Category Archives: Culture
Anything related to culture.
Why Problems such as Abortion, Global Warming, Wealth Distribution, and Many Others are far from Being Solved
Well, there are indeed a wealth of problems:
Women being unequal to men
Existence of God
And anything else you can think of
In any case, it’s blatantly obvious why I’m composing this article. Because a writer possesses a duty to write on subjects of great controversy in our society as to attract the public’s eye, thus people will agree or disagree but either way the writer achieves what he so cleverly desired: to obtain publicity for his piece and stir things up a bit more, causing a ripple effect. This, my friends, is a very diminutive explanation as to what a writer attempts to gain from writing; that and the pleasure of writing, of course.
So you’re asking by now, “What’re you getting at?” Well here’s the gist, these issues (as some consider them) are light years away from being solved because it’s all about moral OPINION. And as much as I believe that individuals have the right to express their opinions, they belong nowhere in the “real world.” One may say, “Abortion is wrong because only God is allowed to take a life,” and another may counter-argue with, “It really comes down to each individual who decides to do it or not do it.” Well, it’s a long line of opinions, and no one can get anything done with mere beliefs. There has to be evidence, persuasion.
Everything goes hand-in-hand, and so if one were to argue that abortion is the work of the Devil, because God would never permit such a malevolent act, then one has to prove the existence of God. And even that, to this day, is debatable. What your religious inclinations are I have no interest in; what I’m simply attempting to state is that there isn’t concise evidence as to whether or not God(s) exist(s). And then scientists come in and say it was the Big Bang, and then various religious folk come in and say it was God and attempt to give reasons, and both sides war over who is the victor, the correct one. The truth of the matter is that there is no victor, because there is a lack of evidence. Now, if Jesus came from the clouds and walked on water and transformed it into wine afterward, then you’d bet your sweet ass I would bow down and worship him.
That hasn’t happened up until now, so I remain skeptical. It’s the same with everything else; it all boils down to morals. Some say global warming is caused by us, the inhabitants not taking proper care of our Mother, but some scientists have theorized that due to global warming we’ve prevented a mini-ice age from dooming us all! (By mini I mean a couple thousand years) Others are also attempting to relate the peak of the periods in which the Sun ejects sun spots and relate that to global warming: the highest period of sun spots results in much higher temperatures, basically. They have evidence, but is it enough to prove it? The answer is no, and whatever you believe in, make sure to stick with it because no one is really right (so far).
One thing I must mention though, is that people should mind their own business. Whether or not someone gets an abortion or recycles, or is richer than you, or has a different religious denomination than yours, just leave that person alone. You have your beliefs and they have theirs; you believe yours are right and vice versa. Don’t mistake your duties as a member of society with a false duty to “save” individuals from whatever you believe in, that a person is living a misconstrued path and he should follow yours because yours is “right.” No one likes an over-exaggerative, bible thumping bigot, so piss off and let others be. Of course this is just my moral opinion, so you shouldn’t really listen to me, either. He he.
In any case, comment and share your mind (there’s me doing my job as a writer).
Debatable Subjects You Shouldn’t Stick Your Nose In
Everyone has their opinions about abortion; it’s a touchy subject. But nonetheless, it is a subject that most people would not like for others to get involved in, speaking of those that are going through with the procedure. If I were a female that was getting the procedure done, I’d already feel bad about it. I wouldn’t need any protesters there, telling me that abortion is bad. My day is a horrid one as it is without you screaming like a lunatic outside of the abortion clinic.
Read the rest of this entry
How to Think Rationally With Your Emotions
Stripping oneself of emotional beliefs ultimately leads to the inability to possess judgment. In simpler words, people often try to detach themselves from their emotions because they believe it will make them stronger. In reality though, emotions are coping mechanisms; ways to remove a burden or two, which allows room for rational thinking.
People often think that ridding themselves of emotions will make them stronger and able to handle anything; this is not true the least bit. Truth of the matter is that emotions give you the Human Element; leisure, happiness, momentary judgment, etc. To cage one’s feelings is close to being a robot: You have a formula for everything; an equation to every situation. This would not work because even the most stubborn person will admit that life is unpredictable and there is no real way of controlling it.
NOT ENOUGH EMOTION
Relating to examples from my life, I once was an eerie teenager with a deep fear of emotional thinking; I was afraid of getting hurt. I reconciled the same inhuman behavior, and before I knew it, I was more machine than man. I have no intention of sounding like the Terminator, but it was quite true. I extirpated all “irrational” thoughts from my mind as well as my life.
For a good period of time, I believed, with all my heart, that I was doing the right thing by lunging my humanistic beliefs aside and trying everything by a belief system I created (that comes later). Now, when I look back on it, I feel like I’ve wasted a good part of my life. True enough I’m only 17, but high school is a time to be cherished. I gaze back at the past and see that all the times I’ve attempted to be right and true to life’s equation looks like a sham; a sorry excuse for fear and failure. All of those years I thought I was doing the right thing, but in fact, my life was more damaged than the average person’s.
I’m not saying I regret those years (I regret nothing), but I certainly wish I’d realized the error of my ways sooner rather than later. The events that occurred blossomed me into the person I am today, but I could have easily avoided the death traps had I known the simplicity of nearly all of the events that transpired.
TOO MUCH EMOTION
Being a machine is one thing, beyond human is another. At this state, a person is making him/her feel bad for the simplest of things; drama would fall under this category; and although things might suggest to be “The most important thing of your life!”, I assure you, it isn’t. Gander at the big picture here, and don’t be stuck in the present. Ask yourself, “Will it be important 10 years from now?”
People who let their feelings get the best of them often find themselves giving into peer pressure or doing things they would never actually do just to fit in. Over thinking is also common among these fine critters; situations that are normally child’s play turn into exhausting mental dribble.
I suppose having a proper amount of balance in anything is essential: The right foods with the right diet, plenty of sleep due to hard work, etc. This is especially true when it comes to emotions though. You don’t want to turn into a zombie robot, but you don’t want to go lower than a willow tree because of the slightest occurrence.
Balance, the key is balance, not too little, not too much.
Internet – How it affects us.
In the past 20 years, the internet has changed the common man’s life in more ways than previously imagined. Earlier restricted only for communications between Military Agencies and Research Organisations, today we see avid internet-users of all age-groups throughout the world. This exponential growth is in itself a testament to the success and popularity of the internet.
Recent years have seen a huge jump in terms of the amount of services accessible on the internet. We are also seeing a majority of companies reaching out to their customers through the internet. The internet has helped us achieve feats in many sectors which were earlier thought to be impossible. Who would have thought that you could talk to a friend sitting in another country at the touch of a button? Or packaging companies could deliver international parcels within the accuracy of the hour? Or socialize with our friends even without leaving the house? The list is endless. The internet is a tool for development – both personal and industrial.
The internet’s impact on a person’s life is not superficial. It affects the lifestyle and behavior of individuals to their very core. This can have both – a positive as well as negative impact on the users of the internet. I have tried my best to explain these impacts under the following points:
- Kids and Teenagers
- Internet access in every household has led to a surge in the number of kids and teenagers who use the internet. No longer do kids need their grandma to help them learn the alphabet or the numbers – they can do it on their own, at the touch of a button – not only do they see the alphabet, but pre-recorded voice even pronounces it for them. No longer do children need books with sketches on them – the internet is filled with interactive websites which respond to each touch of the user. I think that soon the internet would be a more popular way of teaching kids as it preserves the spirit of the book and combines it with interactivity of the web – animations, videos, links, etc.
- Internet is now an in-separable part of many teenager’s lives. Not only does it eliminate the need of encyclopedias or dictionaries, it enhances the education experience. Since we are looking at the impact of internet as a whole, it would be foolish not to talk about non-educational experiences. The internet acts as a socializing hub – sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, GMail, Hotmail are the new rage among teens. Emails have obliterated the letters. Waiting for a friend’s reply for a week is only heard in bedtime stories of our parents. Virtual “Walls” have replaced verbal communication. Instead of sitting with friends and marveling at old photographs, we now upload it on “FaceBook” and wait for the critics to comment on it, wait for the number of “likes” to increase. Not that this a bad thing – infact, throughout history many people have either opposed development or favored it. I fall in the latter category. But in trying to keep up with all the status updates, notifications, comments, tweets, emails and what-not, most children are wasting their constructive time on not-so-important-in-the-long-run activities.
What do you think? How has the internet affected you? Has it changed you in some way or the other? Tell me about it. Comment 🙂
PS. I’ll be adding more categories in different posts about how I think the internet has affected other sections of the population. This post marks my comeback to the Underground. *The Original iPhone Exploiter – Soon coming up with OS 4.0 unlock jailbreak for 2G (old/new), 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4*
Expand Your Creativity. [volume 1]
Have you ever heard the term: “think outside the box”? Okay, do you know the origin of the phrase? Complete this puzzle:
Draw four straight, continuous lines that connect all 9 dots without lifting the pencil off the page (or in this case your finger off the screen):
Here is the solution: Click Here for Solution
If you couldn’t figure it out, you probably assumed you had to stay inside the box. If that’s the case, you know have the first major step in thinking outside the box. Eliminate your assumptions. The rules presented didn’t say you couldn’t draw outside the lines.
How do assumptions affect our ability to create success? Write down or type out your answer or answers, and think about what you came up with. This whole post can be applied to just about any area of your life, if you apply it properly.
This is a core element of the Blue Ocean Strategy. The Blue Ocean Strategy is geared towards business, and is spoken on and written into application towards business. But even if you’re simply drawing a design in a competition, or even just for fun, this will expand the creative processes your brain goes through. (refer to my past posts on the brain: Brain Train [part 1] and Brain Train [part 2])
Some DOs and DON’Ts are as follows:
Follow sequence in your plan – if you plot out steps, follow them step by step.
Focus on the big picture FIRST, focus on numbers SECOND. – If you have a time constraint, first take a look at what needs to be done, what your mission is, then think about the time, or the money involved, then tweak it.
Get into the field – see what other people are doing, and ask questions but listen when they answer.
Build enough time into the project – If you do have a time constraint, and you feel it’s a tight one, plan for it.
Approach field work as an anthropologist – Ask questions about the things they love and hate in the particular field you’re dealing with. If you’re drawing something for a contest, you may think of this as a no brainer, but ask what they look for, what “strikes their fancy” so to speak.
Do this work in a vacuum – Don’t do this work in an environment where the creativity is vacuumed out. If you’re drawing, like our examples are following, set yourself down in an inspiration environment.
Go too fast – Haste makes waste. Going in line with making a time plan, or some sort of schedule (preferably a time plan like a guideline rather than a strict schedule) so you aren’t rushing and lowering the quality of a specific part of the work.
Skip steps – If a baseball player skipped a step while running to home plate, the consequence to his action will be simple – he’ll trip and miss home plate. You’re going for a home run, run through all the bases without missing a step!
Too locked into current mindsets – Take time to think, without thinking about others in the field. If you’re drawing something, don’t think about other people’s drawings. Don’t think about any drawings. Just think about your own. Create a vision in your mind, visualize your completed drawing, and do it. However, you will eventually need to make some sort of comparison, but only to see what has been done, so you aren’t copying something else.
This is all part of the Blue Ocean Strategy. I highly, highly recommend you research it, buy a book on it if you can find one, or watch some videos online. If the place or company you work for is having any seminars or speakers on Blue Ocean, GO TO IT. You will reap major benefits. It will not be like any seminar or lecture you have ever been to, and it will be fun – guaranteed!
The book “Blue Ocean Strategy” is published by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne and you can find it at any bookseller.
Another great post I stumbled across is here: http://techiteasy.org/2006/12/05/nintendos-wii-the-blue-ocean-strategy/
Please comment with feedback on your experiences or anything you know about Blue Ocean Strategy as well!
[ Source: The Change Agent Group ( changeagentgroup.com ) ]
God speed, and Best wishes.
Staying “off the grid” [volume.2]
As my intentions were for the second volume of Staying “off the grid”, I would like to present to you part of the inspiration for the interest in this lifestyle: 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock, and in this episode, 2 big time “waste consumers” live in a small off the grid experimental area with other people who are accustomed to living off the grid. Whether or not you agree with the lifestyle, the show itself is very entertaining, and offers things other than how to live an off the grid lifestyle. Please watch:
This was the ONLY place I could find this video, so for the MySpace haters out there (you know who you are 😉 it’s ok.) try to grin and bare it. You don’t need a MySpace account to watch, this is a direct link to the video page. Enjoy!
God speed, and Best Wishes.
Skywalker Last Supper Painting Made With 69,550 Star Wars Frames
You HAVE to check this out. Taken from GizModo
This is what you get when you capture 69,550 full resolution frames from the six Star Wars movies and combine them with a version of DaVinci’s Last Supper on a PC with mosaic-making software and a custom matlab-based algorithm. The 262-megapixel mosaic (24,168 x 10,864 pixels) took two weeks to complete, including 30 hours of computing power and manual retouching for the final version. Avinash Arora, the guy who did it, tells us about the process.
galleryPost(“starwarssupper”, 3, “Star Wars Last Supper”);
Jesús Díaz: What materials did you use for creating this huge thing?
Avinash Arora: The 69,550-image collection I made is from all the movies. Originally I extracted EVERY image using vlc’s image output plug-in from Episode IV, and used a photoshop programmed command to delete every 19 frames, and save the 20th. Only after that did I discover AndreaMosaic could do that for me, which saved me a ton of time in the other five movies. As the base, I used Eric Deschamps’ Star Wars Last Supper painting done for Giant Magazine.
JD: What kind of computer did you use to do this?
AA: An Asus M2N SLI motherboard with AMD 5400+ X2, eVGA nVidia Geforce 8800GTS 640MB, and 2GB DDR2 Corsair XMS memory.
JD: What about the software?
AA: The original software I used is AndreaMosaic, but I found that the algorithm wasn’t really producing the results I wanted. I ended up tinkering with the settings and producing dozens of sample mosaics to view, and I did some research and found out how it worked.
JD: Did you get what wanted at the end? What did you do to improve the quality?
AA: I created my own slightly modified algorithm to include pathlines of the strongest “importance” (or rather color distinction, so I could find pictures that followed the image’s contours for every detail) I got more satisfying results. I kept tinkering with this one and made six full-size mosaics, until I finally settled on the last one…
JD: And that was that?
AA: No, I went to work on it by hand after that. I replaced at least a thousand images by hand that looked like they were out of place (my programming isn’t perfect), and did some color corrections on others. The entire thing was done when I took sections and pieces from the mosaics I made with AndreaMosaic, my own matlab-based algorithm, and the original image I drew inspiration from, and put it all together in Photoshop (I also discovered that .psd files have a maximum size of 2GB, but luckily .raw files do not.)
JD: How long did it take you, then?
AA: Each movie’s image extraction process took about an hour, that was the easy part. Each sample mosaic I made for testing took about 90 minutes. Each full mosaic I made took about 6-8 hours. Once I had the final mosaic and went to work, I’d say I put about 25-30 hours of work into touching up by hand.
The process (not including extracting the images from the movies) took me about two weeks from the time I made the first full mosaic, about a dozen samples, second full mosaic, dozen samples, etc.
During the two weeks I missed all but about two classes, and the day I finished I took an exam for a class I forgot I had…
AA: Don’t worry, I still did well. 🙂
JD: How big is the thing?
AA: Each image was about 640×272, but when placed into the mosaic they were shrunken down to 120 pixel wide. Each image is a full-quality jpeg, and they’re cut up into folders (because my computer doesn’t take too kindly to one folder with 69,550 files in it).
The final resolution of the image 24,168 x 10,864 pixels… 262 megapixels. Unfortunately I couldn’t print it at the epic level I wanted to, which would have been a 5×11′ composite, not a 3×6′, and that would have been a 712-megapixel image. The guy who prints them says his computer is incapable of opening an image that large (which flattened would have been about 3GB… and uncompressed almost 40GB.) [Avinator]