Abortion

I promised that I would do this topic soon, I may as well do it now. Especially since I’m in the mood after my raging debate on Facebook about it. Allow me to set the stage. My friend posted this image:
815086

 

After which her friends chat about their side of the issue. And I’m reading this Tumblrism and I notice something… the Tumblr post, the “Fun fact” never addresses the original question. It never addresses whether or not it’s one body or two. In fact, it skips that step altogether, and calls it one body on an assumption that the fetus, embryo, child, whatever you want to call it (I shall henceforth call it ‘the entity’) isn’t a human life. So because I’m an instigator, I have to get my hooks in and make some people mad. Over the course of some 20 or so messages, I could not get a straight answer out of the other individual as to why the being inside was not human and was not alive. So here’s my take on the issue. And before I start I’m just going to point out that I’m not a doctor, I have no medical background, I’m just a random blogger here.

Human:

First – is it human? Don’t be ridiculous, of course it’s human. On what grounds? It’s the offspring of two humans, it can only BE a human. If you mate a horse and a donkey you get a mule. A mule isn’t a horse, and it isn’t a donkey, and it can’t mate with either one. Or other mules for that matter, it’s completely sterile. If two horses generate offspring, that offspring will reliably grow up to a horse that could (in theory) mate with one of its parents. Chickens mate with their species, generate another chicken. So what you’re telling me when you say that this fetus isn’t a human is either that one of its parents isn’t human (unlikely) or what I think you’re really saying is that it’s not a human yet.

If you want to say that the entity isn’t a human yet, then that means you have the define a point in the development cycle in which the entity does become a human. How do you set that point? Obviously when the big bulge is on the mother, the entity is about to make its exit, it’s probably ‘human’ by that point. In fact, I think ‘abortion’ at that point may take the name ‘birth’ (sarcasm). But what about… say 2nd trimester? Hmmm… Maybe not then. The child’s hair has developed and we come from apes so… probably a bit too far in the cycle. The sex of the child can be determined. Probably safe to call it a human at that point. So how about we go further back. How about middle of the first trimester? The second month, the neural tube is distinguishable from the rest of the body. The fingers and toes are forming, the bones are forming. Is that human yet? Why?

I’ve asked this question several times and the discussion suddenly shifts from what makes the entity a human and turns into the rights of the mother. But we’re not worried about the rights of the mother just yet. We’re worried about whether or not the entity is a human and whether or not it should be afforded human rights. So how far back can we go?

I would argue that the entity becomes human at fertilization, or perhaps shortly after. The reason being eggs and sperm separately aren’t necessarily human. Why? Well, if they are, it presents a great problem because if eggs by themselves are humans, killing a woman is like a forty-thousand homocide or something. Women would be, by natural design, killing one human a month or so. Sounds like a dangerous path to go down for philosophy and law. On the flip-side if sperm were humans, we’d have to take a lot of guys downtown for killing humans regularly. Really, the main reason I argue that egg and sperm aren’t human by themselves because what happens if the host abstains? (Let’s just ignore Mary) In the female host, she will continue to have her period until menopause and no life will spring forth from her. In the male host, sperm will get reabsorbed by the body and the male will continue to produce sperm until he dies. No new life will spring forth from the male host either. Nothing you could count in the United States Census would be brought into this world. Let’s take the case of the newly pregnant female. If she maintains her healthy lifestyle, the entity will be born in 9 months-ish. The entity will be human assuming human parents.

I’m sure someone has noticed the problem with my definition of human. Evolution. If a human is the offspring of human parents, and I’m a human then my parents have to be human, and so on, until we get to our great ape ancestors which were not human by any definition of the word. So how do we resolve this issue? We run into the same issue of when is the entity a human versus when it is not a human. Hmm… How about this. Humans and chimps have a common ancestor. We stop there. So we can pick me, and go up through my parents and their parents and so on. When we meet a parent that can mate with me and chimps, we’ve gone too far.

Life:

So there’s my human definition and since the entity has two human parents, it’s a human. Now how about whether or not it’s alive? Well now we need to define life. There’s no good way to answer the question “what is life?” According to wikipedia, this is life:

“the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” – Wikipedia

I tend to use an input-output definition of life. If an autonomous being requires sustenance from outside its being to survive, grow, and reproduce, it’s alive. If it can die, it was alive. This might get me into trouble when it comes to the robot revolution, and the question as to whether or not true AI self-replicating robots are alive, but that’s a problem for another day. And I’m not entirely sure I could argue that these robots wouldn’t be alive. I mean, think about it. If your issue with robots is that they can just chop-shop fix themselves, WE ARE GETTING TO THAT POINT TOO. How long before you can just go into the store and pick up a new arm? Holy smokes.

By my definition, the entity has to be alive, because it’s a parasite on its host. It eats the host’s resources to grow.You can’t use an autonomous self-providing definition because let’s be real here – babies are really useless for like two years. They can’t feed themselves, they can’t walk, they can’t do jack. So if you require mobility and the ability to provide for oneself for something to be alive, newborn babes are just as alive as the entity within. Which, if abortion is legal, would make the… neutralization of newborns also legal. It’s a natural extension.

Doctors have several types of life and death. When your heart stops being, you’re not really dead. We could bring you back through CPR, or the use of defibrillation. I guess most people go by brain death, where you can still have blood pumping through you, but you cannot be brought back… yet. If you go by the beating of the heart, you have 3 weeks to discover that you’re pregnant and then get your abortion. If you wait for the brain to partially develop, same deal, the beginning of the nervous system forms in the timespan it takes to form a heart. End of the first trimester the entity will have a functioning circulatory system. If you’re waiting for the brain to form, that would be in the second trimester. So if you require a fully developed brain, to call something alive, the entity is alive in the second trimester. But I don’t like the requirement of a brain for life. Single-celled organisms don’t have a brain, but they’re ‘alive’.

When are most abortions performed? CDC stats say about two-thirds in the first 8 weeks (first two months) and let’s just round about the last third done between 8 and 13 weeks (the third month). Because I was given a range of time, I’ll assume a Gaussian distribution of when the abortion was performed (though strictly speaking, I should probably assume a Laplacian distribution). That means most of the abortions were performed in the 3 week to 5 week range. But wait, that’s when the baby’s heart was formed. That’s when the neural tube, what would become the nervous system was formed. That’s when bones are forming. If we accept my definition of life and human, the entity will be a human and it will be alive. the removal of it would then be murder.

How about this, how do you determine what is the host’s body compared to the entity’s body? You can’t, if you accept the entire system as the host’s body. So how do you know how much host to remove? You have to accept that there is knowledge of the entity and its scope, so you remove the entity alone and not the host. But that assumption itself implies that the entity has a body, in which case, it is no longer just the host’s body.

Now understand, my issue with abortion is pretty much entirely the murder part. And not because I have some preconceived notion of the value of human life. My problem is with the consistency of law. A legal abortion would be legal murder by the logic presented. What you’re proposing is a condition under which murder would be legal. Which makes it a target for setting precedent. Precedence is a very dangerous thing when applied to topics which you might find rather invasive. I’m not entirely sure that I would argue that slippery slope doesn’t apply. I can just imagine the future in which doctors shrink themselves to operate inside a patient. A patient could, while the doctor is inside have the doctor removed and killed on the premise that it was the patient’s body. How much of the entity must the host contain for the removal of the entity to be fair. I hate to get gross here, but what if a couple is having sex and the female suddenly decides to chop of the male’s penis. It was inside her, was it ‘her body’? Bear in mind this example is arguing from the ‘is is not alive and it is inside my body’ point of view.

Conclusion:

 So you see, I’m at a bit of a pinch. Because I don’t think the government should pass two contradicting laws. And I don’t very much like the idea of setting a precedence like this on something which in its best case is mutilation and in its worst case is murder. The safest option is to outlaw it altogether and file it under murder. And it’s not like non-human things don’t get rights. You can’t up and kill your dog, that’s animal cruelty. The murder of threatened species like Bald Eagles will net you fines and jail-time. And I wonder if this does anything to the rights of people in vegetative states. I don’t know. Legal abortion could open up it’s own can of worms. Until we agree on what’s human and what’s alive, we should avoid permitting abortions. That’s just my take on it.

Artemis Hunt

Abortion

Frozen – I Will Never ‘Let It Go’

homepage_hero_frozen_winter_18c81bd7

Hold up there partner. The title could have a loving spin on it, but it’s actually more of a ‘love to hate’ sort of deal. Let me explain. Also, because I don’t do these things without giving a reference to the source material, here is Frozen’s IMDB.

What is Frozen? To briefly summarize the movie – there are two princesses. One has magical powers, the other does not (leading me to believe that one is adopted). Said magical powers must be hidden from the outside world for some reason or another so Elsa (magical power sister) is taught to always hold in her magic. Parents die because Disney movie, years pass until Elsa, the elder sister may be crowned Queen. Which leads one to question who was running the country for those ten odd years, but it doesn’t stop there folks. Coronation day comes, firebrand younger sister finds a guy she likes and asks her Queensister to marry him. Queensister says no, younger firebrand throws a fit, and Queensister accidentally reveals magic. She then does what any responsible monarch does and abdicates the throne. Young firebrand goes in search of elder sister, finds her, gets shot, and leaves. The country sends armed men to find the ‘Queen’ and capture her. Queen gets captured, an attempt on her life is thwarted by younger sister, everyone lives happily ever after. The end.

So before I get onto why I don’t like Frozen, maybe I should briefly mention why I do like Frozen. It has good music. Alright, moving right along…

So why don’t I like Frozen? Understand that when I watch a movie, what I’m looking for is generally good design. Characters and motivations have to make sense. The plot has to make sense. Disney movies usually have life lessons one could take away from it. Frozen, from a storytelling point of view does not make sense. Let’s examine the country of Arendelle, the fictional home of Elsa and Anna.

Where do the people of Arendelle like to eat? At the Olaf Garden.

We’re looking at a country that went without a ruler for some five to ten years. How has the country not devolved into chaos in that timeframe? Maybe the people are inherently good. Alright, let’s roll with that for now. But that shouldn’t stop the people of Arendelle from being conquered by external threats. In the final panning we see that Arendelle is an island nation with what appears to be only two land approaches. This makes Arendelle extremely vulnerable to sieges. By all rights, Arendelle should be under the control of external government. But alright, let’s say that doesn’t happen, Arendelle exists until coronation. At coronation, Arendelle literally throws the gates open to be conquered by literally anyone.

In the flood of people entering, we meet Hans. Hans is the youngest of children from some faraway country but he still wants power. So what’s his plan? Woo one of the princesses! Obviously. And it’s not hard for him to do in a country that’s full of good natured people that don’t try to seize power when the head of state recently died and their children are being cooped up in the castle for… safety? He settles on Anna. When Elsa runs away, Anna decides that she must bring Elsa back, and she says that she’s leaving Hans in charge. Ignoring the fact that the Queen should theoretically still have her rule, and not Anna, the people just accept this! Hans becomes the person in charge! And this is where his plan seems to get funky.

So Hans is now ruler, mission accomplished. The people trust him enough, they’re following his instructions. So what does he do? He sends armed men to find Elsa. Maybe they’re armed because wolves in the forest which, alright, I can buy that. Why does he send armed men? Well… it would make sense to endear him to the people to go look for Elsa. And if Elsa is left alive, she could come back and take Arendelle by rights and by force. So good job Hans, sending men to find Elsa, actually was the correct choice of action. Yet when they meet Elsa alone in her castle, they capture her and bring her home… for Hans to kill… later? Why did they not simply kill Elsa in her castle and be done with the matter? Anna isn’t there to be a witness. We know that they have no qualms about killing Elsa because the first quarrel gets fired straight at Elsa’s chest. We know it’s not about Elsa being required to undo the frost magic affecting the kingdom of Arendelle because Hans was about to kill her in the middle of a lake. We know that it wasn’t a planned ‘see Hans as the hero for unfreezing everything by killing Elsa’ thing because Hans does it in the middle of a blizzard in which people can hardly see anything. If the plan was to make it look like an accident, they could’ve killed her and said an icicle fell on her or something to kill her. In short – Hans made mistakes and his plan made no sense. If anything he should’ve killed Elsa in her castle, brought back the body with icicle wounds or wolf attack wounds and said her death was an accident. While one team brings back the body, another team should go find Anna and bring her back. Marry Anna, and then have her die from the wound Elsa gave her, or just die by ‘accident’. Hans gets the throne all to himself for whatever that’s worth.

Now let’s talk about the princesses. Elsa is a blonde with ice powers. Anna is a redhead without ice powers… or powers of any sort really. Wait a minute… blonde?

Okay… So here’s Elsa…

princess20elsa

And here are her parents…

agnarrandiduna

You’re telling me a redhead and a brunette produced a blonde child? And not like regular blonde but like… platinum blonde? Those are some pretty slim odds. All of a sudden I’m skeptical of Elsa and Anna being sisters… Eye colour works out, looks to be parents with blue eyes and green eyes. Both Elsa and Anna have blue eyes, so they have a 50% chance each… so a one in four chance of producing the children with those eye colours? That’s fair. But the hair colour thing… that throws a wrench into things.

Also, can we ask why Elsa has magical ice powers? At the beginning of the movie, we are told she was born with the powers, but neither parent is magical and Anna isn’t magical either. But fine, I guess we can just say that she’s a… ehhh… is there a less offensive term than ‘mudblood’ for magical people with non-magical parents?

But fine, let’s accept Elsa has magical powers. Despite the fact that the hair colour and magic combination alone means she hit the jackpot of astronomical odds but fine. She did it. I won’t go into this topic since it has been done to death but why is her set of powers so lucrative? She can make snow – okay. She can make clothes – uhhh? She can make LIFE – okay? She can curse people to slowly turn to ice building up to all at once – hmmmm…maybe.

Why is she being forced to hide her powers? Because she can’t control them? I feel like that’s a bigger to have her practice them. She’ll get better at using her powers and she won’t accidentally brain her sister anymore. And she wouldn’t accidentally freeze the country and put the ice cutting businesses out of work. Plus since she’s clearly capable of bringing snow to life, perhaps they didn’t want to put their army (if they even HAVE one) out of work? I mean, there’s a lot of good Elsa can do with her ice magic. Worse comes to worst, she could take up creating never melting ice-sculptures. Or even something completely unrelated to her magic, she’s a free woman to live as she pleases! Simply put, I’m suggesting that there’s absolutely no reason Elsa had to be locked up in her room for fear of hurting others with ice magic. There may be a reason that she had to hide her ice magic? But by the end of the movie we see that this is not true.

There’s really not much to say about Anna. Her role in the movie doesn’t seem to be significant. “But she found Elsa and saved her life at the end!” Well… yeah… I guess. But think about it – when it comes to character, how does Anna make sense? What is her character? When you think of Anna, what are her defining features? Her red hair? Her childlike innocence? My problem with Anna is that she really doesn’t exist outside the realm of plot device. Think about it. Anna gets hit with the ice blast prompting Elsa to become afraid of her own powers. Anna’s tantrum about marrying Hans is what reveals Elsa’s magic to the kingdom. Anna confronts Elsa to tell her about what’s going on and also gets shot to guilt trip Elsa into surrendering when Hans’ men arrive. Anna, of course, stops Hans’ strike on Elsa, saving her life. At best, Anna represents the Disney stories of the past. The knight willing to brave any storm for their princess. The adventurer that trusts anyone they happen to pass. The girl who believes in love at first sight. At worst, she’s just a tool to drive the story, and perhaps merchandising.

We also have a severely missed opportunity in Olaf. Olaf is great because he’s the link between the Elsa of today and the Elsa of yesterday! Olaf is Elsa’s desire to have what she and her sister had before. But the character itself, what could be a tragic reminder of the past turned into Sid from Ice Age. Is it the same actor? … [Google search research] … Not the same actor but the characters are a little toooo similar. I would’ve liked for Olaf to be more alive with character. But let’s be real here. His purpose is to be as silly and childlike as possible to sell toys of him. Despicable. Also, I refuse to accept that Olaf has no concept of basic phase changes.

What about Marshmallow? Do we ever discover what became of him? #SaveMarshmallow

You know, I have a funny feeling that the music was written first and the story hackneyed to give it an excuse to work. Except they didn’t do it quite well. ‘Let It Go’ may be fine… may be. The song is about empowerment which may be more useful leading into the final act. But it’s placed before the climax or at the very least at the climax. On top of that, the context of it really seems awkward. Elsa being the only one with ice magic could somehow be interpreted as the villain after that song. The Reindeer song and the Summer song are what I call merchandise songs. They exist purely to draw attention to specific characters and draw out the runtime of the movie. They add little to no value. ‘Will You Help Me Hide a Body’ I mean ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ is to emphasize how the sisters grow apart. Why are there sisters? Because Anna is a plot device, I dunno. I feel like ‘Fixer Upper’ would’ve made more sense with Elsa. She’s the one that’s damaged from her childhood trauma and her history of repressed emotions. Yet Anna is the one who needs to be ‘fixed’ because Elsa shot her. Anna seemed perfectly healthy. I mean, as far as her character goes, she’s just a dumb child. Elsa is the one that needed to be fixed.

What lessons are we supposed to learn from this movie? It can’t be that you don’t marry the first thing that looks your way because we have Beauty and the Beast (Belle rejects Gaston) and Brave (Merida rejects… everyone). If we look outside Disney films, there are even more numerous examples. It can’t be that loving one’s family is a thing because Disney did it with… well, Beauty and the Beast where Belle agrees to take her father’s place. Mulan is a personal favorite of mine and yet another example (same type of example, actually). Let’s not forget The Little Mermaid in which Triton takes the place of Ariel in her contract with Ursula either. All of these movies much better movies on their story first narrative. Although to be fair, Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast had the story work done for Disney. I suppose Mulan did too but I’m willing to give Disney more credit for the story in its execution. I guess I’m having a hard time giving Frozen a point in which some other movie not only has done it, but done it better.

Anyway, I’m running out of steam for this post so I’ll end it here. Again, Frozen – perfectly fine movie in terms of entertainment value. But as a movie, as a storytelling device, it falls flat on its face. Again, love the music. It’s just inexcusable to call it a movie. May as well call it a soundtrack with light animation to entertain you. 2 out of 5 stars.

Artemis Hunt

Frozen – I Will Never ‘Let It Go’

Political Compass Test – Comments

Well, the political climate is hot, thanks to Clinton vs. Sanders and the political anomaly that is Donald Trump. So I decided, maybe I’ll take a take a political spectrum test, to see who might align with my views. And I did it. You can take the test that I took for yourself here.

Now, I don’t want to make myself out to be someone that sits on the sidelines and just snarkily remarks on the status of the world. I’m part of the system as much as any of you are. So I’ll put my results at the end. Really, I’d just like to go through the statements, what they are saying, and maybe some comment on my interpretations. So without further ado, let’s get started.

S1: If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.

This is a difficult statement to talk about; the conditional aspect of this is very important. It requires a bit of definition shuffling. I believe the very concept of full globalization implies a one society. To go back to my favourite example – that in which President Nixon refers to the citizens of… Earth as Earthicans in Futurama. Since we’re all one nation, the idea of trans-national corporations has to be shifted to corporations based on one region of the Earth to another, let’s say Americas to Europe.

Now we get to the crux of what I believe the statement is suggesting. Living in different regions of the world implies different needs. As good suppliers, it is your responsibility to make sure that the people that need your goods receive them, rather than to make sure that your profits are maximized. This means you can’t locally hike prices based on needs in a specific region (higher demand – higher prices). Who makes sure that businesses can’t gouge consumers? Why, the government of course. Essentially, the statement is “Government should be permitted to make corporations serve the needs of the people”. So I imagine if a person is starving and cannot afford food, they will be provided food. This isn’t a new concept, it’s practically the foundation of welfare. The question that I would personally ask myself is who decides what ‘the needs of the people’ are. Or to put it back into the phrasing of the original statement, who decides what ‘serves humanity’?

The film I, Robot (which, as an Asimov reader, I am truly offended) includes this theme as the core of the film. It’s a great film though, 5 stars out of 5 if you ask me.

S2: I’d always support my country, whether it was right or wrong.

I feel like this statement is a test for dangerous nationalism. And this includes the ‘good’ dangerous nationalism and not just the ‘bad’ dangerous nationalism!

It seems ridiculous in concept but then again, people have been known to demonize people (perhaps in a joking manner) based on the outcome of a coin flip. So it’s definitely within our nature and it’s an easy trap to fall into. I’m running into my issue of moral relativity here (a topic for another day!) so I’ll stop myself here before I tangent. I hate to use this example because it’s so simple but if you’re a German in 1943 and you disagree with what the Nazis are doing, do you fight for the Nazi cause or do you defect?

S3: No one chooses his or her country of birth, so it’s foolish to be proud of it.

This is the ‘lite’ version of the prior statement. The core statement is whether or not it’s foolish to be proud of this you do not choose. Things like nationality, parents, sex, talents, species, all of it. Should you be proud of being a white male? Should you be proud of being a black gay female? I believe that this runs into the religious line of reasoning. If it brings meaning to your life, even if it’s effectively meaningless, is it okay to be proud of it?

S4: Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races.

At the core this sounds like a racist statement, but I don’t think so. Some traits are more prevalent in other races than others. Black people have naturally slanted foreheads. If one is taking, say blunt trauma to the head from the front, black people have a natural advantage compared to other races. There are likely other examples of this.

S5: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Depending on your definition of friend, this statement changes meaning. I prefer ‘The enemy of my enemy is my ally’ because it only implies like goals, rather than camaraderie. Of course this can get hairy fast because you can have two enemies that are enemies themselves (like the nations in Orwell’s 1984)!

S6: Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified.

One might normally think of this as “do the ends justify the means”, which can seem radical. I feel like this sort of statement is used as an attack on morality. “You were willing to cheat to win, therefore your victory means nothing”. I prefer to ask the question, “does there come a point when the ends justify the means, and where is that line drawn?” The statement specifically is probably addressing a case example of would it ever be justified for a country to nuke another country.

S7: There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment.

On its own, information and entertainment being combined seems like a great idea. The more entertaining something is, the more likely you are to retain the information it contained. I still remember Mitch Hedberg (bless his soul) jokes but I have no idea what my Uncle told me about women when I was young. The problem arises when the entertainment value detracts from the information being disseminated. Perhaps some of the entertainment aspects get mistaken for informational aspects by the audience leading to a horrible conclusion. Who knows. Is this happening?

S8: People are ultimately divided more by class than by nationality.

Two groups of people meet, they split, and recombine. Will they naturally tend towards those that share their culture or their class? The problem I see with this question is what’s high class in say… Siberia is not really what’s high class in the United States. Will high class Siberians naturally get along with high class United States citizens?

S9: Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment.

This is a hairy question. Inflation is the devaluing of currency. Unemployment is… well, not being employed. On one hand you want to make sure what money you have is worth something. On the other hand, you want to make sure your country’s inhabitants are getting money. Which is more important? Is it better to have a lot of people working for nothing or to have a few people working for something?

S10: Because corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily protect the environment, they require regulation.

Two assumptions must be made here. The first is that the environment is something that we are obligated to protect (what defines protecting the environment?). The second is that there are factors in business which do not incentivize protecting the environment. Is it cheaper to disregard the environment? Can you produce more product if you protect the environment? If businesses are efficiency games, then these factors count against protecting the government. The question then becomes, which is more important – the right of individuals to run their businesses however they like, or the environment?

S11: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is a fundamentally good idea.

Everyone has their niche and everyone should be provided what they require to fill it. I feel like this is meant to be a more positive expression of communism. Hold on a sec, let me see if I can quickly find the source in a Google search. […] Looks like I was right. Though I attributed it to communism, seems it’s a general socialist concept. Okay.

S12: It’s a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product.

This is kind of a snarky remark about society. What’s next, air? (Maybe) I guess the lament is that people are paying for the same stuff that comes out of their faucets. Of course this is justified if you live in certain areas of the United States (or planet I suppose) which do not have access to reliably clean water and you can only be reasonably sure of the safety of bottled water.

S13: Land shouldn’t be a commodity to be bought and sold.

I believe the basic idea is that no one can own the land because who decides who owns the land? Well, to be frank, the person with the bigger guns and the bigger army decides. But this is a general concept question, so let’s just ignore bigger army diplomacy for now. It’s really an interesting statement because it forces you to think about what does it mean to ‘own’ land and whether or not we are justified in our claiming, buying, and selling of land. What right do we have to say that we ‘own’ land?

S14: It is regrettable that many personal fortunes are made by people who simply manipulate money and contribute nothing to their society.

Is it a shame that people can essentially gamble with existing money and make a fortune? The first thing I think of is moving stocks around. Is it a shame that people can see market trends and where they are headed and move their money to profit of it? Or should I say… prophet off it? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

I believe at the core of the question is a belief that if you’re not providing a service to humanity via growing food, pulling material from the ground, teaching the youth, etc., you should not be able to accrue wealth. But I guess we then have to ask whether or not moving stocks is a type of service? Hmmm…

S15: Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.

Is it sometimes necessary to tax incoming goods to make sure local markets can compete? I suppose the better question is why can’t local markets naturally compete? Local resources aren’t easily accessible leading to less product? Other countries are just better at producing cheaper product because of wages or technology?

S16: The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders.

Do you damn all but the investors? If that involves gouging the consumer or hurting the workers, is it acceptable as long as it returns a profit?

S17: The rich are too highly taxed.

I feel like there’s actually an objective way to analyze this statement. If a person generated 1% of the nation’s wealth, do they pay 1% of the overall taxes collected by the nation?  In the United States, I believe the answer to the question that I POSED is no.

S18: Those with the ability to pay should have the right to higher standards of medical care.

If you can afford to pay for better medical services, do you have the right to access these medical services? Should the amount of money you have play into what quality of medical care you receive?

S19: Governments should penalise businesses that mislead the public.

I get a little personal over this one because of the anti-vax movement.

If a business claims to provide a service that they do not provide or if their product does not do as it was advertised, should the business be penalized?

Lord, I wish. There have been so many times I’ve walked into McDonald’s and seen like the most delicious burger on their menu. I order it, and I get like… plastic looking stuff. What’s that all about?

S20: A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies.

So I have a problem interpreting this one myself. I split the statement half and half. The ‘predator multinationals to create monopolies’ is all one thing. So the statement is saying free markets require government restriction to stop monopolies from forming? I’m not sure if that’s what the statement is really saying so I won’t go further into it. If someone fully understands the statement, please, feel free to comment, email, something. Tell me what’s up.

S21: The freer the market, the freer the people.

The less the government inserts itself into the process of getting goods to consumer, the more free the people are. The question I had to ask myself is whether or not freedom as an individual had a causal relationship to the government influence on the market.

S22: Abortion, when the woman’s life is not threatened, should always be illegal.

My next blog post will likely be about this topic. The conditional of non-threatening pregnancies is probably added to make this purely a question of whether or not the parents have responsibility to see that which they’ve created (whether intentional or not) to term. It seems, however, that rape pregnancies would still be illegal in this conditional.

S23: All authority should be questioned.

This is a weird statement. I’m not sure what to make of it. My primary interpretation is if Uncle Sam tells you that he’s doing something, you should always know why. There should never be a ‘for your own good’ answer that doesn’t include HOW it’s for your own good.

S24: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Again, odd statement. I’m not sure if it’s advocating Hammurabi’s Code but I can only assume that it is. So, do you agree with Hammurabi’s Code?

S25: Taxpayers should not be expected to prop up any theatres or museums that cannot survive on a commercial basis.

I believe this statement is more of a concern about HOW taxpayer money is being spent. If it’s being spent in the name of the arts, and it’s not making returns, should it be spent on the arts regardless? The question you need to ask yourself here is what’s more valuable – the experience provided by these establishments or your money. Should you protect your bottom line more than the cultural arts?

S26: Schools should not make classroom attendance compulsory.

This is a question that I actually like. You cannot teach someone that will not be taught (look no further than internet arguments for that) but does that extend into the schools? Is it not the job of the teacher to make the students want to learn the material?

I have a lot of ‘beef’ with the United States public education system, so I’m biased here. If attendance were not compulsory, classrooms would (hopefully) be filled with people that actually want to learn the material. Classes would then be able to move a bit more smoothly. The rubrics used for teaching evaluation would then be a bit more applicable in the way of learned material. I wonder if it would also promote a more positive classroom experience in the way of convincing outliers to want to learn. If the teacher is regarded as the gaoler, then all of the students band together in suffering. But if the teacher is not the gaoler, and students that don’t want to learn arrive, THEY become the outlier. This presents social pressure for them to either learn the material or leave. I personally believe this pressure will push them towards wanting to learn more than quitting. Maybe I’ll do a post on this one.

The follow-up question I would ask is – if children are not in school, where are they? What are they doing? Who’s watching them?

S27: All people have their rights, but it is better for all of us that different sorts of people should keep to their own kind.

This is ‘soft racism’ by my interpretation. We’re all equal but it’s best if we stay with our own. White should stick with the whites. Blacks stick with the blacks. It’s for the best.

S28: Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.

I recognize that many readers were probably spanked as a child (myself included) but the question you should probably ask is why. Did this promote a healthy learning environment? Let’s say you got caught playing with matches. Your parents spanked you. Do you avoid playing with matches again because you understand why playing with matches is a bad idea? Or do you avoid playing with matches again because you understand the dangers associated with it. Do you understand why your parents did not want you to play with matches? Did the spanking provide anything of value to the lesson or was it just a tool?

S29: It’s natural for children to keep some secrets from their parents.

Really? How does this play any part in where you lie on the political spectrum? Whatever, doesn’t need explanation or inspection.

S30: Possessing marijuana for personal use should not be a criminal offence.

Needs no explanation. Though I would like the reader to consider the natural extension to other goods. If the argument is marijuana should be illegal despite it not being used to harm others, does it then extend to… say… ramen? (I swear I’ve lost like 2 years of my life for eating that stuff)

S31: The prime function of schooling should be to equip the future generation to find jobs.

I love these education questions. Okay, so the premise is straightforward, but I have a question. What would the prime function of schooling be if not to equip the future generation to finding jobs? And should this other thing really be a prime function or a side function? Or will it come naturally if the prime function of school is to equip the future generation to finding jobs?

S32: People with serious inheritable disabilities should not be allowed to reproduce.

Any Nazis in the audience? This is a social argument. We always want to make society better. Better people, better pizza, Papa John’s. If people have disabilities, are they less useful to society? And if they are less useful to society, should they be culled to make way for people that are more useful to society? I feel at the core is the recognition of a ‘carrying capacity’ of the environment. The most efficient use of the resources is the optimal strategy for maintaining a healthy society. Let’s say you have to choose between two people to let into your survival compound in the zombie apocalypse. If Person A requires more resources than Person B and Person A does not benefit the compound more than Person B, which do you take?

S33: The most important thing for children to learn is to accept discipline.

Seems to me that the idea is that children are supposed to learn that some things cannot be changed. Know your place, and do what you must. If you are disciplined, it is because you are in the wrong, regardless of reason.

S34: There are no savage and civilised peoples; there are only different cultures.

Ahhh, this statement. So the basis is a concept of cultural relativity. What’s acceptable in another culture might not be acceptable in your culture, and that’s perfectly okay. You’re not permitted to call a culture savage or civilised because you don’t have the proper perspective of the other culture. Cultures cannot be put down or raised up. They’re just… different.

S35: Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society’s support.

Go back to zombie apocalypse example: If you can produce resources and choose not to, are you entitled to consume resources provided by others?

S36: When you are troubled, it’s better not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things.

Escapism. If something is bothering you, do you address it or do you distract yourself with fantasy or something.

S37: First-generation immigrants can never be fully integrated within their new country.

What does it mean to integrate fully? I feel like with all standard definitions of integration, the answer should be fairly obvious to logical thinkers.

S38: What’s good for the most successful corporations is always, ultimately, good for all of us.

Is this the trickle-down economics question? For anyone unfamiliar, trickle-down economics in its simplest form is this. If businesses have more money, they’ll employ more people and make more product. Selling this product will give them more money which they can use to pay their employees more or hire more employees. I believe this runs into the same issues as communism in its assumptions of the people at the head of such businesses.

If the businesses are doing well, does everyone eventually benefit? On what time-scales does the ‘all of us’ benefit? How are we all receiving these benefits? What are these benefits?

S39: No broadcasting institution, however independent its content, should receive public funding.

I feel like this goes back to that arts question. If an institution is providing a service to the people, should it be provided public funding? I suppose the issues arise in who ‘wants’ the service. If I have a left leaning radio show, why should taxpayers on the right that vehemently disagree with my views be funding my show? If I’m a true independent, why should the left and right be paying for my show? It’s an argument over what public goods are useful to you.

S40: Our civil liberties are being excessively curbed in the name of counter-terrorism.

This calls for a quote of the Benjamin Franklin variety.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

Do you think we are moving in the direction in which the acts being taken to stop terrorism is an act against personal liberty? Just an example – suppose you’re flying in the United States via commercial airliners. You will come across a TSA agent. They’ll scan your stuff, and they’ll scan you. They’ll even make you take off your shoes. All of these measures are designed to stop security threats from entering the planes. Are these measures excessive? At what point do they become excessive?

S41: A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system.

I actually addressed this one in another post… somewhere. Probably one of the ones where I’m quoted as saying “If Donald Trump gets elected President of the United States, it’ll only prove that democracy is working as intended”. Anyway, it’s quite obvious that a one-party state can make progress quite quickly. It can also backtrack progress quickly. The question is whether or not this is an advantage or a disadvantage.

S42: Although the electronic age makes official surveillance easier, only wrongdoers need to be worried.

The higher the technology, the easier it is to track things like location and money. If you’re a good little citizen, this shouldn’t affect you. If you’re up to shady business, we can track you from where you’ve been. Do you believe that only wrongdoers should be worried as surveillance gets better? I suppose it comes down to how much you trust your government to judge what determines ‘wrongdoing’.

S43: The death penalty should be an option for the most serious crimes.

No explanation needed.

S44: In a civilised society, one must always have people above to be obeyed and people below to be commanded.

Odd statement. A naturally thing is to think of it like a ladder. This introduces the logical consequence is that there must be a bottom rung and a top rung, so the statement could hold true for N-2 individuals. But there’s no requirement that there be a ladder structure, so it can hold true for all N individuals. The problem I see with this is accountability. When someone screws up, whose fault is it? Well if it’s not their fault, it’ll wind up being everybody’s fault through chains of command.

At the core though, I think it’s a promotion of class structure.

S45: Abstract art that doesn’t represent anything shouldn’t be considered art at all.

Personal opinion – no explanation needed.

S46: In criminal justice, punishment should be more important than rehabilitation.

So the criminal justice serves two purposes. To rehabilitate those that have broken the law (if possible) and later release them into society after they have learned their lesson (and their crime wasn’t too… terrible?). The other purpose is to remove dangerous entities from society. Of course the easiest way to remove these dangerous entities is to kill them but that would be inhumane. So they live out their lives in concrete boxes.

Your answer to this question probably lies within how you view lawbreakers. If you see them as people that have disrupted the order and need to be punished, then you probably want the focus to be on punishment. If your focus is more on what causes people to commit crime, you probably want rehabilitation.

S47: It is a waste of time to try to rehabilitate some criminals.

Natural follow-up? Are some criminals so depraved they cannot be successfully integrated into society?

S48: The businessperson and the manufacturer are more important than the writer and the artist.

Not much to say here. The question is how do you perceive the humanities. Do they provide a lesser service than that of the person putting widgets in your pocket?

S49: Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers.

Gender role statement it seems. Should the mother damn all else if it’s necessary for the child? Does the father get no say in this? Is there no way to delegate (get a babysitter) or is that not acceptable?

S50: Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries.

I have no idea what this question is asking so I’m skipping it. My guess isn’t educated enough to place it here.

S51: Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity.

So this statement REEKS of Presidential Primaries so I checked the last updated date of the survey: January 27, 2016. I don’t know if the Sanders/Trump phenomenon caused this question to be added to the list, but it seems highly suspect.

The idea is accepting that the party heads know best is ‘an important aspect of maturity’. I don’t like this statement’s inclusion.

S52: Astrology accurately explains many things.

Listen, I went to graduate school for physics. I… I’m not going to touch this one.

S53: You cannot be moral without being religious.

No explanation needed – and mine is probably biased.

S54: Charity is better than social security as a means of helping the genuinely disadvantaged.

Is it better to rely on goodwill or is it better to rely on the taxpayer? The problem with goodwill is that it’s not a reliable source of income. Blood donations are a great example of this. They explode after disasters but they’re needed all year-round (RED CROSS PLUG: IF YOU CAN GIVE BLOOD, PLEASE DO SO REGULARLY!) People that need blood can’t always get it. But imagine if everyone had to give some small amount of blood every two weeks. Would people that need blood always be able to get it?

S55: Some people are naturally unlucky.

What is this, the astrology thing again?

S56: It is important that my child’s school instills religious values.

I believe the important thing to ask is what kind of religious values do you want that school to instill in your child. If it’s religious adherence to the scientific method or to… something else?

S57: Sex outside marriage is usually immoral.

No explanation needed.

S58: A same sex couple in a stable, loving relationship should not be excluded from the possibility of child adoption.

No explanation needed.

S59: Pornography, depicting consenting adults, should be legal for the adult population.

What are these questions? Where are they coming from? Did they run out of authoritarian questions?

S60: What goes on in a private bedroom between consenting adults is no business of the state.

No explanation needed.

S61: No one can feel naturally homosexual.

No explanation needed.

S62: These days openness about sex has gone too far.

This seems like an opinion on desensitization. Have we become too used to sex being everywhere?


That’s everything folks. 62 statements. As promised, here are my results.

chart

My personal opinion is that it’s about right. I might be a little further right than that but not by much. According to the same website’s charts of the current potential presidential candidates – I would guess that Sanders is closest to my position. I personally think that their chart places everyone a little further right than they really are. Of course, political stances can be complicated. But we have the broad strokes.

This post didn’t really have much of a lesson. It’s just a for-funsie. Hope you enjoyed it.

Artemis Hunt

Political Compass Test – Comments

Where’s the Physics? – Episode 1

The image in question

because-fuck-physics

I’d like to begin a series where I pick apart physics in certain media. I found this gif on Facebook, and I feel like it’s a pretty good place to start. The image is from a cartoon called Totally Spies and I remember that it used to air on Cartoon Network. I don’t know the details too much except that it’s supposed to be some female spy show. You could read the Wikipedia article I linked for details.

So before we go into what’s wrong with this picture, let’s go into what’s right. The resolution is pretty poor, but you can see that the middle of the burned door is yellow while the edges are fading shades of red. Because the door is presumably melting, it means that the door is getting rather hot. Lasers are just light beams and the reason they can melt things is because they deposit energy into what they strike. When the door receives that energy, it heats up at the area of contact. Heat then flows from warmer areas to colder areas via thermodynamics. Got a warm spot in the center, cooler areas nearby, the heat will flow. So why do the colours matter? Because hotter materials are different colors. Red hot is colder than yellow hot which is colder than white hot. The middle is the warmest, so it should be the colour that corresponds to highest temperatures. There’s also a small case to be made with how the door melts in that there are two “large” areas with let’s say a “medium” region and “smaller” regions that melt. Two lasers striking the door at different points, those spots should be the hottest, and should melt first. The region between them should reach melting temperature shortly after the striking regions do, so it melts next.

However that’s where the physics stops working. There are two major things that I would like to focus on in the way of bad physics. The laser and the melting door. I’ll start with the melting the door.

When I gave the show props for the colours of the melting door being okay, perhaps I should’ve given them half credit. So remember that when things get warm they change colors? Now obviously, the metal must be yellow-hot before melting. That much is apparent from how the metal was yellow hot before it started melting. But if you watch the melting animation, you’ll see that the edges of the yellow-hot region remain red-hot BUT they start to melt! Bad physics!

The reason this is important is because we view the door as melting from the ‘out-side’ but the laser strikes it on the ‘in-side’! So if anything, the side of the door facing into the room should melt first. That’s why I didn’t dock it points for the melting in the first section. Because we only see the door melting from the outside, we can’t tell too well the order in which it melts.

Now when I looked at the door, I had wondered as to whether or not it may have been easier to simply melt the glass. It’s probably some kind of laminated glass from what I’ve read on sound booth creation. The problem with glass is that it’s hard to really pin down its melting temperature without knowing what type of glass it is. For the sake of argument, let’s just take a high end estimate of 1700 degrees celsius. Many other sources talk about when glass becomes malleable which would be around 1300 degrees celsius but I’m going with melting because it’s easier to equate melting for steel.
(I suppose technically I should go with vaporization because the door doesn’t seem to show where there melt-steel is…) Anyway, the melting point of steel is also tricky because it also depends on the steel’s composition. But according to this source the melting point of steel could be as high as 1500 degrees celsius.  This seemed odd to me because I always thought that glassblowing came before metalworking. The Iron Age, at the very least, came around 1200 B.C. The earliest glassblowing was apparently 1500 B.C. So glassblowing came before iron, which I would infer means that the temperatures necessary to melt glass were easier to achieve than that of iron. So the glass we’re talking about for windows is probably not the same type of glass that was used in early glassblowing.

Why am I talking about all of this melting business? Well, I’d like to talk about how much energy is being delivered to the materials (since it’s easy to talk about lasers in terms of Watts). There’s a material property called specific heat. Specific heat is how much energy is required to raise the temperature of a material. The Watt is a unit of power, and it is defined as a Joule per second. The specific heat of water is 4186 Joules per kilogram-kelvin. You have a 5kW laser, you can raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree celsius every second (you actually do a little more but I’m rounding here). Let’s look at the specific heats of glass and steel. DISCLAIMER: To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know if the glass we want is technically on the glass table. I’m going to assume it is, but I don’t know. I could be wrong. So we’re going to use the pyrex glass (753 J/kg*k) and the carbon steel value (120 J/kg*k). Obviously there are different masses of glass, so let’s compare how much glass that we need to melt and how much steel that we need to melt. When comparing densities, I will be using pyrex glass’ density because I’m using pyrex glass’ specific heat. The density of pyrex glass is 2.23 g/cm^3 (though looking at that page, we also see that the melting point is about 1500 degrees celsius, which helps narrow down our calculations). The density of carbon steel is 7.83 g/cm^3. So if we need to melt some mass M of steel to make an exit, we would need to melt about 1/3 M of glass to make an exit. Let’s do some math. We want to know how much energy would we would have to deliver to each material to melt some volume of it, let’s say 1000 cm^3. And we’ll be raising the temperature from room temperature to 1500 degrees celsius. So 1500 °C – 20 °C  (room temperature) = a change in 1480 degrees celsius.

QMCDT (Hyperphysics image)

Let’s plug in our numbers. First for the steel.

QMCDT

So about 1.4 mega Joules or 1.4 MJ for short (Billie Jean, is not my lover….) The assumption of 1000 cm^3 of material getting melted went into that… is that reasonable? Well… that’s about 61 cubic inches. That door looks to be maybe 2 inches thick?  Look  at that huge gap, it’s probably a great deal more than 61 cubic inches. So our estimate is low if anything. But going through the mess of trying to figure out with scaling how much material is actually melted is probably more complex than what readers care about. Also I’m eyeballing everything because I don’t have photoshop to pixel-perfect this stuff. Now let’s see how much energy we need to melt the glass.

QMCDT

I’ve defined pg and ps to be the densities of glass and steel, respectively. We see immediately that you need about half the required energy to melt the glass! (Lord knows what would’ve been required to burn away the sound-absorbing material that surrounds the room…) And before you say that they would’ve had to climb up to that little window door – LOOK AT THE GIANT FREAKING WINDOW TO THE RIGHT OF THE DOOR. Also, it takes like 2 seconds (being generous) to melt the door. That means that the laser used is delivering about 700,000 Joules per second to the door. That’s .7 Mega Watts. This was delivered FROM the lipstick ehh… to be frank I have no idea what they’re called. Let’s say lipstick pencil. This .7 MW were delivered from the lipstick pencil. Which worries me because I want to know how this .7 MW laser was generated in such a small device, and why the device doesn’t heat up in the woman’s hand as she fires it. And why doesn’t it destroy the compact mirror that was used to reflect it? We’re also neglecting the most obvious of questions – why did she not just point the laser at the door and melt it like that? Reflecting lasers does not increase the power of lasers. There’s no additional energy being pumped into the laser. If anything, the laser is losing energy.

That’s all of the door stuff. Now let’s focus on the laser – mirror thing. It is its own boatload of problems but it should be much easier to deal with. Let’s suppose that, (for some reason or another) the lipstick pencil doesn’t melt as it is being used. The compact mirrors are lying on the floor. The lipstick pencil is CLEARLY pointed towards the mirrors. By the Law of Reflection (and now we have to assume that for some reason this .7 MW laser doesn’t destroy the compact mirror in a second) the reflected beam should’ve gone into the floor, not to the other mirror. But let’s say the light beam bends towards the other mirror. Then, in fractions of a second the light beam would STILL go into the floor. See the picture below. QMCDT

So how long would this take? Well, if each compact mirror is… say… about 7 cm tall (2.7 inches, 0.07 meters) and they’re placed… what looks to be a full tile apart. Those tiles look to about two female heads in length? What’s the average length of a female head? Well, a Google search led me here. Sure it’s circumferences, but we can work with that. About 53 cm to the circumference of a female head. These women appear to be teenagers from my point of view? But that’s fine, we’ll use the same value for an adult woman’s head. 53 cm divided by pi (which is pronounced ‘pee’ in Greek by the way) leads to about a 17 cm diameter head. We want two of those, so we’ll assume that the tiles are 34 cm (0.34 meters) apart.

(I keep putting things in meters because I can quickly recall the speed of light in meters per second)

Let’s do some math. Let’s say that the incoming angle is 1°. Completely unreasonable, but I’m using it to prove a point. Simple trigonometry shows that the first reflection, if the laser strikes the very top of the mirror, will travel 0.006 meters down. Okay, cool. So we can actually bounce a few times. We can bounce a lot of times, actually. How many bounces? We can bounce 11 times before hitting the floor. Almost 12 times but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The total path length for those 11 reflections is 11 times is really close to 11 times .34 meters (this is actually somewhat expected due to the small angle approximation for tangent). So light would travel about 3.74 meters before it hit the ground. How long would that take? Well, c, the speed of light, is 3*10^8 meters per second. So, close to 1/1*10^8 of a second. The time of reflection in the gif is much longer than that, so bad physics.

So this has been a short excursion into the realm of cartoon physics. I hope you’ve learned a little something, as it has been a pleasure getting serious about silly little animations. That’ll be all for now.

Artemis Hunt

Where’s the Physics? – Episode 1

When is it Over?

Heads up – my views are perhaps a little more extreme than most and they don’t scale too well with some morality definitions.

For a change of pace, let’s not talk about United States politics. Mostly because Sanders is likely toast. Though it’d be hilarious if Clinton got indicted and Sanders would’ve won all along. Anyway, let’s talk about the ways competitions end.

Team sports like basketball have a time limit. When the time expires, the team with more points wins. Easy peasy. What if the teams are tied? Well there are some special rules for that but ultimately it’s a timed game. You have one hour to get as many BUCKETS as possible.

Board games usually end when particular criterion are met. Snakes and Ladders ends when a person gets to the other side of the board. That person wins. In card games, say… Magic, you win if you reduce your opponent’s life to zero. If your opponent has no remaining cards to draw (a result of milling decks) then they also lose. There are also some variations for sports. I think there are some mercy rules in sports in which if a team wins too hard too fast the game ends before the other team can embarrass themselves in trying to overcome such a disadvantage.

There’s also the option of surrender and winning by default which is where this post is going to focus. You can lose games (like card games – fucking Hearthstone) by surrendering. And you can lose by simply not being there to compete. You can’t win if you’re not there to play the game, so you lose by default. Now let’s make the (gruesome) extension to war. Wars are not subject to absolute timescales, like basketball. There aren’t any rules (strictly speaking) in war. I mean, sure, we have Geneva Convention. We, as nations, have agreed to follow these rules. But there’s no requirement that the rules be followed. And to be honest, this is why I believe the GOP is in favor of torturing ISIS. ISIS isn’t playing by our rules. They never agreed to the rules. Why should you play by the rules if your opponent won’t? Personal integrity, I suppose. Is that personal integrity worth it? Is it worth the lives of citizens, is it worth the lives of enemies? I’ll leave that question to the reader.

So how do wars end? Surrender, I suppose. Default would be an when there is no one to oppose you but that can get dangerous really fast. But there’s an important thing to note about surrender. That is, the would be victor must accept the surrender. There’s a GREAT scene in Game of Thrones which emphasizes this point (I’d say spoiler alert, but let’s be real here, you’ve seen it). For those of you unwilling to watch the clip, it’s of Ramsay Bolton. He comes across an injured knight from ‘the other side’ on the ground. Ramsay steps forward to deal a killing blow. The knight cries out, ‘Surrender! I surrender!’ What is Ramsay’s response? He says, “I accept your surrender,” and deals a killing blow. The thing about surrender is that the victor sets the terms. This effectively caused World War II, or at least it acted as a contributing factor.

So in that sense, since the victor must accept the terms of surrender, the entity surrendering doesn’t really have much of a say in the matter. The victor decides when the war is over, not the loser. The victor decides that the fighting ends and then the victor decides what is to be done with the loser. Sun Tzu said it best in The Art of War when they said be gracious to the defeated. Because if you don’t, and you let them live, as the allies did in World War I, you get Nazi Germany.

Before I go further, I would highly recommend reading The Art of War; I’ve linked it above. It has a lot of conventional wisdom which can be applied to more aspects of life than war. I want to note that Sun Tzu advises war as a last resort, when no peaceful resolution can be met.

Okay, so it’s amazing what economic depression can do to people. It’s amazing how the people will rally around… “hope”? It’s amazing how treatment after defeat in a war can be used as a rallying cry. People want to blame someone, they want a scapegoat. It’s great, and the Dark Knight explores this theme in the boat experiment. Maybe not primarily, but I’d say it’s there! It would seem many people do not want another World War II. Some people (like Germany) would like to forget it ever happened. Don’t mention it, no swastikas allowed, history must be buried so the world can remember we brought them dirndles instead  and Oktoberfest. I don’t blame them and I feel some of the fault does lie with the allies. But see, here’s the problem: the allies forgot the only real rule in war. Win by total annihilation.

Sun Tzu makes a great point to treat the defeated fairly. Why? You do not want an embittered, defeated opponent to fester in times of peace. To gather allies, to gather power, and eventually strike again. Does such treatment truly prevent another war? Of this, I’m skeptical. People don’t easily forget the family members that they had to bury or could not bury. People don’t forget the burned buildings, the destroyed cities, the hunger, and they don’t forget the flag of the person that did it. But sure, it’s more humanitarian, probably.

I’m going to be the one to propose the alternative solution to war: total destruction of the enemy. The soldiers, the family, the children, everybody dies. No one can rise against you if there’s no one to rise. It conveniently gets rid of the future uprising issue. The alternative is a militia state but that can also cause an uprising. Just can’t win eh? In an ideal world, there are no wars, and I’m not suggesting that nations go out of their way to destroy other nations. My philosophy is that if you are attacked by an unprovoked nation, leave nothing behind. Leave no one to grieve for the fallen. Person A attacks Person B on the street? Person A should kill Person B with their first strike, or Person B will respond with lethal force. Because leaving a survivor will make you a target for future attacks. Person A? They have friends. They could come back with friends. At least in the case of dead Person A, that’s one less person to worry about if the friends decide to enact vengeance. Leaving people to grieve only fosters resentment, and future attacks.

The question one needs to ask themselves when they employ such tactics is whether or not they can live with themselves having done so. I don’t think this is an easy question. I also think that my position is radical in today’s world. If the United States decided to nuke the Middle East, retaliatory action from the United Nations (which would likely just be ‘pressure’, not force) would follow. Is this the opening Russia wants? Mutually assured destruction might suggest not. So now I wonder, is it all a farce? Is our ‘peace’ just a better alternative to the deaths of many more, possibly all people? What size of an attack on a superpower is necessary to ‘wake the beast’? Will such an attack ever happen? Have we seen the last World War? These are all thoughtful questions.

Artemis Hunt

When is it Over?

The Feminist Conspiracy

Obligatory Kenji picture

Kenji_NoGlasses

Plot Twist: The feminists control the world. Only Kenji can see this.

Okay, I’ll just take a moment to express that I love Kenji. I maintain that Katawa Shoujo has only one true ending and that ending is the bathroom scene with Kenji. You give him $20 for… some reason or another… ; ) Everything after that scene is just imagination on how bad life could’ve turned out.

Okay, to the main topic. I happen to be in the unfortunate situation of having many young female friends on Facebook. Many of which (if not all) are liberals. Now this isn’t a bad thing in it of itself. I myself have my own set of social policies that I would like to enact “for the good of us all” despite technically being closer to libertarian on most other issues. For example, I would like to see public transportation expanded drastically and the use of cars for daily commute cut drastically. The hope is that this will reduce emissions and clear the roads up, getting everyone to where they want to be or need to be a little faster. With (hopefully) fewer drunk drivers on the road, there should be less accidents and what few accidents there are should be less lethal because private cars hitting a bus doesn’t end well for the car due to Newton’s Third Law. I think it would be an improvement, feel free to comment or ask questions about it.

So why did I bring up my young liberal female friends? Well, I had posted an article that I had found stating that the wage gap is a myth. I thought that it made things quite clear and simple and I like to spread the word. A fiery one (female friend, that is) commented that it is real, and they have experienced it. Skeptical of the claim, I suggested that she take the company to court. She said that she would not because money? But surely she realizes that she’s sitting on a GOLD MINE for kickstarter or something? Like, if she could conclusively prove that the company was sexist, and unfairly paying their female employees less per hour for the same work then she could get a lot of money from them. She could get a lot of money from female rights activist organizations. She could also set the standard for women, to have them rise up and ‘fight the power’. She could make the nation better. If women are truly being paid less in the way of wages, I would 100% support taking it to ‘the man’. But fine, cases take time and money and it does nothing for her current situation.Fair enough, I quoted some studies and asked her if two independent studies reach the same conclusion, why would she assume that the results of these studies were false. And her response told me something interesting. It told me that she has accepted a reality and refuses to admit any information that contradicts it.

Her response was (paraphrased) “These studies were probably done by men”. The implication being that these studies are lies, designed to maintain a status quote of pinning women down. And what I think this means, is that in her mind the wage gap is an absolute truth, that men are keeping women down. Of course, the best way to discover whether or not this is true is to ask the question. The big question, the win condition. “What would it take, what could I provide that would convince you that the wage gap is a myth?” If the answer to that question is ‘nothing’ then I would be wasting my time. It’s no longer a rational discussion. It’s a religious discussion, and nobody wins those.

It’s a real shame too, because religious mentalities are often detrimental to society. Ludwig Boltzmann, slightly ahead of his time, had the audacity to suggest that matter were composed by many small particles called atoms or molecules. He was mocked by his contemporaries. Existence can be fragile, and despite being married and having children, it seems being mock out of scientific circles was too much for him. He took his family on a beach vacation and while his family was enjoying themselves, he committed suicide. And think that this is tragic. I think life is precious, and when a person is driven to take their own life, it’s unbearable. It’s a sign of failure as humanity. It should not happen. Christ, just thinking about this, writing it out makes me cry.

I’m a student, that’s obvious by now. Students sometimes attend seminars or presentations and the whatnot. I once attended a presentation in which the speaker contrasted Dark Matter and Modified Newtonian Dynamics. The speaker had a slide in which they quoted a Dark Matter advocate. The quote was something like (again, paraphrased), “let the MOND believers waste their time and money. That just means more research for me!”. There’s A LOT wrong with a statement like that. It’s arrogant for sure, but it’s entirely unscientific. I can’t remember if it were a nobel laureate, but it was certainly a Ph.D holder. To claim that those pursuing an alternative model are flat-out ‘wasting their time’, essentially saying that they are wrong, is beyond science. Science should be about crafting models and if the evidence supports these models. If the evidence doesn’t support these models, discard the models. But if you believe there’s a way the evidence could fit the model or a refined model, go for it. Make predictions and test them against reality.

And I wouldn’t care so much if I didn’t feel like such faith was ultimately destructive to society. There’s a great Family Guy scene in which characters Stewie Griffin and Brian Griffin go to an alternate universe and everything looks quote-unquote “futuristic”. Brian asks what year it is and Stewie responds that it’s the current year. The reason the world looks so futuristic is because the dark ages of Christianity never occurred, so the world is 1000 years more advanced from our current year. And this poses an interesting question, is it plausible? We landed on the moon in 1970, could we have done it then in 970? I’m skeptical. I don’t believe that the dark ages stunted scientific progress that much in terms of ideas. No doubt people were working on their own. The question is interesting because it asks the question of how does blind faith affect society, is this blind faith beneficial? Can it be beneficial? I’ll leave that question to ‘the motivated student’.

So where am I really going with this? I don’t really know. I guess what I really want to get across is how this idea of faith should be removed from arguments. Because how do you properly counter these sorts of arguments? When it comes to assumptions, they have to be justifiable. When I discuss voting, and the idea of democracy, I often argue with the assumption of the rational actor, that all voters vote based on their self-interest. Is that a reasonable assumption? Let’s liken it to survival. A being whose focus is on the individual is more likely to… proliferate when given resources. Compare that to one who is more willing to yield these resources to others. Survival scales with available resources. It also makes sense that people with like interests will band together to increase their collective survival rate. This is why animals form pack structures. So in democracy where the largest pack gets the power, being part of that pack by nature of shared interests in oneself is an advantage.

Tangent over now (sorta). I don’t view this overarching conspiracy of women being oppressed to be reasonable. More women are accepted to higher education. Girls in school are graded easier. They suffer less reprimandation for actions in school. They have more scholarships thrown at them for being women (ESPECIALLY IN STEM FIELDS. FEMALE READERS TAKE NOTE). They suffer less jailtime for the same crime. They can destroy a man’s life with the utterance of a single accusation. They can separate fathers from their children. Women have a boatload of power in this system. I have a difficult time believing women will get paid less for the same work when they have all of this other stuff going for them. And the data supports my views.

Artemis Hunt

The Feminist Conspiracy