Dropbox vs. Windows Live Mesh

At first glance, Dropbox and Windows Live Mesh seem pretty much the same; they’re both file synchronizers.  On the core level, I suppose this is true.  The details, however, change things a lot.

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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 Thoughts No Comments

Ein Traumatische Traum

The German word for dream is Traum.  Meanwhile, the German word for trauma is, well, Trauma.  I wonder, are they somehow related?


Thursday, November 18th, 2010 Thoughts 1 Comment

DNA is Not Magic

I always find it irritating when writers use a character’s genetics as an excuse for how they have magical powers.  Our intrepid heroes, having been exposed to cosmic rays or sea slug stem cells or something, find that they now have the power to turn invisible, make things float in the air, or even set things on fire with their mind.  Setting aside the fact that changes to the genetic structure of a preexisting creature do not cause the creature to suddenly morph accordingly, there’s still the problem of physics.  All of these special powers violate some vital law of physics, usually Newton’s third law or the first law of thermodynamics.  These laws aren’t coded into your genetic code, just waiting for the right gene to come along and ignore them.  They’re hardcoded into the universe itself.


Saturday, November 6th, 2010 Thoughts 2 Comments

Divine Retribution

The Tanakh is often described as portraying the Jewish God as an angry, vengeful god.  In comparison, the New Testament supposedly depicts the Christian God as a kind, forgiving god.  I suppose this makes sense; the New Testament is full of passages about how God loves us despite our sinning, whereas the Tanakh is full of passages in which God, having been slighted by the Hebrews, almost gets rid of them all, ultimately contenting Himself by killing a few and terrorizing the rest with horrifying threats if they don’t shape up (“YOU’LL HAVE TO EAT YOUR BABIES”, for example).  But, well, the actual beliefs of His followers seem to indicate the opposite.  In particular, their views on the afterlife and the coming of the Messiah seem switched, in my admittedly limited understanding.

The Jewish view of death is that you go to a vaguely Purgatory-esque place for a number of months and then go on to one of the seven levels of Heaven, regardless of what kind of life you lived or what you believed.  There’s no sort of eternal punishment for screwing up in life; even the lowest level of Heaven is pretty awesome, and you’re guaranteed at least that.  It’s just that the other levels are, y’know, more awesome.  To top it off, when the Messiah shows up, you get to come back to life unless your body was snorted by Keith Richards or something.  No matter what you did, God forgives you, though he does reward goodness.

By contrast, the Christian view boils down to this: if you believed in Jesus and weren’t an unrepentant douchebag or something, you get to go to Heaven, which is a totally sweet place.  If not, though, have fun spending eternity in Hell, which is on fire and resultantly sucks.  Even if you lived like a saint, you get endless suffering if you didn’t believe in Jesus.  And that’s it.  It seems a bit petty to me, and certainly retaliatory.

Then, of course, there’s the beliefs of the coming of the Messiah.  The Jewish view, while a bit unclear, is something along these lines: either some dude will show up to lead us to a new age of peace and prosperity or we’ll just enter such an age anyway but, either way, it’s gonna rock for pretty much everyone.  Especially the Jews, though.  Also, as previously noted, the dead get to come back if their bodies were dealt with properly.  Cool.

Meanwhile, Christianity seems to say that Jesus is gonna show up again (I say again because we killed him the first time because we’re jerks), at which point all believers will die and be whisked away to Heaven.  Everyone else gets to suffer a variety of horrors heretofore unmatched until they die, at which point they’re sent to Hell to suffer some more.  Harsh.

To be fair, my understanding of these topics is incomplete and probably at least a little wrong.  Still, it seems odd that the “vengeful” God would let people mostly off the hook while the “forgiving” God would punish the crap out of people.

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Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 Thoughts 3 Comments

On Madness

One of the most horrifying concepts to me is the idea of slowly going insane.  When it comes down to it, your mind is the only thing you really have; anything else is explicitly temporary, imagined, or subject to abrupt revocation.  Losing your mind is bad enough, but being painfully aware that you’re gradually being betrayed by the very thing that defines you?


Sunday, October 31st, 2010 Thoughts No Comments


I worry somewhat that we over-romanticize things.  The idea of the Wild West, for example, has been turned into some sort of glamorous time period in which cowboys could roam free, unfettered by such petty things as laws and relationships, while somehow remaining righteous.

War, too, is often turned into some sort of noble and glorious thing, with men fighting for their country.  This is particularly true for wars that we see as battles of ideals, such as the American Revolutionary War or the American Civil War, especially if we won the war.  Soldiers regret only that they have but one life to give.  After all, what does the life of a single man matter in the greater context of ideals?

Also of worry is today’s view of pirates.  Our view of the Golden Age of Piracy greatly resembles that of the Wild West. Bands of buccaneers would go and take what they wanted, laws be damned.  They were just searching for treasure, which was often buried on islands but occasionally happened to be located on someone else’s ship.  That’s okay, though, because they had a code of honor; while they sometimes had to do bad things, they weren’t bad men.

The Wild West was a time of extreme hardship and corruption.  War is and has always been hell.  And pirates were thieves and murderers.  These ideas have persisted largely because stories about the romanticized forms are, in general, more interesting than the realities.  That’s fine, but when people start to believe the idealizations over reality, there’s trouble.

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Saturday, October 16th, 2010 Thoughts No Comments

Science and God

Until recently, scientists were largely religious men who wanted to better understand God’s creation. More and more, though, scientists have been rejecting the notion of God.  Why is this?  I don’t think that science and religion are necessarily irreconcilable.

The attitude of the Christian Church certainly plays a part in this.  All throughout history, men with strange ideas about the world that don’t seem to fit with the Bible have been persecuted.  Rather than find a way to resolve the apparent contradiction (which would, incidentally, strengthen the idea that the Bible is God’s Word is Truth), the Church found it easier to disregard the idea as heresy.  Now, with science quickly approaching the point where it can seemingly explain everything, religion is increasingly viewed as unnecessary.

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 Thoughts No Comments


Like that of everyone else, my mind is a jumble of thoughts and stories. Now I have somewhere to put them.

Friday, September 17th, 2010 Thoughts No Comments