Monday, February 28, 2005

Improbable, so what?

DISCLAIMER: The idea expressed below was going through my head and I just needed to write it down somewhere. I admit that I’m just a hack at this and am much more poorly read than I should be. Please ignore if it hurts your head or seems too amateurish.

A number of recent astronomical observations have revealed how precisely balanced the universe is. Any small change in the creation of the universe and either things would have collapsed on themselves or conversely dissipated preventing complex matter, and hence life, from ever being able to form.

Some take this “unique” result as evidence of a supreme being.

I am troubled by this conclusion.

Hypothesis: The improbability of the universe’s configuration does not necessarily indicate the existence of a “Creator”

Assumptions:
1) Quantum effects, specifically probability amplitude related, in the early universe had a large role in determining the eventual composition (N.B. My understanding of the early U. is seriously lacking)
2) The multiple universes theory is correct.

Given 1) an infinite number of universes are possible

Given 2) ALL possible universes were created, however improbable

Evidence: This universe exists. Therefore it is possible, and hence created.

Thus, given 1) and 2), the universe’s improbable composition does not give credence to the existence of a “Creator” Q.E.D.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Court Astrologer Runs Afoul of the Crown

Excerpt from a previous post:

"a very brief overview of technical analysis. Like the ancients who looked at the stars and thought the Big Dipper looked like a bear, you basically look at the charts of a stock's past performance until you find patterns (or are dizzy). Then you somehow take a leap of faith and predict that these patterns will reoccur (if dizzy, just select some random section of the chart). People actually get paid good money to develop rationalizations for this crap. They are the new (Commerce) Court Astrologers. Egad."

So my disdain for technical analysis is no secret. And when CitiGroup recently fired their whole technical analysis division all I could say was "Bwahaahaahaaa".

Well that and I'll have to select another place to apply as resident Witch Doctor/Shaman/Alchemist. I was thinking of piecing together a getup replete with "mystical" elements - bone necklace, eagle feathers, amulets, talismans etc. and offering my services blessing corporations (or cursing their competitors). I'd roll bones and read tea leaves to pick stocks. But rationality seems to be creeping into the industry.

Ah, well maybe I'll try reintroducing phrenology in HR. I've got a set of calipers around here somewhere.

Another bloggers take on the firings click here

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Monday, February 21, 2005

CyberGrassroots

In a break from my normal self-centered, insular blogging I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Committee to Protect Bloggers

I love this whole call-to-action/community thing.

Global Blogger Action Day Called

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nine Day Plan

I've got nothing I really want to write about so I'll let you in on my secret (shh!) nine-day plan.

After being accused for the nth time of taking a significant other for granted (i.e. not spontaneously doing something sweet) I came up with this plan. Now, I understand that it is not spontaneous in the least, but it does give that impression (and that's what's important).

1. Make a list of little things/gestures that would please your partner
e.g.'s Flowers, a new CD, washing the dishes even though it's their turn, breakfast in bed etc.

2. Pick an appropriate interval of days; just make sure it's not a multiple of seven, they'll catch on for sure.

3. Put a little asterix or symbol in your daytimer/palmpilot and each day one comes up pick an appropriate item from the list created in part 1 and voila - "spontaneous" gesture of affection.

Sweet huh?

Silly little things I like:
Coffee already made when I get out of bed
First crack at the crossword
Watching something with me that I know they don't appreciate

What items would you put on your list?

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Hmmph.

Does anyone really look forward to Valentine's Day?

Significant other around or not I never have.

If I'm single, as I am presently, Valentine's Day is an unwelcome reminder of my bachelorhood.

If I'm involved with someone then I have to fret over getting an appropriate gift. Even receiving a Valentine's gift can be a cause of concern. "Oh, yes, your (insert entirely unwanted) gift is wonderful... Thanks so much."

Perhaps more than the other reasons I dislike Valentine's day is being manipulated by the Hallmark conspiracy. I hate cards. I will not sign my name to someone else's sacharine words. If I buy a card it has to be blank.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to giving flowers or expressing my sentiments in prose, just why the f**k do it on Feb 14th? I find that gestures like these are much more effective if done unexpectedly (sometime I may explain the 9-day plan). Being obligated to preform some sentimental acts on a certain day not only reduces their impact but also pisses me off.

Valentine's Day. Hmmph.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

Aspirations

It’s funny how different people’s aspirations are. It can be making VP, finally finishing the long-abandoned degree, putting out the record/novel that’s tortured your soul for years or any number of other things.

I was having coffee with a buddy of mine yesterday and we were discussing everything under the sun including my newest wacky idea (he’s in a related industry). After talking at length, the conversation took yet another of its rambling turns and he mentioned what he aspired to in the near future.

“In two years I’d like to cut down to working only four days a week.”

Not a title. Not a car or a house or some other material good that showcases one’s affluence. Not some effort to fix a poor choice made years ago.

He wants to spend more time with his kids, have a little more fun and be able to enjoy the present a little more.

More people should have aspirations like this.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

One's Own Feet Make Easy Targets

I know, I know, picking on advertisements is just too easy but one I saw last night irritated me more than most.

Pep.si commercial synopsis:

P Did.dy's car breaks down on way to awards show.
Did.dy catches ride with Pep.si delivery truck.
Gawkers and paparazzi think this is a fashion statement
Idiot lemmings everywhere copy the "trend" driving around Pep.si trucks

Oh, how foolish they are...


The moral seems to be that people are foolish for falling for celebrity endorsements.

Just like this one.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Wakey Wakey

Unintentionally each winter, esp. Jan and Feb, I stop going out. This is neither good nor bad. Sure the social life suffers but the recovery time my peace of mind and liver get seem to make up for it. From what my friends in the service industry say this must be a pretty common thing as restaurants suffer (unless you're part of Winterlicious).

This may just be a false spring but I think I'm slowly coming out of hibernation.

Tonight out to the pub to discuss another wacky idea (creativity; a side benefit of hibernation) with my business partner, tomorrow out w/ Krazy Courier Girl (who is no longer a courier) and Thursday dragging my friends in the financial district out of work in between chores I have to do there.

(I'm supposed to meet with Ed for lunch; I'll twist his arm for a six-week-challenge update.)

The sun's a little higher in the sky and the snow's almost gone. Early spring? Maybe I'm just checking to see if my shadow is there or not.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Playing the Game

I don’t follow football. Either kind.

Yet each year I get involved in a playoff pool.

I’ve done pretty well in years past.

I think my ignorance about the sport is an advantage.

There’s lots of room for game theory in this pool and I leverage it as much as I can.

Final picks come out today. I’m behind a fair bit but have tried to put myself in a position to win. Later on I’ll find if I’ve got a chance or painted myself into a corner.

Football’s so screwy.

Results are in:
Go Philly!
Philly wins by 5 to 9 pts. 1st place approx. 17 to 1 on bet
Philly wins by 10 to 17. 2nd 8 to 1
Philly wins by 18 or more. 3rd 6 to 1

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Equality

People aren’t equal. This doesn't mean the law shouldn't be applied uniformly but sorry, they just aren’t. If everyone were equal there wouldn’t be an issue selecting friends/lovers/employees etc., just anyone would do.

I understand the motivation that underlies the drive for uniform treatment by others. In fact, an interesting study on primates was recently in the news, indicating that a “sense of fair play” may be innate to the human condition. It is likely this need for equitable conduct or fairness that typically generates outrage when anyone has the impertinence to suggest that people are unalike. How the desire/need for uniform treatment (under the law and otherwise) could somehow be extrapolated to mean that people are equal in all ways is beyond me.

Perhaps some is a holdover from the Declaration of Inde.pendence and its statement that “all men are created equal”. This clause/fragment/phrase now reverberates through western culture; from the legal system to Star Tr.ek. I would suggest that the clause’s intent was primarily a repudiation of the monarchist system; funny how the intent got skewed along the way.

Anyway, being a marginal writer at best, I’ve likely bunged this all up. Rereading a favorite author last night I was given a demonstration of how unequally talent is meted out. For a much, much better and entertaining read on the sillyness of this interpretation of equality read Harr.ison Berge.ron by Kurt Vonn.egut.

Enjoy.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Suckered Again

Lately, I’ve read a bunch of disappointing books and I just refuse to put them down. The reason why I masochistically have to read them all to the end eludes me. I’d like to call it tenacity but more likely it’s just bull-headed, thoughtless, stubbornness. Once I’ve invested a certain amount of time I just have to see it to the end. These books have been a let-down for a variety of reasons: over-hyped expectation, terrible prose, inability to suspend my disbelief or connecting the dots on the supposed twist way too early (and having to trudge through page after page while the author laboriously draws together the various glow-in-the-dark bits of foreshadowing clunkingly strewn throughout the novel).

Anyone have recommendations for books released recently? Or any purplish prose that should be avoided?

Ah, I think I’m going to go find a few novels that really like and reread them (again).

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Idea Kernel

I’ve been giving more thought to the idea of starting up a poker course. I likely don’t have time to set it (cirriculum, lectures, courseware etc.) but it’s an interesting little thought experiment.

For this venture I look great on paper (kinda odd in person but great on paper nonetheless). Provided both the economics and time constraints don’t prove problematic I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t make it work.

Ballparking the Numbers

Using the time-tested OMA (Outta My Ass) method:

From typical TDSB courses – 9 weeks, 3hrs/weeks. Cost: $116
Assuming (?) host organization takes 70% of tuition
Ten students yields: $348
Twenty Five: $870
Fifty: $1740
Or hourly rates of $12.89, $32.22 and $64.44 respectively

The TDSB was chosen as that’s likely where I’d try to do it (location and marketing provided)

Additional income could be generated through other sources:

Course Materials – Could buy texts at bulk rates for course use and resell at retail. Potentially could write my own courseware/book.

Private Lessons – As one-on-one instruction is so much more effective – and profitable

Affiliate Program – Perhaps even more lucrative than any of the other income streams there is the potential here to make solid money bringing new players into on-line poker rooms.

Whaddya think?

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