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Jun. 21st, 2014

Err...

mid-June Update

I suppose I should mention, especially for my dear friends randombastary and dungeonwriter, that I am now gainfully employed.

I just finished my first full week, in fact. I'm now a manufacturing assistant in a timber factory that specialises in glue-laminated timber beams. It's hard, heavy work, but I'm enjoying it for now.

There's not really much more news, everything else has remained the same since last update.

Oh yes, I had a hearing test last week. Still stable, pretty much no change since I was born, which is a good thing.  I'm being fitted for my last free pair of hearing aids in August. After I turn 26, I'll need to buy new upgrades myself, which can be anywhere up to $6000 for a pair... :/

Still, more good news than bad, which I  am happy about.

Feb. 15th, 2014

Err...

Update Feb 2014

I just realised I haven't updated since November, I think. So here's an update of what's happening in my world.

Read more...Collapse )

Anyway, that's pretty much all at the moment. I'll post again when I get a job, hopefully within the next few weeks.

Nov. 23rd, 2013

Err...

I Hear Opinions Are Going For Tuppence Apiece These Days

I was reading through some religion-atheism discussion/debates just now, when I came across a question that a lot of people like to talk about:

Why does the Universe appear fine-tuned for life?
Or, expressed differently, The constants that govern our universe appear to be remarkably fine-tuned to allow life. What explains that if not a supernatural intelligence?

I have a few problems with this question, so I just had to put in my two cents. I wasn't sure where to post it, but then I remembered, hey, I have a LiveJournal! That's a kind of primitive blog! So here it is.

One of the problems I have with this very popular question is that, in my opinion, a lot of the scientists and atheist writers/debators approach it from entirely the wrong angle.

For example, a writer at Cross Examined, a religious-atheist discussion blog hosted at patheos.com, responds to this question by talking about the multiverse theory, in which there are an infinite number of universes, each with different constants (meaning the essential forces of gravity, electromagnetic, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, as well as the emergent laws based on those forces, like Relativity, thermodynamics, and so on; only a few of which have the correct configuration of forces to allow for the formation of advanced chemical structures such as planets and self-replicating organisms.

For me, this is entirely the wrong approach, because it presupposes the conclusion that the universe is in fact 'fine tuned' for the development of life. Or that the universal forces are 'just so' for life. I reject the answer given by Cross Examined and other similar atheist-debate sites that immediately try to answer the question rather than examining the question itself.

Because the way I read it, the question itself is begging the question, i.e. taking for granted the unproven postulation that the universe exists to sustain life. It egotistically assumes that the universal constants are 'just so' as a consequence of the necessary values required for the development and sustenance of life. That the universe is, therefore, purpose-driven toward life.

As an atheist, I reject that notion, and therefore the question's unstated assumption. The question is not valid, because it assumes a chronologically backward development of physics. And I submit that the universe is not 'fine-tuned' for life; but that life developed within the environment and in response to the conditions of the universe; that life, adapting to the conditions and chemical realities of the universe, has, like an insect that adapts perfect camouflage in the image of its environment (see: stick insects, mantids, those creepy spiders that look like flowers, etc.), adapted and evolved to survive within, and make best use of, its surroundings.

In short, the universe is not fine-tuned for life; that would assume that first there was life, then the universe was made to suit it, or require (as Christians intend for the question to do) a supernatural intelligence to guide it or set it up 'just so'. Instead, life is fine-tuned for the universe.

I don't know how well I have explained it, but in my head it makes far more sense for the fish to change to suit the ocean, than for the ocean to change to suit the fish.

---

The other problem with that question is that if the universe is indeed 'fine tuned' for the purpose of creating life, then it remarkably poorly tuned. There is one recorded instance of life in the known observable universe. Just one. If the universe were fine-tuned, shouldn't there be far more life than just us? In the entire observable universe, a sphere 29 gigaparsecs across (that is, you can look straight forward in any direction for 47 billion light years before you can't see any further due to the expansion of the universe and the speed of light), containing a hundred billion galaxies, each containing an average hundred billion stars, each with the potential for planets that could harbour life-- and we are the only observed case? Isn't it simply more logical to conclude that the universe probably isn't 'fine-tuned' for the purpose of creating life?

---

I know some people would be a bit... scared, offended, whatever at that suggestion. How dare I suggest that we are the product of random one-in-a-hundred-billion chance, instead of the beloved creations of a loving god who has tried to wipe us all out at least once? But, in my perspective, it is an incredibly affirming idea. Yes, we are the product of chance, with a stupendously small probability of occurring, and life as we know it might never arise in the universe ever again. We might just be alone. But doesn't that just make it that much more precious? This is the only life we have each, and this is the only known instance of life in the universe. This planet is the only known planet that has the right conditions for life to survive. No re-dos, no alien benefactors, no moving to Pandora when we ruin Earth. Don't waste it.


 

Sep. 3rd, 2013

Err...

25

I have discovered over the last few weeks that i am really ill-adapted to unemployment. Without a job, my brain turns to mush and I lose all ability or interest in anything outside of eating chocolate and reading Harry Potter fanfiction.

Yes, that's right, I'm unemployed again. It's a long story and I'm not sure how much I can talk about, given the legal issues surrounding the whole mess.

Anyway, the bright side is that today is my 25th birthday! I woke up late, made a cheesecake, took the dogs for a walk in the gorgeous Spring sunshine, went to a restaurant with my family where I had a massive plate of pork spare ribs, and then we had the cheesecake! I had to make the cheese part in two layers because I didn't have enough, so the top layer was a little less solid than the bottom, but both together were so rich and creamy, and the mixed berry jelly on top complimented it beautifully.

As for presents, although my 25-year-old wishlist is very different to when I was a child, I got a new set of bedthings (quilt, cushions, pillow cases etc) that fit the theme of my room (because solid blue doesn't work with "bamboo rainforest"), a dinosaur-shaped armpillow for the computer (because when I rest my arm on the desk I get lines where the desk edge digs in) and $50!  also bought myself a nice katana earlier in the month, I'm calling it an early birthday present (It had to be early because it was on liquidation sale).

Well, that's the news for now, not much has happened beyond dramatically losing my job (well, not dramatically, the company closed). I did have a very positive interview with a third-party recruitment agency who also do temp labour-hire positions, I'm signed up with them and hopeful about getting the job I originally signed up for (inventory/warehouse management in a small but rapidly-growing engineering company).

Jul. 28th, 2013

Err...

Seeing the forest for the trees...

Just a short ramble about recent world politics. Because it is 11:40pm on a Sunday night, and I need to be up at 5:30 tomorrow.

There's been so much talk lately, with the resolution of the Zimmerman/Martin case, the continuing struggle for equal rights as embodied by such brave people as Malala Yousafzai and Wendy Davis, the members of the Russian band Pussy Riot, the myriad people campaigning for marriage equality, internet freedom, and women's rights in the US, Australia, the UK, and many other countries, as well as ongoing issues of asylum seekers and political refugees, and immigrant self-segregation/ghettoisation, about gay people, black people, trans people, Hispanic people, disabled people, poor people, "normal people" (If there is a more distasteful phrase in the English language than "normal people", I despair to find it), boat people and other foreign people.

It occurs to me that the one thing people seem to overlook most often is the second word there: people.

SOMEPEOPLE

I think it's important to keep that in mind. And no matter what you believe about the purpose of our existence, or the result/conclusion/reward/judgement/void we may or may not face at the end of our lives, one fact remains, indisputable and  immutable: we are all here together, living our lives on this shared planet, in shared countries, in shared cities, in shared workplaces or schools or homes. And no matter what everyone else is, no matter where everybody is heading, the journey will be much nicer if we try to get along.

Jan. 26th, 2013

Err...

To dungeonwriter

Happy Birthday!

Although I have little hope of being able to pronounce it correctly, I would like to wish you Yom Hu'ledet Sameach as well.



It has been a pleasure and an honour getting to know you over the past year, and I look forward to sharing in your many amazing triumphs in the year ahead.

Sep. 3rd, 2012

Err...

Birthday Post, 2012

Today, I am 24.

I think it is a very minor victory, but a victory nonetheless, that for those entire 24 years, I have not had a single  (after the first/0th, of course) for which I was not either in the education system, or working. I have never been unemployed or otherwise unoccupied, for any of my birthdays. Or Christmases, come to that.

Feels good.

This year, I have changed employers (again), achieved my level 8 grading in kung fu, learned a hell of a lot about how to run (and not to run) a business, payed off my entire university debt, reaffirmed my position in the universe, and learned more about science from two excellent books (The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Green, and The Ancestor's Tale, by Richard Dawkins) than in 6 years of high school.

Far from being daunted by my rapidly-approaching 30s, I am always looking for something new to learn or try. For example, next week, I will be making cottage cheese. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new., to create something, or to just be yourself, and be yourself so sincerely and so fully that the world seems to stop. To just breathe, and know that doing so is a thing to be marvelled at, a biotechnological miracle that somehow at once fills you up physically (with air), and spiritually, bringing you closer to the countless infinity of creatures present and long-past that have shared that air with you, that have stood where you stand, that have dug their toes, claws, talons, pincers, or wiggly bits into the same rich soil that they were to eventually become, the same soil into which---

Wow, that got a bit out of hand. Basically, I'm feeling good tonight, folks, and isn't that what it's all about? The future is bright, little victories are everywhere, little reasons to smile that you might not even notice at first, but they catch up to you eventually, and spring is on the march, bringing new life, new beginnings, and new ducklings. I always say, if you walk far enough, no matter in which direction, you eventually encounter ducklings. It is a universal constant on Earth, and one of the surest ways to brighten up your day.

Goals for the next 6 years:

- start, at some point, writing. Possibly even finish writing, but knowing my history, that will be my 30-40 goal.
- get my act together regards diet and exercise. I exercise every day, but I am too fond of simple carbs and sugars.
- get my own house, either to live in or to rent out (or to sub-rent while I live in)
- continue working and slowly climbing that ladder, while staying true to my philosophy that the workers and customers come first, and bureaucracy should be minimised to improve efficiency;
- get my level 9 and eventually level 10 gradings at kung fu, thereby becoming a Sifu;
- after above, find a new style of kung fu to begin training, e.g. crane or snake;
- failing above, go back to university for either my MA, or a graduate diploma in teaching (secondary), emphasis on humanities;
- donate more to my favourite deaf-blind/multiple-disabilities charity, once I am financially settled. I buy raffle tickets for their quarter-yearly raffled, and have done so for years, but they can always use more.

Goals for 30-40:

- adopt a child?
- become a high school Bus Man or English teacher?
- open my own kung fu school?
- get published, become international sensation? Publicly state my opinion re. literary trends today?
- advance the cause of asexuality through awareness campaigns?
- assuming MA got; try for ph.D or Doctor of Letters?
- Become surly boss of drill company; grudgingly adopt orphaned son of mysteriously-slain sister-in-law?
- compete in 10-year anniversary reboot of MasterChef? Become international celebrity chef? Host own cooking show alongside person possibly-related-to-Rick-Stein?
- Assuming open own kung fu school, host series of televised competitions stressing traditional kung fu values and traditions, none of this brutish huggy MMA stuff?


I don't know where I'm headed just yet, but I know it will be interesting finding out.

Jan. 1st, 2012

Err...

Writer's Block: Don’t look back in anger

Do you have any regrets from this year?

View 716 Answers

Not really, no. Everything that has happened has led me to be more effective, more experienced, and more well-rounded as a person. In short, all of my mistakes have led to some Disney-esque Life Lesson that has helped to shape who I am as a person today. The point is to learn from my mistakes and keep moving forward.

There's a saying around here, often used but quit-smoking commercials: Every time you try and fail, you get a little better at trying. In the context of quitting smoking, the more times you try to quit, the greater the chance that you will be able to keep it up, no matter how many times you've failed.

I don't  and have never smoked, but the message is the same for pretty much anything. Every time I fail, next time I will know at least one more way how not to succeed, and therefore one more path to avoid. Eventually I'm going to run out of false trails, and the right path will be clear.

Dec. 26th, 2011

Err...

Christmas

Merry Christmas, if you celebrate. Happy holiday, no matter which holiday you observe. I hope your day(s) are/were wonderful.

I probably won't post again before then, so happy new year as well!

Nov. 6th, 2011

Err...

Three MONTHS?!

I could have sworn I updated last month. Hmm.

I tend to ramble a bit.Collapse )

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