I know, I know. I have enough projects already and I never seem to get any of them done... But I just can't help myself. Since I got done with most of the wiki parsing stuff a while ago I got to thinking about applying that to do transcript statistics.

A couple years ago there was a website (probably still exists, I'll look for it in my bookmarks later) that did a really good job of doing comparisons for State of the Union Addresses and comparing them. You could take a word, like Terrorism or Iraq or whatever phrase you wanted and compare how many times they show up in a speech and compare these with multiple transcripts.

I think that might be a cool thing to try.

posted by dharh 4:41 PM Oct 2nd, 2007 via idt

Here's something that I haven't talked about before, batteries! So to start off our first time with this topic here is a cool article talking about batteries. It gives a rundown on batteries advancements and then talks about rechargeables.

posted by dharh 9:46 PM Sep 27th, 2007 via idt

This article says nay.

posted by dharh 9:40 PM Sep 27th, 2007 via idt

Even though I have a link to it under the logo menu item, Link Blog, you can view a snippet of the items I share in google reader over the course of the day on the right bottom side of the front page.

posted by dharh 2:53 PM Aug 14th, 2007 via idt

So as you can see I added a bunch of my old articles. You can probably safely ignore these, they are so old (some from high school) that they are very simple without much substance.

Doing this though allowed me to test some of the robustness of the site and find any errors, which I did. You can view the changelog to see what I fixed. I also added a new feature which I think can help the site if it the top menu starts to get cluttered.

posted by dharh 3:35 PM Aug 3rd, 2007 via idt

Many people throughout time have wondered about the origins of not just life but of reality itself. What exactly is that? Well, reality is sort of the "law" that says anything can exist. That is partly how I define it anyway. See if there was no reality then there is no thing. No space, no time, no movement, no matter; nothing. Not even the blackness of a universe without stars. Reality the way I use it means without it nothing can exist. The other half of the definition of reality more pertains to what you are probably used to. That is of course that reality is that thing that is real. What is; that is reality. A better way to put it is to think of the difference between fantasy and reality. Reality is all those things that you sometimes wish weren't real and fantasy is what you wish were real.

Well, now that I have explained how I think of reality and you understand it, hopefully, we can now discuss the more important parts. How did it all begin? Some people have said that god doth created the heavens and the earth in 7 days. Scientists and other believers of scientific creation theory say that there was a pea sized thing that was so dense that it held all that is out there today inside its minute depths. It exploded and made a really big bang. They call this the big bang theory.

Now, lets turn on our internal turbines and think for a moment. Both have some credibility, and incredibility. Thinking on this may be hard, especially when you are trying to understand about something that could have been done by a god that may no longer be here or happened trillions of years ago. The bible, no matter that it is basically our only source reference, has been around for a long time. It depicts what a god has done. Stating the origin of earth and life in a passage called Genesis. The Big Bang people have a little less to go on, really. They do have their science, but having science itself does not a proven theory make with which the word not the meaning do. I mean, the word science itself does not guarantee that a theory is correct even if all the meaning and tested procedure is behind it. Now what the scientists really have for their side of the "Creation Quest" is a thing called background radiation. I'm not all that knowledgeable of physics so I can explain it a little bit in terms with which people might be able to understand. Radiation is something that is emitted from say an object or a reaction. A splitting of atoms creates radiation. Some material like neutronium creates radiation. Something you might be familiar with is the atomic bomb. This creates radiation. Scientists think that because a form of radiation exists basically throughout the entire universe, though not enough to kill us on our planet, that some sort of reaction or explosion occurred in the past. This may not be a bad theory but we still have to root around a bit more.

First lets attack the scientists. Not that there is a much to attack. Godly people, Christians and the like, would say that these scientists are anti-creationists or that they are atheists. Many religious believers of the Genesis passage spurn Big Bang believers, saying of course their old adage that they will go into the deep depths of hell for all eternity if they do not repent. Ok, enough science bashing, let's get to the crux of the matter. This theory is just that, a theory. They have assumed a few things. First, this radiation could have come from something other than an explosion, one of those other things being something we know nothing about. Who is to say that god didn't make the Big Bang himself. There are some believers of that. Oh, and one more thing, where the heck did the pea sized matter come from in the first place?

All right, now on to the theist bashing. I'm sorry, I mean, ideas of theists bashing. You know, many people seem the get that mixed up. Anyway, let's talk about the passage Genesis. Now I'm not going to go into a tirade and start quoting the bible however I must point out two things. One, in holding so tightly to the bible as specific word of god, when no where does it say that in specific words inside the bible, they have shut out other interpretations. It could be could be just a story made by a man who had some philosophical ideas and thought it would be nice to have a society that lived by the ten commandments, he made up, or some such. (Christians everywhere are shuddering in their graves) Or it could be a story depiction of what truly happened, but in a way that is symbolized. Two, where did the planet come from before god? It says that god came upon the face of the deep and well you know. Morning, night, the whole shebang. What made the deep before god? Where did all this stuff come from? Where did god come from? What the heck is the face of the deep? These questions kind of get to the real crux of this paper.

Where did it ALL come from? Is god the end all beat all of the entire Universe? Or is it that the Big Bang is all there is? Why do people keep saying that it just IS? What is IS? Can anyone tell me the definition of what is IS?!? Ok, I'm all right now, lets keep moving. For some reason people forget that just saying there is a god and that he molded the earth, or that the Big Bang made all the matter in the universe, some of which eventually came together to form what we know of as this solar system, does not solve the question of how all of this got here.

So now that we are at square one, though we did have some fun bashing others theories, lets think some more. This next part is not a theory. I in no way want you to think of me as a god because of what I am about to say; though that would be nice. I do not expect people to make this a religion, though you might want to send me your money in case I change my mind later. I don't want this to rule people's lives. I do however want you to think and maybe even come up with your own theory. Heck if god got mad at me and started talking to people to tell the real truth of it, then I could say that I had done a good job.

Are you ready? OK. Let's say that the Big Bang theory is right, there was an explosion that happened and it made the heavens we know of as the universe. But before that there was god. He put it all into motion. He was that thing "before." We aren't finished yet. Let's say that god is a being and that there are others like him. Maybe this universe is one like others and not only that but the place where the "gods" are is a universe too. They have planets, they have lives. Perhaps they are very advanced and we could be like them someday. Hold on, I'm still not finished. Perhaps they have a god as well. Who in turn has a god, and so on and so on. Not getting the picture yet? Perhaps we are gods ourselves yet we know it not. In the sense that a god has created something with a purpose and have powers beyond even being something-potent like omnipotent or some such we may not be. But we could be gods in the sense that we may someday create something like a life. It could go on that this life in turn creates life itself.

Now I bet you think we're finished. Nope, sorry. Time to throw another idea at you. Could it be that some being, all powerful of course, created the universe with planets and stars and even a few gods? Maybe these gods came upon some planet and created life or something. Our god could have come to our planet this way. There could be a multitude of gods with planets. Some planets with one god, some with many. It could be anything.

That's just my point. The "making" of the universe happened so long ago how can we possibly know exactly what happened? It could have happened any number of ways many of which we have not even thought of. We can't be sure we are right either way. Science could be on the right track but just missing something or it could be way off. Perhaps all science itself is just scratching the surface of "what is." And theology. I hate to be a bane to peoples beliefs but there are so many religions out there that how can we know which one is right? All could be right, none could be right, it could even be that each religion has some truth but not all of it. At the further risk of hate mail from disgruntled people I also have to say that majority is not always right. Just cause a majority of people live a certain way, this does not mean that all people would like to live that way. The same thing applies to religion. Just because majorities of people on this planet are Christian, soon to be Muslim I think does not mean that those people are right.

And so I now end this essay hoping that in some way I have helped someone. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday and for the rest of their life. It is my hope that I have not hurt the feelings of anyone. I do not hate scientists and their theories of the Big Bang. I do not hate religion and all its aspects of god. I don't hate that guy over there staring at me as I type this. And though I hate close-mindedness I do not hate people who are close-minded. All I have hoped to do in this essay is to open at least one persons mind and maybe give them some ideas for food until the cogs in their minds churn on their own.

posted by dharh 2:32 PM Aug 3rd, 2007 via idt

Philosophy is a way to ask why. Why this and why that. Why does it have to be this way? Why not? Not just why, though. To philosophize is to ask a question and then to seek the answer. To me that is seeking the truth. Seeking truth can be a grueling and time consuming task. One could spend his entire life or many lifetimes just trying to answer a few questions. If one looks at the past, however, one can maybe see what truths others have found in their lifetime. One such a person to look back on is Simone de Beauvior.

Simone de Beauvior was born January 9, 1908, in Paris and died on April 14, 1986. She was the first child of George Bertrand and Francoise de Beauvior. Their second child came two and a half years later when Helene was born. Both of the children where girls, and as a result, Simone was given much of the attention that a son would have been given. She liked this attention and the feeling of superiority.

Simone was a very intelligent person and for this reason she excelled in studying and had her own ideas of philosophy. Even though she was very intelligent, she loved her sister Helene, nicknamed Poupette, very much and loved playing with her. As she grew up, she read many books, but her mother was an extremely religious woman and believed that she must hide some things from her daughter. So she would read the book before Simone got to it and take out the parts she thought she needed to. Simone could not understand why she would do such a thing. She found that it was illogical and she did not like the illogical, so, when her parents where out for the night, she would go to the library and read all the books that her mother had deemed inappropriate for her.

Simone's father was a lawyer and made a good salary, but when his law practice suffered he had to take over his father's shoe making company. He was making less money now and told his daughters that they would never have the chance to marry since they would not have a dowry. This, he said, would force them to become career women. The thought of being a career woman delighted Simone and she said outright that she never wanted to marry because she detested the domestic role of women. After secondary school she decided to begin studying philosophy at the Sorbonne. She chose philosophy because she wanted to find a certainty in her life. Simone states this very clearly in this statement:

"The thing that attracted me about philosophy was that it went straight to essentials. I perceived the general significance of things rather than their singularities, and I preferred understanding to seeing; I had always wanted to know everything; philosophy would allow me to appease this desire, for it aimed at total reality; philosophy went right to the heart of truth and revealed to me, instead of an illusory whirlwind of facts or empirical laws, an order, a reason, a necessity in everything."(1)

This is exactly the same way I feel about philosophy. It goes straight to the essentials and shows us the fundamentals of reality. This is the reason I decided to study philosophy: to seek out knowledge and learn truths.

At the age of 21, Simone joined a group of students of philosophy that included Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre would become an important part of her life. He would be her love, lover, and companion of the mind, until his death in April of 1980. It was not until the meeting of Sartre that she felt, for the first time in her life, intellectually inferior to anyone. Their relationship was one that people would think unconventional -- both had many other lovers -- both never conceived children -- and both never even lived together except briefly during World War II.

Some people have wondered why she and Sartre didn't live together much during their lives. This can be clarified by a quote from her book The Second Sex: "The curse which lies upon marriage is that too often the individuals are joined in their weakness rather than in their strength-each asking from the other instead of finding pleasure in giving. It is even more deceptive to dream of gaining through the child a plenitude, a warmth, a value, which one is unable to create for oneself; the child brings joy only to the woman who is capable of disinterestedly desiring the happiness of another, to one who without being wrapped up in self seeks to transcend her own existence."(2)

Their relationship demonstrated how they had adopted an existential lifestyle. While together, they popularized this philosophy, and lived it as well.

Simone defined existentialism as a philosophy of ambiguity, one that had emphasis on the tension of living in the present and in acting in a manner where you were conscious of your morality. She believed that existentialism was an optimistic view on the human condition. People are naturally neither good nor bad, thus an individual is nothing in the beginning. It is up to each individual to make themselves good or bad. Whether they succeed in overpowering their upbringing depends on whether they really thought about what they had learned during their childhood and whether they indulge or deny their individuality from conformity.

The entire philosophy is based on the freedom of choice. The philosophy of Existentialism according to The Harper Collins Dictionary of Philosophy follows the following themes: One, existence precedes essence. Forms do not determine existence to be what it is. Two, an individual has no essential nature, no self-identity other than that involved in the act of choosing. Three, truth is subjectivity. Fourth, abstractions can neither grasp nor communicate the reality of individual existence. Finally, fifth, but not the last theme, the universe does not provide moral rules. Moral principles are constructed by humans in the context of being responsible for their actions and for the actions of others. There are many other themes but I find these the most interesting.

I have found that Existentialism is, for the most part, true, a valid and present philosophy. However, there are many themes or basics to the philosophy that leave one still confused and rather muddled. It is clear at this point that although there are a few ideals in Simone's philosophy that one can use for his or her own set of ideals, but there are also many ideals that make the philosophy difficult to completely adopt. Even in the light of this, one should still look at the many different philosophies and pick out the good points. To do this, one has to look at all of the points, for if one just takes a look at what seems appealing they can miss something fairly important.

One of the valid points that someone may miss in this philosophy is the emphasis on the individual, the personal, and the importance of freedom and responsibility to continue to represent an essential ingredient of philosophical thinking. This is true, for as an individual, a person is in fact a single individual. A person has a boundary called skin, this makes them a separate mass of matter, and thus that separate mass of matter must take responsibility for its actions. Let us take a look at one of the themes that I think is not true. It is the statement that truth is subjectivity. This means that truth is only what a person thinks it is. Subjectivity is making an evaluation from how a subject affects the self, while objectivity is making an evaluation without being affected by feelings, emotions, and preconceived notions. This would mean, by the statement above, that by some notion I thought it was true that cats could talk, then cats would be able talk. A third theme to look at and analyze is the statement that existence precedes essence, that forms do not determine existence to be what it is. Again, this is a near improbability. In order for this to work, it would mean that when someone is born they essentially do not have an essence and therefore no consciousness; they somehow gain an essence through some supernatural means.

Now, looking back at this essay you may say that existentialism is a crappy philosophy and that this paper was a waste of my writing skills (which are nill to say the least) and a waste of your time reading. Or you could now be saying that existentialism is the best philosophy ever and how dare I say it has falsities. Well existentialism was not the main point of this essay. Though it may have taken up the bulk of this essay it was an example of looking at a philosophy and trying to pick out the main points and then examine them.

posted by dharh 2:31 PM Aug 3rd, 2007 via idt

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