Great Ovid's Giants!

Ovid's Metamorphoses

Heraclitus' Fragments

Martin Heidegger's Sameness & Difference

Heidegger's Bio

Kafka's Metamorphosis

Emerging Adulthood Chapter 1

Study on Emerging Adulthood

Ray Kurzweil on the Brain

Immortality by 2025

How 18 Became 25

For My Brother: My Hair is Long!

GUYS. It has been a LONG LONG time. I assume people are reading this because I have 27 page views today according to my dashboard. Also, because my last post has a lot of spam comments from "Anonymous." WHY YOU DO, BLOGGER? Anyway, HEY! It has been so so long that my hair is about 100x times longer than it is in that header picture. 

It has been so long, I now fear I'm a terrible writer with no voice and that I'm no longer interesting because I keep telling you how long my hair is! HELP! I'm also trapped inside this internet! 

I am writing this because my baby brother texted me the other day to tell me he read my blog and liked my post titled "4 Things About Education My 12 Year Old Brother Knows." If you have read this post, then you can imagine my horror at my brother seeing the swaths of curse words and damnations I wrote in that piece. You can imagine my shock and fear when the first sentence he wrote to me was "I read your blog." AH! I have corrupted the soul of my most beloved blood brother (as opposed to the soul of my beloved black brothers. Heh. I'm clever.). But it turns out he liked it a lot and, probably because it was about him, read the whole entire thing! My brother hates reading! I'm a MOTIVATIONAL GENIUS (not really)!

Anyway, thanks, baby bro! I hope you write your own blog so I can find out how much profanity you use outside of our family context. Also so that I can read all of your private thoughts and ruminations about life! I bet you're really interesting when you're not under the watchful eye of our parents! Haha, sibling jokes! 

I love you!

We're All Dying

I was in my pre-work meeting when one of my co-workers mentioned that we are all dying. I think it's true. I look into the eyes of strangers every day as we get to a stop sign at the same time, or as we walk past each other on a sidewalk, or even as we are assigned partners or teams in class. When I look in their eyes, I see drone-people moping about in life. 

When they plug in that new variable or find the variance for some statistical hypothesis, they do so mechanically. They tune their minds out and just do the math. They do what they're told. But they all seem to be grasping and stretching to find something which interests them. They want to care, but they cannot hold on to anything tangible. They can't find that life's passion we're all told we're supposed to have. How can you find passion in experiencing the same rote equations day after day? 

I look at them and sometimes I smile - not a real smile, for nothing pleases me less than to look at the dead. I smile at them and think "look at how blind you are, look at what this classroom has done to you." Many of the people I cross stares with are dead. Those that aren't are just in the slow process of dying. 

I don't know how it happened. When I was young I used to see life in people. I used to look at them and see what a great orator they would be, or how significantly they could change the world. I don't see any of that anymore, and I doubt that I could change the world myself. I don't even know if I want to, if all of the people in the world are already dead. 

But every once in a while I meet someone alive. I meet someone with electric eyes and a grim frown on their face. I see someone struggling to understand something. I sometimes see men wandering in the park lost in thought and contemplation. I see them and I remember that people can strive and work and fight for things. I remember, and then I forget because for every man who is alive there are ten thousand dead. 

My greatest fear is that I am one of them. That I am already dead, and that I will not accopplish anything with my rigormortis and rotting eyes and ears and brain. Or that I am dying now, as we speak. I do not wish to be dead soon. But of course I am dying. We are all dying. 

Supreme Court Rules Arizona's SB1070 - It's Not Good For Anyone

The Supreme Court ruled today that Arizona's SB1070 was in conflict with federal law on the topic of immigration, and therefore void. This is a "victory" for those who are in support of humane and reasonable immigration reform, but it is a great loss for all American people - including those paperless from south America. 

The problem here is not really the topic of immigration - the bill was brought to the supreme court on the old grounds of states vs. federal power. The debate was about whether states could enact their own immigration laws in lieu of any federal immigration laws. The question was, essentially, "do states have the right to admit or refuse admittance to any particular group of immigrants?" The answer is no. 

States do not have the right to enact their own laws about immigration. This means that if a state that is typically immigrant-friendly like Utah, California, and Colorado were to diametrically oppose states like Arizona and welcome immigration, they would also be in violation of Federal power according to the supreme court. The new ruling ends up hurting everyone. Remember: just because the federal government is leaning towards immigration reform and more lenient policies doesn't mean it always will. And that means no one will be able to oppose it then as no one is able to oppose it now. 

This is a classic case of political whirlwinding; the topic of immigration is so divisive that literally no news outlets have covered the topic with any reference to how such a decision affects states v. federal power. 

Facebook and Google +: Conversation vs. Connectivity

I read an essay this week by Albert Jay Nock called "The Decline of Conversation." It comes from his 1928 book, On Doing the Right Thing. In it, Nock proposes that conversation in America was ceasing in the time that he was growing older - the 20s and 30s. It got me thinking about the ways in which people connect and interact, and the way a networking structure like Facebook or Google + can steer that interaction in different directions. 

That everyone has a Facebook page is almost societal fact. Those not on the network willingly stay away from it, do not have internet access, or are too old, handicapped, or young to find it useful or entertaining in any way. However, the great majority of the US is on Facebook. It's a mainstay in the social lives of millions of people. Google + is minute in comparison. Though bundled with GMail, a fabulously popular email service from Google, Google + has about half the users of Facebook, and according to my own experience on the site, Google + users do not  stay and read their Google + feed for hours on end. In respect of users and amount of time a network is used and perused, G+ is far behind Facebook.

When G+ first started it's public enrollment of users, there was much conversation about whether it would overtake Facebook someday. Most of that talk was a lot of babble. Facebook and G+ are not in direct competition. They may look similar and seem to do similar things, but their very structure determines that Facebook and G+ are entirely different services. 

Facebook is a social network that allows one to talk to friends of friends. It allows one to visit the profiles of strangers and their photos and personal lives. It allows all to see what everyone "likes" and what everyone "likes" the most. Many people complain that there should be a "dislike button" on Facebook.  In effect, it is a network that encourages agreement, accordance, and conformity. By and large, having a Facebook account means that you talk to your friends (people you tend to agree with), your family (people you are forced to agree with), or your coworkers (people it would be economically wise to agree with). It means that you cannot publicly dislike anything anyone says via dislike button. It means you probably haven't turned off the setting that filters people on your feed by how much you agree with them. In any case, Facebook is a huge network of people who agree with each other. This is relevant to what Nock was saying in his article in that he described the way that when people only agree on things, any deep conversation that might happen dies out before it can even begin. When there aren't divergent views, nothing can get probed or prodded for truth. This doesn't seem to be happening - there are millions upon millions of wall posts and photos and comments and likes and pages. People can agree on things for ages. If one conversation dies out, another can commence at the drop of a scrotum (who drops hats?). It is endless, but topical. It's about connecting. 

Nock's (and my) definition of good conversation as inherently disagreeable and nonconforming is at the root of Facebook's so called rival Google +. On G+, you can neither like or dislike something. You can "+1" it, but this ends up being more like a Reddit system where things with more +1s get more attention. It means both things that people hate or love may show up on the feed that comes from your circles or the public feed. It also means that you cannot simply state that you like something. You must say it in words as a comment. This invites more comments from people who disagree or agree, but it does not alienate anyone for disagreeing like a Facebook "like" might. Google + also has significantly less content on it than Facebook does. This is because Google + lets you make big decisions about whether or not you are going to share what you post with your family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and an assortment of other "circles." There is a constant awareness that one will be sharing this with the world, and it is a decision that must be made on every individual post. As a result of this different wiring, Google + is not necessarily about disagreement and discussion, but it does do less to discourage it. It is small, but much very free. It's not about conversation, but it is more conducive to it. 

It stands, then, to reason that Facebook users may be far more topical and (gasp!) narcissistic because they must endlessly talk about their own content. It also stands to reason that G+ users may be more attentive to detail and more inclined to question ideas because they have less constraints from being those things. They are then different services that are not in direct competition with each other. The "vs" is null in terms of Facebook and Google +. The versus is actually in connectivity and conversation.