Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ATTENTION all graphic designer types...

To all graphic designer types: I believe you should listen to your heart when deciding how to use your skills in the world. But then again, I also believe that your heart should tell you to work on whatever this guy is talking about:

Just a thought graphic designers...you could put your talents towards designing logos and ad champaigns...but you could also use them to visually encode large chunks information, making them much easier for a human to process, and directly advance the evolution of the human intellect! Now that would be cool...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Darwin Posthumously Comes Out Against Global Climate Change

Now after reading that headline I know what you're probably thinking--'but Icarus, I didn't know you were a necromancer! What other esoteric abilities have you been hiding...' But the truth is today on this blog Darwin will warn us about the perils of global climate change not through his reanimated corpse, but through excerpts from his published works, one of which, namely On Natural Selection (Penguin Great Ideas), I'm currently reading for college next month.
You may ask, why should we listen to Darwin? Well, we should listen to Darwin because a) he's never steered us wrong before, and b) because this is the guy who came up with the theory of natural selection, which is one of humanity's greatest intellectual achievements (and when I say greatest, I mean it's at least in the top five). Simply put, we should pay attention to these prescient words of his because he was a hell of a lot smarter than us.

So, on page 8 of the Penguin edition I linked to, Darwin's in the middle of running down the various challenges nature throws life's way that serve to keep populations in check. Sandwiched in between predators and epidemics, he throws down this nugget of patently-obvious-in-an-alarming-sort-of-way wisdom:

"Climate plays an important part in determing the average numbers of a species, and periodical seasons of extreme cold or drought, I believe to be the most effective of all checks."

In other words, Darwin believed climate-change to be the deadliest force for thinning a specie's population, deadlier than predators, food shortage, drought, disease, and war.

We have a War on Drugs, a War on Terror, and according to the right-wing crazies a War on Christmas; yet according to Darwin, global climate change is a threat which transcends all three.
Maybe the folks who say we should declare a War on Global Climate Change have a point.

"...thenumber of species of all kinds, and therefore of competitors, decreases northwards; hence in going northward, or in ascending a mountain, we far oftener meet with stunted forms, due to the directly injurious action of climate, than we do in proceeding southwards or in descending a mountain. When we reach the Arctic regions, or snow-capped summits, or absolute deserts, the struggle for life is almost exclusively with the elements."

Here Darwin freaks us out even more by reminding us that in climates of extreme heat or cold (which scientstis warn could envelope large swathes of human civilization if global climate change continues), the struggle for survival is so difficult that few living beings manage it, and the ones that do are stunted more often than their brethren living in more hospitable climates. In other words, living in an extremely hot or cold climate makes it extremely hard to stay alive, even for humans.

Stay tuned for more timely Darwin quotes on the environment as I continue to read!

New Year - Early Bloom - Global Climate ChangeImage by Metrix X via Flickr

Now I don't know about you, but being killed by the weather sounds to me like the lamest death ever. I mean if we're really determined to wipe ourselves out and erase the memory of this much vaunted civilization we've been entrusted with protecting, at least let's do it with a nuclear Armageddon! We'd still be extinct, but at least we'd go out with some flare and be officially badass!

I'd rather we live fast and die young than go out wasting away, dying off one group at a time because we were too lazy and greedy to kick our petroleum habit.

I don't want the aliens to remember us as the "troubled" species that died tragically before it's time because it overdosed on petroleum and couldn't handle the resulting bad weather! And of course the scariest part is that in reality as far as we know, we're the only ones in the universe who care about us, which means if we die out, it will be like we never existed. And if that happens, we will have failed to matter in the grander scheme of things. Now, that's something that I'm paranoid about when it comes to my own life, so imagine how I feel having to worry about that in regards to our entire species! Teens should only have to endure existential crises on a personal level, we're much to selfish to deal well with a species-wide one....

Original description from en: "Elephant p...Image via Wikipedia

Sure, humanity has a family, but unfortunately we're the only non-retarded member. To give credit where credit's due, elephants actually do hold funerals for each other and mourn at grave sites, but even if they were morally enlightened enough to extend this courtesy to humans (which our behavior towards the environment and elephants in particular wouldn't exactly incentivize), I doubt they would know how to mourn the lose of humanity itself. When elephants start reading and appreciating poetry, I'll consider them as our potential heirs...

Lol, I bet the crazy dudes who wrote the bible would never see that one coming:

"Blessed are the elephants, for they shall inherit the earth."

But just in case the elephants don't pull through for us and develop a prefrontal cortex

Mushroom cloud with prominent condensation rin...Image via Wikipedia

capable of appreciating the finer points of Rumi in the next few decades, may I suggest we take aggressive and direct action against global climate change and avoid the whole humanity going extinct thing altogether? Well, regardless of whether we decide to take action and live to fight another day, blow ourselves up in a nuclear holocaust, or let half our number slow-cook like hamsters in a microwave while the rest freeze or drown to death, lol, have a nice week, and I hope everybody had a good 4th of July weekend! Fuck the Redcoats and Basij!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

NEWSFLASH: Saddam willing to make deal w/US for protection from Iran, show recently declassified docs; Icarus Lear rants about religion in response

Hey you know that evil evil Iraqi dude that our country hanged for crimes against humanity a few years back? Saddam what's-his-sein or something? Well apparently the records of 20 interviews and 5 "casual conversations" with the poor bugger from 2004 (if shit like this ever comes up for you in casual conversation, please get help) were recently obtained under the freedom of information act, and there are some very interesting tidbits to be gleaned from them.

For the curious, here's the original article.

First off, we have the revelation that Saddam Hussein pretended to have WMDs so as to not appear weak to the Iranian regime. Turns out it didn't even have anything to do with us. In fact, the dictator who cried WMD seemed to be doing so as a cry for help if you ask me because it appears he was genuinely still scared of neighboring Iran, who he thought sought to annex the southern part of his country. He said contrary to the allegations of the Bush adminsitration in 2003, he never dealt with Al-Qaeda, even calling Osama Bin Laden a "zealot".

In fact (and this is a direct quote from the article):

"Hussein was quoted as saying that he was so concerned about radical Iranian leaders that he was ready to sign a security agreement with the United States guaranteeing protection from Iran."

Wow. I guess maybe we could have handled that whole Iraq situation with a little more finesse, lol... oh Christ.

Now we've all said it before, but I'll keep on saying it until new revelations stop coming out about how true it is: Shrub, you suck. Seriously, you suck dick dude. Now I realize those are harsh words, but come on, the country whose constitution you swore an oath to protect and defend gets attacked by religious zealots, and what do you do? (Besides sit silent for 7 friggin' minutes while New York City burns of course, you little Nero)? You doctor the evidence and lie to the United Nations and to your own citizens to create a false pretext for war--but that was only so we could go and get the bastards who perpetrated 9/11, right? Well, no, that wasn't the real agenda, just the stated agenda, and the will of the people, and your moral imperative...but as I believe Kant once put it, "imperative imshmerative". Lol.

So you invade the soveriegn nation of Iraq, one of the few remaining secular countries in the Middle East, because you don't like Saddam. He was a mean mean man who tried to kill your daddy and had to be taught a lesson, or as another theory goes you wanted to show up your pops and take the fight all the way to Baghdad like he was too pussy to do back in the '90's...but whatever the reason, it's clear you didn't have the best interests of this country at heart. That, or you're dumber than even our most pointed jokes could make you seem. Either way, you suck. We the American people ask that you accept this fact gracefully, without complaint, and that you go s a d and never darken our doorstep again.

I mean come on, the whole post-9/11 Al-Qaeda/Saddam Hussein bait and switch was so ridiculous, it'd be like if the next time one of your whacked out religious zealots blows up a doctor's clinic because they perform *gasp* abortions, we the American people held a press conference and said "Well, we're going to let the psycho-zealot who did this hide out in a cave in the still smoking crater of Waco indefinitely, but in the meantime we're going to blame this whole mess on a fascist secular politician who had nothing to do with this crime but nevertheless operates out of the same region and is really a bitch....Former President Bush, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that village in Texas is going to be missing its idiot permanently from now on. To the gallows!

Lol I keed I keed. (Seriously, to any secret service personal reading this right now I assure you I am not a threat to national security...although in all seriousness hanging Bush would probably have a positive effect on our national security--I mean ha ha, oh once again, the jokes just keep coming ha ha ha...ha ha. Please don't kill me.)


What annoys me the most about Bush's decision to invade Iraq instead of going after Bin Laden is the complete ignorance of history it shows, not only of his own father's Gulf War, but of the Middle East in general. Since at least the beginning of the 20th century, the Middle East has basically had two kinds of governments: iron-fisted securalist dictatorships, and Islamic fundamentalist theocracies. Neither have been all that great. But most of the region is such a powder-keg of disparate religious and ethnic groups, most of whom are ape-shit insane and want to kill each other, that unfortunately, those are the only kinds of government that seem to work in that region. Saddam may have been a genocidal tyrant, but at least by exercising the iron-fist of the dictator he kept all those factions in check and his country in a state of relative peace (which is a lot more than I can say for us, the supposed champions of democracy). I'm not defending his crimes, I'm just saying, at least we could understand his motivations because he was sane, at least we could negotiate with him. He may have been mean, but he wasn't totally out of his frakking mind, which the other guys, Saddam's arch nemeses the theocratic religious-zealots, indubitably are.

You can't reason with a religious-zealot. They cannot be bought, bargained with, nor even threatened. And that's because they live on another plain of reality. Unlike Middle Eastern secular dictators, unlike all sane rational people in difficult situations, they fervently believe in a fairytale. And I'm sorry to burst your bubble but that fairytale is religion.

You can't reason with a person who believes that God wants them to murder innocent people and that if they get killed in the process they'll go to heaven and live for eternity with a bunch of horny virgin sex-slaves. If I believed that, I'd probably be pretty hard to reason with too, lol.

As a psychology and neuroscience enthusiast, I have to point out though that whatever these people are suffering from there's no doubt in my mind that it's a form of mental illness. Now I'm not saying all religious belief if a sign of mental illness; I know people who use their fairytale-beliefs very constructively to help themselves live moral lives and do good in the world. But when religious belief turns otherwise psychologically healthy people into delusional psychopaths, then I'm afraid we have no choice but to call a spade a spade and label it what it is: a mental illness.

Of course we're far too sensitive in this country to do that officially, at least for now, but nevertheless we need to start taking this mental health epidemic seriously. Because that's what it is: a psychoactive memetic disease which spreads rapidly from host to host, and leaves its victims with delusions of grandeur and invulnerability coupled with a dark heart clouded by fear, bigotry, rage, hatred, blood-lust and a whole lotta repressed sexuality. Whatever causes these people to be so afflicted is a far more dangerous threat to public health than all the personality disorders put together! Narcissists are often verbally abusive and callous, but at least blowing up buildings containing as many people who disagree with them as possible isn't one of their MOs....

And isn't it interesting that the right-wing nut jobs are the ones who always insist on making the most fuss about radical Islam (they even renamed it IslamoFascism so it sounded cooler!), when theirs is the party that shelters, and I believe implicitly encourages, our own homegrown breed of terrorist: the Christian religious-zealot. And if you disagree with me calling these people "terrorists", read about all the people that Christian religious-zealots in this country have murdered for performing abortions, for being gay, and even, not as long ago as we'd like to think, for being black. And the thing is these people know they're terrorists, they're just proud of it because they're "God's" terrorists (which obviously makes them nothing like Al-Qaeda lol). I mean for Christ's sake, one of them intentionally borrowed Al-Qaeda's whole anthrax scare-tactic in 2001 to terrorize abortion doctors! If you don't believe me, read this wikipedia article documenting anti-abortion violence, and if you don't believe that then follow the sources or use Google for confirmation.

I'm telling you, religion makes people crazy. The one upshot of us electing a religious-zealot as president...twice...is that hopefully America got it out of her system. Sure we're an easily seduced country--we're the dumb blonde of the world stage (which incidentally is why I say Brittney Spears really is our most patriotic pop-star, lol)--but you gotta believe that we've learned our lesson about putting incompetent religious-zealot retards in power just because we want to have a beer with them after living with a president for eight frakkin' years who believed, among many other fantastically strange and wildly inaccurate things, that it was cool for him to never read a national security briefing because God would fill him in on the important stuff later. Lol. So say it with me America, just like the holocaust--religious-zealot retard-boy for president = NEVER AGAIN.

And maybe, just maybe, can we please start an honest conversation in this country about religious fundamentalism, one in which atheists can freely participate without fear of being labeled the anti-Christ just for leveling that dirtiest of attacks against blind religious faith, the factually based argument?

Nah, I didn't think so, lol. Maybe in the next few years though! I'm sure somebody can figure out how to use this a distracting wedge issue next election cycle, lol. Anyway, thanks for reading America! (It's more than our former President ever did for us lol). Regardless of whether you read this article and agreed, disagreed, or immediately began tracing my IP address so you could come and blow my house up lol, please feel free to offer feedback and rant along in the comments section!

-Icarus Lear

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The official white house photostream just posted this nice pic of our boy in the situation room chatting with his team. Apparently Madame Secretary Clinton has decided she'll stand out more in Washington if she wears the same pantsuit she wore at the Democratic Convention every single day. Lol, I keed I keed. Obama was right though-CNN's situation room is waaay fancier than the government's.