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That guy, y'know?
01 May 2012 @ 06:28 pm

If you come across a porcelain doll on the floor with its head shattered, stepping on the broken pieces will have no real effect on the overall condition of the doll.

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That guy, y'know?
29 April 2012 @ 10:42 pm

I'm tired and I hate life. I'm going to go to sleep and hope that life is gone by the time I wake up.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

That guy, y'know?
14 June 2011 @ 09:20 am
I dreamt that I went back in time to the Cretaceous. Naturally, it was full of tourists from even further in the future. I joined up with a tour group that reeked of velociraptor repellent. We had lunch in a McDonald's, where I was surprised to find the menu was the same as it was back home.

"What are these 'chicken' mcnuggets made of?" I demanded. "The contemporary 'chicken' is the size of a tank!"

"Don't be so naive!" said one of the tourists. "Even in your time, they weren't really made of chicken."
That guy, y'know?
Hundreds of tests have shown that astrologers are no better at predicting events or people's personality traits than random guessing. Somehow I'm not surprised. A field of research that does not require you to show your work or verify your theories is bound to attract charlatans and incompetents. However, most reports on these tests seem to take the viewpoint that these tests disprove astrology, which is a completely unscientific claim to make. For instance, one arrogant asshole at skeptico.com said that the fact that astrologers who failed Shawn Carlson's double-blind test of astrology didn't "g[i]ve up astrology as being useless" means that they were "totally closed minded to the possibility that astrology doesn’t work," rather than consider that their methods need to be refined. Even what I consider the best study into the premises of astrology was reported in the Telegraph as evidence that astrology is "rubbish." (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1439101/Astrologers-fail-to-predict-proof-they-are-wrong.html) Actually, what is shown is that the claims of astrologers can be demonstrably wrong and the astrologers themselves have no accountability for their claims. This is serious and important on its own, but to take that information and make the leap that the time and location of your birth has no effect on you personally is scientifically unsound and unsupported by evidence.

In various studies, there has been shown to be correlations between time of birth and such factors as longevity, birth length, time of onset of menopause, and suicidal tendencies. (Taureans and Sagittarians live longer, Leos and Aquarians live shorter, Scorpios are born taller, Taureans are born shorter, Libras start menopause later, Aries start menopause sooner, and Taureans are more likely to hang themselves.) This means that there are physical and developmental differences based on month of birth, and there are likely to be psychological ramifications. What these ramifications are isn't really known. Most skeptics will tell you that there has not been any correlation found between personality traits and month of birth. This isn't really true, but even if it were, it should be noted that there is no entirely accurate way to test a person's personality and self-reported personality tests are notoriously inaccurate. Michel Gauquelin tried to remove this inaccuracy by analysing famous people whose personalities and prominence were known. Based on this, he noted the "Mars Effect," based on the position of Mars in their astrological charts. Though his findings are often quoted, they should probably be disregarded, because his samples weren't at all random.

There is a marked correlation between "positive" signs (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius) and extroversion, as well as between "water" signs (Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio) and empathy and neurosis. What is even more important to note is that this correlation only exists among people who are aware of their astrological signs. So it may very well be that to a large extent, astrology is a placebo. However, it is a placebo that is historically relevant and very prevalent in our society. That is to say, the correlation exists even though the reason has nothing to do with celestial bodies. The larger issue, and one that I find much more interesting (and yet few people seem to bring up), is that if the correlation depends on knowledge of one's astrological sign, that implies that these personality traits are self-determined and can be altered through suggestion - either that or it's just another example of the flaws of self-reported personality tests and the findings are pretty much meaningless.

Since the scientific validity of astrology has not been confirmed and astrologers can't be trusted to tell you anything necessarily true, it is easy to say that astrology is bullshit. However, I contend that mythology and metaphor and pseudoscience are not detrimental and can actually be beneficial, provided they are not confused with real science. I was going to write an essay about the real value of astrology, but I saw that former astrologist and current astrology debunker Geoffery Dean already did a pretty good job of that, which I would like to draw your attention to:

References used:
Cagnacci A, Pansini FS, Bacchi-Modena A, Giulini N, Mollica G, de Aloysio D, Vadora E and Volpe A (2005a) Season of birth influences the timing of menopause. Hum Reprod20,2190–2193.
Cagnacci A, Pansini FS, Bacchi-Modena A, Giulini N, Mollica G, de Aloysio D, Vadora E and Volpe A, Emilia-Romagna Operative Group for Menopause (GOERM) (2005b) Seasonal onset of menopause. Maturitas51,393–396
Carlson, Shawn. A double-blind test of astrology. Nature, December 5, 1985, 318, 419 – 425.
Garcia Alonso L, Hillman D, Cornelissen G, Garcia Penalta X, Wang ZR, Halberg F. Nature, not solely nurture: chronome as well as season governs growth patterns of infants. In: Otsuka K, Cornelissen G, Halberg F, eds. Chronocardiology and Chronomedicine: Humans in Time and Cosmos. Tokyo: Life Science Publishing, 1993: 71-75.
Gauquelin, M. Zodiac and Personality: An Empirical Study. Skeptical Inquirer, 1982, 6:3, 57.
Gavrilov, L.A., Gavrilova, N.S. Season of birth and human longevity. Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, 1999, 2(4): 365-366.
Henneberg M, Louw GJ. Further studies on the month-of-birth effect on body size: rural schoolchildren and an animal model. Am J Physical Anthropology 1993; 91: 235-244.
Jackson, M. Extroversion, Neuroticism, and Date of Birth: A Southern Hemisphere Study. Journal of Psychology, 1979, 101, 197.
Mayo, J., White, O., Eysenck, H. An Empirical Study of the Relation between Astrology Factors and Personality. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1979, 105, 229.
Otto W, Reissig G. Zur Anthropologie der Neugeborenen. 4. Mitteilung. Lange und Gewicht der Neugeborenen in den verschiedenen Monaten. Monatsberichte der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1963; 5: 549-559.
Pawlik, K., Buse, L. Self-attribution as a Differential Psychological Moderating Variable. Zeitschrift fur Sozilpsychologie, 1979, 10, 54.
Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M, Christens P, Andersen A-MN, Hjalgrim H. Secular and seasonal variation of length and weight at birth. The Lancet 1998; 352 (Dec 19/26): 1990.
That guy, y'know?
18 January 2011 @ 03:58 pm
There isn't a new astrological sign. Parke Kunkle is not an astrologer, nor is he a historian or sociologist or psychologist. He wasn't trying to establish a new astrology, he was just joking about how stupid he thinks astrology is and he did it in a profoundly stupid way. Actually, he doesn't know what he was talking about, either. Astrology has been changing over the past 3,000 years, even if astrologers use the same symbols to describe things. In short, there are the same number of lunar cycles per revolution of the Earth (between 12 and 13, but closer to 12) regardless of which constellations "count," just as Pluto has the same physical properties whether or not you call it a "planet" (which has historically been a vaguely defined term, anyway). Scientists really need to be better about choosing their battles.

Ophiuchus being an astrological sign isn't even based on any real science. It's based on knowing the name of a constellation located (when viewed from Earth) near Scorpio and being a dick. Really, if you're going to be scientific about it, the sun is never in any constellation. It can't be unless it's viewed from a planet that is not revolving around it. The very idea of planets being in houses doesn't even make sense if you're speaking of them as actual physical bodies rather than as symbols used to mark the passage of time. Also, fuck you.

Asking astrologers to account for Ophiuchus is like asking Christians to account for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's not their job and you're an asshole. Saying that the 13 sign zodiac is more scientific than the 12 sign zodiac is like saying that elves are more scientific than dwarves. It's a pointless argument and you're wrong. Dwarves are more scientifically accurate than elves, because dwarves actually exist, even though people make up ridiculous lies about them. That means that dwarves are also more scientific than Abraham Lincoln, because we have more physical evidence that dwarves exist. Come to think of it, that means that Santa Claus is more scientific than Abraham Lincoln, too.

So, to recap, the hierarchy of how scientific certain ideas are goes:

1. Dwarves
2. St. Nicholas
3. Abraham Lincoln
4. Elves
5. Ophiuchus as an astrological sign
6. Shakespeare having three arms

And I hate you. Stop being idiots.
That guy, y'know?
25 October 2010 @ 12:07 am
Today, I was thinking about people who say that religion is evil because so many people have died over it. Then I thought about other things that are evil for the same reason, like geography, genetics, rock & roll, and athletic shoes.

Now I want David Burkowitz's neighbour's dog brought to justice.

Seriously, we know that throughout history dogs have been responsible for countless deaths. Wake up, people! Dogs are dangerous and they don't even make any sense. Why do we keep them around anyway? Because we're used to them? Because we were raised to own dogs? Because they make some people happy or comfortable? Is it really worth it?

Well, is it?
That guy, y'know?
19 October 2010 @ 12:56 am
Today, I spent hours working on a story that I then threw out because it was horrible. It had one line that I liked, though, and now I don't know what to do with it:

"I stared Death in the face and invited her in. I refer to Death in the feminine, because like with all women who are too busy to put up with my bullshit, I felt guilty for wasting her time."
That guy, y'know?
12 October 2010 @ 07:11 pm
"At the moment I am trying to break myself of the habit of running away from people before I get hurt. I'm also trying to break myself of the habit of getting hurt all of the time, and I'm scared that the solution might just be learning to run faster."

-Me, from a recent conversation.
That guy, y'know?
18 September 2010 @ 12:22 am
I need to remember not to care. That way it won't hurt so much when nobody else does.
That guy, y'know?
25 August 2010 @ 02:54 am
"We must believe in Harvey Dent. We must believe that our private demons can be defeated..."

- Bruce Wayne, from The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

It was at Katelan Foisy's reading, while I sat soaked from the downpour that had started after I had left the house and had no umbrella handy, that I decided I wanted to write again - not because anyone needed to hear from me, but because it was another step towards becoming human.

I'm not going to tell the story of how I got here, not that you would expect me to. It's not even a very good story. Maybe I will tell it some day when it doesn't hurt so much. When I say "hurt," you should probably understand that it isn't a metaphorical or emotional hurt. It isn't just shame or regret. It isn't just anger or disappointment or disgust or sorrow, though it is all of those things. It's also something real and physical. It's a dull ache in the head and a stabbing pain in the stomach. It's a dizziness and a nausea that overwhelms me and causes me to vomit or pass out. I don't expect anyone else to believe that or even to understand it, but that doesn't matter any more, because I shouldn't have to explain to anyone else how broken I am.

Some might say that I've lost my innocence, but that's silly, because I've been guilty for as long as they've known me. I never held innocence as a value to be treasured, so I don't care if it's broken. What's nice about that is that it means that nobody is ever beyond redemption. Even when you're broken and scarred and disfigured, you can still pull through your life. You can still be somebody, maybe even somebody that others won't need to be ashamed to have known. Maybe somebody whom others will deign to speak to.

That's not to say that nothing is lost forever. That's obviously not true. There are some things you can never get back. However, if what you've lost is something you truly cannot live without, then at least you will be dead and won't have to worry about it. For everything else, you will live through it. You may not be who you were, but you'll be alive, and where there's life, there's hope. I need to remind myself of that.

But what do I have to live for still? My principles have been broken. But, then, that's the funny thing about principles - when they're betrayed, they don't really break. My principles are the same as they've always been. Maybe nobody will understand that I was still working for them even when doing so seemed impossible. I know I fucked up. Still, that doesn't make truth and love go away. What's important is knowing how they can be strong in my life after all that has happened. And it is possible, no matter how things seem. I have not given up fighting for what I care about.

"I believe in Jim Gordon.
I believe in Harvey Dent.
I believe in Gotham City..."

- Bruce Wayne, from The Long Halloween by Master Storyteller The Guy Who Wrote Teen Wolf