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.

  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.