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User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm a man 15

It's time to tell the truth. I am a 55 year-old man. My name is Andy Kaufman, and I live in New York City.

I am sincerely sorry to everyone for all my lies.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot History: Hurrah for the ZEROES! 7

A few irrefutable facts about humans:
  1. They see faces everywhere.
  2. They are biodegradable.
  3. Base 10 zeroes excite them.

Here's a little something to excite you:

  1. 1 Million - Congrats to Archie Binnie!
  2. 2 Million - Congrats to Anonymous Coward!
  3. 3 Million - Congrats to ronc_LAemigre!
  4. 4 Million - Congrats to Anonymous Coward!
  5. 5 Million - Congrats to jefu!
  6. 6 Million - Congrats to The Bungi!
  7. 7 Million - Congrats to nytmare!
  8. 8 Million - Congrats to Anonymous Coward!
  9. 9 Million - To be announced soon
  10. 10 Million - To be announced soon

Thanks to India for inventing the base 10 zero. Where would we be without it?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Merry Christmas -- $$$$$exyGal

It's not the new year yet, but it seems like a good time to give thanks.

Long story short, I've had a good year. Great job, short commute, and dating again. I've become focused, but with great flexibility. I'm not sweating the big stuff, or the small stuff. The good stuff is in the middle.

May your holidays be commercial-free,



comments disabled

User Journal

Journal Journal: Teach me economics: Why are tech jobs going to India? 19

American companies are moving tech jobs overseas to India [more info]. Why? Simple, it's all about money. But how is that so? The article says that Indian programmers make 1/10th that of American programmers. Why do they make so much less?

I'm not an economist, but here's a some possible reasons:

  1. There is a larger supply of programmers in India than the demand for those programmers. That makes the price of programmers low. But only 10% of what American programmers make? That can't be the only answer.
  2. The cost of living in India is 1/10th the cost of living in the US. Is that true? If I moved to India, would I have 10 times my current buying power (assuming I was able to continue making my American salary) ?
  3. Normal economic rules do not apply to India because a) people don't use money there, they are communists; b) programmers do not need money, because non-programmers revere them and supply the programmers with all their wants; c) all programmers in India funnel a tiny fraction of every American banking transaction into their own Indian bank accounts (ala Office Space).
  4. Indian programmers are super-smart and only need to program 4 hours a week. The rest of the week, they work as back-breaking rice farmers.

My guess is #2 is the main reason why. Any thoughts? Also, how long can #2 last? Eventually, won't the cost of Indian programmers rise to near American proportions? If an Indian wanted to live an American lifestyle (DVD players, big houses, eating out every night, watching movies on the big screen, multiple computers, TV dinners, big automobiles, Starbucks, DSL, etc etc etc), wouldn't she need to make more money than $6,000 ? How long will it take for this inflation to take place? Globalization is a two-way street, right?

User Journal

Journal Journal: More masturbation, meat, and a little NADD. 17

I'm going to write another one of those "private thoughts" entries soon, but here's some followups to some of my previous entries!

Never has masturbation been so newsworthy. Now it seems that chronic male masturbators are less likely to develop prostate cancer. Perhaps this is yet another reason why males masturbate excessively? Could evolution have had something to do with this? Perhaps, but this is pushing it. Maybe the non-chronic masturbators of the far-past were much more likely to die of prostate cancer. As a result, maybe those prostate cancer sufferers were less-able to support the tribe?

More labels on your meat? Some people say yes, and others say no. This seems like a no-brainer to me. Put the freaking country of origin on the packaging! That is such a baby-step, but a step in the right direction. You meat-eaters should know what you're putting in your belly. Those who say this will add to the cost of meat are living in some fantasy world :). This will not add to the price of meat. How could it?

One last unrelated link I found in the blog-universe. Do you have N.A.D.D. ? Many on Slashdot do, including one of the current contestants.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Can the blind see? 30

Xerithane left me a very interesting comment a few weeks ago. Here's a blurb:

For instance, I suffer from a moderately rare eye condition. I will go blind for 3+ hours if I'm exposed to bright light for more than a few minutes. It's like a goths wet dream. When it first happened I was probably 12 or so, and the whole time I sepnt trying to think what blind people saw suddenly made sense.

They don't see anything. Not black, nothing.

This particular topic in regards to what a blind person "sees" is a fascinating one. If you ask the average person on the street what blind people "see", they will probably say "nothing but blackness". Those were my thoughts as well until I realized many years ago that truly blind people do not see any "color" whatsoever. They do not see anything. The absence of sight is not the color black.

Just to be clear, there are many different variations of being "blind". I, myself, am "legally" blind without any contacts or glasses, but can see 20-20 otherwise. I see plenty of blurry colors even without my glasses. For the purposes of this discussion, "blind" refers to those people who do not receive any input whatsoever through their eyes (or optic nerves, etc).

My hypothesis is that blind people do not have a curtain of blackness preceding their paths. There is absolutely nothing at all. You might think that blind people do have a black curtain eternally draped in front of them, but they just cannot relate that experience to others, because they have no color-point-of-reference. That thinking would be wrong.

Imagine a new race of alien, called the Mucola, who have a seventh sense (I'll skip six for fun :)). There's a flap on the Mucola called the GravyTicker that "ticks" whenever life-sustaining gravy is within the "gravy-cone" (ala light-cone) of the GravyTicker. The GravyTicker constantly "ticks", even when gravy is nowhere to be found. If you place gravy directly in front of the Mucola's GravyTicker, the Mucola will feel a strong "tick", and will immediately devour all said gravy.

The Mucola call the "there is no gravy around" tick "fubar", and call the "there is gravy within my reach" tick "yumyum". From "fubar" to "yumyum" are dozens or maybe hundreds of other degrees of ticks: "dork", "nerd", "geek", etc.

Nearly all the Mucola share this spectrum of tick words, with the exception of the Mucola who lost their GravyTicker in gravy-raiding battles. Those Mucola can remember what it was like to tick "fubar" or "yumyum", but now the ticking has completely stopped, and they tick nothing. Many of these Mucola quickly die, but some learn to find gravy using nothing but their senses of sight, hearing, smell, feeling, and taste.

What do you tick?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot Oldtimers? Are there more archives? 21

Just for fun, I decided to peruse the really really old Slashdot stuff to see how everything started. Maybe I'd find quiet thoughtful debate about the HTML CENTER tag (1995?) ? Or maybe some lively debate regarding the plot of "Good Will Hunting (1997)" ?

When did Slashdot begin? The FAQ says September 1997, but the earliest story I could find in the archives is from December 31st, 1997. There also don't seem to be any comments archived before 1999. Where's the really old stuff? (Note that stories posted in 1969 do not count :)).

Where are the really old archives? Gone forever? If so, quite understandable, but regretable.

If you want to peruse some of the oldest archived stories, you can start here. As of July 10th, 2003, that link points to the oldest stuff, but the link will soon become outdated.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Evolution of Compassion 14

My Theory of Evolution - Scenario #1: "Now"

By chance, one trait is introduced into the genome of a specific individual living thing. If the trait is immediately advantageous over those of the same species who do not possess the trait, then the trait will very likely be passed along to future generations. If the trait is immediately undesirable, then the individual will be rejected by its peers and will be unable to pass along the new trait. This is called evolution.

My Theory of Evolution - Scenario #2: "Later"

By chance, one trait is introduced into the genome of a specific individual living thing. The trait is neither immediately advantageous or immediately undesirable. Over 10's of generations, the trait is very quietly passed along to a significant portion of the species (perhaps 3% or even 75%). After a significant time has passed, a significant event occurs. That event causes Scenario #1 to nearly immediately affect a significant portion of the species (those with the trait will die out or those without the trait will die out). This is called evolution.

The Random Trait Home Game!

A fun little game I sometimes play is to theorize why a specific animal or human characteristic was advantageous in the past. Maybe a specific trait allowed our ancestors to live long enough to get laid? Or maybe a specific trait somehow made our ancestors more desireable to the opposite sex? Or maybe a specific trait just randomly entered our genome without any bearing on evolution (yet!) ?

Some characteristics are easy to figure out. Why is sex fun for you? Easy! If your ancestors never had the "sex is fun" gene, then they wouldn't have had sex and you wouldn't have been born :). Other characteristics are more interesting to discuss, such as compassion for animals. How was it advantageous for our ancestors to be compassionate to animals? Or did the "compassion for animals" trait just enter the genome at random without any evolutionary effect?

What do you think? Any other interesting characteristics to discuss? This is fun for me ;-).

User Journal

Journal Journal: A serious topic: Why men masturbate. 54

Ok, so I came across this article on Yahoo News, and the obvious conclusion hit me right in the eye. Evolutionarily speaking, men who masturbate have an advantage over men who do not masturbate. The article does not suggest my conclusion, but it seems obvious from the facts given. Here are some facts/quotes given in the article:
  • Men with low sperm counts can significantly reduce sperm quality by holding back for longer than a day or two.
  • In men with low sperm counts, the researchers found the volume of semen increased after prolonged abstinence, but the quality got gradually worse the longer the men held back.
  • "What you really want to do is flush the system out so that the sperm that are there are fresh."

From which I conclude: Men who masturbate daily will be more fertile than men who do not have any type of daily release. Your male ancestors were likely chronic masturbators.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thanks and meat. 98

Thank you so much for all of your comments and suggestions last week. It was important for me to write out those thoughts. Occasionally, my brain repeatedly dances around a topic over and over again, and the only way to finally tackle the issue is to force myself to coherently write it all out. Writing out those thoughts here on Slashdot was an opportunity for me to quickly garner feedback from all you smart folks. I'll post similar thoughts in the future.

Here is one entry, among many, that I considered particularly insightful. Yes, I am in my 20's, but not for much longer.

A _slightly_ less serious issue to discuss: Do non-vegetarian people know they are eating animals ;-) ? I read this article about the FDA likely not seeking to label cloned animal meat in a special way, and it got me thinking. What if all meat was required to be labeled with the animals it contained? Would that labeling effect the sales of meat in a negative way?

Here's a poll! (for more polls, check out Em Emalb's journal)

I would not purchase meat labeled with:

A) A listing that said "Animals contained within this package: ". For example, ground beef would be labeled as "Animals contained within this package: Cows". Assume a one half inch tall font.

B) A cartoon rendition of all the animals contained within the package.

C) Stock photography of all the animals contained within the package.

D) A specific picture of the exact individual animals contained within the package. Assume a 1 inch black and white photo.

E) A specific picture of the exact individual animals as they are being killed.

F) A specific picture of the exact individual animals as they looked as babies.

G) A specific picture of the exact individual animals as they looked while they read pornography on the toilet.

H) "This product contains animals that had a penis and/or vagina".

Assume we are talking about farmyard mammals like pigs, cows, etc. Whatta ya say!?

Someone who is a vegetarian, but who also happens to have a deep respect for the philosophy of Ted Nugent.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My secret personal thoughts... 55

Nothing silly and nothing sexy this week. I've been on vacation for the last week or so, and haven't been anywhere near a computer. It gave me a lot of time to think.

I'm going to post some of those private (but probably boring and definitely depressing) thoughts in here, because I want to talk about them, but I'd rather not complicate my real life by talking about them to people I know (that's a long sentence). That's enough introduction... here's my thoughts.

I'm too old for existential angst. I feel very very small. I remember the first time I realized how unimaginably short my life was. Manimal was on TV, and I was sitting at the kitchen table making Christmas decorations with my Mom. For some reason, I started thinking about the length of eternity, and it made me feel so small. It felt similar to the feeling you get when you go to the base of a 100-story building and look straight up at it. I felt dizzy gazing into the face of forever.

After 20 years, that dizzying feeling is back. I know what sparked its return. It's really really stupid. It's movies. Well, it's not just movies, but partly movies. If you take movies like The Matrix, Thirteenth Floor, A.I., etc. for more than just entertainment value, and you really really think about their underlying themes, you may start to question your existence. For most of you, this questioning will probably be a short exercise, because your brain has already traveled these pathways before, and it just lead to an un-pragmatic dead-end. But if the conditions are just right, you might start reconsidering those dead-ends.

Now, when I look at my cat, I see a 3-dimensional representation of my cat constructed with trillions of atoms. Sometimes I just see meowing meat. Other times I look at my cat and see the deaths of the millions of cats that have died in the past. Then I think about the billions of trillions of thinking breathing animals that have ever lived and then died. Most of those animals died alone.

I look at myself in the mirror and I make wild unpredictable facial expressions just to make sure I'm really in control of this body. Deeply into my eyes, I gaze into my soul, and there is no infinity. Nothing special is looking back. I carefully raise my awareness level a few extra notches and gaze further into my eyes. Nothing. The extra-awareness is difficult to sustain, and yields nothing new, so I fall back into my comfortable level of awareness.

Late at night, I shake. It's only happened a few times. At first I thought I was having a medical problem. Maybe blood sugar, an early onset of Parkinson's, or something else strange. After a medical checkup, I'm pretty sure it's not medical, I think it's in my brain. Late at night, I stare at a picture on my wall, and I start to see the huge strips of empty space in between the protons and electrons, and then I feel my legs quiver. Walking around afterwards, I try to forget, and then I sleep on the couch.

If I were a teenager, I suppose I would start wearing all black, dye my hair green, and date dangerous men. I'm too old for this shit.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Eating erect prayers. 18

The latest links are at the top, and the practical question of the week is at the bottom.
  • ============================================
  • Eating - A message from the American Dairy Association.
  • erect - I will have good luck for two years.
  • prayers. - Bow down.
  • ============================================
  • Multiple - She has extra.
  • lingo - A lingo ate your baby.
  • rider. - Nobody ever forgets.
  • ============================================
  • Painted - *original link broke...*
  • clothes - Always wear clean underwear.
  • baskets. - *original link broke...*
  • ============================================
  • Slashdot - Who are those people?
  • sandwich - How does this story end?
  • dictionary. - Quantity does not equal quality.
  • ============================================
  • An asian - Wu!
  • cooking - Reason #1092 I am a vegetarian.
  • an umbrella. - Usually circular canopy mounted on a central rod.
  • ============================================
  • Love - Love means not smiling.
  • red - Poussin nu chaud entouré dans le rouge.
  • gently. - Some worthwhile flash that was new to me.
  • ============================================
  • Natural - Absolutely no enhancements.
  • itchy - Hello doctor? I need an antihistamine.
  • dreams. - For more dreams like these, please insert 25 cents.
  • ============================================
  • Suicide, - What modesty committed.
  • sex, - Age, Blank, Location?
  • and pennies. - They should convert that to dinars.
  • ============================================

There was lots of different answers to my refrigeration question last week. Practically speaking, and from the answers given, I think my best bet is to completely fill any open space in my fridge with drinks.

New question: If I shake up a can of Pepsi, and then let it sit for a week, and then open it, will the taste be altered? Will the Pepsi taste as if I didn't shake it at all?


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