Monday, April 21, 2008

Hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove...

A Newbie's Heuristic Primer to Hedonistic Pleasure (on the dance floor...)

For starters, if you want to learn how to dance well, don't, because if you're reading this, you can't. Instead, this primer serves a quick, handy-dandy way of *faking it*. As with many other human activities (such as carpentry, auto maintenance, and the Spanish language), *faking it* is an extraordinarily important skill when you can't cut it in real life. So, here goes:

1) At all times, keep in mind the image of Kevin James from the film "Hitch", and remember that no matter how stupid he looked, he still ended up with a Cameron Diaz look-a-like. Note: He did *not* end up with Cameron Diaz, but by faking it, he was able to get a look-a-like, which at this point is as close as we want to get. Make sure you remember this, because otherwise you're just looking stupid on the dance floor for no point, and you don't *ever* want to ask a woman, "Wait, you're not Cameron Diaz?".

2) Von Clausewitz preached the reduction of "friction" in military endeavours. Treat the club floor like a military endeavour, at least until you're sure the female primary target is so drunk she won't feel/mind/remember you trying to rub against her.

3) Now, for the actual dance moves: plant your feet at shoulder's width apart. Shift your weight back and forth, and if you have hips, sway them a little at the same time. Try this for a while, all while cannily watching other dancers, feeling their rhythms, and storing their dance moves for future reference.

4) Once you feel prepared, you can vary your motion a little; mix and match the following bits of advice/moves:
-Remember the famous Chinese proverb, "Hipps don't lie".
-Imagine your shoulders and head are bobbling in water, and they need to rise and fall in a wavelike motion known only as the "fPendl"
-Pretend you are playing DDR, and that you are good at it.
-Throwback moves to the disco and Baroque era are highly discouraged, as are any of the following dances: Macarena, Crip Walk, Soulja Boy, Square, Viennese Waltz
-Follow moves from every kung-fu movie you've known, starting with "Wax on, wax off" and moving on from there.

5) Do not stand next to any of the following people, for they will make you look bad: Patrick Swayze, my roommate

6) Do not stand next to any of the following people, because they are creepy: M*ch*g*n fans, Michael Jackson, the blonde doctor from "Lost"

7) If all else fails, pretend you hurt your leg in a skydiving accident and sit in a corner.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I thought that this time it oculd be different, that we had enough in common that we could still be friends, that we were both mature enough to handle it.

I was wrong. I fucked up.

I had deleted all her texts, all the voicemails, long long ago, but we could still talk, and we did, once every couple of weeks. But a bad day, as always, and I messed it up.

There's one text message I will keep from her as long as I can, to remind myself of my failure, a black mark like an unending unyielding unhealing knife wound deep into my heart.

From: E

Dont call me anymore

Sun, Apr 13 2:31 pm

Sunday, April 06, 2008

About "Science"...
We'd like to think that we're objective, realistic, even-handed, and far beyond the intellectual dark ages of burning Galileo, but in reality...

The "establishment" is still there. The "establishment" simply has a different set of beliefs now: instead of a rigid, fundamentalist, dogmatic, religious viewpoint, it has a rigid, fundamentalist, dogmatic, atheistic viewpoint. This is more than just religion, though. It is the "ditto"-ism of the scientific establishment, the desire to appease the majority and confirm what everyone "already knows", the desire to not lose tenure and funding and publication, where evolution, not revolution, is the norm.

How can we fix this? Damned if I know. There were some hopes that the Internet would make large-scale distribution of research and peer review a possibility, breaking the stranglehold that (paper) academic journals currently hold. But look at how Wikipedia is demonized, despite studies showing on average it is at least as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica (much more so in its data on lightsabers or Arrested Development).

The Ben Stein film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" (http://www.expelledthemovie.com/playground.php)
makes the claim that evidence of intelligent design is being deliberately suppressed by Antarctic Space Nazis- I mean, the intellectual establishment. It is unfortunate that the topic of repression in academia in this film is centered around some dubious scientific theory that not only claims that there are serious problems with evolution as we know and teach it (a perfectly legit point) but that these flaws necessarily imply the existence of God (needs a little work there, sparky). But for those of you for whom the "G-word" immediately makes you shudder in horror, first of all, PLEASE learn to be a little more open-minded, and second of all, consider the following case, not religion-related at all:

Jeffrey Taubenberger was a molecular biologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology who in 1996 identified the virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic from preserved tissues. He and his team wrote a paper on the topic and documented their research, and sent it off to Nature, one of the two leading scientific journals in molecular biology [in research in general, publication of a paper in a scientific journal means that it is peer-reviewed and accepted as fact by the community at large]. It was flatly rejected, for being "not interesting enough for review". It didn't even get a chance.

They shrugged, and sent it to Science, Nature's rival magazine. Flat rejection.

According to Gina Kolata's excellent history of flu research, aptly titled "Flu", Taubenberger later realized that "it gave the flu community a shock to think that a non-flu person was working on this flu project" (216). It was only after Taubenberger requested the intervention of some more highly-regarded scientists that the paper was finally accepted for review and publication. After all, it's not like anything coming from a research institute you've never heard of is going to ever amount to anything, right?

*shakes head*

Not convinced? Read up on Ryuzo Yanagimachi's difficulties in getting published. Or read the article on Wikipedia about opposition to climate change:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming
Ever heard of these guys? Didn't think so.

Welcome to our Brave New World, folks. We've always been teaching abiogenesis to Eastasia.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More Irony

So I am a self-described "humanities and English person"...here are my classes for my first year in college:

1st semester:

Chemistry
Computer Programming
Simulations and Games
English

2nd semester:
Writing (Required Academic Class)
Chemistry
Spanish
History of Health and Public Policy

So far, so good, 4 to 4, right? Here's my next semester

3rd semester:
Organic Chemistry
Molecular Biology
Computer Programming
History of the Spanish Civil War

Fun times...