Monday, January 31, 2011

Google Saves The Day!

Last post of January! I have succeeded in failing two post every day again! Whoo!
Also, fair warning, crappy post, I'll have a better one Wednesday.

Anyways, in response to the Egyptian protests, Google has set up a call system two let them express themselves.

There could be problems.

1. Voice-to-text technology is shoddy at best. I'm using my own soft hair two dick this two my computer, and you can see how well it is working.

Weight. Damn it.

2. Tweets are limited two 140 characters. Speech is normally Mordor that. Paw brain?

Oh, Google is just adding bit dot lee links? That works two, I guess.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gut Feelings

Alright. I should have posted this yesterday, but...I'm a slacker.

Okay, gut feelings. We all have these. They tell us what we think of situations, and give us a reaction for every situation.

But not always the correct one. Gut feelings are vestigial traits from more primal days. These days, there's not much we need to react to instantly. A car rushing towards us, or a bar fight, sure. But politicians, social issues, and arguments don't require instant action. All of these provide time for ample thought.

Gut feelings make us move away from thought. We hear a cry to action, and react. We see a person who we dislike, and act on this, with no real proof, just a feeling. We see text on the internet, and instantly make assumptions based on these gut feelings. In other words, gut feelings push us to make uninformed decisions. And all too often, uninformed decisions are the things which cause confrontations or strife to escalate.

I'm not making an argument about abolishing gut feelings, however. The subconscious can tell us more about many situations than we can consciously discern for many things. But it should not rule our decisions and opinions. You may think at first that your new boss is really sleazy for no reason at all, and spend the next week making snide comments behind his back...until you get to know him. You may do exactly what that radio talk show host tells you...until you realize that you're being fed a bunch of bullshit. Your gut feelings may still tug at you in these situations, telling you, "They're hiding something", or "You're overlooking something."

But life is not a movie. Your new boss is not an undercover spy whose mission is to ruin your life. That talk show host doesn't have some hidden insight, or some kernel of knowledge he's hiding from you, except maybe that by following him blindly, you're a sheeple.

So in other words, gut feelings are something you can use to shape a line of action for something, but make sure it is not your only reasoning for that action, and don't let it rule your other reasons. Take the time to think things through, from all sides of a situation. If you find your gut feelings are wrong, ditch them.

And there ends my rambling spiel. Good day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finals, Etc.

Finals in two days, for two days. My next post will probably be Friday, maybe Saturday.

That being said, I'd like to share this with all of you. Redditors have likely seen it before.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Updates And False Correlation

As an update to yesterday's post, I should amend something.

Although the courts are present to uphold law to deter crime, there are instances when "X should be met with Y". Namely, when you have experienced property damage or some other loss in monetary value. Whoever did that should be sued for the value lost. That falls under deterrence slightly, I suppose - "No crime will go without it's punishment."

Anywho, on to today's post, spurred on by recent experiences. It's a pretty simple fallacy today: false correlation. That is, saying X and Y are linked without sufficient evidence.

It's one thing to say "staying out in the sun for too long will give sunburns"  than to say "popsicles cause sunburns". We can prove the former from scientific research and common knowledge:

- The sun produces sunlight
- Sunlight contains UV rays
- UV rays cause sunburn after prolonged exposure
Therefore over prolonged exposure to the sun, you will get a sunburn.

The latter statement cannot be proven, or at least, has not yet been proven. No evidence, no correlation. In many false correlations such as these, one should also consider a third element  Z which may cause both X and Y, as opposed to X causes Y and Z is merely incidental.


- People eat more popsicles in the summer
- People spend more time in the sun in the summer
- More time in the sun causes more sunburns
False conclusion: Popsicles cause sunburns.
Correct conclusion: The summer causes an increase in sunburns and popsicle consumption.

As in most cases, if you present a statement, you have the burden of proof. If you state something exists, whether it be an invention, a correlation, and object, or even a deity, you have to prove it. "Prove it doesn't exist" may be an answer you might consider. Don't. Why? Teapots.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Am Justified!

No, you aren't.

Going back to this post, I mentioned this whole "Group X is Y so I am justified in doing Z!" This simply does not work. You may feel justified, but merely feeling justified (crap, another thread. I'll get to gut feelings tomorrow I guess) does not make you truly justified.

But this is a more complex break in reasoning than most. There are several places where it can be rooted in. But first, the basics.

X should be met with Y.

"A punch should be met with a strike back."

Unless Y happens to be deterring future occurrences of X, X should not be met with Y. All that does is cause the other party to redouble their efforts. If Y happens to deter X, but only incidentally, that doesn't count. Revenge may taste sweet, but when you get down to it, revenge serves no purpose. One side gets hurt, the other side gets hurt, and everybody is happy. Right?

Nope. Retaliating will not undo what has happened - the best thing which can be done is to deter future actions similar to what happened.

It's quite easy to slip into this fallacy however. The courts, the penal system, etc. It's all there to deter crime, but when punishments get served, it can seem as if it were a sort of revenge. But at the heart of the matter, that system is there to prevent crime by showing that crime will be punished. The line between prevention by punishment and punishment (and then saying you did it to prevent) is fine, the divisor being that in the latter, the motivator is revenge, while in the former, it is to prevent others from suffering the same.

Alright then. So, what thought processes could this possibly be rooted in?

Logical - "Logic demands that X be met with Y." - Sorry, no. Can't correct this apart from heavy usage of "Why?"

Ethical - "After X occurs, I am ethically and morally bound to do Y." - We are not ethically bound to punish people. This person probably has the whole punish/prevent bit mixed up. Clear that up for them, will you? You may have a harder time if this person bases this in religion, or even atheism.

"As a Christian, I have an ethical directive to prevent abortion."

"As an atheist, I have an ethical directive to prevent the spread of religion."

And so it goes on. The above are stereotypically extremist sorts of people. More on that later, too.

Legal - "There is a law which states that after X occurs I must to do Y." - Not even close. I'm pretty sure (but not completely!) that there are no laws stating that you must retaliate/press charges/etc.

There may be more categories I'm overlooking. Let me know if there are.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fallacious Arguments

And we're back with a whole new fallacy!

"I have suffered [X] and that justifies my doing this!"

That is, where this is something negative or douchey. Nothing along the lines of, "I suffered fighting in Vietnam and that justifies me applying for veteran discounts." That's fine. It's statements more along the lines of, "I nearly died three months ago because someone almost ran me over in a car, that justifies me being a dick to you, because you drive a car!" or "/b/ trolled me so hard and that justifies me hating you for browsing /b/!"

It's not the ones which logically go from point A to point B which are fallacious. (Quite obviously?)
It's the ones which overgeneralize, which lump people into groups based on one or two traits. I vehemently hate this in all its forms. Racism, sexism, stereotyping (but then, again, pardon me for saying this, there's a difference between using trends and stereotyping. I'll explain that later. Promise.)

Let's take the car statement into consideration.

 "I nearly died three months ago because someone almost ran me over in a car, that justifies me being a dick to you, because you drive a car!"

The line of thought, I imagine, goes something like this:
- I nearly got run over by a car
- Cars run me over
- People who run other people over are dicks
- Dicks deserve to be treated badly
- If you drive a car, you will run someone over
- Therefore I am justified in being a dick to you

First off, sweeping generalization. That's the first problem with the argument. This person automatically assumes that since one car driver nearly ran him over (and it was only his fortuitous car-dodging skill which saved him) other car drivers must do the same thing. In fact, since some other car drivers do this, all of them do it, since they all drive cars, and even getting into a car means you have a chance of running other people over.

Sure, there's a chance. But that chance is minute, negligible even. It's increased for careless people, distracted people, drunk people, et cetera. You might as well argue that you should be a dick to all people since they step on your shoes. Accidents happen.

Anyways, moving away from the specific ways that this argument is fallacious (Oh, the irony), let's move to the next fallacy, as it's been established that over-generalization, or even generalization at all, is bad.

"Dicks deserve to be treated badly."

What. Is it ever arguable to say, this guy deserves X because of his behavior? I suppose this is just my opinion, and either side is arguable, and thus doesn't count as a fallacy so much as a clash of opinion. That's another thing which can be argued later (in the spirit of preventing this post from dragging on too long.)

So we get that this person is generalizing to come to his conclusions. If you're unconvinced that extreme generalization is bad...

- All people in the Middle East are terrorists
- All Christians are bible-thumping Darwin-haters
- All atheists are immoral sinners
- All people who don't drive electric cars don't care about the environment
- All politicians are only powered by money

Is that enough? I hope it is.

As unrealistic as the whole "car argument" premise is, it is likely to manifest itself in other forms, perhaps less conspicuous ones in everyday life. I chose a more striking argument to show how invalid these things are under scrutiny.

So, why is this invalid? It sure is invalid, but why? If all you can say is, "that's a fallacy derp", well, you've just bloody proved him wrong, haven't you?

Of course not. You've got to have logic.

The easiest way to take down a generalization is to say that not all X are Y. Provide examples, it helps if you can do that. If they don't believe you, provide other examples of other generalizations (see above). Hopefully they'll come to understand why they're wrong in using generalizations. Below are a few nitpicky arguments which might be used.

After you give another example, say the "atheists are immoral" one.
Scenario: "Oh, well that's true too."
Solution: Give another example. If that fails, bang head on wall (even better, band their head on the wall), make even more extreme generalizations. Make some that are personal to them.

Scenario: "Well, that doesn't even apply to this. What we're talking about and your example are two totally different things."
Solution: This person can't grasp metaphors or abstract concepts. Walk away, shaking your head.

I had a few more in my head earlier, can't remember them for the life of me. Ah well, just means you get a shorter post, haha.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Steve Jobs, More Sick Leave

If you haven't heard the news, Steve Jobs is gone on sick leave. Or is that "sick" leave? Perhaps his company has a product test he's not prepared for.

Well, there's a little controversy out there about if Apple will keep producing while he's gone. That's probably the reason for the drop in Apple's stock, and possibly even the market, which dipped after Jobs announced his leave. There's no solid data correlating the two, however.

Anyways, in case Apple has any trouble thinking up new devices, here are some ideas to help them.

iGrab: The latest accessory for those with the iTouch and iPad. Great for little children...because little children are grabby too. That's it. Yeah. Of course.

iMinecraft: Instant money. Charge $30 for it, since that "i" costs so much to add on. Make the only in game items apples and Steve Jobs' head.

iBlogger: Your own blogging tool! Use it to make inane self-referential posts poking at Apple, the Tea Party, and life in general!

Better post to come tomorrow. It would be here today, but Apple decided they wouldn't make the iBlogger when I told them to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Spot of News

Something before my next post. Pretty shocking though I don't doubt for a minute that some of those numbers are exaggerated.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fallacious Arguments

Stop dicking around and answer me directly!

First in a series of posts about how to answer logical fallacies and all sorts of fallacious arguments. First person writing will come later on.

"If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide."

Explaining the fallacy: This is based on a fallacy known as affirming the consequent as well as the false dilemma fallacy:

Affirming the consequent:
- If X is true, Y is true
- Y is true, therefore X is true

False dilemma:
Either you're with us, or you're against us.

- If you have done something wrong, then you have something to hide (True, generally)
Thus if you have something to hide, you have done something wrong. (Affirming the consequent)
Either you have something to hide, or nothing to hide. (False dilemma)
Therefore if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.

Why this doesn't work: To put it simply, people have things they want to keep private. That's why there are privacy issues. Just because you haven't robbed a store, doesn't mean you want the whole world to know what you do in your free time. There's a reason you don't spill your life's story to every person you meet.

In addition, it is likely you have dirty laundry - i.e. you have done something wrong. It's just unlikely that it's related at all to the issue. For instance, if you're discussing having your gear searched for a cellphone you didn't steal, and you happen to have copious amounts of drugs in your backpack, you aren't likely to let anyone rummage through your stuff. Just because you haven't done something wrong related to the situation doesn't mean you haven't done anything wrong, or that you should be willing to let them nose into your private affairs.

How to poke holes through it:
- Offer to be searched only after you have searched through all the private material of the other person. This should stop them in their tracks as they realize why. If they answer with "I asked you first, therefore you should be searched first" or something along those lines, see future posts poking holes in that. If they right out refuse without considering facts, stop talking to them. They're not just ignorant, but unwilling to check themselves.

In the off-chance that the person is a person of authority, and you can't just walk away, bring up the 5th amendment and if they request to search you, ask for their search warrant. Likely if they had a search warrant in the first place, you wouldn't be having this argument.

- Point out their fallacy. If they are logical at all, they will find another path of attack or drop it altogether. Otherwise, see above.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

No Post

Busy day today, first person perspective writing to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

American Attention Span

No news today, just a quick thought. It hasn't been properly thought about, but will be soon.

How long is the American attention span (for news issues) and how many items can it hold?
Supposedly, the human mind can focus on up to seven sensations/thoughts/etc at the same time. The American news attention span seems much shorter. Think about it. What's current now?

Haiti? Psh, that was so long ago. Like, a year.

Exactly a year ago.

Okay, so maybe it's ridiculous to think we could keep something at the forefront of our minds for a year, especially when it doesn't affect us. I mean, how often does the Middle East get front page news?

What about BP? April 2010. Eight months. Again, maybe a bit too long ago.

I can't even remember any issues between then and the TSA scandals. I'm sure there were some.

Speaking of which, when exactly was the whole backscatter thing? It's already died down.
November 2010? Oh hey, that was two months ago. Two months, and it's already gone out of the forefront of the media.

What about the Bush Era tax cuts living on? December? A month? Okay...

DADT? That's been argued about since before even Obama took office. It's abrogation (or the signature for that) the end of 2010. Less than 14 days. Can't we as a country keep even that at the head of things?

START never even made it to the news, and the Dream Act not passing was up for about a day.

And this current controversy about Giffords? I give it until Sunday. Next week if the guy is caught.

(As for the how many, I think it's about three...but that's just a guess for now)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

China Trying To Take Over...Again

In advance, a slew of bad puns are coming. Something better tomorrow, promise.

When will they learn? They haven't got a chance - no way the Yuan could ever be worth Mao than the dollar. Especially with the USA telling China not to let that happen. Everyone listens to the USA. China's obviously in a state of Confucian if they think they'll surpass us.

Zhou, let's send China a MSG with our diplomats (again). I Ming, they can hardly just overlook repeated efforts on our part, right?

Also child labor pun.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Future Comes

At the MPAA...

Guys, guys, I figured out a brand new way to get rid of pirates!

Um, what?

We shoot lasers at their eyes and blind them!

What? Isn't that illegal?

Well, don't worry, it's only a warning shot.

We blind them. As a warning shot. Are you kidding me?

No, look, I'm serious. Besides, it's only temporary.

Well, maybe.

Yeah, and they won't ever be able to watch a pirated movie again!

I thought you said it was temporary.

That's the great thing, we can blast them again and again because it's only temporary.

But you just-


Never mind. Okay, so how the hell are we supposed to blast them?

Long range. We get a sniper person, and shoot them. With a laser.

Wrong pirates.


We're the RIAA, not whatever group gets rid of maritime pirates.

What do maritime pirates have to do with any of this?

You're fired.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gun Updates

I'm sure you could find these updates on any other news sites, but since I've already posted about this, I feel the need to post again.

I have no bloody idea where I got the submachine gun thing. The gun was a Glock 19. Sound familiar? Yup, same one used at Virginia Tech. Although the widespread opinion is that the assault was related to "vitriol" - that is, anger from other political opponenets - "strike her down" - taken too literally, there are a few other hypotheses out there. The main one is that the man had some mental disorder, and was an anarchist looking to bring down the federal government. (And didn't have the money to get to D.C.?) If this is true, why the hell did he have a gun? (Parroting myself from yesterday.)

Funny to come later.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gun Control

No funny today - I feel it would be in horrid taste to make a joke about this. I'm sure you've already heard about the Arizonan governor being shot down. I haven't heard anything about who the man was but I think it's likely he is in favor of less gun control.

I recall reading something about a sub-machine gun, if I'm not mistaken. Which begs the question, who the hell is selling sub-machine guns to civilians?

Idle sniping sarcasm to return tomorrow.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chinese Memo

Re: Jet Planes Years Away

Once again the silly Americans have underestimated us. How can they think our planes are years away? Our planes are only hours away from their country - how could a plane stay in the air for years? Even with the Boeing company, those silly Americans can't figure anything out. Besides, how can they know where our invisible planes are? That must be why the Americans think we're years away.

And how do they plan on keeping us out? Missiles? Other planes? An invisible electric fence? Ridiculous!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New News #4

What a boring recycled old title. I'll have to come up with something new soon.

In other news, America Finally Exports Something

Admittedly, illegally, not by any actual agreement within a company, and not for greater profit, either. But still, EXPORTS! Fifty thousand of them! And fifty thousand credit cards to boot! Break open the champagne!

Oh, and it must be said: there's a hack for that.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New News #3

New Invisible Electric Fence Works Too Well

The United States Federal Government has recently "owned up" to the mass animal deaths, blaming them on the beasts' stupidity. "If they were smarter, they would have seen the invisible electric fence and been able to avoid its all-encompassing range!"

The USFG recently implemented these fences as a deterrent for both illegal immigrants attempting to enter the US. Apparently we have a problem with people flying into the USA illegally. On their wings they manage to keep so well hidden on their backs. This not only shows that the world isn't ending, (just the USA securing itself with the latest nuke-stopping fences) but where all the money is going. Takes a lot of money to run an electric fence all around the USA.

As to how an electric fence works underwater, beats me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New News #2

Email Thief Strikes Again

Leaked Microsoft memo:

RE: Email thief

He's back. This is NOT GOOD. You guys know what happened last time. He got hold of over 15 terrabytes of stored spam, junk mail, and weekly newsletters! That was a huge scare - we even had an angry customer who lost a Facebook notification! We almost lost him!

And now, he's back. I thought we got rid of him, how did this happen? Wasn't he happy enough that we gave him an email account? Why?

Well, we need to take decisive action. There's no other way about this. PR group, get to reporting the damage as some system failures. The rest of you, start securing emails. Print every email in the database - we can get to cross-referencing them later. As for hunting him down...I'll go myself. This ends here.

- Bill Gates
Your CEO who is way more awesome than that douchebag Jobs

P.S. You know what this means. Be sure to keep careful track of your contacts list, and count your emails twice. Joe from licensing already lost his treasured 150000 reply email dating back to 2000, and Martha from engineering has already lost two cure kitten pictures! Be on the lookout!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New News #1

Essentially, this is taking news stories and rewriting them with puns. Links to all original stories in the headlines.

USA Finds Out About Secret Party In Iran - Wonders Why It Wasn't Invited

It's a long story why the USA wasn't invited. About a half century long. To make it short, Japan is pretty good friends with Iran, and Japan is still pissed about the bombshells the US said they would drop at the annual NHGC (Nagasaki and Hiroshima Gossiper's Convention). Turns out the USA is a real douche, always gossiping and sniping at other countries. Japan still hasn't recovered from the fallout of the secrets that came out, and they've held their grudge.

It probably doesn't help that it is now fucking impossible to smuggle Geiger counters into Hiroshima.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Computers are ubiquitous in the developed world. They're in our cars, in our pockets, in our offices and malls. (Is that a computer in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?) Heck, I'm sitting in front of one right now, and I bet you are too! They can be used for more and more things as new hardware and software is developed. For instance, the computers here, both experimental and released, are used to monitor human behavior and motion, pulling on a database of other recorded behavior to detect anomalies. Computers, as the article says, are the unblinking eyes of the modern world.

But what is the important lesson we can all pull from this article? Computers are stealing our jobs. Who gives a damn if they do them more efficiently than we can? Child labor in China is far more efficient than labor here (if only due to having a larger workforce!) but we still frown upon it! Computer labor is not only inhumane - computers often go straight from the workshop to the...workshop - but it is additional outsourcing we Americans should not live with. Every computer in your workplace is another displaced American. Think about it. What computers in your workplace could you hire people for? (And thus give the economy a helping hand.)

Timers - Replace all the watches, alarms and timers you have with a personal manservant! People can be just as annoying as any beeper, and they happen to go off at preset intervals, too.

Coffee Makers - Oh, come on. This one doesn't require any imagination at all. Send someone to get your coffee from Starbucks. Outsourcing outsourced.

Cellphones - Get a relay - dictate a message to the relay, and send them off! They'll get some exercise, and you get your message delivered. The only downside: no cellphone games.

Cars - Commute via piggyback is so underrated.

Now think of some for yourself. Reclaim American jobs!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!


I'll be attempting to make at least one joke per day on some current event. Stay tuned for further posts, or lack thereof.