Gourdians are an earthy and generally shameless lot.
It was originally posted here in 2011. It was technically a re-post — I copied the text and photos from my 2008 article in an older social media site that’s since gone to seed. (First rule of Older Social Media Sites: No one talks about Older Social Media Sites.) This one is only interesting if you want to see the first appearance.
I re-posted it a year later, in 2012. Again I copied the text — it was a re-post, not a re-blog. As a bonus, I added some new pictures and an introduction that explains the piece. This is a good one to read if you only read one.
The following year, in 2013, I re-blogged the re-post. Combination of curiosity and laziness. I didn’t love the results — re-blogs edit like comments, not posts. There is some new content there, but you have to also read the re-blogged article. Still, it’s the recommended course of action.
So go read this one. Happy Kiss A Gourdian Day!!
See ya next month!
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, winners of the 2014 World Series! This is the eighth win overall and their third win on consecutive even-numbered years (2010, 2012 & 2014). On the flip side, until 2010 they hadn’t won since 1954 when they were the New York Giants — that’s a 56-year drought!
They did get to the ball in 1962 (lost to the Yankees) and 1989 (swept by their neighbors, the Athletics) and 2002 (lost to the Angels). Given them credit for taking the 1962 and 2002 Series to seven games.
I’ll be honest. I was a lot more thrilled last year when the Boston Red Sox won.
I was tempted to call this Sports Thoughts, which would have been a great title, but which also would have implied a connection to the previous four posts. And there isn’t one. At all.
Instead, this one ties back to a post from last June: Digital & Analog Sports (which, obviously, you should go read now). That one mainly explored how sports can be grouped in terms of continuous (“analog”) versus interrupted (“digital”) play. It also touched on how sports can be viewed in terms of their MacGuffin (often some type of ball, but sometimes a puck or “birdie” or some other object), and it considered their field of play (location, size, configuration).
This time I’ll explore sports in terms of opponents and teams.
Despite the title, this post isn’t as strongly related to the previous three as the naming convention suggests. I don’t really have much to say about religious predestination. If anything, my views on spirituality are key to a belief in free will and choice. The religion I was raised in seems (at least to my eye) quite clear that we are allowed to choose our actions.
The connection to those other posts lies in picking up the thread of physical determinism — normally a necessarily atheist point of view — and doing a riff on religion, spirituality and atheism. This is the post I started to write last Sunday when my mind took off in a completely different direction.
This time I’m going to try sticking to the subject!
Too Weird For Words!
I started with the idea of physical determinism and what it implies about free will and the future. Then I touched on chaos theory, which is sometimes raised as a possible way around determinism (short answer: nope). In the first article I drew a distinction between “classical” mechanics and quantum mechanics because only at the quantum level is there any sign of randomness in reality.
It turns out that the quantum world is decidedly weird, and while we have math and models that seem to describe it extremely well, it can honestly be said that no one actually understands it. This time I’ll tell you about some of that weirdness and how it may (or may not) apply to the world as we know it.
The key question here is whether our brains make use of quantum effects.
Tick-Tock, goes the clock…
Last time, in the Determined Thoughts post, I talked about physical determinism, which is the idea that the universe is a machine — like a clock — that is ticking off the minutes of existence. The famous French mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace (the “French Newton”), was the first (in 1814) to articulate the idea of causal determinism.
We now know that quantum mechanics makes it impossible to know both the position and motion of particles, so Laplace’s Demon isn’t possible at the sub-atomic level. (It might be possible at the classical or macro level — that’s an open question.) Sometimes the issue of chaos theory is proposed as a counter-argument to determinism, so I thought I’d cover what chaos theory is and how it might apply.
If you want to skip to the punchline, the answer is it doesn’t apply at all.
I think, I think.
A bit more than three years ago I began this blog intending to write about matters of existence and consciousness (and science and computing). Since then I’ve tried on other hats, stories from my past and present, opinions and views about society, even the occasional post above movies or TV. But those meatier topics — the ones the blog is named for — still attract me.
There are three problems, though. Firstly, other sites specialize in that sort of thing and do it very well. Secondly, they aren’t topics that attract visitors — my meaty posts get even fewer reads than my less weighty posts. And thirdly, I may not be as good as explaining things as I would like to be.
That said, sometimes I just can’t help myself, so here we go again.
I was going to write about something completely different. Specifically: religion, spirituality, atheism, morality and ethics, faith and unbelief… that sort of thing. I like one day of the week to be different from the rest — a Sabbath, so to speak. For cultural and personal reasons (and pragmatic reasons — many businesses take today off) Sunday seems an appropriate day. I’ve got Sci-Fi Saturday; I suppose you could call it Sermon Sunday or something.
But when I sat down to write, something else came out. I thought I’d better grab it and stick it onto the blog wall before it ran away and, due to its youth and naiveté, ran afoul of Unpleasant Business. The thing about letting your mind drift is that you can never be sure where it’ll come ashore. In this case, mental notes about a possible future post morphed into… Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.
And, yes, you have to look below the fold — no cheating!
It’s hard to remember exactly, but I think I first noticed it back in the days of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s even possible it really started in the earlier series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. By the time of the final series, Star Trek: Enterprise, it was definitely a thing, and by then it went way too far.
In the original Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry gave us Vulcans. They were, in many ways, better than humans. They lived longer, they were stronger and smarter, and — crucially — they were, in some ways, wiser than us. Rick Berman, Roddenberry’s heir apparent, re-wrote that vision to make them conniving, lying, self-interested bastards. In other words, he made them more human.
My question here is: Why did our heroes turn into such assholes?
I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for a special announcement: The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants are going to World Series!
Given that these are both Wildcard teams that fought their way through a do-or-die Wildcard game, a League Division Series and a League Championship series, it’s kind of double-plus cool!
[Those looking for more of the previous two posts, can read this older post about the Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy. Be assured I will resume the topic anon.]