Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 8 - Evolution of the Intellectual Species

Evolution Of An Intelligent Species
Phase 1:
 Understand the concept of tools.  Must be able to create tools, use them effectively and modify them for specific needs.  This includes the process of controlling/creating fire.  The concept of tooling must be more than a rock smashing something.  It must use at least 2 separate items to fashion a single item utilized to either ease, or make possible, an activity.
Phase 2:
 Most creatures are social in nature. This  means more along the lines of creating established residence among a group of same species individuals.  The residence should be at least semi-permanent, however, the community can be nomadic.  Living in trees does not count as an established residence, however, caves in a mountainside could.  Community provides the basic framework for organization among a species and is necessary to provide maximum defense and resource management.
Phase 3:
Many things in the world are unexplained at this point in the development of a species.  Religion can be specific to an individual community, that is what separates it from science and government, among other things.  This is necessary to help control the community.  Things like fire and lightening, storms, death, life, etc. confusing and not understood at this point.  Without religion a species cannot establish a form of organization and rules and spread those thoughts among the community.
Phase 4:
In the wild, the strongest survive.  Trade is a way to utilize the talents of a community to achieve maximum special survival.  This must be created amongst several communal groups in order for it to be considered achieved.  This shows the desire to preserve the individual, as well as, the species.  This can be considered the first, albeit primitive, form of networking.  Items can exchange “hands” through various communities making themselves available to areas that would previously not had access to them.

Phase 5:
This, for obvious reasons, is an important aspect of a species.  It provides real answers to questions that were previously “answered” by the religion of the community.  It will appear after trade because individuals from separate communities will begin to be curious about the world around them.  Mostly, the contradiction of separate communal religions will spark curiosity among other individuals, which will eventually lead them to look more closely at the details of their environment.  This will also lead to the formation of government.
Phase 6:
Theological Government:
It is a necessary evil.  An established form of organized government masses an intense amount of group logic.  The government must exist across several communities, not just isolated to one community.  This shows the ability to work together among communities to achieve a maximum benefit for the species.  It also instills regulation on common communal beliefs in law and trade.  This is the step to transform the species egocentric view of their world to an exocentric view, realizing that certain things must be localized and enforced among all members of the species to achieve maximum benefit.  This first step of government will be incited by the traditional religion in order to continue the belief and keep scientific explanations within the realm of the religion.
Phase 7:
This is often, a misunderstood topic.  It does not have to be violent imperialism, simply the desire to expand the communal government’s sphere of influence to areas beyond their borders, within their planet.  This is important because it requires a great deal of risk, resources, dedication, planning, and trust.  There is a great maximum benefit to the society here, in that the reward will far outweigh the expenditure.  This can be in knowledge, resources, land, etc.
Phase 8:
Liberalism: After imperialism comes liberalism.  Simply put, this is the society enjoying the rewards of the imperialistic endeavor.  Due to the abundance of resources, influx of knowledge, and new environments, citizens of the society are able to expand their thoughts on science and general existence.  This important “peace time” fuels innovation and the desire to correct previous wrongs of the society.

Phase 9:
Democratic Government:
The expanded mindsets, new lands and resources, causes the religious sphere of influence to spread thin and factual scientific methods begin to assist individuals in making more informed decisions with better results.  Many citizens will see the flaws of a theological government and push for a democratic government.  This, over time, will eventually become the norm.  As science advances and generations continue, things once explained by religion will become more reasonably explained through science.
Phase 10:
Digital Revolution:
With the expanse of science and the democratic government in place, technology will begin to increase, rapidly.  A breakthrough must be made on how to utilize energy to perform tasks in the most efficient and predictable way, namely computing.  This is a must for a species to continue it’s intellectual evolution.

Phase 11:
Space Travel:
With the majority of the species utilizing computing technology and theology taking a backseat to science, the species will develop the ability to leave their planet, if only for a brief stay of time, and then return, successfully.  This is a major milestone that will fuel the rest of the species evolution.
Phase 12:
Interplanetary Imperialism:
The desire to travel the stars will become a major focus for the species.  The realization that their planet’s existence is finite and the existence of their species is limited to that finite age is what drives this.  It may start small, as a local moon or station, however, this will expand to other planets within their system.

Phase 13:
Artificial Intelligence:
Many “AI” systems will have been developed before this but they will not be true AI.  The previous attempts will have been “work-arounds” and tricks to present the illusion of AI.  The need to create logical, trustworthy, and self-sufficient robots to extend past the solar system will be the drive for this creation.  It will be done, at first, utilizing digital and artificial materials and eventually use a cybernetic combination of organic and inorganic materials.  The organics will make the ability to utilize AI a much cheaper resource.
Phase 14:
Galactic Imperialism:
With the creation of true AI the species will have developed the key to making long, interstellar voyages.  Any organic species will have a finite life cycle and will be affected by social issues of long term flight.  With the advances of science and AI, the species will be able to make long trips through prolonged hibernation and multi-generational space crafts.  The species will inhabit foreign worlds and find various species at different levels of intellectual evolution.
Phase 15:
Galactic Liberalism:
At this point, all thoughts of religion for the majority will have either become abandoned or adopted a universal acceptance of everything and that all energy is connected to the universe itself.  The species, now present through the galaxy, will look to adopt new knowledge from the newly discovered areas to help increase their awareness and understanding of their universal environment.  A movement to establish equal and peaceful communications and exchanges amongst like -minded species will develop.  The desire to spread scientific knowledge and develop interspecies relations will push this movement, additionally, the common desire of any intellectual species to continue the existence of it’s species to infinity will provide the basis for this collaboration.
Phase 16:
Quantum Revolution:
It may seem like this would come earlier, however, the complexities of the quantum level or difficult to reproduce at will and contain.  It will take many years to fully understand the universal physics at a quantum level, and with the advance of AI, various species collaboration on science  and technology and the ability to observe universal effects such as black holes and the like, will help this revolution come to pass.  This will also open the door to truly sustainable/renewable energy sources, interdimensional travel, and immortality.

Phase 17:
Intergalactic Liberalism:
The quantum revolution opens the door to instant communication/travel across great distances.  This leads to an effort to unite the universe and unlock it’s mysteries.  This period of time will be much akin to the original exploration of a species home planet.  Many worlds will be found of intellectual beings that never fully evolved and phased out, physical world understandings will be unlocked, and life will permeate with a universal network, throughout the universe. 
Phase 18:
Complete Existence:
It will come to be that many desires will be impossible and also that some are possible.  Time travel will prove to only exist forward and not backward and will be regarded as generally useless.  It will be found, through the use of quantum science, that a consciousness can exist outside of it’s body, but not easily.  The process will require a “training time” of separating the consciousness from the body and into an alternate medium.  This will become common place and eventually lead to beings with perfect bodies and separate consciousness.  Eventually, the natural desire to continue the existence of a species will fade, as it will become understood that the energy of the universe finite and needs to be returned.  The majority of the original organic species will allow itself to fade from physical existence while AI takes over the perfect bodies, continuing the search for new species to cultivate and assist in intellectual evolution.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 7.5 - Healthcare

I'm not even going to say anything more, this is some of the real information regarding the new healthcare overhaul, directly quoted from:    Stay informed about the facts, make your own decisions based on truth, NOT speculation.

[The below information is a direct quote from the original author's page, I take no credit for this, the link to the author's page is here: ]

*** How is the law affecting you RIGHT NOW? There were cries of, “Have you read the bill?” and “What’s in the bill?” which led to a lot of the confusion. Well, here’s some of what’s ACTUALLY in the bill that’s taken effect already or will this year, per NBC’s Betsy Cline and others:
- Children allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until their 26th birthday.
- A 10% tax on indoor tanning services. (Sorry, Snooki.)
- Seniors receive a $250 rebate to help cover the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage
- Free preventative care covered by Medicare and private plans. (So, when your company says, “Good news, you now get free health-care screenings, child well visits, physicals and other preventative care,” that comes from the health-care bill.)
- Nursing mothers to be allowed lactation breaks
- Insurance companies no longer allowed to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions
- Government-run insurance plan set up for adults with preexisting conditions who are denied coverage
- Government-run long-term care program set up. For those who participate, people pay premiums for five years and then will receive benefits if they need them -- “whether they are 20-somethings in snowboard accidents or 80-somethings with Parkinson’s disease,” the New York Times wrote.
- Insurance companies barred from placing lifetime caps on benefits
- Insurance companies barred from dropping patients’ coverage when they get sick
- Insurance companies must prove they spend 80% to 85% of premium revenue on medical services.
- Insurance companies required to disclose rate increases (and the reason) of 10% or more
- Small businesses (with fewer than 50 employees) begin receiving tax credits covering 35% of premiums to help them buy coverage. (This credit jumps to 50% in 2014.)
- States receive billions in funding for community health centers
- Drug companies face $2.5 billion in fees (rises in later years)
- Creation of a government research institute created in to examine the effectiveness of medical treatments
- Establishment of a Medicare Independent Advisory Board, which will be tasked with trying to keep Medicare spending down and submitting legislative proposals to do so. It will first submit recommendations in 2016.
*** How will it affect you IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS? If most of that sounds good (that is, unless you’re Snooki), Republicans will rightly argue the law was front-loaded with many of the positive parts. In 2013, new taxes and fees go into effect for individuals making more than $200,000 a year (and families making more than $250,000 a year), on dividends and interest, and on sales of medical devices. By 2014, the individual mandate goes into effect -- if you don’t have insurance, you have to buy it or face a fee. By 2016, that fee will be 2.5% of your income or $695 a year, whichever is more. (Kaiser has a helpful interactive timeline here.)
*** Bet you didn’t know…: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office yesterday passed around a quote from Starbucks’ CEO, who said, “I think as the bill is currently written and if it was going to land in 2014 under the current guidelines, the pressure on small businesses, because of the mandate, is too great.” It’s true that by 2014, businesses with more than 100 employees will have to contribute to buying health insurance for their employees or face hefty fines (if at least one of their employees qualifies for tax credits, but not Medicaid). But, we bet you didn’t know that businesses with fewer than 50 employees NEVER have to buy health insurance for their employees, per the White House.
*** By the numbers: For all your quick facts needs, here’s a health care, by numbers (gathered from published reports, the Kaiser Family Foundation, government health-care Web sites, the Department of Health and Human Services, and White House “fact sheets”):
- $2.8 billion: Dollars distributed so far to states to implement the law.
- $241 million: Dollars given so far to six states and a “coalition of states” in “Early Innovator” grants
- $50 million: Dollars to go out this year for five-year medical malpractice grants to go out this year to states to “develop, implement, and evaluate alternatives to current tort litigations”
- $50 million: Dollars in grants sent to states to establish exchanges
- $46 million:
Dollars in grants so far to states to address insurance rate increases
- 4 million:
People received $250 because they hit the Medicare “donut hole” since the law passed
- 12,000:
People who were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions since the law was passed and were added to the government-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
- 1,040:
Waivers granted that allow companies to cap annual payouts at lower levels than the original law orders
- 219:
House Democrats voted for the health-care bill
- 171: House Democrats remain in Congress
- 63: House seats Democrats lost in the 2010 midterms
- 56: Senate Democrats voted for the bill
- 53:
Percent who say they’re still confused by the law
- 48: Percent who say they think the law has either been repealed (22%) or aren’t sure (26%)
- 46: Democrats who voted for the bill remain in the Senate
- 38:
States whose legislatures have proposed measures opposing elements of health reform
- 27: States have challenged the constitutionality of the law
- 26: Percent who say they’re not sure if the health-care law has been repealed
- 22: Percent who say incorrectly that the health-care law has been repealed
- 6: States -- Nevada, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, North Dakota, and Iowa -- all have applied for waivers and are being reviewed
- 6: Cases pending in lower courts challenging the health-care law
- 5: Health-care lawsuits taken up by the courts out of the dozens of cases that were filed -- most centered on the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy health insurance
- 3: Steps the Small Business Administration created for small businesses to apply for or see if they qualify for government subsidies. The SBA claims, “Four million of the nation’s six million small businesses that employ workers could be eligible for these credits.”
- 3: Court decisions in court in favor of the administration
- 2: Court decisions against the administration.
- 1: State -- Maine has undergone the full process to get approval for a waiver on the 80%-85% provision of the health-care law. It got the provision adjusted to 65% through 2012. The reason for approval, per HHS: “The main insurance company that provides coverage for about” one-third of the 37,000 people on the individual market “said they may leave the market if they are required to meet the higher standard.”
- 1: Other state -- New Hampshire -- is farthest along in its waiver process and has a hearing set for Thursday.

Day 7 - Trix 4 Clix

So, you've arrived here either one of two ways:
1) You are a follower, or at least a reader, of my blog and came across this post.  Thank you for being a reader.
2) You clicked a link from @EarthNewsNet on Twitter because of some "interesting" headline.  This, of course, is what our topic is about...

By now you've realized, hopefully, that the headline is made up.  I fabricated it.  Some of the made up headlines are for simple amusement, while others have a more direct purpose.  The point of this little "social experiment" is to open your eyes, at least slightly, to how easy it is to manipulate the human mind.  However, making an outlandish statement isn't the full picture, it needs to appeal to a certain crowd.  For example, "Godzilla is the new zombie dinosaur.".  That, in itself, is ridiculous.  Any person that was not remotely interested in any of those topics, could care less.  Targeted at the right group, however, gamers and sci-fi fanatics jump to mind, and you're bound to get some "clicks".

Big deal, right?  Not really, this is actually an annoying and frustrating trend.  I subscribe to a lot of Twitter feeds, mostly about different news postings: video games, global news, politics, local news, etc.  @BreakingNews is one of the few feeds that gives a concise indication of what you're about to click is: i.e. "Murder suspect found in XYZ Shooting".  Beautiful.  Clear and to the point, because for them, it's about getting the information out, not about the "clicks".  Sorry to pick on @Time, but they are just one of the few that has been bothering me recently.  Here is an actual twitter headline: "Will the discovery of aliens change the world?".  Before we go on about this, head to!/TIME and scroll down to just see how many headlines are in the form of a question and how vague, yet "tantalizing they are.

Okay, so going with the headline "Will the discovery of aliens change the world?".  First things first.  The straight up answer is "Yes".  No doubt about it, if we find alien life, intelligent at that, then yes, it will change the world.  So the question is rhetorical.  Secondly, when you go to the page, the title of the "article" is : "Relax: You Don't Need to Worry About Meeting E.T.".  So, the whole point of that headline is to get you to visit the page, to tell you something you already know, both that alien discovery WOULD change the world, however, it's not something you need to worry about.  Additionally, this information was done by MSNBC's Tech & Science section well before hand.  Alright, no more @Time bashing, they were just an example.

This is a severe gimmick being propogated throughout media.  It began with advertising, and continues of course.  We see it every day on TV.  "Want to have the body of a celebrity? Just by this pill and use twice a day for 8 weeks!", with the small font message saying "Results are not typical, pill must be taken with daily exercise and a healthy diet". No shit.  If I do that without the damn pill, I'm going to lose weight at a variable rate.  Well, it's moving even deeper, and becoming an accepted practice for almost every possible source of news.

The most unfortunate part about this is that it isn't really even the fault of the media.  We, the consumer, allow this to happen.  We merrily click away at rhetorically questioned headlines, buy items with false ads, buy ridiculous newspapers with garbage information, and give credit to any moron within the media screen (ahem 'Jersey Shore'). 

Next time, before you go clicking some stupid headline, buy a fake newspaper with rumours about people you shouldn't care about, or watch shows about dimwitted idiots that think life is about tanning... stop.  Take the 5mins of your life that you would have wasted and learn about your environment, learn about mankinds current achievements and aspirations, realize what is happening in your local neighborhood or community, or just take a nap, because we need to stop the idiocy that is being masked as our information.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 6 - War

So there is a lot of talk about war going on.  There seems to be a giant uprising in middle nations regarding their human rights.  Justifiably so, these people no longer wish to be living in a "terror state" and want to experience what the rest of the civilized world gets to experience.  The internet, mainly social networking, has exploded this effect, but that is a topic for another time.

I am a liberal, by most accounts, and a peaceful one at that.  I certainly did not approve of the war in Iraq, and in general, do not approve in violent actions.  I have been split very much on these new sequences of events, however.  The USA has a lot on it's plate right now and the last thing it needs to do is get caught up in unnecessary wars that purge billions of dollars into the military.  We've been down that road already, for no apparent reason, we don't need to do it again.

Of course, there is a problem.  The people of Libya were crying out for help.  They reached out, in every channel that they had, and begged for help.  Half of the country is controlled by people who desperately want change and are asking for help, asking for freedom.  I don't think it's humanly possible to say 'No'.  Can anyone, liberal or conservative, look me in the face and said, let these people suffer, our economy is more important?  If so, then you should leave this country, because we asked others for our help in a revolution.  When we wanted to rid ourselves of a monarchy, and barely had the means to do so, we reached out for assistance.  I'm not going to go into depth, but check out the Wikipedia page for the American Revolutionary War:  

We are not going in, full fledged, we are going in smart, precise, and as a team.  This is not an effort for oil, or a past generational vendetta against a leader.  This truly is to help a country in need, a people that desire their freedoms and a democratic government.  I am not one for war, but I think the US and the UN in general, have done an excellent job in rising to a call for help.

Just as a side note, wouldn't it be funny, or ironic moreso, if in the future Libya helped America in their time of need...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 5 - Bloodsport

So it has been a few days, but work has been busy.  Finally got some time to post some thoughts.  Anyway, today's topic will be that of video games.  So let's cut right to the chase...

This past weekend I went a little crazy downloading game demos and such.  I found that the various demos accomplish two things:

1) The obvious is that I get to try a wide array of games in a short amount of time.  Thus, when we travel off to Gamestop or Target or whatever, I have a better idea of what I am interested in.  This prevents the 20minutes of staring at the xbox360 game wall... shuffle over to the wii game wall... repeat and leave store with nothing, feeling inadequate and unsatisfied...

2) I get to feed my multi-genre fix at my will.  Sometimes I just want to play a racing game.  I generally steer away from this genre because I get  bored of it quickly, but here comes the demo to the rescue!  So, it's a good way to avoid a "genre splurge" that will, in the end, leave me unsatisfied.

Moving on, this lead me to an interesting download this weekend: Bulletstorm.  Now, there is all sorts of media buzz about this game.  To be brief, the game is gory.  It says "Mature" rating and it certainly means it.  Parents, do not let your teenager, under 17 (16 if you're a "crazy liberal") play this game.  It is just flat out inappropriate for children and will only later serve to prove your shortcomings as a parent.

That being said, there was something disturbingly raw and primal about this game...  I am not a fan of gratuitous "blood and guts", movies like Saw and Friday the 13th, do not excite me, in fact I will explicitly not watch these shows.  However, I do enjoy movies like 300, Gladiator, Gamer, even the show Spartacus on premium tv peaked my interest for some time.  Of course, these movies are "over the top" in violence and gore, but there is something different.  To me, it seems, that getting your arm cutoff with a sword shouldn't be very "clean".  That when a javelin, hurled at your oppenents head at 30mph delivers a direct blow, the result is going to be "less than friendly" looking.  So for me, movies like this, although gory, present a certain "realism" to them.  It may insensitize humans, but I suppose no more than allowing your child to watch his father battle in war 2500 years ago.  Or, in the case of the Spartans, sending your child off to "Spartan Boot Camp" at 7 years old...

Anyway, Bulletstorm was not my cup of tea, but I think games like these allow us to live out our inner "Gladiator Games Desire".  They allow us to witness intense violence and embody a persona that is built into the human condition.  The persona that has allowed us to survive for so many millions of years.  It only seems "f*cked up" because we have become a complacent society.  A society that "takes it to court" whenever your kid gets picked on in school.  Or perhaps the teacher used "harsh language" so now we hold a press conferences about it and demand "Anger Management" classes and blah, blah, blah... 

I don't know, maybe it's me, but playing Bulletstorm demo this weekend made me realize that life could be worse, and in fact, was a whole lot worse and the fact that I can play a video game and feel/see what the world use to be like, makes me love video games that much more...