Sunday, November 25, 2012

Get Ready for This, This for Ready Get

Do you remember learning about the true speed you are moving while at rest as a kid? The true speed after Earth's speed is calculated in? If you don't remember it, you're not alone. If you do remember it, what you learned was wrong. Tonight, I went stumbling down a path that led me to a place where philosophy, psychology, physics, and astronomy came together for a little party.  

I don't remember learning how fast we are actually moving through space... I remember reading somewhere when I was young about the Earth's rotation speed, but that's it—or maybe I wasn't curious enough to read more.

As an adult, I have been. It's funny because when my dad was alive, we weren't very close and when he found out I was majoring in psychology and English, he was surprised. He said he would have guessed I would major in astronomy. I never understood that. I wasn't a space guy; I thought the Star Wars movie was cool when it came out, but I only saw it once. I never owned an action figure or anything else related to Star Wars. I saw a few episodes of Star Trek which, like any Western, put me straight to sleep. My dad died a few years back, and I never really thought about his statement until recently, because over the past 10 years, I've taken a fairly strong interest in what's outside of our atmosphere, and it had nothing to do with the power of suggestion or wanting to somehow please a parent.

It started with ghost hunting.

Back in 2000, up in Vermont, I was looking for a hobby because I had just had a back surgery and had to figure out something to do, besides write, that didn't involve too much physical activity. I would stake-out local paranormal hot-spots, investigate hauntings that made people afraid and occasionally train my time-lapsed video camera on houses that had had suicides.

A friend that I met after I formed a little internet group called Paranormal Research America (gone now) ran a popular online magazine called X-Project (I don't know if he's still adding content; it seems to have frozen in time). His name is Davy Russell. I had gone to look at his site, and I noticed a lot of interest around UFOs; probably more, at least on his site, than the interest in ghosts.

Although I had always had some small interest in UFOs, it jumped up a bit around 2000 when I met Davy. He actually attended a ghost hunt with me at Emily's Bridge (he documented that hunt on the internet here; it was also cited in this article which includes a video from Discovery Kids about the bridge's history and legend) and was truly interested in just about anything unexplained. To me, like I expect is the case with many, the most fun unexplained phenomena are ghosts and UFOs. Some take to Bigfoot; others search for vampires or the Chupacabra or sea monsters but I think UFOs and ghosts are still the most popular. In that way, I'm entirely average among those that would like to learn more about the unexplained, but where I leave average behind is the sheer volume of thinking I do—thinking which usually produces nada. Most of it accomplishes nothing, but then there are nights like tonight, when I feel like I've really got something, and whenever I think I have something, I share it, because for whatever reason, I'm interested in the advancement of science and I want to get the next idea into as many thinking brains as possible.

I've believed for as long as I can remember that life is all over the Universe, but now I believe it may even go beyond that. I still ghost hunt for a hobby, mainly in Old House Woods in Mathews, Virginia, which is a popular spot for ghostly sightings, but I've never UFO hunted. My belief is that the chances of seeing one around here, because of the lack of local reports and the likelihood of mistaken identity with the odd weather and many airports and military bases with flying craft, was and is minute.

Regardless of all that, my interest in our Universe took a jump that has not slowed down for me at all. So, tonight, I'm going to write about something that may change your thinking forever. Let's start with what I mentioned in the first paragraph; speed.

You've been taught that our sun just sits there, and we rotate around it. You may have learned since then that the sun is actually moving through space as it rotates around our galaxy, and that instead of a nice, neat, flat-planed rotation, we planets are really chasing our sun around the galaxy. People will argue that we are in a constant state of “falling” toward the sun and that only angular momentum keeps us from falling into it; that is perfectly consistent with what I'm explaining tonight, but even the way they are thinking about it is wrong.

According to our current authorities and standards which are always subject to change, our spin rotation on Earth is around 1k mph, decreasing as you near the poles. Our rotation around the sun is around 67k mph. The sun and the planets chasing it are also flying around the galaxy at a speed of 43k mph. Then we have our idle-speed, I'll call it, which is the speed that we're moving side-to-side or circularly within our movement through the galaxy. It's like kids running in circles in the back of a tractor trailer that is moving down a highway--the sun is shown as traveling a straight line in this video but it's actually doing its own spiral-like thing, because if it was moving in a straight line, it wouldn't “pass through” the galactic plane, unless the sun somehow has a perfect rotation around the galactic center and the galaxy itself is wobbling (though it's probably true that both the galaxy and the sun have their own little imperfect movement routines). So that “idle speed” is a separate speed, just as our spiraling speed around the sun and our spin speed are separate speeds. Moreover, our solar system has a united movement going on, because it can be considered a unit in a cluster of solar systems that, as a cluster, have their own movement within the galaxy, moving varying distances away from and toward the center of the galaxy as forces act upon them, and varying distances away from and toward the galactic plane.

For a pure content analogy, you have a spinning marble, Earth, on a gravitationally-controlled roll inside a Mason jar (the solar system). The Mason jar's controlled flight path is as if it were tumbling in a dryer (solar system cluster). The dryer itself has been rolling around in the back of a fast-rotating cement truck (galaxy).

But we're not done yet.

The galaxy itself is moving through space--the cement truck has been picked up and is being tumbled by a tornado. Moreover, the galaxy's relative speed shows that our galaxy is among a cluster of galaxies moving in the same direction which can be convincingly proven. The proof for that has really only come relatively recently as we figured out how to measure speed using gamma rays from the Big Bang theory. The popular belief is that space is expanding, and it's being forced to expand by the gamma rays, and that as it does, those rays are weakened and become less powerful and, grouped, are called Cosmic Background Radiation. The first part of this problem is that many people believe space is being added, while the theory is only congruent with current space being “stretched.” I could write an entire book around the premise of those last two sentences, which I can't go into more here because I need the ideas for another presentation I'm doing. At any rate, pardon the pun, our galaxy is moving at an unbelievable speed of 1.3 million mph though the Universe. Or so they say.

And right here is where I'm gonna take you on a trip. While I have no proof that somebody has never thought of this, I have seen no proof that anybody has. And you'll soon see why I believe that disproving proof, while irrelevant to this paragraph, is not just backing up in knowledge, but also stepping forward.

Scientists fully stand behind the measurement method used to define our speed through the Universe. While using the center of our galaxy as a reference point to measure our speed around it is fair, the method of using gamma rays and Doppler shifts to measure our galaxy's speed through the Universe is hardly more than a theory, and I can prove it.

The way scientists are measuring the speed of the galaxy right now involves no absolute reference point. They use a “rest frame,” which means, essentially, nothing. I'm going to try to break this down, for the point of this post, to its simplest form. A “rest frame” is nothing more than a cube or sphere or chunk of space--let's use a giant cube of space for this example. Scientists have taken a huge cube of space and are measuring the speeds of various bodies and groups of bodies, relative to each other, inside that cube. The problem is that, because there is no absolute reference point, nobody knows how fast that cube is moving.

Scientists will tell you that there is an absolute method because if you have enough references in motion you can calculate an absolute still point. The equivalent of this thinking is that the scientists could sit in the back of that tractor trailer, with the kids running around in circles or ovals, while the kids spun around and tossed balls up into the air and caught them, repeating, and with closed doors on the back of the trailer, they could tell you the tractor trailer's speed by simply doing some computations from the kids' speeds of rotation and movement and of the balls' speeds of rotation and movement within the trailer. My answer to that is it isn't possible—not with those methods they use (which actually involve “rest frames,” radiation speeds and relative speeds between the two). 

If you have any solid proof that this analogy is inaccurate, please post proof in comments. Until you find that proof, you should believe me, because all I'm doing is proving that some proof has not been proven, and that leaves a big pile of questions that we think have been answered in the unanswered category, which is incredibly misleading by those who call these theories "proof," but it's also enlightening when any of us can pounce on a proof (and I won't even get into what "proof" really is--only that it's relative, like everything else except for relativity, which is absolute). After all, when you force a thinking train to derail by destroying the tracks, it must find another path to follow, which is ultimately going to be one of forward motion, or progress.

That galactic speed computation is the first major problem that I'm presenting, but not the last.

What if they did figure out how fast the cube was moving? It wouldn't matter. Recently, the Hubble Telescope took a photo from a patch of space that appeared to be almost empty, yet detected galaxies for as far as it could see in 11 days or so (this is where time and space get confusing, with some saying that it isn't space limiting our view of the universe, but time because the speed of light is what limits us, and the more days we leave something like the Hubble in a fixed spot, the further we can see). The galaxies it found were not “thinning” as one might expect as the debris from any explosion thins as it moves away from the source—as the strength of those cosmic rays thins as they move away from their source. But the Universe, while expanding, does not appear to be thinning in any direction. Therefore, we can't even conceive of its size unless we just go with the theory that it is infinite. 

To say, as scientists do now that it is exactly 78 billion light years across, is insane. That would be analogous to saying that the scientists in the back of the tractor trailer calculated that they must not be moving at all, since everything looked still except the kids and the balls, and that the only space that existed was the space in the back of the trailer, which they could observe. In other words, what they should be saying is that the currently provable distance is 78 billion light years across, but because we have not measured further than that, we actually have no idea, and if the thinning/spacing/weakening of the presence of matter or waves is any indication, 78 billion light years wouldn't even be one inch in the back of that tractor trailer that they're now calling our fixed Universe, and may be a number that is infinitely small, as is any number compared to infinity.  In order to know anything is 78 billion light years across would require that the measured thing not be changing--these are the same scientists who fully believe the Universe is expanding, and many of those believe it will contract, as well (i.e. Newton, minus 1 point, because there is no proof that everything moving will necessarily come to rest without a force acting upon it--that is a strict limit proven only on our own planet).  While fixed estimates now range from that number to over 90 billion, all they really show is a pattern of enlargement of the size of the Universe.  A little bonus mind bender; how can we know if our measurements in distance are moving slower or faster than the expansion of the Universe?  And, until we do, even if it were fixed in size, how would we ever know?

But wait!  If you call in the next ten minutes, I'll throw in a double-bonus mind bomb.  

We only have five senses—six, some say. How much is out there that we do not know about because of that limit? While theories and beliefs based on those theories abound about multiple Universes, or the “Multi-verse,” we are seeing two more problems with knowing our true speed, and therefore, our concept of time.

If there are multiple Universes, what if they are moving? And if they are moving, what are they moving in relation to? Is it just each other? Is it the unknown, true source? Is the Multi-verse, if it exists, simply another step up in size on the endless ladder we're climbing to try to find a fixed point in space? What is the Multi-verse a part of? And what is that thing a part of? And what is that thing a part of? This could go on infinitely, and if it does, then that means that true space itself is entirely irrelevant to true speed! That also means that our concept of time, while still in perfect relation to our more “local” space, relates to nothing absolute. And that means that we can't possibly know what time is or isn't.  Even using our popular definition of time, we can't know which direction along its scale that we are moving.

It's really very conceivable; do you have proof that we aren't moving backward in time? Do you have proof that we aren't moving forward and backward in time on some cycle—maybe even some cycle that we are stuck in until we figure out how to escape from it? And if we did find that and figured out a way to escape, why would we? The only thing making you believe that we are moving forward in time is your mind calculating changes in what you can sense—that's it. There is no proof that those changes must necessarily occur as they do while moving forward in time, and you would never be aware if we started moving backward in time. Moving backward in time, at least relative to our definitions, would simply be stuff unhappening. Your total knowledge would decrease, medical conditions aside, and the total number of changes and developments would decrease. Things would grow younger and while it's perfectly sane to think, “Wouldn't I notice things growing younger,” it's incorrect; you would not notice things growing younger, because your mind is unlearning as you go. Think about how this might help explain déjà vu (an explanation that nobody has mentioned here, including in reference material)—perhaps some residual learning that failed to unhappen is with you, somehow, as you go backward, through the experience, for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or millionth time. And maybe that is where true growth is happening.

Time may be on an expansion and contraction cycle, and why not? Many now believe that the Universe is as well (because "local" space and time are inextricable).

I think that this impossible concept of which direction in time we're moving is, even with our uncertainty about what time is, in some part, why many believe we can travel forward in time but never backward. The concept of things being undone, meaning things that happened actually unhappening, is not comfortable in our thinking. The belief uses various theories and paradoxes about why backward time travel isn't possible, yet no proof. The underlying belief is that we can move forward through time while, perhaps, gaining no new knowledge until we get there and start observing again, but that we can't have things unhappen. My view is that we need to stop staying comfortable in our thinking and truly let our thinking run free, whether we're talking about our true speed as humans or anything else, which brings me to my only sensible conclusion.

The onus is upon scientists to let go of their egos and stop trying to be right about something that cannot be proven right (and that goes for anybody else, myself included). If they start thinking that way—if all of us start thinking that way—the explosion in the speed of learning for humankind WILL be absolute because we know what “no learning” and “learning” is, and now we have a concept of what “unlearning” is, and that absolute gain in speed will be relatively impressive compared to our speed of learning today.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We Are America.

This election, as somebody said on CNN, is a backlash against a backlash. The raw hatred that typical Obama opponents direct toward him is new; we haven't seen that kind of anger before 2008. The people that "hated" Bush2 tended to almost feel sorry for him. The people that "hated" Clinton just saw him as a dishonest, dishonorable trickster with southern charm in an otherwise deceptive person. You can pick a random 20 other U.S. presidents and see the differing causes, definitions, and depths of "hatred."

If you remove racism (which I'm sure a lot of people toward the right/center-right are tired of being accused of but I hate to see a blindness toward the larger race-favoring tendencies of many from all races), then all you have left is a fear of socialist policies. People who want to leave the country are having trouble finding an acceptable place to go that doesn't have the same policies as his administration has introduced, as one of my friends pointed out (health care systems, free, high quality schooling and college, a commitment to infrastructure, a protection of ecosystems, a will to go into debt to make investments instead of waiting until you have the "cash" and watching the world pass you by in every core area of meaning and strength, equal rights across the board, etc.).

So now if you remove racism and a rational fear that we are sliding into Socialism and toward Communism (neither of which most people can even define), what remains? Why so much hate? It makes you walk backward and figure out what's really going on.

What I do believe is that nobody can force us to be united; we have to decide to be united in any fight, or in any peace. Nobody wants a government controlling them, but nobody wants to welcome social Darwinism either. The even split in this country, as indicated by yet another close election, indicates that we are at a crucial point; we have to welcome new ideas and employ them, while holding on to our belief systems, religions, freedoms, and constitutional guarantees. This is not easy--maybe we should all give ourselves a pat on the back that a real civil war hasn't broken out and that we can discuss, solve, and unite to move forward without losing our history, both good and bad, and without shedding American blood just to define or redefine America's meaning.

What bothers me more than anything are the social screamers against any party who have not educated themselves on where, exactly, their tax dollars go, if they even pay income taxes and how little that even contributes to national spending, how strong their constitution is in protecting them from tyranny, and most of all, when they refuse to learn how to walk a mile in somebody else's shoes. It bothers me that races don't typically share churches on a broad scale even as their religion preaches about tolerance and love--it bothers me that America is driving a very powerful car full of people who are bickering and throwing hot dogs at each other instead of focusing on the road.

What bothers me is when the social screamers rant and rave about immigration when, with the exception of Native Americans and Mexicans in the south, we are all immigrants--we took land to be born. We enslaved people to make us grow. That part is nothing to be proud of, but where we've come since then IS something to be proud of. Equal rights are becoming real and solidified. We have fought worldwide to protect the freedom and basic human rights of others, as we've learned and grown. Minorities have realized that slaves were present in all races and many societies for thousands of years before America was born but that no amount of past behaviors can justify a present or future wrong behavior. And there is nothing wrong with enforcing our immigration laws; we have a system, and people need to go through it--to wait in line like everybody else. Watch a fast-forwarded tape of America's birth and growth in your mind. Imagine, as you do, that you could hear everybody's private thoughts. Warning; doing this will shake your brain around a little bit.

What bothers me is the social screamers who refuse to realize that there is a world outside of America, and that we don't own it. We own America, and that's IT. As the reigning strength among countries worldwide, the responsibility falls upon us to not be bullies--to help at any time that we can--any disaster for any country--any problem for any struggling nation that we're in a position to help with--that falls upon us. It's true--you could just say to Hell with the world and not help anybody and live a prosperous life right here in the United States of America, but no country in the history of the world has remained a world power indefinitely. They have come and gone, some returning to power, and some not. No form of government has proven to be the perfect one--the one that couldn't be beaten. They have risen and fallen like the waves in the ocean. I think of my British friend, Jason, and I wonder what he really thinks about us. It matters to me. My family comes from England and Norway and I wonder what they think of us. I wonder what Africa and Asia really think of us. I wonder what Canadians and Mexicans say behind closed doors about America. Does Europe, as a whole, see us as a threat? Getting too big for our britches? Are China and Russia talking about uniting to conquer us because we have grown so powerful that we honestly scare their people?

What bothers me is how I've heard lots of my fellow citizens say that when it comes to helping other countries, we need to spend that money at home--that people are hurting--yet those same people do not support programs that help hurting Americans.

The truth is that it's just going to have to keep on bothering me, unless I let it go, because people believe what they believe for a million different reasons, self included.

When it all comes crumbling down (which won't be any time soon), all you really have are the people you care about and the people that care about you. Like Reagan, I hate that it takes a real threat to unite this country. Like Obama, I believe that we are not red and blue states but, in fact, the United States. One day, we are going to start spreading out in the universe. These ideas that you are helping to shape and mold right now will travel out with those people. I often wonder if, when that time comes, we would really just be more of a virus than anything; a constant conqueror, we humans. The only thing that can make us better than that--the only thing that can make our outward growth as humankind a force of good--is to help where we can and have the wisdom to know when we can't. As Americans, if you could stand there to see the news when we land on and populate our first planet in a new solar system, what values would you hope those people carried with them? I almost take Mars and the moon for granted now; I know we'll populate those, probably before I die. If America is still so strong, though, when we really start spreading out, do you think our system of existing and governing would be a good one to start life on another planet? If not, which system?

I've voted Republican and Democrat before and seen some very intriguing ideas among Independent and Green parties (sometimes too advanced for us to really grasp, I think), and I am the true definition of an independent voter, because I believe our country has to bob-and-weave to excel and survive, and really, none of us should be so fastened to our ideology or parties that we forget what changes had to occur to make us the undisputed, strongest nation in the world or what beliefs a man or woman in uniform had to hold true to rush an enemy in the face of the ugliest odds. It's in THERE. In that pile of reality and information, after truth is separated from lies--inside you, where that "thing" is that assures you that yes, you would die to defend your country--inside of all that, the true definition of America lies, waiting to be pulled out, dusted off, and shined up, because although it's a growing, changing definition, it is and always will be the child of an idea.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Computers Are Fast and Slow

My friends that know me know that I'm a writer, deep in my heart, but I have never found a way to make a decent income writing (along with 99.8% of all other writers) so I have my other trusty skill; PC (and copier/general electronics) repair.

Years working in IT departments, Tech. Support (actually both of those with Gateway), as an online repair tech., with my own business now for the second time working on PCs--years of hearing people say, "It's too slow, I can't find my files, my mouse is upside down, can you see into my house?, how many CDs can I put into one drive?, I'm a woman and I'm tired of getting ED pop-ups, I'm a man and I clicked on some boobies and now my all I see is flash images pop up in the thousands of cow births; I don't understand: HELP ME!"... years of that led me to this quick little post.

This isn't something you can't Google to learn, but maybe I present things in a more understandable way--you be the judge.  I'm just trying to help.

*NOTE: don't click "yes" on anything you don't understand... don't mindlessly sign up for contests, especially if they require ANY type of software download, and guys, if you are going to get into the porn., all I can do is wish you luck and say that I and others like me are here to resuscitate your pc when it all comes crumbling down...

What makes a PC fast?
Well, what kind of "fast" are you talking about?  You could open Word, then open a modern, resource-hogging PC game, then open the internet and start having video conferences all at once and never notice any difference in PC performance from when you're just writing a note in Notepad.

Are we talking internet speed?  That's signal strength, bandwidth, and transmission/receive methods.  Cable and fiber-optic connections are fast. Then we step down when going to dsl, wi-fi, satellite, or (gulp) dial-up.  But even the fastest connections can be slowed down.  It depends on what programs, apps, or bad stuff on your PC (viruses, malware, spyware, adware, etc.) are using your bandwidth to either update themselves, send themselves, or otherwise intentionally clog up your bandwidth while you try to do the thing that is now moving too slow to make you happy.

I hear from people a lot: "My internet is too slow.  I can't even play Farmville."  When we do a speed test, they are moving at Mach V.  So why?  Well, apps like Farmville and others can be slowed down/stopped by a need for updating your Flash Player for that particular browser (what are you using?  Chrome, IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari?  All are different).  Could be 100 other things causing that, too, which I won't go into (give too much away, and my job is gone).

If you're talking more about fast in general, like closing, opening, and operating within programs, and we manage to rule out all the "bad" stuff (for example, you are up-to-date on anti-everything-bad and you've traced down resource hogging background apps) then we need to look at which operating system you are running, how updated it is or is not, how bloated it is or is not, and, sometimes most importantly, the hardware, which is where we'll start.

Why is mine so slow?
If you've got a 5-year old pc or older, don't expect much out of it unless you bought a very unusual PC (you can still pay $50k bucks for a PC, getting the quantum-jump on latest and greatest).  What limits speed?  Well, I'll be honest with you; really, it's heat.  The closer we try to get "transistors," which really aren't transistors but behave like them, onto a chip, the more one's heat affects the other, because we are, essentially, jamming them together to fit more on; usually, the goal is to increase computing power without increasing size (as a matter of fact, one of the goals is decreasing size which increases heat problems).  But with your system, we can look beyond that because although that is the fundamental source of slow computing, it probably isn't what is causing your hardware-related slow-downs.  Why?  Well, chances are you have 2 or 3 or 4 fans blowing at any given time to keep those cool.

What your problem is, more likely than not, is your processor's speed, the amount of its Level 1 and Level 2 cache (which is faster than RAM but always in a much smaller amount because it is memory that is actually cast directly onto the die of a CPU; precious space, indeed), its bus widths and speeds (consider them the highways in your components that information travels down--an old system may have a two-lane highway with a 35mph limit while in a newer computer, there's an eight-lane interstate with an 80mph speed limit), the speed in the operation of the RAM (random access memory), the efficiency of the CPU chip itself as well as its cooling components (heat sinks, which dissipate heat away from the chip and/or fans which do the same--heat in an actual CPU chip will lock up a computer faster than you can say wiggles), the capacity/speed of your video card or chips (many video "cards" are now on the motherboard in the form of chips rather than being separate cards, which is called "integrated" whenever you're dealing with add-ons like video, sound, or wi-fi), the power output, stability, and temperate/cooling efficiency of your power supply, the tightness of your cable connections and the integrity of the cables themselves (many get brittle or have a pushed-pin from people fiddling with them and putting them on wrong), the health of your hard drive (a dying, overheating, or otherwise failing hard drive will lock you up regularly or just cease to allow you system to function), and it could be a few other things.

Many times, on more modern computers, the problems that I fix to speed up computers are related to software and cleaning.  For software, there is usually a battle I have to take to the viruses, malware, spyware, and adware to pull them up by the roots.  This takes many "re-boots" which is the worst time-killer in computing but necessary for this war.  After I get those out, I have to go remove anything in the background which isn't necessary/desired but that is hogging your resources and get it out of there.  After that, I have to do a full software/hardware clean which I won't go into because, again, I need my job security.

Moral of the story?  If you have an older system, keep it clean and protected and don't expect too much out of it.  If you have a newer one, especially if it's under warranty and there is no cost and the problem is something you can't fix AND the shipping is free (I can fix these sometimes for less than the shipping), send it back.  Get it fixed free or get a new one.  If you don't have warranty coverage or don't want to bother hunting all the paperwork down and make the calls and do the packaging and (...), then bring it to me (local people only; remote people, I can work on yours remotely for a flat $35 IF you have a speedy internet connection).  $45 gets you in and out the door (as of this date) repaired, cleaned, protected, tuned, and happy in 24 hours or less with a 6-month guarantee.  If it requires hardware, we talk.  If it's not worth fixing, I call you and tell you and you pay a small $10 diagnostic fee.  (E-mail me at wutzthedeal at ya plus hoo dot com; hope you get that--have to put it in code language anymore or spammers' sweeping programs aggregate and snag yours, multiplying the amount of spam e-mail you get).

*NOTE: if you have a work PC that is slow, it could be any of the above but it could also be their "monitoring" software, which, very commonly now, is watching and recording every move you make on the internet, or their proprietary "firewall" whether it's software or hardware-based can be a choke point, and finally, the software that you run to do your job is often not designed with allowing a pc to maintain its speed and functionality outside of that software.  It's designed to take as much as it wants (in the way of computing power/usage) to get the job done, and that often leaves loose ends on it which cause the software to be a real resource hog.  A good IT department will know all of this; they'll order software that includes a focus on having a "small footprint," if they are required to use monitoring software, they'll find the least resource-hungry, and they'll have a physical firewall that doesn't limit incoming traffic a noticeable amount as it analyzes who might be a hacker or what might be bad software, etc.

Hope this was worth something to you.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

You Don't Need a Mars and Venus Story

(I'm writing this from a heterosexual POV: for the gays, you'll have to change the he's and she's as necessary and the truths will vary slightly, but this article can help you, too, I believe).

I see couples of all ages shaking their heads.  The man tosses his hands up when he's talking to his friends and says, "I don't get it?!"  The woman does the same, talking to her friends, saying, "He's impossible!"

We are either at a very strange point in an adaptation process as humans, perhaps moving toward asexual alien-types or some greater force had a sick sense of humor to make men and women need each other and then dislike each other, all on the same day.  Sometimes within the same minute.

I'm going to break down two common things that are happening--not the whole answer to the woman/man crisis, but the two biggest ones, in my opinion.

1.  Testosterone

Guys have it.  We have it in high levels, too, depending on age, and women have it in lower levels with few exceptions.  Our man-nature tells us (and most of us have no effing clue that this is even what's driving the desires) to go dominate the gene pool with the most fit women--the ones most likely to have healthy babies that allow our genes to spread on.  It's kind of a selfish natural tendency if you think about it.  And both men and women share the desire to find the mate with the highest likelihood of passing on the "good" genes, even though men alone, with few exceptions, carry enough testosterone to want to try out as many partners as possible.  And even as men look for the ideal partners to spread their genes with, they will settle.  Oh, child, listen to me: they will settle on any given night as the chemicals flow.  Settle they will.  ANY genes that involve 50% of their own genes moving on is good; if theirs can move on with good genes, that's great.  If they can toss their seeds into a chance of moving on with great genes, that's nirvana.

As men become older, the testosterone drops, and, in a surprisingly high number of cases, maturity grows.  We men back out, sit down on the park bench instead of running those laps, chasing desirables.  If we have a good lady in our life with whom we have a good relationship--a definition of which will never be the same between two men--we respect her.  But the testosterone remains, clinging with its nails into our veins, hanging on for dear life, forcing our heads toward the 21-year-old girl washing the car even if we couldn't give her anything more than a gasping whisper and a request for an aspirin.  Even if all we can offer her is a ride in our non-tricked-out, half-rusted Gremlin with it's non-thumping AM radio, we'll damned near wreck a car and break our necks to get that glance.

That's nature.  That's not anything else--it's is a very, very strong force in human nature.

For the younger man, it's what he does with that nature that defines his will and constitution; what is he made of?  With nature throwing him around like a baby sock in an industrial dryer (and you're damned right it's that bad), can he avoid a hoot and a holler if he's in a "committed" relationship?  It really comes down to his beliefs.  Does he believe in monogamy?  Men can "justify" tossing a seed out into any garden if they can just think of one thing their girl did wrong--if they can just convince themselves that maybe she has already cheated?  It comes down to his honor, and in a young man, strong honor can be defeated.

I like to believe in older men that strong honor cannot be defeated, usually.  Mine can't.  You can find whoever you think is the prettiest girl in the world, put her in front of me with a bikini on and have her tell me to have a blast, and I'll walk away.  Now, a man who has never had such an opportunity will have his honor challenged.  At that point, for him, it's not just the waning-but-ever-present testosterone at work--it's not just his honed honor and the knowledge that he has a good woman in his life in a committed relationship--it's curiosity jumping into the now complex mix.  Maybe he's never been that close to a "perfect" body, set aside for a few nights out in which he came home with very few dollar bills left.  "Is it that good?" he may ask himself.  "Should I throw away my good relationship [at this point in his life, he knows she'll find out--he's no longer naive enough to think it can stay hidden] to get just one evening with this elusive type of lady with a "perfect" body that millions of women around the world long to have?  That millions of women have surgeries to try to get, because they know that the results equal flat-out power?  Is it worth it?"

Women may find themselves challenged nearly as much as men, though rarely to the same degree, and they may succumb for different reasons.  As nature was tossing us baby socks around in her industrial-sized dryers, it is a different force working on women.  Any of the following can produce the break in honor with women: revenge, lack of attention from her man (or if she doesn't have a man, lack of attention from any man), finding a desirable, an unfulfilled need for shoe-shopping, a surge in testosterone caused by any of 100 different things, often from that biological clock's alarm going off at unpredictable times, or any of 1,000 other complex things.  What, you thought I could fit what might make women cheat into one paragraph?  I couldn't fit the reasoning behind women's ink-pen preferences into one paragraph.  Give a brother a break, man.

 If you cheat (for men or women) it will come out.  It will.  It always does.  Always.  Just know that if you do it, the clock starts ticking for the countdown of the other person knowing.  Good luck with that.

2.  Thing X

It's very complex.  Sometimes it's a growth away from each other in interests.  Or in political or religious beliefs,  Sometimes it's the inability to forgive things that may be said in haste during an argument or a misunderstood word or action.

Ultimately, though, as I try to describe Thing X, which I'd bet you ten cents you thought was going to be about exes, what I'm describing is a failure on one or both members of the couple to identify, understand, and respect what is important to the other person.  Please, trust me on this, and I believe it so deeply and care enough about my fellow humans that I need to repeat it: you have to identify, understand, and respect what your other half finds important if you want your relationship to succeed.

Women, your men may love a sport, or cars, or collecting coins.  If you want to do your half, you have to first identify (not hard; just observe and learn) what they are interested in outside of yourself, then understand it.  That means read a little about it.  Go on the internet and you'll probably find that your man's interest isn't so uncommon.  You'll probably find that very normal people have the same fascination with his interest(s) as he does.  So, learn a bit about it.  Find out what the attraction is.  If he's a car nut, find out why he loves the car that he loves so much (the one he talks about buying when he gets rich).  Be able to hold a 5-minute conversation with him about it.  Do not act.  Men aren't as stupid as you think we are--we'll pick up on it in half a second.  We've had to act from the age of 13 on.

Now that you have identified it and learned a bit about it and, HELL, maybe even had a conversation with him about it, respect it.  Respect that he has an interest.  Respect that HE respects it, and if you mock, ignore, or otherwise marginalize the importance of that interest to him, it will hurt him.  Literally.  It will punch him in the heart, it will invigorate the fuck-you part of his ego, and it'll be the beginning of a lot of silence that wasn't necessary.  His thoughts from then until (when?) will be, "Bitch," or, "She just doesn't get it," or, "I sit there and listen to her talk about fucking Tupperware for twenty minutes and she can't listen to me explain a car I saw at a show for 30 seconds?"  This is where it starts, couples.  This is where silent couples are born from.  It can alllllllll be traced back to this.

Men, all of the above goes for you, too.  Don't act; women always know. And for us, since our mind works a bit differently, we may have to actually burn some brain power to discover what she finds interesting.  But we're pretty good at researching/learning about it once we find out and we'll do that if we care about her.  As for showing respect, same as above; you never belittle her, her interests, or her beliefs.  Her interest is just as real to her as yours is to you.  You respect that in any person that you hope to remain close to.  If you don't, you're simply saying an early, subtle goodbye.

In closing, you're probably pissed that I didn't produce some one-line answers to solve your relationship problems.  Well, if that's so, I'm about to piss you off some more; there are none.  It's a big, complex ball of emotions, thoughts, and actions.  If you can only take one thought out of this article to remember how to do as much as you possibly can to make your relationship survive, remember to RESPECT while DEMANDING EQUAL RESPECT.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Quick Jab at the Paranormal: Am I onto Something?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know shit about shit.  Yeah, I get half to three-quarters of your standard Jeopardy  questions right but that's man-made whatever.  I'm talking about in the unknown.  I'm talking about in parapsychology and religion and philosophy and psychology and physics.  If you read the first sentence in this paragraph, you'll never believe the one that follows this semicolon; I love where I am in my education.

Socrates said (I may be paraphrasing; depends on your source): "One thing only that I know, and that is that I know nothing."  Well, smack me with a house slipper and call me Jilly McWilly.  I knew it all when I was seventeen--even more when I got into college.  Yet, to be as wise as Socrates, I had to go down a path of open-mindedness like I had never imagined.  I had to let go of almost everything I believed if I wanted a chance at uncovering truths.  That shit is flat-out hard, leaning toward the impossible!  Ever made a 5 or 10-year run at deprogramming yourself? Good Gawd, man.

But I did it.  I think like I believe Socrates thought way back then, and that makes me incredibly happy with my way of thinking.  Hell, I think if Socrates were an American today, we'd be nearly identical in our philosophies and beliefs.  I get him.  I get his openness and his old faithful fallback; pure logic.  Once you close your mind on a subject, your learning of alternatives is over until you de-program yourself or somebody (or something) does it for you.  While I have searched the internet from end-to-end to find a quote that I thought was by Einstein (but since have not been able to find it by anybody,  but I know I read it and I know it was from a more famous historical figure, and I used it, paraphrasing, in my book, Name of Alt), I could not find it.  It went something like this:

"To have true intelligence, you must look at the information available in the world as you would look at traffic at a crossroads.  Let your mind be the crossroads.  At one point, it knows a car is in the center--at another, it is gone.  Be willing to strike down old beliefs if newer, better, more believable evidence emerges in a given category.  Let information go so information can flow.  The most intelligent in the world have a mere "working truth" in their mind; a current observation built from all the information that has passed before them combined with all of their thoughts about that information and mixtures of that information AND their imagination; look at knowledge as you would look at flowing water under a microscope.  Always be in a state of believing in "working truths," truths that you will certainly allow yourself to strike down in the face of more convincing evidence."

Truth be told, I elongated that like a balloon clown, but I needed to get my philosophy across.  We don't need to go into the "world is flat" argument, or the "Copernicus" argument, or anything else that was believed worldwide but dis-proven; just understand that I am an open tunnel through which information passes, and I grab onto what is believable, and honestly, I do wish everybody was that way instead of being so rigid in what their parents and teachers "taught" them 30 years ago.  But I accept them and entertain their thoughts; always have, and I believe I always will.

Now, let's apply some of that to the supernatural (more specifically, ghosts, aliens, telepathy and telekinesis).

For ghosts and UFOs, I believe it's entirely possible that they are very real, that they are very normal, but that they are natural "accidents."  I do not believe in grand design.  I believe in chance design, just short of chaos theory.  If, in fact, some of our scientists are right who come from the platform of quantum mechanics and, among those, the ones that come from the platform of m-theory and string theory, then it is entirely possible that our universe is occasionally bumping into a parallel universe, which shows real things, right before your eyes, that disappear.

I can already hear some arguments; "But the ghost I saw was transparent, and walked through a wall while the UFO I saw was not transparent and simply traveled fast after hovering for a while--for a long while, longer than I've every seen a ghost hang around."

Ok, so your ghosts could be "souls" or "formerly human energy fields that contain all but your conscious" that got trapped between two universes--between the two flapping sheets.  Therefore, they truly are nothing more than small energy fields with some type of manifestation powers.  UFOs on the other hand (let's discount the hoaxes and man-made ones and get serious here; we're talking about the unexplained ones) may have actually started within that parallel universe and find themselves surprisingly in ours (or us in theirs), not knowing what to do or how to get back after an unexpected "bump."  The scientists like to explain these "branes," (short for "membranes") as bed sheets flowing in the wind, only a slight distance apart, and they occasionally "bump," placing something from one universe into another for a period of time, until it separates again.  Essentially, the difference between UFOs and spirits could be where they originate from and what form they are in; energy fields or physical structures/beings.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of a global consciousness and connected thoughts for telepathy.  Even though they have successfully, in a lab environment, proven that telepathy works with one person transmitting thoughts to another, we still don't understand the natural (a.k.a. before 2012) mechanisms at work.  It's so easy to say, "EMF.  Yep, EMF.  That's EMF."  To me, that's like the scientists saying "The universe is 70% Dark energy, and 25% Dark matter" with only 5% being known substance," which they have said.  To me, that's the perfect equivalent in logic as saying about our very complex oceans, "The Oceans are 95% water, and they're wet (and what a humble scientist should admit is that, "That's all we know right now," but instead, they act like they figured something out; please.  Ego, go home.

Telekinesis has very few scientific examples supporting its existence, yet you'll see somebody try it sometimes and it's very convincing.  Tossing out cheats, what's going on?  I believe that the human brain could have 30, 100, 6000 senses, and we've only discovered and employed 5 (and part of the sixth) now.  We are really dumb, and the sooner we accept that as a species, the sooner we'll make massive gains in education (yes, I get it; we put a man on the moon, but I'm talking about dumb as in comparing our knowledge to what is unknown, not what we have done compared to primitive man).

So, it could be that those people have been early out of the gates on developing their sixth sense which may include powers of telekinesis, or that some other natural force happens, occasionally, while they attempt these experiments and just ONE out of a THOUSAND works, and they convince themselves that therein lies the proof; they are full-blooded telekinetics.  They believe that they only need to hone their skills.  And it may be total bs.  It may cause them to waste the rest of their lives trying to bend forks with their minds when really, it was a moving portion of earth's magnetic field, or something else, that worked that one time for them.

So out of all this, what is real?  What is really real is observable, record-able, and repeatable phenomena.  With those three combined, you've got something.  With those data, you can begin to open up a study that has merit to it; a solid, empirical foundation.  This is where you can draw your very intelligent scientists in and have them start working on it to figure it out.  In my mind, that's where I am right now.  I want to give them something, whether (as I'm confused about) it is proof that something exists or just enough to convince them that these phenomena MUST be studied more closely with more manpower/brainpower/computerpower.  Stop blowing it off!  It's happening!!!  Let's give it the study it deserves.

Do your Google searches for famous NASA astronauts, pilots, heads of state, and other very respectable witnesses who have seen both ghosts and UFOs AND aliens WHILE in groups who describe the same sightings.  IT.  IS.  REAL.  Give it the study time it deserves.  Re-open the parapsychology deparments at your major Universities; call it "PScience," if you want to keep it modernized and shake the ridicule that is/used to be associated with the narrow-minded "Oh, you believe in little green men" people who are just dumb, in my opinion, or terrified that their comfortable and protected little world may, once again, be disrupted.  All I'm asking for, all we're asking for, is give us ten years of good, wide-spread study without the backdrop of ridicule to try to explore empirical evidence from uncertain phenomena--within that time, I'd bet you a Buffalo nickel that most of what we now call "paranormal" becomes "normal."

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stuff you probably didn't know about my books: Addy's Boom and the Blast Frontier's tidal wave

One of the most difficult parts of this book on the research end was figuring out what would happen to Lauren when the wave hit her store, if the store stood. 

I had to view about 15 YouTube videos and read 8 or 10 reports on water flow into an enclosed area when the water level was actually above a non-water-tight roof on that enclosed area.  Then I had to figure out what the chances were that the actual buildings on Main street would have provided her some impact protection (vs. becoming water-propelled missiles) as the debris crossed Church street (for those that didn't know, those streets and buildings are all real, as is "Richard's Classic," which is actually called Richardson's.)

Then I had to figure out the average speed of a tidal wave, and the average (by percentage) level of water trailing a tall-crested tidal wave to make sure it would not be below the door entrance to her store; otherwise, the store would have easily filled up with water, leaving no gap for her to breathe.

I then had to estimate how much water would have leaked in from the roof to add to the level of water already in the store, and how high that would rise before the crest passed.  Lucky for Lauren, theoretically, she still had a foot of air space to breathe, locked at the top of the store, until the wave receded. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

THINK HARDER! (I'm not getting political this season, but shit like this infurates me when it's thrown in my face as fact).

The following "story" is one that democrat-haters are passing around.  I'm about the beat the hell out of this story and if you care about accuracy in folklore, pass this back to the originators of this myth.  

The following is the myth, in it's entirety as posted by a good friend of mine (with different political views).  After posting the myth, I will then post it again, in it's shredded form after I beat the living shit out of it with my logic stick.  You won't recognize what the original author intended when I'm done, but you will see the truth.  It's after midnight, so forgive any grammar mistakes, or trivial percentage flaws... or don't.  I don't care.

First, the myth, as posted by this friend (in red):

Remember when those Dems start spewing false facts about taxes, this is how it works.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier ......


Next, the same myth posted with my comments in green (may appear black depending on your video settings): 


Remember when those Dems start spewing false facts about taxes, this is how it works. (Erm, no.)

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The analogy is insane off of the starting block.  First, these men buying  beer are voluntarily going out, purchasing (or drinking free) a specific product that they want, and then using this strange, non-linear tax-code formula to pay for said goods.  WTF?  With tax collection, you are paying non-voluntarily for a non-specific product (or service) that you can't possibly know if you want!  It is not apples and oranges, it's apples and goddam orangutans.

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.  (Is that right?  Go out to a bar with a group of guys with varying incomes, and when you're done drinking, say, "I'm not paying anything" and see what happens.  See if that rich man will cover you.  Let us know how that works out).
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.

Whoa, Nellie.  Since the Bush Tax Cuts, the period-adjusted millionaires are paying their lowest tax rates since 1945, when they paid 66.4%; now they pay 32.4%!  So in the above analogy, the tenth man would be paying more like $45, then scale it down from there.  But let's leave it intact and continue because I don't need help destroying this ridiculous analogy.


The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.


Stop this little merry-go-round right here as the original storyteller is trying to make you dizzy.  Equivalent of the above "curve"=federal, state, or local government stating, "We're now reducing your taxes by some percentage, requiring your commitment to go down to as low as $0.  For those already paying $0, you will see no change.  For those who currently pay a lower amount than the actual amount of the discount, your new payment will be $0.  For those paying a higher amount than the amount of the actual discount, you will see a discount (using this storyteller's analogy) of larger amounts based on your larger expenditures; this will be on a sliding scale." 


None of this includes any state, federal, or local taxes that people are paying, poor and rich alike, for commercial products and services.  The four poor men that walk out of the bar drunk just SO HAPPEN to be the most likely to be arrested for drunk in public and other illegalities, imagined or otherwise, discovered during the investigations, statistically (don't play dumb here--get your Google on) and will pay fines, which will go directly into a local tax fund--a fund the six richest men haven't dropped a penny into.  They may have to serve jail time, immediately lowering their chances of finding well-paying jobs in the future.  They didn't have the "connections" like many of the wealthier folks do to get out of such tickets/infractions/trouble.  (Don't make me cite sources; just Google, "Rich people getting away with crimes"). 


Moreover, our government(s) have tax brackets that people clearly fit into based on their incomes.  If you want to shove that square peg into this round-hole analogy, you must first determine the actual income of each person, then apply the cost in taxes as a percentage, then give each man a discount based upon what his cost in taxes, as a percentage, is, as a result of his income bracket.  


The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected.  They would still drink for free.  Got one thing right.  Again, I ask any "poor" person to go out and try to drink for free and see how that works out for ya.  Makes the analogy a bit moot, but let's entertain it all the way through. 


But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'  Well, I thought you would never ask.  As referenced above, the new $20 windfall would automatically negate the four men who paid nothing, leaving only the six to divide it amongst.  Using their standard tax bracket percentages paid, and then deriving from that the differences paid between each of the men, by percentage, then those percentages would then be applied to the $20, giving each man his legal share of the discount.

Now, let's get jiggy with it.  Who was paying what, in the beginning?

First four men: 0%, 5th man: 1%, 6th man: 3%, 7th man: 7%, 8th man: 12%, 9th man: 18%, and the 10th man: 59%.  (keep in mind that to correlate the difference in percentages of taxes paid between the 9th man and that horribly abused 10th man whose rate jumps up to 59%, that would require his income to put him in a bracket of paying 59%, while the richest people in America are only paying 32.4%.


It's this effing simple, people; if the men want to keep on paying based on that formula, which the original storyteller said they wanted to do, the new $20 windfall brings the following truths: 100-20=80.  The bill is now $80.  That makes the men pay the following: 5th man pays 1% of $80, or $0.80.  6th man pays 3% of $80, or $2.40.  7th man pays 7% of $80, or $5.60.  8th man pays 12% of $80, or $9.60.  9th man pays 18% of the $80, or $14.40, and the 10th man pays 59% of the $80, or $47.20.  I will call this paragraph the "True Math" paragraph, because I will be referring to it again. 


 They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

Wait a minute: the bartender (being a government authority for this analogy, correct?) suggested (no... enforced?  yes) that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by (get this) roughly the same amount (can you possibly get any more vague as to how this bartender reached the amounts below?)  So he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay (or, in more accurate terms, WOULD pay, unless they wanted to go to jail).

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings). (A product of the ambiguity of the mind of the bartender, this $1 savings, as are all the savings that follow in the next four lines.)
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. (True).  And the first four continued to drink for free.  (True again)  But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!" Stop.  Wrong again.  These men "got" NO dollars.  They got discounts!  They received a lesser burden through an authority bringing a discount upon them.  These men had NO complaint as they used a firm mathematical formula to pay the amounts early on in the story.  And even though these totally arbitrary discount applications the bartender gave to each man were not the exact same as the formula used before, they were relatively close.  No dollars were given out!  Only discounts on money that was guaranteed to be collected were given out.  

So this sixth man, who, before, had NO problem with the charge for beer being on a sliding scale based on income--who had NO problem with the fact that those richer than him paid more, while those poorer than him paid less, is now LIVID because a larger dollar discount but lower percentage discount was given to the wealthier men!  Even as he, the sixth man, was paying less that he had been?  Work with me here; he had NO problem with the richer men paying more of an amount, but a SERIOUS problem with them getting a summarily larger discount for what they were bringing to the table, even though the percentage discount still fit exactly within the framework they had ALL agreed was an acceptable one.  Matter of fact, the only thing that was changing was who was getting more of a break.

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"  And the bitching goes uphill...

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!" Rinse and repeat...

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" First of all, the poor have never believed that they were being robbed by taxes; they have believed that they were being exploited as cheap labor, and as maltreatment and politics and racism and sexism and all of the other isms kept them from climbing to a respectable level of success, they stayed quiet, and nothing changed, and one day they are walking home from work or leaving a doctor's office after having their severe disability treated and somebody yells, "You are the scum of America!"  THAT'S the exploitation happening to the poor, of both sexes and all races, but especially among minorities.    This pucktarded bar analogy saying that the poor were mad because they were already paying $0 for drinks and now they can't get paid cash for drinking the drinks because a $20 discount falls upon the group is preposterous!

By letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire, there would be about 4% increase in the tax on the richest 2% of Americans. 4%.  Check out a nice conglomerate of charts for understanding what's really happening here:

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.  Honestly?  They beat him up.  In your analogy, this beating meant that they demanded that since he made more money, he should not be given unfair tax breaks on investment income or other income taxes.  Republicans and those on the far right believe that if we can just keep this rich man happy, he'll buy so much beer that all the others will have all the beer in the world that they can possible drink.  How fragile an argument that is.  Compare it with reality.  


That rich man, first of all, isn't buying anybody shit, especially the poor unless he's forced to.  Secondly, although he could open businesses directly or with investments that would employ people, which would, theoretically open up an entire complex of businesses to support that business, anybody can (and does) do that with loans from the government and foreign investors.  So there they all are, making their money and employing people, and it's all a happy world because the little rat people (the poor; just using the wealthy's terminology for us) are getting crumbs that are falling off of the wealthy peoples' tables, but they've forgotten one little factoid; 50% of new businesses fail in their first 5 years.  


So flip a coin; the supporting complex of business supplying the failed business follows suit, and the rats scurry away, looking for crumbs from somewhere else, grabbing some tax dollars for unemployment because the rich don't want to give up one effing red cent that might help the people of this country who can't afford it get an education and spread their own entrepreneurial wings, come up with their own inventions, deliver their own ideas that only an educated mind can produce.  Nooooo no.  Greedy.  Clinging to every penny while our country goes straight to hell.  Long as they got theirs, that's good enough.  Fuck America, they say; I'm rich.


So by asking for the extra 4% in taxes from the rich; for asking for the old tax code to be put back in place which they had no problem with before, we're beating the rich man up?  Oh, my.  Beware, my friends that believe that.  If this gets much worse, you will see what will amount to some real beating-up.  The rich won't give up a penny.  The poor are stuck in a mine shaft.  The government is the only entity with the power to close that gap to keep this "beating-up" from taking on a more literal shape.     

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!  Wrong again.  The 10th man may go somewhere else, but if he still lives in America, he will pay his dues.  If he goes somewhere else permanently, Americans don't want him here anyway.  We are a land of patriots.  We are a land of neighbors.  We will not let an oligarchy run our country.  WE, the people, run our country, and if he doesn't like it, he and his money can get the F out. The nine men left would simply form a new group (in this ridiculous analogy) where the total bill didn't equal $100 and/or find more rich folks to join in and participate.  


That's really what this is about.  


Don't make the rich help out a little more; don't "punish" them, because if they pay a higher tax rate, why, they may have to settle for only 14 beach-front houses instead of 16, and what a travesty that would be.  What a terrible robbery!  Have those rich folks explain that logic to the woman paying the 30-odd percent on income tax while she's working two jobs as a janitor to try to save up enough to go to a community college so she can then earn enough to get her two kids through college which would make THEM more valuable additions to society, further strengthening this country and adding a bunch more "tenth" men.  Go explain about your two less beach-front houses with your 4% tax hike.


And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.    And that, boys and girls and everybody else, is bullshit.  See the truth not as my version or another version; see the truth as it actually is.  Do your research.  Become empowered; otherwise, you're just another servant to the ruling class... and if you get motivated, hey, what the hell; fix it.  


Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier ...... Au revoir... don't let the door hit ya.  The ones left believe in this country, and those are the only ones we want.  Go run your sweatshops and screw your customer base; you have no conscious anyway, so enjoy your new, worry-free life.  When natural disasters hit, we'll still be there to bail you out.  That's who we are.


Monday, July 30, 2012

21 Confessions and Realizations Before Midnight

1.  I fully believe that alien life forms have visited Earth and are not from other dimensions.
2.  For some reason, I get the feeling that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
3.  Part of the reason I love to ride scooters is that I am almost killed once or more per day by people who do not pay enough attention to see me.
4.  Part of what I dislike about scooters is that I almost get killed once or more per day by people who do not pay enough attention to see me.
5.  Unlike many men, I welcome a moderate depletion of testosterone, and say good riddance to the many stupid things it made me do.
6.  The pain of missing my daughter cannot be softened with any medicine.
7.  In the past 50 years, our U.S. has gone from a care-for-thy-neighbor union to I-gotta-get-mine selfishness, but at least race and religious tolerance has grown, per capita.
8.  I now know, without any doubt, that the person you will find that you can truly have a long-term (forever) relationship with is going to be a person who accepts every single thing about you without trying to change it.
9.  If there is a catastrophe for the world, governments will survive while the people die. 
10.  Why can't a new space race be started in which the WHOLE world unites to get human beings to truly begin colonizing other planets/moons?  Would the interest not be universal?  Would we not breathe a sigh of relief for our species once such settlements are established in knowing that humanity will live on?
11.  The way younger people treat their parents and the elderly is saddening.
12.  If it turns out that God is an alien, and he really does want to be worshipped and the only God and praised, I got a feeling that I'm not going to like those aliens.
13.  Something is "off" in the Universe.  I sense it.  I don't know what it is; I almost feel like you would feel if you were being punked and somebody was just about to point out the cameras.  I get a strong sense of awakening that I can't describe... don't know when, if, or how, but I sense it.
14.  We will be at the world's population limit before 2050.  With current farming, we couldn't feed any more than eleven billion.
15.  I don't think cats are necessarily smarter than dogs, but they are much better at hiding guilt than dogs are.
16.  I do not believe there is anything magical or intelligent happening in the Earth's core.
17.  I do not believe that small groups of Illuminati or other "powerful" people are making all of the decisions; decisions are made by the highest bidders in most of the world.
18.  As the bottom continues to fall out of religion, people do lose their basic sense of moral direction and they get depressed with their new realization.  This had begun the process of declining morality, but added an increase in personal responsibility and a new appreciation for the short and delicate nature of life.
19.  Scientists, politicians, and the media have cried wolf so many times now that we will not believe them again until the wolf is dragging us into the forest, and even then, we may believe it's just a weather balloon.
20.  One good piece of living advice is this; picture yourself on your deathbed, all those years from now.  Looking back on your life, what would you have done differently?  Surprise--you have time to make the change now.
21.  If you really want to know what matters to you in life, pay attention to the first 3-5 things you think about upon waking up (besides using the bathroom or morning breath):

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How do you define work and the ability to work?

One thing I've always  been weak on and continue to try to improve upon is keeping things concise.  In my writing, especially, I tend to try to include all types of information into a post that should be, if going by the advice of all of the experts, limited to your topic and support for that topic.

I've been practicing, and I'll do my best tonight, up until the point that it feels unnatural.

How do you define work?  Here's Webster's definition, and it is one I will not argue with:
work: activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result b : the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood c : a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity.
There is a select group of people that tend to define work strictly as follows, to the best of my reckoning: work: when somebody leaves the house everyday for 8-12 hours and makes money for the activities they performed during those hours.

Next we'll define disability:
a : the condition of being disabled b : inability to pursue an occupation because of a physical or mental impairment
Finally, we'll use the CDC's and WebMD's definitions and descriptions to have a look at moderate-to-severe arthritis (which I have in the right knee and spine; both areas have had two surgeries each) and degenerative disc disease, as well as fibromyalgia which my doctor insists that I have but I deny) (also, because there will be my commentary in with quoted commentary from these official websites, I'll highlight my words in yellow, until my summary): 
CDC definition for osteoarthritis in knee and effects, found here:
 Osteoarthritis is a disease characterized by degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint as well as bony overgrowth. The breakdown of these tissues eventually leads to pain and joint stiffness. The joints most commonly affected are the knees, hips, and those in the hands and spine. The specific causes of osteoarthritis are unknown, but are believed to be a result of both mechanical and molecular events in the affected joint. Disease onset is gradual and usually begins after the age of 40. There is currently no cure for OA. Treatment for OA focuses on relieving symptoms and improving function, and can include a combination of patient education, physical therapy, weight control, and use of medications.

VIII. Impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) [AAOS Fact Sheet; NHANES III data]

  • OA of the knee is 1 of 5 leading causes of disability among non-institutionalized adults. (19)
  • About 80% of patients with OA have some degree of movement limitation
    • and 25% cannot perform major activities of daily living (ADL’s), 11% of adults with knee OA need help with personal care and 14% require help with routine needs.
  • About 40% of adults with knee OA reported their health “poor” or “fair”.
  • In 1999, adults with knee OA reported more than 13 days of lost work due to health problems.
  • Hip/knee OA ranked high in disability adjusted life years (DALYs) (20) and years lived with disability (YLDs). (20)

IX. Unique characteristics

  • Disease in weight bearing joints has greater clinical impact.
  • About 20–35% of knee OA and ~50% of hip and hand OA may be genetically determined. (21, 22)
  • Established modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors: (4, 21, 22, 23)
    • Modifiable
      • Excess body mass (especially knee OA).
      • Joint injury (sports, work, trauma).
      • Occupation (due to excessive mechanical stress: hard labor, heavy lifting, knee bending, repetitive motion).
        • Men — Often due work that includes construction/mechanics, agriculture, blue collar laborers, and engineers.
        • Women — Often due work that includes cleaning, construction, agriculture, and small business/retail.
    • Structural malalignment, muscle weakness.
    • Non-modifiable.
      • Gender (women higher risk).
      • Age (increases with age and levels around age 75).
      • Race (some Asian populations have lower risk).
      • Genetic predisposition.
NOTE: Current smoking has been shown to be protective for osteoarthritis although it is unknown if this is due to the physiological effects of smoking on collagen, bone and cartilage tissue or if it is due to some unmeasured surrogate factor.
  • Other possible risk factors:
    • Estrogen deficiency (ERT may reduce risk of knee/hip OA).
    • Osteoporosis (inversely related to OA).
    • Vitamins C, E and D – equivocal reports.
    • C-reactive protein (increased risk with higher levels).

Next, we'll take a look at spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease from WebMD since CDC didn't have adequate descriptions of them (I have been diagnosed with moderate-to-severe arthritis in my spine and degenerative disc disease, along with the mild-to-moderate arthritis in my right knee and the resulting deformation of the knee from injury):

What Is Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a breakdown of the cartilage of the joints and discs in the neck and lower back.
Sometimes, osteoarthritis produces spurs that put pressure on the nerves leaving the spinal column. This can cause weakness and pain in the arms or legs.

Who Gets Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

In general, osteoarthritis happens as people age. Younger people may get it from one of several different causes:
  • injury or trauma to a joint
  • a genetic defect involving cartilage
  • a condition that makes the joint lose its proper formation 
For people younger than 45 years old, osteoarthritis is more common among men. After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common among women. Osteoarthritis occurs more often among people who are overweight. It also occurs more frequently in those who have jobs or hobbies that put repetitive stress on certain joints.

What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

Osteoarthritis of the spine may cause stiffness or pain in the neck or back. It may also cause weakness or numbness in the legs or arms. Usually, the back discomfort is relieved when the person is lying down.
Some people experience little interference with the activities of their lives. Others become more severely disabled.
In addition to the physical effects, a person with osteoarthritis might also experience social and emotional problems. For instance, a person with osteoarthritis that hinders daily activities and job performance might feel depressed or helpless.

Degenerative Disc Disease (WebMD, cont.)

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease but a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region).
See a picture of the spine camera and the discs in your spine camera.
The changes in the discs can result in back or neck pain and/or:
These conditions may put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain and possibly affecting nerve function.

What causes degenerative disc disease?

As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. These age-related changes include:
  • The loss of fluid in your discs. This reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disc thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae.
  • Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.
These changes are more likely to occur in people who smoke cigarettes and those who do heavy physical work (such as repeated heavy lifting). People who are obese are also more likely to have symptoms of degenerative disc disease.
A sudden (acute) injury leading to a herniated disc (such as a fall) may also begin the degeneration process.
As the space between the vertebrae gets smaller, there is less padding between them, and the spine becomes less stable. The body reacts to this by constructing bony growths called bone spurs (osteophytes). Bone spurs can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord, resulting in pain and affecting nerve function.

What are the symptoms?

Degenerative disc disease may result in back or neck pain, but this varies from person to person. Many people have no pain, while others with the same amount of disc damage have severe pain that limits their activities. Where the pain occurs depends on the location of the affected disc. An affected disc in the neck area may result in neck or arm pain, while an affected disc in the lower back may result in pain in the back, buttock, or leg. The pain often gets worse with movements such as bending over, reaching up, or twisting.
Next is fibromyalgia:

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissues above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. People with fibromyalgia feel pain, tenderness, or both even when there is no injury or inflammation.
Fibromyalgia can cause long-lasting (chronic) pain. It has no cure. But with treatment, most people with fibromyalgia are able to work and do their regular activities. When it is not controlled, you may not have any energy. Or you may feel depressed or have trouble sleeping. But there are many things you can do to help manage your symptoms.

What causes fibromyalgia?

No one knows for sure what causes fibromyalgia. But experts have some ideas, such as:
  • Nerve cells may be too sensitive.
  • Chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) may be out of balance.
  • The deep phase of sleep may be disrupted and affect the amount of hormones that your body releases.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
  • Deep or burning pain in your trunk, neck, low back, hips, and shoulders.
  • Tender points camera (or trigger points) on the body that hurt when pressed.
People with fibromyalgia may have other problems, such as:
Symptoms tend to come and go. You may have times when you hurt more, followed by times when symptoms happen less often, hurt less, or are absent (remissions). Some people find that their symptoms are worse in cold and damp weather, during times of stress, or when they try to do too much.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on two things:
  • Widespread pain on both sides of your body above and below the waist
  • Tenderness in at least 11 of 18 points when they are pressed
Before the diagnosis, your doctor will make sure that you don't have other conditions that cause pain. These include rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases.

So, for those that really need to see this, here it is.  I qualify for Social Security Disability because of my injuries (one service-connected, two not).  This isn't just to people in my personal circles who need to have a MUCH BETTER understanding of medical conditions before passing judgment, but the fact that I've written and published four novels in the last 18 months with a fifth due out in November and I've managed to repair a couple of hundred computers during that time (remember the definitions of work?  I meet and exceed them), work that was done in an environment that allows me to bend over or lay down when neccessary to relieve severe pain--work that let's me moan out loud when I have to without scaring co-workers (this type of behavior is something I mask very well in public for short periods of time, which may be a precursor to people asking, "Why doesn't he have a 9-5?) --work that permits me to take breaks when I need them or work late into the night as spacing my breaks out requires.  This is not just that closer circle of people who think they know what it's like to be me; it's for anybody in general who judges somebody that they don't see leaving their home from 9-5 while have zero understanding of their medical conditions and zero understanding of the work they manage to do at home in spite of those medical conditions.

The bottom line is this: I think most of my friends and people in today's world who are up with the times and are open-minded understand that they shouldn't be judging anyone for anything until they know all the facts (which you never will regarding any one individual because, at least, all facts are never disclosed), but to those who insist on judging by using their narrow-minded views on what work or disability means, you need to educate yourselves.  If you don't educate yourselves on the conditions and personal lives of people you judge, which is virtually impossible in some cases because people do not all choose to disclose all of their personal information to you so they can get a favorable judgment from you, then you don't know.  If you won't hear that reasoning and insist on judging anyway, or if you use some form of jealousy or negativity in general to try to jump on somebody in this situation, you are on a very low plane of intelligence and understanding.  Extremely low.  It's ghetto.  It's barbaric in some ways.

I've found that the people on this low plane rarely choose to rise up and learn--to figure it out and stop judging--so to them, I shake my head and say goodbye to thier chance for understanding and happiness, because you cannot have happiness until you have understanding, and the negativity resulting from judging while not understanding combined with the unwillingness to learn and understand is a circle that takes a person straight downward on an intelligence and happiness scale.

For those that judge me, I can't stop you, but I'll bet I could terrify you if I walked up to you with a mirror that said "Judge this person" on it while showing it directly to you.... oh how blind the judgmental ones are when the hot light of inspection is turned upon them.  For those who get it--who understand that I do fight this fight every single day and I still produce when an average man might quit altogether--you people are the ones I admire.  I truly have deep respect for you and whatever you have done to reach understanding.  There are plenty of people out in the world today falsely claiming to be disabled or not working the 9-5 for other reasons; I swear on my daughter's life that I am not one of them.  So, if you have read all that and you still insist on judging, this is my permanent middle finger aimed your way until you are enlightened.  For those that have chosen to learn what is necessary to understand, or at least to realize that you don't know enough to judge, you are always a friend to me and I'll do anything I can for you.

Enough is enough.