February 14, 2017

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 12

Filed under: Think About It! — Katrina @ 9:33 pm

“IM YOURS” Yes, candy heart, I suppose you are. Lucky you.

“YES” What are you replying to? Or is this open-ended?

“KISS ME” Well, you’ll pass between my lips in the course of being devoured, so close enough.

Ah, it’s Valentine’s Day again. How nice. Last year, by which I mean like four posts ago since I’ve been neglecting this thing, I finally said screw it and tore love itself apart. And it deserved it, that bastard. Masquerading so long as being pure and good and something that will trump hate, someone had to say it.

I believe I’ll take a different tack today, however.

When in love, there’s this urge to place object of said love on a pedestal, to see everything this person says or does as brilliant or amazing. Something that you just sort of come to expect and work to see through it. It makes no sense. This person isn’t brilliant. They’re totally full of shit and they know it and really you know it.

And then you know you know it. Then what?

You find you still love that pile of shit anyway, that’s what. Whether it’s in the form of wanting to kiss them or being deliriously happy when around them or wanting to fight over money and dinner plates for life, you still feel it nonetheless despite them being very clearly full of shit.

Not that this is really a beautiful thing. I mean, this is also how abusive relationships continue. But let’s say there’s no abuse here. It’s just seeing human imperfections for what they are. This pile of shit that has won your affections for some reason is, after all, human. Just like you. Such an important common ground!

So you two piles of shit, enjoy your evening!

I’ll sit here with my candy hearts.

“U R SWEET” I think you’re the sweet one, being made of sugar. I’m made of other stuff.

“MARRY ME” Eh, why not? Could be the start of a long relationship- Or not, I just ate you. I must be part spider.

“TRUE LOVE” Ah, but we just met. You have yet to see through my nonsense. Give it time- Or not, I just ate you.

February 14, 2016

Mmmm, Candy Hearts 11

Filed under: Think About It!, What the hell? — Katrina @ 7:47 pm

“MY LOVE” What a sweet little candy heart you are!

“URS 4 EVER” Damn, candy heart, slow down!

“LET’S KISS” Well, you’re going into my mouth anyway. Close enough.

“NO WAY” Oh, well, can’t win them all. :(

Oh, hello. Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s time once again for the tradition that began ten years ago today, when I sit here and eat these candy hearts and gripe about romantic relationship stupidity.

I’ve said in the past that it’s people’s behavior and expectations around relationships and their partners that I take issue with, and that love itself isn’t what I’m against. That love itself really is pure and good.

I’ve changed my mind. Love is fucking stupid.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say it isn’t a good thing at all, that it is terrible, and really we should be recognizing it as the affliction that it is.

Love is a destructive illusion that causes terrible behavior and misery. When you’re in love, sure, everything feels all warm and sweet. At first. Then something goes wrong, and now all those warm and sweet memories turn to poison, no longer making you happy but only sad and angry. Someone who was once a source of comfort and joy is now just a reminder of shame and loss. You believed you felt some strong spiritual connection, but the bubble burst, and you feel more isolated than ever before.

People have a way of reacting badly to this, from making total asses of themselves in front of their object of affection and others to outright harmful or abusive behavior. Yeah, I’m not seeing the beauty here.

Maybe we should just remove “love” from our vocabulary altogether. Maybe just cut straight to what you actually mean when you say you love someone. Maybe instead of “I love you” it could be “I want to spend time with you” or “I’m deliriously happy when I’m with you” or “I want to kiss you” or “I want to have sex with you” or “I don’t wish you any specific harm” or “I want to buy a house with a nice yard and fight with you over money and dinner plates for the rest of my life” (also known as “will you marry me?”). In any case, maybe the only real response to a declaration of love is “yeah, and?”

I mean, it’s a loaded and muddy word. It distracts from what specifically is going on. It inflates importance of what’s being felt, adding some artificial divine quality, which really serves only to make it hurt so much more when it goes wrong, that the very essence of life itself has failed you. It’s just not worth it. There are much better uses of time and energy.

If only it were that simple. I get so afflicted just as anyone else.

Oh, well. There’s always the candy hearts!

“I-M SURE” Well, heart, most people aren’t sure of much of anything. You’re lucky.

“YOU ROCK” Awww, thanks!

“XOXO” I fucking hate that Elle King song.

December 23, 2015

Presence of Presents

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:57 pm

I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m sick of people complaining about Christmas being “materialistic” or some crap. That we focus too much on presents and not enough on Jesus or family or something like that. As if these things are mutually exclusive or something.

But presents are not only, you know, gifts. They’re wrapped and under the tree and not to be opened until Christmas morning. They’re a mystery!

And isn’t that just like the coming year? The future? That the future is just there all mysterious and just waiting to be revealed. Could be everything you wanted. Could be disappointing. Could actually be a live cobra for some reason. Could be nothing you expected but everything you needed.

Okay, I’m making this up, but it sounds cool.

December 17, 2015

Meaning of Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:33 pm

Yeah, we’ve all heard the “Jesus is the reason for the season” types. What this holiday and season is about is awfully contentious for something that we can at least agree is supposed to be about peace and love.

But I’m not disagreeing with that statement.

Yes, Christmas is about Jesus. There’s no question about that.

It’s just that it’s ALSO about Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, trees, presents, cookies, cards, lights, holly, the Grinch, mistletoe, carols, candles, cookies, garland, tinsel, Charlie Brown’s sad little tree, gingerbread houses, snow, light, dark, stars, cookies, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, candy canes, leg lamps in the living room bay window, elves, the Griswolds, Rudolph, cookies, Ebenezer Scrooge, feasting on roast beast, the Polar Express, ribbons, wrapping paper, George Bailey, cookies, trains, stockings, sleigh bells, Yule logs, Nutcrackers, poles, Saturnalia, Solstice, cookies, those weird wreath hats with the candles they wear in Sweden, that cake they eat in Japan, Grandfather Frost, Jack Frost, chestnuts, and, of course, peace, love, joy, hope, and giving. And cookies.

And what the hell is wrong with that? :P

December 14, 2015

Unchecked Power

Ever notice how our world seems to give unchecked power so much benefit of the doubt? Or, well, I suppose that’s true by definition as, if it weren’t given benefit of the doubt, then it wouldn’t be unchecked.

Look at some of the reactions in cases of police brutality. “Oh, well, he must have done something wrong for the police to have gone after him in the first place. They wouldn’t beat him up or shoot him for no reason.” You know, because apparently if a police officer so much as looks at you, it just makes sense to these people that you might as well kiss your ass goodbye, rather than, you know, saying “hey, this is wrong!” like any decent person would.

There’s also child abuse. Parents have near limitless power over their children, which very much allows for abuse, and abuse is very much rampant, but when it happens, you get reactions like “oh, well, the kids are probably exaggerating or outright lying, just ungrateful brats who probably deserved it, all parents love their children!” Ignoring that, for one, no they fucking don’t, and that they have no actual reason to believe the kids are lying, or to know for sure either way for that matter. But what is known is that parents who want to commit unspeakable crimes against their children could do so very easily, and pretending they just don’t or wouldn’t is very dangerous.

Then there’s war crimes. A hospital or school or the like gets bombed, killing a bunch of innocent civilians. And what’s the response? “Oh, well, that’s war for you. Sometimes civilians get killed. In fact, they probably weren’t so innocent and were likely hiding the bad guys so they probably deserved it.” Based on absolutely nothing. Just more of avoiding the necessary task of calling out what’s horribly wrong and instead trying to justify it.

Know what else? God! If an omnipotent God allows all of the above and more and worse to happen, who’s telling him to knock that shit off? It’s always “God works in mysterious ways! Everything happens for a reason! God loves us!” Yeah, meanwhile, somewhere in the world, a four-year-old girl just died of an infection caused by a ritual genital mutilation, but sure, yeah, loving omnipotent God we should continue worshiping.

True, a lot of this comes from feeling helpless, seeing many of these forces not as always right but as all-powerful and therefore there’s no choice but to assume rightness. And just plain not knowing how to change anything and finding it easier to tell the victims that they were the ones who were wrong, to give the illusion that we have more control over our fates than we actually do. But we can understand that tendency and still acknowledge it’s wrong. I mean, you don’t need to know exactly how to make a certain change in order to speak up about what’s wrong. Shit, if you had to, about 90% of those protesting or raising awareness about just about anything would be out of work! But there’s bad things happening. Acknowledge that they are bad and quit making excuses for them.

December 10, 2015

Baking Cookies

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Decrees!, Foodz, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:06 pm

I hereby decree…

Baking cookies is the happiest activity there is.

Well, it is. Just say the words. Baking cookies. See, there’s a smile!

Saying “let’s bake cookies!” conveys joy and excitement. It’s not like anyone ever says “ah damn it, I’m stuck baking some fucking cookies!” Just plain doesn’t happen.

There’s all kinds of ways to make cookies. Lots of room for experimenting! And what’s more fun than experimenting with different ways to create a tasty treat? Nothing, that’s what!

And after all that fun with trying different ingredients and methods, you end up with cookies! Yay! :D

December 4, 2015

One Time a Thing Occurred to Me

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Musical Musing, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:43 pm

So you’ve probably heard that Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots died late last night.

So ends an iconic voice of 1990s music.

I’ve seen them in concert a couple of times. Wouldn’t call myself a big fan, but I definitely like a few of their songs. Particularly “Vasoline”. In any case, STP has clearly been an important part of the 1990s soundtrack of our lives, I suppose.

Think about it. Making music that affected people in so many ways, just as all other musicians. But also and more extraordinarily being sort of an essential piece of the scene of their time. It’s art. It’s part of culture. It generates emotions and such in people. That’s something special.

Scott Weiland was only 48, but, aside from at least making it way past 27 unlike so many others like him, he still added something to this world. Just like all other musicians. Just like all other artists. I suppose we all can only hope to do something like that, to any extent.

April 28, 2015

Death by Paper Cut

Filed under: Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:18 pm

So I was putting away some paperwork the other day when my left hand grazed the side of a folder sitting in an upright organizer. A sheet of paper inside that folder was poking out the side at that moment. Sure enough, I grazed the side of it so lightly yet just right that the paper sliced into my left ring finger.

Gah! Paper cut!!!!

I’m cringing at the memory. As are you, since you’ve had a paper cut and holy crap they suck!

Every time I get a paper cut or some other stupid incident that results in some minor bloodshed, I start to think… what if this is what kills me? Like if the cut got infected with some super resistant form of bacteria and I wound up dead from sepsis.

Aside from the death, which would suck in and of itself, there’s the shame of such a pathetic death. What if there is an afterlife? What if I’m hanging out with some other dead souls and they share how they died, whether heroically saving people during a storm or simply succumbed after a long battle with cancer? They’ll be all like “So what happened to you?” And I’d have to be like “Well, I got a paper cut that got infected and killed me just shy of my 32nd birthday.” And then they’d avoid me. I’d only be allowed to associate with those who died from choking on a hot dog or something. For all of eternity.

Or even back in life, when people ask “aww, how did she die?”, friends and family would be like “from an infected paper cut”. It’d probably be on my tombstone. In my obituary. It would overshadow just about anything else about me. Something about working in biotech or being a youth rights advocate? Nope. Dead by paper cut!

So I guess, if death by paper cut is even remotely a possibility, we should live our lives in such a way that we’d be remembered for something other than this pathetic death. Which is a rather tall order. Murder people by giving them paper cuts perhaps? That’d certainly solve some problems, but may create others.

March 30, 2015

Lion and Lamb

Filed under: Think About It! — Katrina @ 5:51 pm

So we’ve all heard that saying about the month of March. That it “goes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb”. The idea is that the month begins with harsh wintry weather and ends with mild spring weather.

Yeah, I call bullshit. I mean, if anything, it’s the other way around.

What do lambs look like? They’re gentle, soft, white, and fluffy. You know what else is gentle, soft, white, and fluffy? Snow! In fact, it’s right there in that rhyme, that Mary had a little lamb “whose fleece was white as snow”. Not whose fleece was, say, like airborne pollen that will have you sneezing for the next four months.

What about the lion? Well, what do lions do? Other than lie around all day and plot regicidal wildebeest stampedes. That’s right. They roar! Know what else roars? Thunder! Know when we get lots of thunderstorms? Spring!

In white and fluffy like a lamb, out roaring like a lion. Much more accurate.

January 19, 2015

The Real Heroes

Filed under: Idiot Box, Think About It! — Katrina @ 7:07 pm

So I just got back from seeing the movie “Selma”. It was amazing. Brought me to tears a few times. Made me cringe a few times at the horrible racial violence. Powerful. Highly recommend it.

And it had better win Best Picture, damn it!

Not only because I like it when a movie I’ve seen wins Best Picture, but because it’s damn good. And also because I don’t want American Sniper to win.

Just to be clear, I have not seen American Sniper. I don’t particularly want to. I just read through a plot summary of it. Seems to be your run-of-the-mill soldier movie.

Soldiers are commonly referred to as heroes, and I suppose they are, or at least they’re really brave for putting themselves in that position. Not going to dispute that. And we have two holidays for them, Memorial Day for the dead ones and Veteran’s Day for the living ones. “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers and other such items are ubiquitous. After all, they’re the ones out there protecting our freedom, right?

Er, no, that one I will dispute. For one, their mere presence in many areas is pissing off the locals and thus encouraging support for the terrorists who might attack us and lead to more restrictions on our freedoms in the name of safety. Mostly it’s that the greatest threats to our freedom are internal.
(more…)

December 21, 2014

Background Music

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Musical Musing, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:48 pm

You know what’s fun about listening to Christmas music? Well, a lot of things.

One thing is that it makes everything you do seem like it’s part of your very own Christmas special. That mundane actions suddenly become festive.

Filing paperwork? Meh. Filing paperwork with “Sleigh Ride” in the background? Festive!

Driving to the grocery store? Meh. Driving to the grocery store with “Jingle Bell Rock” in the background? Festive!

Stuck in traffic while in a hurry? Meh. Stuck in traffic while in a hurry with “Carol of the Bells” in the background? Festive!

Sitting around eating cookies? Delicious. Sitting around eating cookies with “Holly Jolly Christmas” in the background? Still delicious. And festive.

December 19, 2014

Collateral Damage

Filed under: Assorted Politics, Christmas Time!, Think About It!, What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:15 pm

There’s a lot of collateral damage in activism. When making points for change, you need to be careful. Who is getting thrown under the bus in your talking points?

In youth rights, we sometimes make the case, when someone goes on about how “undeveloped” teens’ brains are, that studies have shown that, despite this, teens’ brains function better than those of people over age 60. Which on its face is a good point, showing that we’re not so fussy about this same metric in another context. But I’m generally uncomfortable with it, because a “solution” to the double standard might be then to restrict the rights of the elderly. Though the intention is to expand the rights of young people, the flip side is the point throws the elderly under the bus.

A couple months ago, I saw at an event about climate change a print-out from some old article on Mother Jones. I don’t feel like looking for it, because fuck that article, but basically it was demonstrating how people in wealthier countries use up more resources than those in poorer countries (which is a major “no shit, Sherlock!”). And a lot of its points were basically about keeping the population low, so there’d be fewer people to use up resources and generate greenhouse gases. Points included: praising China’s one-child policy (you know, the one with the forced and sex-selective abortions and infanticide that resulted in a severely skewed gender ratio), implying that countries with the most unrest are in turmoil because such a huge portion of their population are young adults (you know, because young people just do nothing but start wars, right?), and even some completely ridiculous points about how apparently TV families are getting larger (their entire basis was the existence of the Duggars), and a few more that were just rotting my brain cells with each letter.

You know, no matter how much I might support a cause, I just can’t get behind the ridiculous hyperbole and fearmongering and outright lies that a lot of them resort to. Especially when, as said, some of this causes damage to other causes for human rights and whatnot.

And ultimately it’s self-defeating. It’s hard to defend your position on an issue when most of the points and info you’ve been given to use are full of shit. You have to spend so much time weeding out the bullshit to find the one tidbit that’s actually valid. And if most of what there is to defend the cause is so exaggerated, it discredits what’s real.

All of it is to make a serious problem look worse than it actually is. So the organizations and other entities working on it can get more support and funding. Like I mentioned before about how groups talking about child marriage in certain parts of the world are using a rather loose definition of “child marriage” in order to inflate the number of “victims” to make the problem look even worse than it already is.

The groups who do this know they’re doing this and are often proud of it. There’s usually the “yeah, that video is fake and the facts are pulled out of our ass, but it truly really is a serious problem and needs your attention!” They don’t seem to care that all they did was expose themselves as shameless liars.

For God’s sake, these causes and movements are only necessary to fix a problem. They are a huge waste of time in the long run. But these people turn it into a morbid self-promotional tool in and of itself. Where doing good for people comes second to making damn sure you look like you’re doing good for people. :roll:

December 17, 2014

Coventry Carol 2

A couple years ago I wrote about Coventry Carol and what I realized about the lyrics.

About a tiny child, presumably Jesus, being referred to as a youngling.

And that Jesus, therefore, is a Jedi.

But just recently I learned some more about the song, in that said tiny child actually isn’t Jesus. The song is about the Massacre of the Holy Innocents. When Herod went looking for Jesus in order to kill him and ended up ordering all first born boys under age two to be killed.

The song is a mother singing to her soon-to-be murdered baby.

Oh.

Well, this doesn’t change anything. It just means that the Bible forgot the part where Obi-Wan shows up and walks among the slain sadly, saying “Not even the younglings survived.”

December 13, 2014

Male Privilege

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Estrogen, Think About It!, What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:53 pm

Privilege is a tricky concept to explain. People have a way of never using examples or never adequately explaining what they’re talking about, so the privileged ones who feel attacked act accordingly and everything turns into a completely pointless mess.

But a while back, I found a pretty good example of male privilege, and it was on the radio. No, it wasn’t 97.1 WASH this time! It was DC101, the rock station. There’s this thing they do weekday afternoons where they play a song that used to be played all the time but now isn’t played at all. They usually do one song but sometimes two or three. On occasion, they do more than that on certain special days.

This was one of those days. They played two songs, both of which had male lead singers, and a third one had a female lead singer. The fourth also had a female lead. At this point, the DJ was apologizing for making the set of songs too “girly” for playing two consecutive songs by female singers, and that apparently a couple of people tweeted or texted him commenting on that. So the DJ decided to make up for it and the fifth song was by an all-male band who, the DJ said, were “proudly misogynist”. And the next two songs were also sung by men.

So that’s seven songs, two of which were sung by women, and the other five by men. And somehow this was “too girly”. Even though the male-sung songs were still the majority. The fact that two of the songs were not sung by men, and that they were done consecutively, and that after they were done, the songs were two by men and two by women, thus even, this was considered “too feminine” and thus offensive.

And that, there, is male privilege. That when things are equal between the genders by the numbers, it is not perceived as equal but of a sign that men are losing out on something and that women have too much power. Even when they are equal. Even when, with the whole seven song set, the men still have a strong majority. Somehow, even in this case women still have “too much power”.

December 12, 2014

The Right to Privacy

Filed under: Assorted Politics, Christmas Time!, Teh Interwebs, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:24 pm

How can people honestly worry about their right to privacy in this age of social media? People tweet constantly. People share their meals on Facebook all day long. They share their exact locations whenever they migrate to a different location. How, oh, how can people do all this while worrying about the government or police or whoever spying on them and knowing where they are and what they’re doing at all times when they share all this info freely anyway?

Easily.

Because the important difference with all the social media sharing is that it is freely chosen. Not everyone shares all these details or is interested in having a wide audience for these things. Some people do. And those people retain the right at any time to no longer share these details.

With other entities spying, it is outside of one’s control. It is invasion and coercion at that point. It is the removal of one’s autonomy.

Autonomy is so undervalued. :pissed:

December 8, 2014

Social Justice Is a Waste of Time

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Decrees!, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:57 pm

I hereby decree…

(See title.)

*trollface*

But seriously, yeah, it kind of is when you think about it. In the same sort of way that changing a tire after you get a flat is a waste of time. In that, yeah, changing the tire is necessary, but it was only necessary because some idiot left nails on the road.

Really any movement against oppression has only been necessary because some assholes decided to, well, be assholes. And they were assholes so much in particular ways that we got to the point we didn’t recognize many things as being the work of assholes and just called it normal. So now people who are hopefully not assholes must clean up the assholes’ mess.

And when I say hopefully not assholes, well, that’s wishful thinking. So many activists are most definitely assholes who are causing more mess for some other activists to clean up. So often they’re under the delusion that being assholes to the right people is going to further their cause. While many are assholes simply out of habit or convenience, these activists are being assholes out of believing it is helping the world. But in the end, it’s all still people being assholes to each other. What has been accomplished? How has the world or humanity advanced?

Hey, I’m not saying “asshole activism” isn’t sometimes effective. But in those cases it’s a side effect. It’s not something to strive for. We should be striving for… people not being assholes to each other. If that’s not your goal, then you’re just wasting everybody’s time.

We have science and art to do, damn it! :doitnow:

December 7, 2014

Prince Hans

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Idiot Box, Think About It! — Katrina @ 7:45 pm

You’ve seen Frozen, right? Of course you have.

Better have anyway, because after this sentence are SPOILERS!!!

So, in the tradition of countless Disney princesses before her, Anna falls in love with Prince Hans upon meeting him, they share the movie’s love song, and they rush off to her sister Queen Elsa for permission to marry. Elsa, breaking from tradition (in this and at long last being a Disney princess who was promoted to queen! and being a Disney queen with more than three lines of dialogue who isn’t a villain!), tells her that she can’t marry someone she just met.

Shortly after this, Elsa’s ice powers are revealed, and in fear and shame she escapes into the mountains, inadvertently freezing her whole country in the process. Anna goes off to look for her and leaves Hans in charge. Hans steps up and helps out the freezing citizens (who should be used to this, since this takes place in Norway, which is covered in ice like 10 months out of the year anyway, but whatever), and when Anna’s horse returns sans Anna, he leads a group out to look for her and Elsa, imploring them to not harm Elsa even though they all think she’s an evil witch now or something (probably because it’s a Disney movie, which up until this point Disney mostly painted queens as evil or at least unpleasant). Later, Elsa is captured and imprisoned, and then Kristoff rushed Anna back to the castle for Hans to kiss her, because Elsa accidentally cursed her again and only an “act of true love” can save her, which is assumed to be a “true love’s kiss” from the prince, because, again, Disney movie.

But in a whiplash-inducing twist, Hans refuses to kiss her and reveals that all along he’d been playing her in order to usurp the throne of Arendelle, and he locks her in a room to die.

Whoa! They go through the whole love song and his whole looking-at-her-lovingly-as-she-walks-away only to reveal it was all a lie? And that he’s actually the villain? That… doesn’t even make sense.

Actually… it makes perfect sense, if you read between the lines.

When Kristoff and Anna visited the trolls after she was cursed, they initially thought she was Kristoff’s girlfriend and tried to force-marry them in that annoying Fixer Upper song. Kristoff finally yells that she’s engaged to someone else. The song resumes and includes the following line: “So she’s a bit of a fixer upper. Her brain’s a bit betwixt! Get the fiancé out of the way and the whole thing will be fixed!”

Up until that song, he’d seemed perfectly okay. That line in the song implies the trolls intend to remove Hans from the picture because they so badly want Anna to be with Kristoff.

So what I’m trying to say is that the trolls cursed Hans. Perhaps cursed Anna actually so that the moment he was about to kiss her, he had the sudden change of heart. Cursed him with a frozen heart, I suppose. So when he went to kiss Anna and the curse took effect, any love for her was gone and he became greedy and backstabbing.

There’s a couple of ways to look at that. The trolls were worried primarily about Kristoff and Anna getting together that they didn’t realize this curse on Hans nearly got Anna killed. Or maybe they saw far enough ahead that it was now-evil Hans’s attempt to kill Elsa being thwarted by Anna sacrificing herself (surprise! said act of true love was sororal love, not romantic!) that solved pretty much every problem. Though that part could still have been luck.

Or maybe they didn’t actually care about what happened to the others. They just wanted to fuck with Hans and know that his curse would wear off while he was in that little jail cell on that ship and he’d be all “wait… WTF just happened?”

They are TROLLS, after all! ;)

December 3, 2014

The Rest of Life

Filed under: Assorted Politics, Christmas Time!, Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:28 pm

There’s a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson floating around, from an appearance with Bill Maher a few years ago, where he recalls noticing that the backgrounds of many Congressmen and Senators is law. And that he wondered “where are the scientists? where are the engineers? where is the rest of life represented?”

I’ll admit when I started writing this, already intending to speak on this quote, I hadn’t heard/seen the quote in context. When searching for the exact text, I instead found the above-linked video and heard his whole spiel. He precedes the above discussing that, with all these politicians having a law background, being trained specifically to argue, they are trained to basically argue their side and never come to an agreement. Okay, I may or may not be summarizing it well. Just watch the video and let him speak for himself!

The context doesn’t change what I intended to say, though. In fact, it just confirms it. He asks where the scientists and engineers are. I’ll tell you where they are… being awesome scientists and engineers and not wasting their time with political bullshit!

You know what’s extremely expensive? Scientific research. Even the smallest simplest research is really damn expensive, let alone the dizzying costs of medical research or the astronomical costs of, well, space exploration. But it’s all worth it, even the research that turns out to be a dead end, because it’s the noblest cause of all. It’s gaining information and developing things with that information to make our lives better, to advance, to reach untold unimagined heights. There is no greater investment in humanity and in, well, all of life and the universe.

By contrast, you know what else is really expensive? Political campaigns. Politicians are always raising money to beat the crap out of their opponent. We’ve got people dying from cancer, Ebola, AIDS, and countless other maladies and afflictions, which many millions spent in research can do something about. What do politicians spend millions on? Running mind-numbing advertisements calling their opponents douchebags.

So I’d say we’re better off with the scientists and engineers continuing to be scientists and engineers!

Of course, before I heard the rest of Tyson’s speech, my point was going to pretty much end there. He’s right, though. It makes sense. Politicians are trained to argue incessantly, so that’s exactly what they are doing, with their campaign funds, with their House and Senate votes. They don’t want to make the world better. They just want to pretend they do in order to get money and votes, in order to beat the Other Guy, to defeat the Other Party.

He’s implying that, if more politicians had backgrounds in science and other fields, we may have politicians who don’t have that urge, who are more interested in facts and solutions and improvement than in demolishing one another. It’s certainly plausible, right?

Then I remember Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon now vocal Tea Partier who may or may not try to run for President in 2016, who equated ObamaCare with slavery.

Yeah, never mind. :irked:

November 28, 2014

Supporting the Rights But Not the Gay?

Filed under: Christmas Time!, Think About It! — Katrina @ 6:19 pm

So over the past week or so, I saw a couple of articles claiming that a survey found that many straight people who support same-sex marriage are still uncomfortable with public displays of affection by same-sex couples, moreso than by straight couples. On one hand, this sounds like just another case of cognitively knowing something is right (equal rights for same-sex couples, in this case) while personally not really caring for it for whatever reasons. Obviously, the latter feeling is not harmless, as this still promotes a heteronormative society and worldview that continues to marginalize LGBT people.

However, I see something more going on here, and it doesn’t surprise me at all. Sure, those who support rights but don’t want to witness “the gayness” might just be uninformed and on their way to greater acceptance. But something like this might call into question why such people support gay rights if they are so uncomfortable with it.

If their support for LGBT rights does not come from support for LGBT people and life, then perhaps it really only comes from opposition to homophobia. Opposition to homophobia, or more specifically the types of people who are or are more likely to be homophobic, is NOT the same thing as support for LGBT people. I mean, it’s an important part of it, definitely. But it’s nowhere near all there is to it. Truly supporting marginalized people involves a lot more soul searching and radical change than simply disliking the correct people.

I’ll touch on this again at some point (it’s almost December, after all!), and have to some degree already, but it’s just yet another example of people confusing hate with love, mudslinging with progress.

But, in the case here, it might in fact just be, as said, people still on their way to better understanding how to be properly supportive of LGBT people who haven’t quite gotten there yet. And even just supporting the legal rights is still hugely helpful. It’s just important to keep in mind that proper support for people cannot be based on hate, and to be careful that growing support doesn’t veer into that direction. It’s a sad place to be and ultimately defeating.

September 9, 2014

Metrication

Filed under: Think About It!, What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:21 pm

Why the hell do we say “a thousand kilometers”? Why don’t we say “one megameter”? Because it sounds weird? It only sounds weird because it’s not in common use. The metric system comes with all these lovely prefixes for whichever power of ten off the basic unit you’re using, but for some reason we limit ourselves roughly to kilo and milli, if that. Centi only gets to shine when followed by meter. I see 10 milliliter containers and such quite a bit, but never once is it called “one centiliter”. Why not? That’s what it is, isn’t it? Even considering the circumstantial necessity of keeping decimal places constant, you’d think it might show up at least sometimes. And I never see any big vats of things labeled as “one kiloliter”.

Distance from Earth to the Sun? About 150 million kilometers? Pfft. What do you need all them extra decimal places for? Try 150 gigameters!

Why should bytes have all the fun?

Don’t even get me started on the sheer neglect suffered by all 10 centimeters of the decimeter. Or of all 100 meters of the hectometer, who only seems to show up when squared. You know, it’s a hectometer and it’s a square so it’s a… wait for it… hectare! I totally get it! :D

Although metric ton does sound more badass than megagram. Metric ton is also the basis of the fun-to-say metric fuckton. Does megafuckgram have the same ring to it? These are the important questions.

Isn’t this fun? Hell, I haven’t even gotten to our lovely little friends micro and nano, who make some tiny scientific appearances, such as the ever-present 200µL (that’s right, mu not u!) pipette tips. But these prefixes get their attention where warranted. They just don’t come up often in common use because things tend to be bigger than that. They’re just hiding out at the cellular and molecular levels. Biding their time.

So, yeah, that’s the beauty of the metric system. For the super super super big and the super super super small, there’s a prefix to fit your measuring needs! Yay metrication!

Now if only we could go the whole nine ya- er, the whole 823 centimeters, and give some of these prefixes more attention.

Failing that, might as well be using imperial! Maybe I’ll start referring to a thousand inches as a kiloinch… :cute:

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