Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Fallacious Arguments of The Scientists (Animal Research)

The thing is, if your argument is fallacious, it is wrong.  Which is not to say that the fallaciousness of your argument makes your conclusion wrong, because that would be fallacious.

Many heuristics that we use in our everyday lives are fallacious.  If you intend to convince somebody, don't be fallacious.  Be logical.

Especially if you're a FUCKING SCIENTIST:

WIRED: How do you square what you believe about animal consciousness with how they’re used in experiments?

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Mute on Extroversion and The Upcoming AI Revolution

I'd say between 8 and 10 out of 10 Rutgers students at a given bus stop or student center are plugged into the Internet or a digital music player.  As a result, when it isn't party time, people are generally quiet.  For all the negative consequences there may be of being attached at the hip to the digital world, I generally like the quiet.  So I think of this as a positive trend.

I like the atmosphere better when there is less noise, less meaningless babbling.  And to a large extent, the babbling that has been moved to the screen is empty I imagine.  Or else private (lol @ the notion of privacy in teh digital world).  It makes me feel like I'm in a natural world.

People are becoming increasingly docile.  The culture of quick captions and pithy sentiments is catching on.  Basically, 4chan culture is taking over humanity.  And as older generations disappear, this effect will increase.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Can't Settle Into My Skin

I still haven't come to terms with myself.

When I think about my life, my identity, I still shiver with memories of depression.  I now have the ability to be happy, but I'm not precluded from feeling sad.  My emotions are, ostensibly, real.  Unfettered by that permanent malaise, but not entirely free from despair.

I'm thinking in a way that should help me become comfortable in my own skin.  But it's still really difficult, even when I have a prescription to help me with the battle that's too deep to fight alone.

I've been doing research, reading, learning.  I want to find the truth.  I want to know my place in the world.

I've been operating under the pretense that my proper place doesn't yet exist, which allows me to think of myself as a spiritual vagabond.  I don't really have a place, so whatever I've been doing is just as good as whatever else I could be doing.  My lifestyle is no better than any other I could have, because the one lifestyle I want is impossible.

But now I'm having doubts about that conclusion.  I'm wondering if there really is a better place for me than where I am?  Maybe I've been wrong to alienate myself from my identity?  Perhaps I'm going about everything in the wrong way?  How much time, how much of my soul am I wasting in my perilous pursuit of perfection?

What I can't do is forego a dream because I'm trembling about its grandiosity.  I can't be scared about pushing through and failing.  Brahms captured that lesson in his Nänie.  That's part of it, I can tell.  But there is definitely legitimacy in my desire to have something fulfilling in my life now.  I no longer feel depressed, but I've been so enthralled with the capacity to feel happy that I've been doing nothing but trying to make myself feel happy.  I've been playing Pokémon nonstop, surfing the Internet, spending time with the cats, doing simple housework, doing nice things for the people around me.  I must, at some point, return to my current career--being a student.  I have to go back to my primary endeavor.

At the very least, I can take solace in the knowledge that an intense gauntlet of schoolwork and academic studies will not be able to inflict depression on me.  As long as I have my newfound line of defense, whatever I make my lifestyle will make itself mine.  My happiness will adapt to the things I do, and my rosy outlook will paint these difficult challenges as pleasurable activities.  I will like doing what I'm doing, even if it's not something that gives me instant gratification.  I will then, because these more difficult activities are incredibly rewarding, find fulfillment.

So I know what I have to do:  cut out distractions, make a plan, follow the plan.  Don't move in circles, don't fret about the inevitable failures.  Do recognize that I can take steps to avoid many of those failures, and when I choose short-term happiness over success, it's largely because of fear.  And fear is the only thing worth fearing.  So:  Fear fear.  Be brave.  Do the data structures homework assignment.  Do discrete.  Read physio psych.  Make an agenda. Write all this stuff into a to-do list.  Look at the to-do list regularly.

Signing off.  Perhaps to write something more philosophical, about what is required for a paradigm shift.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mt. Holyoke Concert et al

So, for lack of something creative to say, I'll give a rundown of what's been going on in my life:

For quite specific reasons, I've been feeling an incredible amount better lately.  That will continue, I believe.

I got into Advanced Neuro Lab 2, which is the lab I really wanted to take, and which has a class size of 8 people.  Happy, happy, happy!  I'm rather surprised by this, because my Adv. Neuro lecture test scores (which were apparently the only metric used to choose people) were nowhere near what I would have hoped them to be, due again to an epoch of malaise.  In any case, that makes my life far easier than it could have been.

I might pass biochemistry... Now that I'm in a better place and lots of glee club stuff is done with, I can probably focus on some hardcore studying.

I'm doing a lot of Internet research into things that personally interest me, which is cool.  I tried doing that to some extent before, but eventually dropped it because I started at a time when I was extremely busy.  Now I actually have a paper to write that depends on doing such research, so I'll probably actually do all of that reading.

I finished Coatzee's Disgrace, and loved it.  Coatzee really resonates with me for some reason, and I love his style.  A breath of fresh air, despite the moroseness of the book's content.

Hosted some women from Mt. Holyoke in my house, and I have to pay much humble respect to my wonderfully thoughtful housemates who cleaned the house beautifully while I was at rehearsal.  The exchange concert was phenomenal:  Biebl's Ave Maria, Sametz' Ein Keloheinu, Spratlan's Rainbow over the Seine, Rachmaninoff's No. 7, Whitacre's Lux Aurumque, and Rahman's Wedding Qawwali comprised the RUGC set.  Then, Mt. Holyoke had their own wonderful pieces, and a beautiful joint performance of Brahm's Nänie.  At the end of that, I got to give a bouquet, picked out by a wonderfully tasteful senior in club, and recordings of our past performances to the other choir's director.  That brought together the weekend for me, and I was happy to learn that the Mt. Holyoke singers had only positive things to say about their stay, especially considering there are usually some small or large issues that come up when you have people from a women's college housing with Rutgers students.  I wonder if that comes, in part, from the efforts we've made this semester to push through the feminism-friendly alma mater lyrics change.  The increased awareness of the importance of gender equality and the positive messages of Dr. Gardner and a trans advocate in our club must have had some small positive impact.  That, and our business manager had a keen eye for the kind of guy who would make a good host.

Now, off to study for a Neuro exam in.  I don't really know what we were supposed to have learned, even though I was more or less completely paying attention to what was going on in class.  Not sure if the focus is going to be on how to read scientific papers, or what the contents of those particular papers were.  Lucky I'm already in Neuro lab, I guess.

Listening to ERAAS, Reflektor, and meditative Mass Effect/Kelly Bailey OST.