Monday, December 31, 2012

We should endeavor to better ourselves every day of the year.

There is nothing special about the first of January.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shoot for the moon.

Even if you miss, you will drift helplessly into the endless void of space before eventually dying of life support failure.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today marks the one year anniversary of her death.

I travelled out to Columbia to visit some friends.

Set aside some money, took off of work - the whole deal.

I'm not normally one to buy into this sort of tradition.

"Anniversaries" are not something to which I ascribe a great deal of value.

The passage of time has never particularly impressed me.

Each day to me is the same as the last; full of the same routine potential.

And yet, I still wanted to mark the occasion, somehow.

It just seemed like the right thing to do.

It just seemed...


I don't know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of guns."

- John Oliver

This is a bit of a straw man argument, but it still presents a very salient point. The only thing keeping us from taking action about gun-related violence is America's embarrassingly outdated interpretation of the second amendment.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"As goes the future of NASA, so too goes the future of this nation."

- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Please watch this video. This is an important discussion that needs to be had.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"You carry in your gaze a sadness beyond your years."

"I'm sorry. I try to hide it."

"You do a terrible job."


"No, don't apologize. If everyone's eyes were as honest as yours, the world would be a much more comfortable place."


"Don't bother. What would you like to drink?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The next time that you find yourself tempted to believe that humanity will never learn to work together, stop and consider the fact that automobile traffic works at all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Even after all this time.

Her absence resounds like tin plates crashing through delicate panes of glass.


Even after...

Even after all this time.

Even after all this resignation.

Even after all these bottles.

Even after all these nights.


Even after all this time.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I can see the thoughts.

I can see them there, staring at me from behind my eyes.

Corporeal, almost; as tangible as the pen clutched carefully between my fingers.

I can see how they connect.

Like strands of data running from one idea to the next.

Pointing to each other; telling me exactly what to do.

And yet...I can't organize them.

They just sit there, complete; waiting to be conveyed.

And that is where they stay.

Trapped in the stagnation of this perpetual distraction.

Trapped, but waiting patiently.

Waiting patiently for their host to recover his motivation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My transition into atheism was not—as many of my religious friends and acquaintances try to suggest—a choice.

Rather, my loss of belief was little more than the inevitable result of my perpetual self-education.

There was no decision to be made.

Continuing to force myself to believe in the face of the evidence to the contrary would have been the real choice.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Step 1: Go out, get drunk.

Step 2: Think of the way that she looked at you.

Step 3: Think only of the way that she looked at you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Everybody's drinking for the week night."'s not how it goes...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Listening to the ice crack.

My ears ring against the silence.


It is...cold, to the touch.

The room oscillates.

The page is still blank.

I am waiting for something.

...more whiskey, perhaps?


Then it would just melt faster.

Then it would...


Nothing but frustration.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stimulants to keep me focused and alcohol to take off the edge.

I am pathetic.

But there is work to be done.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"I would give anything."

These were the words of a...younger man.

I would...

I would no longer give anything.

My feelings about the issue have waned, somewhat.

New priorities have arisen.

Reality has taken on a new shape.

I have changed.


I would no longer give anything.

But I would still give most things.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Some theists, who are determined for atheism to mean more than a lack of belief, note how fervent some atheists are in discussion and point out that fervency doesn't just come from a lack of belief. No, it doesn't. A great deal of fervency is a response to the hostility directed at us simply for not believing in gods. To being condemned, criticized, marginalized, and dehumanized by people who are unwilling to allow us to live our lives, who impugn our morality, who tell us we don't belong in the country in which we were born, who distort our education, attempt to monopolize government, and ostracize us for not participating in their rituals. Treat any group of people with such profound disrespect, and it would be surprising not to see fervency from some of them."

- QualiaSoup

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Before I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a year and half ago, I rather jauntily told the readers of my memoirs that when faced with extinction, I wanted to be fully conscious and awake, in order to 'do' death in the active and not the passive sense. And I do, still, try to nurture that little flame of curiosity and defiance: willing to play out the string to the end and wishing to be spared nothing that properly belongs to the life span. However, one thing that grave illness does is to make you examine familiar principles and seemingly reliable sayings. And there's one that I find I am not saying with quite the same conviction as I once used to: In particular, I have slightly stopped issuing the announcement that 'whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger.'"

- Christopher Hitchens, Mortality

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Contradictions do not exist. When you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."

- Ayn Rand

Monday, October 15, 2012

Be quiet.

Be quiet for a moment.

Be quiet for a moment and just breathe.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Truth, by definition, does not require faith.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I am glad to live in a country in which we have the intellectual freedom to regard presidential debates with the same level of seriousness as a high school rhetoric competition.

It is good that we are more concerned with who "won" than we are with the actual policies being discussed.

I am proud to have been cast as an American.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Watch this while you prepare dinner tonight.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Evil is not the opposite of good.

The opposite of good is simply bad.

Evil is a construct that we have developed to dehumanize those with whom we disagree.

In reality, there is no such thing as evil.

There is only delusion and mental disorder.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

In the development of new technology, the moment that "if" becomes "when," so does "should" become "how."

Once a significantly influential technological idea has been proven and released to the world, it will be developed.

Those who oppose the technology waste their time by trying to halt its manifestation.

Our focus should lie instead on spending our energy in community-wide collaboration to minimize the negative impact of progress.

Taking sides and fighting over morality and ideology only precipitates misuse.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How is it that so many right-wing conservatives can fight so adamantly against abortion and euthanasia and yet actively support the death penalty? How can these two viewpoints be held simultaneously without generating insurmountable levels of cognitive dissonance?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Step 1: Decide to go back on your diet and get back into your exercise routine.

Step 2: Get excited about going back on your diet and getting back into your exercise routine.

Step 3: Immediately drink two beers, eat a piece of cheese, and cry yourself to sleep.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Yes, it looks easy to make a smile, but it's really a complicated job. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can make a smile last a second. For me, a smile that lasts a second won't do; I want a smile that lasts a lifetime. For example, did you know that people can enjoy being frightened? Did you know that sometimes people start crying when they're happy? It's so tricky! That's why, in order to create a perfect smile, you need an environment that you can control. 

"That's why I created Smile Land: for that pure, sweet smile that must be protected—that wonderful smile that spreads happiness all across the world! I wanted to make a place where people could forget about reality—a place where they wouldn't feel the least bit frightened, until the very end. Yes, the citizens of Smile Land enjoy themselves from the moment they're born until the day they die. And when the end of the world inevitably comes, they won't know a thing. They'll just be as happy as ever. Isn't that amazing!"

- Will B. Good, Ergo Proxy

(For those unfamiliar with the show, Will B. Good is clearly intended to be a Walt Disney analog.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Assuming for a moment that our existence really is due to the all-powerful creator being of the Abrahamic religions, I can not imagine it to be the benevolent and loving creature as which it is so often portrayed. To create a host of beings with the ability to reason and then demand that they live a life of active denial of that reason or suffer for all of eternity is nothing short of malicious.
I want to live in a place where it is always cold.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"He got up. He said nothing and walked out of the house. He never saw that girl again. Gail Wynand, who prided himself on never needing a lesson twice, did not fall in love again in the years that followed."

- The Fountainhead

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"From the perspective of others I am part of the world, but when I observe the world from my perspective, I am nowhere to be found. To observe is to create perspective. I can never cease to be the point of origin from my perspective. I observe that which is not myself. This is the first principle defined."

- Ergo Proxy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Step 1: Wake up, go to work.

Step 2: Realize as you walk into the office that you forgot to wear a belt.

Step 3: Feel wrong and out of place all day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Even if it were true that evolution was not supported by evidence, that would not make adopting the inherently non-evidentiary teachings of young Earth creationism a more logically sound decision. Dismantling one theory does not automatically increase the validity of your idea, particularly when the theory that you are attempting to dismantle has almost two centuries' worth of aggregate data standing in its favor.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two years ago, I watched through an anime series that, in many ways, changed my expectations of not only the animation medium in general, but also of myself.

I have been reminded of its impact on me - in one way or another - every single day since my original viewing of the series.

Today, after over a year of worrisome questions within the industry about whether or not it would ever be reprinted, I finally own Ergo Proxy.

Today, I am content.

Friday, August 31, 2012

"Even if it were true that evolution, or the teaching of evolution, encouraged immorality, that would not imply that the theory of evolution was false."

- Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth

Monday, August 27, 2012

Your anger is...unbecoming.

This world does not owe you anything.

We do not have time for this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I have become convinced that "the wisdom of age" is not nearly as critical to an individual's development as it is believed to be. This sort of wisdom is only valuable in retrospect; only after you have made mistakes. What many people fail to acknowledge is that a carefully conditioned intellect and a bit of critical thinking can provide you with the tools to predict and learn from your mistakes before you actually make them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"The way that you drive is so interesting, Hayden."

"What do you mean?"

"I...well, I don't even know that 'drive' is the right word."

"You don't drive this car. You wear it."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

I seem to have lost my taste for alcohol.

It reminds me...

It reminds me of the way that she looked at me.

Of the sensation of her body against my skin.

The substance once offered me clarity.

A welcome release from a world of hollow distraction.

But now it just makes me sick.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I have become convinced I am not alone here, even though I am equally sure it is simply a delusion brought upon by circumstance. I do not, for instance, remember where I found the candles, or why I took it upon myself to light such a strange pathway. Perhaps it is only for those who are bound to follow."

- Narrator, Dear Esther

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The moment that you fully accept how little control you actually have over the events that occur in your life, it becomes very easy to always assume the best in others.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Locally grown cherry tomatoes with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and oregano. Topped with freshly milled sea salt and black pepper.

I believe that I have found my new favorite snack.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"As for the claim that evolution has never been 'proved', proof is a notion that scientists have been intimidated into mistrusting. Influential philosophers tell us we can't prove anything in science. Mathematicians can prove things - according to one strict view, they are the only people who can - but the best that scientists can do is fail to disprove things while pointing to how hard they tried. Even the undisputed theory that the moon is smaller than the sun cannot, to the satisfaction of a certain kind of philosopher, be proved in the way that, for example, the Pythagorean Theorem can be proved. But massive accretions of evidence support it so strongly that to deny it the status of 'fact' seems ridiculous to all but pedants. The same is true for evolution. Evolution is a fact in the same sense as it is a fact that Paris is in the Northern Hemisphere."

- Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth

Friday, July 13, 2012

First, I convinced myself that I did not matter.

Then, I came to believe that nothing mattered.

Now, I realize that everything matters.

And it has been the most ruinous of the three.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"But that's why we all want to fight you - to learn your secret. Don't you get it? You are the Crownless King, the one who got out. You reached the top, then walked away."

- Alice Twilight, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pan-browned Brussels sprouts

The Brussels sprout is a terribly underrated food. In America, we are taught as children to hate the tiny cabbages for absolutely no reason other than the television telling us that they are bad, but the Brussels sprout is really a wonderfully versatile vegetable. Here is a recipe for pan-browned Brussels sprouts with toasted garlic and sesame butter. I made these last night, and they are delicious.

What you'll need:

1/2 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
1 and 1/2 tablespoon butter
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sesame seeds

What you do:

Step 1: Rinse and trim* Brussels sprouts. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise. 

Step 2: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy, 10-inch pan over medium heat. Add olive oil.

Step 3: Add garlic, heat until golden brown. Or accidentally leave it on too long and make tiny garlic hash browns like I did.

Step 4: Remove garlic from pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside in a small bowl.

Step 5: Reduce to low heat. Add Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in a single layer. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt to taste. Cook uncovered for fifteen minutes, or until sprouts are tender. Do not flip sprouts.

Step 6: Remove sprouts from pan, place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. 

Step 7: Melt remaining butter in pan, increase to moderate heat. Return garlic to pan and add additional sesame seeds. Saute for approximately one minute. 

Step 8: Arrange sprouts face up on serving plate. Spoon garlic mixture over sprouts and serve immediately.

* I recommend always cooking with fresh Brussels sprouts. Fresh sprouts need to be trimmed, however, but doing so is easy. Simply cut off the hard portion of the stem at the bottom, remove any yellowed or withered outer leaves, and they're ready to go.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I am glad to hear that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was upheld today.

I am not an economist, and I will not sit here and pretend like I fully understand the long-term financial implications of every tiny element of the statute.

But I feel that any action that works to insure that all people have access to reasonably affordable health care is a step in the right direction.

I don't mind paying higher taxes if it means that more people get to stay healthy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(Click to enlarge)

Is anybody else confused by this discrepancy?

Monday, June 25, 2012

America needs to have a serious discussion about newborn circumcision and why we are so complacent in this tradition of parents having a piece of their son sliced off before he has any say in the matter. The foreskin contains a large quantity of erogenous nerve endings, and deciding for someone whether or not he gets to experience the potential sensations offered by those nerve endings is a violation of his bodily autonomy.

He may be your child, but his body does not belong to you. Your traditions do not matter to him yet. He should be allowed the chance to make the decision for himself.

[Visit this post from the lovely Athena of My Life as a Grown-Up for more discussion on the issue]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The following is a series of quotations from a scientific/philosophical article that I recently read about some of the impending ethical issues of human enhancement technology, pertaining particularly to cognitive enhancement in this specific case. The quotations occur in the paper in the order that they are listed below; I have simply removed the examples and extraneous elaboration. I apologize in advance for the unconventional quotation format, but Blogger's quick-formatting options are limited and right now I do not feel like struggling with mark-up text, nor do I feel like presenting the quotes "properly" in one huge paragraph full of disorienting ellipses. Regardless:

"Another worry is that all the possibilities offered by cognitive enhancement might lead us to view those people with below-average cognitive ability as diseased, rather than as part of the normal human spectrum of abilities."

"...included in this group of people will be those whose cognitive functioning falls so far below the average that society deems them incapable of making important life decisions - such as where to live and what to do with their lives - which must instead be delegated to a carer. Cognitive enhancement could enable these people to gain autonomy over their own lives; however, given their impaired cognitive abilities, it is probable that they would be deemed incapable of consenting to receive enhancing treatment."

"That enhancing treatment should be withheld from severely cognitively-impaired people might be seen as a consequence of our current way of thinking about medicine. According to this way of thinking, it is acceptable to treat a severely cognitively-impaired person for conditions recognised as diseases or injuries, such as cancer or a broken leg, despite the fact that he is incapable of giving consent. Generally, we believe that such treatment is acceptable because it is in the person’s best interests; whereas leaving him untreated would be contrary to his best interests. On the other hand, it is not clear that an avoidable enhancement, such as a facelift, would be in his best interests. Since very low intelligence, like having facial wrinkles, is not universally recognised as a disease state, it is questionable on the current medical model whether it serves the best interests of a cognitively-impaired person to undergo cognitive enhancement treatment."

"This medical model, according to which treatment for disease is seen as necessary whereas enhancement is seen as gratuitous, is arguably outdated."

"Moving away from a model that associates medical treatment with disease would enable cognitively-impared people to recieve enhancing treatment without committing ourselves to the view that such people are diseased."

[Nick Bostrom and Rebecca Roache, Ethical Issues in Human Enhancement, New Waves in Applied Ethics, 2008, pages 16-17]

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Step 1: Pour glass of Armenian brandy.

Step 2: Suddenly realize that said serving of brandy will push you over your daily calorie limit.

Step 3: Shrug shoulders dramatically and drink brandy anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brief thoughts on Prometheus

It would seem that, for some reason, a lot of people don't like Prometheus. That is fine; they are entitled to their own opinion about it. However, I found it to be a very intelligent film that assumes a certain level of active awareness in its audience. It doesn't force the story down your throat. Rather, it relies on the attentiveness of the audience by presenting important plot elements in what I thought were very artistic, subtle, and well-executed ways.

I enjoyed every minute of Prometheus, and I enjoyed every minute that I spent thinking about it during the days that followed my viewing of the film. Like I said above, it assumes a certain level of intelligence in the audience, so you do have to be ready to pay close attention and work with the film to completely absorb the story. I can't promise that you will enjoy it as much as I did, but I can say with certainty that if you allow yourself to miss out on seeing Prometheus because of the flippant and nit-picky complaints of less engaged viewers, you are doing yourself a serious disservice.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Every now and then...

I suddenly remember that she is dead.

And everything that I do feels wrong.
There are those who, when presented with a novel but yet unproven idea or technology, call upon their knowledge of the universe to say, "No, that is not possible."

And then there are those who call upon their knowledge of the universe to ask, "What if that were possible? What else would have to be true for that to be so?"

The former may stay comfortable for now.

But the future will be built upon the latter.

The future will be built upon those who believe that we will know the unknowable.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"You always have the most interesting heartbeat."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When someone says, "I don't hate the people, I just hate their culture," what he or she really means to say is, "I don't hate the people as long as they are just like us."

The only thing that truly distinguishes us from each other is our culture.

We all have the same genome.

To say that you hate a culture directly implies that you take issue with the people of which it is comprised.

Racism and discrimination have never been limited to individuals, and if you have convinced yourself that you can dislike an entire culture without it affecting your opinions of its members, then you are actively fooling yourself.

Be victorious, and have a good cry.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I think that...

I think that what I miss the most...

I think that what I miss the most is kissing her.

Not the extended, intentional sort.

But those sudden, occasional displays of need.

Those tiny interruptions in between sentences.

That is what I miss the most.

That is what I miss.

More than anything.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Religious liberty, everyone:

I am all for freedom of religion. But I do believe that there is such a thing as harmful schools of thought, and that these beliefs are especially dangerous when combined with the emotional instability of group mentality. If people want to believe in this sort of stuff, that's fine, but there comes a point when it is necessary for others to publicly question and criticize belief systems that would happily restrict the rights and liberties of others in the interest of their own comfort.

It is fine to support religious liberty. But when you say that you support unlimited, unquestioning freedom of religious expression for everyone across the board, you must keep in mind that you are also fighting for the interests of people like this.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Step 1: Go for a three mile run in the mid-day heat.

Step 2: Get home, shower, and proceed to eat a bag of chips, an ice cream sandwich, and a large chunk of Italian bread.

Step 3: Look at your life. Look at your choices.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"When a person lies, what is important is not the lie itself. No, it is their reason - their why."

- Holo, Spice and Wolf

Friday, May 11, 2012

I stare down at my toes as the warm water from my shower head falls upon my back.

I have been staring now for several minutes, and like a word repeated aloud too many times, they begin to seem...incorrect.

Alien, somehow.

They seem so out of place...

Just tiny bits of flesh and bone and ligament, protruding from each foot.

And yet they are so crucial; in control of the larger portion of my locomotion.

Everything about us is so strange.

To say that I do not like my body is an easy temptation.

But that would be silly.

I have lived in no other.

And yet, we seem so inherently inefficient.

So limited by our own biology.

Many people seem convinced that these very limitations are a critical part of what makes us human.

But if being human means being forever constrained by the inadequacies of our organic construction, then I eagerly await the day when I can adopt a new moniker.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Amendment One

I am just as upset as everyone else about the passing of Amendment One; perhaps even more so than many, given my personal involvement with the homosexual community over the past several years.

It is a civil rights violation, I don't disagree.

But what is important to remember is that this bill passed in North Carolina for a reason, however silly and selfish. Shouting about gay rights on Facebook and other social networking sites isn't likely to accomplish anything, as the rights of same-sex couples were obviously not a consideration to those that passed the bill. The strongest course of action is to find the effects of the bill that are universally appalling (limited rights of children born or adopted into these now unrecognized unions, inability of unrecognized domestic partners to seek legal protection against domestic abuse, etc.) and stress those in the efforts to repeal the document.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation should be universally appaling. But as North Carolina has so generously demonstrated, it isn't yet. As long as the religious are allowed to so blatantly incorporate their own personal beliefs and biases into legislation, this will always be a struggle. One group of people should not be allowed to determine who the rest of us are allowed to call our family, but until a method is found to actually enforce the separation of church and state in this region of the United States, we must find ways to work around their bigotry.

This is all very unsettling, I understand. And don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people voicing their opinions and emotions about how wrong this sort of legal action is. Make your voice heard; let people know that you are not okay with this. But also keep in mind that the people who have passed this bill have spent their lives actively deciding not to listen to reason. If there is to be a solution to this, it is going to have to be a practical one.

Anger only perpetuates hatred.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I am still here.

I know that my recent posts have been...lacking.

But things have been unusually difficult for me for these past few weeks.

My writing has dropped in my list of priorities lately in favor of some more selfish interests of mine.

I suppose that I just needed a break; some time to myself to try and make sense of some things.

Nevertheless, I have managed to write three entries this week.

I just need to actually write them down.

I am hoping to have them posted very soon, and I will do my best to be back in my usual form before long.

To those of you who are still around to read this:

Thank you.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Maybe I won't dream of her again tonight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"The scientists conducting these studies have a common goal - to heal sick and injured men and women. Along the way, they're discovering a common fact. To heal our minds and bodies, we must understand them. And in understanding we gain the power to improve."

- Ramez Naam

Sunday, April 22, 2012

America really missed a perfect opportunity to move toward the metric system with the introduction of the two-liter drink bottle. Rather than regarding the liter as a measure of volume, many people have come to view it as nothing more than a unit of soft drink.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The most important thing that I have come to understand through my time in the sciences is the criticality of the arts.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.

But it's not the evidence of existence, either.
You know, I actually really like my American accent.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

There are no absolutes, and that is not a self-contradictory statement. We are allowed to speak in absolutes because language is clumsy, and it does not give us a concise method of expressing the understood scientific implication that all knowledge is limited to the conclusions drawn through our collective observation. Those philosophers who spend their time arguing against the unavoidable inadequacies of syntax likely do so only because they have no conceptual counterargument.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"No, please don't. Hugs like this always mean goodbye."

"Don't be naive. This is goodbye."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Those who fear change will always be among the first who are left behind.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

We must learn to work together.

We must learn to look past "nation" and "religion" and "race."

It is not naivety.

It is not idealism.

It is not utopian.

It is inevitable.

If we are to survive the advancements of our own technology, we must learn to work together.

The scientific community has already done this.

We have demonstrated the astounding benefits of global cooperation.

We have shown that it is not impossible.

So stay optimistic, my friends.

One day we will realize what must be done.

We will learn to work together.

We will be better than we are.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I feel no guilt about living in the relative comforts of the often castigated "white, middle-class America."

My heritage, social status, and financial opportunity are little more than an accident of my birth; I had no say in the matter.

To feel guilty would be misplaced emotion.

What I do feel, however, is a duty to utilize my education in a way that is beneficial to all of us.

With privilege, responsibility.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I come across as a serious man because I hope to accomplish serious things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"There is a discrepancy between the standards by which evolution measured the quality of her work, and the standards that we wish to apply. Even if evolution had managed to build the finest reproduction-and-survival machine imaginable, we may still have reason to change it because what we value is not primarily to be maximally effective inclusive-fitness optimizers."

- Nick Bostrom

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin

It's not very often that I do this, as I try to avoid being one of those bloggers who will promote any cause as long as enough young people are currently upset about it on the internet.

But this one is something that I found out about earlier today, and I feel very strongly about it.

So I need to ask three small favors of all of you.

Please, read this:,0,1508238.story

Then this:

And please consider signing this:

Thank you in advance for your time.

- Hayden

Friday, March 16, 2012

I have been having such a terrible time writing lately.

Every time I sit down to my notebook, I just stare at the page, hoping that the words will form.

They never do.

They just bounce around in my head, unorganized and incoherent.



My mind is so dry.

I have so little to say.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I had forgotten what it was like to work on a functional machine.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Let's toast to lost potential; to failure, and to strife.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The first step toward tranquility is realizing that you are entitled to nothing.

Not even the air within your lungs.

So breathe deep.

Inhale, and love as much as you possibly can.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Watch this video.

If, by the end, you are still convinced that the development of human enhancement technology is wrong, then you are simply not paying attention.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Picture all experts as if they were mammals."

- Christopher Hitchens

Friday, March 2, 2012

I know that it seems like the world can be a terrible place.

But one day we will be better.

One day we will surpass our own limitations.

One day we will realize the foolishness of violence.

But for now we must be patient.

We must be patient, and try not to die.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I believe that I may have reached the end of a huge decision.

I've known for some time now that I want to continue on to study materials science.

But I now want to do so with the intention of helping to develop materials for human enhancement technologies.

It has become very clear that the development of augmentative technologies is no longer a question of "if."

It is now simply a question of "when."

Change is coming, and I want to be a part of it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a dreamer.

Dreamers are the people who inspire us to progress; to be better than we are.

But even the most ardent of dreamers must wake up from time to time.

Sometimes the things that we want just aren't practical yet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In order to survive in the mainstream world as a scientifically-minded, independent freethinker, one must learn how to question everything. However, one must also learn to discriminate between what things are actually worth the time spent in continued skepticism and what things are questioned for nothing more than the sake of questioning.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It is, at the very least, inconsistent to arbitrarily pick and choose which parts of the Bible one wants to consider moral and yet continue to claim that it is the source of all morality. The very act of determining which portions of the Old Testament are still valid and which are not indicates an inherent understanding of morality that stems from somewhere other than scripture. Claiming that the Bible is the timeless and inerrant word of God and then declaring some of its laws to be outdated or socially unacceptable is, to put it frankly, doublethink.

Homosexuals have never posed as a threat to the "sanctity" of marriage. To think otherwise is ignorance. I have the privilege of knowing first-hand that these are absolutely wonderful people who deserve every bit the same rights as the rest of us. We need to move on.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Do justice, and let the skies fall."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I accidentally shattered a plate today while I was tending to the dishwasher.

The bottom was still wet, and it simply slipped out of my hand.

I stood there for several minutes, staring at the jagged shards of ceramic material strewn across the kitchen floor, listening to the texture of the glassy reverberations ringing through my ears amid the sudden silence.

I stood there for several minutes, collecting myself; fighting against the overwhelming urge to to reach down and smash the rest of them one by one.

Several minutes is a long time to stare at a broken plate.

That sound was so...


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I've been trying to do some cooking again lately. I've moved back in with my parents for the next few months while I look for grad schools, which makes cooking as a hobby a bit more difficult, given that I must now conform to the preexisting dining schedule of two other people. But I still try to squeeze in a creative dish or two every now and then while I'm alone during the day. I pickled some radishes for the first time the other day, and although pickling radishes isn't cooking per se (add lightly chopped radishes to a dissolved mixture of 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and refrigerate overnight), they still served as a wonderful compliment to the next day's lunch of somen noodles. I've made somen noodles before, but I think that pickling the radish this time made the dish a little bit more enjoyable. Just that little bit of added flavor had a lot of impact on the overall experience. And please do forgive the poor quality of the following photographs. I know nothing about food photography.

Cherry Belle radishes prepared to soak overnight.

The next day: drained and dried

(My matching dishes are still packed away.)
To fabricate a deity whose very nature is beyond the human capacity of understanding and measurement and still assert that evidence-based worldviews must demonstrate its non-existence before they can be regarded as valid is, at its best, poorly considered foolishness.

If evidence is not a requisite for belief, then neither is it a requisite for disbelief.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Value the future on a timescale longer than your own."

- Richard Dawkins

Friday, February 3, 2012

"The old man looked at it. Had he ever stayed in a hotel with a card as a key? He had a vague memory of once having done so. A laughing girl at his shoulder as he ran the card through a slot and red became green and there was some meaning to him at that moment. Young. It must have meant something to a young man. The meaning of it now was lost amongst the blown sand and dying heat of a world where cards did not open locks. That was the work of crowbars."

- The Old Man and the Wasteland, Nick Cole

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"I don't want to fall in love with you, Hayden. It wouldn't be hard to do."

"You are everything that I like in a man," she said.

And then she asked me to leave.
To this day, I am still shocked when I hear someone say, "Of course I'm going to spank my children. My daddy beat me, and I turned out just fine." While this is disturbing enough by itself, what troubles me most is the idea that I am expected to respect this opinion under the auspice of parental sovereignty over their children.

It is never acceptable to strike a child. Those who still hold the "it was done to me" attitude serve as a perfect example of what happens when we value the traditions and behaviors of our ancestors above our modern understanding of psychology.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

For the second time, I have been given everything that I have ever been looking for, only to have it taken away from me just as I had begun to convince myself that it was real.

For the second time, I was made to feel attractive; as though there was actually someone out there who might enjoy the prospect of having feelings for somebody such as myself.

For the second time, I felt that maybe, just maybe, I was not actually losing my mind.

She was there, in all of her passion and warmth and understanding.

She was there, just her and I.

And then she was gone; a victim of mutually poor circumstance.

I knew that we were doomed from the start.

I knew that things would not end favorably.

I knew that I had once again allowed myself to find whatever semblance of happiness that my mind actually allows me to feel in yet another impossible situation.

And I knew that it would hurt more than I could possibly imagine.


But I wanted it to hurt.

Because I knew that that was the only way that I would ever get to have you at all.

I loved you.

And I should have said it.

But it means as little now as it did then.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The nightmares have returned.

For a time, I had slipped back into my nights of nothingness; my nights haunted by the emotional emptiness of temporary oblivion.

And I was perfectly okay with that.

It was empty, but at least it did me no harm.

These new nightmares are stronger than ever.

They are less violent; less visually disturbing than usual, and yet somehow...more unsettling.

Each dark universe is incredibly unique.

Wrong somehow in a way that is simply beyond adequate description.

Impossible phenomena occur all around me, with no reason or explanation ever offered, as though the laws of the physical world as we know them had simply never existed.

Much to my frustration, I do not remember these worlds.

At least, not entirely.

Any details that do remain in my active memory are but meaningless fragments of an infinitely more puzzling whole.

Strange, levitating forms of a light-like substance, shifting with no warning or regularity between chaotic liquid states and solid, crystalline structures.

A half of a room, filled only with halves of objects.

A table that stands on two legs, but has the stability of four.

A man who can turn himself inside out through his mouth and back again who is met not with the anticipated screams of terror, but with fascinated applause from onlookers.

Individuals whose faces change so gradually over the course of a conversation that if you had not been paying attention, you would not have realized that by the time that they walked away, they were completely different people.

Objects that, when thrown, hang in the air just slightly longer than expected.

A subtle sense of a perpetual and unknown danger, even in the comfort of the mundane.

There are so many pieces remaining.

So many nagging, lingering pieces that stay behind to mock my inability to retain the context of these deeply uncomfortable reveries.

Every morning, I awake with a start, often speaking or coughing and with my muscles held so tense that even the slightest sudden movement causes my entire system to ache.

How long do I lay there awake before my consciousness snaps into awareness, suddenly warning me not to move until I have let go of that night's imagined reality and allowed my body to relax?

Each dream is gone within seconds, before I am allowed an opportunity to copy it into some permanent medium.

Even my voice is of no use, as the thoughts entering my microphone are incoherent at best as I watch each universe rend itself apart in my mind's eye.

I lay in silence, grasping for something to say as large sections of each dream fall away in every direction, until each once horrifying construct is nothing more than a few singular ideas left abandoned in a non-geometrical, infinite white void.

These surreal worlds vanish so quickly; so purposefully and efficiently, almost as though my unconscious knows that they would drive my conscious mind insane.

It would be an untruth to say that a part of me is not fascinated by these worlds.

A part of me knows that the discomfort is worth the experience.

A part of me can tolerate the fear.

Part of me is fascinated.

But the rest of me has barely slept in weeks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"The Bible is a blueprint of in-group morality, complete with instructions for genocide, enslavement of out-groups, and world domination. But the Bible is not evil by virtue of its objectives or even its glorification of murder, cruelty, and rape. Many ancient works do that - The Iliad, the Icelandic Sagas, the tales of the ancient Syrians and the inscriptions of the ancient Mayans, for example. But no one is selling the Iliad as a foundation for morality. Therein lies the problem."

- John Hartung

Friday, January 20, 2012

"My life experience tells me that when you don't find blacks in the sciences, when you don't find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today. So before we start talkin' about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there's equal opportunity. Then we can have that conversation."

- Neil DeGrasse Tyson

You can find the full context of the quote through the following link:

The entire discussion is very interesting. If you are interested at all in modern science education, then I definitely recommend that you give this one the time and watch it through from the beginning. Each speaker has a slightly different perspective, and the conversation is quite stimulating.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Silent Majority

A friend of mine sent me this image last night. You'll have to pull up the full size image to read it, obviously. If for some reason that doesn't work, you can find the original here. If you can read it through to the end, I commend you. I only got about 2/3 of the way through before I became so dizzy that I had to stop. Please do follow the link out before reading any further.

I want to just go ahead and address this argument now:

"Now Hayden, you can't judge religion as a whole based on the behavior of a few extremists. There will always be extremists and vocal minorities that give religion a bad name, but most of us are fine with a 'live and let live' philosophy. Religious people are just as upset by these sorts of things as non-believers."

If that is the case, then why does it seem that the only people willing to put this stuff out there are the atheists, non-believers, and apostates? And why are they just dismissed as angry or misguided when they do? How much of this stuff would (and does) just get swept under the rug out of the fear of giving religion a bad name if the non-religious did not bring it up? If everybody is equally upset by this, then why do the religious usually choose just not to talk about it?

The behavior of the religiously moderate masses is irrelevant when the "vocal minorities" speak through murder and harmful influence on public policy, particularly when the behavior of the masses tends toward inaction. The fact that religious extremists who are willing to harm others in the name of their faith are in a minority does not make the fact that their religion gives them permission to kill any less pertinent.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amendable reason. Now, I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principal that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."

- Barack Obama

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The day that you can fully accept that you have no control over the actions of others is the day that you will be freed from your anger.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The memorial service has been set for this Saturday.

Until then, I must spend my energy writing a eulogy.

I will be back with new posts next week.

In the meantime, please do take it easy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I have been trying to write more lately.

But I can't stay focused.

Nothing seems important enough to talk about right now.

I am so uncomfortable.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I think that she might want to look into getting a reduction...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Manifesto, Revisited

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
     - Edmund Burke

This is why I often find myself in the dreaded role of the "young contrarian."

This is why I sometimes see fit to risk friendships by asking people the uncomfortable questions in the hope of addressing cognitive dissonance.

This is why I publicly discuss my opinions, knowing that my honesty will be likely to sometimes have negative consequences in my personal and professional life.

This is why I intentionally seek out ways to challenge my own intellect; to force myself to grow and evolve each and every day so that I will not stagnate in the comfort of my own perception.

This is why I refuse to agree to disagree.

Because there is an answer to every problem.

And yes, I will be the first to admit that sometimes that answer is still beyond our grasp.

Sometimes that answer is "we don't know."

And that is so profoundly wonderful.

There is nothing more pure and honest and inspiring than the admission of ignorance.

But if that is to be an answer, it is an answer that we must find together.

We can not avoid conflict and still expect to motivate progress.

We can not turn a blind eye to our differences and expect to "just get along."

We can not waste time preoccupying ourselves with the fear of offending some obsolete tradition or ancient doctrine.

Because there are answers out there.

Answers that we may never find.

But we must at least try.

We must not grow complacent.

We must call into question that which we are commanded to believe.

That which we are told is "just the way of things."

I am not satisfied to sit by in public conformity, privately commiserating with only the like-minded as the generations of the past tell me who I am and how I am expected to succeed.

We are not simply the products of the things that they give us.

We are so much more than that.

The answers that our generation will find and pass on excite me to no end.

We are a generation accustomed to rapid, perpetual change.

And like all of the innovators and scientists and artists who have come before us and risked their own happiness to change the world, we will do incredible things.

But I must first ask you this question:

Are you satisfied?

Monday, January 2, 2012

One of my greatest regrets of my college career so far is that I largely stopped reading books.

I just didn't have time.

And when I did have time, I usually didn't have the energy required to attempt to maintain my attention on the page.

But I am hoping that all of that is about to change, thanks to this fancy new device of mine:

I am hoping that the Kindle is going to make reading more convenient and accessible, given my constantly busy schedule and my worthless powers of concentration. At the very least, it will make my reading material easier to bring with me, and therefore easier to actually do in the breaks between more pressing events. 

Anyway, I have some posts coming up soon. I have been writing, but I've been having a hard time keeping up with these updates recently.

The past several months have been very...trying.

I understand that I have no need to do so, but I apologize for my intermittency as of late, and I thank you all for your patience as I figure out how to best adapt to some of the challenges that are currently being introduced into my life.

Now, I am sure that some would say that buying an infinite book is not going to help me write more often.

And I...would have to concede they are probably not incorrect.

But expect to see a lot more of me over the next few weeks.

I want to get serious about this again.

So, until next time.

Much love, my friends.

Sunday, January 1, 2012