Sunday, January 31, 2010

On History and the Single Strength of the Human Race


I guess this follows on from the bread discussion I had last year, in which I hinted that the intellectual leap needed to go from a field of grain to a loaf of bread is to incredible to be possible. This idea is far greater than just bread. It can be used to unlock one of the greatest secrets to the overwhelming success of the human race. There is no doubt that humans dominate our planet, and there is no doubt that they do this only because of the technology at their disposal. Humans often claim that the reason they have so much technology is that their intelligence is far superior to that of any other creature on the planet. Without focusing on the arrogance of the statement, I’d like to point out that, in a sense, the opposite is true.

(On a side note: maybe I will focus just a little on the arrogance of the statement. Whoever came up with the idea that humans are smarter than animals obviously never had any pets (except for maybe some fish) and had very little contact with the outside world. The majority of dogs and cats I have encountered have been smarter than several people I have encountered. I am certain that my dog is more intelligent that at least two thirds of the people I have ever met.)

The reason that the human race is where it is today is purely because we are a race driven by pity. Not all of us... I admit that much. In fact, there are only just enough pity-driven people so that most acts of cruelty are frowned upon by the general society, but that is all it takes. In nature, most animals, if they look after their young at all, tend to ignore those animals with severe handicaps. It’s a matter of survival. These animals slow the group down, and there is little benefit to the group in keeping them. Humans, on the other hand, tend to look after the handicapped. A look at the social divisions within any school will show you this. In general, the children who are physically stronger and perform better at activities that would be useful to animals in the wild (such as sports, which simulate both hunting prey and evading predators) are less likely to come up with some invention. It is the physically inferior children who tend to advance technology.

Take for example the neighbouring nations of Sparta and the Greece. The Spartans would kill any infant who showed any physical weakness whatsoever, and their upbringing was such that any child who could not cope with a highly competitive life style would not make it to adulthood. Every child was raised to be a soldier. The Greeks were different. Children were allowed to choose their path in life. Greece became a thriving nation, with the world’s most advanced philosophers, and an extremely good understanding of architecture, shipbuilding and economics. Sparta was stuck in a technological rut for its entire history, and added absolutely no knowledge to the human race. Even their military strategies were merely adaptations of strategies used by older nations.

More importantly, cast your mind back to the beginning – the instant that the human race made the single discovery that would separate us from animals forever. Forget the opposable thumbs – most apes, monkeys and bears have those too. Forget even the tool use – there are thousands of other species who have worked out how to use tools for a variety of uses... even octopi can use tools. The one discovery that no other species has made is the secret of creating fire. It happened so long ago that particular day is now long forgotten. There is little doubt that man already knew fire well, from natural fires in the grasslands of Africa. There is also little doubt that the first fires were started from the sparks produced from a piece of flint – what amounts to little more than bashing rocks together. In my opinion, there is no doubt that the discovery of fire was made by a retarded kid who was sitting on a bed of dry grass, bashing rocks together.

The human race is only the dominant species on this planet because we do not kill off the retards.
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On Music Advertising


Why is it that whenever a compilation album is advertised on the radio or TV, they claim that all my favourite tracks are now on one CD? Or at least that 50 of my favourite tracks are now available on two CDs. I find it extremely annoying. Is this not false advertising, or at least deliberately misleading potential customers? Shouldn’t they rather say that “50 of what we think your favourite tracks should be are now available on one CD.”

What I can say for certain is that none of my favourite tracks are pop songs from the 60’s and 70’s.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

On Murderous Old Ladies


My mother is a big fan of detective stories. She loves reading mystery novels and watching crime dramas on TV. One show she has been watching recently is Midsomer Murders, and she really enjoys it. I, on the other hand, find that sort of show rather disturbing. People complain about crime here in South Africa, but the crime in the county of Midsomer is really out of control. It is a quiet county, mostly populated by little old ladies who would list their hobbies as knitting, gardening and drinking tea, yet their murder rate has to be one of the highest in the world.

Somewhat more disturbing is the show Murder, She Wrote. This follows an old lady who travels around the world. Where ever she goes, people are murdered with alarming regularity... through a total of 243 episodes, each containing at least one murder. Surely a person with such a reputation should be prevented from travelling. No one is safe with people like that out there.
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On Legos


This blog was never meant to be a platform for me to whine about all the stupid things in the world, but it really does seem as if that’s what’s happened. One of the many things I find annoying is the way people refer to legos. There is no such thing as a lego, just as there is no such thing as a mud. I have seen many LEGO cars and LEGO houses, but I would not refer to them as legos, in much the same way I would never refer to a mud hut as a mud, or a steel car as a steel.
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On the First Arbitrarily Defined Solar Cycle


At 14:38 on Saturday the 17th of January 2009, while I was very bored at work (and it wasn’t even such a slow day) I posted the first ramblings of my overactive imaginations. (Actually not the first... I had a blog before... but I forgot my password... and I forgot where I’d put it.) Since then, the blog has been accessed over 500 times, resulting in over 2000 pages being loaded Not that that’s that impressive... What is impressive is the 87% return rate. Thank you.

I am still impressed with those Americans who find my blog in Google, desperately wanting to know how to get a pig to mate with a sheep, wanting to find out if rabbits can eat chicken, or paranoid that ants are busy eating their houses out from under them, or wanting to know if squirrels lay eggs. I hope all your questions were answered... But it's not just them. It's people from all over the world. Here's a nice map of the visitors over the last couple of months. The Brazilians seem to have drifted off... and I'm still waiting for China and Japan to find me, but otherwise, I'm pretty proud of myself.


Hopefully I’ll have something about those slightly stupid spiders in slippers sliding into stuff while spinning in the snow on slippery slopes soon, but it seems to be taking a while. Other than that, I hope I’m bored enough to keep this going for another year, but not so bored that my imagination falls asleep again... I swear, it must be related to one of the penguin mafia’s evil plots.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

On Pacing, or the Lack Thereof


This last week between Christmas and New Years has to be the slowest week of the year for a journalist. Most people do nothing over the week, and so you invariably miss out on the news making events caused by their stupidity. I don’t know if you noticed that on Wednesday this week, there was no news whatsoever. A summary of what was on the evening news:
  • A follow on from a week old story.
  • A summary of what happened over the year.
  • Some elephants playing soccer.
  • A giraffe born in a zoo in the USA the previous week.
That’s it. There was nothing else. There weren't even any sports results. And then there was the weather, which was simply normal. No heat waves, stong winds, cold fronts, blizzards, nothing. Only a slight chance of rain, and typical mid summer temperatures... So boring.
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On Television Advertising


Quite literally... on advertising TVs. Don’t you ever wonder what goes through a marketer's mind when they have to develop a television advert for a TV. Their training will force them to look at the desirable aspects of the TV – the most important being image clarity. The general advertising technique used is to show this aspect to the viewers on TV. Is it possible that they realised that the only people who will see the true clarity of the image are those who already have better TVs.
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