Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How To Actually Take Over The World: Thoughts So Far

I've been intent on taking over the world for some time now, but recently I've decided that it's really far too ambitious a goal and that I'd really just be setting myself up for disappointment if I carried on.

So I gave up trying to take over the world.

But today I was thinking about it more. It seems like really, taking over the world is too unambitious a goal. The bar is set too low. Why not dream of greater things? Goals are meant to be achieved, but they rarely are. But the key thing that a goal does is set the direction that you're going to go in. Usually you only make it 80% there, or 50%, or maybe just 30%. But you've gone in the direction of the goal and that's usually good enough.

If you want to take over the world actually then you need to make your goal to be something even more ambitious than taking over the world. Like "I'm going to take over the world and enslave every man, mouse and mosquito until we've colonized the galaxy, taking over whatever civilisations we happen to find along the way." If you go for that, you'd fail, but you might end up merely taking over the world.

But I really, honestly don't want control of the whole world, or even to have 'taken over the world' in any sense really, at all. But I want to get a lot done. So I'll re-establish my goal of taking over the world, with the secret expectation that I'll probably not make it, but I might end up doing a lot of awesome stuff that leads in that direction.

Same thing we do every night! Try to take over the world!

Peter

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blackwater

I was thinking: what's the difference between Hamas and Blackwater? I was thinking that it was really only a small difference. Both are groups of people that use force, and both have dubious legal status in my own eyes.

I was thinking maybe Blackwater is a terrorist organisation.

But then I read more. I reckon a terrorist organisation is a group of people that use force for a political end. But Blackwater doesn't fit that description. They're actually just mercenaries. A mercenary organisation uses force for a financial end. Terrorism is hot-headed violence, mercenaries are ideologically blank.

So, by reading Wikipedia, I conclude that Blackwater is a mercenary organisation. I also conclude that the United States should join the rest of the world in banning mercenaries, and the US should identify Blackwater as a mercenary organisation and then the US should declare Blackwater illegal for military and security operations. Blackwater should be restricted to helping little old ladies cross the street within the borders of the United States.

Blackwater should definitely not be in Iraq. The Iraqis don't want them, and there's not a good legal system for dealing with the problems that arise. As mercenaries they should be accountable as civilians under Iraqi law (it seems to me), but the United States has basically said that they're immune. Which is kinda crazy in some ways. "We'll send some of our civilians to your country to kill your people and we expect you to treat them like soldiers." (Now war in general and the Iraq war in specific are another matter. I don't know if the American state military should be withdrawn or not, I'm not considering that here.)

Basically I consider Blackwater to be evil and I consider mercenary organisations to be evil. "Private military contractor" being a synonym for mercenary. So I conclude that Blackwater are not terrorists, but they are perhaps less understandably evil.

Do evil in the name of some God or other, at least. If you do evil merely in the name of money, then fearst ye for thine eternity, sinners!

I guess it makes sense, that Americans are terrorists with a financial dogma, a tribute to the local deity of Money.

But we're talking about pretty serious evil here, the kind of thing that I start feeling guilty about paying for when I pay taxes. (Although I probably shouldn't worry too much about where my taxes are going, since Jesus supported paying taxes to the pagan Caesar.)

Peter

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Okay, so my aunt has tagged me on Facebook for this meme, and it's my nephew-ish duty to comply...

Rules:
Whatcha talkin' about? I don't need no rules! I tag none but those that tag themselves.

Really really random things about me:
1) I have a theory about humour where jokes need only amuse myself. I sometimes wonder if people hear me when I burst out laughing for no apparent reason as I'm trying to fall asleep.

2) I am a soft-core pacifist. I've thought a lot about pacifism and just war theory, and I've come to the current, tenative conclusion that there is such a thing as a just war. However, it seems like human war is generally unjust. Practically, I have chosen not to do engineering work for arms companies or governments and I am unwilling to be in direct service of a military. I voted US Pacifist Party in the 2008 US Presidential election.

3) I'm into heavy metal music, like, where the singers scream. I guess I'm falling down a spiral of sensory down-regulation where I need nastier and nastier music to get a kick. But it's a fun downward spiral of sensory down-regulation.

4) I'm in an argument with food. In some ways, I wish I could be middle aged and not have to eat as much. Yeah, it's stupid I know. Don't worry, I'll enjoy my youth.

5) All throughout school and undergrad at university, I wrote in pen because assessements had to be in pen. Now I'm using pencil.

6) I am a highly imaginary person. As a complex number, I would call myself something like 1.7 + j10. Other people are more real, and therefore would feel uncomfortable summarising themselves (or probably anyone) in a single number.

7) I am a city dweller. I grew up in Chicago, a city so big that it scares me when I go back. As a city dweller, I have developed a set of understandings of the world from that perspective. For example, I am opposed to guns and I believe that the 2nd Ammendment in the US constitution should be removed. In the city, there is no reason to have a gun. However, in the country, a gun can be just another sharp tool.

8) I type with more confidence than I handwrite.

9) I studied electrical engineering but I didn't learn electromagnetics.

10) It's been said that if you play guitar you can play bass guitar. I think the general feeling is true, in that if you play guitar it's easier to learn bass than flute, but still bass is a complicated instrument all by itself.

11) I used to dislike the sound of bass drums. I find get a pop/rock bass drum sound that I really liked. Now I don't seem to have that problem.

12) I've come to believe that maths is just a langauge and that it doesn't express fundamental truths about the world.

13) I've also come to believe that philosophy is a process and that it isn't useful for finding fundamental truths about the world.

14) I've found that fundamental truths about the world pretty much have to be assumed before you start doing anything. It seems like no one questions their own existence, even though "I think therefore I am" is actually arbitrary!

15) I've come to truth in Jesus and reject atheism. Atheism is useless and dead. There is no life purpose in atheism except the arbitrary.

16) Ironically, I am working on a project doing predictions of simple time-series sequences (like chaotic oscillators) but I doubt the predictability of most actual things.

17) I have a funny thing on my right wrist that's like a birthmark but not. It helped me learn left from right as a kid. Now I consider it a special feature and an outward reminder of the asymmetry of my body.

18) I regard asymmetry as an important element of art, philisophically speaking. Art should be almost symmetrical, but not quite.

19) I read and reread the Bible but don't get closer to understanding Jesus.

20) I find it aesthetically pleasing to not own a car, but eventually I'll probably want one enough and have enough money to get one.

21) I'm

22) running

23) out

24) of

25) things!

Peter