Here’s Mote in Your Eye!

Why do I criticize the saw dust in my brother’s eye while there is a plank in mine? I ask myself this question, a version of another question from some famous person.

This question came to me while I was reflecting upon a recent interaction with a friend of mine. I threw this friend under the bus to get attention from someone else. It’s not the first time I’ve done this to someone. They’re always left feeling (from what I can tell) confused, reeling, ticked.

Someone at work does that to me, and I rant and rave about what an asshole that person is. I have an awesome case built up against my coworker, yet I haven’t even criticized myself for my own behavior… until now.

Ego defense mechanisms are a powerful drug. They’ll have you seeing motes a mile away while you’re blindfolded.

Thank you, Coworker, for taking on your role with such courage and virtuosity that I would come to hate you … and now love you.

Self Defense

The Father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, postulated “ego defense mechanisms.”   For example, the ego uses intellectualization to displace anxiety-producing thoughts with related “intellectual” thoughts.  The nasty thoughts are repressed into unconsciousness while acceptable intellectual thoughts are expressed freely.

What if psychology itself is an intellectualization and defense mechanism against Self Realization?

There is a model of being human that suggests that we’ve chosen to forget our Self.  If that’s true, then the part of us that remembers that we chose to forget must feel really really bad, because forgetting our Self is causing a lot of problems — and it did it on purpose.

I could see how the ego would play a game of intellectualization to cover its ass.

In the meantime, defend your Self.

Off with the races!


Does race exist?  If races are defined as genetically discrete groups, no. So say the scientists.  But yet the concept of race still persists.  Not only does it still persist, the concept is propagated – even by government.  Take a look at this recent census form.

2010 Census question on race.
2010 Census: Question on Race

 

A sound argument based on genetics hasn’t convinced the masses, or the government, to abandon the concept, even though an argument based on genetics might be the most persuasive.

Let’s try some common sense.

A person with parents from two distinct races is a person with “Some other race.”  A person of “Some other race” can only have offspring of “Some other race” and so on into perpetuity.

There are at least two effects:

  1. A system for categorization that needs an “other” category for everything that doesn’t fit in a category has failed to categorize.  If  A+B=C, but you don’t know what C is, then you don’t really know A and B either.
  2. An ever growing population of  “Others” eventually makes categorization meaningless, perhaps impossible.

Genetics aside, race fails to describe observable reality.  As long as Others breed, and breed outside of Others, eventually only Others will exist – at which point categorization by race would be completely nonsensical.

For a long time, I responded to such questions with “Asian/Pacific Islander” and ignored the fact that my mother is in the category “White.”  At some point, I got relief when the category “Other” was added.  All my children, and my children’s children will be “Other.”

Where do we fit?   In the current system, the answer might as well be “nowhere.”  But that can’t be: we’re here.

Mother Lode for “Meteorite Men”

Maybe I’ve been watching too much “Meteorite Men.”  Maybe I just see what I want too see (that’s called “confirmation bias”, Kids!).   And, like the title of this blog implies, maybe I’m just taking (too much?) creative license with this data from Google Earth.

Scientists say that a giant meteorite, or asteroid, struck the ancient Caribbean Sea.  See a video explanation here. Can we still see the effect of the impact?  Maybe.  Take a look at some of these images & decide for yourself.

I’ve drawn lines on the map where I see patterns of light & dark.  I’ve drawn lines in the Atlantic that resemble the boring, old, well-known patterns arising from the motion of tectonic plates.   I’ve also drawn lines on the sea floor beneath the Caribbean sea.

This is what I see:

  • semi-circular blast pattern from the upheaval of the sea floor
  • Ripples in the blast pattern – like ripples the surface of a pond, except it’s the the sea floor that ripples, not (just) the sea itself.
  • Interference effects from shock waves rebounding off materials of various densities
  • A strewn field in the region between the island of Hispaniola and the northern tip of South America

The proof is in the pudding.  I call on the Meteorite Men! Please go dig on the sea floor of the Caribbean and find some meteorites.  If you find anything, I call dibs!  (Or just take me with you!  612-555-2994 Call me!)  Use the topological features to point you toward the most likely region to find chunks of iron that fell from the sky!

It would be The Mother of all Mother Lodes!

(This all rests on, at least, the assumption that these images reflect actual features on the sea floor!)

Ripples on water

Ripples on water

Interference effects

Interference effects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Splash & Strewn Field on the Sea Floor
Possible indications of waves, wave interference, and a strewn field on the sea floor as a result of a meteor impact.

 

Meteor Landing Site in the Carribbean?
For reference without markup.

 

Life in the Universe

If you went looking for life in the Universe, what are the chances you’d find it?

I’d say chances are pretty good.  In fact, I’d say they’re 100%.  Who do you think is writing this blog post?  It’s not you.

Oh, you thought I meant life on other planets; extraterrestrials.

Well, the probability of life in the Universe is 100%, because we are here.  And either there’s life somewhere else, or there’s not.

If there is life somewhere else, don’t you wonder what life on another planet would be like?

Well, if you were from another planet (you are from a planet, aren’t you?), what would you find?

You’d find planet Earth.  You’d find us.  Scary.

Then there’s the question of whether or not life on other planets is even sophisticated enough to find us, or us them. You can estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy (just the Milky Way galaxy, not the entire universe) using the Drake Equation.

    \[N=R\cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_l \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L \]

wherein

R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can support life
f = the fraction that develop life
fi = the fraction that develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction that are willing and able to communicate
L = time for communication

.

Current estimates on this figure:

    \[N = 2.31\]

Well, of the 2.31 civilizations in the Milky Way, ours is one of them.  So there’s probably at least one other civilization in our galaxy.

Great.  Now what?

Sometimes I’m not so sure I see the entire value of even asking the question

“Is there other life in the Universe, and what are they like?”

when all I have to do is walk outside and observe other life in the Universe.

Latent Inaccuracy of Everything (L.I.E.)

It’s all a lie.  Everything.

Look at this screen.  Take a second to observe it.  What do you see?   …

Wrong.   (WTF are you talking about?  You have no idea what I said!) But it’s not your fault.  It lied to you.  Everything lies to you.

You’d be getting warmer if you said:

“I saw a words on a screen that was there a nanosecond ago.”

The things you see are only a representation of what existed when light from things left the thing.   It would be more accurate to say:

“I experienced light that came from a source of visible light. I didn’t see the light that I could not see. Who knows if that source is even there anymore?  Oh, there’s more light.”

We don’t tell the truth about what we don’t see, and we assume object permanence.  If the sun disappeared, you wouldn’t know it for at least 8 minutes.  (There’s the sun! Wrong!) Maybe more if you’re sleeping.  Maybe you’re sleeping right now.

“Electrons moved from one place to another upon interaction with a photon.”

(Oh shit.  Physics.  I hadn’t thought of that.) Yes, physics.

“What are electrons, photons, and places?  Is there even lanuage to describe these things?   It’s certainly not the English language”

(Oh shit.  Epistemology and linguistics.)

    \[ \lambda-\lambda^\prime = \frac{h}{m_e c}(1-cos\theta) \]

(Holy hell.  Math!?  I thought I was never going to need it.)

Even what I’m saying is a lie.   How could I tell the truth?  I don’t even know what it is.  (Even that last thing is just some fancy bullshit that only hints at the truth.)

No one who uses senses to detect truth can know truth.  Even if they knew, no one who uses language can tell you the truth.

We are left with lies.  The inherent lie of every observable thing.

(But it’s too hard to speak in math and reaffirm assumptions and remember all the things I cannot detect.)

Whatever.


Too Lazy to Differentiate

I’m reading a publication about a data distribution system which proposes, to its advantage, to regionally segregate data servers by average user demographics in the region.

It occurs to me that the reason for segregating people by race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. is not because there’s an innate need to differentiate, but because it makes it easier for the human mind to design systems that categorize communication (including systems for navigating close interpersonal relationships, like “Men are from Mars…”).

This publication suggests differentiating  data by interests of, e.g., urban youths and ethnic minorities; perhaps thinly veiled stereotyping, even profiling.

It’s like we’re too lazy to tailor our communications for the individual to whom we’re speaking, and we’re too lazy because it seems like — “why bother” when we’re exerting SUCH an enormous effort to categorize and tailor human communications but still end up with broad categories that perpetuate stereotypes.

The systems of communications that should be aiding human interaction might be getting in the way. Yet we press on – hoping the next system will really “get it.”

What if we designed communication systems that really delivered finely tailored and personalized communications between human beings?

Oh, yeah. Wait. We’ve got mouths and ears for participation in a communication system called “talking and listening.”

(… says the pot as it writes this blog and then Tweets about it!)

About Me

Education
  • Ph.D. in Elementary Particle Physics, University of Minnesota
  • B.S. in Engineering Physics, University of Illinois

Activities

  • Interactive  Art Parties
  • Woodworking
  • Prototyping
  • Home Improvement / Real Estate
  • Developing new food recipes
  • Meditation
  • Photography (Blackberry Tour 3.2MP)

Interests

  • Transactional Analysis
  • American Sign Language
  • Japanese Language
  • Etymology

Some Highlights

  • M.V.P., Lacrosse Club, University of Illinois
  • Dodging 3 roman candle fireballs before getting hit and catching on fire
  • Hitting target objective in forehead during bottle rocket war
  • 9 consecutive hacky sack jesters, 2 consecutive pendulums
  • Break dance talent show
  • Getting married to Heidi DeCoux

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