Archive for February 2009

Insane German

February 28, 2009

The German word for betatron is: Ausserordentlichhochgeschwindigkeitelektronenentwickelndenschwerarbeitsbeigollitron

Good Luck!

O the Things we Learn in Skool

February 27, 2009

Two things:

(A) A relationship between two men is called a “Bromance”.

(B) The derogatory term for an Italian – “wop” – stems from two sources:

  1. Those Italian immigrants who were With-Out-Papers in Ellis Island during the late 19th century.
  2. The word for ‘worker’ in latin is “Operarius,” which later translated into the Italian, “Operaio”. When Italians pronounced this word to explain their ‘job title’ at Ellis Island, they would naturally place a rough breathing sound on the ‘O’; so to the officials interviewing them it sounded as if they were calling themselves “WOP-eraio”. 

Advice

February 16, 2009

Your exterior ought to be composed with solemn humility, congenial politeness, and marked with tender hands —

But your Will ought to blaze and scream violently with the most intense and unflagging fervor! Certainly, this is the path to ecstasy and a truly happy life. Higher ideals are logs that kindle the flames of your Will – raise yourself up to them and own them.

Some Thoughts about The Dark Knight

February 15, 2009

batman1Throughout the better portion of this movie, the Batman maintains his status as the ethical hero, selflessly combating evil within the all too important framework of rules. In the end, however, he kills Harvey Dent and, supposedly, breaks his one rule (no killing people). By taking the blame for all the dirty laundry left behind by two-face, the Batman sacrifices his heroic image in order to maintain the very principles that that image stood for – the now extra-ethical goal of preserving the spirit of goodness in heart of the people of Gotham City.

 

JokerThe Joker represents a purely aesthetic drive without rules – chaos. I do not think that it is proper to think of the Joker as deliberately spreading chaos, for to spread chaos is to have a goal with a purpose (an attribute of “schemers”). Instead, the Joker is an “agent of chaos”. What this means is that the character of the Joker is the embodied essence of chaos – chaos is a part of the Joker’s essence, thus the actions of the agent of chaos will naturally spread chaos without making it part of an overarching goal or pursuit.  

By the end of the movie, both the Batman and the Joker are outside the ethical universal – “freaks” – but on opposite polar extremes (cp. “a new kind of criminal” when the joker burns the mountain of money, and “a new kind of hero” after the Batman takes the blame for Twoface’s actions). However, while the Joker was outside the ethical universal for the entire movie, the Batman only transcended the ethical at the very end; thus we are left wondering why the Joker didn’t destroy the Batman along with the other “schemers” who operate inside the universal realm of ethics (herd morality). This sets up an interesting dynamic. The fact of the matter is that the Joker tried to destroy the Batman, but did so by trying to force the Batman to kill the Joker himself. The Joker never destroys people (read: schemers) himself, but merely puts them in a position to destroy themselves – and that’s the whole point! In order to show that chaos is the underlying truth, the system must self-destruct. The Batman had many opportunities to kill the Joker, but this was the Jokers gambit! Killing the Joker would have been at the cost of destroying his own system of rules.

Batman and Joker

The larger truth is that the Batman and the Joker are not fighting each other, they are competing against each other for the spirit of Gotham City, like two dogs fighting over a bone, which brings us to the next point – Twoface. Twoface (Harvey Dent) is the bone that the Batman and the Joker are fighting over; he represents the spirit of the people of Gotham City. In the first half of the movie, the Batman was winning, for Twoface was pursuing the Moral Justice of the law (a system of rules). However, during the second half of the movie, we see the opposite side of the same coin (get the symbol!) – that is, Twoface now no longer fights for Moral Justice, but for Spiteful Egoistic Justice (over the death of his beloved), which is governed by chance. 

Therefore, I think that the Batman didn’t break his one rule, but more specifically, sacrificed his one rule. The Batman sacrificed his rule by killing Twoface and taking on his burdens in order to win the battle for the spirit of the people of Gotham City (Note: this is when his pursuits became extra-ethical – “a new kind of hero”). Recall an early point in the movie when the Joker speaks to the congregation of criminals and explains that they must “kill the Batman”. In a certain sense, by the end of the movie the Joker succeeds in ‘killing’ the Batman (or at least his image, which is just as good), but does not checkmate the Batman! The larger chess match for the spirit of the people of Gotham is yet to be concluded. 

Mac OS background Hack (Leopard OS)

February 13, 2009

Picture 2

Here’s a pretty cool way to show off to your friends (or impress that cute girl at Starbucks) and make it seem like you know more about computers than you actually do. It’s a Shell command to force your current screensaver (whatever you happen to have it set to) to take the place of your background. Open up your Mac terminal and paste the following command: 

 

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/

ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background

Neato, huh? This will run as long as your terminal session is running, which means that there are two ways to put things back the way they were: (1) simply quit the terminal (since all terminal processes will end with the terminal session) or (2) press “control -C” in the terminal, and it will terminate the terminal process.

Imitation and Individuality

February 11, 2009

We all (I think) have a tendency to imitate other characters that, for curious and no less wonderful reasons, touch our hearts, lift our mind from the dull trenches to which it sank, and shines a beacon of inspiration into our soul. We somehow grasp this character in its essence and seek to raise ourselves up to this new ideal. As I move in and out of such experiences, I often wonder about my own sense of individuality and whether or not it’s preserved (assuming it existed in the first place) in such inspirational strivings. It seems all to easy to jump the gun and assume that imitating another is in every case at the loss of oneself – that one is in effect replacing his or her own character with that of the person imitated. However, I tend to think that we not only preserve, but develop our own individuality in doing so, for it is the powers of OUR OWN mind that grasps what we deem to be the essential qualities of this particular character (for these qualities could just as easily be trivial and accidental if perceived by a dull intellect). Value, perception, and pursuit three key features of individuality in imitation – that is, (1) value, so far as the values we happen to admire in another disclose our own previously veiled, but nonetheless latent, values; otherwise that feature would not have spoken to us in the matter it did, but would have passed us by in the darkness like so many other features of our waking lives. (2) Perception, so far as the values that we perceive reflect the maturity, stoutness, and individuality of the mind that is capable of perceiving them. For obviously some minds would not grasp the subtle profundities of a certain remarkable character with the same depth of appreciation as another mind would. Finally (3) the pursuit of advancing ourselves towards our own subjectively idealized representation of a formally objective character exhibits our own individuality, so far as it marks our own ability and determination to synthesize theory and praxis within ourselves to achieve the end goal of perfecting our own character. For these reasons I see the event of inspired imitation not as one of replacement of character, but as creative development of character. 

Fitness Test

February 2, 2009

Last Wednesday I took a stress test for a fitness class I’m taking this semester.

Quick Bio. Review:

Fitness is (technically) the amount of oxygen your body uses while working at its max ability. VO2 Max is the amount of oxygen your body can use per kilogram of body weight – in other words, how quickly your body can take the air you breath and send it to your muscles. Oxygen serves to break down the pyruvate that is produced when we exercise and keeps it from becoming lactic acid (the stuff that causes you to literally “feel the burn”). When we start to get tired, it’s because we do not have enough oxygen flow to the muscles quickly enough (read: to oxidize pyruvate), and the lactic acid begins to build up (hence fatigue ensues).

 

Some of my Results:

VO2 Max = 53.5 mkm (average = 41.0 – 44.1)

Body Fat % = 9.5 (average = 17.4 – 14.2)

Hip Flexibility = 22in (average = 15 – 17)

Resting Heart Rate = 53bpm (average = 71 – 66)