Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Me no benefit from me be dumb

Francis Fukuyama (yes, him again) says that if everybody increases in intelligence nobody benefits. I don't know about that. If I became smart enough to come in from the rain I think I would benefit, even if everybody else became smart enough to invent their own personal weather control devices.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

There is no such thing as global warming and who needs glaciers anyway?

Those stupid bloody hippies are at it again. They are whining about global warming simply because Great Southern City One has had its worst heatwave in sixty years. This goes to show how brainless these hippies are. If it's the worst heatwave in sixty years, then obviously it must have been hotter sixty years ago than it is now, proving there is no such thing as global warming! Stupid hippies! I hate you!

And what's more, this melting icecaps thing is a complete scam. I went to the beach the other day and in the couple of hours I was there the sea level actually got noticably lower. When I pointed this out to a stupid hippy he started going on about the tides and the moon's gravitational pull. What a load of nonsense! I couldn't even see the moon! Stupid hippy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hints for buying a car

There is a chance that the car you test drive will have underinflated tyres. Although this is bad for safety and fuel efficency, it will give you a smoother ride and that can be helpful when making a sale.

Although you could bring along a tyre pressure gague in your pocket, it can be easier just to look at the tyres and if they appear at all underinflated you can ask them to put some more air in them. Unless your salesperson is Mister Grumpypants they will probably bend over backwards to please you. Then, while they're contorting their spines by bending over backwards, grab their air pump and top up the tyre pressure.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

That's a lot of Soft Drink

Hey everybody! Look at this paragraph I found in an article on MSN. The article is called, "The Fat Tax: A Controversial Tool in War Against Obesity." It's by Alan Mozes, Health day reporter. The paragraph reads:

Brownell emphasized that, if properly implemented, fat taxes could yield major benefits. For example, slapping a single penny tax onto the cost of soft drinks across the country would generate almost $1.5 billion annually -- a figure that far exceeds the budgets of current government-sponsored nutrition programs, he said.

This is incredible. That means Americans are consuming 150 billion soft drinks a year. That's an average of nearly two soft drinks a day for every American. If we assume that half of Americans rarely or never drink soft drink that means half of the U.S. is scarfing almost four softdrinks a day. And soft drinks servings aren't small in America. If that's four American sized 600ml bottles of coke then that's about 4,250 kilojoules of soft drink everyday, or about a third of an American's caloric intake. That's a lot of softdrink. Even if half of it consists of diet drinks it's still enough kilojoules to prevent undernutrition in perhaps 200 million of the world's poorest people, although it wouldn't do much for their teeth or their vitamin intake.

Or is it possible that the article is just throwing numbers around without even bothering to check if they are realistic? I really, really hope that these numbers aren't realistic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Francis Fukuyama and Responsibility

My friend who lent me the Francis Fukuyama book has told me that I have to write more about what I thought of it. Gee, it’s bad enough that I had to read something, now I have to write about it as well. Anyway, I’ll pick on some things Fukuyama says and this means I might end up sounding a bit hard on old Francis, so I’ll begin by pointing out that it is very easy to nit pick a book, it’s much harder to go and actually write one.

Francis Fukuyama seems very concerned that as our knowledge improves about our bodies, people may have a tendency to blame their biology for their actions rather than take responsibility themselves. But this makes me wonder, when have people ever taken responsibility for their actions? Or at least when have they ever taken responsibility for the bad results of their actions? Throughout history people have taken responsibility for good things that happen and denied responsibility for the bad things. It sounds like increasing knowledge of our biology will result in a SNARB. Situation Normal, All Responsibility Denied.

Now I’m aware that taking responsibility is viewed as a good thing by many people but this doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t often happen. I’m not quite sure why taking responsibility is viewed as being good. I think a person’s actual actions are more important than whether or not they take responsibility for them. In fact when people do take responsibility for their actions it can be quite disturbing. I’d rather be locked in a room with someone who says, “I didn’t mean to kill him, it was the drugs. I never meant to kill anyone,” than be locked in a room with someone who says, “Yep, I killed him. I made a decision to kill him, and I followed through on it. Teach him to make fun of my hairstyle.”

But don’t people who take responsibility for their actions lead much better lives? I’m not sure about that. Perhaps people with better lives have less problems to not take responsibility for. For example if I had a great career, a great marriage and wonderful kids I’d gladly take responsibility for all those things. But if I didn’t get on with my grandfather I’d probably blame the old coot. A person with a lousy life does exactly the same thing, they just have more lousy stuff to blame on outside forces and less good things to take credit for.

Now I can see how taking responsibility can result in people changing their behaviour for the better so that they will end up leading better lives. For example if a person says, “I continuously told my last three boyfriends that they were stupid and all three left me. That was my fault. In the future I won’t call my boyfriends stupid and hopefully they won’t leave me,” then that person might wind up with a boyfriend who will stay. But a person who says, “I continuously called my last three boyfriends stupid and all three left me. I did that because I had an abusive childhood. In the future I won’t call my boyfriends stupid and hopefully they won’t leave me,” could achieve exactly the same result as the first person despite not taking responsibility for her actions and blaming her actions on her past.

I think people who are rationally able to think about how their behaviours affect their lives and then change them are more likely to be able to avoid problems and enjoy life than people who have difficulty doing this, regardless of whether or not they take responsibility. Although I must admit I think it is better when people do accept responsibility, mainly because it then means that it’s not my fault.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Gay Pill

I'm reading a book. You know, one of those papery things that isn't an x-box? It's by Francis Fukuyama. That's Francis "The End of History" Fukuyama. Anyway, in his book, "Our Posthuman Future," he suggests that it is possible that a pill that eliminates the chance of your child being homosexual could be developed and he speculates that discrimination against gays could increase if this results in their becomeing a much smaller minority.

This got me to thinking about what if a pill was developed that could temporarily make hetrosexuals gay? This could be a great boon to human happiness. Time and time again groups of young men go out drinking and trying to find women to have sex with and fail miserably at the second part. If these young men had a gay pill then they could take it and enjoy having sex with each other instead of going home alone. I think this development would go down very well with a large section of society and is not too different from what some of them do already.

But I imagine some people might be very resistant to taking a gay pill, even when it would logically make them happier, for reasons of self image. I can sort of understand this. I for one would be very resistant to taking a pill that would make me enjoy cricket. But as more and more people enjoy switching between sexualities when it's convenient, it's possible that this exclusively hetrosexual group may end up becoming a discriminated against minority.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Futility of Violence

When I was in school there was a big kid who thought it was fun to shake hands with other kids and then painfully crush the smaller kid's hand in his meaty grip. He tried this trick on me one day, so I merely smiled as he started to apply pressure then flipped his hand up putting him in a painful wrist lock and pushed him back. He sure learned a lesson that day. He never tried to crush another kid's hand while shaking hands after that. Instead he'd flip the other kid's hand up into a painful wrist lock. He found that much more satisfying.

Land of the Sleepless

I have a bit of a problem with insomnia. For the past week I've had trouble getting any sleep at all at night and then yesterday I spent 16 hours in bed and slept for much of that, a new record for me. I've always had trouble sleeping even since I was a little kid. The sleeping tablets my parents made me take when I was young may have made it worse. They made me sleepy all the time so I had to become good at automatically fighting sleepiness. I've even considered that my problem is that I might actually need less sleep than I think I do and so might find life easier if I don't have so much of it.

I know there are several things I can do to help prevent insomnia: Avoid stimulants. Have a regular set time to go to sleep and to wake up and stick to it. Learn to relax more. Make sure that I eat food that will slowly digest at night so I won't end up feeling hungry in bed. Possibly expose myself to sunlight when I wake up to try to set my biological clock.

I know these things but so far I have had a bad habit of not doing them. So I'll have to change my bad habits. To do this I'll just need to have a little talk to myself. Everyday. For example, often I'll buy a caffinated drink without thinking about the conseqences it might have on my sleep that night, but if I spend five minutes of everyday forcefully reminding myself of those conseqences then I'm going to think twice when I reach for that Pepsi Max. I won't be able to get away with buying it as an automatic process anymore. I'll bust up that bad habit of mine.

I'll let you know how my struggle to stop struggling when it comes to getting to sleep goes in the hope that it might help other insomniacs out there. Wish me luck.