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Stupid political opinions (5) Mon, Oct 23, 2006
Whenever people bring up any type of politics in a discussion, I usually keep my mouth shut and refuse to share my opinion.  It's not that I don't have an opinion.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.  The reason I don't talk is because I don't want to add anything to a conversation that's doomed from the start.  Based on my experience, the overwhelmingly vast majority of people are not only unqualified to give their opinion on politics, but they're also completely biased and usually just plain wrong. 

Let me explain.  I'm an engineer.  When I hear people talking about math and physics, I'm at least slightly qualified to give my input.  But when I hear people talking about brain surgery, I'm unqualified to speak on the subject because I don't know enough about it to give an intelligent opinion.  It's the same with the average person and politics.  Sure, it's quite possible to have a working knowledge of politics based on watching the news and reading some newspapers.  But overall, the average person doesn't know enough about politics and the way the world works to give an intelligent opinion (me included). 

Politics is a biased field.  That's the nature of the beast.  Nothing's neutral.  It can't be.  That's why politics was (were?) invented (huh?).  So any subject that's discussed and any topic that's mentioned has an opinion attached to it.  It's hard to have an intelligent discussion about George W. Bush when a supporter can see no wrong and an opponent can see no right.  It would be different if people didn't make up their minds based on a small amount of information.  But that's the way it happens, so most political discussions (or arguments, depending on how loud they are) are deadlocked from the start. 

Since most people don't do much research on political topics and their opinions are affected by their preconceptions, they're often just plain wrong.  This is another reason why I don't spew out my opinions in the midst of political discussions:  I don't know the whole story and I'm not completely sure of my facts.  (This is also why I usually don't talk much about creation vs. evolution.  There's a lot of information out there, but it's hard to get reliable information when it's biased by either religion or science.  Plus, I just don't have the desire to sift through information sometimes.)  So in this murky lack-of-information pond, people are all too willing to spread false information and argue half-truths. 

In the end, I get a little annoyed whenever people give their stupid political opinions.  My purpose in these conversations is to change the topic as soon as possible.  Nothing good can come from a political discussion.  Except maybe a fist fight. #politics

Age of the universe Mon, Oct 23, 2006
According to the Ussher-Lightfoot Calendar, the universe was created on October 23, 4004 BC, making today its 6009th birthday (via Kottke).  Most scientists and logical people treat this as utter stupidity because microwave measurement and other methods of dating have determined the age of the universe to be 13.7 billion years.  I'm not convinced of either estimate.  I don't like to blindly trust science just because scientists appear smarter than me.  But I also don't like to blindly trust man's interpretation of the Bible, especially when it has anything to do with time (as evidenced by the myriad of incorrect end-of-the-world predictions).  I think the universe was created on April 18, 1982, which also happens to be the date of my birth. #science

Injury time limit Mon, Oct 23, 2006
I, along with several other people, believe there should be an injury time limit in the NFL.  If a player is injured, he should be allowed 30 seconds to get himself off the field.  If he is unable to get himself off the field in that amount of time, he should simply be taken off in a stretcher.  The bottom line is that time shouldn't be wasted every time a player goes down.  Injuries often aren't as bad as they seem, and injured players usually only sit out for a play or two and then come back in.  Plus, whenever a player goes down with an injury, he must leave the field for at least one play.  If we know the conclusion, the only thing that's preventing the conclusion from occurring is a player writhing in pain on the ground.  He could just as easily be writhing in pain on the sideline, which is where he'll eventually be anyway.  So instead of filling most of my Sundays with injury timeouts and subsequent commercial breaks, injured players should by given a fighting chance to get themselves off the field, and if they can't, they should be forcibly taken off. #sports