Friday, December 02, 2011

My Week Without the 'Book - Day Three

Three whole days without checking Facebook. I'm setting all sorts of personal records. With the exception of my two-year hiatus and scout camps, I haven't ever voluntarily gone this long without being on the blasted site.

Now, I want everyone to know that I have absolutely nothing against the 'Book. A ton of people are way upset about the privacy issues and all that. I don't really mind. I guess I've just never been that paranoid of a fellow. If the CIA really wants to know what I'm up to they can find out. They'll figure out I really love Ultimate and that I make jokes about calculus being my girlfriend. Yeah, lots of terrorist activity there...

I made a new math friend tonight at my discrete math study session. I love math friends. I think one of the great things about studying math is that you get to meet a ton of good people. There aren't too many dirtbags who are way into the subject, you know? Whether it's pure math, math education, computational, whatever, there tends to be a large number of good folks involved in it. I've been way happy with the quality of the people that I associate with in my classes.

I've been recognizing more and more lately that one of the reasons that life is so good is because I'm surrounded by truly great people. Today was my day to do dishes in the apartment. We have some visitors staying for a few days and for whatever reason we had roughly two metric tons of dishes in the sink. Two of my roommates helped me out with it, just because they're good guys. I hear about people that have struggles with their roommates or who get shafted by people in their family or whatever. I haven't ever really experienced that stuff. I'm not sure why I've always been surrounded with great people, but I'm grateful that it has happened that way. I hope that it continues to go that way.

It's getting late and I don't have too much to say, so I am going to peace out. I hope that life is going well for you all. I'm happy to be staying strong on this whole no Facebook thing. Looking forward to rejoining the world next Monday though.

Oh, PS, cool junk I read today instead of spending time on the 'Book. Have you ever wondered what fire would be like in a microgravity situation? Like, what would happen if we lit something on fire in the International Space Station? Since there is no gravity, would the flames go up, or would they go out radially? Sure, the heat radiation would go out in all directions, but without gravity messing with the density of air and all that business, what does convection do to it? Yeah, apparently NASA has been thinking about that question for a while now. I read an entirely insufficient article about it today with an entirely insufficient video to go along with it. I didn't learn much, but the questions it presented were way cool. For your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My Week Without the 'Book - Day Two

What's this, a post before 2:00 AM? I know- I'm as surprised as you are. With my Facebook fast in full swing I am running out of non-time-committal distractions. Let's face it, I waste a lot of time. I recognize that fact. Despite the recognition, however, I have a really hard time committing time to something. I struggle to watch full movies because two hours just seems like way too long of a time to waste. I have a much easier time sitting down at my computer to "read the news" or "check Facebook" for just a few minutes. Those just a few minutes can graduate into two hours in no time. I end up wasting the same amount of time I would have spent watching a movie, just without the aversion to a time commitment.

Moral of the story? Facebook is one of my favorite time wasters that doesn't require a huge time commitment up front. With that out of the picture I'm being forced to commit my time to bigger and bigger chunks. Normally something as cool as a blog post would have to wait till late in the evening when most distractions are gone and I am more focused. Since I shot Facebook for the week my main distraction is gone and so I'm moving forward with life. Rejoice!

Since I can't share anything via facebook today, I shall share a decent link with you today. I read the news habitually. I love google news because it aggregates what it assumes will be relevant to me and I get to pick what I want to read from about a billion different news sources. It's a good tool.

I've been pretty fascinated with the occupy movements. Everybody and their dog has an opinion about the movement. I've found it's a little more complicated than a bunch of weirdo's in tents- although in all honesty that is probably the most characteristic thing we could say about the group. I admire what they are doing and the awareness that they are raising. Whether or not I agree with all of their ideas, I do find their way of doing things both scary and respectable. I give them a million bonus points for trying.

I read a good article from the LA Times today regarding the movement. It is an opinion article, but the author states 3 inconvenient truths for the movement. I particularly like his third point, in which he explains his view of one of the reasons for the widening gap between the fabled 1% and the 99%. He says:

A third dynamic widening income disparities is in some ways the most inconvenient of all: the collapse of intact families. The explosion of out-of-wedlock births and of children living outside of two-parent households has widened economic disparities of all kinds, including income.

The reason is straightforward. The role that human and social capital plays in helping a person generate income in an advanced economy has increased over the last half a century. And over that same time, the primary institution for inculcating human and social capital has badly weakened.

I suggest you read the whole article (it is pretty short) at,0,7958755.story

The basic concept is a strong one- a strong family will probably give a kid a better shot at a decent economic future than a family without parental presence. Don't get me wrong- I'm in no way an expert and I definitely know that all people, no matter what their circumstances, can do awesome in school and economically. I will say that one of the reasons I was able to do well in public education was because I had a great family that was able to help teach me and walk me through work. I don't think I'd have done as well at school (which is the closest thing I have to economics right now) without the family. How do we fix the problem? I don't have the answers: but I think families are the start. Glad to see a newspaper guy agrees with me.

Much love, y'all have a nice night.