Thursday, February 12, 2009

RWDCA #3: Charles Darwin

Welcome back to my Hodge-Podge!

Today as I was leaving the University Park campus, I saw a group of youngsters (mostly female) lifting banners to celebrate Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday, and also, as I was to discover later, the 150th Anniversary to the publication of his Origin Of Species.

What's most interesting to me is that many people who celebrate Darwin's Origin Of Species would probably be horrified to read the sequel of his evolutionary theory, The Descent Of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. To me, as I commented to a couple of persons today, the relevance of Descent is probably higher today than when it was first published in 1871.

Darwin proposes, for example, the idea that all men must be of a common origin, meaning that the different races are not to be deemed as superior or inferior by color of the skin or geographic origin. Therefore, we can infer all men should be treated with the same dignity, as he posits there is no evidence to believe that the evolution happened simultaneously from different ethnic backgrounds. Hence, this is a big "no" to any form of racial discrimination. Also, the whole eugenics field is put under strong question. He and Francis Galton proposed better coupling/matching as a means for evolution, not selective births or genocidal acts. This argument posits an implicit defense of human dignity under all circumstances.

He also argues that infanticide, contraception and abortion are just varieties of the same act, namely originated in the need women have to keep themselves from losing their juvenile beauty/sex appeal, understanding all this in the context of Darwin's Theory of Sexual Selection (the human version being the subject of Part III of the book), which in simple terms is just the need for individuals to collect perceived characteristics which would provide them with comparative reproductive advantages over other competitors from the same sex.

Darwin highlighted the importance of maintaining family unit, and well as beliefs and morale as a means to reach higher stages of evolution for society.

However, all this doesn't mean that I agree with everything that Descent contains. In particular, its constant belief that women are by construction inferior to men, both intellectually and physically, is an argument I cannot grasp.

Anyway. I still find funny that so many liberals, evolutionists, and feminists are celebrating so fervently Darwin here at Penn State. My guess is that many would have been offended if they actually had taken the time to read what Darwin wrote. He was closer to morally (if slightly left-wing) conservatives than to Liberalism, if anything.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

RWDCA #2: A quick survey

A rather quick follow-up....

I know most of you people will not consider me a particularly funny person. Kindhearted, well meaning, a hard worker, yes....but not exactly funny. Maybe funny as in awkward, but not as a witty comedian or anything like that. Some people have told me I am a good narrator, and my voice inflections make my anecdotes sound funny sometimes, but nothing beyond that.

So now I want you to answer a quick survey on the comments section:

How would you teach somebody to become funny? Not "clown-funny", or "silly-funny", and much less "awkward-funny", but "charmingly-funny". You know: a person that makes others grin, and yeah, maybe laugh. Is it necessarily a gift from birth, or can it be learned?

An additional question for those who know me: Am I too serious? If yes, is it OK? Should I change it? Yes/no and why?

Sadly, this survey doesn't come in a particularly good moment. I have noticed how I have become increasingly grumpy and depressive. A sad combination of Grad school stress, bad weather, and missing the family, with addition of romantic disappointment on top of it all.

Alrighty, back to study from Stokey, Lucas and Prescott.


RWDCA #1: Italian sausage with pasta and pepperoni soup

Welcome to the soapbox....

This is my first post to my new "Anything goes" blog. I am still keeping the music commentary blog, but there is a lot of other stuff we can talk about beyond music. Random thoughts will be gathered here. I will not commit to perfectly organized writing, but I'll do my best in making myself properly understood, and perhaps telling something worth reading along the line.

So, today we are talking about Macroeconomics. Not really. It's more about feelings derived from studying a subject called Macroeconomic Analysis, which is in reality some variety of dynamic optimization and programming (i.e., math), under assumptions very few really understand. I am in the middle of the preparation of a Macro exam, and while the sophistication and elegance of the so-called freshwater macro is undeniable, sadly, it is also true that: a) It is a very demanding subject, and b) I really have no clue about its worthiness.

So, instead of keeping questioning myself about what the heck I am doing so far away from home, studying tools I don't fully understand for tasks I can't quite get why are relevant to answer questions that my field only answers in a flawed way, I decided to address one of the causes of my diminishing learning returns over study investments: a growing cold. I decided to stop my study for a few minutes today and warm up some canned soup on the stove, while I started this blog. "Italian sausage with pasta and pepperoni". I am eating it now. Highly spicy, but really tasty, and it is making me feel much better, just as it is beginning to snow again. At the supermarket you buy these for one and a half bucks a can. Sure ramen noodles are much cheaper, but you cannot beat the quality. As my parents would say, this is a meal to raise the dead.

Back to study....