Thursday, June 9, 2011
So I went to Atlantic City with a couple friends last weekend to gamble and hang out. I was going in expecting to lose at least a couple hundred dollars, but I ended up winning a hundred after about seven hours of gambling in the casino. I was up about $350 at one point and could have just called it a day at that. The problem was that I would've had to spend the next several hours just watching other people gamble and that's no fun. So I put a few chips in my pocket and ended up losing the rest. Overall it was a good trip though, we stayed at the Tropicana. My new favorite game is Spanish 21. It's similar to Blackjack, except there are no tens. You also have an option to place a side bet called, "match the dealer". It either of your cards are the same as the dealers face card you're paid three to one, and if it's suited you're paid twelve to one (They use eight decks at a time so the odds aren't too bad).
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
So after a night of drinking, it's five in the morning and my buddies and I are still wide awake. On any normal night, we would just drink more, but the most unlikely of circumstances is afoot. We are actually out of liquor. I know, hard to believe. At least there are about twelve or so beers left. Well we could either play some COD (I'm not a huge fan), smoke another cigarette (just hit one five minutes ago), or play a couple normal games of Beer Pong. Or we could be hardcore and PLAY THE MOST CRUCIAL GAME OF 3D BEER PONG EVER! The rules are simple. You cannot make any cups except for those on the highest tier. So starting out, the only cup that can be made is the red one. We usually reserve 3D Beer Pong for double overtime with just three on bottom and one on the top. The only problem is that if there is not enough beer in the cups they can tip over, and sometimes fall into other cups, which really isn't a problem. The beer cans in the middle were just for the picture. :)
Monday, June 6, 2011
Everyone with a smartphone or ipad has at least heard of Angry Birds. It is an addicting puzzle game where players fire wingless birds into structures with the sole intention of killing malicious green pigs, which have stolen eggs from the birds. There are several different birds with unique abilities that must be used at certain times throughout the game. Upon release, Angry Birds was widely received and there are three different versions of the game out now. Each level has a set number of birds available to the player and the level is completed when all of the pigs are destroyed with said birds.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Lex Parsimoniae, better known as Occam's Razor, is the protocol that states that of two theories, being equal in all other respects, the most plausible is the simplest (requires the least complex explanation in order to make it work). It does not simply assert that the simplest explanation is the correct one, they both must accurately provide an answer for the question in which they attempt to answer. It merely holds that until the empirical evidence and explanations for a more complex theory are in place, it is more pragmatic to lean towards the more simple theory. This is used at the rule of thumb in the scientific community to this day, and has been used in order to develop complex theories like the Helio-centric model of the solar system and Einstein's General Reltivity. Occam's Razor, however, is a heuristic principle, not a principle of logic.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
The comets we see from Earth come from the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud. The Kuiper Belt is a massive belt of comets and rocky debris in space that begins just outside the orbit of Neptune and extends to approximately fifty-five Astronomical Units from the Sun. Many objects in the Kuiper belt consist of a mixture of frozen water/ammonia/methane and rock. The Oort cloud could have as many as a trillion comets and encompasses most of the solar system. Both regions are remnants of the nebula from which the solar system was formed. It is interesting to note that the tails of a comet are only visible when it passes nearby the Sun. As these "dirty snowballs" heat up and sublimate, producing a tail of gas they points away from the Sun and tail of dust that curves along with the orbital path of the comet. Based on current scientific evidence, it is observed that comets can come from any direction in space and usually have very high orbital eccentricity.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I woke up the other morning and went downstairs to get a glass of water. Just as I went to go back upstairs, I saw something out of my peripheral vision that sparked my curios. I went to the back door to get a better view and there was a legit gopher chilling on my patio. I knew there was at least one that lived in my yard, which is three acres so there's a lot of room for them to hide I suppose. I do know where one gopher hole is but they don't bother anyone and I kind of like the wildlife. I thought about letting my dog out to chase the gopher off but decided not to for whatever reason. My dog (yorkie/terrier mix) chases full grown dear out of our yard, its hilarious. I'm very glad to be living in the suburbs when I think about it. I couldn't live in a rural or urban environment. Suburbia is a good mix of the two in my opinion. Here are a couple picture that I managed to snap before the gopher ran off. The quality isn't too good but you should be able to see it somewhat.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
So my order arrived today from Bodybuilding.com. I purchased a 30 serving tub of Cellucor C4 and a six pound tub of ON Nitro-Core. The taste of the protein is ok, as is usually the case. I am a pretty big fan of Optimum Nutrition, however, and the casein and fiber in the protein is a huge plus. I was either going to get N.O. Xplode, Superpump, or C4. I've gone through many tubs of N.O. Xplode and it's an amazing pre-workout supplement. I heard some good reviews and some bad reviews about Superpump, so I decided to give C4 a shot (although I did buy a single stick pack of Superpump so I could try it out). So far the C4 is pretty nice. It's got creatine, beta alanine, arginine, and an "explosive energy blend," which I'm sure is caffeine and taurine or something. I do like the fact that it only has 100mg of caffeine per serving. I can't really give too good a review yet as I've only tried it once, and since I've been on a three month hiatus from supplements it worked very well. There was a slight tingly sensation in my body when I was working out though, which happens sometimes with pre-workout stimulants. Anyway, I'm very happy overall, they threw in two protein free samples and a free sample Speed Shot, which is what they sell at my gym for like three dollars (ripoff). My total, including shipping, was $60. I am 6 feet tall and weight 165 lbs at the moment. I'm 21 and this is the first summer I can hit all of the bars, so I'm definitely going to look good. :)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
This is going to be a lot like the last Indie playlist I posted a while ago, but a little more toned down. I have included a lot of folk rock a la Iron and Wine and Fleet Foxes, as well as acoustic, such as Bon Iver. I threw in some Zero 7 to satisfy the Lo-Fi crowd too. I tried to throw in a few of the more unknown artists as well. Enjoy!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
So I finished watching the movie A Clockwork Orange the other day. I have to appreciate the aestheticization of violence in the film. The "ultraviolence" as the movie calls it is portrayed in such a fascinating way, it is stylistically excessive. I won't spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it but the way things come together is very captivating. The film itself delves into the realm of psychology, and opens up the boundaries of the human mind. It is interesting to note how conditioning affects the rational minds of humans as it does animals that lack sentience and self-awareness. I would say the movie is amazing, but my only gripe is the way in which it ended. Even though it wasn't necessarily a cliffhanger, I thought that it lacked substantial closure which I believe the movie was entitled.
Here are a few songs from the movie...
Here are a few songs from the movie...
Sunday, May 8, 2011
So I went out on a limb the other day and picked up a pack of Gibson Vintage Reissue Strings in 10's, even though they cost a good 40% more than the average pack of strings. The guy at Guitar Center said they were easily worth it due to their incredible sound. I was a little skeptical at first, but since I have a Gibson Les Paul studio, I know how solid the company is. Anyway though, long story short, they play brilliantly on my guitar, and sound much better through my Vox amp compared to steel wound strings. All in all, I would give them a 9 out of 10 if I was to rate them. It was definitely a worthwhile purchase.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Osama bin Laden has been pronounced dead and his body is in the custody of the United States of America. His identity has been confirmed via DNA testing. This is an immense victory over terrorism and it is now my sincere hope that we may now begin to pull more troops out of the middle east in light of this event. The most wanted man in the world is now dead, go America!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen draws upon the ideals of the enlightenment philosophers to set a foundation for an ideal and equal government as well as to outline the restraints which should be placed on any governing body by the people to whom it administrates. The concepts, predominantly of John Locke, as well as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, and Montesquieu are evident in this French political treatise. Security being the reason people give up their power to the government is a prominent theme in The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen as it seems to favor a more liberal government by giving the citizen many rights which until around this time period a ruling body was not always inclined to grant its subjects. This document also takes a somewhat relaxed view in the interference of God, as the “Supreme Being” is only briefly mentioned once throughout the entire article. This supports a growing theory of separation of church and the state. To every nature belongs a principle, and virtue is what this form of government wishes to strengthen. This idea is very evident in The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen.
Essay Concerning Human Understanding and more importantly Two treatises on Civil Government, both written by John Locke, have shown their influence in The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. In the second book of Two treatises on Civil Government the prominent idea is the state of nature from which all humans are born. “If man in the state of nature be so free, as has been said; if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest, and subject to no body, why will he part with his freedom? Why will he give up this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power? To which it is obvious to answer, that though in the state of nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain, and constantly exposed to the invasion of others: for all being kings as much as he, every man his equal, and the greater part no strict observers of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very unsafe, very unsecure. This makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with others, who are already united, or have a mind to unite, for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name, property. “(2nd Tr., §123) The first right stated by the The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen states that men are born with certain unalienable rights and freedom. The second proclamation outlines the purpose of government as a body to protect these rights such as liberty, property, and security. Man is only to be hindered by what he consents to. These are all Lockean principles, and their influence in The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen is undeniable. John Locke’s theories on property are similar to those in this document as well. “The greatest part of things really useful to the Life of Man, and such as the necessity of subsisting made the first Commoners of the World look after, as it doth the Americans now, are generally things of short duration; such as, if they are not consumed by use, will decay and perish of themselves . . . . Now . . . every one . . . had a Property in all that he could affect with his Labour.”(Second Treatise on Civil Government, Sec. 46) This coincides with the French national assembly which states that, “Property is a sacred and inviolable right.” A final theory by John Locke which is evident in The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen is the abolishment of the divine right of kings, which holds the legitimacy and authority of a monarch to rule claiming that he derives his power from God. The king or queen is answerable only to God as well under this theory. In his Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government he gives the people the right to revolution against Tyranny. This subjects a monarch to the will of the people. Many points in The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen more or less so agree with this, including the third, sixth and twelfth right.
The influence of other enlightenment philosophers can be seen in The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen as well. Montesquieu’s separation of powers is another was another force influencing the French National Assembly’s work on this document. Some power is taken from rulers and given to the people in the 15th declaration of this document, “Society has the right to require of every public agent an accounting of his administration.” Also considering that the, “The source of all sovereignty resides in the nation…” this is a siphon of power away from any one ruling body.
One of the major enlightenment ideals was the idea of religious toleration. From the declaration, “No one is to be disquieted because of their opinions, even religious, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.” This is a step towards the deism of the enlightenment first of all. Having this limited religious freedom would likely ensure that the religion of the average person upholds the highest morals possible without infringing of the rights of any said person. The philosophes of the enlightenment were able to deduce that the most heinous crimes of man were in the name of God and religion, so granting a good amount of religious freedom would undoubtedly be good for society in many ways. Voltaire was one of the men who advocated this policy the most during this time period. This clause in the The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen passively strengthened the idea that understanding and predicting the natural world with science and reason, not religion, would bring about the greater good of mankind. Learning was held above all other things by Diderot as well, this being the motivation for him to write his Encyclopedie. Finally it was this knowledge and understanding of nature through science that would push society away from the harsh constraints of any one religion because that religion was no longer relied upon to give its disciples an understanding of the workings of the universe. It is in this way that the political ideas of religious tolerance in the enlightenment carried over into the French document.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu exerted other influences of the enlightenment on The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. By subjecting the government and society to the general will, more freedom will be given to the people, even though he saw society as corruptive in nature. Montesquieu held that when power was taken out of the hands of say one individual or group society as a whole would benefit and the individuals therein would have greater political and economic freedom. The equality and fairness of laws promised by The Declaration of the Rights of man and the Citizen van be considered derived from the works of Montesquieu. “In a true state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it and they recover it only by the protection of law.”(The Spirit of Laws, Book 8) Thus making everyone subjected to law will bring about equality among all of the subjects of a nation. Montesquieu “…put his faith in the balance of power and the division of authority as a weapon against despotic rule by individuals or groups or majorities; and approved of social equality, but not the point which it threatened individual liberty; and out of liberty, but not to the point where it threatened to disrupt orderly government” (Against the Current, Sir Isaiah Berlin) and this is arguably the goal of The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.
In retrospect almost all of the rights guaranteed by the French document have their roots in the ideas of the enlightenment and of men such as John Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu. Ideas such as the social contract, religious toleration, and equality were prominent in this document as well as in the enlightenment. The government which The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen attempts to put forth and the newfound freedoms it grants aims to enrich the lives of the people it governs as a whole and bring about a greater understanding of nature and the universe through reason and science.