Monday, April 27, 2009

A Dragon in my Garage

The Dragon In My Garage

by Carl Sagan

"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"

Suppose (I'm following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle -- but no dragon.

"Where's the dragon?" you ask.

"Oh, she's right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.

"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."

Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."

You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

"Good idea, but she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick." And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work.

Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so. The only thing you've really learned from my insistence that there's a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You'd wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then, why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I've seriously underestimated human fallibility. Imagine that, despite none of the tests being successful, you wish to be scrupulously open-minded. So you don't outright reject the notion that there's a fire-breathing dragon in my garage. You merely put it on hold. Present evidence is strongly against it, but if a new body of data emerge you're prepared to examine it and see if it convinces you. Surely it's unfair of me to be offended at not being believed; or to criticize you for being stodgy and unimaginative -- merely because you rendered the Scottish verdict of "not proved."

Imagine that things had gone otherwise. The dragon is invisible, all right, but footprints are being made in the flour as you watch. Your infrared detector reads off-scale. The spray paint reveals a jagged crest bobbing in the air before you. No matter how skeptical you might have been about the existence of dragons -- to say nothing about invisible ones -- you must now acknowledge that there's something here, and that in a preliminary way it's consistent with an invisible, fire-breathing dragon.

Now another scenario: Suppose it's not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you're pretty sure don't know each other, all tell you that they have dragons in their garages -- but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we're disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I'd rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren't myths at all.

Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they're never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself. On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon's fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such "evidence" -- no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it -- is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Create Something this Weekend

The air is filled with millions of ideas, pick one and run with it.

Pick an Idea

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog.

So I thought I should share this little delight Katrina sent me.

Caution, hilarity may ensue.

Sex, drugs and deadpans

Its like they took the Golden Girls and combined them with Sex in the City. And even that's not enough to describe.

Video may contain some adult language.

Back to the studio,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy 420 Everyone

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to stop by and wish you all a happy 420 day. Ryan pointed this important video out to me and I though I would share it with everyone.

Time to get lost.


How does the drug war affect American children?

  • Nearly 2 million minors have at least one parent behind bars in the U.S.(1) Fueled largely by the drug war, the incarcerated population in the United States has ballooned from 500,000 in 1980(2) to more than 2 million people in 2000.(3) There are now nearly half a million non-violent drug offenders in federal, state, and local prisons and jails for violating a drug law(4) - a greater number than Western Europe incarcerates for all offenses. Many non-violent drug offenders are first time offenders, and an increasing number are women - 7 out of 10 of whom have a child under the age of 18.(5)

  • Juvenile arrest rates for drug law violations continue to rise - up 86% between 1989 and 1998.(8) While the Office of National Drug Control Policy says that one of its top priorities is to prevent children from using drugs, it spent only 10% of its fiscal year 2000 Federal Drug Control Budget on drug prevention programs, while nearly 50% of the budget was allocated to criminal justice and an additional 10% was spent on interdiction.(9)

  • The drug war unfairly limits young people's access to higher education. The Higher Education Act, passed by Congress in 1998, restricts eligibility for any federal grant, loan or work assistance program for students convicted of a drug related offensLinke, including simple marijuana possession.(10) Murderers and rapists are not subject to sanction under the Act.source

This is a war. A war that goes beyond just guns and death. This war is costing us a lot more then we can ever realize. First of, any person who thinks that the illegalization of marijuana helps protect you and your children, then I can only assume that you may want think about taking up another cause. How to illegalize things like alcohol and tabacco as well. But why stop there. Lets look at the effect fast foods have on the population. How many people are becoming dangerously over weight every year. ( Between 1962 and the year 2000, the number of obese Americans grew from 13% to an alarming 31% of the population.source)

A war, that when finally is over, can help us put our efforts into something so much more productive. But all this comes with due time. When the world is ready for a change, it will come. I apologize if this came by unexpectedly; I am not looking to enter this war. I am just sharing what position I take up and why.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Origins: Knock on Wood

"Knock on wood."

Funny how a phrase is thought to hold so much power, not only over us, but over fate itself. As if uttering these three simple words can keep the worst from happening. I know I fall into the magic of KoW when I am trying to catch a flight or get somewhere on time. Or during my college days, after a really hard final. One wonders how would have history played out if only these words were said.

Would the the lovable Trix Rabbit been able to get his hands on the cereal if he had used the power of KoW ? Instead, after many, many failures had had to resort to a more drastic approach. In 2001 August 24th, Trix finally snapped when Toucan Sam called him, "silly." Unveiling a hidden butchers knife he grabbed the bird, threw him in the car and took him to an abandoned cereal factory. He held the parrot hostage for 93 hours before he finally surrendered. He pleaded not guilty due to insanity, but the court found him guilty of attempted bird-slaughter, which put him in jail for 5 years. He got out in 2 and half years for good behavior and now has a position with a magician in Mexico. To this day he has yet to receive his beloved cereal; to this day no one ever heard him say, "knock on wood." Coincidence?

But this isn't about Trix. This goes beyond that. Where did this phrase originate? Through some extensive research I found that 84% of people in the United States use the power of KoW.* With that many people using the phrase, how can one not but help think, "Where did this come from?"

Taken from Wikipedia
It is commonly thought that knocking on wood has been a superstitious action to ward off evil throughout history involving Pagan belief systems.[1] The same reference claims that knocking on wood is also used in some form of Christianity, but in a different context, where the wood represents the cross. In an alternate explanation, the wood represents the rosary. [2]

Another explanation for this practice is the pagan belief that spirits (dryads) lived in trees.[3]By knocking on the wood of a tree while making some sort of a bold statement, the speaker could prevent the spirit from hearing him and stop the spirit from interfering[citation needed] or out of respect for the wood spirit, touching a tree indicated seeking protection from the particular spirit.[1]

However historian Steve Roud[4] finds no evidence in the British Isles for the earlier theories, suggesting that the superstitions have not been traced beyond children's games of tag of the early nineteenth century. According to Roud, the earliest documented references to "touching wood" are from 1805 and 1828 and concern chasing games like "Tiggy-touch-wood", where you are safe from being "tagged" if you "touch wood", says Roud, "'Tiggy-touch-wood" was an extremely well-known game, and it is more than likely that the phrase was passed into everyday language.

Well folks, its a sunny day outside and I am off to play some Tiggy-touch-wood with the pup.

Stay Kosher,

*Percentage supplied by WRBS.** Critics argue that the WRBS does not gather its statistics properly. In fact most say that they simply pick a number out of a hat.

**White Russian Bullshit Society

Monday, April 13, 2009

Horoscope Fail

So I can definitely say that the horoscopes were an absolute fail. The current estimated population of the world is 6,773,000,216. There are twelve zodiac signs, so if we do a rather simple calculation we can say that there are about 564,416,685 pisces in the world. With so many pisces someone had to have the same horoscope those days.

As fun as this way, I think I would like to look more internally rather then externally. That is why I think I would like to start meditating.

But like I said in my report; I have been keeping busy with building up and putting together my photographs for my website. I don't want to just through a bunch of photographs on there. Each one has have some meaning behind it. Its gotta be done just right.

Other then that, just trying to enjoy some peace and quiet. Hope you all have a good Monday.

April 12th

The focus for today will be on romantic matters, thanks to an obstructive aspect. Fortunately this aspect fades tomorrow, but today it’s likely to cause a certain amount of confusion and mixed signals from a member of the opposite sex who has the potential to be a friend, but nothing more!

A person you see a lot but don't know very well has a unique energy that you admire -- and they can help you build that same kind of energy inside of yourself. Try to spend more time with this person. Open up and accept the advice they give you. Their encouragement will buoy you to a new level of excitement and make you see that your life isn't boring -- it's just a work in progress. You can change the direction you're going in and spice up your romantic life with one or two small changes.

What did I do?

Today Ryan and I spent sometime cleaning up the house and the backyard. Saw Fast and Furious. Movie wasn't that bad at all. Nice mind numbing action.

Horoscope Fail!

April 11th

Frustration is unfortunately likely to be the key word for you today. Some challenging influences from a number of planets and emphasized by Uranus mean that any attempts at making practical progress towards your goals will meet a number of small but effective obstacles!

Doubting yourself is absolutely normal -- in fact, it's healthy. When you doubt your actions, you apply a healthy skepticism to your decision making and help perfect it. Luckily, today, any doubts you have will be quickly erased. Today will be full of signs and affirmations that you are on the right path -- despite what other jealous people might be telling you. You are swimming with sharks now, but you are in no danger as long as you keep moving forward.

What did I do today?

Worked on a portfolio for my website. Went on a hike and chatted with my Dad.

Horoscope Fail!

April 10th

You will be hugely popular today, not just with your friends but also with those who are in a position of authority. Your positive energy will impress everyone around you right now and may lead to some kind of formal recognition of your efforts. Definitely a day for celebration!

You might be in a more relaxed and passive mode right now, but that doesn't mean you should let yourself be treated like a doormat by anyone -- for any reason. If you feel like you're being taken advantage of today, stand up for yourself! Do not worry that you will come off as too aggressive if you push back when someone pushes you. If you let someone put one over on you even once, they will immediately assume that they can always push you around.

What did I do?

Went out and splurged a little. Got me a another monitor for the photo studio. Now I have two monitors hooked up to the computer. Also got a Western Digital firewire Harddrive. I cannot believe how much faster it is compared to the old harddrive. Spent sometime organizing my photos and transferring all my data to the new drive. Also chatted with my two friends from NY, Mike and Nicole.

Horoscope Fail!

April 9th

You will find that you are full of energy today and will feel inclined to take part in some kind of intense physical activity. This is partly due to the fact that the moon has now altered its influences on you. Do be careful not to overdo it though as you will easily get carried away at this time!

It looks like things are going to start picking up for you romantically speaking, because a bunch of new people are entering your life. You're in the perfect position to build something bigger out of this momentum! You can finally build a partnership that will last longer than a few dates. You've been spending more time with people who stimulate your mind, and one of these people might be ready to get something going. Pick up the phone and get something social scheduled with them.

What did I do?
I was lazy.

Horoscope Fail!

April 8th

Today’s planets will partly reverse what yesterday’s planets unsettled. The communication lines should improve, but not fully, although you could find that you’re in receipt of some useful information. By the same token romance could be simmering nicely by this evening!

You've stepped back and have been letting life move on around you without getting involved, and that was smart -- it kept you out of the current drama. But today, you might need to consider getting back into an active role. But if you decide to rejoin this rat race, just be sure to take things slowly. Baby steps will lead you down the right path -- and possibly into the right person's arms. Let yourself be taken care of a little while longer -- you deserve the attention.

What did I do?

Today was a rough day. I had to go to the office to take care of some taxes work for PRS LLC. Had a kind of a late start on the day; woke up at like 2PM. Got all frazzled by the late start and the taxes. Definitely needed a break later some time later tonight. Went out for a few drinks at the bar. Chatted with Mom. Not in that order....

Horoscope Fail!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Part Two of Quincy

So here guys go; the final set. In fact it kinda ties with the fact that we just wrapped our final episode for the season. Tomorrow we fly to back to lovely State College...35 degrees and snowing. Well its ok. I am sure I'll get to see the sun sooner or later.

Its rather unbelievable that we are finished. I feel relieved, yet a little empty. Where to go from here? What to do with the magnitude of time that I just flushed back into my life. There obviously a bunch of little things that must be done... taxes, yuck. I remember watching some conspiracy videos that told me I don't have to pay any taxes. But I don't think I am capable of fighting off the gov't just yet. One day.

Well folks, we're off to the airport. Flight leaves tomorrow at 6AM.

Just as the void comes into my life, I am sure it will be filled right back up in blink of an eye.

I have my little Horoscope experiment bout 70% completed. So I will share that little bag of fun with you guys this week.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Some photos I thought I would share

Hey Everyone,

I was browsing through some of my photographs and stumbled upon some that I thought I would share with you all.

Last week a very powerful two part episode aired where we had to revisit a special investigation. Here are some photos from that case. I have 13 photos that I would like to share with you guys. Here is a set of the first six photos.

More to come soon.