Saturday, September 29, 2012

A few things Stephen Chow on YouTube for your perusal

Because you can't get much Stephen Chow in the US of A...and I have nothing particularly edifying to say at the moment...

"The God of Cookery"

"Hail the Judge"

"From Beijing with Love"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm even younger than that now...

I am now listening to "My Back Pages," one of the great songs about maturity by Bob Dylan.

And I realize...

It's possible that it's possible to go beyond "My Back Pages."

There was a time when it all made sense to not take a hard position...but...

Sometimes you must sadly, regretfully, and with a sense of loss tearing you to the

take a position that is black and white.

Sometimes,  despite the utter folly of humanity's existence, despite the complete insanity that defines everything from the murders carried about under Sargon to Pol Pot to George W. Bush that...

One must take a firm position: Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.

And sometimes, place where "Here I stand!" is, is a knife's edge.

Game theory, you know.

The moment someone says "Carthage Must Be Destroyed" ...well...that creates problems...for which one can only respond in certain ways...

More to come...time to deal with home stuff again...duties...see above.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I should have known it would be something like this...

So as it happens, there's a whole bunch of rare earth deposits, gems, and evidently valuable stuff that's being discovered as Greenland's ice sheet melts.

Now I get it.

Same principle as Tibet.

A person with a vested interest in exploiting a country chock full of untapped resources might make all kinds of justifications for doing anything or nothing as long as they can get their hand near the cookie jar.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Can't escape suffering. Nope.

It is not for nothing that we say we don't annihilate suffering but rather that we transcend it.

We cannot escape pain in life; it is what gives life its poignancy.

Can't escape death either.

It's good to be prepared.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Not a lot of separation. And yet separate, when it comes to genetics

A bit in the Sunday times on fatherhood and epigenetics:

Before I began reading up on fathers and their influence on future generations, I had a high-school-biology-level understanding of how a man passes his traits on to his child. His sperm and the mother’s egg smash into each other, his sperm tosses in one set of chromosomes, the egg tosses in another, and a child’s genetic future is set for life. Physical features: check. Character: check. Cognitive style: check. But the pathways of inheritance, I’ve learned, are subtler and more varied than that. Genes matter, and culture matters, and how fathers behave matters, too.  
Lately scientists have become obsessed with a means of inheritance that isn’t genetic but isn’t nongenetic either. It’s epigenetic. “Epi,” in Greek, means “above” or “beyond.” Think of epigenetics as the way our bodies modify their genetic makeup. Epigenetics describes how genes are turned on or off, in part through compounds that hitch on top of DNA — or else jump off it — determining whether it makes the proteins that tell our bodies what to do.  
In the past decade or so, the study of epigenetics has become so popular it’s practically a fad. Psychologists and sociologists particularly like it because gene expression or suppression is to some degree dictated by the environment and plays at least as large a role as genes do in the development of a person’s temperament, body shape and predisposition to disease. I’ve become obsessed with epigenetics because it strikes me as both game-changing and terrifying. Our genes can be switched on or off by three environmental factors, among other things: what we ingest (food, drink, air, toxins); what we experience (stress, trauma); and how long we live.  
Epigenetics means that our physical and mental tendencies were not set in stone during the Pleistocene age, as evolutionary psychology sometimes seems to claim. Rather, they’re shaped by the life we lead and the world we live in right now. Epigenetics proves that we are the products of history, public as well as private, in parts of us that are so intimately ours that few people ever imagined that history could reach them. (One person who did imagine it is the French 18th-century naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who believed that acquired traits could be inherited. Twentieth-century Darwinian genetics dismissed Lamarckism as laughable, but because of epigenetics, Lamarckism is staging a comeback.)

There are certain problems with the above text though in general I agree with its sentiment. First the problems: No, Lamarckism is not staging a comeback - Larmarckism held that in general acquired traits are inherited.

The degree to which we can make choices is also shaped by prior inputs and states,  and we don't know to what extent what was shaped by what because it's all interconnected.

But yeah, stop messing with the future in a bad way.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I've been REALLY busy lately, but...

I couldn't pass up this bit of what I can only see as strange news.

GAPYEONG, South Korea — North Korea has decided not to send a delegation to South Korea to attend the funeral of Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, a senior church official said Thursday. "When I was in the North, I was told by the officials there that there would be no funeral delegation to visit the South," said Park Sang-Kwon, president of an automaking joint venture the church established in North Korea in 1999. Speaking to reporters at the church's headquarters at Gapyeong, east of Seoul, Park said officials in Pyongyang had cited lingering anger over a recent US-South Korea military exercise. "They said the North still had hard feelings... and it may be inappropriate for them to send the delegation after criticising the South so much in recent weeks," he said.

So let me get this straight:  A right-wing exploitative cult leader dies, and the cult-like leftwing dictatorship to the North had actually considered sending someone to this guy's funeral.