Thursday, May 4, 2017


For earth week Dan Harris briefly retired from retirement to educate about his passions: beekeeping.
Here's the Video: Bees?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kennel Slice-of-life
It felt a little weird to be asked to line up for wrist-bands. I thought that, since we were national champions we might let go of the juvenile queueing traditions and join the big boys with a more sensible system. But naw.
Maybe they make us wait in line so as to build anticipation, students talk to each other in line about sports or literally anything else, study, it's a kind of ritual rather than a security necessity. Anyway, I opted not to go for a wristband and am probably going to regret that for a minute.
Just a little planning and organizing would have gotten me and my friends much closer to Zag history, much deeper into the frenzy, so much more connected to the people around us, I feel like. Earplugs would have been nice, too, in hindsight.
Conformism is often spoken of as a failure to be individual and creative or worse a failure to be thoughtful. But it has been empirically proven that participation in activities in which the individual will is subsumed to the group effort increases feelings of belonging--and that might just be price of admission, ya know. I realize now it's a special kind of joy, a drug, watching sports--one I don't think I'll get quite as high off of ever again after this season is done.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Girly Drinks vs. Manly Drinks

A Viral Video about Gender and Alcohol Culture?

Why not?

What I like about this video is how it takes something that is or was taken for granted in our culture--that "girly" drinks will be sweet and easy to drink and "manly" drinks will present more of a challenge to be overcome--and convincingly presents it as an absurdity.

The way the characters are drawn--crude, exaggerated forms--leave no room for ambiguity in what the speaker is trying to communicate. The exasperation of the narrator is at once relatable and overblown. The speaker drives their point home with the contrast between nice sounding drinks like "Sex on the Beach" and a beer that is literally called "Bitter"

After sloshing in the backwaters of Albino Blacksheep the video got featured on the popular, 739 thousand "like", site BroBible and has reached 13 and a half thousand "upvotes" on reddit. What this tells us, I think, is that even if the amount of technical artistry in a video could be very low this can be made up for by being blunt, outraged, exaggerated, and funny. Through these devices it is possible to turn a merely marginally interesting topic, gender and alcohol norms, into viral content.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8, Now Featuring High-Level Corruption!

I saw a Twitter thing saying that 1.1 million or so people were talking about the Samsung Galaxy S8. That's fine. A typical article by cnet has 3 problems with the Samsung Galaxy S8, technical stuff related to processors (overheating again lol), and battery life or whatever, great. What this article and the people talking about the S8 are ignoring however is Corruption.
Yes, Samsung is under investigation for bribery in connection with the President of South Korea. Shouldn't this be one of the "problems?" I certainly would have a problem if my phone were made by a company I knew to be corrupt (or at least was suspected of corruption). Also, if big-name Korean families can get away with stuff that other companies cannot that puts Samsung at an unfair advantage, obviously, and allows them to compete where otherwise they would not be able to, thus affecting us all, even if we don't use a Samsung ourselves. That's just Basic Economics (thanks Sowell lol).
By all means continue talking about the latest Samsung whatever, technology is important, but so are morals and that should be reflected in our discussion of technology manufacturers.

Trump Radicalized me, Now I'm a Green

What I saw during the campaign was someone who stuck to his positions, no matter how outrageous they were. When I look at the Green Party Platform I see a platform I completely agree with, even if many find it completely outrageous. When Trump got elected I didn't get sad or angry, I felt ridiculously happy, what happened proved, in my mind, that anything was possible. I might not have voted for him, but there he was, winner of the majority of the electors' votes--a system which, by the way the GP hopes to change. The Green Party is the Only party that takes the values that I have seriously, maybe that's because they haven't yet had power to corrupt them, but I see something different. I don't think the GP is perfect, I honestly as someone who may have Aspberger's and tries to speak for those who have even worse symptoms of autism find Ms. Stein's pandering to anti-vaxx granola-crunchers as deplorable as the racism tolerated by the Trump campaign. I also find her Trump-like isolationism w/r/t trade and foreign policy to be utterly asinine. HOWEVER, the GP remains the Only party that takes science seriously and, even if one STILL doesn't "believe" in global warming, the GP, it seems is the only party that is capable of maintaining a thoroughgoing resistance to problems that everyone believes in.

One of my Best Friends Lies about his Sex Life because he's Poor and Gay

And he shouldn't have to. See, to donate blood in America requires that one maintain a certain level of ritual purity. This pious state-of-affairs requires that, in addition to not having venereal disease, traveling to areas effected by blood disease, not having had certain vaccinations within a certain time period, not having taken illegal drugs through IV and other perfectly reasonable requirements--one also must not be a practicing homosexual. They used to not accept the blood of people-of-african-american-heritage for the same goddamn reason.
Donating plasma on a regular basis can provide a modest stream of income to those who are willing and able to pump out the goods. If one reads the documentation one is technically compensated for time, rather than being paid for the blood-plasma which, supposedly, is freely given. Many people, usually poor, choose to do this and the clinic is happy to filter out the plasma and give back the red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and whatever else and send them out the door with some money on their card. It's hard being broke in America and programs like this help out while also providing the medical system with much-needed plasma for transfer and research purposes. Before donating one must fill out a questionnaire, when I asked my good friend what he does when he gets to the question about whether or not he has had sexual contact with a man in the last six months he said he simply lies. WHY SHOULD HE HAVE TO? He seems to be a perfectly good citizen in all other respects, maybe he didn't register to vote or whatever, but he seems to respect the state and the medical establishment enough not to lie to it about most things. I get the feeling that if he were not rewarded for lying or punished for telling the truth he would choose to tell the truth as he is not ashamed of his sexuality. Nor should he be. 
Call me a philosopher but I think it is a good thing-in-itself for people not to lie. And if a system can be designed/reformed such that it allows good people--or at least people who happen to do medically or morally irrelevant things--not to lie about those things, then that system should be adopted IMMEDIATELY.