is obvious, yet this is something that the average person can easily observe in their daily lives.

As human beings, we have trouble accepting negativity even when (especially when) the negativity is an accurate interpretation of reality. We don't have an issue with judgement; we love praise. Some of us live for praise. The thing that we have trouble with is someone pointing out something negative. This is a personality flaw that we all posses to varying degrees.

The best that we can do is to try to be aware of this when we encounter others. If someone has something negative to say about you, then think about what they're saying, and evaluate their basis in it. If their argument has merit, then address it. If their claim doesn't have any merit, then dismiss it. Don't, however, condemn the judgement, because you wouldn't be condemning them if their opinion was positive!

And the next time that you catch someone bitching about being judged, give them a positive compliment, watch the bitching stop, and let yourself smirk as sarcastically as possible at their hypocrisy. If you want to risk being labeled an asshole, then you can try pointing it out the hypocrisy to them, but the odds are that they probably won't understand.

The Fat Belt

At the end of April of this year, I moved back to Houston from San Antonio. A couple of days before I moved, I had to buy some new shorts and a new belt because I grew too fat for my old ones. I bought the belt for a size 40 waist, and I barely fit on the last notch of the belt.

I idled at 250 pounds for a little over a month. In the middle of June, I decided to join a gym and start eating right. 

Since that time, I have used all 5 notches on the belt, and I've drilled 6 additional holes. I keep the belt around, and I call it my Fat Belt because it helps to remind me of the results I've obtained, and that I still have work to do. The days that I get to drill a new hole are always fantastic motivators.


I still have a long way to go. I'm getting there by hitting the gym at least 5 times a week, taking diet pills and vitamins on a daily basis, and by watching my diet.

My current weight is hovering around 220, and I estimate my target weight to be around 200. It's only a guess because my ultimate goal is to have a flat gut and firm man boobs. 

The process sucks, but the phenomenal results are worth the effort. You just can't put a tangible value on physical fitness.