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Surgery ad Mon, Sep 09, 2019
There's a spinal surgery billboard on a major road near my house, and I have a few thoughts: 
  1. I don't live in or near a population center, and spinal surgery is pretty damn specific, so how many people who are in the market for spinal surgery are really seeing this?
  2. Who is the target audience here?  It's not like people see this on their commute and think "ya know what, I could use some spinal surgery".  Non-experts don't typically provide advice or recommendations on surgery, especially SPINAL surgery.
  3. Even if a person had a back problem and went to a doctor who recommended spinal surgery, we live in the United States healthcare system, which means there's a whole mess of complications regarding where you can get care and who can provide it.  There's almost zero chance a prospective patient will be able to choose to go to this spinal surgery center.
In conclusion, I'd prefer to get my spinal surgery from someone who spends their advertising dollars a little less frivolously. #health

Rehash Mon, Aug 05, 2019
My brain likes to do this annoying thing, usually when I'm trying to sleep, where it replays every social interaction I've had throughout the day, allowing me more time to think of something stupid I said. 

This process gets amplified when I drink, both because alcohol makes me more talkative, thereby increasing the likelihood I'll say something stupid, but also because it turns off my filter, thus all but ensuring I'll say something stupid. 

So nearly every time I drink alcohol with people in a social setting, I lay awake at night, not only because alcohol disrupts my sleep, but also so my brain can do its due diligence in criticizing me.  Thanks, brain. #psychology

On Joshua Harris Thu, Aug 01, 2019
I sort of came of age in the late 90s and early 00s, when Joshua Harris's book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" was all the rage.  He recently came out as an atheist and he's getting a divorce, which I schadenfreuded.  It's fun to watch popular people fall, especially when they become the very thing they railed against. 

But on closer inspection, he's not all bad.  A lot of people felt duped or damaged by his relationship advice, and that's fair.  But my takeaway from his book was that dating is kind of stupid when there's no goal involved.  It's kind of like just spending your feelings on someone and eventually getting your heart broken.  His whole philosophy as I understood it was to date with purpose, that purpose being marriage.  It made sense to younger Christian me, and it still makes sense to older atheist me.  I'm no longer as big a fan of the purity culture crap -- abstinence and promise rings and the like.  And maybe I'm just too practical to be a casual dater (also I'm an antisocial dork).  But I latched onto the idea of dating with the intent to get married.  It worked out for me. #religion

3038 Wed, Jul 31, 2019
I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy fixing things I've already fixed.

Second chance Mon, Jul 29, 2019
I was watching a documentary about Michael Vick, the former football player who was convicted of running a dog fighting ring, and on the one hand I think truly remorseful people should get second chances.  This guy did a bad thing, he went to prison, he's made some positive moves since then.  So in that sense, I wasn't mad that he got a second chance in the NFL.  I understand why some people were upset about it, but I feel like his recognition of his bad actions made a second chance at least permissible. 

However, having a second chance doesn't mean you automatically get your former status back.  You don't necessarily get the same influence you used to have, or a platform, or sponsorship deals.  You get a second chance at freedom from jail, to operate in a society with laws.  Maybe you get some of your old life back.  But you don't necessarily get all of it back, no questions asked.  People still remember the terrible things you did, and being remorseful about it is good and all, but it doesn't erase the past. 

There's this weird underlying belief system, taught by Disney movies or something, where if a person does a horrendous thing but apologizes for it, it's all good.  This is patently false.  Apologies don't need to be accepted.  Also, people generally don't "deserve" a second chance.  They might be given one, but it's not a right. #psychology

Living on Mars Fri, Jul 26, 2019
A lot of people think we'll live on Mars someday, and possibly someday soon.  These people are idiots.  Here's why: 
  1. Mars ain't got no air.  Air-breathing humans would have to either constantly wear ventilation masks or live in pressurized bubbles.  It would be like living underwater.  All the time.  Forever.
  2. Mars is fucking cold.  I feel like this point gets overlooked a bit because Mars is in the "habitable zone" i.e. there can be liquid water in some places sometimes.  But a summer day can swing from 70°F to -100°F.  That's a negative sign there.
  3. There's no sun.  There's some law of physics that relates the sun's power output to the distance a planet is from it.  Mars is farther from the sun than Earth.  Less sun means less heat, less solar power, less plant energy, less everything.
  4. Mars ain't got no stuff.  Stuff like water (ok there's some), plants, animals, building materials, factories, fast food establishments.  Point is, you'd have to bring literally everything you'd ever need for anything.  Yes you can 3D print some stuff, and yes you can maybe grow potatoes in your poop, but for the first many years of settlement there you'd have to come with your bags packed.  People underestimate how ridiculously difficult and expensive it is to shoot a rocket from Earth to Mars.  Yes it's been done before, but it's kind of a big deal every time it happens.
  5. We're not gonna terraform it.  Yes it's hypothetically possible, and hey we've terraformed Earth so it can't be that hard.  But the amount of energy required, and the international (interplanetary? intergalactic?) agreements it would require, and the choice of the best actual way to terraform, means it'll never happen.  It's a science fiction idea.
Earth is really good at sustaining human life.  It has the gravity we're used to, the air pressures and chemical components we enjoy breathing, the temperatures we can deal with, and the food we like to eat.  Maybe instead of trying to terraform a planet that has none of those things, we could try to make our current planet a little better. 

Many times throughout history, an unwise person made a proclamation about the future that turned out to be utterly false.  Perhaps I'm that unwise person. #science

When I grow up Thu, Jul 25, 2019
I spent a sizable portion of my childhood planning to grow up to become a professional athlete.  I might be wrong, but I thought that's what all kids thought.  It seemed so reasonable at the time.  "I like baseball and football.  I can become Bo Jackson."  Apparently my parents didn't discourage this line of thinking.  It wasn't until what felt like much later in life that I starting viewing music as a potential career choice.  Thankfully this only lasted for part of my teens, until I figured out I was good at math and science and could maybe become an engineer. 

Maybe it's the whole "age dilation" thing (a term I literally just coined for the feeling that time passed slower when you were younger), but I seriously planned on being a professional athlete for a long time. #psychology

Enough Thu, Jul 25, 2019
Sometimes it feels and sounds like we humans are running out of things.  There's overcrowding, homelessness, and poverty; people talk a lot about living on Mars (which is completely ridiculous). 

A recurring thought I've had is that there's enough of pretty much everything for pretty much everyone.
Sure there's overcrowding in cities, but go literally anywhere else and all you see is open space.  Most of the state of Arizona, for example, is just empty.  Sure it's hot and dry, but that didn't stop Phoenix or Las Vegas.  Overcrowding is a solvable problem.  It might be difficult, but it's not existentially impossible. 

Poverty is also completely solvable.  I haven't done the math, but my hypothesis is that there's enough money for everyone.  The ultra-super-mega rich can part with a few extra dollars, and poverty and homelessness would disappear in an instant.  Obviously it's a bit more complicated than that, and not all problems can be fixed by throwing money at them.  And then there's the whole "welfare makes people lazy" argument, which is dumb, but also irrelevant for my point.  My point is that there's enough money in the world to buy everyone enough food, clothing, and shelter.  There are a multitude of reasons why this doesn't happen, and few of them are reasonable. 

I'll add to this list: energy, which isn't limitless, but with the perpetual nuclear reaction happening at the center of our solar system (i.e. the sun), is essentially limitless.  We're running out of oil, and gas, and the wind doesn't always blow, and ... climate change.  But seriously the sun will put out more energy than we will ever use for much longer than our species will exist

Each of these are technological, organizational, and logistical problems.  There are enough resources, there's enough space, and there's enough energy to do pretty much anything. #science

Steps to becoming a Jedi Fri, Jul 12, 2019
Steps to becoming a Jedi, based off a casual drunken watching of (probably) the first Star Wars movie: 
  1. Wear Yoda as a backpack, swing from some vines, and run through the woods.
  2. Crawl in a hole and hallucinate killing Vader.
  3. Do a hand stand with Yoda on you.
  4. Pull your ship out of the pond.
Congrats you're a Jedi. #entertainment

3032 Sat, Jul 06, 2019
Pretty much everything is a forest unless you prevent it from being one.

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