[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Sunday, April 6th, 2008|
Yes, that's right, I am posting once again! Since it seems like every time I claim to be posting again it is at least months before another entry, this time I won't say one way or another... we can only hope it will be in the near future! Well, I can only hope that anyway - given my tendency toward long posts, maybe people were thankful I've been away from LJ =)
In accordance with tradition, this post will be in several parts! Feel free to read only those parts that are interesting to you!
Part the First - Grad School
Grad school is, to be perfectly frank, really amazing! I love the city, university, the program, the professors, and my fellow students. The other four first year social psych people are great friends and colleagues (if I can use that term). It's great being in classes with so much discussion, and with people who have thought of interesting things to say that you haven't thought of! The only downsides have been Mai Lan being far away (but we've gotten to see each other most weekends), and my research getting slow to start up - but I think it's finally going!
I'm now almost done my second time TAing, which has been a lot of fun. First was with Mike Ross for Social Psychology. Apparently he told Grainne I was a good TA (he told me too), and he's usually rather sparing with praise, so I was quite flattered! Now I'm TAing for Grainne (my primary supervisor), and that's going really well too. It's fun to sit in on lectures and see them in action... also it's good because I learn some material I wasn't exposed to/forgot about too :)
The first years are a great group academically and socially! We eat lunch together pretty much every weekday, and we periodically visit each other. This past week, we did a murder mystery! That was a lot of fun, though I think my acting is a little rusty :) Improv was never my forte though. Last week we also had the first purely first and second year get-together (a chocolate tasting party). That was a lot of fun too!
In February I went to my first conference! It was SPSP (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) in Albuquerque (which I can finally spell without needing to look up). It's the main big conference for social and personality in North America. I did a poster presentation on my Honours Thesis work. I tried to go to way too much stuff though! I was already exhausted (I barely got any sleep the night before the plane left), it was hard to sleep at the hotel (the room I was staying in was somewhat of a party room), and social stuff would happen at night. Overall though it was a lot of fun!
*phew* Ok, that gives a brief overview of grad school... so on to the next topic!
Part the Second - Updates on Life
Aside from grad school (as much as there is an aside from grad school :), life is going pretty well! I feel like living in a townhouse in Waterloo has given me the chance to learn more than I did in the apartment in North York. The grocery store is closer here (and everything feels safer), so I do more grocery shopping and more cooking (though still rudimentary) than I did at York. I've also been given a few cook books (one of which, from Mai as part of a birthday present was a really cool one on eggs... due in part to me mangling a breakfast-in-bed attempt). Donny has a school term now, so we've been visiting each other weekly and watching Kyle XY, Eureka, SG1 and now SG Atlantis (I save Heroes for Mai). I've also continued staying in touch with my parents on pretty much a daily basis (though right now they're taking a trip in England).
Hm... kinda telling that Updates on Life is drastically shorter than the grad school section! Hopefully I'm not being overly verbose... oh yeah! I've also been doing some English tutoring for students spending a year in Canada! That's been a lot of fun. There's a bunch of other stuff too (for example, I recently got to be part of Davi's party and saw Belinda, JC and Angeline)... but hopefully this'll give a bit of an overview of what's been up with me :)
Part the Third - Extraterrestrial Civilizations
I've been wanting to have an update on this for quite a while... A few entries ago, I wrote that SETI should be looking in apparently empty space for advanced civilizations (please read that entry if you haven't and are interested). I still think that would be the best move, but Mai pointed out to me that it seemed rather arrogant to think that that was how most civilizations would progress. I also recently was talking with Donny about these civilizations... so here are some of my current thoughts on the topic:
1) The technological stable expansionist civilization - This is the civilization development I described in my previous post. Increasing energy requirements are met by absorbing nearly all of the energy of stars. An alternative may exist if there is some other much more powerful energy source, but it seems like this is a pretty safe bet for an expanding civilization to meet its needs. If we assume that the increasing amount of power being harnessed is reflected in the current trend of increasing power available to individuals, the population of this civilization must be (mentally)stable in order to avoid self-destruction.
2) The technological unstable expansionist civilization - This is an alternative view of the civilization I described above - I thought of it in the conversation I had with Donny. The above civilization requires mental stability... otherwise with increasing individual power, the chances of continuing to exist decrease with zero (if everyone had the power to destroy the planet, it would only take one person who wished to do so for it to end for everyone). However, it seems like an unstable civilization could still exist. If the expansion rate of the civilization (as in different planets) exceeds the rate at which individuals wish to destroy those planets, the civilization would continue to exist... presumably leaving behind dead worlds in its wake. Please note that the civilization is not necessarily aggressive per se, so long as individuals have access to a lot of power and a few are unstable enough to wish everything to end.
3) The stable mental/spiritual civilization - This civilization may or may not be technologically advanced, but they are not expansionist, and so do not require ever-expanding amounts of energy. If anyone is familiar with SG1 (this could be a minor spoiler for people who want to see the series), this civilization would be like the Nox. Emphasis would not be on expanding numbers or across stars, but probably on inner expansion... like a civilization of monks or something along those lines :)
4) An unstable civilization could exist in other patterns, but only so long as sufficient controls were put in place to guard power. In other words, it would have to be a tightly governmentally controlled civilization which did not allow the majority of its citizens access to sophisticated technology for fear that some of its members would use it with catastrophic results. However, this civilization would likely not stand the test of time, as most safeguards can eventually be overcome. Right now, this is probably where we stand as a civilization, though unless our population becomes more stable, this problem will become worse and the government would necessarily need to take greater control, such as over the transmission of potentially dangerous information (for example, no looking up how to build a bomb on the internet).
Well, it's been a pleasure as always, but I'm afraid I must now be off!
Until next time,
|Friday, August 31st, 2007|
|End of an Era
Yes, that's right! A mere 16 weeks later and I am posting yet again. This post will mostly be about what I've been up to this summer. I hope you have all had a great time this summer! So, where should we start... ah yes! Tutoring!
Tutoring actually worked out pretty well! After getting a few people responding to posters it was fairly easy to find more people through word of mouth. It was something I really enjoyed. I got to brush up on Stats (and some other math when I was tutoring for the GRE). Teaching people is a great feeling. You're giving something valuable to someone... and you don't lose anything in the process! In fact, you might even gain a better understanding yourself! So overall, tutoring was very successful.
I got the chance to visit Mai Lan a few times - and she also visited me during my convocation. I was really happy she was there, though the actual process and excitement over convocation is a little mystifying for me. I'd like to think that it was the time I spent in university that really mattered, and that it was rewarding in many ways for its own sake. Seeing Mai Lan was great though! We'll be visiting each other every few weekends at least. There's a student fed bus that is a very good price between Waterloo (it leaves right from the university) and drops off at Downsview, which would be perfect - except it's only available for Waterloo Undergrads! Greyhound seems fairly reasonable though, and the train ride isn't that much either - especially with an International Student Identification Card. Oh right! My parents finally got to meet Mai Lan's father, when he came over for lunch while dropping Mai Lan off! I was able to visit Mai a few days ago... though we didn't get to spend that much time with each other since she's busy helping with Founders Frosh week at York.
This has been a summer of many weddings! I was asked to fill in for Jack (our Church officer) during weddings while he was on vacation. I helped get things set up (putting up some bows, getting the candles ready, taking care of the sound system, organizing the ushers, making sure everything when smoothly in the back and that people walked when they were supposed to)... it was a very educational experience! I was also payed $100 per wedding, so the money was nice too :) On top of that, I also filled in for the Church secretary one day. It was amazing how many homeless people came to see Grant. I was told it would probably be a quiet day that I was filling in... if that was a quiet day, it's hard to imagine a busy one! On top of the weddings at our Church, I also got to be an usher at my friend Christina's wedding reception! She'll be living in LA with her new husband, Matthew. It's hard to imagine my friends starting to get married... It was also great catching up with old friends. My fellow ushers were Babak and Jacob, and the bridesmaids were Nashifa, Amanda and Belinda with Rebecca as the maid of honour. Eileen was also at the wedding... though other than that, there weren't many people I knew at the wedding (other than Nashifa's sister and Christina's father and brother).
I spent many hours helping out my Dad with stuff around the house and cottage (which I was paid for). We managed to get out a big rock that had been part of our driveway for a long time, as well as get rid of sections of concrete that weren't flat, and pour new concrete. We also dug a long trench to lay down the electrical wire in the new garage at the cottage, as well as other jobs in both places.
Volunteering in the psychology labs was a bit sporadic. I also managed to meet with Grainne once, a few weeks ago... she seemed to like my research ideas, so hopefully something will come of them! I was also lucky enough to get an OGSST, which I wasn't expecting... an OGS for science and technology. Oh right! My poster submission got accepted for SPSP, so I'll be presenting my honours thesis research in New Mexico this February!
So that's a brief outline of what's been up in my life this past summer. I have many ideas to share... but fortunately, you'll all be spared them for this post ;) My studying latin has fallen off (hopefully temporarily), but I've been working on oral Japanese, and I've made some progress with that! I love podcasts!
And now, to finish off this post... 8 things about me! I have been tagged by galena417
. I'm not going to actually tag anyone... but if you want to, feel free to do this and consider yourself tagged by me! It's an open invitation. Here are the rules (which I am blatantly breaking, but so be it!)
THE RULES: each player lists 8 facts or habits about themselves; the rules of the game are to be posted first; at the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people.
1. My initials spell DAN.
2. I like stroking my beard while I think. I also like to pace if I'm deep in thought, or trying to memorize something.
3. I have been able to hold my breath for slightly over 3 minutes in the past. I may still be able to do this, but I don't like holding it that long, as I feel really bad after. 2 minutes isn't much of a problem though :)
4. I don't like killing things, and tend to avoid it, including mosquitoes, spiders, snails, etc.
5. As a child I was addicted to TV, though now I rarely watch it.
6. I am red-green colour blind (it's not that bad though, I can tell the difference between most shades of red and green).
7. My favourite number is 22, and has been for many years... since I was around 5 or so I think.
8. Prior to eating a breakfast requiring a spoon, I typically tap the spoon once on its side before using it.
So... there you have it! My first post in quite a while. We'll see if I'll be able to follow up with another one soon! I'll be moving to Waterloo on the 3rd, though I won't have internet or phone access till the 9th.
I look forward to catching up with you all!
P.S. The end of an era post is in reference to the end of my undergrad degree and time at York... 5 years at Waterloo coming up!
|Thursday, May 10th, 2007|
Well, I'm now 22 and have been for a good while now... quite a bit has been up! Here's a brief update of what has been happening in my life. By the way, special thanks to insignificantxx for giving me a nudge to respond! I'd been meaning to for a while, but that helped get me to finally do it :)
Mai Lan has left for the summer, which is tough. Fortunately, there's a really good phone card for calling the states, and despite some initial difficulties, we seem to have the webcam/mic setup working (except now there are problems with MSN :S) I should be visiting her in a few weeks!
I'm done my undergraduate degree! Really, it didn't feel like finishing... after classes and essays and exams I still had work to do on my thesis (which is finally done!) so the year kind of tapered off in to what's looking like a very busy summer! I had one crazy weekend, which I got through with the help of Mai Lan's encouragment and company... Two essays due on a Monday, with a lot of work to do on them... I wrote somewhere around 8400 words in a span of around 3 days... that was pretty nuts. I think they went well, we'll see when I get them back though :)
My job search didn't go so well. I was offered a position in one of the psych labs I'm involved with ($15 an hour!). Unfortunately, it turns out only returning undergraduates were eligible, so I couldn't get it! I looked around at a few other places, but right now my parents have generously agreed to pay me for my time, as they have a lot of stuff at the house and cottage which needs to get done, and hasn't for the past year or more, due to my Dad's accident and my Mom's cancer. Now that they're both doing pretty well, it's time to get to work! I thought retirment was supposed to be easy? I've also started advertising for psychology tutoring for summer school courses... most of my posters have already been ripped down! I'm not sure if it's the university, or other tutors. One of my friends who has offered Stats tutoring for the past year or so warned me that other tutors will often rip down posters of rival tutors... I never realized it was such a cut-throat business!
I've also started volunteering with an afterschool program near York, for grades 2-8. The kids who go aren't exactly from upscale parts of Toronto (Jane and Finch area)... it's really rewarding to help teach them to read, and do some fun activities (usually basketball). I hope I get to keep volunteering there, I like the kids a lot.
So that was my brief update... now the ideas! This year I've started getting more in to zen koans, thanks to the influence of my brother! Because of that, I've grown more acquainted with the idea of enlightenment. By the way, if you're not sure what koans are, try wikipedia... or better yet, google "koan" and read a few! There are some that cultural background is necessary, or at least really helpful, but a lot of them you don't need that background... just some time to think about them.
The concept I want to talk about today is getting beyond karma. I think it's funny - so many people don't recognize karma opperating in their lives, let alone being aware that they need to go beyond that! My ideas are developed on my own, but they are also based on what I've read... so be warned, what I'm talking about may or may not be an accurate reflection of Zen Buddhism.
To start with, we'll go to consciousness (my favourite topic!). Perhaps some of you read my post in the distant past where I wrote about being fully aware/conscious and free will. If not, here's a brief recap! It seems as though being fully aware (or fully conscious), the "best" course of action would always be known. Thus, it appears as though the more aware, the less free will an individual has. However, my argument is that the "free will" we often experience on a day to day basis is based on selectively ignoring information to slant what we'll do, and is a sort of false free will because of it. Free will is not based off of choosing from among pre-existing options, but lies in creating your own.
Now, enlightenment seems to be attaining a higher level of consciousness, which is a higher level of awareness. When I first read something indicating that enlightenment involved going beyond karma, I was confused. I thought karma was a good thing... perhaps I should first define what I mean by karma! Actions are magnified... when we help something or someone, that action is magnified as it is passed along... linking to chaos theory, as Mai Lan reminded me when I was talking to her a while ago! The same is true for when we harm something... now regardless of whether or not you believe in some cosmic counter that keeps track of your helpful and harmful actions, I think it makes sense that these actions can come back to you... Karma for some religions, the threefold law for Wiccans, the old adage "What goes around, comes around" in the West. So I was initially surprised with the idea of trying to break out of the cycle of karma, since it seems like such a beneficial thing when you help others!
Once I thought about it for a while, I suddenly realized the sense behind it. The idea of free will (creation) that I'd thought of before means that you no longer choose from pre-existing options. In other words, you are not at the mercy of your circumstances to dictate your path to you. Your circumstances are still important, they still provide a base... but where you go from there is up to you. However, with karma, you are fully acted upon. Your bad actions come around and affect you... your good actions come around... and all of that depended on choices you made in the past, instead of the creation of your own path in the present. In essence, you are not creating, and so are not as conscious, aware, or enlightened.
This may all look very well on a computer screen (or it could be really confusing), but I think an illustration would help clarify what I mean. Let's say there is an individual who is really well known in a small town. He is caring, and generous with time and money. He has good karma. One day, he forgets his wallet at home, and doesn't realize it till he gets to the store. The owner recognizes the man, and so opens a tab, and the man happily goes off with his purchases. It's pretty clear that karma helped. Now if the man in question had been mean, stingy and known to break his promises, when he gets to the counter and realizes he forgot his wallet the owner probably won't open up a tab for him. His karma has come back to harm him. Now if he were enlightened, he would be more aware... and wouldn't forget his wallet in the first place. In this situation, by remembering his wallet, he has moved beyond karma, and is no longer at the mercy of his previous actions. He is not subject to the law of causation, as he is not forced in to a certain path due to previous circumstances. He is not above the law of causation, as circumstances, and universal laws still apply to him (in other words, there are certain limits to actions). He is at one with the law of causation, creating the present with what is available.
Thank you for reading all this! I hope you are all doing very well! If you are interested, one koan that is relevant to this post is called Hyakujo's Fox. You can find a translation of it here: http://www.ibiblio.org/zen/gateless-gate/2.html
P.S. Good luck Mai Lan on the interview tomorrow!!
|Friday, March 2nd, 2007|
|Justice and Mercy
Wow, it's been quite a while! I hope you're all doing well and that 2007 is going along quite nicely! In this issue of My Webl, I'll have a brief recap of what I've been up to for the past few months, then I'll talk about justice and mercy... so feel free to skip all or part of my post :)
A Brief Update
I got to visit Mai Lan and her family around New Year's, and that was really great! The only downside was me getting sick right on New Year's Eve... so for the first time in recent memory, I slept through the dawn of a new year. Fortunately, they don't have a tradition of staying up for it, so I wasn't ruining anybody's fun :) It was a great time though! Hopefully I'll get to go skiing with Mai Lan this season (though this may be unlikely this year), and go skiing with her family sometime too!
I've gotten to spend a bit more time with friends from university this year, but still not a lot. Phil, Crystal, Mai Lan and I went to a driving range for a bit! It started out horribly for everyone but Phil (who'd gone before), but we were starting to get the hang of it by the end (I thought about saying getting into the swing of it, but I decided to spare you all the cheesy pun :P).
School's been going well, still really busy though! I got accepted to Waterloo for their grad program in Social Psychology, so that's where I'm heading next year! Waterloo was my top choice, I have a great researcher and very nice person as my primary supervisor... the only downside is Mai Lan will still be at York! Fortunately, transportation between Toronto and Waterloo doesn't seem that bad, so we should still be able to see each other fairly regularly in person, and phone/online conversations will have to tide us over in between. Also, it seems as though all the people I knew who went to Waterloo are coming to the Toronto area... it's kind of funny really. Donny will still be around for awhile, since a co-op degree takes a bit longer to do, but I'll try not to interfere with his social life too much :P We may end up living with each other, still not sure about that though... we'll see!
So that's sort of a crash-course update for what's been new in my life recently. I'm now going to move on to mercy and justice, and how they're the same thing. It seems like I haven't talked about that here before, though I've had the idea for awhile... so, read on if you're interested!
Justice and Mercy
While receiving back an essay proposal to my Milton Professor, she'd indicated that one of my points involving justice and mercy actually being the same thing was incorrect. Superficially, they seem to be polar opposites... you can either show someone mercy when they've done something wrong, or you can bring them to justice. In fact, I was browsing through a survey that was supposed to say something about your psychological state, and one of the questions was to say which way you leaned, towards justice or mercy. While it is true that trying to bring about justice or trying to bring about mercy can lead to drastically different outcomes, it is only true if you are viewing them at a very superficial level. "True" justice and "true" mercy are actually the same thing. To illustrate, here's an example:
A man is found guilty of a terrible crime... perhaps he has murdered many people. Let's say that in the particular society he is from, their ideas of justice clearly dictate he must be killed for his crime. Now, justice has been done... except, what about the man's family? Perhaps they've done nothing wrong, and they've lost a husband/father, a provider... their whole lives have been made potentially worse by the loss of this man. Now let's say that despite him being a murderer, he still had other positive qualities, he still contributed to society in some way... and now society has been robbed of all his future potential good actions. Is this really justice?
On the other hand, let's say that this same man is from a particular society which is focussed on mercy, and so he is forgiven and let go. Yet he continues to murder... this is not merciful to the people who are murdered, their families and all the repercussions for society.
If you only look at a superficial idea of justice and mercy, justice is not just and mercy is not merciful. However, there is a place where both of these ideals meet, and that is doing what is best for everyone concerned. The function of both justice and mercy is to do what is right, but they each approach this same bath from different sides. Like so many of the artificial dualities in human culture, with a full understanding of both they collapse in to one. It is my belief that there is always a good option to be taken... in the examples I used, I believe that the murderer could be changed. Perhaps this belief is incorrect, and sometimes people are forced to go back on their morals to accomplish the greater good, and the ends justify the means. However, I think that if you don't give up the search, there is always a good choice to be made, that doesn't require you to sacrifice the present for the future... because if you always do that, then the future you are sacrificing for will never come.
Thank you all for reading what I've been up to, and yet another of my crazy/naive ideas. I look forward to catching up with all of you!
P.S. I got to keep my point for my essay proposal :)
|Tuesday, December 19th, 2006|
|A New Look on Consciousness
Yes, that's right... mere days from my last post, I am here yet again with another update! I am now safely home in Brampton, Mai Lan is now safely home in NY (her exam went well!) and all is well with the world... as well as it usually gets anyway!
The purpose of this post is to immortalize an idea I just had about consciousness! Perhaps most of you are already familiar with my idea that consciousness must arise from something outside of matter (with me postulating a soul as an observer of matter). This is still my favourite answer... yet the argument isn't wholly convincing. As my brother (and perhaps others) have pointed out... I'm basically saying that since I can see no way to subdivide consciousness, consciousness must be indivisible... and therefore either be a property of all matter, or of something external to matter. It's an argument from ignorance/lack of imagination (or argumentum ad ignorantiam for anyone interested in the official latin name)... I was browsing wikipedia. While I still see no way for consciousness to be subdivided, I decided to try to list my assumptions and see if I could find some feasible alternative assumptions.
However, instead of doing that fully, I'll just post this one alternative to my favourite theory before heading to bed. One of the wikipedia examples in their entry for "Argument from ignorance" is this: "A thousand-ton piece of metal could never float. Ships need to be made of wood, or at least something that floats."
This example seemed particularly relevant when I thought about it in terms of my views of consciousness... a person is conscious, therefore they must be made of something that is conscious on its own. This doesn't work for boats and metal, so I tried to stretch the analogy a bit further to see if I could figure out a similar solution to the boat/metal problem.
So why does something that is so heavy on its own and normally sinks float? There are the ideas of distributing weight and surface tension. Then I realized the main idea was that floating wasn't really a property of boats or metal or anything at all! Floating merely describes the relation of something(like metal) to the liquid (like water). There's no inherent "floatiness" to an object. Perhaps consciousness is the same way... what we call consciousness is just our relation to the universe; we "float" through a universe that supports us... our consciousness isn't a thing in itself, it is the interplay of matter on the fabric of the universe. If you stretch the analogy further, you could say that the way our brains are physically designed enable it to be lifted up to the top of the universe... and from above the sea of matter, we can actually see what lies beneath us. Again, stretching the model, by being raised above the fabric of the universe, we are partially outside the laws of the universe... enabling things such as choice, which really are outside of the laws of physics.
Viewing consciousness in this way supports the idea that our consciousness is part of one underlying consciousness... the surface of the water.
I'll have to think about it some more, but it seems like an interesting alternative to the view that consciousness is due to a soul that is external to matter.
I better get to bed... early day ahead tomorrow. Donny's coming home tomorrow, back for his work term, so I need to help move him and all his stuff back. For anyone who read through the post, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I hope it wasn't too boring. Goodnight to you all!
|Sunday, December 17th, 2006|
|Four Months and a Day of Silence... in D Major
Once again, I must assure you all that I do still exist. I seem to have gotten in to the habit of rarely posting in the first term of school. While the past two years' long absences were due to... difficult times for me, this time it's much more positive (overall).
This post will be an update of what's been going on in my life... so if you don't care much for that sort of thing, it's probably best to skip it :)
For the first time, I entered in to university with a new relationship instead of heartbreak, and it's really good! There have been some difficult times, but we always get through them. Mai Lan is doing well, she has her last exam tomorrow, and is leaving on Tuesday. I'll be visiting her family on the 27th of December, possibly till January 2nd. Mai Lan really doesn't realize how great she is... she got a livejournal, but I don't think she's been on it in a while, so it's ok for me to write stuff like that ;)
Having an apartment with Jayson and Casto is great! It's only 20 minutes away from York, walking quickly... so for the first time in the past few years, I'm not getting so out of shape in winter. We also have a small exercise room in the basement which I was planning on using frequently but have yet to use... the best laid plans of mice and men I suppose. On the downside, dishes and recycling tend to pile up quickly, and my room, which I planned on having completely organized as soon as I moved in remained a disaster for most of the term (Jayson wanted to have a party soon after we moved in, so the night I was going to organize everything kept getting pushed back... for pretty much 3 and a half months, with some small exceptions). Really though, the apartment is great... I'm glad to be living here.
I love all my courses, to varying degrees... and they'll all be carried on to next term. Each one is quite different, but, as always, trends and themes seem to emerge in almost all of them that are strikingly similar. Essay writing is now fun... but not fun enough to finish essays well ahead of time.
I've applied to 4 graduate school programs so far, and still have 2 more to go (it costs a fortune). I took the general GRE in October, and the Psychology GRE in November... and did quite well on both of them, so my chances of getting in somewhere are pretty good! In the States I've applied to Ohio State and Michigan... in Canada I've applied to Waterloo, Western, Toronto and York, all for Social Psychology. Which reminds me... I need to drop off some info tomorrow at York!
While working on my thesis, I started to pick up some html (and a very little bit of Java). I made a website for my brother's birthday, with a bunch of links and some stories I thought he'd like. I also just started a Terrophany facebook group, which already has nearly 60 people... so that's good. I also made a website for UPSA, the psychology association I'm involved with at York... so that should be open for the members hopefully this week!
So now that we have some of the good things that have been going on, I'll let you know about some of the not so good but showing signs of improvement stuff. My Dad still needs a cane often due to his broken hip that he got last year skiing... until a few weeks ago, we still thought he needed a hip replacement, but apparently his hip is healing, and if he builds up the muscle he'll even be able to ski again next season (my Mom was not thrilled with this news). My Mom also had to undergo chemotherapy the past few months... the first two times were really rough, but this past time she was better. Only one left to go... and everything else seems to be going well with her health. So both my parents had some serious medical problems to work through, but both are on their way to recovery!
Hanging out with Friends
Amidst the rather busy schedule of this past year, I didn't get to hang out with some of my university friends from first and second year as much as I would have liked. I still got to spend some time with them, which was great... and next semester is looking more promising for me, since I won't have to deal with applications to graduate school.
So that's an outline of some of what the past four months have been like. I'll try to go on LJ more frequently (which given my past record, won't be that hard). I hope all is well with everyone here! Good luck to everyone who is writing exams... and to everyone in the midst of Christmas shopping.
Until next time,
|Wednesday, August 16th, 2006|
|Mai Lan, Sermon and Driving
Hello everyone! Here is the slightly belated entry including my sermon (which, for the sake of everyone's friend pages, will be placed behind a LiveJournal cut.
I've been quite busy the past week (since this past Thursday) as I've had the good fortune to be visited once again by none other than *drum rolls*... Mai Lan! Yes, that's right, my girlfriend has once again come to visit. She's managed to sign up for some courses at York (after encoutering a few snags along the way), and she took a Spanish placement test... breezing through it with no problem, blowing away the tester ;) So, instead of taking Spanish grammar courses, she'll move right in to Lit courses! She also thouroghly impressed my grandpa (and the rest of my family and some of my parents' friends from Church) with her singing and playing the piano. It's really great seeing her again... I'm glad she was able to come, so she got to meet my grandpa and see my sermon.
Yes, my grandpa came from Sarnia... He skunked me in cribbage :S Actually, quite a few people who normally don't go to church managed to come, I was quite flattered! Even Jayson came, which was great, especially since he only found out about it a few days beforehand.
I wish I had had it memorized, but so much has come up the past while that I had to glance down frequently to remind myself what was coming up next. Also, I've heard the sound system had a bit of an echo in it... all the same, everyone was very supportive and appreciative. Without further ado, here it is:( We Are What We EatCollapse )
Questions, comments, criticisms... they're all welcome. Some people told me it made them think... which is exactly what I was hoping for! So overall, it was a great experience - though it was very odd seeing my name on the sign in front of St. Paul's!
Finally, I have earned my G driving license. I parallel parked perfectly (nice alliteration, I know :P) which was the part I was most concerned about - but the examiner didn't see me looking to the sides enough! I thought I was doing a great job, perhaps I wasn't turning my head enough... but I'll try to look even more in the future, just in case. Also, I was making a left turn across a street, there was oncoming traffic, and I stopped... but the examiner thought I wasn't going to so briefly grabbed my wheel! At the end she asked if I was going to stop, and I said yes, so she told me she'd "Take my word for it"... It's funny, because for both my G1 and G2 exit tests, the examiners have been rather unimpressed with my driving, but gave me my license anyways. Regardless, I can now put that behind me and focus on the one main remaining thing I have to do for the summer... take my GRE test.
As usual I have much more I'd like to talk about, but too little time to do so... which is probably just as well since my entries are already too long. Have a great rest of the week to you all!
|Monday, August 7th, 2006|
|Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Dark Matter
Hello everyone! In this edition of My Webl, the focus will be on advanced civilizations in the universe, and a link with dark matter. Perhaps it is a far-fetched explanation, but it seems to make sense to me.
But first, a few updates... I went to a Birthday BBQ for Matthew, a friend and former UPSA member. I had a really good time, met a lot of new people, had some good discussions... it was fun!
I'm looking forward to preaching next Sunday. My Grandpa is coming, and Mai Lan's visit got postponed till next week, so she'll be here too! Some of my friends from church seem pretty excited, I hope I don't disappoint them.
So, on to ET and Dark Matter!
This is an idea I had a day or two ago when I was browsing Wikipedia on Dyson Spheres. Before I get in to that, it's probably best we cover some background, so we can all start from the same point.
While talking about the possibility of alien civilizations with some of his collegues, Fermi is said to have asked "Where are they?". Theoretically, if alien civilizations do exist, presumably some of them are a good deal older than humanity... and would have time to spread, and should be all over the galaxy... and so it can be viewed as surprising that we haven't heard from them or seen evidence of their existence. There are a number of counterarguments to this, such as using different means of communication, but it is an interesting idea... that if they exist, civilizations should be spread all over the galaxy by now.
This is a scale used to classify how advanced a civilization is, developed by Kardashev in 1964. Its premise is the idea that more advanced civlizations by necessity use/have available more power. A Type I civilization is supposed to use the energy of an entire planet (we're not there yet), a Type II civilization is supposed to use the energy of an entire stare, and a type III civilization is supposed to use the energy of an entire galaxy.
A Dyson sphere is the result of a thought experiment done by Dyson, with the idea that human civilization progressively needs more and more energy... so it was his theoretical proposed solution taking advantage of an entire star's energy output. It was originally described as a collection of satellites orbiting a star... a modification of the idea is to have a series of spheres of satellites, each using a certain frequency of energy, with the next shell using a different frequency, so that, theoretically, the entire star's output could be used, leaving only background radiation slightly higher than that of space itself.
Dark matter is basically matter in the universe we can't see... there are several theories of what dark matter is composed of. It was introduced as an idea since there seemed to be far more gravity than would be predicted by the light we've observed from Earth. Black holes could make up some dark matter, and scientists theorize about different types of particles that we wouldn't be able to detect from light... basically dark matter just means matter we can't see and don't know exactly what it is, but there's supposed to be quite a lot of it.
Ok, so perhaps you can see were I've been going with this. It is possible (though it seems unlikely) that Earth is the only planet with intelligent life. If there is other intelligent life, it seems likely that it could be much older than us. Civilizations, at least based on Earth, tend to require more energy the more advanced their technology becomes. Presumably, an old enough civilization would spred, and would eventually require the energy output of many stars. If Dyson spheres are feasible, there could be large numbers of stars that are being used as energy sources, but which would be invisible to us... except the effect of their gravity would still be detectable!
I'm proposing that one possibility for at least some of the dark matter in the universe... is actually due to Dyson spheres being used to harness many stars, blocking their light from us, but still having their normal effects on gravity. And, if you want to get in touch advanced civilizations... one of the best places to look might be areas of space where there is little visible matter, but still large gravitational effects. Also, if there are any mysterious large gaps of stars in a galaxy... so basically, you should look exactly where it seems like you shouldn't, based on light.
Well, that's my idea as it stands right now. As always, you are all welcome to comment and contribute!
|Tuesday, July 25th, 2006|
Hello everyone! Once again I have followed my longstanding tradition by sporadically posting, even when I have much to talk about. In case the subject of this entry isn't obvious enough, I have really good news! I am now officially going out with Mai Lan (as of July 18th)! I had a great time when she visited a week ago, and I look forward to seeing her again once school starts up!! Until then phone conversations will have to do... She's the one person I really got to know better this past year at rez. She spent time with me when I was at my worst, when I'd felt somewhat abandoned (justifiably or not) by many of the people that I thought might help support me... she wanted to get to know me better even when I felt the least I ever have. Throughout the past while now (through lots of ups and downs) I've kept on growing closer to her, I hope that never stops! I haven't done this in awhile, but I'm dedicating this entry to Mai Lan... so I better make sure it's free of spelling and grammatical errors, or else! ;)
Since last entry I promised I would talk about it in my next entry, I will now write a bit about the idea of a soul and how it would work. I believe I've mentioned before that I think there are no truly emergent properties in the universe. That is, the higher level can always be predicted with sufficient understanding of the lower level. Moreover, I don't think it is possible to subdivide awareness... I don't see how you can have different components of awareness. For me, this leaves two options: either awareness is an inherent property of all matter, or awareness arises from something outside of matter.
If awareness arises from something outside of matter, we can try to extrapolate some of its nature from our own consciousnesses. I am calling this awareness a soul, though I suppose any other name would do. In order for us to make decisions, to actually have choices, our consciousness must be able to violate the laws of physics, the laws of matter. Otherwise our choices are nothing more than an illusion, as our mind moves along it's set path according to the rules that govern the particles in our brain, or our choices are nothing more than mere probability. Thus, so far I am attributing two functions of a soul: awareness and free will.
Something used to bother me greatly... how could people be their soul, when brain damage actually affected how one could think? People say you are not your body... that if you cut off your arm, you are still you. However, if you lobotomize different parts of your brain, it can change how you think. It didn't seem to make sense to say people were their soul if they were so easily changed by damaging their brain.
However, if we make a reasonable assumption... that the soul's awareness isn't infinite... brain damage changing a personality can make sense. Let's say that the soul can only be aware of so much, and so it focuses on certain parts of the brain, which are to represent all the different functions going on in the body. It may be too difficult to monitor an entire body, but by focussing on specific sections of neurons representing those parts of the body and of personality, it could be done by a limited awareness. Thus, if these parts of the brain are damaged, it can mess up the way the soul reads or is aware of the brain. That's why you can be thinking of something without even realizing it, and suddenly you get an answer... your brain was working on the problem in an area you aren't aware of/your soul doesn't monitor.
Now let's focus on choices. Presumably, you are hard-wired to make many choices... for example, your brain may chemically react to the idea of reproduction or of eating. Assuming a soul could somehow change some small part of the brain (a necessary assumption for free will to exist), that change could be amplified.... something as small as one neuron firing could start a chain reaction involving many parts of your brain. Thus, even if you were biologically wired to act a certain way, your soul (i.e. your awareness or conscious-self) could potentially override this.
Socrates claimed he had a daimon... something that would tell him if the choice he was making was right or not. Basically, I'm suggesting that this knowledge of whether or not a choice is right is your soul overriding your more preprogrammed natural inclinations. Hopefully most people know what I'm talking about... the idea of hunches, taking a choice you inexplicably believe to be the right one.
In "The Age of Spiritual Machines" Ray Kurzweil suggests that in the (near) future, AI will claim to be sentient... and whether or not AI is sentient is irrelevant because we'll believe them. To me, this sidesteps a major issue. A series of complex interacting systems (such as the brain) may produce very complicated behaviour. However, it is still merely complex interacting systems, awareness cannot (at least with our current understanding) be predicted from this. By uploading our brains in to computers, they may still be capable of complex behaviour... but that behaviour would then be entirely predictable, based on the interactions of various systems. If a soul exists, then I think from our own experiences of consciousness, we can say that it is somewhat limited, for example, that it often relies on reading the brain. Also, it seems that since our consciousness is linked with our brain, there must be something special about it... that the way our brain is constructed, perhaps even the chemicals used and the way neurons are built is easier to control/influence than other matter... and by attempting to transfer your consciousness to a silicon based machine, that control or influence of matter may no longer by possible.
I think that's about all for now! So... good news plus awareness/souls... what could be better in a post?! I hope you all have a good day, and hopefully I won't take so long to post again!
|Monday, June 26th, 2006|
|Random Ranting in Eb
So, it's been quite awhile since my last entry... heh, "Father, it has been a long time since my last confession". It's very strange, that custom. If you believe in an omniscient omnipotent all loving God, God would already have forgiven your sins. I suppose it's just so people can get everything off their chest, so they can hear the words "You are forgiven". Is it a weakness in me, to try to shield others from pain I feel? Perhaps sometimes it's best to let it all out, to cleanse yourself... and who knows, maybe letting people know what hurts you will actually change their actions sometimes. I guess that's something I have to work on. That and knowing when not to say anything.
Let's start this off again. I had a great weekend in New York, the best weekend/time I can remember having in... well, a very long time. Since then I've had numerous ups and downs. As one Italian woman who works in the same warehouse I do says, "Life, it's not easy!"... except with more of a Italian accent than comes across online.
I had quite a bit I wanted to talk about in my next entry... Consciousness, souls, even Socrates! However, it seems that that will be postponed till my next entry, unfortunately I don't have the energy for it today. Since I haven't been able to talk to my day about anyone, you are now all my outlet, so sit back and enjoy the show. If you feel like leaving, there should be exits wherever you are, but please be mindful of the other views... and for goodness' sake, turn off your cell phone!
I got asked to stop talking today by John. He pulled me off my table for a second... I don't remember him ever telling me that before. At the same time, I was rather flattered. He said that even though I keep working while I talk, he's noticed that the people around me stop working and look at me. I'll be more careful, but still, it's nice to think that people actually listen once in awhile. I've been somewhat mocked and made fun of for my beliefs, but usually when I talk to people one on one it works out much better... it's easier to have a conversation with an individual than with a group.
Many thanks to sublunamsusurri for explaining to people that I'm not angry in a debate... that I just get worked up. I had some great conversations, I just have... strong feelings about some of those topics. That seems to have been mistaken as anger by people who don't know me very well. Even more thanks go to her for loaning me Firefly (and X-men 2, but I haven't gotten to it yet). Firefly is great so far... hilarious! I highly recommend it, it's a shame it was cancelled after it's first season!
On another note, I will be preaching the second Sunday of August. I'm really looking forward to it, I have some ideas of what I want to say. It is... a bit annoying that my mom keeps wanting me to talk to some of the other ministers for ideas and how to put it together. I'll talk to them to make sure I'm not speaking anything too out of line, but I want this to be my sermon, as selfish as that sounds. I know what I want to say, I know how I want to say it... I guess advice is always good, it just seems... frustrating. Throughout my younger grades, my mom would help me with presentations, and projects and all that... which I appreciate very much! But it seemed that I only did really well when I starting doing all of that on my own. Sometimes it seems like my parents try to interfere too hard, or help too much... and that it makes things worse. In some stuff I wish I'd had more help. I think both of my parents are great, but in their own ways they can be two of the most frustrating people I know.
I'm really very tired of hurting people and getting hurt at the moment. I know it is part of life... part of caring, but still I feel like I could use a little more happiness/peace and a little less pain right now. For someone who usually tries to help others, it seems like I end up hurting people far too often. There's a lesson there, I'm sure... but wanting to help is part of who I am, I don't think that's something I can change, or something I'd want to change. It just really gets to me when the people I try to help, who are very important to me... when they are the ones I hurt the most.
I suppose it is foolish of me to want happiness though. Happiness as a goal doesn't really make sense... I think it is the product of living a life worth having. So, there it is. All I need to do is live a life I think is worth having. Stop compromising, and say what I mean and be who I am instead of living as a shell part of the time.
Ok, I just had a conversation... I had to have. I apologize for all the complaining in this entry. I feel quite a bit better now.
I hope you're all having great summers, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. Goodnight!
Edit on June 27 2006: Please note that while sublunamsusurri has been a great influence in getting me to watch Firefly, it is actually my good friend Belinda who loaned it to me (and prodded me in to it as well)! My apologies (and thanks) go out to Belinda!! You rock! Now... get a livejournal :P
|Friday, June 2nd, 2006|
|As an Exception, You Always Should
Greetings once again! One week from now, I shall (hopefully) be in the States! Work in the warehouse and in the lab continues to go well... the balancing act is definitely... interesting... for having to try to make sure both my employers are happy with the hours and days I work. It's funny, when Professor Steele found out I was working in the warehouse, she said it was a nice contrast... and that I have that job for doing stuff, and the job in the lab for thinking. That actually seems backwards to me. While I'm in the lab, I do stuff that requires thinking... but it's been basic stuff, maybe learning a bit, though still pretty mundane. It is my job in the warehouse, where I don't need much of my mind for the work that is the true thinking job, as that's where I can think about whatever I want. If you want to have a lot of time to think, I highly suggest repetitive manual labour ;)
*Note, I think I'll label the following sections, in case people want to skip what they aren't interested.
Nietzsche, the Ubermensch and My Views
Now, on to the ideas! I'll start with Nietzsche, and the Ubermensch. This concept has been in my head, ever since high school when I was asked to find out some stuff about Neitzsche. At first, Nietzsche's ideas seemed ridiculous to me. However, once I read more of him, and read direct translations instead of people's interpretations... I found I agreed more than I thought I would, and that it was really a great deal of the interpretation that I disagreed with. Moreover, I find that some of what I've directly advocated for the past... year or so, again fits in well with his ideas of the Ubermensch. Namely, questioning the current moral laws and religions, and coming up with your own morals and interpretations... and also an understanding that it is entirely what is done in this life that matters, that you shouldn't do things expecting a reward or punishment after you die... that that should bear no relevance whatsoever on the actions you take in this world, it is part of a lower morality. I find it very interesting that, at least for me, my beliefs, and what I've read from philosophers, logic, religion... to me, they are all pointing in the same way. I see little difference among peoples' goals and cultures (though the diversity is good!), from the philosophers, scientists and revolutionaries of the world. However, this is where I believe I depart from Nietzsche... while ego and my self mean less and less to me, and possession is really an illusion to me now, I have not really created my own morality. I don't live in a world of pure interpretations; I went down as far as I could, and instead of finding nothing, I found solid ground. The concept of creating your own morality bothered me... because to me, it seemed for life to be successful, for people to be successful, they must work together or at least not directly opposed to each other... that there had to be some basis that was shared.
Ants, Bees and Consciousness (Or ABCs)
The next thing I'd like to talk about is consciousness again (now isn't that a surprise?). This was made fresh in my mind when this past week, I asked my old biology teacher (as in she used to be my biology teacher, she isn't actually old at all!) about ants and bees and other hive organisms... basically asking about something that struck me last summer I believe. Namely, that it doesn't make sense to call individual ants or bees the unit of organism... because the unit of reproduction is actually at the level of hive, individual ants and bees are basically just workers for the hive; they are like cells. They even have specialized cells, as some ants are workers, there are some defenders and the queen and males as the reproductive units. She agreed (as did another biology teacher in the room), that it made sense for the actual level of organism to be the hive... I believe I mentioned this concept in a previous LiveJournal entry. Anyway, that got me thinking... that we are basically a collection of cells, though packed more closely than an ant... so, since we are conscious, is it possible for a hive to be conscious? Basically, can a collection of individuals know something that not an individual one of them do? Clearly, this is the case... since from our brains, we have consciousness (unless we attribute actually consciousness to a soul). So it therefore makes sense for a group of people, or for a hive... to have a consciousness, at least on the surface.
First we should explore how a collection of things can carry information that not a single one does. Let's use the example with... I was going to say Star Bright, or whatever that kids toy was called, but people may not know that... ok, let's say with a bunch of pennies lying flat on the ground. Each individual penny is either on heads or tails... and you can make a pattern with it, so that if you have a big square of pennies, you can make a smiley face using one side, with all the others facing the other way (or use a coin with a different colour on each side, that might be easier). Thus, the smiley face is apparent, when no individual penny had that information. However, I have previously said (and I'll stand by that statement), that there are no truly emergent properties in the universe. I'll now add that you can store more information at a higher level however. So... if we picture some cells in our brain as being either on or off and making different patterns, that can be one basis for consciousness... as an overall pattern with more information is created; the group collectively know something the individuals do not.
However, there is a problem with this. For the happy face to have any meaning, there must be an observer... a single entity that can take it all in to recognize this additional information. The only way I can see that being possible is if the mind is like a mirror for itself... but still, that doesn't really make sense, though it sounds really good. Basically, for that extra information to have meaning, there must be a level beyond it that is capable of seeing all the parts at the same time, and finding a whole from it. So while an ant swarm or group of bees may appear conscious, and to be containing more information that the individual bees, unless it has this extra level able to examine all of itself and see that meaning, it would not have consciousness. However, where does this property come from in people? At the moment, I am only left with the idea of a soul, but I will continue to think on it. Any input on this is appreciated!
History and the Mind of God
Another thing I want to talk about is history. From the understanding of the universe that I've developed, in a very real way, there is only the present. However, the past always seemed important to me... I didn't want the past not to matter, even though it influences what currently exists. In my last post I think, in the comments section, I said that if someone could completely understand all aspects of another person, everything about them... they wouldn't really need to exist anymore, that their perspective would no longer be unique. That got me thinking... if there is a God who is omniscient, then presumably God would fully understand all aspects of... basically everything, and that we really could just be an idea in the mind of God. Then I realized that this also provides a way for history to matter, even if it is forgotten. If God remembers everything, this is basically a back up of the entire history of the universe... and each moment that has already occurred continues to exist in a manner (which is what I always believed and felt, but recently I didn't see how that was possible).
Clarification on Love
Finally, I just wanted to clarify... for love in the last post, part of what I believe is in two people becoming one in a way... not completely one, but in joining together, in many ways, to create something new. I just didn't want to leave out the joining together part!
So, that should be it for now! Long post, I know... By the way, the subject of this post is a quote taken from King's Quest VI, in the territory of the bookworm, by one of his... creatures... called Oxymoron. For any who read all or part of this entry... thank you! Welcome to the mind of Daniel Nadolny :P Maybe one day you'll see how deep the rabbit hole really goes ;) Have a great weekend to you all!
|Sunday, May 21st, 2006|
|On Love and Understanding
Greetings once again! I trust all of you who celebrate Victoria Day are having a good time! Today's post will be a bit on the nature of love. But first, an update of my life, and a current... frustration.
The past few days my brother and I have been helping out my Mom and Dad at the cottage, clearing some stuff up, raking, lawn mowing, that sort of thing. We didn't get done as much as we'd hoped, due to the cool temperature and rain... at least we helped out a bit, and have tomorrow to relax!
Now, on to the frustration! There are some people, among my friends, who think I am bad at debating. I know, quite shocking! Perhaps many of you feel the same way... but I have been told a number of times I'm a very good debater. In part, it likely depends on the subject and what I know about it. I'd accept their comments if we'd been debating about concepts of which I have no knowledge... but here's the kicker, they think they've had debates with me when in my mind, we have never debated! I admit, I do say some things that seem counter-intuitive... but to decide they are completely illogical and that I am a bad debater due to disagreeing with my initial position without hearing the arguments behind it, is at the very least a little silly and, I find, quite... frustrating. How can you judge if I'm a poor debater when you've never actually been in a debate with me? Just because something sounds ridiculous doesn't make it necessarily untrue! I'm increasingly becoming frustrated with hypocrisy... perhaps I am guilty of this too, and just don't realize it. But it is sad and yet somehow amusing, when you have people complaining about others' personality flaws, when it seems as though they have those same flaws in question. It's very tempting to tell people to try not to take out the speck from their friend's eye, when there's a great plank in their own. I apologize if it seems I am ranting... I wish people would judge my words and thoughts for their merit(or perhaps lack thereof), rather than dismissing them out of hand.
Love and Understanding
So, here is the main point of today's post! A friend of mine, whatsarobot, posted something that got me thinking of this... quite a few months ago. Hopefully I'm not copying the idea exactly, if I am I apologize... at the very least, that post has helped me solidify a few thoughts I have about love.
First of all, I'd understood for a while that without understanding, you can't have love. If you don't understand someone, don't know who they are... then you can't love what they are, merely a warped picture that you have of them in your head. With that being said, that doesn't mean you constantly have to talk to other people about all the little mundane details of your life for you to have a deeper understanding, and thus a deeper love possible. Since I believe in souls, I'm inclined to say your souls recognize each other... but this isn't necessary, you have to at least have some deep understanding for there to be love.
Now what is love? It is the bond between two things. This bond is dependent on understanding (deep understanding, not necessarily sharing the information of where you went to breakfast that morning). Furthermore, I claim that if you truly understand something, you will love it, if you can see it at a deep enough level. Bonds between people are stronger than other bonds, because people are capable of mutual understanding at deeper levels. Hate is a failure of understanding, as is anger. Hate is a false understanding, a superficial understanding, and thus is not an actual bond.
So where does this leave that special bond between two people who love each other? In conversations throughout the years I've had with people, the question arises... what's the difference between loving a spouse, compared to a great friend for example. Having recently thought about the consciousness problem (see one or two posts ago), I am now prepared to answer this question. It is linked to creation. You can love many, many people... love the whole world. However, (in addition to stuff like sexual attraction), we choose to create something new with a particular person. It is this act of creation that is beyond the bond of understanding that is so special between two people... they decide to build a relationship, tie their lives together and create something that didn't exist before. This is the essence behind the difference of love of friends, and love of a spouse... it is in what you create together. Yes, you can create things with your friendships, but theoretically you are not tying your lives together in the same way... in many cases to bring about that ultimate creation, and bring a new life in to the world.
So while understanding is love is the bond among people... This other kind of love is an act of creation, and it is this that differentiates it from universal love.
One last footnote... for the Bible study that my church had for a number of weeks, John Morris said something that bothered me. It was that for some questions he had, he'd go to science... and for other questions he'd go to religion. This isn't a bad view, it's certainly more feasible than many others... but I don't see such a difference in the goals of religion and science. Humanity's obsession with science is at the heart the same as its obsession with religion... the goal of understanding, of logos, of love. These are all at the heart, the same... science and religion spring from the same yearning and growing of the human spirit.
Goodnight to all of you; may you gain wisdom, and discover understanding.
|Thursday, May 11th, 2006|
|An Update in Three Parts
Hello! Greetings to you all... I come bearing good news! For me at least :D So, this post will be brought to you in three parts, I'm not quite sure what they are yet... but we shall see by the end, I'm sure!
Part the First
I'd like to start off this post with an expansion of an idea I put forward last post... namely my reasoning behind E=MC^2. I realized that the lightspeed vibrations I was talking about weren't at the atomic level or anything like that... they were at the smallest particles of matter, if such a thing exists. Last Sunday, after Church, my brother asked me about matter at absolute zero... So I realized that temperature (which is the average kinetic energy of a body of molecules/atoms) only applies to atoms, it's a macroscopic property. At a level smaller than atoms, these vibrations are occuring continuously... Thus, in a resting state, something can be defined as MC... and if you make it go the speed of light, or convert to pure energy, you have MC*C or MC^2. These vibrations aren't what is causing macroscopic changes (or time) to pass; it is not affected by time dilation and thus still holds when something is going the speed of light. This helped me realize what matter is, which I'd read about before, but now makes sense... matter, at it's heart, is nothing more than vibrating pockets of condensced space. It's as though space were scrunched up in these vibrating pockets/knots... and that's what matter is.
With this realization, gravity suddenly makes sense. If matter is scruched up space, it makes sense for the "fabric" of matter to have tension... the closer it is to matter, the more tension there will be. This tension creates a pull in the fabric of space; space (and any other scrunched up/vibrating pockets of space) will be drawn to it. This also means that there really is nothing separating matter itself from the space around it... you're just bunched up vibrating space, and still part of the fabric. If this theory is true... not only are you made of the same "stuff" as stars, you are actually part of the same fabric; you are directly connected to everything else!! Pretty cool, eh? I really wish I knew some professors who specialize in theoretical physics.
Part the Second
I now have two jobs! In one, I work for a respectable professor in a psychology laboratory, I organize the lab and I... help grad students with their research. The other job is linked to the world of warehousing, where I go by the alias "Dan" and am responsible for... virtually every bernardin jar there is a market for.
Couldn't resist ;) If it wasn't obvious, I was fitting my jobs in to the same sort of form as a Matrix quote... So, yeah! I'm excited about that(the jobs). I'll be doing around 2 days a week in Professor Steele's lab, and 3 days a week working with the same company I did last year in a warehouse :) I'll probably also volunteer a bit in Professor Kawakami's lab too!
Part the Third
Well, last night was the final night in the discussions some of us had been having at the Church regarding genesis. I was able to say a few things again, and get a bit out on my concept of Good and Evil vs Life. It makes me feel good when people tell me I showed them things in a way they'd never seen or thought of before... but at the same time, it somehow doesn't seem right to me. I shouldn't be able to give people a whole new look on things in the Bible that they like and accept, without the world, or at least their own spiritual journey, being somewhat muddled. I think part of the problem is people not knowing enough history and science and everything... but just knowing enough to be skeptical or confused. All the same, I'm glad I at least gave some people something to think about; these sessions and conversations have helped me think too!
So those are the three parts! It's an exciting time for me, with some personal stuff going on now (it's good, don't worry!) and some new jobs and opportunities... all in all, it's looking like a great summer thus far! Now I need to figure out a schedule so I can get in studying for GREs, learning Latin, reading up on various religions and a bunch of other stuff! Hopefully get a bit of time off too for a visit/vacation... we shall see!
I hope everyone else's summer is looking at least as good as mine is now :) See you all later!
|Friday, May 5th, 2006|
|Physics, Religion and More!
Hello everyone! Hang on to your hats, we've got quite a ride today!
First of all, an update on me: I climbed the CN Tower for the Worlf Wildlife Fund last Saturday... it was fun! My lungs got tired before my legs did... but I didn't have to wander around a fair amount before I found where I had to register. Melissa had said it was the Atrium at Bay, so I went along Bay Street.... and that it was halfway between Union and the CN Tower. But it was actually more or less right at the CN Tower :S (P.S. Thanks Melly for contributing!!)
I've been looking for a job... so far without much success, but I have a few new leads that look promising, thanks to my Dad and Janet.
I just had an UPSA meeting on Wednesday, it went pretty well... I think being the VP of Internal Affairs will work out pretty well!
I've been doing a Bible study, mostly on the first few chapters of Genesis, with my Mom and a bunch of other people at our Church for the past two Wednesdays... It's really good! You couldn't ask for a better person than John Morris to lead it :)
Ok, now on to the theories!
Physics: Maybe this is already obvious to you all, but I just (last night) conceptually figured out what E=MC^2 meant... as in why E=MC^2. I could understand why you'd multiply the mass by the speed of light, but I couldn't figure out why you'd multiply by the speed of light again... so without further ado, here's my solution! First of all, motion is energy. At the moment I think all energy is ultimately motion at it's core... if you go down far enough. I'll have to look more in to it for sure! So, pure motion = pure energy. Thus we have the mass of something, and see what would happen if it were going at the speed of light (i.e. become pure motion). This part I think I sort of got for awhile... but this is only E=MC. Then last night I was thinking... well, all the molecules and atoms are already vibrating, even in a stationary object. So you need to take in to account the energy of everything vibrating, even in a mass that is in a resting state. So, if things vibrate (at a small enough level... see my post on my reasoning for time dilation) at the speed of light, we have the mass/energy state of a resting object as MC, or mass times the speed of light. THEN you convert it to pure energy, by taking that whole system, and seeing what would happen if you put it at the speed of light... as if it were all motion. So you have MC*C. So, if a particular chunk of matter were converted completely in to motion, and thus completely in to energy, you have E=MC^2! ... Maybe not as revolutionary since Einstein came up with it first, but still it was fun to think it through! There's a problem with it though... if something were pure motion in one direction... i.e. travelling the speed of light... you'd no longer have the vibration of the molecules and so it actually would just be E=MC... But up until an object were travelling the speed of light, E=MC^2 makes sense... I'll have to think more on that.
Selfishness: Ok, here's a concept that I realized/thought will in a debate with i_am_the_owl. People who say that it is logical to be selfish, or self-centered, are wrong in many ways. First of all, there's already the whole concept that it'll be worse off in the end for everyone to be selfish... but even in the short term, I suppose an argument for selfishness could go "You can feel your own emotions, you can't feel the emotions of others... so it makes sense to pursue your own happiness and not that of others". Setting empathy aside, this is basically emotional reasoning. It is based on what you feel... you being happy, or pursuing your own happiness. This isn't logical, it's emotional. Logically, you'd recognize that other people are able to feel happy, and that making two people happy, if it means some slight discomfort to you, is actually more logical than making just yourself happy. You need to include yourself in the equation, complete selflessness is wrong, as you need to take care of yourself as well... you just need to be focussed on everyone you can, or recognize that your actions affect those around you. So if someone says it's logical to pursue your own happiness and not that of others... they're being illogical and appealing to emotion rather than rationality.
Religion: Ok, the Bible study has helped me think of a few new things. In a previous post I already indicated that "In the Beginning was the Word", etc that "Word" was logos... or word, thought reason... and that Jesus was the logic of the Lord made manifest. Now, many people will probably agree... Humanity appearing in God's image is more something of the mind. We are all capable of logos or reason. However, we often don't use this fully. Thus, we are made in the image of God that we are capable of reasoning... but Jesus fully recognized this reasoning, and in this way he was in the image of God (as opposed to being God).
Now, another thing I realized after rereading Gensis... has to do with eating the fruit from the tree. I'd forgotten what it actually said. Many people say God did not want humanity to have knowledge or something like that... that knowledge was the sin. This isn't right. It was actually the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil... which if you read some of my earlier posts, you'll remember that I don't believe in Evil. Humanity adopted a point of view in which there was good and evil... this view isn't correct! This is the tree we weren't supposed to eat, because evil doesn't actually exist, it doesn't mean we weren't supposed to have knowledge! Now... there was another tree, another way of looking at the world... The Tree of Life. Also in my previous posts, I've said how a net increase in life is what is Good... it is the basic definition of good. It is a whole different way of viewing the world than from seeing Good versus Evil!
So the question you might ask (I did anyway, in my head)... is "Why did God forbid them to eat of the Tree of Life then" (I'm taking this all as a metaphor by the way... with a tree being a way of looking at the world as opposed to a literal tree). In Genisis, God says something like "For if you do, you'll surely die"... refering to eating of the Tree of Life. My theory is now this: That had the first humans realized/adopted the idea that good was a net increase in life, they would have recognized significance beyond their own lives, and the destruction they would cause on the rest of life on Earth... and so would probably die out, trying to preserve the life around them.
However, things have changed in today's age... in that we're capable of increasing the life on Earth, we don't have to destroy, or at least destroy as much, to continue to live... we won't be attacked by other animals and have to kill them in our defense for example. Now is the time to stop following the Tree of the Kowledge of Good and Evil (which some people have already done... existentialists are one group I suppose), but instead turn to the Tree of Life, which we can now adopt without dying. Now is the time to follow the Kingdom of God as a way of life... regardless of what faith you are, or any, it is to recognize the significance of life itself, and to grow across the universe, living with respect in creation.
I must go, I'll see you all later!
|Monday, April 17th, 2006|
|The Nature of Consciousness
Hello to you all! Welcome to My Webl. Today we will return once more to that problem that has haunted me before... consciousness and free will.
But first, a word from our sponsors! Ok, that's not true... I have no sponsors. It is only this urge that I have that compels me to share my thoughts. Forgive me if I'm not wholly coherent, I've been up for quite awhile, and had a very busy past couple of days... Anyway, without further ado, here's what struck me, a week or so ago, about consciousness:
That consciousness required free will, which required choices, has seemed to make sense to me for quite some time... if you browse through the history of this journal, you will find a few entries that deal with the problem of consciousness, and what I called the free will paradox. A natural expansion of this idea has people as probability manipulators... that at a small enough level, we have to be able to slant probabilities, otherwises our choices are nothing more than random chance, or predetermined. I was recently thinking of something I thought about in high school... how probability manipulation was possible, and suddenly realized a few things about consciousness. So, for those of you who aren't aware of it, let's start with the following example:
Take 3 identical plastic cups, but a ball under one cup, and mix them up so you have no idea which cup the ball is under. Now, if you select one cup, but don't look under it, your chances of finding the ball under it are one in three. Someone then looks under the two remaining cups, and removes a cup that the ball is definitely not under, so now there are only two cups. Some people might think that the chance the cup you originally chose has the ball under it is 50%, but it is not, it is still 1/3. If you switch your answer to the other remaining cup, there is a 2/3 chance the ball is under it... because that cup represents both itself and the cup that was removed, so in essence, you're choosing 2 of the original cups. If you don't believe me on this, look it up... it is a fairly well known probability problem.
So I thought about this in high school, and realized that someone could then pretend that they didn't see the first part of the cup problem, that they just had two cups... and so could make it a 50-50 chance by picking one randomly... or they could remember what they saw, and make it a 2/3 chance they'd pick the cup with the ball. Recently, it hit me... this is how people make choices in the first place! They have access to much information, that if they kept it all in mind, they could weigh everything, and make a decision based on that... alternatively, they can intentionally forget information, slanting the probability (or their desire) to take a certain action in a certain way! For example, you can suppress the information that junk food is bad for you, thus increasing relatively speaking the balance in eating junk food's favour. I now believe this is the process that conscious entities use to make choices!
So consciousness is awareness... but it is by intentionally ignoring information that we manipulate ourselves in to doing certain actions, it is this mechanism in which free will is possible. But what if someone attained total awareness, if such a thing were possible? They would no longer have free will; in a way they would be bound by what they know. That doesn't mean they'd be unhappy, but they'd be able to see the best path (if one exists), and to take it. Thus, free will is a result of consciousness, but not necessary for consciousness... if one is able to and chooses to remain fully aware, or have a fully awakened consciousness.
However, I thought a bit more, and realized that there was still a way to have a higher consciousness than a fully aware entity. Instead of intentionally forgetting, there is intentionally creating. Perhaps some will argue that true creation is not possible. However, I believe a higher consciousness than being fully aware would not necessarily have to go down one path... they could create their own. Thus, consciousness has various levels... in the first stage of consciousness, this is determined by how much you are aware of... pretty much everything. The epitome of this is being aware of everything, and always walking the "best" path. Perhaps impossible, but it is there in concept. A higher consciousness is still aware of everything, but can also add to that everything, creating something new. People can probably be partially aware, and still create... I haven't thought through all the details, but there it is, my current picture of consciousness, what it is and how it works.
Again, I apologize for the rambling, repetition and lack of clarity this entry may exhbit... I think I should go to bed. May those who are sick be healed; good night to you all. Remember, comments of any kind are not only tolerated... they're encouraged!
Daniel Allen Nadolny
|Sunday, March 26th, 2006|
|With Great Power...
Comes great responsibility. Welcome to the latest edition of My Webl! I'll try not to bore you all, or make any of you angry... but if it happens, let your indulgence set me free!
While I think power and responsibility should go hand in hand, there are times when they do not. This is also true for age and wisdom - sometimes you may pass through time without picking up much wisdom, and sometimes a single year can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life. This past year I have experienced much, and thought more; I've faced the darkness, and found my way again... I've even learned a little latin! While I've thought much on a number of topics this year, my frequent readers will already know some of the results of those thoughts... so I'd rather put here something that's been brought home to me more recently:
Do not give up, even when you fail and face setbacks. This seems quite evident and obvious, but there was a time, late last year, when I had done just that. I felt, despite me not intending to and still trying to do what was right, I had betrayed myself. My previous post explains my true feelings much better... in that while I may disagree with a position, I still feel there is merit in it that is being overlooked. I have posted ideas on this journal that I have not fully thought through, and I appreciate the criticisms and comments on them... but I do not feel they are worthless, nor do I feel they are completely wrong.
Regardless of how silly this sounds, I felt I had sullied my own name and betrayed myself on this journal by implying that I actively disagreed with what I was saying - maybe this is very confusing, ask me for clarification before assuming - but because of that, I felt I could no longer feel the same way, where all of me was moving in the same direction. This is akin to someone on a diet, who slips up, and because of that decides their diet is ruined and so completely ignores it. It is ok to slip up in almost anything, as long as you have the courage and understanding to forgive yourself and keep on going.
Well, this seems like a rather somber post to start off my new year of living! I had a great birthday, thank you to everyone who wished/thought of me or was able to celebrate with me ;) Gift highlights include: Dolphin thing from Phil, Evita DVD of the play from Phil and Crystal, two great chess books from Donny, and a book on World Religions from my parents(and a wooden cork thing to reseal wine bottles)! I'm really starting to get in to chess more and more... It's even better than Risk! At least in some ways!
My life seems to go in cycles... with depression most likely in the fall, and winter/spring bringing growth and expansion. I guess that makes sense, considering the seasons, but it's always linked to other events in my life, so it's hard to know. I know I have a tendency toward the longer side of posts, so I'll try to wrap this up now... It's good to be back on LJ!
One thing I want to let you all know about: I'm climbing the CN Tower (stairs) on April 29th! Always wanted to be up the CN Tower, it's great exercise AND I'm raising money for the World Wildlife Fund! If any of you want to sponsor me, just visit here and it'll take you to my page... http://wwfcentral.ca/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?&pid=233&srcid=232&frsid=1461
Every bit helps, even if you just want to donate a dollar or two! Otherwise, wish me luck... I'll definitely have to get in good shape now. There's much else I'd like to write about, but that should be enough for one entry. Good luck to all of you in all you do!
|Monday, February 27th, 2006|
|A Stitch in Time
Hello, and welcome! Welcome to... My Webl. Please, have a cup of cocoa (courtesy of Mai Lan... ok, ok, I already drank it... but it's the thought that counts, right?) and relax by the fire (generously supplied by an imagination near you, if yours is broken :D).
I know, it has been quite a while since I've written. Now, I'm sure you've all been starved for my writing, either that or quite sick of me ranting on. Either way, feel free to skip over my entry, or read it... I merely provide a choice.
Perhaps some of you haven't noticed, but there's a secret about me that I'll let you in on... I like to debate. I love to talk about ideas, to have conflicting ideas, show somebody a new way of looking at something and even... *gasp* yes, even look at something differently myself. Just in case I've failed to mark this journal clearly before, let it be known from now for all time that My Webl is always open to ideas. If they contradict what I say here, great, I'd love to debate them with you... if they agree with what I say, thank you for the support... if they are completely random, it fits in perfectly with how I seem to appear to people sometimes, so by all means, share :)
On that vein, I'd also like to clarify something else. I will sometimes support a position with which I disagree. Foolish some say, and perhaps they are right... but please, hear me out. Even though I may disagree with the position, I still feel there is merit in it that is being overlooked. I don't think I have ever defended a position for which I thought there was no merit, unless I am clearly joking (for example, Sally and my debate about which colour is better, blue or green). It is also easy for me to get caught up in a debate, so that I, to an untrained observer, may appear to be fully behind a position with which I disagree. This is not intentional deception, perhaps I have a genetic vulnerability to arguing.
Thank you everyone, I just thought I'd make sure that was clear from here on in :)
Now a personal interlude: Mental note to myself... er, make that a livejournal note to myself. If I ever find myself seriously depressed, that life is no longer worth it for me, or a general pointlessness, remember to spend time with friends! This past year, during the break between this term and the last, I was considerably stabilized and cheered by spending time with many old high school friends. To all of you, though you may never read this... thank you. This personal interlude was brought to you by the letters D, A and N... my initials :D
Where were we? Ah yes! Perhaps there may come a time in my life where I feel as I did this past summer once again. I am both hopeful and scared of that time, should it come. In case... my mind fails and I lose everything, I think I'll copy a few important ideas here, so they will not be lost:
1) People must learn to look at the logical consequences of their actions, and plan ahead. Harming the future is, in some ways, equivalent to harming the present. A stitch in time saves nine.
2) People must learn to look at how their actions affect others. The key is understanding yourself as one of many, rather than the most important one. Try to look from an objective standpoint, if such a standpoint exists... having someone else be happy instead of you is just as acceptable in an objective standpoint. Having someone live instead of you being happy is even better.
3) A universe with consciousness in it has good, a universe without does not. This principle is the basis for objective definitions of what is good.
4) People's actions are always based on the positives. A killer kills either to protect others, themself, or even just for pleasure. The worst of humanity is based on positive urges. At worst these are selfish, next are selfless, the best is recognizing yourself as part of everything.
5) The positives are increases, either in an individual or in the interconnectivity. A prime example of interconnectivity is love. A few good examples of increases in individuals are strength, intelligence, etc.
6) Having a spiritual side to your life is good. Even if something isn't true in reality, mere belief itself can help. Not that we have a firm grasp on reality in the first place ;)
7) Many people can't see how God who is benevolent can allow terrible things to happen in the world. I think that they are not even trying to think like an omnipotent being. Imagine that consciousness is something special. Imagine also that it requires free will. People are hardwired to have pleasure at increases, but are still capable of choices. Let's assume God wanted there to be consciousness. Therefore, there must be choices. For humanity to truly develop its consciousness, perhaps it is necessary for us not to constantly being proved that there is a God. So, now you have a picture: Consciousness is good, choices must be necessary, and for God to directly intervene may be counter-productive to the development of consciousness. So what, as an omniscient omnipotent God would you do? I propose this: Every single choice possible ultimately leads to a good result, at least potentially. I think that all people who die connect with God in a way, but that can't really be proved, so let's stay out of that realm. Try taking a look at history, or your own life. At every single event, you have the potential to learn something, even when bad things happen. All of human history can teach future humanity, and we get closer to understanding... the world, the universe, ourselves.
Maybe this is all complete rambling, it's nearly 4 in the morning and I should go to sleep, but I just wanted to get these thoughts down, just in case. For those of you who don't read this, may you be happy... and for those who do read it, may you be thoughtful. At least, that's my hope... and what would life be without hope? Goodnight to all of you.
P.S. I highly recommend watching I, Robot. It's one of the best spiritual movies I've seen, and I think it highlights some of the ideas I put forward here... anyway, great movie :)
|Monday, January 2nd, 2006|
|Happy New Year!
Hello, and welcome to the first 2006 edition of: My Webl! I trust you all had an excellent New Year's Eve... I know I did!
Here's some of what I've been up to for the past few days. It feels so good to have a social life again! I can't wait till school starts again though, this time I'll be sure to continue with a social life... and studying of course ;) This is going to be a long entry, feel free to skip ahead... each section up until the double space is a day. So, without further ado, let us take a glimpse in to the nearly forgotten history of... this past week!
Boxing day was very traditional for my family, in that we went over to my aunt Joanne and uncle Don's house for a second celebration! Unfortunately, my cousin Cheryl's kids still seem to be pretty shy... definitely not how Jess and Jake were at their age! But at least they seem to get along really well, for the most part ;)
On the 27th I got to hang out with Jayson and Janet for some of the afternoon, though a good deal shorter than I'd originally hoped/anticipated. As I was leaving to head to shoppers world... the van didn't start! At all! With some help from Donny we managed to get it going... if anybody wants to donate a vehicle to me, it would be appreciated ;) Well, actually, I'd rather walk most places... or take buses, or carpool. Much more environmentally friendly! It was great talking to Janet and Jayson, particularly since I hadn't gotten to have a good conversation with Jayson in ages! He seems to be doing quite well, I hope I'll run in to him more this coming term! Later that night was Phil's birthday, so I show up promptly at 6 at St Hubert's... only to discover that he made the reservations for 6:30. *shakes fist at Phil* Fortunately Bob (one of Phil's friends) was there (since 5:30!) so I had company. Later that night after playing chauffeur, I managed to come in to second place in Poker, winning back my initial $10, as well as $20 more :D So then a few of us went back to Phil's, where I finally met Kittylicious (his cat). Then I drove Bob home as Sally, Phill, and a few others headed out again. All in all, a pretty good day!
The next day was my day off from socializing... so my dad took Donny and I to Future Shop, so we could spend all the gift certificates to future shop we got. I was going to get a gig flash memory stick (they had a great deal on), but were sold out... so I got a 512 MB one :D It's been around my neck every day since then... I've thought it was a really cool idea for ages! I also picked up a new game, Fable... looking forward to trying it out when I get back to Rez!
On the 29th I was invited out to Demetres, since I was a Demetres virgin... their desserts are amazing! Really expensive though! I had a Fudgment Day, in part thanks to Odie's helping me know what type of items she'd recommend. Odie, Baldeep and Deepa were there (since they all helped realized I'd never been there before), as well as Baldeep's German cheerleader, Jason Yu and none other than Alim!! I hadn't seen him in... years! We're going to open a business :D It was a great time, I'd forgotten Alim is at least as environmentally minded as I am... probably more so! Some people had to leave early, the rest of us saw Fun with Dick and Jane, which was pretty good :)
And now we're on to the 30th! The closer my posts are in time, the longer they get it seems :P This was the day Donny and I went to the Morrison party, so I got to see the old Youth group! It was great catching up with everyone. We also started betting on who would get married first (more or less tie between Monique and Matthew), which is kinda scary... that my friends are getting to be the age where they'd consider stuff like that. Hopefully I'll be safe for a few more years at least :P
Which brings me up to New Year's Eve! I had a party at my place... first one here was Robert, straight (more or less) from Hawaii!! Also in attendence were Jake, Belinda, Angeline, Lina, then much later came Melly, Sally, Anton and Cindy (I'm sorry for calling you the wrong name! And now I probably spelt it wrong too :S), and finally even later came Amanda and eventually Dean! We started off with a poker game... I came in first, Donny was second... but the second game I was out pretty early, we didn't want them to think we were cheating ;) Also saw some of Invader Zim, courtesy of Jake... which is hilarious! And I heard the Doom song, which I finally realized I'd heard in anime club before as part of a music video! Also played some Smash Bros... even had a tournament! Anton was winning... and then lost the final match against a computer!! Anton, how could you! We also had a Risk game, which was great! I got betrayed by Lina near the start, and tried to drown my sorrow at the loss of my troops with the Moosehead Melly brought me! Thank you :D Lina's troops actually ended up winning, though she had to leave early... which left them in Robert's hands (who was the first one wiped out :P Yet ended up winning in a way...).
If any of you actually read all that... I'm flattered, amazed and think you must be really really bored! Go, live life! Have fun! Stop spending your time in front of the computer!! Though, if you insist, you can check out this amusing flash video: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/285267
As for New Year's Resolutions... I'd like to get back in to better shape :P Sart going to the gym... also, I've been starting to consider vegetarianism more and more... So while I'm not going to yet, I think I'll try to have more meat-free meals, and we'll see where to go from there.
Also, I'd encourage all Canadians who read this to vote come the election on January 23rd! However, with that, I'd also like to declare myself a World Citizen. I'm not sure when exactly patriotism left me... I still love Canada, but I will not favour it at the expense of the rest of the world. I guess lately some of the things that have been bothering my mom have helped drill home how much they no longer mean to me... being a proud Canadian.
And with these words I welcome you all to 2006! Only 6 years left till the dawn of the new world, for all those Aztec readers out there ;) May you all grow in wisdom, attain enlightenment, and have an incredible year!
|Sunday, December 25th, 2005|
Yes, it's that most wonderful time of the year come once again! We've got a special treat for all of you today, and we'll be featuring several songs from the Star Wars Christmas Album!
Here's an update as to what's been going on this past little while... I've been reminded of how my entries tend to be a tad on the.... insanely long side, so I'll try to keep this short and sweet :D Just like me... or not :P I was tall once, but I seem to be shrinking these days. Hm, we could do a correlational study to see if height of an individual is related to the height of the entry... but I digress!
Skiing conditions at Blue Mountain were incredible for December! Good thing we went when we did as it's rained since then. Not that many people either, though my dad got to help carry someone's skis down, since they were being taken to the hospital... so my dad's doing well on the Mountain Safety Patrol so far!
I've got to see some old friends, from both Church and Highschool. I hung out with Odie, Baldeep and Deepa at Deepa's suprise birthday party... it was huge, so much family! Everybody seems to be doing pretty well though (especially Baldeep with her German cheerleader!) It really drives in how rarely I get to talk to everyone when I keep getting asked how Crystal is!
Despite Jenna's attempts to thwart Donny and I from going to the youth choir practice (she was actually successful!) we still ended up singing for the early Christmas Eve service at our church... it was fun to sing again! I really miss being in a choir, especially with how Iain runs everything.
Got to see Jess and Jake and uncle Jim (as well as his girlfriend Sarah and her kid Ryan). They're actually old enough to play Risk now :D Though not enough patience to finish a whole game...
Some of the highlights from gifts I got are Shadow of the Giant (by Orson Scott Card), Wicked (the book) and one of those flashlights that you shake in order to recharge the battery! I meant to ask for one, but forgot... some how my parents just knew ;) And! I got a dolphin-shaped bottle opener! So hopefully I'll get to put that to good use this coming term!
And we now have David, Sarah, Eric, uncle John and aunt Diane over... so I'd best be off! This entry was a bit shorter, wasn't it? I tried anyway! Merry Christmas to you all!
|Wednesday, December 21st, 2005|
|Mulus in silva ambulat
I bid you all a most hearty welcome on this fine winter morning! I am once again most honoured to present to you yet another exciting edition of My Webl. So relax, have a glass of eggnog and stay awhile!
Perhaps I should first explain what I am doing up at this ungodly hour of 6 am (though this used to be my regular time to wake up throughout much of highschool.... wake up, take a shower, practice the clarinet... ah, those were the days!). I have, in fact, been up since around 4:30... having been unable to return to sleep upon waking at that time. You see, I went to bed at 11... apparently my body isn't used to getting sleep at a somewhat regular time, so I feel more awake from my 5.5 hours of sleep then days when I've slept nearly twice that long!
So, now that you're all thouroughly bored with this mostly useless knowledge of my sleeping habits, I will now attempt to explain what would possibly compel me to sleep at 11... I'm going skiing today! That's right, my dad, my brother and myself are all heading to Blue Mountain at 7:30 today for some skiing. It's been far too long... but skiing really is just like learning how to ride a bike, you never forget how to fall ;) So... I guess this will have been my 18th year since I've started skiing. The years just fly by, eh?
Speaking of flying by, I know it's such a common thing to say... but Christmas really seems to be sneaking up. It hasn't really felt like Christmas... family is coming over, but not like in the old days. Donny and I don't go tobogganing, or building snow forts and snowmen like the old days. Though we did help decorate the house a bit... and as usual had some fun with the nativity scene ;)
In case people can't tell, the... depression that plagued me for much of first term is gone. Seems I've set up a pattern these past two years, hopefully I don't keep doing the same thing over and over!
In other news, I've finally started learning a bit of latin. It's been much more fun then french, namely because I think I realized how to learn languages better, for me anyway. You see... I'm not that good with explaining the formal rules behind languages, at least not for English. Heh, on the English exam in grade... 10 I think.... I believe I got close to 50% on the grammar section of the exam. It's ok though, I still got just above 90% overall. Instead of focussing on rules, I think with latin I'll just try reading a lot and pick it up that way. Why did I decide to learn Latin you ask? Well, it's something I've wanted to do for... quite some time. Besides, it's as they say... the only good language, is a dead language ;)
Actually, the best book I've found so far for me learning latin is one that belonged to my grandma... called "Latin for Today". I wonder why Latin was removed from common education... By the way, the title of this entry is latin for "The mule walks in the wood". Simple, yet deeply profound, I know.
And now I must be off, I'm being forced off the computer due to my overly eager father wanting to get on the road soon... apparently since I'm up early, our schedule's been bumped up to leave before 7:30 now. So, to end off with what was one of my grandma's favourite sayings, the day is what you make it. I hope you all make yours a great one!
Until we meet again, may your skis never cross and fresh powder coat your hills!