Monthly Archives: June 2003

What Makes the Internet the Internet

[Update coming later today, I just wanted to get a little glimpse of how it looks to have a month with a link for everyday. Also, this is my 100th entry.]

What makes the Internet what it is? This! No, not my website. The concept of a hyperlink. What defines the internet and makes it different from any other medium is the hyperlink. With a book, you can look at the Further Reading list in the back, but you still got to go out, find, and buy or borrow the books. Meanwhile on the internet, you just clicky the little blue underlined thing (or any other color or text decoration it happens to have). Relatively instantly, it can take you anywhere, relevant or irrelevant.

People can write a little diary, and even show it to people. But with a weblog, you truly have the power to share. Sharing doesn’t mean sharing your stuff with others, but others sharing their things with you. It’s also you sharing other people’s work, and them in turn sharing yours with other people. And even me sharing myself, and you sharing yourself.

It’s that amazing little concept of the hyperlink that lets you create something with multiple pages, that you can view in any order. Hyperlinks create a non-linear environment.Take away almost anything else and the internet still works. Take away e-mail. Take away instant messenger. Heck, even take away search engines. The internet still works. But take away the hyperlink, and there’s no more internet. All you have is a bunch of unconnected works.

It’s all about being connected. You connected to me. Me connected to you. Everyone connected to everyone. And once we’ve gone forward, we can’t go back. We’re stuck being connected to each other, whether we like it or not.

That being said, I should make it a goal to link more often. This is the internet. I should embrace what defines the internet. I should embrace sharing and being connected. If I expect others to (eventually) read what I write, I should expect myself to read what they write. And the only way they know that I’ve read, is to respond when I see fit.

[Oh and why not start now! Coming soon…]

Religion, etc.

Been browsing links on Lloyd’s weblog, and looking over those kids’ entries reminds me of when I went through similar stages. Glad I didn’t have a weblog then. Now, I’m comfortable with my atheism. I don’t need to go out to prove anything because my atheism derives from the fact that there is no proof for any religion. No proof for religion, so I don’t follow any religion. That simple, as I said a while back.

Even though I understand their angle, it still makes me cringe. Since I go to a Catholic school, I probably know more about Christianity than a lot of Christians. And next year, I’m taking a World Religions course.

Look at this entry by Dianne, who I’ll assume is from Lloyd’s AIC class. The most important thing to Jesus was love. (Look at which commandment he said was the greatest of them all.) Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be nice to everyone, but it means you should be constructive. There’s one story in there when they bring in a lady who committed adultery and ask Jesus what they should do with her. He says something like, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Think of how different this would have turned out if Jesus simply said, “Fuck all you all.”

Hey Stevie, a lack of belief in god is still atheism. But you say you could be wrong, so that could make you agnostic. Some people think an agnostic is an atheist without guts. That’s what I was when I was agnostic. I know you’re not into religion, but this is just a general shout-out. It’s okay to take a position, as long as you know you’re comfortable with it. And, it’s okay to be wrong. If new facts come along, then take them into consideration and change your viewpoint.

Oh, and here’s one of my fun adventures with a proselytizer, for anyone that’s interested.

I really don’t have that much against proselytizers. Everyone has their own views. Everyone thinks that they’re right. So, naturally, other people are wrong, and something must be done to rectify this. It’s human nature. It’s just that people should know themselves just what they’re trying to convince people to do or believe. A lot of times with religion, they don’t, so that’s why it seems so annoying a lot of times, at least to me.

Out of Context Awards: June 2003

Not as much Out of Context material since I’m out of school. I no longer. have 5 days a week of people saying odd things. Sure, I’m in ATDP, but talk about a dearth of material…

So, luckily, I still got one in time, even though it was just me and online, at that. Here we go, winner for June 2003: “Size doesn’t matter. Well, it does, just not as much as… color depth.”

If you know about the PNG graphics format, you’ll have an understanding of what I’m talking about. The point is, higher color depth will produce a larger image, more so than the dimensions of the image. Also, if you take away unneeded colors, it makes the image smaller. The dimensions do matter, just not as much as color depth.

To go further in context, I was talking about the latest 24-panel long TPV. I have other comics with bigger file sizes. The Walking in Circles one, for example.

Runner up: “She grabbed my boob like it was a bag of chips!” – Phuong


schizo killer: I’m afraid there might not be an Out of Context award this month. It’s already past half way through and I’ve got nothing

WeirdJosh: jeez

WeirdJosh: how about “She grabbed my boob like it was a bag of chips!”

WeirdJosh: -Phuong

schizo killer: … well… that’s certainly appropriate. That’d make a good QOTD [Quote of the Day], also. How did that happen?

WeirdJosh: context: Phuong’s sister grabbed her boob on accident, claiming that she didn’t actually “grab” it, it just sort of ended up in her hand…. >_> <_<

Iraq: WMD

This marks my 30th consecutive weblog entry. Not too shabby. I’m going to keep working on it. And now, to the topic at hand:

Perhaps the reason I had such mixed feeling about the war was that I was being duped the whole time. It’s still the pre-emptive war idea. Throughout that time, Iraq did not pose any immediate threat. I still believe that the weapons inspections would have done no good. Once they let up, Iraq would simply start up again. I’m sure they had equipment, but, again, they didn’t pose any immediate threat to the world, as the Bush administration was trying to make us believe.

Iraq is a big place, but it seems they should have been able to, by now, act on some evidence they were holding earlier. I admired Bush’s handling of Sept. 11, and I do lean towards the conservative side, but this makes me feel dumb. I feel as if I was the recipient of a nasty prank, only multiply that by a lot. Maybe they can redeem themself if they ever find something.

I should have thought about this earlier, but just what the hell is a “weapon of mass destruction.” It’s a vague term. Is there even any real formal definition?

Gulf War II seems to have produced okay results, nothing too unexpected. (If you honestly believe all those people would be immediately pacified, you need your head examined.) I just wonder how long we’ll be there. How long is too long? How long is not long enough? Everyone has a different definition. It’s impossible to please everyone.

The main problem, I think, was that the stated reason for going to war was wrong. We didn’t go in for just one reason, but that’s the way it was presented to the American public, and the world. We already knew Saddam was a murderer. Could we have stated that we were going in there for humanitarian reasons? I’m just wondering if that would have been reason enough. In my eyes, it is, but for the UN…?

Saddam is still missing. If I was in charge of propaganda, I would emphasize that this is a non-issue. “Saddam is currently a loser, that ran away at the beginning of the war. He has no power. We just don’t care if he’s alive or dead.”

The Bush administration could also redeem itself if it emphasized any links it found with Saddam and Al-Qaeda. At least, that’s what I think. I don’t think they’ll find any WMD because the definition is too vague. Maybe if they just emphasized all the illegal weapons they had.

This issue is far from over, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more opportunity to write commentary.

If You Only Believe

If you only believe, then you will be fooled. ESP doesn’t work better when believers around. Believers are more gullible. John Edward with an audience full of skeptics wouldn’t be able to do anything. They’d question what he was doing. He can’t very well have that, can he? No, he has to get people who will unwaveringly believe in him and fill in the answers.

Psychic powers don’t fade over time. That’s a property of probability. Flip a coin twice. You have a good chance of getting both right. Flip a coin ten times. It gets a little harder. Flip a coin a thousand times. You don’t have a chance. Rigorous testing proves that so-called psychic powers are flukes. Luck.

John Edward is a charlatan. And not a very good one, at that. Edited tape. Any technique to get information before the show. Notice how he covers his ass by saying that nothing’s definite. Perhaps nothing is definite because everything is a guess! Why do you think he’s on the science-fiction channel?

This guy can’t speak to spirits. He (pitifully) uses a technique called cold reading. In a series of rapid-fire questions, he asks about common things, then moves down to more specific items. Of course, all the hits are remembered, but the misses are not. I, myself, was able to do a cold reading okay, even though I had no experience.

I need to get a book on cold reading so I can do it well. Hey, and maybe if I practice cold reading enough, the ghosts of dead people will actually come to me because they don’t want me to be a charlatan. Then, you can get real messages from dead loved ones. If you only believe…

No Power

Power. My goal. Other’s goal. Maybe everyone’s goal? World domination seems to be the impossible dream. No one has every been leader of the entire Earth. Ever. Is it even possible?

I want power. To gain power, you must be in positions of power. I’ve contemplated this. I’ve thought about propaganda. But then, I don’t think I’ll really have power. Propaganda is worked on in groups. Would I just be another worker?

I’ve thought about being president. Then again, the president may just be a figurehead. Any political office, they could all be figureheads.

I’ve thought about owning a corporation. It seems that won’t be around long. They’re trying to make it so that CEOs can’t make that much.

I’ve even contemplated dictator of a third world country. Too many coups. Too many rebels.

Then, who really has power? I say, no one. No one really has power. There is no one behind or in the scenes controlling everyone. There is no easy role I can fulfill to suddenly have the amount of power I want.

Look at the fourth definition of power at “The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority.” Power boils down to control. This includes other’s lack of control over you.

People do have some amount of power, but there are always others who have control over them. In the end, it’s a complex web. There’s no one actually on top. Everyone effects each other in different ways.

It may seem obvious that there is no one person with all the power. But just ponder it. There’s no one actually in control. We’re all just ambling along, in a constant power struggle in which no one ever wins. There’s no control. Perhaps that’s one reason gods are invented. Some people need something controlling us because we’re really just out of control.

The reason why no one ever actually has control is because they aren’t controlling people’s minds. People still have (or at least what feels to be) free will. They can’t stop people from thinking. Unless you control every single movement, people can still disobey your will.

Eventually, you will slip up, or someone else will. Then, it all comes undone.

Absolute power is unattainable because people’s minds can’t be controlled.

But, someday, maybe that can be changed…

Answering Some Comments

Ian wrote: “i’m actually responding to that thing you wrote in march about how you wanted to be a guy that makes propaganda. admitedly this would be cool, but i really don’t feel it would satisfy your hunger for power. there wouldn’t be any face to face gratification. The guys that make the propaganda aren’t the ones that decide what it says. you’ve probably already thought about this, but incase you haven’t, do.

“it seems much more like the kind of job that someone like mr. peabody would like. puzzle after puzzle after puzzle. big ones. important ones. those are the people that make the propaganda not the power hungry ones. the power hungry ones don’t really have any power. they just think they do. thats why their in a political office, so they can’t screw anything up. it’s like a cage for them. keep um there until they die or the species falls into anarchy.”

I’m currently wondering what can ever satisfy my desire for power, short of world domination. Another question arises from this: Who really holds power? Looks like another blog topic. (Sometime this week, perhaps.)

Nice essay, Ian. I didn’t know that was one of the topics for spin-mastah-nelli’s class, but you were in a different period. Any type of punishment for crimes can’t really serve as a deterrent because criminals, for the most part, don’t believe they’re going to get caught. The best deterrent would be for criminals to be sure that they couldn’t get away with crimes. I’ve never completely made up my mind about capital punishment, but I look at it as a punishment, not a deterent. So, crimes, deterrents, capital punishment, more topics, for other days.

Yes, Lloyd, I probably could get more robot to follow a red line, it’s just that my sheet comes with a big black line, not a big red line. The light percentage values for the light sensor would be more ambiguous, but I think it would work.

Diana said: “now in my opinion the strongest are the ones who have the power BUT HURT SELECTIVELY those who deserve that pain…( comparison with God)….could be not sure… anybody can be evil…but its much harder to stay good……..and well the ones who have the power supposed to pick things that are much harder to do…… kind of complicated but i hope u got the point….”

Hurting selectively doesn’t seem to be a different choice. It’s not like you’re forced to hurt people. You still choose. Choosing to hurt selectively just seems like a rationalization. Eventually, you’ll rationalize hurting others who you otherwise would have thought “undeserving” of the pain.

I didn’t answer all the comments, but some didn’t need answering.

Don’t Talk to Strangers

Note: Will answer unanswered comments tomorrow.

“Don’t talk to strangers.” How many countless times have we heard that admonition? I wonder if it was really such a good idea to saturate kids’ minds with that idea. During my SAT II examinations, there were a bunch of students all standing or sitting in line. Unless they knew each other, they weren’t talking. That meant that there were long stretches of kids, all equally bored, just standing there into empty space. What could be more fun? Why, perhaps talking.

Maybe it’s just California, but I’m noticing a total dearth of interaction between people who don’t know each other very well. Any interaction is strictly business. “Excuse me,” etc.

I don’t like this direction. People point out how the concept of the neighborhood is dying; I think this is worse. We’ll completely shut ourselves off from everyone we don’t work with, or need to know. Sure, you can still meet some people, but life is more dull this way.

We could suggest the exact opposite: Don’t not talk to strangers. (Emphasis on the double-negative.) Maybe this will make those strangers less lonely. Maybe they won’t feel so angry and obligated to exact vengeance on anyone within reach. If more people know the “stranger,” that makes it more likely to catch that person if s/he ever does anything wrong.

If people are more friendly to each other, perhaps it will help stop gangs. They won’t have to shelter themselves with other deadly people.

It could bring back the concept of a neighborhood where everyone watches out for each other.

It can make people more open. As they interact with more people, they will learn new things. They will come to see different viewpoints. They can accept more diversity.

More importantly, we can stand in line and not be completely bored. We can wait in an office and not try to ignore everyone around us.

Being more friendly reciprocates. Encouraged to talk, almost everyone should become more friendly. It’ll simply make everyone happier. We won’t have to worry about being in a cold, harsh, unwanting environment because we can simply make a friend of who we’re with.

The moral: “Talk to strangers.”

[11/08/03 – EDIT: I have replied to the comment for this entry.]

Follow the black line

I got my Lego robot to follow a black line. Wow, I feel so special. I have to say, though, this isn’t half bad for homework. I’m slacking again with updates. Perhaps I should try updating when it’s not late at night. June is almost over. I’m starting to feel somewhat panicked that summer is going to be over before I know it. Hopefully, I can combat this panic with summer euphoria and become carefree once more.

TA Experience

The biggest difference between being a TA and being a student is the lack of sleep as a TA. Yes, during class, when bored, I sleep. Sleeping is always the best option. But, up at the front of the classroom as a TA, I can’t very well sleep. What kind of example does that set? Furthermore, I’ll repeat the I’m at the front of the classroom. Unlike some people, I don’t have a computer to mess around with.

Being a TA isn’t so bad. I can’t particularly say that I enjoy it, but at least I think I’m going to get community service hours for it. I do like having a bit of authority. It helps that I’m older than everyone else in the classroom (except the teacher, of course). It’s a weird feeling being older than all the kids in the classroom, instead of being among peers. I’ll get used to it quickly.

After only one day on the job, I haven’t done anything real exciting. I’ll see what happens as summer progresses.

The Matrix: Reloaded

I finally saw the movie last Sunday. Here’s some thoughts on it. Hey, if you’re worse than me and still haven’t seen it, don’t read this. Spoilers. They’re hard enough to avoid if you haven’t seen it yet.

Some people said the movie was confusing. I didn’t think it was particularly complicated. The only thing that threw me off a bit was when that bomb exploded, but later I realized that it was just another image, set off by a particular action or word.

I loved the ending. You knew it had to be that guy, but then, he’s right next to Neo. The juxtaposition, excellent. I think they could have done without the “To be concluded” screen, however.

I like staying through the end of the credits. The directors even put their driver on the credits list. At the end, I got to see the teaser trailer for Matrix: Revolutions. Very cool.

The fight scenes made the movie. I was laughing through the scene where Neo fought all the Smiths. At points, I could tell he was CG, but the whole thing still amazed me. What made me laugh was at how surreal it was, and at how Neo could fight all of them at once. It’s kind of like in a video game where you shoot enemy after enemy, but it takes a lot to kill you. The other scenes didn’t make me laugh, but were much more impressive. How in hell did they do the car chase scenes? Who were those crazy stuntpeople?

What was the point of the porno scene with Neo and Trinity? That’s basically what it was. And about the point, I mean besides to just have a sex scene. Seriously, how important was that to the plot?

One of the biggest events in the movie is Neo stopping the machines. So, what is reality? There are hints in the movie pointing to another Matrix before the obvious act. First, the Oracle knowing about Neo’s dreams. Second, the fact that the dream came true. Third, how was Smith able to download himself into that guy’s body? I could be wrong, but that’s what I saw. I bet if I watched the first movie again, I could find hints in the words.

ATDP Has Begun

TAing is a different experience than being in the class. Will write day after tomorrow.

Day after tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow’s topic is a movie I finally saw last Sunday: The Matrix Reloaded.

Today’s topic: telling you about tomorrow. One of my summer goals is to get a streak of 30 days of blog updating. Of course, this is feeble next to some people. I’m doing this now so I can further ingrain the habit into my mind, and to help me get to bed before midnight. G’nite.

Peanut Butter and…

Peanut butter is as versatile a food as the f-word is as a word. (It’s at least a verb, adjective, noun, and interjection.) I like peanut butter with a lot of stuff. Of course, there’s the ever-classic jelly. Delicious. Honey also goes well. It adds a sweet accent to the flavor. I’ve also tried chocolate and marshmallow cream. The peanut gives the already good combination an extra amount of chunky goods. It’s peanuts in a different package. It’s like a candy bar, but with peanut butter instead of caramel. I’ll have to try caramel with it sometime. One of my favorite pairings is maple syrup and peanut butter. Exquisitely gives it a sweet taste, as with honey, but also the extra flavor that goes so well with peanut butter.

Yeah, I had a peanut butter jelly sandwich for breakfast today. Except all we had was sourdough bread. I tried it anyway. It’s still good.

Off to ATDP today… I’ll see what happens in my robotics class.

Emotional Broken Window Fallacy

The Broken Window Fallacy is very insightful when dealing with economics. I don’t want to rephrase something I just gave a link to, so just click it, then hit the back button. It’s okay, I’ll still be here.

Alright, done reading? I hope you read it, or already know what it is, or else you might get a bit confused.

My contention is that the Broken Window Fallacy applies not only to economics, but to emotion and ethical issues also. For example, people say that Sept. 11 brought everyone closer together, so it actually caused some good. But was that good merely diverted from elsewhere? There is no doubt in my mind as to the heroism of those firefighters on that day, but how many more lives could’ve been saved by those who had died on that day? They saved lives, but those were lives that shouldn’t have been in danger in the first place.

Those families were consoled by others, but what of the family members’ love that they’ve been deprived of? What I’m saying is that energy for emotions has been diverted from somewhere else, not created. We’re not looking at the hidden costs.

Another point I’m trying to make is that some people claim that even the bad people have actually caused some good. Worse crimes have led to better law enforcement. We wouldn’t need all that law enforcement if the crimes weren’t committed in the first place. It diverted good that could have been brought elsewhere. I could go on…

I’m not entirely sure if my thinking is right because emotions and ethics aren’t concrete, like money is. Moreover, I don’t think I’ve eloquently explained myself enough to convince anyone. However, it is something to chew on until I think about it some more and then write again.

More Immortality

Some days ago, Lloyd, via a listlog, tells me that my immortality blog reminds him of an entry, a consistently subversive thought, he did a while back.

It’s an interesting idea to think that you could live on after you die, or at least a facsimile of yourself. I’ve seen the idea explored in numerous novels, most recently I’ve read it in Steven Baxter’s Manifold trilogy. In the first book, Reid Malenfant, the main character, is brought back in the future, but it’s not really him. He’s a computer program. Of course, he feels like himself.

As exciting as the prospect is, it still doesn’t grant you true immortality. Eventually, the programs will die with the universe, along with everything else. There’s no way around it.

Lloyd mentions using a weblog to create a facsimile of that person. Although a weblog can reveal a lot, I don’t think it can reveal enough. I don’t think anything can be enough to map something as complex as the human mind expect by direct monitoring. Or perhaps an AI can take input from a weblog to help create its personality. Still, AI technology is far off. But who knows, maybe 20 years from now, I’ll be completely proven wrong. We’ll see then, won’t we.

As for me, I’m just going to live and forget about impossible dreams of immortality. If I have no hopes for immortality, I’ll be more likely to live my one life to the fullest.

Oh Well

I was going to blog on immortality again, but time seems to have withered away. Oh well. I’ve got a whole summer to blog. Tomorrow, I guess I’ll actually do something.


We now interrupt and preempt your regularly scheduled blog entry from the Agnoiologist to bring you a special announcement: SUMMER IS HERE!

I’m free! I’m free! I’m free! Hooray! I’m going to have so much free time to do crap. It’s going to be great. I’m happy, happy, happy.

Okay, can’t really talk coherently now because I’m so bubbly with joy. That’s what new-found freedom does to ya. Not a worry or a care anymore, because it’s over. That’s the part that sets me free the most.

So, I updated my comic, Majestic, the Crime-Fighting Falcon today. I thought that piece was masterfully done.

I’m still going over names for my card game. I had a some candidates that were sortof synonyms for Speed, like Swift, Rapidity, Expedience, Brisk, and a couple of eccentric names, like 3-card pile-up and boobfart. I think I’m going with Swift, so far.

I guess the real 2nd part of the immortality blog goes up tomorrow. Then, day after, I’ll explain my card game a little more. I forgot to mention what happens when you get stuck. Sunday, I may get to see the Matrix Reloaded. I have not seen it yet. Can you believe it?

Whatever… Wahoo for no school. Man, it’s going to be weird waking up tomorrow and not having any responsibilities whatsoever. Anything I want to do. Yes. Finally free.

One more day… I can make it…

I’m just not up to writing today. Don’t feel like it. Perhaps tomorrow. School ends tomorrow, for me. I’m oh so very happy for freedom.

So, instead, I’ll just describe the card game I made up. I’m kind of happy with it now. It’s harder to explain using words, but I’ll try. You start out with 3 cards in the middle, with the middle one face-up and the other two face-down. Another card goes a little bit off to the side of those, face-down. The remaining cards are dealt evenly between two persons. This is only a two-player game. (I may try 3 later, ya never know.) The person may only look at the top five cards of their pile at a time, this portion is similar to the game called Speed. When both players agree to go, they flip over the two face-down cards, surrounding the face-up card, at the same time. Play commences. When a player is done with all his or her cards, he must take the card that was sitting off a little to the side and play it. When that last card is played, that player wins. If the other person plays all his or her cards before the person with the card from the side plays his card, then the person with no cards wins.

Here’s how play commences: on any of the three piles, you can play the same suit. You can play the same rank of a card on one pile on top of another pile. You cannot put down two of the same card on the same pile. On the middle pile, and only the middle pile, you can go ascending or descending by one rank.

I still don’t have a name for the game. So, if anyone’s got any suggestions, feel free to make them.

Well, if you’re still confoosled, you can add a comment here and I’ll see what I can add. I’m thinking of adding pics to augment the explanation.

New Card Game

All this glorious time to update and I just dilly-dallied and did nothing. Oh well. I didn’t have to study much today because I have English and band as my finals tomorrow. For English, I have a timed write, so I can’t study for that. We already did our band final with the seniors (who left a week early). I’m over halfway done with my finals. 5/8. Done: Band, Jazz, Moral Theology, French, and PE. Still left: English, AP Bio, Math.

I made up a new card game. I’ll describe it later. It might need a bit more refining. I’m getting into playing cards again because I’ve had more free time after finals. I’ll also have tons of free time on BART.

I think I’m going to continue a little with the topic of immortality tomorrow.

Oh, and Ian is officially my #1 fan for my weblog. He probably almost has as many comments as everyone else combined. Heh. Maybe you should think about getting your own weblog Ian. You could probably get some stuff at Moveable Type and then install it on your Fat Kid Running domain name. We could converse/debate in a non-comment form.


This is actually a semi-reply to an entry written by Josh. The main jumping point I’m using is this statement, “I have my friends, who stay with me after death, and carry my memory after I die.  I am immortal, and I grant them immortality.” Brace yourselves, this oughta be really cynical…

Do your friends really give you immortality? How many of you know your great great grandparents names, let alone the names of their friends? For those who do know, it’s most likely that one of these two cases apply to them: 1) they do a lot of genealogy, or 2) one of their great great grandparents was famous.

Interesting thing about fame: people remember it. I can name generals who fought in the civil war, but I can’t name my relatives who were living at that time. Some of those people looking to secure fame, or infamy, even, have made their place in history. They live on. They have the kids doing reports on them. All that’s left of some of your relatives is their genetic contributions.

Now that we live in a digital age, you can whip out pictures and videos. But once all the people who were personally there are gone, who’s going to remember the context of a picture? Who’s going to remember that time Bill shot milk out his nose? Etcetera. Memories die quickly. The things that stick out are what we deem historically important.

Ah, but I completely skipped over video. Video can provide a way for context to live on. Memories, voice, and more can live on. Yet, what’s more entertaining? Old home movies, or war/historical documentaries? Okay, maybe some of you will pick the former, but many will honestly pick the latter. Over time, though, the old home movies lose relevance. Memories begin to die.

Eventually, your friends die, and memories of you die with them. It’s a sad truth. Those who touch more, through so-called historically important events, will be the ones remembered. And it doesn’t matter whether they were “good” or “bad.”

There is one thing I missed that can preserve memories best, and it’s been around the longest: writing. Diaries and the like are excellent primary sources that provide a sense of how it was like to live during a certain period in history, or even a more recent period of time. Think of how much the diary of Anne Frank (spelling, name?) sold. Even now, I’m doing this with this weblog. Look at the new culture building up around these. Writing can highlight important moments and make things less dull than a home movie. Most people’s naturally semi-voyeuristic nature will make them interested in this sort of thing.

Yet, there’s so much writing that much of it is lost and dies. Again, the memories die. How many autobiographies of ordinary people are kids writing reports on? Also, the memories seem only to be useful to gauge a certain period of time, or different events taking place, and it’s not really about the person.

So in the end, it seems only the famous get their “immortality.” Fear not: Eventually, they die too. Smaller celebrities are lost quickly. Even kings are forgotten. Time kills all. Even the most important will eventually die when the universe itself dies. There is no such thing as true immortality.


BS is a very fun game. I’m going to work on strategies and sleight of hand tricks over the summer to make myself the ultimate master of that game. I had this guy who was undefeated beat, but then he quit before he was beaten. He stalled until we had to get off the bus. GRAH!

Tomorrow: blog on “immortality”

SAT II Bio: Blah

I didn’t get to go to the ATDP orientation today because I had to take the SAT II: Biology test. I actually got a test that was fairly easy for a change. The AP Biology exam took 3 hours, and had an essay portion. This one was only 1 hour long. There are two sections you can choose E for ecology and M for molecular. I can’t really see too much of a difference between the two. I chose E because easy starts with an E. I knew most of the test, and even with the stuff I didn’t know, I was able to reduce my choices enough that I had a good chance of getting the answer.

I hardly studied at all. Friday is my unofficial “Sabbath,” my day of rest. I don’t do any work on Fridays. EVAR! (spelled intentionally with an A) I’m already burned out with bio from the whole crappy AP Bio course, and the earlier AP Bio test. From practice tests I took way before, I know I’m going to get at least a 700. Just a question of how much over.

Eating somehow gives people an “unfair advantage” when testing. Can anyone tells me how this works? Are you going to encode the answers in your alphabet soup or something? Maybe people will smell it, get hungry, and can’t test properly. Whatever. I mention this because my friend was eating oatmeal before the test. I think it was cinammon apple… vital information, my readers.

Since I couldn’t go to orientation, I now have know idea if I need to do any HW, etc., for the class I’m taking. I also don’t know what I need for the class I’m going to TA. I’ll probably call the instructor tomorrow. Oh, fun thing happened with my classes. Introduction to Robotics changed its schedule. Before, the class I was TAing was on the same day. Now, I get to go to class 4x a week. Oh well. I’ll get a lot of stuff done on BART. Last time I planned TPV out a long way through. I even wrote down storylines that’ll probably last me a couple of years, if not longer.

Minesweeper Fakes?

People have posted comments in my Minesweeper King entry. My times have improved since then…

Expert: 130
Intermediate: 39
Beginner: 4

I’m still not Minesweeper King, but I’m better than everyone I know personally. Check out some crazy videos at I’m not entirely convinced these are not all faked. Check out the 66 second one under Expert. Got a stopwatch? See for yourself that the seconds shown on the video don’t match with your stopwatch. At least on my computer, they don’t.

It’s got me thinking. One of my friends suggested that it would really be more likely to be real if they recorded themselves along with the computer. I’m gong to do that sometime this summer.

I’m also going to figure out how to fake one of those videos. The main gist of the idea is capturing with a slow framerate, then playing it back using a faster framerate. Then, make a movie of the timer and superimpose it. Then, edit out some extraneous movements.

Screenshots are way too easy to fake.

And when I hear people who say the first time they finished expert, they got 120 or something, I begin to wonder. Did they just get really good before doing expert? Or did they just have bad luck until finally finishing it? Or, *gasp*, could they be lying?

I bet there are people who are good, with really good times, not lying about it. But you have to have played for a long time. Think about it. To get a 1 second in beginner, you have to play a lot of times, meaning a long time, so that eventually you get a good board that arises through chance. The same applies to intermediate and expert. It also takes a long time before you can click efficiently and recognize and act on patterns.

I’ve noticed Minesweeper times aren’t exactly correct. Remember that whole, when does the new millenium start fiasco? Right when you click, it starts at one second! Your times are offset by that much. Don’t worry, I’ll still post as is shown on the high score list.

Oh yeah, and I won’t forget to work on my best times. Good job with your times, those who left comments.

Palpable Summer

Oh, I can feel it in the air. It’s the general feeling of summer. It’s hard to explain; I just feel it. As the school year nears its end, I can feel a difference. It’s been especially heightened since the seniors left today. The feeling didn’t start until last week. Every other day was simple drudgery.

Now, however, now I have a sense of what seems to be happiness. No, better than happiness: freedom. I keep thinking, “Don’t get your hopes up; there’s still some time left to serve,” but I can’t help it. Hope. Freedom. Happiness.

People always says the year goes by too fast. I don’t. It goes by slowly for me. I’m still half-expecting more drudgery, but summer is actually here. It felt like it would never end, but it’s finally here.

Actually, I think my perception of time has been shifted since Sept. 11, 2001. Before then, I’ve mostly felt time was going just fine. That year, I had trouble remembering the order of what had happened over the year, because Sept. 11 seemed so not long ago, yet it had happened in the beginning of the school year. Ever since then, I’ve never quite felt the same about time and its relative speed of passing for me. I dunno, maybe I’m just weird.

In any case, I can’t wait for summer to get here.

Verizon Forced to Give Up Names

Read all about it, court forces Verizon to give up names of two people to the RIAA. Anyone else scared by this? The RIAA doesn’t need any proof. All they have to do is say that they suspect you of stealing files and they can get all your information. That’s like if you thought someone had stolen something from you, so you simply went and searched through their office or home, and it was legal.

I guess the greedy record industry isn’t aware of something called the 4th amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.” The courts aren’t either.

The EFF puts a succinct point out. If you haven’t already, join the Electronic Frontier Foundation; they’re out there to protect our digital rights. Keep yourself informed on these issues.

Wretched Little Kids

Little kids are not the cutest things in the universe. They are gross little creatures that drip from every orifice. It’s true. Clingy beasts that you can never take your eyes off, or they’ll go do something you’ll regret. Sapping every single moment of attention and energy. Horrible little buggers.

I’m utilizing hyperbole, but kids are very demanding, especially when they can’t fully talk. How do people get anything done when they are around? Maybe when I’m older, I’ll change my opinion, but as of now, I’m never going to have kids.

The true reason people want kids is to propagate their genes. It’s what humans are programmed to do. People want a little piece of immortality — a part of them living on. Society seems to have brainwashed us that family is the greatest thing and that should be one’s goal in life. Movies, songs, and other media all do this. This is an intro to a bunch of topic that I can discuss (with myself)… the messages movies try to convey, the messages songs try to convey, “immortality,” and the reason why people encourage others to propagate different genes. Let’s see how much on-topic I can stay as the week progresses.

Effect of Violence in Video Games

I’m posting an essay I wrote for english. I actually have another essay due tomorrow which I’ve done nothing on, and it’s already 10 o’clock. Whee!

What is the Effect of Violence in Video Games?

Heads being blasted apart by sawed-off shotguns with the accompanying blood flying all over the place is just another scene in many video games. Critics of violence in video games claim that these video games cause kids and adults to become desensitized to violence and their nature to be more aggressive and violent. They even go so far as to say that a video game caused the Columbine school shooting in 1999. If this were true, the widespread influence of video games with violence can and will cause many more deaths in the future. However, there are also those who defend video games, stating that people know video games do not represent reality and thus would not imitate what is happening. Despite their rising realism, evidence points to video games not causing violence and have been shown to be helpful rather than detrimental.

No substantial correlation between video games and violence has ever been demonstrated in a laboratory or real life setting. In “Virtual Violence and Real Aggressiveness; Is There a Correlation?” by Marc Saltzman, it quotes a figure offered by the FBI’s Unified Crime Report that says, “violent crime has decreased by almost 20 percent between 1991-97, and juvenile violence is down 40 percent from 1993-1997 just as video games sales became the fastest-growing segment of the American entertainment industry” (1). Clearly, if video games were causing violence, there would be an increase in juvenile violence. An increasing number of kids would have been adversely affected by an increasing amount of video games available. These kids would have contributed to an increase in violent crimes, if there were a link. Video games cannot be causing any rise in violent behavior because there is no rise in violent behavior. Additionally, violence is not dependent on a game, because “video games and computers are not inherently positive or negative; like all technology, they are neutral. Their effects depend on how they are used” (Saltzman 2). Video games cannot be inherently evil, as are things such as genocide. They do not cause violence, only the people playing them can. Any normal person can distinguish between real violence and video game violence and their subsequent consequences. Violent tendencies are in the mind before the video games are played; video games do not teach violence.

Video games can serve as a tool for education, not violence. An article titled “Center’s Study Shows Video Games Can Be Beneficial” by Edward Chiao cites that “avid computer gamers showed higher levels of visual attention and spatial representation than non-gamers — skills necessary in today’s science and technology world” (1). In only focusing on violence within video games, the opposition fails to see the inherent benefits. Evidence between video games and learning has been readily linked, while the link with violent behavior is still insubstantial. Video games have been shown to have more good than bad. This applies to all games, not just games that are considered “educational.” Moreover, Kurt Squire in “Cultural Framing of computer/Video Games” cites another study where, “[i]n 1985, Mitchell gave Atari 2600 consoles to twenty families and found that most families used the game systems as a shared play activity. Instead of leading to poor school performance, increased family violence, or strained family interactions, video games were a positive force on family interactions” (2-3). This information touts video games while also disproving violent behavior as a result in video games. More studies could show even more convincingly how video games can help all members of families, which would further prove the benefit of video games. Again, there was no special emphasis on the games being deemed “educational;” the system itself helped families. The article also goes on to say: “[D]rawing analogies between symbolic representations in the game and their real-life analogs is one of active interpretation, and suggests that students might benefit from systematic explanations or presentations of information. In similar research in anchored instruction and problem-based learning environments, John Bransford and colleagues have found that students perform best when given access to lectures in the context of completing open-ended complex problem solving tasks” (Squire 5-6). Those who oppose violence in video games completely disregard the fact that video games can be used to teach kids how violence is wrong. Game players drawing analogies between real life and video games know that what happens in the video games is fantasy and would know not to do that in real life. Energy used for criticizing video games because of their violence, which is not even related to real-life violence, would be better used by providing resources to help use video games as a learning tool. Indeed, children occupied with games and education will be less likely to commit a crime.

Violence is becoming increasingly realistic in video games, but this, and other arguments put forth by the opposition, still fails to establish a clear causal correlation between the two. Researchers asked college students to play either Wolfenstein 3D, a violent game, or Myst, a non-violent game, then were told to punish opponents with noise blasts, and the researches found that “those who had played the violent game tended to use longer noise bursts” (Saltzman 1). However, this statement is unshakably refuted by the fact that the difference in bursts was .16 seconds (Squire 2). Certainly, a difference of a mere .16 seconds does not constitute a substantial augmentation in aggressive behavior. The difference is so small that it could even go the other way if the experiment were repeated again with more people. Eugene F. Provenzo Jr., in his article “Violence in Video Games is a Serious Problem,” states, “[G]ames that employ a first-person shooter model represent a significant step beyond the tiny cartoon figures that were included in Mortal Kombat in the mid-1990s. In fact, there has been a continuous evolution of the realism of these games as computing power has increased and become cheaper” (3). It is irrefutable that the violence in video games is becoming more real. Yet, since there is not causal link, the level of violence in video games is irrelevant. The principle of realism is not only applied to violence, but to other aspects of the game, such as more intelligent reactions by enemies. Increasing realism is a technique employed to make a game more fun. Dave Grossman, with his article “Violent Video Games Teach Children to Enjoy Killing,” makes an argument that “individuals that law enforcement agents face are ever-more trained, ever-better qualified, and they are concerned that children have their own private police-quality firearms training sitting in the arcade and they are able to play it” (3). Saying that video games produce better-qualified criminals is akin to saying racing video games can produce great NASCAR drivers. Furthermore, video game systems come packaged with controllers, not guns, and computers come with keyboards and mice. The objects commonly used to manipulate video games significantly differ too much from guns to possibly provide any increased gun-handling ability. Games and real life are completely different. Even if games were to help, those using video games as training tools would have figured this out beforehand, thus still invalidating the premise that it is the video games which cause violent behavior.

Evidence for correlations between violent behavior and video games have failed to show up, while evidence for correlations between learning and video games have shown up. Video games do contain violence. Yet, it cannot cause such a thing as a school shooting because there is no causal relationship. In fact, violence has gone down in recent years. There are those who are trying to say video games are wrong, but they themselves must be shown to be wrong. Otherwise, the benefits of video games, such as education, will never be fully realized. No half-truths, such as in the aforementioned study involving punishment times between different games, can ever disprove that video games do not cause violence.

Works Cited

Chiao, Edward. “Center’s Study Shows Video Games Can Be Beneficial.” South End 19 Mar. 2003. 22 May 2003 .

Grossman, Dave. “Violent Video Games Teach Children to Enjoy Killing.” Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Databases. Infotrac. Moreau Catholic High School Lib. 22 May 2003 .

Provenzo, Eugene F., Jr. “Violence in Video Games Is a Serious Problem.” Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Databases. Infotrac. Moreau Catholic High School Lib. 22 May 2003 .

Saltzman, Marc. “Virtual Violence and Real Aggressiveness: Is There Correlation.” Gannett News Service 20 June 2000. SIRS Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. Moreau Catholic High School Lib. 22 May 2003 .

Squire, Kurt. “Cultural Framing of Computer/Video Games.” Game Studies. 22 May 2003 .

Theology Project Video

I made a video for my Moral Theology class. It uses a fair amount of stop-motion animation. All the characters are Lego people. I hate prefacing things with negativity, but without the context of the project, this is a mediocre video. Since my project was about the “cardinal” virtues, wise judgment, wholeness, justice, and courage, and fulfilled all requirements, it should get an A. (Actually, these are the dumbed down cardinal virtues, because my book is pretty dumbed down.)

A couple of notes: I compressed the video a great deal for display on the web. It’s about 9 megabytes, and 9 minutes long. The image is really grainy and blurry due to this. The beginning words say, “In the far away land of Aidanac, a brutal war raged between the kingdoms of Scova Notia and Old Wunsbrick. It seemed neither side was gaining an advantage.” There’s also a map of Aidanac, which is really an upside-down reflection of Canada. The signs are all simple anti-war slogans, including an advertisement for “” and the humorous “The King Smells.” The others say: War Hurts People, War is Bad, Stop the War, No War, and No More War.

I do all the voices. If you see me often, you can probably tell. If not, that’s why I’m putting up the information. The crowd scene is all me again, just 3 audio tracks. Some of the sound is glitchy. When I showed it during theology, it was really glitchy, to the point that I had to stop it. Luckily, my teacher’s letting me show it tomorrow. I fixed most of the glitches.

I’m going to reshoot most of this movie and adapt it into “Majestic, the Movie.” Majestic is a character in one of my comics, which also involves Lego people. Most of the plot will probably be changed, but the settings will remain the same.

This link may only be a limited time offer, and I may only open it up to email request only, later on, because this is a big drain on bandwith. If this happens, this entry will be edited to reflect that. Watch the movie. You will need Quicktime, which is free to download, if need be.