Points to Ponder

Blogs that pose interesting conundrums

Hotel Rwanda

I just finished up watching Hotel Rwanda. It’s a very good movie and one that I think everyone should watch. It’s billed as a “true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsis refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.”

Don Cheadle also makes an announcement at the beginning about the situation in Darfur, Sudan. It was kind of interesting because we prayed about that a few months back at one of the Tuesday night services.

A short time after that, Jeff Staples started a discussion about what else could be done for the people of Darfur. Sure, I could drop everything I’m doing right now, pack my bags and catch the next flight to Darfur. But what would that really accomplish? Probably not much. In all honestly, the best thing I can do right now is give what I can to organizations like Amnesty International. Although I find it hard to sit on my hands and not do anything. I do find hope in the fact that someday, I will be able to make a difference. And that’s what I set my sights on.

This movie brought back a lot that emotion.

Support Amnesty International

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We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

Possibly one of the most important documents ever written. On this day, 229 years ago this document was signed. Read it, ponder it, re-read it again. Think about what it means. Think about the people who died for what it says. Think about how powerful it is. Then be thankful that you are an American.

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Newcomb’s Paradox

I guess Quinn likes quizing us (by us, I mean people he knows). Here’s one he just sent out:

Box #1 is guaranteed to contain $1000 no matter what. Box #2 either contains one million dollars, or it contains nothing. You can either 1) take both boxes, or 2) take only Box #2.

Seems simple enough right now, but there’s a story behind Box #2. A brilliant alien psychologist has been studying your every behavior since birth. This hypothetical alien knows you better than you know yourself, and can predict your actions as accurately as possible. This alien is in charge of deciding whether to put the million in Box #2 or not. If the alien predicts you will chose both boxes, he will have put nothing in Box #2. If the alien predicts that you chose ONLY Box #2, he will have put a million dollars in it.

If you really want the answer, check out the Wikipedia article => http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newcomb%27s_paradox

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Proof of God’s Existence?

Axiom’s are a rather interesting thing and it seems that Quinn McGinnis has been rather intrigued with them the last few weeks. Quinn sent me a link to a site that proves that 2+2=4. Here’s what the site basically says:

Peano’s Axioms

  1. Zero is a number.
  2. If a is a number, the successor of a is a number.
  3. zero is not the successor of a number.
  4. Two numbers of which the successors are equal are themselves equal.
  5. (induction axiom.) If a set S of numbers contains zero and also the successor of every number in S, then every number is in S.

and the definition of addition

Let a, b be numbers, we define a+b = {a}' (the successor of a) if b=1;
and a+b = {(a+c)}' if b={c}'

Existence and definition of 1, 2, 3, and 4

By axioms 1 and 2, since 0 is a number then the succesor of 0 is a number, lets call it 0′
By axiom 3, 0′ is different from 0
so, 0′ is a new number, lets call it 1
by axiom 2 the succesor of 1 is a number, lets call it 1′
by axiom 3, 1′ is different from 0
axiom 4 implies that 1′ is different from 1 (Do you see why?)
so, 1′ is a new number, lets call it 2

Idem 3=2′ and 4=3′ and 1,2,3,4 are different numbers

Theorem: 2+2=4

Since 2 =1′ then by definition 2+2=(2+1)’
Now, 2+1=2’=3 , then 2+2=(2+1)’=3’=4

Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum, which was to be demonstrated)

This all leads to today. Quinn sent out another email purporting to prove the existance of God. The site makes some good points, however, there is one issue I took disagreement with:

#3. Whatever has the possibility of non existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.

  1. Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence which is illogical.

At first glance, some of you may be screaming Law of Thermodynamics, Andrew! I assure you, there is a way. And thus I sent out the following email:

The proof is slightly wrong. God can only exist if the universe continues to expand and does not contract back on itself. The reason for this lies in the laws of thermodynamics. Currently, matter and anti-matter is created and destroyed randomly throughout the universe. The laws of thermodynamics allows this to happen because the net energy created from this reaction is still zero. There is no cause for the matter and anti-matter to be created, it just is. If the universe eventually contracts back on itself, the net energy is zero and thusly doesn’t need an outside force to have created it originally. However, if the universe is expanding and never contracts back on itself, then the net energy of the universe is a positive number and therefore requires something to have created it, that something being God.

Quinn had some issues with it:

Sereral parts of your email don’t make sense to me.

You said:
“God can only exist if the universe continues to expand and does not contract back on itself.”
This is wrong. God could easily create a universe that expanded and contracted back on itself. Just because you can think of something that doesn’t require God to make it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist.

“There is no cause for the matter and anti-matter to be created, it just is.”
Really? How do you defend this?

“If the universe eventually contracts back on itself, the net energy is zero and thusly doesn’t need an outside force to have created it originally.”

This doesn’t seem to follow. I don’t know what energy conservation has to do with things being created or not being created.

Also, you haven’t really addressed the basic claim that the website made. Even if you have a universe that expands and contracts back, there still can’t be an infinite regression of causes! It has to start somewhere with an “uncaused” thing. Do you have an argument against that?

I responded:

1) My mistake, Let me restate that: God can exists if the universe contracts back on itself. God must exists if the universe continues to expand (which it currently is, by the way).

2) From “A Brief History of Time,” pages 105-106, by Stephen Hawking:

“How is it possible that a black hole appears to emit particles when we know that nothing can escape from within its event horizon? The answer quantum theory tells us, is that the particles do not come from within the black hole, but from the ’empty’ space just outside the black hole’s event horizon! We can understand this in the following way: what we think of as ’empty’ space cannot be completely empty because that would mean that all the fields, such as the gravitational and electromagnetic fields, would have to be exactly zero. However, the value of a field and its rate of change with time are like the position and velocity of a particle: the uncertainty principle implies that the more accurately one knows one of these quantities, the less accurately one can know the other. So in empty space the field cannot be fixed at exactly zero, because then it would have both a precise value (zero) and a precise rate of change (also zero). There must be a certain minimum amount of uncertainty, or quantum fluctuations, in the value of the field. One can think of these fluctuations as pairs of particles of light or gravity that appear together at some time, move apart, and then come together again and annihilate each other. These particles are virtual particles like the particles that carry the gravitational force of the sun: unlike real particles, they cannot be observed directly with a particle detector. However, their indirect effects, such as small changes in the energy of electron orbits in atoms, can be measured and agree with the theoretical predictions to a remarkable degree of accuracy. The uncertainty principle also predicts that there will be similar virtual pairs of matter particles, such as electrons or quarks. In this case, however, one member of the pair will be a particle and the other an antiparticle (the antiparticles of light and gravity are the same as the particles).

Because energy cannot be created out of nothing, one of the partners in a particle/antiparticle pair will have positive energy, and the other partner negative energy. The one with negative energy is condemned to be a short-lived virtual particle because real particles always have positive energy in normal situations. It must therefore seek out its partner and annihilate with it. However, a real particle close to a massive body has less energy than if it were far away, because it would take energy to lift it far away against the gravitational attraction of the body. Normally, the energy of the particle is still positive, but the gravitational field inside a black hole is so strong that even a real particle can have negative energy there. It is therefore possible, if a black hole is present, for the virtual particle with negative energy to fall into the black hole and become a real particle or antiparticle. In this case it no longer has to annihilate with its partner. Its forsaken partner may fall into the black hole as well. Or, having positive energy, it might also escape from the vicinity of the black hole as a real particle or antiparticle. To an observer at a distance, it will appear to have been emitted from the black hole. The smaller the black hole, the shorter the distance the particle with negative energy will have to go before it becomes a real particle, and thus the greater the rate of emission, and the apparent temperature, of the black hole.”

3) The point is this: many people are familiar with the axiom that energy (which also includes matter via E=mc^2) cannot be created or destroyed. In reality, this is not entirely true. What is should say is that in net reaction of an event, you must have as much energy as you started with. However, during that reaction, an infinite amount of energy can be created and destroyed. If we were to look at the universe as a single reaction: if the universe were to collapse back in on itself, the net energy would be zero.

4) This ties points 2 and 3 together. If the universe eventually does collapse back on itself, it is possible for the universe to have been a causeless event because the net energy change is still zero.

Jeff Staples chimed in, questioning:

If that proof of God’s existence will convince someone to enter into
a relationship with the personal and ultimate reality, then go ahead
and give it to them. But I have two suggestions. First, God can’t
be proved to exist or to not exist. Second, He doesn’t need you or
me to defend the fact that He is the I AM. God can handle himself.

-Jeff

Quinn responded to both Jeff and myself:

Ferg-
You said:
“If the universe eventually does collapse back on itself, it is possible for the universe to have been a causeless event because the net energy change is still zero.”

I don’t see how that follows.

Jeff-
You said:
“First, God can’t be proved to exist or to not exist.”
Would you please explain the flaw in the cosmology theory, then? I’m not convinced by Ferg’s explanation.

You also said:
“Second, He doesn’t need you or me to defend the fact that He is the I AM.”
Of course. I don’t think I ever implied anything against this notion.

Anyhow, my question still remains. Without an infinite regression of causes, how do you explain the existence of the universe?

Ferg, I know you’re trying to explain your point of view to me, but I’m having trouble putting it all together. Would you summarize it in a straightforward manner?

I will say that I can sometime be confusing. I often skip around in my head and don’t mention that to people I am talking with (or emailing in this case). So I spent the better part of two hours researching and typing up the following response which is currently my offical stance:

For this to work, I’m going to get a little technoblable, but I’m going to try and make it easy to understand. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that “Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.” (Source: http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/BIOBK/BioBookEner1.html).

The first part (“Energy can be changed from one form to another”) is derived from Einstein’s E=MC2, where E is energy measured in joules, M is matter measured in kilograms, and C is the speed of light (a constant, hence the C) (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E%3Dmc%B2). The whole point of this first part is to relate energy and matter so that they are indistinguishable.

The second part (“…but it cannot be created or destroyed”) is slightly misleading, especially when you start talking about quantum mechanics. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that “you cannot possibly know both [location and velocity]…with total precision. Moreover, the more precisely you know one, the less precisely you know the other. And although we have described this for electrons, the ideas directly apply to all constituents of nature.” (Source: Elegant Universe, The. By Brian Greene. Page 114). So when you observe what you believe to be completely empty space, it is not actually empty because that would violate the Uncertainty Principle: “what we think of as “empty” space cannot be completely empty because that would mean that all the fields, such as the gravitational and electromagnetic fields, would have to be exactly zero. However, the value of a field and its rate of change with time are like the position and velocity of a particle: the uncertainty principle implies that the more accurately one knows one of these quantities, the less accurately one can know the other. So in empty space the field cannot be fixed at exactly zero, because then it would have both a precise value (zero) and a precise rate of change (also zero).

There must be a certain minimum amount of uncertainty, or quantum fluctuations, in the value of the field. One can think of these fluctuations as pairs of particles of light or gravity that appear together at some time, move apart, and then come together again and annihilate each other. These particles are virtual particles like the particles that carry the gravitational force of the sun: unlike real particles, they cannot be observed directly with a particle detector. However, their indirect effects, such as small changes in the energy of electron orbits in atoms, can be measured and agree with the theoretical predictions to a remarkable degree of accuracy. The uncertainty principle also predicts that there will be similar virtual pairs of matter particles, such as electrons or quarks. In this case, however, one member of the pair will be a particle and the other an antiparticle (the antiparticles of light and gravity are the same as the particles).” (Source: “A Brief History of Time,” pages 105-106, by Stephen Hawking).

What has just been said here is that, at least on very small scales in our known universe, particles (whether they be matter, electrons, gluons, weak gauge bosons, quarks, etc, etc) can spontaneously and without cause be created, so long as the appropriate anti-particle is created to maintain net zero change in energy. For example, let’s say it take 100 joules of energy to create an electron and it’s anti-particle, the positron. We now owe the universe 100 joules of energy. Because the electron and positron are created with such proximity to each other, they usually instantly annihilate, creating pure energy. 100 joules of pure energy to be precise. I said usually because sometime a particle or its anti-particle will be sucked into a black hole, but that’s a really a different topic. Brian Greene has a great analogy that should make this clearer: “[I]magine that you are completely destitute and suddenly learn that a distant relative has passed on in a far-off land, leaving you a tremendous fortune to claim. The only problem is that you don’t have the money to buy a place ticket to get their. You explain the situation to your friends: if only they will allow you to surmount the barrier between you and your new fortune by temporarily lending you the money for a ticket, you can pay them back handsomely when you return. But no one has the money to lend. you remember, though, that an old friend of yours works for an airline company and you implore him with the same request. Again, he cannot afford to lend you the money but he does offer you a solution. The accounting system of the airline is such that if you wire the ticket payment within 24 hours of arrival at your destination, no one will ever know that it was not paid for prior to departure. In this way, you are able to claim your inheritance.” (Source: “The Elegant Universe,” page 115.) It is this quantum accounting that I am now going to use to explain why God has to exist if the universe fails to collapse.

Assuming the universe doesn’t collapse on itself and continues to expand forever (Note: staying the exact same size is not an option, the universe must either be expanding or collapsing), time will have no end (at least in the way we define time). Because time will be open ended on one side (i.e. is has defined beginning, but no defined end [i.e. infinity]), the amount of energy in the universe must be greater than zero. This does not jive with our previous assertion because matter is was created but will not be destroyed. Only God has the power to do that.

However, if time does collapse back on itself, time will have a defined beginning and end and therefore is in agreement with our assertions about conservation of energy. In this scenario, God is neither confirmed nor denied to exist.

That took forever to write…did any of it make sense?

That is where the conversation has left off for now. I think it’s a really interesting debate and that is why I chose to post it. Feel free to chime in using comments. Any further developments will also be posted in the comments deptartment.

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Would You Pay 5 Cents For a Song?

It appears that someone in the world actually has a smart idea. Selling songs for 5 cents each! How cool would that be? I think it would work too. I have roughly 4000 songs. At the current iTunes rate of 99 cents a song, I spend about $4000. Ain’t going to happen. However, at 5 cents, I would only spend $200. Now that is not only something I can handle, it’s something that I would be willing to do. I would bet a very large sum of money that this would literally bring file sharing of music to a complete stop, practically overnight.

From slashdot.org:

irikar writes “An academic at McGill University has a simple plan to stop the plague of unauthorized music downloads on the Internet. But it entails changing the entire music industry as we know it, and Apple Computers, which may have the power to make the change, is listening.”

Heck, I bet people would even pay for all the music they’ve already taken too! I really hope this actually goes through. The economics are there and it makes sense for everybody. The only reason it wouldn’t go through is because the RIAA can make more money suing people.

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Stevie Starr: The Regurgitator

Stevie Starr, the amazing regurgitator was at Mines tonight. Rather cool actually since he was literally just on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night. From what I could tell, he really was swallowing all the objects he put in his mouth.
stomach.png

I am by no means a medical professional, but I with a bit of logic and knowledge of human anatomy I suspect that Starr simply has the ability to control his pyloric sphincter, a muscular valve between his stomach and duodenum (a digestive region between the stomach and start of the small intestine), and his lower esophageal sphincter. In short, he can trap object in his duodenum, his stomach, and perhaps even his small intestine and esophagus. Again, this is only my opinion. Regardless, the show was very amazing I would recomend that everyone see it, if given the chance. Starr is very entertaining and knows how to work with the audience. He swallowed everything from a small lightbulb, to a small 8-ball, tacks, rings, a locked lock (which he unlocked after removing the key and swallowing it seperatly from the lock, then relocked with a ring inside, removed the key and brought back up), sugar (which he brought back up dry), and even gold fish (which were still alive). Check out the gallery for more pictures of this truely amazing man from Scotland!

Update: Gallery from the following year

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Be All I Can Be? Perhaps

A few month ago, I was contacted by Amry Staff Sergeant Todd A. Dimock. He was curious about my interest in the Army. I told him that I had some interest. We met a few weeks later and talked about the possibilities.

I have been thinking about the joining some brach of the Federal Government, FBI, CIA, DEA, Military or otherwise, on and off for many years. I had considered USAF so that I could fly fighter jets and perhaps make it to NASA one day. FBI, CIA, and DEA were all interesting because of the all the technology they use for surveillance. Ever hear of a program called Echelon? I digress.

However, no matter what department I joined, if I joined, I didn’t want to just be a mindless tool, sent out to kill. I wanted to use my skills to make a difference and I think the Army has the potential to let me do that. I don’t think I’d ever join the Full-Time Army, I would join the Reserves (the "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" gig). This doesn’t give me all the benefits of being Army full time, but it does allow me far more choices about what I want to do in the future. The Amry Reserves actually lists some pretty compelling reasons, many of which I not only agree with, but am activly looking for. They include:

  • Serve in the Reserves while remaining close to home (home being Colorado in this case)
  • Earn extra income (this helps pay for college, I also get money for tuitition as well)
  • Pursue a civilian career while serving in the Reserves (the flexibility I want)
  • Continue your education with the help of the Reserves (like I said before, money for college)
  • Build a military retirement (given the state of Social Security, this wouldn’t hurt; but it’s not key)
  • Benefit from job training that will enhance your civilian career (this is a key part)
  • Maintain a high level of mental and physical discipline (and so is this)

I already took the ASVAB and passed, so I’m in the door, if I so choose. I can also do Basic Training this summer and then next summer I can do my AIT.

However, the most interesting, and possible the key to this entire decision came today. Staff Sergean Dimock called me today with some rather interesting information relating to residency. Apparently, if I were to join the Reserves (and I would also assume any other Military Department), I automatically gain In-State Residency for tuition purposes. This is important, very important, because this summer I was planning on getting some sort of job here in Colorado so that I could hopefully, but not guarenteed, gain In-State Residency for next year. However, which such an attempt, I would have to find a job, find a place to live, find a way to get to my job, feed myself, etc, etc. If I join the Reserves and go to Basic this summer, I don’t have to worry about ANY of that AND I get In-State Residency for next year.

That alone should be reason enough to join. However, I like to run the numbers to make sure. So here goes. Each year at Mines at current tuition rate costs me about $33,000/year. If I were to pay In-State, that would drop to about $16,000/year, or half as much as I’m paying now. Considering that only about 17% of students at Mines graduate in 4 years, I’m looking at at least 4 more years of college just to get by BS. Being In-State saves me at least $60,000 over those four years. If I get my Masters, I save another $16,000 to $30,000, however that doesn’t really count because I should be considered In-State by then anyways. So there’s that. Then figure the cost of living for the next two summers. I haven’t done this before, but I would guess I would spend $400/mo for room and board, another $300-$400 for food, $100/mo for public transportation, $100/mo for entertainment, $60/mo for telco and cable hookup, and maybe $100/mo for utilities. That’s just a guess and it adds up to over $1000/mo for living expenses. And that assumes I get a job.

So when it really comes down to it, it makes quite a bit of sense. I get just about everything I want, I get some good benefits to start, I get help with school, I have the oportunity to get a better civilian job. The only downside is that it actually takes some work.

So I would ask for your prayers and comments about it. I am always open to any ideas you might have, no matter how foolish they seem. This isn’t a decision I plan on making in the near future, so don’t feel hurried to comment…or pray.

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Ferguson’s Law of Information Succession

For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching the TV show 24 on DVD with Eric and Dan. In watching it, people react very differently to a specific situation because of the information that they have. To the viewer, it appears as if they are acting irrationally because we have all, or almost all of the information. I’ve also noticed this phenomenon in real life. Yes, I know it’s astonishing, but I do actually get out of the house. Anyways, this led me to thinking about how this could be made in to a law. Sort of like Newton’s laws. So, here is:

Ferguson’s Law of Information Succession

The order in which information is received by a person will dictate the action a particular person will take. Information that is received by two or more parties in different orders, or with different amounts of detail (including not receiving any information at all), can be acted upon in more than one way. Each action can be completely logical, even if the actions taken by each party vary radically.

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How 300 Million People Instantly Became Red Sox Fans

How 300 Million People Instantly Became Red Sox Fans

It could have started at the beginning of the year when Steinbrenner spent almost $200 million on players, more then any other team in MLB history. It could have been the fact that the Yankees have such baseball phonemes as Derek Jeter, ex-Mariner/ex-Ranger Alex "Payrod" Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Jose Posada, Ruben Sierra, or ex-Mariner John Olerud. It could be that Babe Ruth is back, with a vengeance. Or maybe it�s the fact that everybody, except for half of New York, hates the Yankees. Pompous, arrogant, snobbish: three great words to describe the Yankees. It could have started last year when the Yankees beat the Red Sox�s in the 11th inning. It could have started on Sunday when the Red Sox�s beat the Yankees in a win-or-go-home game with a 12th inning homerun by Ortiz. Maybe it was Monday when the Red Sox�s beat the Yankees again in extra innings, taking the to 3 and 2. Or maybe it was today, "[w]ith blood seeping through his sock and bravado etched on his face, Curt Schilling shut down the Yankees and – just as he wanted – shut up 55,000-plus New Yorkers…" forcing a game 7, and potentially upsetting decades of baseball tradition.

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Emily Przekwas

Perhaps the weirdest thing to have every happened to me. I was in CSM 101 and I asked about starting up a Chemistry study group (woah, Andrew’s actually studying? Yes, I am). Anyways after class, this girl, Emily, comes up to me and says that she would like to start a study group with me.

First off, I have no idea why I know her name. I just assumed I met her at orientation back in July. Anyways, she gives me her email address. I end up calling her later that night and we agree to meet at 8:30 to study. Jason and I go down to Bradford Hall and meet Emily and her friends down their. We study for a while and then I bring up the fact that I’m from Seattle. Emily ask’s where I live in Seattle. I ask her if she knows where UW is. She does. So I say that I live 2 miles north of the U. She ask’s what neighborhood; I say Wedgwood….and she know’s where that is. Weird, eh?

Well is get’s better. She says that she lived in the area for a few years. I ask what elementry school she went to. What did Emily say? Bryant Elementry….the same one I went to. Not only that, but we had the same teacher, Mrs. Shy.

Crap on a friggin’ stick!!! What are the odds that someone I went to elementry school with, including having the same teacher, goes to the same college as I do, 1200 miles away from where it all started? Astronomical.

We ended up talking for a good our about all the kids in our class. What fun! Emma Tupper, Sarah McCarthy, Sarah Robinson, Tyler Sandstrom, Kelty Clark Mahoney, Sophia with the 14 letter last name, Harold ‘Butt kiss’ Beltkus, and others. My gosh. I still can’t get over it. Crap on a friggin’ stick!!!

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