Last week my dad asked me to do a favor for him. The favor seemed simple, go in to a doctor’s appointment with my granddad. The doc had requested a family member be there to hear the results of an MRI. I was the only family in town and was happy to go. But what I heard, what I felt was not what I expected at all. My granddad is on the downhill. The MRI showed several strokes and severe brain shrinkage. I carried this information, this weight and passed it on to my dad. Three of my grandparents are dead, two when I was really young, and the other was sudden. To carry this weight, to get some idea of the future was heavy for me. In the room I felt my eyes water but I maintained composure. Driving straight to work afterwards, I couldn’t do anything to hold the tears back. It was heavy, it was real. It was a feeling that goes beyond the capacity of my words, almost untouchable. Life is no joke, no game and this was the first step in a cascade of realizations that hit me in the past few days.
With the back half of the triathlon season quickly approaching, I find myself in a situation I never expected, with my race calendar empty for the entirety of 2013’s next six months and empty of results from the last six. In my results and rankings section, a tab for 2013 doesn’t even exist. I did not disappear. I am not burned out. I did not plan this. I am not injured or tired. I love the sport of triathlon just as much as ever. I am not any busier than normal, and nor more broke than normal. I have access to adequate training and facilities. So why has this calendar been littered with work schedules and due dates rather than training plans and race dates? Continue reading Mid-season recap
Having recently ventured into the mystical land known as “the real world,” several ideas and curiosities have come to my attention. I am naïve in this world, distant from my previous home full of obnoxious party goers and dedicated academics. In this world, there are responsibilities and questions of the future. Two subjects keep arising that have grabbed my attention, that of marriage and that of having children. However, the questions are not whether or not to partake in these institutions and obligations. The questions are of when to marry, who to marry, how many kids to have, and what to name them. I started thinking, why would I get married and why would I have kids? Did I consciously decide to marry and have kids or did I simply follow social norms and biological urges? I want questions like that to be answered long before I undertake such dedicated steps in my life. Sure, the challenges are distant still, but why would it ever be too early to question these immense life steps?
I am really happy to be here. I love this planet, I love this species, and I love this universe. Sometimes (often) I get so overwhelmed by this place that I feel like I am going to explode. Tonight my barriers holding the excitement back fell to the jumping, pacing, happy, overwhelmed Grayson within. First it was negligible senescence, then it was multiverse theory, then it was genetics, then neutron stars. I got excited and giddy as hell. I couldn’t even stay seated. I don’t know why it is that this happens. It is like a tick, crippling if held back. Continue reading Bursting at the seams
Imagine watching nuclear fusion come to be standard as energy on the earth. You stand by as you witness one of the greatest advancements in humankind-the transition to sustainability. Imagine, with the discovery of better methods of space travel, abandoning our terrestrial life to become space-faring, trans-galactic beings. Imagine interacting with beings from another planet, learning their language, their culture, their technology. Imagine studying their biology, making friends on another planet, learning their planet’s history, and having access to information about the universe that we have not yet acquired. Imagine watching our planet develop, new species forming, continents shifting. What if I were to tell you that all of this could potentially happen within your lifetime? Continue reading Biological immortality
This isn’t the first time Bill Maher has pissed me off with his support of pseudoscience. I know he doesn’t give a damn about my opinion, but I’m posting my frustration anyways. It’s often the people who I agree with the most who I am most curious about, and sometimes the most skeptical of. I wonder what their inspiration is, deciding it is less important what people believe, but rather why they believe it. For Bill Maher, I believe he holds a wild double standard. With respect to God, the man says the burden of proof is on the believer. He displaces himself, rightly so, from having to make any statements about his lack of theory. He said it perfectly: “atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.”
The burden of proof can be easily realized using Bertrand Russell’s teapot analogy. I could in no way prove to you that there is not a teapot in space orbiting the Sun.
I’m about to make an argument on a premise that not many people agree with me on. I guess that’s a pretty silly idea but hell, I’m doing it anyways. I wrote a post not long ago encouraging people to be more selfish. You can read it here. But the general gist of it is that selfishness is not synonymous with greed and that if one is truly concerned with oneself, then they will inevitably help everyone more than someone who strives for selflessness. An analogy would be to giving an employee a higher wage so they can come to work without hunger and therefore, be more productive. Sometimes, I understand that this is not the case, that to the employer, the benefit of satiety is minute in comparison to the cost of feeding. But I argue that this is a dynamic stage, not a homeostatic one. I believe from fundamental logic of thermodynamics that an economy can reach equilibrium unless restrained by external interference. Of course there will be unemployment but there will be less than if restricted by regulation.
So here I go. Grant me that initial premise and you may realize this one. Or maybe the combination of two seemingly faulty premises will help with acknowledging that I may not be a quack after all.
Walmart is actually an awesome corporation. There I go; I said it. I know I’m not the first one and I imagine (I hope) I won’t be the last. Why is Walmart awesome despite the overwhelming hatred for it and its customer base to be, shall we say, less than classy and occasionally inbred? Walmart is great exactly because it is as selfish as it can possibly be.
People usually start thinking I’m crazy when I get exited about existence, from the smallest to the biggest, from biology to astronomy, life to death. But it’s all so goddamn amazing, I don’t know how to keep it all pent-up. I’ve tried before but I get antsy. So now I’ll risk embarrassment for the potential reward of someone responding with equal excitement.
Think about how crazy awesome all this is. Look at your hand. You are composed of atoms. Everything inside you is atoms: protons and neutrons in a core surrounded by spinning electrons with an ability to exist in two places at once. I mean, holy hell. If that isn’t enough reason to always be happy, I don’t know what is. Electrons don’t orbit a nucleus like a planet does a star. Instead an electron orbits in a chaotic pattern that we define in probability terms as orbitals. They are simply our best guess as to where the electron may be.
How the hell is anyone expected to tie themselves down, find a career, reproduce, work their tails off and then die without exploring places like this? I seriously cannot understand it. I can’t imagine my life ending up like that. And I know it has its perks; it’s not that I am against that lifestyle. I just am excessively for the other way. So as of now my plan is to see this place. And Fiji. I want to go to Fiji. I’ve never been happier and more content than at the top of a mountain or on the bottom of an ocean. I have my primal instincts just like everyone else but they aren’t quite satisfying. But places like this, they never get old. I know I probably sound like a cliche traveler. I’ve always quoted Camus; “Wandering seemed no more than the happiness of an anxious man.” And right now, this is conflicting with me. I am wondering what he meant, what I meant. Continue reading If I have my way
A few days ago I picked up a book off the shelves of my parents’ office. The title of this bestseller from the eighties is When Bad Things Happen to Good People. The short sighted title was what attracted me to Harold Kushner’s book but the theology within it was what kept me interested. I knew what it was going to be about and I knew nearly every point presented would conflict with my view of the world. But to entertain my curiosity and desire to empathize, I quickly read through it. So why do bad things happen to good people? Because things happen to people, that is why. Continue reading Why do bad things happen to good people?