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Echoes and Mirrors » world domination

Archive for the ‘world domination’ Category

Post-Spain, I’m feelin’ a little blue

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Spain is such a wonderful country. A little rough getting used to the schedule though. Outside of Madrid, everything was seriously closed from 2-5 every afternoon. I never had an excuse not to take a nap. Those siestas were awesome. The wine is plentiful and inexpensive. The jamón is amazing. I really ought to whip up a list of places I went to while I was there:

I went for the Goya Black Paintings. They’re fantastic. Fight with Clubs was probably my favorite.

There was an awesome Antonin Artaud exhibit. Nothing else there really sparked my interest much.

I was so hungover that I don’t remember it. Mostly because I blew through it so I could get to the gift shop to buy a bottle of water.

I can’t explain how mind-blowing this cathedral is. It’s worth seeing in person.

How this thing is still standing is beyond me. It provides some nice shade and it looks cool. I’m not a history, architecture or art buff so that’s really all I can say about it. It’s an imposing structure.

Pretty neat if a bit touristy. The view from the top is amazing.

I don’t like Art Nouveau or Art Deco but they have some amazing stained glass windows, including a ceiling. There is a huge exhibit of creepy dolls. No me gusta.

Going up into the tower is pretty wicked. Crossing the cathedral from 150 ft. up is vertigo inducing, but beautiful.

Impressive structure, but a little too modern for my tastes. I’ll stick with the Cathedrals of Toledo and Salamanca.

Sure it was innovative architecturally speaking, but man, it’s fucking ugly. This seemed to be a trend in Barcelona.

Notice how it’s ‘Museu’ instead of ‘Museo’? Because Barcelona is in Catalonia, and they don’t speak Spanish (well, they can, but they don’t). It’s Catalan, everywhere. Also, Picasso was great up until he got all crazy with the cubism. I loved seeing all his notebook doodles. Seriously, they have napkins that he drew on with crayons framed. You do see how his style moved from his teens until he died, so it’s really worth checking out.

I could have spent two more hours in the Dali museum. It was wild.

I’ll probably make a few more posts about Spain in the near future regarding the nightlife, the food and some other random junk that I found interesting but doesn’t fit with anything else.

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I know why the Palestinians are angry

Friday, June 4th, 2010

It’s probably the lack of nutmeg to make really great French Toast with.

Or, failing that, the fact that what they’re getting is barely enough to sustain themselves without the opportunity to improve the living conditions. And also, no meat.

But hey, the situation is so polemic and tragic that I just can’t help but feel bad.

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Gotta admire those brass balls

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

A (unconfirmed?) Mossad hit-squad caught after assassinating al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’ military wing.

I’ll give the Israelis one thing: they just don’t give a fuck, and I can admire that. But flat-out ignoring (and often times, in very racist ways) diplomacy only makes me think that they really don’t respect other countries or care what they think. More to the point, they don’t care what non-Israelis think.  Which is troubling.

But how does one politely deride Israel without looking like an anti-semite these days, though?

Also, I’ve heard that Tel Aviv has a large population of smokin’ hot girls, so I don’t want to get myself into trouble with them (or end up on any sort of watch list and barred from the country).

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ATTN: Possible future employer, despite how cynical I may appear to be, I am an idealist.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

In Connor's second thesis it is stated 'There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.'  Does the routine destroy our creativity or do we lose creativity and fall into the routine?  Anyway, who's up for a road trip!

It would be suicide not to follow my dreams.

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Is this a good thing? (Tyranny of the Majority is coming to town)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

David Brooks in the NY Times: (via Reason)

The country is evenly divided about President Obama, but state governments are in disrepute and confidence in Congress is at withering lows. As Frank Newport of the Gallup organization noted in his year-end wrap-up, “Americans have less faith in their elected representatives than ever before.”

A tanking economy and rife injustice will do that.

The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.
The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

Now that frightens me.

The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation.

I think they simply want to vote for an underdog. The tea party thing might have started off with LP roots (which were quickly misattributed to the the GOP) but it quickly took a life of its own.

But the whole thing reeks of anti-intellectualism. Because intellectualism is a threat to Judeo-Christian morality. A common trope in America is that Colleges are liberal, and thus, the educated class tends to lean that direction. The University system is apparently pumping out tons of baby-killing, gun-banning, illegal immigrant hugging hippies. (Never mind that a lot of these folks have either attended college themselves or want their kids to so they can succeed in life, or whatever that entails.)

I’ve always pretty much believed that most people know what they like and don’t like by time they are adults. However, they have no idea how that scales up in politics and don’t vote accordingly. Or they simply vote based on the impression of what they like.

They don’t want taxes (neither do I) but they still want their social security, because they’ve been paying into it for 20 years (I don’t care either way and I don’t want it). They want the state to enforce noise ordinances, get rid of drugs, stop women from whoring, protect us from terrorists, but they don’t want a police state.

And the inclusion of anti-vaccine, 9/11 truthers, birthers, anti-abortion soccer moms, etc., it just seems to be a angry mob. There is no direction or ideology. And they don’t understand what they want because they reject intellectualism and the study of political philosophy. They want liberty, and even if they don’t know what that means they are going to rabble-rabble until they get it.

But it’s probably nothing new. Politicians have always gone for the “just one of the regular folks” angle. I’ve always asked, “why in the fuck would I want to vote for someone like that?” I wouldn’t trust most people with a class of high-school kids, let alone a government position that puts them in charge of much more costly and dangerous shit.

The mobilus vulgaris is coming and it seems like a good time for tin-foil hats.

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let yourself fill with rage

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

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A whole bunch of people just lost a bet to me

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Because I predicted that China would bitch-slap North Korea for testing Nuclear weapons. People at the bar are hilarious when they attempt to analyze international politics. And their fear trumps any form of rationality.

Which is sorta okay with me, as I end up looking like some sort of genius. All because I know that China has done this in the past.

Why did China do this, though? They are certainly not threatened by North Korea. It’s economics – threatening the Pacific Rim destabilizes the foreign trade that China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea rely on.

North Korea is “that guy” that ruins the party for everyone by vomiting in the middle of the living room during a really great party.

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Dogs still can’t talk – what a surprise

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Fact or Fiction: Dogs Can Talk

Nothing in the last century has really changed that scientific opinion. (No one has ever questioned whether dogs communicate with each other, but calling it “talking” is something else.) So what are Maya and her cousins doing? It’s more appropriate to call it imitating than talking, says Gary Lucas, a visiting scholar in psychology at Indiana University Bloomington. Dogs vocalize with each other to convey emotions—and they express their emotions by varying their tones, he says. So it pays for dogs to be sensitive to different tones. Dogs are able to imitate humans as well as they do because they pick up on the differences in our tonal patterns.

Lucas likens this behavior to that of bonobos, primates that can imitate some tonal patterns, including vowel sounds, pitch changes, and rhythms, studies show. “The vocal skills of some of the dogs and cats on YouTube suggest that they might also have some selective tonal imitation skills,” he says.

What’s happening between dog and owner-turned-voice-coach is fairly straightforward, Coren says: Owner hears the dog making a sound that resembles a phrase, says the phrase back to the dog, who then repeats the sound and is rewarded with a treat. Eventually the dog learns a modified version of her original sound. As Lucas puts it, “dogs have limited vocal imitation skills, so these sounds usually need to be shaped by selective attention and social reward.”

In the Letterman video “a pug says, ‘I love you’ and it’s very cute, but the pug has no idea what it means,” Coren says. “If dogs could talk, they would tell you, ‘I’m just in it for the cookies.'”

Anthropomorphizing animals is nothing new and will never end. The over-active pattern recognition systems of our brains is both a blessing and a curse.

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Human Nature and the BFF

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Science starts backing up what is already known by those who don’t want to live in a dream-land where romantic comedies set the bar for relationships:

Daniel Kruger, a University of Michigan researcher who studies evolution and how it relates to contemporary behavior, looked at the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to test his hypothesis on how the balance between women and men affects marital patterns. Results showed that men aged 20-24 are more likely to cruise than to commit if they live in an area with more women than men.

One would think that rationally, fewer young men than women would naturally lead to proportionately more young men getting married, but that’s not the case.

“Marriage patterns aren’t rational because men and women have somewhat different reproductive strategies,” Kruger said. “Men have a greater reproductive benefit than women from having a greater quantity of relationships. If they can leverage their scarcity into attracting multiple short-term partners, they will not have as much of an incentive to settle down.”

There are about nine unmarried men for every 10 unmarried women in Birmingham, Memphis, New Orleans, and Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia, Kruger says. Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and New York metropolitan areas are tied for the next region where women are relatively most plentiful. In these areas, about 84 percent of the men aged 20-24 are unmarried. In Las Vegas, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Austin, and Phoenix, there are about nine unmarried women for every 10 unmarried men. In these areas, about 77 percent of the men aged 20-24 are unmarried.

Once those young men hit their 30s, they tend to shift from seeking short-term relationships to entering into committed relationships. That’s because when women evaluate partners for short-term relationships they value physical features signaling the kind of genes that would be passed on to potential offspring, which may be the only legacy of men who don’t stick around for child rearing. These physical features decline as men age, making it more difficult to lure women into uncommitted relationships.

Also, while I was in Peru, I learned that the national average there is 7 females to every male. And prostitution is legal. I’m hardly in a mood to produce supply and demand charts, but imagine how it pans out. Now get your head back in the game and realize that the 30% of men are still banging the top 75% of the women and everyone else can pay six bucks (no joke) to get laid. Either way, the greater the supply, the lower the price, and if you have any wits about you, you can use the legal prostitution to leverage more free pussy than you will know what to do with. And failing that, you might be out six more bucks for the evening.

The Onion thinks this is satire, but it’s more real than they could have imagined: But If We Started Dating It Would Ruin Our Friendship Where I Ask You To Do Things And You Do Them

I really like you. I do. You’re so nice, and sweet, and you listen to all my problems and respond with the appropriate compliments. But, well, I don’t really see a relationship in our future. It would be terrible if we let sex destroy this great friendship we have where I get everything I want and you get nothing you want. Don’t you think?

I knew you would understand. You always do.

We’re so perfect as friends, you know? I can tell you anything, and you know you can always come to me anytime you need to hear me bitch about work or how ugly I feel. You wouldn’t want to ruin a friendship like that just so you could be my boyfriend, and have me look at you with desire and longing in my eyes, if only once—would you? Of course not. Well, if we started dating, it would only complicate this wonderful setup I’ve got going here.

During the pursuit of a certain young woman recently, I encountered this phenomenon. She announced that one of her male friends was now her BFF. It amused me to no end how he went along with it. I simply stop talking to girls if they try to friend-zone me (except lesbians, because hey, they have brought more than a couple hot straight girls into my orbit).

Memorize this line: “Oh wow, you’re like the little/bigger sister I never had!” I will leave it as an exercise to the reader regarding when to deploy this. It is like a dynamite vest. Or a carbomb.

And now, adding to the fire underneath the weenie roast is this guy, who is suing match.com:

A Brooklyn man sued Match.com yesterday for inflicting “humiliation and disappointment” on lonely hearts “who feel rejected when their e-mails get no reply.”
Sean McGinn alleges the popular matchmaking Web site dangles phony date bait by posting profiles of people who no longer subscribe to its $39.99-a-month service.

As a result, lovelorn singles have been “defrauded” out of millions of dollars and countless hours spent sending heartfelt missives in vain, the 37-year-old TV producer says.
Most members of Match.com — which claims 86 million searches a month in the United States — are actually unavailable because they “are canceled subscribers or never subscribed at all,” according to his suit filed in Manhattan federal court.

Right. Don’t be that guy. I’m not saying don’t use online dating. But if you can’t pick up a girl in a bar, you probably can’t pick her up online. And be sensible… this is the internets for fuck’s sake.

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Fatties

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Yes, these are a bit old. Yes, I have been incredibly busy and unable to post. Suck it.

First, from May 15th, Fattie gets all upset because her yearbook signature page said the truth:

“I just feel like sitting in my room and crying,” said freshman Marie Gray. “I don’t feel like doing anything.”

Marie has spent the last two days crying. Her Tonopah Valley High school yearbook came out and beneath her signature for the class of 2012 is the word “fat” followed by a three letter word we can’t say on television.

Her mother, Rae Knowlton, admits, “I was just like there’s no way and I looked at it and there it was. I wouldn’t wish that on any child at all.”

Marie texted her mom from class with pictures of the embarrassing words. Knowlton explains, “I zoomed in on my phone and I was like ‘What is this?’ and then I saw it and I was like, ‘Oh No’.”

There was also a derogatory word about another boy’s sexuality. The yearbook teacher sent an apology letter with the class’ signatures calling the act immature. The class starting marking out the words after they had already handed it out to hundreds of students.

Which isn’t fair to her, granted, but it is also unfair to society as a whole to tell her it is okay to look like that. With any other species one would suppose nothing should be said at all and social norms would take care of this. However, we have all but disposed of the brutal survival of the fittest manifestations in our evolutionary track. Fat girls reproduce regularly. But is it genetic?

The obesity epidemic in the US is due solely to increased food intake:

Melbourne, Australia – The amount of food Americans eat has been increasing since the 1970s, and that alone is the cause of the obesity epidemic in the US today [1]. Physical activity—or the lack thereof—has played virtually no role in the rising number of expanding American waistlines, according to research presented at the 2009 European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam last week.

The finding is contrary to the widely held assumption that decreased physical activity is an equally important driver of overweight and obesity in the US, said lead author Dr Boyd Swinburn (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia).

Yes, you can run your plump little tushie off; you will still be fat. Have you ever seen a fat Ethiopian refugee? No. That’s not to say physical activity cannot help – it does stimulate your metabolism. But eating less is the key here. In the US, food is plentiful – even for the homeless (I assure you, this is the case – they eat better than I do sometimes) and to not snack regularly is seen as deviant behavior. I’m giving those with Diabetes and legitimate Thyroid problems a pass, of course.

However, I think it might actually be kind of a good thing. It certainly does help weed out the less desirables in the opposite sex, don’t you think? You may argue that if we recognize it as such, then we are harnessing Natural Selection for eugenics. However, the lack of control dismisses such a theory – it is simply an observation.

And one I have no problem with.

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