Archive for November, 2008

Materialism…. WTF

Posted in Big Dog with tags , , , on Wednesday, November 26 by KevinLHinton

I bought a new Nike sweatshirt today. TJ Max, $30. Originally $50. Gray zip up hoody. It is literally just a gray sweatshirt, but I have been beaming all day since I bought this thing. I feel wonderful in it. It is comfortable, it fits well, and looks badass. My day has legitimately been way fucking better than it ever would have been without that sweatshirt.

It is just a sweatshirt though. This happens to me with every purchase I make. I got a new cell phone last weekend – love it. If I get a new pair of shoes I can’t stop wearing them. I immediately want to to show everybody anything I buy and talk about how cool I think it is.

What the fuck is my problem? Consumerism/Materialism seems to be accepted around here as a fundamental evil in our society. Why does it make me so genuinely happy with myself to wear this sweatshirt? Has our society trivialized life so much that my joys in this world come from a hoody from TJ Max now?

The greatest joys in life are:

1. New Experiences 

2. Competitive sports/physical activity

3. Accomplishing something 

4. A good joke/good story/good conversation

 5. buying shit

6. being comfortable/sleeping

7. Eating tasty food/drink  

8. Orgasms

9. Taking a shit

I think that is a pretty comprehensive list of all things in life that bring joy to me. Interestingly, buying things has krept up above sleeping, eating, sex, and pooping.

I probably speak out about how our consumer based society is a piece of garbage as much as anybody, but today I recognized that I am a complete hypocrite. I absolutely love buying new shit.

On another note, I think I will completely give up on trying to buy and fashionable items for clothes. I will now only wear sports apparrel. It is very comfortable and looks nice.

Anyways, I haven’t posted for a while, so I am going with this. I feel as if I have nothing relavent to offer on Parker’s post, although I enjoyed it. Parker – you are turning into a bit of a mad scientist.

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Time is running out; Either present your genius now, or accept your unimportance.

Posted in City with tags , , , , on Wednesday, November 12 by City

genius

So I was watching a video* a little while ago where an author described her book on the similarities of two geniuses, Godel and Turing, and it got me thinking like only online physics videos can (ummmm… I mean, did you see that local sporting event? Me too. I love sports.). Genius can come from anywhere at any time. It’s one of the great complexities of humanity. In some ways you wish that all people were treated exactly equal, but then some genius comes around to remind everyone how stupid the rest of us are and that we are no where near equal. No one knows where genuis comes from, where it will show up next, or if you were looking at it in the mirror this morning (hint: you weren’t). Of course if you were looking at it in the mirror this morning, no one would know it but you. You need to get those ideas out first and history says it’s probably now or never.

Alan Turing was 24 when he wrote the paper “On computable numbers” which, long story short, lead to the invention of today’s computers and by 28 he went on to develope a device to decypher the Nazi’s Enigma machine of WWII. All of this by 30? Not bad, but he isn’t the only one who had a couple good years in their twenties. Werner Heisenberg was 25 when he developed the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics and developed his Uncertainty Principle by 26, which he received a Nobel prize for by 31. But the best example of early genius breakout was Einstein. After he finished his education he couldn’t get a teaching job, so he settled for a gig at the patent office. When he was 24 they told him he wouldn’t be considered for advancement. His 25th year is known as the Miracle Year where he published four papers, including one which became his theory of relativity, and was given a PhD by the time he was 26.

What I find even more interesting about these three scientists is not only that they did these feats while so young, but also the way they went about discovering their ideas. Basically, in all three cases, they were stuck thinking about some fantastic idea and explained them through thought expiriments that only made sense as they approached infinity.

For example Turing wondered if there were limits how many numbers it was possible to compute. This lead him to think of ways to calculate infinity and found there are numbers which we can know nothing about. An “uncomputable number” would need infinitely complex machines to compute them.  This theoretic machine, now called a Turing machine, could prove the value of a number. Basically, Turing’s logical theories paved the way for the age of the computer.

In Heisenberg’s case, he wondered if we could ever understand the fundamental nature of matter. He found that if you try to pin down the exact location of a particle, you find there is a fundamental limit to what you can know about it’s movement, and vice versa. As you approach defining a precise position, it’s momentum becomes more and more uncertain. It means we live in a reality that is fundamentaly “slippery”. The idea that lead to the formation of quantum mechanics and physics as we know it.

Einstein wondered if the speed of anything could reach infinity, and found that light must travel at a fundamental limit. He figured that if there was a limited speed you could travel, then you would have to make space and time relative to this speed. He thought that if two people were to move past each other at a limited speed of light, you would have to give up time as a constant. Time to each person would have to be relative to themselves and not to each other. Hence relativity, hence blown scientists minds everywhere.

In summary I will leave you with my aspiring genius action plan: come up with a crazy idea, extrapolate it to approach infinity, receive a Nobel Prize.