Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Truth vs. Truth


Truth vs.Truth

In light of the current US political environment, I’m motivated to write about the difference between “truth” and, well… “truth.”

My goal is not to talk about the results of  the election itself.  I’m talking about the conversations we have, and how we have them.  How that shapes our worlds…and sometimes, governments.  So let’s try to divorce ourselves from any political affiliations, and try to take an objective look at the different ways in which process information into our different representations of reality.  (This is impossible of course, because my perception of the objectivity of the discussion is subjective…but let’s give it a whirl anyway!)

Antarctic sea ice and Climate Change

The topic I would like to use to explore “truth” is Antarctic Sea Ice.  The reasons I think this is a good topic are, Climate Change is hotly debated, polar icecaps come up often in conversation, much is known, much is also unknown, and many people have come to many different conclusions.  It’s perfect for exploring the different ways in which different “truths” rise out of a single topic.

Antarctic sea ice has increased.  This is a fact.  As in, this has definitely been observed.  It’s not a matter of believing it, or accepting it, or any other decision for you to make on the subject.  You can see it.  It is a “fact.”  It is “true.”  But to avoid confusing the terms, let’s say it has been “observed.”

So, Antarctic sea ice has increased.  This has been observed.  What conclusions can be reached from this observation?

Person A might conclude: Antarctic sea ice is increasing.  Ice forms when it’s cold.  The Earth must be cooling (and take that a step further and you get, “Climate Change is a HOAX!” But that’s getting political).

Person B: Antarctic sea ice is increasing.  But Arctic sea ice is decreasing.  The climate is changing.

Person C: Antarctic sea ice is increasing.  Magnetic orientation affects formation of crystals, such as ice.  Venus and Jupiter must be in alignment, bombarding Earth with crystal forming magnetic energy.

Now, I am only assuming this is how people reach conclusions, using some version of “logic”, where they relate the current observation to other past observations in drawing their conclusions. (It is possible not everybody does this).  How do we critique them?  Can we ever say any of them is right or wrong?  Maybe, maybe not. But that’s our task here today.  We can talk about the “soundness” of their arguments.  How well they’ve managed to use things they know or have experienced to describe the topic at hand.  How likely it is that this current attempt describes the ACTUAL reality of the world.”  This is the only question worth asking.

(I’m making another assumption here.  One that says when we attempt to describe the reality, we value accuracy.  That is, given a description that is likely to closely represent reality, and one that is obvious fantasy, we will have more use for the representative one.)

So, what do you think?  Which of the three conclusions is most sound?  Least sound?

What conclusion(s) have you reached?  And how?

Maybe I’ll leave it at that for now.

There are other topics that could have been explored.  Trickle-down economics.  Bathroom bills.  Vegetarianism.  BCS ranking system.  Coke vs Pepsi.

Take Gun Control, for example.  After a similar “objective” analysis of the available data, many of you that know me might be surprised by the conclusions I’ve reached.  Well, some of you that know only my political views might be surprised.  Others that know my cold, mechanical insistence to logic might not be so.  And that’s another thing I’d like to explore.  Identity Politics and how destructively illogical and outrageously senseless like it is.

So, I’ll make this “Truth vs. Truth, Part 1.”

What should we discuss in Part 2?

Let me know in the comments!

















To all those…


To all those “Praying for Paris”, please stop.

After every terrorist attack, or mass shooting, after every tragedy, we hold hands, light candles, and send prayers. Then, we wait for it to happen again somewhere else, and repeat the process. This must stop. In the name of those who have suffered tragedy at the hands of terrorists, this must stop.

I feel the pain of the terror attack in Paris. We all do. We recognize that these kinds of actions hurt every one of us, regardless of nationality, culture, or religion. We see a world that we do NOT want to leave for the next generation. How do I know we all feel this way? Because of the outpouring of support and compassion from around the world that we see in the news, and on social media. We know…WE KNOW, that this is not how we want to build our societies. That’s why we hold hands, and mourn TOGETHER the loss of our brothers and sisters, and reappreciate our solidarity and commitment to each other. It is a very powerful trait of human compassion that we can recognize and share deep emotions, and find comfort in doing so.

This compassion, this pain that we are feeling…it MUST be harnessed and converted into ACTUAL change. We can’t just pray, and wait for it to happen again.

This is not about being anti-religious. It is about being pragmatic. It’s about actually reducing violence and death, and unnecessary suffering in the world. It’s about creating a world where terrorism has no utility.

What foreign policies lead to the instabilities that are contributing to rise in terrorist activities?
What are the cultural and social histories of the regions involved?
What can we do, as individual human beings?
How have we contributed to this, and other tragedies?

How about we stare into our morning coffee and mull these, and a thousand other questions five minutes a day? If we care enough to “pray”, then we owe the victims at least this.

There are many things we can all do, very small things in our daily lives, to actually move forward in creating a more peaceful world. Aren’t there? What are they? Are we doing them?

I have no delusions about being able to find the one “right answer.” I even question whether one actually exists. But it is certain that we can move towards a more optimal situation than the one we are in now. It’s also clear we have LOTS of room to move in this direction.

There are so many questions, and so much we don’t know. But, we’ll never know if we don’t start searching. I have faith in our collective brain power to bring about positive change.

Getting away with murder…


Is there anything more stressful than starting a new school?


Starting a new school while awkward and pubescent.  The first day started with the principal’s daughter giving me shit for not wearing the right socks with my shoes.  It sure was nice coming home and being able to hang with Mac.  Mac was our new border collie puppy.  He joined our family a few weeks before school started.  He was my only friend at the time, in this new town.  He kept me sane.  He didn’t care what kind of socks I wore.  He hung out in the back yard chewing his toys, and the deck chairs, and whatever else was around, waiting for me to get home.

There was a family that lived across the street from us, the Romeros.  The youngest daughter, Kelly, was a senior at my school.  She drove me to, and sometimes from, school.  It was a job her Dad volunteered for her I think.  I can’t imagine she begged for the position, anyway.  Straight A’s smart, was nice to everyone, except people that were dicks, even if they were “popular”, and smoked pot.  Pretty hot too.  One of those “I’m popular and I know it, but I don’t care” types.

Being that I was quite shy, especially around hot senior girls, on our morning rides to school.  Just some chit-chat to forcibly fill the silence.  But I learned a lot through that.  I learned that she liked rabbits, and that she had one.  We talked about rabbits for a couple days and since I seemed interested, she said she could show me one day when we got home.

She kept her rabbit outside in a little enclosure on her deck.  It was a small pen, with a tiny dog house in it.  You could tell she really took care of it well.  Everything was really clean.  The rabbit wasn’t like the “normal” rabbits I had seen in pet stores.  It had this really cold grey fur with a steel blue hue, and had ears with long, wavy fur that flopped on the ground.  Apparently, they are pretty rare (and probably expensive), only for the experienced rabbit keeper.  Its name was Holland.

After a while, I was able to make friends that liked me enough to volunteer their older sisters to drive me home, but Kelly still drove me to school in the mornings.

The weeks and months went by and winter became spring.  By then, I had settled in to this new town and school pretty well.  I’d made some friends, hockey was wrapping up, I’d learned the tricks to ordering the perfect sub in the cafeteria, and soccer season was about to start.  My relationship with Jenny had improved.  We were more relaxed and able to talk about more things.  Maybe I had a chance!!!  Isn’t spring great?!

One day, a Friday, I came home and went straight back to see Mac as usual.  He seemed extra happy to see me.  Not in the jumpy, tail wagging way, but a sort of proud, “Look at what I did!” kind of way.  His front legs seemed dirtier than usual.

“What is it Mac?  Whacha got?”

He trotted to his dog house and stuck his head in.  When his head came back out, in his mouth was a mass of grey.  At first, my reaction was, “Oh, gross, what is that?!”

Slowly, I made out more details.  In addition to being grey, it was furry.

The “Oh, gross” quickly turned into an “Oh, shit!”

He brought it closer and layed it down at my feet.  The mass of fur before me had this grey, steel-blue fur with floppy ears with wavy fur.

“It can’t be!”

It had to be something else, because what I thought would be unthinkable, and you can’t think of unthinkable things.  Alas, such logic was no match for the truth.

The physical weight of panic is an amazing thing.  I could feel its full crushing power as it dropped onto the place inside me where I kept my feelings.  Mac seemed content with his catch, but confused by my reaction.  He’d never seen me act this way.  It was new to him.  It was new to me too.

The longer I stared at it, the more details etched themselves into my eyes.  It was dirty, covered in that black, Mississippi Valley mud of spring, still wet from the melted snow.  Its hair was gone in several places, showing that its actual skin was pink.  All signs of a very violent struggle for life and death!  Death had definitely won.

Panic not subsiding, there was only one thing to do!  Actually, there were a million possible options.  All of them stupid, none of them could save me.  I had a dead, dirty rabbit that belonged to a girl that I wanted to like me on my hands.  I did the only logical thing.  I shampooed it.  Growing up in a female dominated household, the only shampoo we had was Pantene Pro-V.  “YES!  That’s perfect!”  Holland’s fur was soft and delicate as I did my best to wash out the dirt and blood.  But there was a delicate balance.  The more I washed, the more fur came out.  It was quickly plugging the bath tub drain.

“Careful, Careful…Gently” I told myself.  “Rinse and repeat?  NO!”

“Should I condition?  No!  What if Kelly uses it too and she recognizes the smell?!”  These are the things I thought.

With that, I had a clean, but still very dead, and now WET rabbit on my hands.  Hair dryer!  YES!  To this day, it is the only time I’ve ever used that hair dryer…and to this day, no one knows about it.

With the drying done, I looked out my bedroom window towards her house.  Her car was still gone.  Her dad’s car wasn’t here either, or at least the garage was closed.  Now was my chance.  I’ve never ran so fast in my life!  Across the street and over the chain linked fence into their backyard.  I still don’t remember how I got over it with a dead rabbit in my arms.  To the deck and Holland’s little kennel.  I placed him gently inside his house, as deep as it could.  Looking around, it seemed no one had seen me.  Before I knew it, I was back in the bathroom, cleaning up the rabbit hair and washing blood off of my hands.  I didn’t know about beer back then, but definitely could have used one.  I spent the rest of the day inside.

The next day was Saturday.  I slept pretty well considering the events of the day before.  Still in my PJs, I peeked out the window across the street.  Kelly’s car was parked in its usual spot on the street.  The garage was open and her dad’s car was inside.  My sister was outside playing with Mac.  I went and joined her.  I thought about telling her what happened and asking her what I should do a few times.  But a part of my brain told me, “You don’t have to tell her now.  Just wait ten more minutes and see what happens…probably nothing!  You’ll be fine.”  So I just waited and watched.

Nine minutes later, I heard a scream from across the street.  I knew I had to come clean and tell her what happened, and what I did.  I made myself across the street and went up to her fence.  She was there and her dad was too.  She was crying.  Her dad looked confused.  I began to speak, to tell the truth, but all that came out was, “Wha…what happened?”

Sobbing, with tears in her eyes, Kelly whimpered, “We…(sob)…we…we buried Holland three days ago, and now, he’s BACK!!!”

Handmade Hammock Bench


Anyone that has been to my place knows, there aren’t any chairs for people to sit and relax.  The solution: a hammock bench.  Made of an old towel and cheap twine.  We’ll see how long it lasts!




Random Take on Development #2


Common Measures…

A common (and legitimate) measure of development is how much of the things we need, we have.  Non-corrupt government.  Safe roads.  Clean water.  Medical facilities etc.  I think the amount of useless stuff we are surrounded by also tells a lot.  The more developed a country is, the more useless products they try to sell.  Seriously, who needs this?  What else are we told to consume in the name of boosting our GDP?