Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Damn scientists are playing God again. They get better at it all the time. But you know what doesn't get better? That "Oh no they're playing God!" meme. We hear the same shit with each new discovery. If you're on the anti-playing-God side, why don't you develop and refine your idea? Or would that be too much like science?

God, what's with all my hubris lately?

Here's some more mockery.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

the singularity is coming all over my space

I was talking with a colleague about mankind's destiny in space. At least I think I was. He has a heavy accent. As I said before, I don't like to use real names here, so I'll call him by an unrecognizable fake name. Hey Escobitch, here's what I was trying to say before we were distracted by that ninja attack.

The question is as old as time: How much money should NASA get for fiscal year 2011, and of that, how much should they spend on manned space missions, as opposed to space probes and other kinds of real science? More simply, how important is it for mankind to colonize space? Most people don't worry about this issue, for a good reason: It's a red herring. The real issue is our need to invent a self-contained life support system. It doesn't matter whether we put it on a space ship, under the sea, or in Arizona.

As far as I know, there are two arguments in favor of colonizing space. The first is that it would be good for the human spirit. Whatever. The second is the need to protect the ourselves by getting our eggs out of the one basket. But as with most problems in the world, there are cheaper, better solutions that don't require launching anything into space. In order to spread into space, we must first invent that self-contained life support system. And once we do so, space won't be necessary. We can park it in any empty lot, and it'll still protect us from every kind of planetary disaster. Global warming? Nuclear holocaust? Doom virus? All minor inconveniences when you live in a metal box and don't need anything.

You might say that launching the box into space would make the human race a little bit safer (or a lot, in the long view), and you would be right, but there's no argument in that. Once we do invent these boxes, we will launch some of them into space. You don't have to worry about that. We've already got the rockets. It'll happen.

There's one argument I can anticipate, and I fucking hate it: "But missions in space are just the thing we need to stimulate ourselves to invent the box. You know, like how the space race paid for itself with those spin-off technologies." Repeating a happy accident is not a vision for the future. It is wasteful, obscure, unguided, roundabout bullshit. A vision needs clarity. It needs sense. It needs spirit, too. But spirit isn't a crutch for nonsense (nonspirit?).

Summary: People who talk about space are weird.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

profile: admiral raymond t. explodinger

My instructor implied that I should mention him on my blog, and I implied that I would. But I have a general policy against using any identifiable names or events, so I'll just change them to things I made up.

Admiral Raymond T. Explodinger has served in every branch of the armed forces, in every rank, country, time period, and species that's ever existed. He gained the power of time travel from that monolith from 2001. These days, he goes by "Admiral" because it's alphabetically the first of his many titles.

The first thing Admiral Explodinger taught us was how to summon a black hole from the eleven-dimensional sea of particle/anti-particle pairs that constantly whiz through the atmosphere, a technique with which we could destroy the Earth at will. From that day on, his mission was to ensure that not one of our class of 874 Marines would use this power for evil. In each lecture, he also spends a few minutes talking about the present and future of the Marine Corps, current events, classic ICBM restoration, dog breeding, fixing radios, and other secrets of the universe. By the time we graduate, we will know every physical law of nature, except how to hyperstabilize the vacuum constant, which is like the black hole thing, except it would allow him to destroy the entire universe. That's a technique he keeps in reserve in case he has to use it on us.

I'll never forget the day he told us, "The minimum (spherical) surface area of a given volume limits not only its reciprocal entropy, but space (obviously) and time, mass and energy, and of course velocity and acceleration, all of which are reducible to the information content of the volume and therefore equivalent." I know that even in my darkest hour, I can recall those inspiring words and find solace. I know this because the next day, he brought us on a field trip inside the event horizon of a black hole. That hour was pretty dark. Words couldn't possibly explain what we saw in there, just like they couldn't explain how he pronounced those parentheses.

Admiral Explodinger is a marine biologist who PT's whales, for he knows all too well they will be our successors as the custodians of this planet since we broke the thermostat. So crack open an ice cold bottle of Bud Light, Admiral Raymond T. Explodinger. Bud Light beer Anheuser Busch St. Louis Missouri.

jukebox hero

Today I made everyone sing Jukebox Hero,

and Gay Bar. I changed the lyrics to, "Girl, I wanna stab you with a KA-BAR..." It made more sense that way, but any modification would make that song make more sense.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

no, there isn't a point to this

oh, so now you want to be a terrorist and shoot me, right? good, get on your face

I heard a story about a Marine. A machine gunner was on patrol with his squad when they took fire from insurgents. They followed procedure to the letter by shooting back. But when the insurgents fled, the gunner dropped his machine gun, chased after them, and gunned them down with his 9mm. I imagine he held it sideways. His squad was astonished, and he was bemused at their astonishment. "Where'd you learn to do that?" they said. And he said that's how they did things in Compton.

I wish I could remember names and details, but the story serves my purpose well enough. I'll call him Sergeant Major G Fugga. The guy was apparently a cocky gangster ass mofo, and he ended up in the Marine Corps. This was no coincidence. I'm not talking about the recent problem of gang members in the military, but an essential and eternal truth of the Corps. He's a guy who enjoyed capping motherfuckers, and the Marines were the natural choice for him. No surprise, really.

Compare SgtMaj. G Fugga with me. I'm a god damn nerd. Why did I join the military at all, and this branch no less? Sure, I'm in a nerdy specialty, but why didn't I go for the superior nerd opportunities of the Army, Navy, or Air Force? If such polar opposites as SgtMaj. G Fugga and I have a common reason for choosing the Marines, that reason ought to reveal the true essence of the Corps.

I grew up as a government hating libertarian, and now I'm fairly apathetic politically. (There are details and nuances, but they're a topic for ten thousand other posts.) I have virtually zero rational desire to fight for my country. Just like I have virtually zero rational desire to go down a waterslide. But that doesn't change the fact that I find both prospects thrilling.

If someone were to shoot at me, my gut reaction would be to shoot back while running toward them. Some might call this risky behavior, but it's actually a wise and reasonable method of risk mitigation. When a threat arises, it might immediately benefit you to run and hide, but in the long run, it is less risky to swiftly and decisively nip the threat in the bud. The most obvious reason is that when you run and hide, the enemy is still alive. The other reason is psychology. War is all psychology. Immediate punishment is much more effective at influencing someone's behavior than delayed punishment. This applies to terrorists as well as kids and puppies. The'll avoid shooting at you if they know you'll shoot right back.

Marines are wise and reasonable. And we're knuckle-dragging cocky assholes. We're naïve thrill seekers and bud nippers. These are all qualities we tend to have, but they aren't our essence. Remember the distinction between our qualities and our essence. It'll be important. I'm going to stop using the word "essence" because it's getting gay. I'll shift over to its faithful synonym, "spirit." Remember the distinction between our qualities and our spirit. Our spirit is the one psychological quirk that sets us apart from everyone else.

Our spirit might be the mutual cause out of which our qualities spring, but it isn't necessarily. It could be a collective effect of our qualities, but it isn't necessarily. It could be a cause in some Marines, and an effect in others. The only thing that matters is that we're together. Sorry, gay again. I mean this spirit is what makes people say, "I think I'll join the Marines today." And when they do, they kick ass, they nip buds and take names, they perpetuate our Corps's reputation, and that reputation causes the next generation of quirky individuals to say, "I think I'll join the Marines today."

So the Corps is kept alive by this ruthless cycle of reputation and quirk-self-selection. The quirk is nothing special, some part of our instinct for self-preservation is missing. But the ruthless cycle pulls it up out of society and makes it meaningful. In a situation where a normal person would say, "Egads! Enemy fire!" someone with the quirk would say, "Shoot at me, will you? Why, I oughtta..." Recall how psychology applies to terrorists, kids, and puppies. But it doesn't apply to us. We don't get discouraged when the enemy shoots back at us.

When joining the military, everyone has a decision to make. Do they want a nice job in the Army with education for the future, or do they want to kill our nation's enemies? The latter might seem like the more rational choice, given that they're joining the military in the first place, but it really isn't. Putting yourself in harm's way is a pretty irrational thing to do. And so most people go Army. That's what makes the Marines our nation's self-selected infantry force. We want to fight. That's 99.9% of what makes a formidable force. We want to put holes in the unholy, evicerate the evil, scorch the scum, crush the corrupt, assassinate the assholish, shave the depraved, immolate the immoral, flatten the flatulent, debone the debauched, ignite the sodomites, extinguish the gomorrish, slander the satanic, murder the insurgers, kill the shrill, rile the vile, vaporize the vicious, mow down the low down and weed wack the wicked.

So why am I trying to analyze the spirit of the Marine Corps in evolutionary language? Because I'm a fucking badass, that's why. No, I's just thinking how funny it was how I hear Marines say, "Hell yeah I'm getting deployed!" and, "God damn it, when am I getting deployed?" And stories like these are extremely common, where insurgents specifically avoid Marines, and Marines almost sound relieved when they finally get to fight. We're crazy, and that's not bravado. We've got brain problems.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

i'm dead. stop calling me.

I want to see if I can involve the community with a game, inspired by this comic: (click for the whole thing)

And this.

Let's come up with funny epitaphs, guys! You can comment here or on facebook. Your comfort is priority one.