Saturday, April 30, 2005

Offically Nerds!

My friend Luke and I decided it was a good idea to have a BBQ at my appartment. That went all fine and dandy but what happened afterwards is for the history books. Maybe a list is the best way to run through the mistakes that were made that night. In order of occurence:

1. Purchased a fifth of vodka (potato vodka so at least we had some class).
2. Purchased a bottle of wine.
3. Luke brought a half rack of beer.
4. All of that alcohol was consumed, mostly between Luke and I. The girls had some beer and a little vodka.
5. The girls left to go to a bar leaving us on our own.
6. We decided it was a good idea to record a rap album.
7. Using GarageBand on my iMac G5 with a new microphone plugged in we recorded 5 songs.
8. Luke puked.
9. 5 am rolled around and we had just finished up track 5 and we were working on the piano line for the next track.
10. Luke puked some more and then convinced me he was okay to drive because he puked out all the alcohol. I am not smart.
11. I passed out on the couch.
12. I got up for work at 9:00 am giving me a good 3 hour night of sleep.
13. Before going to work I recorded the rap for the final track, number six.
14. Decided to share this with the world by posting a couple of our incredibly bad, white-boy, can't sing, really can't free-style, especially after finishing a bottle of vodka and a bottle of wine and some beers, raps.

In our defense it is pretty difficult to come up with something to say that rhyms. Everything in these raps was free style at first but we would mess up occasionally so we would re-record and we basically knew what we were going to say at that point. The only parts that were writen out were the chorus lines (if you can call it that).
So here are the links (Warning: this is really, really, bad rap, by two white boys who have never rapped before) Rap_2, Rap_3, Rap_5, Rap_6
Rap_5, Rap_6

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Fix

Okay, so my friend Jim solved the problem of putting tables and images into a Blogger site without having far too much space between the images and the text (as was the problem below that is now fixed). The way to fix it is to remove and returns in the html code since Blogger automatically inserts a break tag into the code. A genius? Maybe. My arch nemesis? Definitely. Thanks Jim.

US Socialist Democratic Model

I have been reading about Sweden's socialist democracy for some time now and I thought that I would try and consolidate some of my ideas on what I think should be implemented in the US. Here is a brief run down of those ideas (More to come later).

Raise taxes. Decrease the tax deductions for having children. Set up government funded day care services so all children age 0-5 will be taken care of so the parents can work. After school programs such as sports and day care will be made mandatory for schools K-8. Increase teachers' salary. This will neither reward nor punish people for having children. The children will be taken care of and educated properly and in a better environment more suited to nurturing ideas of self worth and the importance of knowledge than most inner-city schools are currently capable of accomplishing.

Establish more affordable housing neighborhoods and appartment centers. Set up social programs aimed at helping the poor get loans to purchase homes and learn how to manage debt and other money issues. Just because this is a socialist model does not mean that it is also a communist model; privately owned property is a key aspect of capitalism and should not be excluded from a democratic socialist model. What does need to happen in a socialist model is for the government to support the people who need help, thus the need for affordable housing and more social programs.

Lastly everyone should be insured for health care. Insead of following Sweden's example on this it might be easier to look north a bit at Canada. They have a higher life expectancy than the US and are about equally satisfied with the treatment recived by their doctors, as compaired with insured Americans. More information about this is found on Wikipedia. Health care is obviously important and the fact that there is no guaranteed health care system in the US seems ridiculous to me. Almost all other European countries have some kind of health care for all their citizens. The main argument against this is that most people would automatically get an HMO plan rather than a PPO because HMOs are cheaper. I still think it would possible for you to choose to have a PPO if you were employed. Your company could check some box while filling out their tax return that they have a specified number of employees that are recieving PPO health care package and in that case you would get a deduction. I'm not very familiar with how other countries' helath care systems work so that is all I can say on this topic for now.

Patriot Act Revisited

If the Patriot Act allows the government to tap phone lines without a warrant then what prevents them from keeping tabs on random people and their habits or from spying on private meetings much like the Watergate scandal? For example the government could keep tabs on waiters and how much tip money was made compared to how much was claimed for taxes by recording phone conversations near or after closing time for restaurants. While it is illegal not to claim all your money it is not necessary for the government to get that intrusive. Another example might be if you have a friend who happens to be Muslim and you are discussing fundamentalist Islamic beliefs you may be classified as a potential terrorist making it difficult to go through security at airports. Also, what prevents the government from spying on opposing candidates in an upcoming election? They could find out everything the candidate was going to say or discuss, which would give the President or government official an obvious advantage. Good bye Watergate, hello SS and KGB. All of this is made possible by the Patriot Act and I find it disturbing. Nixon resigned as president for spying; Bush made it legal to spy and for some reason the public seems to love him for it? Go figure. I need to move to France (I would say Sweden but it is cold up there).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Okay, Why is Blogger not Working

I created a table to put the images in the post below titled "Flickr doesn't give enough for free" but for some reason Blogger automatically puts a large break between the text and the table. Any ideas as to how this can be avoided?

The New Travel Plans

Jaguarman suggested going to Germany to see Muenster for the science, tradition, and future. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to go there for monetary reasons. I will be sticking to the cheaper eastern countries. So right now the plan is: Land in Paris then take a train to Prague (maybe my brother and I could stop in southern Germany durring that time, possibly in Munich). We will stay in Prague for a while and then go to down to Budapest. From there our plan is to travel down to the southern tip of Croatia to see Dubrovnik. This is where our plan ends, if we have time maybe we will go to Greece. Maybe we will go to Italy (Rome, as per Jaguarman's suggestion). And, finally, back to Paris for our plane ride back to California.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Flickr doesn't give enough for free.

I want to post pictures and Flickr is a great site but it doesn't give enough free space. So I am forced into using Yahoo!'s GeoCities. I don't know how much space they give away for free but so far I haven't been told to stop uploading images. It is fairly easy to link to also. Here are some images:

Friday, April 22, 2005

Thug Life

I'm making a mixed cd of thug music for Jeremy, and I am having a hard time coming up with a title for the cd. Here are a couple of my last cds that I put together to give you an idea for what I am looking for:

- Bouncy Ass Mother Fuckin' Beats Bitch
- Thugish Rubbish
- 40oz of Thug Juice

Here are a couple of ideas that I have been tossing around for the new title:

- Tip the Two Eleven; Respect for the Crunk Ass Thugz in Heaven
- Thugz (crunk dos once mix); that one was Troy's idea

For those of you who may not know what the dos once is, or in english "two eleven", then I suggest you take a walk down the street, preferably MLK or Rainer Ave, and look for empty cans of malt liquor. What you will most likely see is a lot of Steel Reserve: 211. It is the most dangerous of malt liquors because it has one of the highest alcohol concentrations (8.1%) and it is the cheapest brand you can find. I have heard that the taste is not too delectable but I personally find it to be quite exquisite. I highly suggest getting three 22oz cans and drinking them as fast as possible and just see where the night takes you. In the recent past I tried a high dose of the dos once, two 40oz bottles of the 211. Let's just say that by the end of the night I was spraying random people with a stolen fire extinguisher and riding an old-school skate board as fast as I could down a really steep hill and scraping most of my epidermis off.

Good times.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A little rant about religious evangelicals.

The amount of news surrounding evangelical Christians and how they influenced the vote last November is staggering. Now, with a new pope who rallied for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry in 2004 as a cardinal, will the Evangelical Christians have too much political power? Answer: they already did and now they have more. It is really scary to those of us, including myself, who are atheist (me), agnostic, or spiritual in any other way than the evangelical Christians. Get ready for more demonization of the day-after-pill. Get ready for more teen pregnancies. More teen pregnancy means more poverty, which means more government spending, so why do republicans fight so hard against abortion? Oh right, because they are for a "culture of life". I am so sick of the abortion debate; just because a couple of cells have the ability to turn into a life doesn't mean that it is a conscious living human. Maybe we should ban condoms because it prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg. Plus, I don't understand why there is such a huge push for abstinence only education for teens when the anti-abortionist conservative evangelicals want so much more life. Well, I guess it actually makes sense since abstinence only education will not work in cutting down the number of teen pregnancies so we will be getting a lot more poverty stricken children soon. Whoohoo! Go team Bush and evangelicals!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Thoughts on Free Will

If all particles in the universe are influenced in predictable ways by the same physical forces then it should be possible to determine the future from any given time because you could just compute where all the particles in question will be after a certain amount of time. From this argument we see that all life has been predetermined and that the future is not of our making but the mearly the logical progression of particles under the influence of the physical forces, right? Stephen Hawking, in his book A Brief History of Time, takes this stand point. But, he brought up the idea that an organism as complicated as humans is still not capable of computing the amount of data necessary to predict the future of anything larger than just a few atoms for a very short period of time in an isolated environment and even that is extremely difficult. So, if we can not predict the future, eventhough it is theoretically possible, then our actions can still be considered free will because unless you already know what the next step is you are still faced with making a decision and no one else will know for certain what the result of that decision will be. So until a computer is invented that can acurately predict the motions and interactions of all the particles in the universe then humans can still consider their choices that of free will.

Another topic that Stephen Hawking didn't really talk about is that of the Heisnberg Uncertainty Principle that states that the more precise the position of a particle is known the less you can know about its momentum. Heisenberg came up with the mathematical proofs for his Uncertainty Principle in 1927 and from that was born todays definition of quantum mechanics. Basically how this relates to the free will discussion is that even if you had a super computer it would have to make a yes or no choice at some point that would decide where that particle is exactly located and that is not entirely possible. It could give each particle a high probability of being in a specific place at a specific time and then make calculations based off of the highest probability but in the real world there is still a slight probability that the particle will be somewhere else at a different time and that makes computing all the possibilities impossible because there are an infinite number of possibilities.

New Digital Camera!

I just got a new Connon A95 digital camera. It has a ton of good features and comes with software that I didn't think at first would be useful but there is a program called PhotoStich that puts multiple pictures together for panoramic shots that I have found to be extremely useful. Here is my first attempt at using the panoramic feature of the camera. This is a picture of Troy standing on the bluff at Discovery Park.

If you want to see the larger version here is the Link.

Here is another panoramic shot from my backyard. I am having trouble making the city look as close as it does in real life. I tried zooming up as much as the camera would but still it doesn't seem right. Any suggestions?

See the larger version here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, is facing accusations from the public and the House Ethics Committee about unethical behavior, and soon a decision as to whether or not he should remain in congress will be made. Here are just three (of many) points that lead to the DeLay controvercy that I think should be discussed:

1. He redrew the congressional district lines in Texas to possibly gain six more seats for the Republican majority when the lines weren't due to be redrawn for another eight years.
This speaks for itself. At first glance almost anyone who reads what he did would say it is unethical to change the boundries in order to win. Of course I don't know the reasons for why he changed those boundries, probably he would claim that the new districts better represented the voting pools. My guess is that he changed them solely to gain more republican seats in the House, but it is just that: a guess. However, it has been in the news a lot lately and most likely there is a legitimate reason to think what he did was unethical.

2. DeLay used lobbyist's and business' campaign and fund rasing money to cover his travel expenses to several places for non-congress related work, or as the media likes to say: junkets. As well as giving about $500,000 to his family for their help in the campaign with no documentation of what the rest of the family did to deserve that much money.
His daughter and wife were registered as empolyees for the campaign but the amount of money they earned was way more than necessary. This, of all the things he has done, I think, requires the ethics committee review. That is enough on this though.

3. Durring the Terri Schiavo media fiasco Tom DeLay was quoted as having said, "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." This was said because federal judges refused to review the Schiavo case again even after a bill was passed by congress and signed by the President to reopen the case.
This situation is not quite as obvious as to why it is an ethical problem than the preceding two. The reason I think of this as a problem is because it shows how Tom DeLay and the republican majority are trying to abuse their powers and affect the Judicial branch of the government. It is not part of his duties as a legislator to try and force the judges to make legal decisions that have already been decided upon again, let alone threaten them when they do not take part in Schriavo case.

UN nuclear treaty?

Today on there was an article about how the U.N. approved a global treaty against the possession and intent to use radioactive material. Is this important? What difference is this going to make in the fight on terror? I can't believe that any of the countries in the U.N. didn't already have laws agaist people trying to use radioactive material to harm others. I mean shouldn't there already be a law signed by the U.N. saying something to the effect of: using anything, be it radioactive or not, with the intention of hurting someone else is illegal? This is a strange world. My guess is that this new treaty will not change the minds of terrorists trying to purchase radioactive material what-so-ever. Don't get me wrong I am not saying that it is a bad idea to force countries to adopt laws such as this and I am definately not anti-U.N. but this just seems like a show rather than actual action against the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons.