Ow...my brain...

I'd like to point out a few situations that left me with a head ache lately:

- I was having a discussion about employee reliability and explained how conditionning works using scientific research and how conditionning could be trivial at work. The person I was discussion this with simply told me it was stupid to base myself on scientific research and facts and that scientists don't know anything.

- At work, we have special cards to use at the machines which has an arrow on them indicating which way to put it into the machine. Someone came by and screamed at the machine saying it was a fucking stupid system because it never explained how to put your card into the machine.


God and the Orange Bin

An interesting situation arose in class the other day. In order to make a point, the professor used an example. She said: "For example, take this bin in the back. If I say it is orange (it was), who here agrees?" A few people raise their hands. "Ok, who disagrees with this?" Nobody raises their hands. The professor then proceeded to ask why about 70% of the class did not raise their hand for either question.

The answer lies in the fact that the bin was not visible for most of the class, being in the back and close to the ground. The teacher was quite interested in the response because it added an extra variable to her example which she had not intended. For some reason, the situation immediately reminded me of religion -- the orange bin being the god concept. What is so surprising is that people will not answer a question such as that of the orange bin when there is some doubt as to the color of the bin (ie. I have no proof of the bin's color because I can't see it), and yet millions of people blindly make the exact opposite decision in regards to religious beliefs. There is no evidence of God's existence, so why do so many people make this assumption? If the orange bin had instead been green, you would have been fooled. The fallacy of my example is that some people were able to see the bin. I would argue, however, that individuals' word should not be taken for granted without first being verifiable. We should not put blind trust in each others' judgment. This is what rationality is for.

Finally, one could argue that I have here made the case for agnosticism as opposed to atheism, in that those who do not see the orange bin cannot and should not vouch for its existence or non-existence. I disagree with this premise because there is still a reasonable possibility that the existence of an orange bin could be true, even if you could not confirm it visibly. It is likely for this reason that 70% of the class did not pronounce themselves either way and, in effect, remained agnostic towards the existence of the orange bin. In the case of a god, however, there is no reason to remain agnostic because there it is not simply a matter of verifiability. There is no inkling of proof to begin with, and no rational argument ("having faith" has nothing to do with reason) which can support god's existence, just as reason cannot justify the possible existence of flying pink unicorns, vampires, and other elements of fantasy.


Are immediate updates really important?

With the recent shootings at Dawson college on the 13th, I was forced to ask myself how important it actually is to have up to date information as soon as possible on certain situations. Several reporters and newscrew assessed that they sprinted to be as close to the action as possible, as soon as possible. This, according to them, backfired when they found themselves apperently caught up in the action and almost "turned into victims" themselves. Given the information at the time that more then one shooter were present on the scene.

It was later revealed that only one man was responsible for the actions undertaken and that only one shooter was ever present. It has been documented (see wikipedia) that the time between the first shots fired and the death of the shooter was 7-8 minutes. One has to wonder how it is possible to have reporters get to the scene and almost "get caught in the middle" in that span of time. Not only that, but for several hours, rumors of multiple shooters were being passed around, from 2 shooters to 5 shooters. Witnesses placed shooters in the school, outside the school, inside the metro and inside nearby underground shopping malls. The only people direcly responsible for this spread of panic are the reporters who decided to publicize false information.

What's more stunning is how fast CBC got newsachors from Alberta to host the newscoverage while reporters were on scene in Montreal. While some may say this is testement to how great technology has become, I find it quite hilarious that they decided to broadcast from Alberta over Montreal. Within hours, they also got a few of those wonderful musical and graphic montage of several of the filmed scenes in slow motion over useful and basic text: "Dawson under fire!". "Hurry up Billy, we gotta get that musical montage on the air as soon as possible!"

Reporters were also hasty about finding eye witnesses. The first testimonies heard were obviously the more histerical cases to make the news look more interesting and turn the story into a story of shock and horror. Of course, I had to sit watch as I heard the testimony of some blond girl crying who could barely speak, yet could still manage to comment on the shooter's attire. Describing him as "the typical type with a retarted haircut". Great news, maybe next we can have some gay stylist explain in detail how to proceed to get your hair a few points lower in IQ. What little information I got out of her wonderful display of intellect was the information I could've gotten off those wonderful little pieces of writting on the musical montages.

Nevertheless, I think CBC should be ashamed at how they delivered the story. Rare is it that I see such a lack of professionalism in news coverage. The number of the victims kept varying, the amount of shooters as well, the locations of dangerous individuals and what's more is that a reporter for CBC who was finally given the story later on that night described the actions of certain students 'cowardly'. Groups of students thought "Hey, no one in here's a shooter. How about we barricade the door?", and so they executed their ideas. Not a terrible idea considering it would make the killer's retreat and hostage possibility a lot lower. If they were unlucky and happen to be able to catch the news and hear the wonderfully inacurate information given, it would make barricading oneself seem rather intelligent. Dawson college, in my opinion, has a very unstructured architecture with semi-floors and several confusing basements. If one was to run out of the classroom into the open, he would risk exposing himself. Although, given the timeline above, no danger would have truely been present, it is important to note that if danger was present then having classes evacuated would only give a shooter more targets to shoot at.

Such events rarely happen, and seem to happen less in Canada. I'm glad that we at least have incopetent newsreporters to keep us posted on the latest events. Thank Zombie Jesus for that.


Why do we accept these stupid things...

- ...in movies, whenever a chase sequence comes to a four corner junction the hero presses on the gas and he gets through the intersection just fine, but when the people following are slower they simply get smashed into? What the fuck kind of logic is that? "If I go fast enough, I'll be fine...nevermind taking my time to cross this, I'm going to get fucked!"

- ...music sampling? Why do we accept the fact that artists are being robbed of their original material to have some fucking moron talk over his track, and have a few electronic sounds added on top?

- ...sports movies and dancing movies out of Hollywood? It seems like the same basic formulas have been applied for a little over 25 years! What's ridiculous now is dancing movies are using names that don't mean anything (i.e. Step up, Take the Lead, You got served, etc...) but somehow have this "it's in" connotation. How can I take a movie seriously when the climax is prologued by the phrase "You and me, street rules...let's finish this!"?

- ...visually modified cars? I'm completely disgusted by the amount of cars I see with visual modifications, and I'm even more disgusted by the amount of idiots who believe such looks will give the car a better perfomance. Spoilers, neons, skirt kits, rotating mags, paint jobs...what a waste of money, a painted dragon won't make your car go faster.

- ...specific age at which you are aloud to quit school? I believe this is a bizzard idea. Why not fix a specific grade instead? Seems to me like we can monitor the education level of a country/province/city easier that way and assure that a minimum level of education is obtained by the citizens. Fix it to grade 11, or at least a high school diploma. Basic logic says that if the kid hates school, he might think twice and work hard to optain that fucking diploma so he can get the hell out of there. Good news for everyone!

Short Takes

-Roadside memorials are silly. They have the potential to cause more accidents as drivers take their eyes off the road and glance over at the large white cross some parent has erected for their kid. You don't own the road... build it in your backyard!

-Get acronyms right! Double acronyms are so common place. "ATM machine", "Built on NT Technology", etc. are all heard on a daily basis.

-Male underwear boxes are marketed to the wives and girlfriends who are really buying the underwear. How else can you explain the fact that some muscular guy's package is prominently exposed on the box? What (straight) guy wants to see another's package tightly wrapped in tightie whities? If anything, it's a reason to NOT buy the product.

-On an agenda I purchased: "reliable softcover system". I have no fucking idea what this means. Perhaps the previous burlap bag was not so effective when used as a spatula. The softcover system not only gives the impression of further luxury, but it's more reliable to boot!

-Dumb suggestions -- in a class I recently had, the professor asked students to voice their concerns and expectations regarding class etiquette for the semester, and asked for suggestions. When one student raised the question of people leaving class early and noisily distracting the other students, another student proposed that if someone knows they have to leave early, they should stand up in front of class at the start and tell everyone why and when they will be leaving. How do people like this make it past kindergarten?


Coca-Cola and Afghanistan

In case you were still naive as to why business-friendly conservative parties are dedicated to the war in Afghanistan, you need look no further than this provocative picture. Coca-Cola opened a $25 million bottling plant in Kabul on Sunday. Globalization at work...