I’ll try to be brief, but this needs to be said. I often read statistics of women getting lower average pay than men and of black people being incarcerated more often than whites. These are two correlations that potentially could have absolutely nothing to do with sexism or racism. Maybe women’s work doesn’t deserve as high of salaries, and maybe black people commit more crimes. Both of these are possible, and could be reasonable explanations for the statistics. But, here’s my point, my very important point that I beg you to read carefully, the reason for the problem doesn’t negate the fact that it is still a problem. There is absolutely no situation in which any of us get out of this with no responsibility. Whether an individual’s result is because of overt or subtle sexism or racism or because of choices that they were influenced to make matters only in deciding how to treat the problem, not in deciding if there is a problem. Continue reading Racism or not, Michael Brown shouldn’t be dead
I sat on a toilet seat for the first time in a month a few minutes ago. I washed up, cleaned the travel grime off, trimmed the nails, shaved the beard, cut the hair, and now I’m ready to return to civilization, sort of. I’m actually scared out of my mind and can’t sleep. Believe it or not, after all the crazy scary things that I have done over the past three months, immersing myself in the social world and heading to medical school are scarier prospects than a lot of my adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and paddling a kayak 70 miles from civilization out into open water solo is about as absurdly scary as it gets. But medical school is a close second. Maybe I’m overreacting, but it just feels like I’m starting all over again, and that’s kind of overwhelming. Continue reading Home
A couple weeks ago I visited Blacksburg, Virginia for a couple days to clean up where I had been living. I had stayed at my parents’ place for the last three and a half years and it showed. Some of their friends were going to be using the place so I had to touch it up before they got there. But I didn’t want to just drive there and back, I wanted an adventure, I wanted an escape. So I shoved some gear into my backpack and planned for a trip in the woods.
I made it to Blacksburg around two in the morning and crashed. The next day I quickly cleaned and called a couple of my friends who were still there. I told them what I wanted to do. I had ants in my pants and there was only one sure fix. My friend Daniel and I went over to our friend Scott’s place to talk plans. Daniel had no intentions of coming with us but after hours of discussion, we convinced him to meet us out there after buying some gear from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. Scott and I made it to hiking just before seven pm. It’s not unusual for us to get a late start but this was a little crazy even for us considering we had sixteen miles to our destination. We headed towards Dragon’s tooth in Catawaba, Virginia, a beautiful mountaintop rock formation with incredible views, possible star-gazing, and good enough shelter from the wind. Continue reading Summer backpacking adventure
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
Last week I bought a refrigerator from Lowe’s and have had an enlighteningly difficult experience dealing with them. I have so often heard about the crimes of such superstores on small town living and after my most recent experience, have even more reason to find those claims absolutely hilarious. So many people have such bitterness towards Walmart and other such superstores, citing them as a terror to their town, the customers embarrassed to admit when they are forced through those well lit doors. But why such a taboo around these stores? Most can’t explain it in a logical manner, citing frustration with them ending the reign of local stores and the demise of humanity and still most people find the cheap prices of increased efficiency attractive. The funny thing I find though is that these same people seem to put these corporations on a pedestal of invincibility, essentially admitting that nothing can compete with them other than laws and their silly masqueraded protests. But with my most recent experience, a local store could easily trump the frustration and poor customer service I experienced. Continue reading They can be beaten
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
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.
I once believed that religion and violence could be separated. I once believed that people simply used religion to justify their craving for violence. They used it to justify it to themselves and to everyone else, to rouse a riot or to begin a war. I thought religion preached non violence and it was counter intuitive to follow a path of destruction.
I am struggling to see that peaceful coexistence anymore. The reason is not because religion is inherently violent which most often it obviously is apparently not. Instead, I believe it to be a result of the fundamental basis of believing in something that is unprovable, immeasurable, and unseen. Alongside that illogical thinking comes a senselessness that violence fuels off to become justified.
No one has ever been able to tell me what god is. No one ever can put it into words so that I can understand. Everyone just tells me it something you know, something personal that you may feel. Continue reading Senseless violence
Humanity needs survivors. No one can deny that. We need people who are strong, people who are smart and healthy. We need people who are hard working, compassionate, and logical. All these qualities arguably can result from natural selection. However, in current American society, we have all but completely suppressed natural selection and are heading towards a complete abandonment of artificial selection. Continue reading Reinstating selection
Natural selection, the process that has the greatest influence on evolution of species has, for the most part, stopped occurring for the human species. This is nothing new. It can occur in any population or species when there are unlimited resources and insignificant predation. On the surface, infinite resources seems like a blessing to humanity, and in almost all cases, it is. However, the one exception to the rule is a frightening one and one that we will eventually have to deal with.