Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit. Me? I'm not even a noun, I'm a fucking verb, dude.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Some Super Cool BOINC Stats and on the Optimization of BOINC

BOINC is just a synthetic super computer. It basically (figuratively, not literally) takes everyone's home personal computers around the globe and combines them together to create a veritable Voltron of Science. It doesn't cause slow down to your computer either, it just uses spare CPU resources when they are available. The three most popular programs on BOINC, I believe, are World Community Grid, Rosetta@Home, and Seti@Home.


I'm just going to focus on the two most popular for the sake of simplicity (in making my argument following the presentation of the cool cool statistics).

Ok, so now here are the basic stats of BOINC's current computational power levels:

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What does the scouter say about BOINC's power level !?

Total BOINC processing power (average recorded as of Dec. 14, 2012): 7.3 petaFLOPS

Total processing power of Seti@home (average as of Nov. 12, 2012): 597 teraFLOPS

Total processing power of World Community Grid (average as of Dec. 6, 2012): 501 teraFLOPS

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alright, what's a "FLOP" you may ask? It stands for "floating point operations per second" and it is a measure of computational speed, or a power level if you will. A "peta" is a flop to the 15th power (meaning fifteen zeros after the number) and a "tera" flop has only 12 zeros after the number. So, a "petaflop" is 7300000000000000 floating point operations per second. Pretty snazzy eh, all them flopsy-mopsies?

The synthetic Voltron super computer is currently running at 7.3 petaflops, and it is running about a dozen programs on it. Programs like Seti@Home, Rosetta@Home, MilkyWay@Home, World Community Grid, and others.

The two most popular programs that home users are setting their BOINC up to are Seti and WCG.

That's the basics.

Optimizing BOINC

Okay, now I'll get into my opinions on optimizing BOINC which are as follows,

(A) Get More People On BOINC
(B) Make Faster Processors
(C) Stop Giving a Fuck about Greasy-Ass Aliens that you're Never gonna Find

Firstly, (A) there are currently 2.5 million users who have connected their personal computers to the BOINC network. That's not half bad.

Yet, it is estimated that the total number of personal computers in human households is nearing the 2 billion mark (likely by 2014). So, that means only about 0.125 % of global humans are contributing to BOINC presently.

If BOINC is generating a pretty decent 7.3 petaFLOPS off of 0.125% of the total computers in households around the world then what would it run at on 100%? It still has 99.875% of its theoretical potential at this juncture. That's really interesting, it's not even running at 1% of its capabilities.

Yes! Yes! I Feel like 5.84 exaFLOPS!
Theoretically, with 2 billion household computers Voltroned-up to the grid...it could run at 5.84 exaFLOPS (which is one level higher than a petaFLOP). Cool.

Nextly, (B) is sort of obvious. If new processor chips are designed to speed up computers...then obviously it would compound the compounds of each unit and increase the floppage.

It's (C) that's the one I think is the least obvious and most controversial method of optimzing BOINC....

Stop Giving a Care about those Silly old Aliens

Out of the 2.5 million or so users that are hooked up to BOINC, more than half are running Seti@Home. About 1.3 million boinc users run seti.

What is seti? Researchers send out high frequency radio signal into the darkest coldest regions of outer space...and hope aliens hear them and respond.

The ones on Seti are likely the most hardcore geeks too with the fastest home computers, and they are using up 597 teraFLOPS of BOINC's current power level to try and find some greasy-ass dirty aliens in outer space. Yeah, I dunno 'bout this.

When I first got BOINC I looked at the @homes they had, and back then it was mostly space stuff. I chose Milkyway@home which is trying to map out the known universe. I never gave one iota of interest to Seti@home. I thought it was dumb. I know that statement will make a lot of geeks very mad, but it's true.

When I first heard about IBM's World Community Grid and how it uses BOINC flops to conduct research on diseases, clean energy, plant proteins, and other more down to earth things...I immediately downloaded it and left just a few resources for milkyway@home and gave most of my computer's idle resources to World Community Grid.
No. Let's not...

Down to earth research is far more interesting sounding and beneficial. Using global computational power to search for aliens is a huge waste and I think everyone pretty much knows that.

Jodie Foster isn't gonna find some alien signal from shooting out radio waves, a Vulcan isn't gonna come down to earth and teach us how to make spaceships, or anything like that. That's just in movies guys, not real life.

Getting the 1.3 million Seti@Home users to switch onto a less pointless program (go to MilkyWay even if you want to stay in an outer space one), is another great way to optimize BOINC. I truly believe that Seti is a big waste, sorry....but it's true.

Forget stupid aliens...


END NOTE: If you are interested in BOINC, you might want to find out what sort of power your geographic area runs off of. I've been reading lately (thanks to a heads up from a friend of mine) that keeping computers idle in an area where the grid runs off of coal (or other fossil fuels) is highly inefficient and highly undesirable. Coal is the most pollutant form of energy production and since some BOINC programs are even about pollution reduction and clean energy research...it would be ironic to run BOINC off of energy from burning coal.

Places like South Africa, Poland, China (though the Three Gorges Dam is a GREAT start to help them get off of coal), Kazahkstan, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, both Koreas, Australia, parts of the United States (Texas and Ohio are almost all coal powered, whilst Vermont and Rhode Island are coal free), and parts of Canada (Alberta is all coal for instance, while many others are coal free).

It's possible that a globally interlinked, highly efficient, up-time/down-time fluctuation-calibrated, minimal polluting hydro-electric power grid would be desirable for the optimal optimization of the BOINC network.

While one half of the world is awake, the uptime is calibrated to their hemisphere, while the other side sleeps the downtimed lesser-load would be optimal time used for computations and calculations benefiting science and humanity (and vice-versa while the other half of the world goes to sleep at the end of their day). Thus exercising the utmost efficient use of energy in order to balance both the rat-race-to-and-fro world and the calculations/research necessary to the advancement of science and the livingry of humanity.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Canadian Bill C-45 Breakdown Summary

The government always tries to slam through crazy 500 page bills right before Christmas break because they know it's the easiest time to get them passed because no one wants to go into Christmas break thinking about work and, in the case that the bill fails to pass, no Canadian citizen wants to have to go and vote in an election on Christmas.

They dubbed this 457 page whopper of a bill the "Job and Growth Act" (because, hey, who doesn't just love jerbs and growth?), and sold it as a bill that will be "tough on crime."

This bill is written as if it is to ammend the Criminal Code to make it more "tough on crime," but one must wonder why it is being pushed through by the Finance Minister and why it is nicknamed the "Jobs and Growth Bill."

They didn't exactly tell the public that in that 457 pages of legal-speil sheister-ridden gobbledeguk were ammendments which alter the constitution on matters such as Native Treaty Rights, Fisheries, Employment Insurance, Oil and Gas Operations, and a slew of other totally unrelated matters. So, if you're watching the news lately, and see a lot of Canadian First Nations folks in the street...it's because they are really really fucking angry about this effronterous sheister-ass bill.

The Bill (.PDF): http://www2.macleans.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/C-45-Jobs-and-Growth-Act-2012.pdf
Tough on crime....and lakes?

Mixed into the LAWCAP's lawyer-lingo is countless changes that really have no place in a bill pertaining to the the Criminal Code.

For example, they have a huge section listing which waterways/lakes/rivers/oceans are now navigatable by the "crown" (buried near the end on page 424).

One of the things that is making the First Nations angry, is that they know that these lakes and rivers are not going to be used for fishing by the government, they are going to be used to dump tailings and chemicals into them.

I thought it would be fun to throw the word "pipeline" into the edit-find function on the PDF file to see how many times they changed acts regulating that industry and...
It's not a "work" it's....uh..something different!
Gee, now who would have thought that something benefitting oil companies would have been snuck into a 457 page filibuster bill?

I'm not an expert in LAWCAP sheister-spiel, but I think the above ammendment states something along the lines that the term "work" is used in the "Oil and Gas Operations Act", and this ammendment will make a pipeline not considered a "work" thus it will be exempt from regulations in the "Oil and Gas act" due to semantic sheister-speil reasons.

That's just two examples, I don't want to waste my life reading this stupidity any longer, it's Christmas and shit, and just like the morons in the opposition parties who let this bill pass...I don't want to read the entire 457 pages of asshole-garbage either.

There's a cool movement afoot called the Idle No More movement of First Nations People, and I hope it garners support but....personally, I think the average WASP Canadian is far too racist to support or care about things like this.

Please, if you are interested, read the bill, these examples are just two of possibly thousands of depraved LAWCAP maneuvers in it.

Honestly, I think Jim Flaherty should resign, and I think a law should be made that a 457 (200+) page bill should be given months to peruse and not filibustered through at Christmas time, and that a clarity act should be installed to eliminate the wording of deceptive bills and stop the erroneous nick-naming of said bills.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Good and (more importantly) FREE Video Games on the Old Internet...

I'm a cheap man. I am a cheap-ass fucking guy. I love playing video games, but I don't like spending my geldt on that shit. The last game I spent money on was Suikoden III which wikipedia tells me was released in 2002, so I haven't spent money on video games in a full 10 years now.

That's why when there's free video games to be had, I'm all over them like a crazy man. Free is my favorite four letter word. I think what I like best about free games is that I don't have to pay for them. The following are the best free games I've played on in the last while...

Mega Man versus Street Fighter

Mega Man is fun. For his 25th anniversary Capcom made a new-old-school style Mega Man where he fights Street Fighter guys.

If you play it please do it in the following boss order (it will help you win the day): Dhalsim -> Blanka -> Rose -> Rolento -> Urien (he's hard but his stage music is nice and catchy though) -> Ryu -> Chun-Li -> C. Viper. There's more levels after this but I haven't beat them yet, I died at Vega just now and got angry, started swearing like a little child, and switched to writing this blog thing.


Mega Man

Rating: 7/10

Play it: http://www.capcom-unity.com/mega_man/
(the website might be slow because millions of geeks are probably getting this free shit right now)

Abobo's Big Adventure

Abobo was the big tough guy (and sub-boss/jabroni-boss/green-boss) in the Double Dragon games. Here he finally gets the spotlight in his own game where he has to save his son (aptly named Abo-boy).

If you're a fan of the old NES then this game will feel like home for you. Abobo makes his way through Double Dragon, Zelda, freakin' Balloon Fight, that wrestling game with the lizard man from Brazil, Mega Man, Super Mario, Contra, Kung Fu, Punch Out, and...Urban Champion (yeah Urban Champion).

Abobo is not presented as an anti-hero though, Abobo is a hero-hero. He saves his son and...well, I don't want to spoil it...but the ending is very touching in an emotional and free way. 

This game was a collaboration from I-Mock, Pesto Force, and Pox Box. I-Mock would have had another game listed in this entry, a game they made where Ivan Drago battled his way to the top (fighting dinosaurs, thugs, Rocky (in a wheel Chair)...and you could play as Apollo Creed who had a crescent energy wave super move...it was soo coool). The Drago game was ordered to be removed from the site by whoever owns the rights to the Rocky films, which sucks because that was a really well made game (and a very very FREE game to boot).  I forget what it was called and all mention of it seems to have been removed from I-Mock's site.


I love you so much Abobo, I wish we could be friends in real life...

Rating: 9.5/10

Play it: http://www.abobosbigadventure.com/

I Wanna Be the Guy

This game is about a kid who wants to be the guy. It's really hard, personally I've never made it to the end and don't really want to. It's too gimmicky. You can save your progress at almost every intreval which makes it easy, but I got tired of trying to make my way around all the traps, gave up and never went back to it. I didn't really want to be the guy, I guess. It's too gimmicky I think. I get the joke that it's funny to die in ways you didn't think you could die, but the novelty kind of wears off eventually and it just becomes boring.

I remember there was this weird-ass cat game (mostly white everywhere) that I think did the weird-ways-to-die-in-a-platformer gimmick first but I can't remember the name of that game now. Oh wait, nevermind, I searched for "cat mario" in googles and found the game, it does indeed set the tone for this gimmick indeed. (Cat Mario video: Here). Now I'm not saying "Cat Mario" or whatever it's called is better than I Wanna Be the Guy, I'm just saying the funny-ways-to-die gimmick wasn't anything particularly new.


Mike Tyson

Rating: 6.9/10

Play it: http://kayin.pyoko.org/iwbtg/

Dikembe Mutumbo's 4 1/2 weeks to Save the World

This is an ad campaign for Old Spice but it is still nice and free though. I'm not sure this is gonna get anyone to buy Old Spice products but it's a pretty decent game. When it first came out I thought it was gonna be the coolest shit but it didn't really live up to its potential.

When I first heard that Dikembe Mutumbo was providing the voice of Dikembe Mutumbo, I thought this game was going to be amazing. It wasn't exactly what I expected it to be but it's still good none-the-less. The levels are as follows: Battle Toads (The one where you go down), Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man (?), and Ikaruga. The Ikaruga one is by far the best one, it has Dikembe flying through space and shooting lazors at shitty internet memes (or "may-mays" as Dikembe pronounces it).


Now, Is he finger wagging the opposing player or the crowd in the selection screen?

Rating: 6.4/10

Play it (I think it's still up): http://www.oldspicesavestheworld.com/

Hacked Mario Games that Are too Hard for me to Beat

I take my Mario games serious. I can beat Mario 1 in about 5.5 minutes, Mario 2 in a little over 10 minutes, and Mario World in about 10 minutes. I have it down to a formula and a tee, and even tried doing it with my eyes closed with somewhat success.

4:58 !? You cracked the big 5 !?!?!
I even at one point thought I was the best at it. Until I heard about Twin Galaxies and Speed Demons Archive (reputable institutions who keep track of gaming feats of strength and records).

Turns out some guy named Andrew "The Greek Mystique" Gardikis beats these games many seconds faster than I can. Last year, The Greek Mystique even cracked the 5 minute mark in Mario 1 and beat it in 4:58. He's amazing, the way he handles the birds in 6-2 in Mario 2 for example is un-fucking-canny.

He's so good at Mario right now that he's akin to the Greek god Icarus who upon gaining his wings flew too close to the sun. No mortal man should crack the 5 minute mark in Mario 1 , Gardikis is truly flying too close to the sun at this point. You're playing with fire Gardikis! With fire!!!!

Truth be told, those games are really easy. People have made hacked versions of Mario games in recent years to increase the difficulty (Mario X, Super Talking Time Brothers, and countless INSANE Japanese ones). I like these games because they are nice and free. Here's two videos of examples to finish this article...

Wow I haven't seen this first video in a few years but looks like it's up to 25 million views now:


Hit da bloopa and inta da hole!


Kaizo Mario is really hard. I can't play it on a keyboard because you have to short hop (half press the jump button) too much, I'd have to buy a USB SNES controller to beat this and that means it wouldn't be free enough for me to play it.



Wait, one sec, hold up (edit)...

I mentioned I-Mock's Ivan Drago game that was removed by MGM pictures as being worthy of being known as both a "good and "free" game. Seems like you can still play that great game on Newgrounds though!

Ivan Drago Justice Enforcer !!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Tim Raines and the Hall of Fame (again)

Last year prior to the Hall of Fame voting period, I wrote a piece about Rock Raines:

http://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2011/12/baseball-hall-of-fame-is-incomplete.html

I just want to add another statistical analysis to that piece for the upcoming vote this year. I want to take the interesting statistics from the Montreal Expos 1985 season. In that year, the leadoff man (the "run scorer") of the '85 Expos, Timmy Raines put up these stats:
Should-be Hall of Famer Tim Raines

AVG: .320
OBP: .405
SLG: .475
R: 115
2B: 30
3B: 13
HR: 11
SB: 70
CS: 9

Okay, so those are Raines' impressive stats. Now let's state the "RBI Guys" stats of that year. Meaning, the 3-4-5 slot power hitters who are supposed to drive in runs.

Hubie Brooks: .269, 13 HR, 100 RBI (in 605 at bats)

Hawk Dawson: .255, 23 HR, 91 RBI (in 529 at bats)

Eli Wallach: .260, 22 HR, 81 RBI (in 569 at bats)

Now, those are not those players best years that's for sure. The most interesting stat out of these is Hubanoid Brook's 100 runs batted in while only hitting .269 and hitting 13 homers. How did he manage to crack 100 ribbies while hitting quite below average? Because of Raines.

Raines was on base 40.5% of the time he got to bat this season (hence the .405 OBP). Since he hit leadoff and further in the game after the pitcher he usually had the bases open for him (this also as mentioned in the last article as the reason why his own RBI stats are low due to hitting in this position). Raines not only reached base 40% of the time, but stole 70 bases (only caught 9 times), hit 30 two-baggers, 13 triples, and homered himself home 11 times. So, not only was Raines making it safely on to the bases 40% of the time, but he was in scoring position by his own means many (or most) of those times. He'd draw a walk and steal himself into scoring position (even steal second and third sometimes), or he'd hit a double or a triple and be in scoring position too. Basically, Raines was the easiest guy, due to his speed, for an RBI guy to drive home. In some cases they just had to ground out or hit a fly ball to the outfield and Raines would score from third or tag up from third with his speed to score a run. Yes, sometimes Hubie, Hawk, and Eli only had to make an out to drive Raines in and get credited with an RBI. That's how Hubie could have had a 100 RBI season while hitting only .260 and hitting only 13 homers, he was often making outs and getting RBIs out of it thanks to Rock.

Let's say Hubie, Hawk, and Eli were hitting their best that year, how many runs would Raines have theoretically scored if they were? I assume Raines was left stranded at second or third an unusual amount of times in this season. If these three were hitting at their best documented levels, it's not farfetched to say that Raines could have had 130, 140, or even 150 runs scored that season.

With the heart of the lineup putting up off seasons, he still managed to score 115 times in the 1985 season, which is amazing, really.

Years ago, sabrematrician Billy James thought up a cool stat called Win Shares, which tries to isolate the team's overall success to the actions made by individual players during that season. Here are the win share ranks for the 1985 Montreal Expos:

1. Tim Raines 36
2. Vance Law 24
3. Tim Wallach 23
4. Andre Dawson 16
5. Bryn Smith 16
6. Hubie Brooks 15
7. Tim Burke: 13
8. Jeff Reardon 13
9. Joe Hesketh 11
10. Gully, Webster, Danny Driessen 9

Despite Hubie's 100 RBIs (which is a stat hall of fame voters would fall in love over), Hubie only has 15 win shares. As was shown above, due to Raines' speed, Brooks was getting RBIs on outs and that factors in to the win share formula and is representable in the data. Meanwhile Rock is credited with 36 win shares a full 12 more the second place Vance Law. So, yeah, I dunno any other way to say it. My father coined a good term once, where when a hockey goalie wins a game for his team despite his team being outplayed by the other team. He used to say, "that goalie is standing and his head to win it!" and I think that's the term that would apply to Tim Raines' 1985 season with the Expos. He was literally standing on his head to get them victories.

(note: I am as surprised as you are that Vance Law was second in win shares in '85. Could be from Vance's magic underwears he and those other mormon guys wear)

And to close this article out, for good measure here is the historical Montreal Expos all time win shares:

1 Raines, Tim ,,,,, 268
2 Carter, Gary ,,,,, 239
3 Dawson, Andre ,,,,, 216
4 Tim Wallach ,,,,, 211
5 Rogers, Steve ,,,,, 182
6 Guerrero, Vladimir ,,,,, 166
7 Vidro, Jose ,,,,, 119
8 Martinez, Dennis ,,,,, 111
9 Bailey, Bob ,,,,, 110
10 Cromartie, Warren ,,,,, 106
11 Grissom, Marquis ,,,,, 103
,,, Walker, Larry ,,,,, 103
13 Fairly, Ron ,,,,, 94
14 Parrish, Larry ,,,,, 92
,,, Staub, Rusty ,,,,, 92
16 White, Rondell ,,,,, 91
17 Galarraga, Andres ,,,,, 90
18 Alou, Moises ,,,,, 89
,,, Cabrera, Orlando ,,,,, 89
20 Smith, Bryn ,,,,, 83
21 Lansing, Mike ,,,,, 82
22 Burke, Tim ,,,,, 79
,,, Valentine, Ellis ,,,,, 79
24 Speier, Chris ,,,,, 76
25 Vazquez, Javier ,,,,, 76
26 Deshields, Delino ,,,,, 74
27 Brooks, Hubie ,,,,, 73
28 Renko, Steve ,,,,, 72
29 Reardon, Jeff ,,,,, 71
30 Rojas, Mel ,,,,, 69
31 Hunt, Ron ,,,,, 67
32 Fassero, Jeff ,,,,, 65
,,, Martinez, Pedro ,,,,, 65
34 Gullickson, Bill ,,,,, 63
35 Jorgensen, Mike ,,,,, 62
,,, Singleton, Ken ,,,,, 62
37 Fryman, Woodie ,,,,, 61
,,, Webster, Mitch ,,,,, 61
39 Cordero, Wil ,,,,, 59
40 Marshall, Mike ,,,,, 58
,,, Wilkerson, Brad ,,,,, 58
42 Urbina, Ugueth ,,,,, 57
43 Schatzeder, Dan ,,,,, 56
44 Owen, Spike ,,,,, 53
45 Stoneman, Bill ,,,,, 52
46 Sanderson, Scott ,,,,, 51
47 Fitzgerald, Mike ,,,,, 50
48 Perez, Tony ,,,,, 49
49 Law, Vance ,,,,, 48
50 Lea, Charlie ,,,,, 47
51 Fletcher, Darrin ,,,,, 45
,,, Wetteland, John ,,,,, 45
53 Hermanson, Dustin ,,,,, 44
,,, McGaffigan, Andy ,,,,, 44
55 Foley, Tom ,,,,, 43
,,, Foli, Tim ,,,,, 43
,,, Grudzielanek, Mark ,,,,, 43
,,, Segui, David ,,,,, 43
59 Walker, Tom ,,,,, 42
60 Hernandez, Livan ,,,,, 41
,,, Martinez, Dave ,,,,, 41
,,, Schneider, Brian ,,,,, 41
63 Hill, Ken ,,,,, 40
,,, Oliver, Al ,,,,, 40
65 Santangelo, F.P. ,,,,, 37
66 Torrez, Mike ,,,,, 36
67 Berry, Sean ,,,,, 35
,,, Cash, Dave ,,,,, 35
,,, Rodriguez, Henry ,,,,, 35
70 Barrett, Michael ,,,,, 34
,,, Ohka, Tomo ,,,,, 34
,,, Scott, Rodney ,,,,, 34
73 Morton, Carl ,,,,, 33
,,, Murray, Dale ,,,,, 33
,,, Palmer, David ,,,,, 33
,,, Perez, Pascual ,,,,, 33
77 Armas, Tony ,,,,, 32
,,, Jones, Mack ,,,,, 32
79 Andrews, Shane ,,,,, 31
80 Foote, Barry ,,,,, 30
,,, White, Jerry ,,,,, 30
82 Nabholz, Chris ,,,,, 29
,,, Perez, Carlos ,,,,, 29
84 Stevens, Lee ,,,,, 28
85 Hesketh, Joe ,,,,, 27
,,, Sosa, Elias ,,,,, 27
,,, Taylor, Chuck ,,,,, 27
,,, Telford, Anthony ,,,,, 27
,,, Widger, Chris ,,,,, 27
,,, Youmans, Floyd ,,,,, 27
91 Calderon, Ivan ,,,,, 26
92 Day, Boots ,,,,, 25
93 Lee, Bill ,,,,, 25
94 Chavez, Endy ,,,,, 24
,,, Mangual, Pepe ,,,,, 24
96 Henry, Butch ,,,,, 23
,,, Stanhouse, Don ,,,,, 23
,,, Woods, Ron ,,,,, 23
99 Bateman, John ,,,,, 22
,,, Francona, Terry ,,,,, 22
,,, Fullmer, Brad ,,,,, 22
,,, Kline, Steve ,,,,, 22
,,, McAnally, Ernie ,,,,, 22
,,, Stewart, Scott ,,,,, 22

Yes, Raines was responsible for more Expos victories than any other player in Expos history according to Billy James' formula. It's nice to see Cro up there at number 10 too.

If Carter and Dawson are Hall of Famers, then Tim Raines is 100% worthy to be in with them. Because, hey, Raines was better than both of them. It's becoming a December tradition for me to write about Raines and the Hall of Fame, I hope this December traditional doesn't go on for 10 years...I hope he gets in soon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Young Humans and the Art of Coping

Coping means (as stated by the Wikipedia) "constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing" or "exceeding the resources of the person."

Coping is how you take all your troubles and worries, and deal with 'em. That's coping.

Every month there's a new story somewhere about some troubled asshole coward loser who can't cope with life and goes and kills people or themselves (or both). We then all collectively wonder how some fucked up maniac could do such a thing, and we wonder how we can prevent it in the future from happening again.

In terms of preventive measures, some point at measures like outlawing guns, some point to censoring violent video games. Those topics are well covered, but the one I think that is most important, in my opinion, to stop this from happening again is to teach kids the art of coping.

Whenever I see a story where some maniac like that loser in Connecticut has lost it and went on a shooting rampage, I have to wonder what could have possibly made this kid go over the edge. These kids aren't living in a famine-ridden third world country with no way out. They are always regular healthy looking rich enough kids, what was possibly so bad about their lives that they had to lose their fragile minds?

Whenever there are reasons provided behind the stories in all cases the reasons are absurd. Sometimes a kid shoots up his school over being unpopular, or because someone called him a name, or some pointless thing. People are going on shooting sprees for the smallest of first world problems.

There's stories about kids killing themselves because their parents took their X-box away, or a story about a kid who killed himself because he lost his Iphone, or a story about a lady killing herself because some Australians made a joke about the queen of England. People are killing themselves over the silliest of issues.

To me, it all seems to boil down to the ability to cope.

How to do Coping

This is all you have to do to cope, when problems arise, this is how you should mentally respond to them:

When someone calls you a mean name: "Who cares?"

When someone makes fun of you: "Who cares?"

When you lose your Iphone: "Who cares? Fuck that I-Phone. Steve Jobs was a shitstain anyway. What does that billionaire need my money for?"

When your parents take away your x-box: "Fuck X-Box. Bill Gates is a shitstain anyway. What does that billionaire need my money for?"

When someone pokes fun at Royals: "Hahaha, good one!"

There, that is how you cope. That's it. When these problems arise, you don't need to start terminating lives (either yourself or others)...you just need to cope a bit, that's all.

I Love Coping

I've been a mellow person my whole life, and the trick is hardcore coping. I actually personally don't care about anything...AND IT'S GREAT!

If you want my secrets to coping, well, I'll give them to you. Because it seems so many young people can't cope with even pointlessly meaningless problems. If you are a young human and you are reading this, please listen to these following three videos...they may save your life. They are mantras to play in your brain when worries take over.

Firstly, when I was six (young age) my parents showed me the movie Meatballs and it was real funny. There's a part in Meatballs where Mr. Bill Murray teaches young campers how to cope with shit:


The Mantra of "It Just Doesn't Matter" stuck in my young brain forever. "It" really doesn't matter at all. Whatever "It" is that is bothering you...Bill is right...it does not even matter. Are you worried about something? Some stupid thing? Well guess what....It Just Doesn't Matter, bro/sis. This is some of the truest shit anyone ever said, and I'm not even exaggerating...it really is. This shit is TRUE.

Nextly, when I became a greasy teenager-style human, I found some coping potential in this song sung by crooner Robert Wright,


Forget Your Life is pretty true too. What is it that you are worried about? It's Nothing. It not only just doesn't matter at all... but it's actually Nothing. Your worries and troubles are Nothing. It's similar to Just Doesn't Matter but thinking your troubles are Nothing is an even stronger dose of mental cognitive coping.

Finally here's the greateast song I ever heard, it is called "I Don't Care,"


Oh man, this song is so true it's not even funny...and there's only like 10 words in the song so it's really easy to turn into a Mantra that can play in your brain endlessly (I might even be playing this song 24 hours a day subconscoiously in the back of my brain for all I know). It's so simple man...but it's SO TRUE.

Lyrics by Joey Ramone:

I don't care
I don't care
I don't care
About this world
I don't care
About that girl
I don't care
I don't care
I don't care
About these words
I don't care


Conclusion

So, in closing, please youth...don't lose your shit over pointless fucking things anymore. When life is getting you down just cope a bit. Life is easy, it really is...there's never a point to buy guns and go do that sort of thing. Life is a pretty sweet fruit...when you don't care about shit.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Are People Readin' This?

Sometimes, the stats and google analytic data make me think people are actually readin' this garbage.

People search for "oil sands pros and cons" and hit this. They never comment, so I assume it is not interesting enough data to peruse fully. Do they just hit it and quit? I dunno. Maybe not, because the "behavior" tab in the google analytics says some folks even spend over 40 minutes reading the horrible garbage in this "blog".

For the old Human Record, I've written twice (or 2.5 if you count the feigned kookery one) on this subject:

First Thing on Oil Sands: http://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2011/05/canadian-election-super-power-rankings.html

Second Thing on Oil Sands: http://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2012/02/pros-and-cons-of-canadas-crude-oil.html

Are those google stats true? Are people hitting "oil sands pros and cons" and spending 40+ minutes reading about the crap I write? Can that possibly be true? Is there something to be gained from my fragmented and bad opinions?

When I re-read what I wrote in those two Oil Sands articles, I felt bad for calling Pierre Elliot Trudeau a "jabroni" and other bad names.

So, in the obtuse case (probably 1,000,000,000 to 1) that the people who I think are actually reading what I write (i.e. people with vested interest in which applies to the oil sands) are actually reading this, there's only one more tidbit of information I'd like to add to the "oil sands" debate and it's one that has always stuck out like a thorn in my side when saw it I thought about it.

It's from a page in Buckminster Fuller's book, Critical Path, in which he mentions both Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Energy. I'd like to bring up this piece of information because it is actually interesting and makes me feel bad for calling Trudeau a "jabroni",

"In the early years of Trudeau's premiereship of Canada, when he was about to make his first visit to Russia, I gave him my world energy network plan, which he presented to Brezhnev, who turned it over to his experts. On his return to Canada, Trudeau reported to me that the experts had come back to Brezhnev with: 'feasible...desirable.' " 
         - Buck Fuller, Critical Path, (Intro:p.xxxi)

Was Trudeau's vision of a National Energy Program something bigger? Something not corrupt? Something even inspired by Buck Fuller?

Arris Dome, circa 1967
Buck Fuller laid out an Ultra-High-Voltage Dymaxion Sky-Ocean World Map which showed how easy it would be to connect the ENTIRE WORLD to a hydro-electric power grid. (mainly running across Sea-People costal junctures and a few inland nations). The whole world could efficiently be connected together on one highly efficient and low-polluting power grid.

(Note: Buck Fuller's main connection to Montreal/Quebec/Canada is the pretty cool biosphere or dymaxion-involuted-cross-cut-non-flat-plane-series-of-sixty-degree-angles Bioshpere which is really cool looking)

When you look at the troubles of energy in Canada and the world, and at the danger of reliance on fossil fuels, was the National Energy Program really a scam or was it an earnest attempt to get people to work together? I don't know, all I know is that paragraph from Crtitical Path is pretty interesting.

Maybe P.E. Trudeau wasn't a big-time Jabroni after all (possibly just a small-time jabroni).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Edge-Joo-Mah-Cay-Shun

I wrote an article on a kooky guy named N.D. Sickels once (here). I found the old man's writing to be very honest (though pretty crazy). Due to it's quaintness and honesty, his book written in 1919 called "The Universal Panacea" has remained relevant to modern kook researchers.

Another equally quaint and honest manuscript by a bored old man, back in 1990, which has remained relevant for many years now is the one by Ernest "Free" Mann. He shares many things in common with Sickels (utopian, honesty, quaint) but Mann is less crazy than Sickels (yet he's also a far more boring writer than Sickels). Mann was an old retired guy with a lot of time on his hands, who sat down and wrote his thoughts on life and then offered it free of charge as a newsletter through the mail (this was pre-internet of course).

Mann's Manuscript, Free I Got: http://mountholly-lamano.com/freeigot.htm

It's very long and you'll notice right off the bat, it's very utopian and unrealistic. In fact, respected kook researcher Ivan Stang assesses Mann's manuscript in his work High Weirdness by Mail as follows,

Definitely the most idealistic, and arguably the most naive set of pamphlets in our Archives. The author's plan for total world utopia involves, simply, everyone working for nothing; all competition would be abolished. Work without pay - is that too much to ask? It's a pathetic halfway measure, though. We'd still be working. Otherwise, it might be a great idea...on some other planet, using some other race besides humans. [The price of the newsletter is] Free, of course.

-Stang, I. "High Weirdness by Mail", p.159

Ernest Mann tried to push a platform called the "Priceless Economic System" (or PES) in his newsletter and manuscript. This platform involved everyone doing what they felt like doing and work was done by people offering certain skills they had into a "skill pool" which would be shared by everyone.

I like to read these types of things because I like to synthesize many many different opinions on subjects before I develop my own opinion on them. Kook writings are great because you have a good chance of finding a view point that you haven't seen before, which may refine your opinion a bit more. Even if you conclude that everything they said in the article was wrong/bad/crazy at least you've hit another opinion vein. Even disproving an opinion on a subject is still refining your own opinion, it's not lost time.

The other great thing about kook writings, is the rare time, when something they said turns out to probably be right. In a manuscript this long, where probably a few thousand opinions have been released, it's rare that not one of them would be right.

Education

The following are excerpts from "Free I Got" and other writings in Ernie's "Little Free Mann Press,"

Have you ever wanted to learn something new? Like a new trade or profession? Then looked into the cost and time it would take to go to college? One can learn at the library through books, but most books are so vague that one must get more books to understand the first book. This way they make more money from books and classes.

When I bought my computer in about 1987, I also bought "Microsoft Word" one of the best word processor software packages. The 3" thick manuals that explained how to use the word processor, sometimes had such vague explanations that it was nearly impossible for a beginner to understand. Of course they had classes one could buy. Microsoft also sold a book that they wrote, explaining their manuals. No! They didn't include that book with the software! How do you suppose the Microsoft owner (Gates) got to be a billionaire in his thirties. Not by helping people, but by charging all the traffic would bear! This is just one of the tricks that people must play to get ahead in the Profit/Wage Economics Game. It is not bad people, just a bad Game.
I didn't buy their "extra" book and I didn't take their classes. The self teaching was really fun. It felt so good to re-discover the thrill of learning. There was agony too, but the thrills out-weighed them, so I succeeded.

What I'm trying to get at is, -- now we have a great new technology with computers for self-teaching. There is self-teaching software already, but the good stuff is very expensive.

When we start using the Priceless Economic System, my guess is that children and adults will prefer to learn at their own speeds and will mostly do it with computers at home. I bet it won't be too long before we have networks within our homes. Like each family member will have his/her own keyboard and monitor in their room and the power unit and printer will be in a central location in the home. I suppose the more affluent families already have this. We won't even have to go to the library to get the software. We already have modems that can copy the software from the library over the phone in minutes on to our own hard disks or floppy disks to keep in our home libraries. This sharing wouldn't cost the libraries anything. But you can see how the Profit/Wage Economic System (PWES) would object. (pronounced, pee wee's)
The only thing that is keeping this from happening is the PWES. Think of the Profit land speculators and industrialists make selling land and construction materials to the government to build school and college buildings, to fill them with furniture and fixtures, to sell them heat, air conditioning and light and to supply them with maintenance items. Think of the Profit the publishing industry makes on all the books. Student housing, clothing and busing industries get in on the bonanza too.

Even now, without the use of computers, parents who home-school their children, side-step the above expenses and some do it in less than two hours per day. Their children are able to pass the same tests as the kids who must spend their whole day in school plus have 2 hours of home-work. Tell me, which looks like the most sensible route to Progress?

-Ernest "Free" Mann, Free I Got, (1990)

For 1990, this is pretty good reasoning. Fast forward 22 years to 2012 and it looks like his prediction came true.

Is the university system a big scam? I think I agree with Ernest on this one. Are people now a days starting to learn at their own pace on the internet? Yeah.

I can't tell you how many times I've searched for how to do something and then learned how to do it from a video on the internet. A video that I watched for free, one that someone uploaded to the net simply to teach someone else how to do something. It seems people all over the world are putting up videos, writing manuals, and instructions on how to learn new things for free.

Wait a sec...

Is this the "skill pool" he was predicting? Was he right about that too? Why is everyone teaching everyone else how to do things for free?

Here's an example of the millions of "How-To" videos on the net right now:



The Precious KHAAAAN! Learning System

Okay, maybe how to tie a tie is not the coolest example of the learnable skills in the vast and deep skill pool of the internet.

This website, which probably everyone knows by now, Khaaaaan! Academy Dot Org (or http://www.khanacademy.org/) is a better example. Khan Academy is basically a High School diploma for anyone who wants one. Heck, it's even a college diploma for anyone who wants one. Who am I kidding, it's a university degree for anyone who wants one. Well, not really...you can't put Khan leaves on a resume so no one's going to believe you're smart even though you are.

It was started by a nice guy named Sal Khan who worked as a hedge fund analyst in the Profit/Wage Economic System (sorry, I'm still stuck in Ernie Mann viewpoint shock after re-reading Free I Got) who got sick of the bullshit, ditched the PeeWees, and started contributing merit to the Priceless Economic System.

Why did Khan ditch the world of sheisters and scammers, to devote his life to free education?

Khan
According to him,

"With so little effort on my own part, I can empower an unlimited amount of people for all time. I can't imagine a better use of my time."

-Sal Kahn



Time

That word, "time", comes up about a hundred thousand times in Ernest Mann's manuscript. As an old man putting his thoughts to paper, Ernie must have had time on the brain. Maybe as he was aging and starting to understand his time was in its waning years...maybe he started thinking about what actual contributions and merits he made to human history during his time being part of it,
  
"Knowing I'm 63 years old and counting. Even though I'm trying for 165 years, time is still precious. Realizing I have only "X" number of years left and starting right now to use them (this moments) for my own pleasure and happiness. "
-Ernest Mann
Similar to Khan, Ernest Mann was successful in the business world. He worked in the real estate business in Minnesota before getting sick of the rat race and dropping out of it at the age of 42.

In retrospect, maybe his ideas weren't as crazy as once was thought. Is scamming and squeezing more money from someone else for someone else really the best use of your time? Money which is just a human construct that doesn't even really exist? Probably not.

Are sites like Khan Academy proof that Mann's idea of a universal "Skill Pool" or his "Priceless Economic System" may actually hold some water? Possibly, at least it's interesting to think about anyway.

Conclusion

Sometimes observing subjects from a different perspective is fun. You can form your own conclusions on matters and maybe even alter your belief systems slightly.

"Since then [Mann] has had the time and space to observe economics from a different perspective and has had 21 years to travel to many countries; read, observe, discuss, think, evaluate and form his own conclusions about the economic situation, politics, religion, life and individual freedom. Now his belief systems are far different than they were when he was busily engaged in trying to keep his bills paid."

-Free I Got


Friday, October 26, 2012

Why Hasn't John Wetteland ever Wrote a Book?

I've been a fairly large fan of the game of baseball since I was little, and I've gathered a lot of information on the sport over the years.

I've also been a fairly large fan of kooks over the years, and have gathered a large amount of information on that subject as well

Sometimes it's nice when both topics collide and synthesize together, then I can read one book or article and gather information on both baseball and human kookery at the same time.

The Story of Baseball

I look at baseball as just one long story. One long history. The weird thing about it is that the records, annals, statistics, and data recorded on this story are probably more immense and accurate than any other historical collection on earth, which makes it a pretty accurate story (unlike the rest of history subjects). It's an interesting collection of data dating back to the 18th century and this story has a total of 17,786 characters in it, which is a lot to keep track of.


Guan Yuncheng
One of the first stories I encountered which had an abundance of characters (more so than I was used to) was Luo Guanzhong's Three Kingdoms story which was written in the 14th century. It's still popular to this day, many may be familiar with John Woo's Red Cliffs film which is based on this work, or the dozens of video games based off it by Koei. Most Chinese historians will agree that the names recorded in this novel have stood the test of time (Liu Bei, Cao Cao, Sun Jian, Guan Yuncheng, Zhang Fei, etc.).

Guanzhong's story had 978 characters in its 4 volumes...and I must say, it seemed excessive at the time. Yet, compared to the Story of Baseball, 978 doesn't seem like many characters at all. The Story of Baseball has roughly 18 times more characters involved in it than Three Kingdoms.

Each and every one of these characters has a backstory. Each and every player who has been involved in the game was an individual human person with their own unique contribution to the story. Thousands of them have died now and are just memories but at least some facet of their contribution to the Story of Baseball will stand the test of time.

Burt Lancaster
For example, many of you have probably seen the film Field of Dreams (starring James Earl Jones and Kevin Costner). In this film Jones and Costner attempt to track down a man by the name of Archibald "Moonlight" Graham (portrayed by Burt Lancaster) who played only one game in his entire major league career and didn't even get to bat. Jones and Costner want to bring him to their field of dreams and give him a chance to step up to plate.

Archibald "Moonlight" Graham was indeed a real man, who in real life, did indeed make it into one game in 1922 for the New York Giants when he was sent in to replace George Brown in right field for one inning. Like the movie suggests, he did indeed go on to be a doctor after his brief stint as a contributor to the Story of Baseball.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonlight_Graham)

Graham is just one of the 17,786 characters involved, and though he just stood in right field and did nothing for 5 minutes, his name has stood the test of time.

Books

Pitcher Jim Bouton and his 1969 book Ball Four seems to be the likely culprit that lead to a domino effect of every ex-player writing his memoirs and sending it off to the printing press. After players set the ball in motion, soon after it was coaches (Lasorda), then umpires (Luciano), and anyone even briefly associated with baseball wanted to contribute their opinions and memories of their time being associated with it.

Now we don't just have stats, records, dates, and other stuffy facts but we have opinions, thoughts, regrets, observations, and other empirical data. We basically have a big Talmud of baseball writings containing everyone's associated personal interpretation of it. It's kind of interesting, I guess.

I've read some bad books, ok ones, good ones, and some really really good ones over the years. For instance Dick Allen's "Crash" is very good, Dock Ellis' book "Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball" is great, Bill Lee's "The Wrong Stuff" is top notch, Warren Cromartie's "Slugging it Out in Japan" is very interesting, Curt Flood's "The Way It Is" also is very interesting. Oh and No Big Deal by Bird Fidrych is real good too.

I think what makes a book written by an old baseball player good is when they are a bit eccentric and fun. I was thinking about which guys should write books before they die (in order to contribute their opinions to the Baseball Talmud). I'm sure Darrell Evans probably has some funky shit to say, seeing as he has claimed some fucked up stuff over the years. Evans hit over 40 homeruns in two seasons, once in 1973 and again 13 years later in 1985. What rejuvenated his swing to make him belt 40 homers again at the age of 38? According to him, aliens came down to earth and shared with him, and his wife, the secrets of life. I can see him having some interesting things to write about.
It's a boring dimension...

Then there's Darren Daulton, who claims to have seen the 5th Dimension of space-time while lining a ball down the third base line back in 1993, and who claimed to have traveled to the 4th Dimension on several occasions, has just put out a book. It's called If They Only Knew, and I don't think I want to read it because I think his kookiness is just a shtick to sell the book. I don't think he is a genuine kook at all and I'm sure he's just in it for the money. Darren Daulton is a bozo. Besides, everyone knows the 5th Dimension is just a bunch of boring old intersecting fucking tesseracts anyway.

What About John Wetteland?

This guy was a good pitcher.
You know, honestly, one dude who should just sit down one day and knock out a book or two is that guy John Wetteland.

I saw John Wetteland pitch for the Expos at Olympic Stadium when I was a ten year old kid. He used to come out of the bullpen and walk over to the mound while Wild Thing played in the background. He'd come into the game to shut it the fuck down and preserve the lead that the other players took eight innings to create and hold. The man threw 100+ mile an hour fastballs, sliders, and curveballs. His arm was a highly potent and highly efficient strikeout tool.

I watched him again as a thirteen year old kid on T.V., when he joined Tim Raines on the 1996 Yankees and was the MVP in the World Series that year.

Any data or backstory on Wetteland is kind of odd. Any article written about him, or any interview with him, is equally odd. I don't mean it in a bad way though, I mean it, like in way like, that this guy probably thinks about a lot of stuff, you know?



He's absolutely right in what he says around 3:20 in that video. I mean, John could just tell a kid what he did, but maybe if said kid stepped off the mound and stated "chicken salad sandwich" then the advice wouldn't work out for him. It sounds strange at first but John is trying to explain the chaos theory and the effect that tiny minute micro-cosmic actions can lead to a chain of reactive effects that can alter outcomes of future situations...

Chaos Theory:
"Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.[1] This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.[2] In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.[3][4] This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos."
(From Wikipedia)
He seems pretty honest and down to earth in his interviews. In any interview, John seems to be able to get off topic and onto some pretty cool tangents. Here's an excerpt from an interview by Baseball Prospectus where he gets to talking about not believing all information you hear,

"Even in science. Just because somebody has PhD next to his name, I don’t just sit there and nod my head. That’s one of the things I hate, and one of the things that really disappoints me about us as a society. We seem to be so spoon fed. “Spoon feed me the information and I’ll nod my head and go on about my day”—disseminate it without even thinking about it. The Big Bang Theory. How come particles exceed the speed of light in the amount of time that they do? Now, you have to take half, because it comes from a single point; it can’t go one end to the other. It’s relative, so you take half. But it still exceeds the speed of light. We all know that. There’s a convenient explanation, but it doesn’t tell me anything.
I want to know, you know. Even the questions I know that I’ll never answer. That’s why I love Michio Kaku. He has this book that I read about things we thought that we would never do, like go to the moon, fly in an airplane, and yet we did, mostly over the last 100 years. What’s in store for the next 50 years that isn’t a part of our reality now? I mean, who would have thought 20 years ago that ion engines are something we’d be using now? And that’s really cool to think about, because we need alternate sources of fuel. You can’t do solids if we’re going to do any real traveling up there. The problem is that you have one hydrogen atom per 10 square feet of outer space. So there are all kinds of things. Garrett Olson and I were just talking about that. We spent about three innings, me, him, and Brian Sweeney.
          -John Karl Wetteland

I think the question asked by the reporter was about the difficulty of changing from a starter to a reliever early in his career, but I don't think it mattered what the question was, because either way, J.K. Wetteland was going to unload a narrative of human mental restlessness that was cooking up in his noodle all day. I know, 100%, that this is not a shtick. He's just an honest guy who thinks about the future. Wetteland is just contemplating the inherent roadblocks associated with light-speed space travel. Oh, like you haven't?

Here's John responding to question about the homerun Edgar Martinez hit off of him back in 1995,

"That was a watershed moment for me," he said of Martinez's grand slam. "I detested failure and all of 1996, I pitched with the memory of my failure in '95. From then on I understood how to process certain things because I kind of went through the fire. You get refined. I'm the kind of guy who likes to kick my own rear end."

"I remember this was before [John] Elway won his Super Bowls and I was thinking, 'Am I going to be another Elway and be great in the regular season, but just can't get it done in the postseason?' " Wetteland asked himself. "So I decided in '96, that I don't care if I throw the ball 30 feet up the screen, I'm just going to let it go."
         - J.K. Wetteland (source)

Such poetic language. Why doesn't he just sit down and write a few books? What does he have to lose? They'd probably sell millions of copies. Might as well keep going with some more quotes while we're at it,


"I was always a little different, I'd go to the library, read up on tepees, build one in the front yard and sleep there." (source)
"I’m the black sheep. Everyone else is doctors or presidents of marketing for big companies and all this stuff and I’m just a baseball player." (source)
"There’s so much more going on in this world. Sports is not an escape for me. OK? And I think therein lies the difference. For many people it is. It’s the Roman Colosseum all over again. And that’s OK. It’s awesome. It’s healthy, cathartic. It’s not that for me. It’s something I need to execute. There’s a whole different perspective I have and that’s why maybe I can’t enjoy it the same way. I only watch baseball to learn from it, not to enjoy it." (source)
"I understand sequencing and all that sort of stuff..." (source)
"It’s the small things that count, the tiny tiny things.Wade Boggs ate chicken at the same time every day. Do you think that eating chicken really made him a 330 plus hitter? It’s the fact he did it always at a particular time and after that he was “Everything’s OK.” For me it was getting to the park and doing all the crosswords. That was my transition from my home life. Now I exercised my brain at something that was neither here nor there. Now I could get into my work..." (source)
This next quote needs a bit of setup first. John liked to write quatrains and couplets of poetry on the lockers at Dodger Stadium as a 22 year old rookie. This is a sample of some of J.K. Wetteland's early free-style writing,

          INVISIBLE COWS CONTROL MY DESTINY.
          COSMIC WARLORDS MAINTAIN MY SOUL.
          THE ROOM SMELLS OF BURNT PLAID.
          I AM SERVING DOUGHNUTS ON ANOTHER PLANET. (source)


Conclusion

If there's one of the 17,786 characters in the Story of Baseball who needs to contribute a full length book to the repository (or reliquary) of data which compromises the Baseball Talmud...it looks like its John Wetteland. I guarantee anything he writes is going to pretty interesting.

A Suggested title for the book..."John Wetteland in the Chaotic Cosmic Universe of Baseball"

Wiiiiiiild Thing!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Critique of Three Canadian Neuro-Scientists and why Their Respective Findings may have been of the Jabroni Variety

On June 7th, of 2011, I wrote a blog about how I sometime think about my brain:
(http://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2011/06/thinking-about-my-brain.html)

I think about my brain a lot when I have the time, and like I said in the above blog post, I'm not a scientist or anything but I still think that because I have a brain, I am thus qualified to think about it and maybe even have some ideas about how it functions.

I am still unconvinced that there are "left-brained" and "right-brained" people, and I am still unconvinced that the findings made by neuroscientists in the last century were conclusive findings. I will try to elaborate a little further on why I believe this and try and argue my position a little more.

Wilder Penfield? The Legend or the Jabroni?

If you lived in Canada in the last few decades then you probably remember seeing this...


 


Ya, ya, ya..."greatest Canadian alive...", ya, ya, ya.

It might be best to start off the critique by telling you that Penfield wasn't even Canadian, let alone the greatest one of all time. He was actually born in Spokane, Washigton and lived in the USA until leaving to study in various European countries. Penfield only arrived in Montreal at the age of 37...I'm sure if you asked him he'd probably tell you he was American. Right off the bat you know this video is not necessarily accurate.

Penfield and his fellow "Canadian" neuroscience counter-parts of the era, Willie Beecher Scoville (also of American extraction) and Brenda Milner (actually from England) did indeed like to poke people's brains with things and observe their responses but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

The previous era of neuro scientific research was led by findings by Carl Wernicke and Pierre Paul Broca, who tried to isolate which portion of the brain did what. These two men used pigeons or mice as their test subjects. They'd cut off pieces of the their brains and then see what the effect was on the critter. They made some findings and then named portions of the brain after themselves. If cutting up birds and mice and then naming parts of the brain after yourself sounds vain...well it's because it is. At least they were only using critters though. Penfield, Beecher, and Milner were not using critters...

As you can maybe guess from the above video, our three "Canadian" scientists didn't use critters...they used humans as test subjects. Normally, what would happen was a person would come in to their office complaining of epilepsy and then our intrepid heroes would just go to town on the person's brain.

Henry Molaison...poor guy.
One example is the case of Henry Gustav Molaison. In 1957, Henry came into Willie Beecher's office in Hartford, Connecticut complaining of epileptic seizures and requested help from the surgeon. Beecher called up his friends Penfield and Milner in Montreal and the conversation which ensued must have went a little something like so...

Beecher: "Yo, what's up Penny! I got a dude with fucking seizures up in here!"

Penfield: "Oh shit son! That's fucked up bro!"

Beecher: "What should I do to fix this shit?"

Penfield: "You best cut his fucking brain apart dude!"

Beecher: "For real!?"

Penfield: 'Straight up! Just get up in his nose with a drill or cut open his fucking skull and then just rip some of that shit up, or pull some of that junk out...it'll fix him swell, I garuan-fucking-tee it!"


Beecher: "Ok, cool homey...talk to ya later...bye."

Beecher did just that, he went up into Henry Molaison's nose with a nice long drill and fiddled around in there, and then he cut open his skull and took out a few brain chunks here and there of poor Henry's brain.

Molaison's seizures seemed to get a little better in the following weeks, yet a curious thing happened as a side effect. It seems Molaison got really fucked up after Beecher cut parts of his brain off...now who would have thought that would happen? Henry, after the surgery was not able to record any more information to his long term memory.

Beecher was very fascinated by this and called Brenda Milner over to Hartford to help him study his new critter specimen. They interviewed their critter at length and recorded everything he said, and then published their amazing findings and became rich and respected neuro scientists. Good for fucking them. Their paper was titled "Loss of recent memory after bilateral hippocampal lesions," though a more accurate title would have been "We cut off pieces of a dude's brain and were really surprised that he had trouble remembering things after."

Monkeys...

I would like to point you, at this juncture, to another really odd and gruesome neurological study, just to emphasize my main point a little. It's not related to work by Penfield, Beecher, or Milner but it will give you another glimpse into the wonderful world of neuroscience.

I can tell you right now that removing a dude's brain will fuck him up, I don't need to do immense research into that in order to prove it. Why? Because it is obvious to anyone who is not a complete moron that ripping out pieces of a dude's brain will fuck him up. You don't have to rip off pieces of someone's brain and observe him acting fucked up to figure out that it's true, because it's already common fucking sense.

This next case falls under the same principle. Edward Taub was a guy who wanted to prove that ripping out pieces of monkeys brains would fuck them up.

Well, Ed gathered up 17 cute little macaque monkeys, and for the next 11 years, he ripped out parts of their brains, tied them to torture chairs, and did all kinds of sick depraved Josef Mengle-esque horrible things to them.

(see: Silver Spring Monkeys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Spring_monkeys)

Another case with cute little monkeys, is that of Thomas Gennarelli of the University of Pennsylvania, who's research into concussions back in 1983 was similarly as unnecessary. Gennarelli wanted to see what effect hitting monkeys with a hammer would have on their brains.

If I was the guy giving out research grants at U of P that year, I would have said something along the lines of, "you know Tom...I think hitting a monkey in the head with a hammer will fuck it up. I'm not sure you need a few hundred thousand bucks and lab space to test this stupidity out."



Tom got his grant, and for the next two years, he hit monkeys in the head with hammers, and then noticed that, it did indeed fuck them up. Wow, way to go you fucking moron.

A guy named Alex Pacheco got his hands on footage shot in the University of Pennsylvania's lab from researchers working for Gennarelli and made a video cassette out of the footage. You can now view this on youtube (if you are not faint of heart that is). I don't want to embed the video but you can just google Unnecessary Fuss if you are interested in viewing "researchers" hitting monkeys with hydraulic hammers and then coming to the brilliant conclusion that...yes, hitting monkeys with hammers fucks them up or even kills them.


Are All Brains Different?

In the article I wrote on June 7th, I ventured a guess that every brain wired itself differently during the rearing stages of life and each brain may have individual quirks that may vary from person to person. We are born with billions and billions of brain cells shooting around up there in that noodle and all of them are eager to co-operate and meld with each other to form eletrical synaptical synthesii. The cells might process the information as it comes and make patterns and inter-connections on the fly. I think it is on a first-come first-serve incoming basis, and the chemical reactions between brain cells and receptors are going to be set up differently for every person during the "set-up" phase of their brain's life. As the brain develops from a baby brain into a set-in-their-ways adult brain, the interconnections between cells will not be identical for anyone.

If you want, you can go and chop up a dude's brain, keep him in a home like a guinea-pig, see how fucked up he is, and then name a part of the brain after yourself. But honestly though, that is really messed up and completely unnecessary. For that reason, I do not believe that Penfield, Beecher, and Milner are heroes and certainly not the "greatest canadians alive" as that silly video insisted. I believe their findings may have even been jabroni-esque in nature.

Now, again, I'm not a neuroscientist and I don't really have any evidence for my silly theories. I would like to point out though that scientists have tried to recreate the findings of Penfield, Beecher, and Milner...and they were unable to come to the same conclusions. Poking one person in a certain part of their brain will not lead to the same result as poking another person in the exact same part of their brain.

Edit (Nov. 12, 2012)

I'm not saying neuroscience is a jabroni field. I'm just saying that some neuroscientists were jabronies, that's all. The field itself is very interesting and important.

There's been many many good ones over the years. An example of a good neuro scientist in history would be Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who you can read about here.