Monday, April 18, 2011

Indie/Lo-Fi Playlist

Here's a chill playlist to listen to when you want to relax a little. It includes some great bands like The Shins, Air, and MGMT etc.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The French Political Revolution: Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen

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. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Global Population Crisis

This is going to be a shorter post today, but it is something that has been on my mind for the past couple days. Globalization and the industrial revolutions of many developing countries coupled with persistent population growth will cause the population of our planet to rise an estimated two billion people within the next fifty years. Natural resources such as water and agriculture will be getting very scarce at this point and our impact on the environment will be absolutely staggering. Whole ecosystems will be disappearing from the Earth at a rate never before seen on this planet. Also, with advances in medical science and technology the population of elderly persons will be all but doubled, causing large scale budget crises in the fields of pensions and social security. I am left to wonder how the human species will deal with this problem.(hopefully without the use of war)

Transhuman Wallpapers

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Recurring Dream

I have not dreamed of this in quite some time, but it was a perpetual vision that I had seen many times before. The way the dream starts was not always identical but I always found myself in the same place, driving my car or very rarely walking over what seemed to be a familiar bridge. It was small by no means. If I had to name it, I would say it was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. For all I know it could've been different each time but the size was always roughly to scale. Gale force winds would blow in tune with the resonant frequency of the bridge causing it to sway to and fro in the most erratic and chaotic manner. Sometimes it would rain, and sometimes the waves of the ocean would come crashing into the bridge, almost as if to signify the end of existence for all mankind. The feeling in the air was somber yet conspicuous, the emotion so strong as to almost be palpable. Each time, I would begin to drive over the bridge, sensing that it was not in my best interest, but the fear of turning back to god knows what was too immense for it to even be an alternative. The dream was programmed into my psyche and I was never able to construe its actual meaning in the waking world. It ends the same way every single time. The bridge fluctuates violently, and in its oscillation I am thrown off into a violent and murky sea. I can recall so vividly the feeling of a free fall into the depths of the ocean... Then it's over. I am awake. So what does it mean? There's only one way I can interpret it. A bridge connects two sides. A pathway to the expansion of consciousness, my mind is trying to tell me something. I am at a crossroads in life, and a decision is to be made. There are so many years ahead of me(or so I should hope) and what I choose to do now is of dire importance. So perhaps I've already made the decision. Maybe the dream occurred so many times because it was trying to teach me something, some divine realization as to what will be my calling in life. The time we have on this planet is so incredibly small on an astronomical scale. I should make the most of it. As they say, uncertainty is the futures only guarantee.

Mr. Puffy Sandwitch

Here's a cheap and east to make sandwitch that I used to eat a lot. You'll need three ingredients.
--Peanut Butter
--Jet puffed creme

It's like a peanut butter and jelly sandwitch but with marshmallow spread.

Pro tip: Toast the bread first. :P

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dubstep Sampler

Here are a few of my favorite dubstep tracks. I picked a couple videos out of a playlist that I made last month.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Some Music for the Summer

It's finally starting to get warmer outside. The humidity is fine and I am able to comfortably wear a t-shirt and shorts. This is awesome; I'll have to set up the hammock soon. Here's a little playlist to get into the mood of Summer...

Extreme Dieting: The Zig Zag Method

No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training...what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -- Socrates(469-399 BCE)
I weighed 175 lbs at the start of the wrestling season my junior year. Within one month I was wrestling the 145 lbs weight class. The key is in a diet that tricks your body out of invoking the starvation response. An enduring condition can not be maintained by a temporary change, and in this way no diet actually works because that's exactly what it is, a temporary change in your nutrition habits. The proper and healthy way to do things would be with a fat loss of approximately two pounds per week. A month of two of hardcore dieting can, however, help you reach the goal that you want to maintain in the long term. Before I go into detail, we should look at what exactly is the starvation response. "Over thousands of years, humans have developed a weight-regulating mechanism that recognizes when there’s a food shortage and decreases energy expenditure to 'protect you.' This survival mechanism is known as the starvation  response.”(Tom Venuto, Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle)

The Zig Zag method of dieting can trick your body out of this habit, which has become all but obsolete for the average person living in a first world country. So how do we get started then? It's simple. The only thing you will eat for the entire day is one banana. Seems a little harsh, but you're trying to lose as much weight as possible in as little time as possible. No pain no gain. You get what you pay for, etc. Here, though, is wherein comes the trick. Every fourth day you eat as many calories as you normally would (a good amount preferably but don't go too crazy). It is important to ingest a lot of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. You want foods like tuna, oatmeal, yams, whole wheat bread, eggs. Non processed, natural foods are the best in terms of nutritional value. This high calorie day will prevent your metabolism from adjusting or adapting to famine, which is what it will interpret a crash diet to be. You're going to lose some muscle this way. It sucks but you'll have more time to build it back up since you're losing the fat so quickly.

Final Note: If you're serious about getting in shape and having the body you strive for, you have to work out hard. You don't need to have this crazy image of a person working out three hours a day to get cut. Just put forth maybe 4 hours a week and do a little cardio. Be confident in yourself; don't say "I can't wait till I can take my shirt off and look good this summer." Rather, tell yourself, "Wow, I'm glad I worked out today. I feel great." Good luck and +stay positive+

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the prospect is staggering. -- Arthur C.Clark

Saturday, April 2, 2011

BMW Gina

This is a truly unique approach to the manufacture of the body of a car. I can only imagine what the actual material is comprised of, both chemically and structurally. BMW has been on point with their new concept cars and I can definitely see them growing as a luxury car manufacturer in the future due to revolutionary design concepts such as the Gina and the Connect Drive.