Sunday, November 27, 2011

jeffrey sachs for president

poverty is a relative term. to me,poverty can be defined as is if a person is living and: a) they do not have sufficient access to food, water, and/or shelter, b) there is not enough natural resources/ in a person's geographical location to sustain life and make progress towards a better life, and c) they cannot escape their geographical location.  the first requirement is almost obvious and needs little explanation, survival is number one. “sufficient” in this characteristic, is a term worth defining. by “sufficient” i mean to have enough food, water, and shelter to have enough energy to work and enough health to stay alive. the second and third requirements are reliant on failing the first.  the second requirement, i speculate, is so i may still effectively define those most severely overcome by poverty; those that are stuck in the midst of the poverty cycle, one which compels people to cut down those last remaining trees without re-planting, until there are not even trees as natural resources for homes, goods, animals to reside in, or even to shade. as Sachs points out in his book, The End of Poverty, these states are stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of perpetual poorness. it may be the case that there are no resources to begin with, or so hardly any that were once there were depleted. you might consider a desert. people have set up their societies in the middle of a desert where a river once ran, but the river ran dry and after it did, those people are stuck; without the means to survive or flee. this leads me to my third and final characteristic, an almost Platonist like concept of the ability to leave the region. if the place you were born is barren of resources, and you are literally unable to come up with the resources to leave an area, you are living under the poverty line. i use this characteristic to better distinguish wants and needs. if you were born in New York City, and are failing to meet my first measure, and also the second measure, if you are still able to get together enough resources to move somewhere that was more affordable, then you are not living in poverty. if you are unable to come up with enough water and protein to travel across the vast desert to immigrate elsewhere, you are living in poverty.
my measure and all the others are deficient in a similar and profound way: the cyclical nature of poverty, in which ever measure and subsequent definition of the word. i have seen this with my own eyes and have never stumbled across an econometrics examination or qualitative analysis that was able to weigh the variable of hereditary poverty. that is why i came up with my third trait of “poverty;” i have lived in a place where many people live a life of poverty (by many measures). i have seen many of those people stay there and raise their many children there, and, as you might have guessed, those children then stay and do the same. i escaped. my mother (and father, by twisting his arm) found the means to relocate us to a place where there are jobs and opportunity for personal growth. she sought and received an education which would allow her to fund an expensive endeavor such as moving. she had no more opportunity than our old neighbors, in fact less, since she was the only source of income for herself and me, while attending the university, while our neighbors were a working couple with a child. she did have a couple variables that not all people have: perhaps my mother came equipped with more mental capital and will and also cousins who were already here and could spare a room for our little family until we got our feet on the ground. we escaped the cycle and do not live a life of poverty. on the contrary, our old neighbors still live in the same house and live a life of poverty. none of the measures (mine included) can account for this phenomena and are flawed as a result.
if you haven't read any Jeffrey Sachs, i strongly urge you to. he is pretty centered and his economic mindset really makes for interesting analysis of situations. you can find info on the book here.

Sachs, Jeffrey. The End of Poverty. Peguin Press. NY. 2005 (pg 57-60)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

descartes proof of god

        In the Third Meditation, Descartes gives us the causal proof for god’s existence, but throughout the Meditations, Descartes has not put to rest the paradox of the concepts of error and god. If error exists (through humans) and humans are creature that god (the all good, all knowing creator) created, why then is there room for error? Firstly, Descartes clears up the idea of a deceptive god; god can not deceive us because every type of deception is an imperfection.  I personally believe that the term “imperfection” is ambiguous;  I think that the mind can conceptualize words like this in a relative way through negation. It is clear and distinct how god is perfect, and the opposite can be said from that. Descartes proves that the infinite, omni-benevolent idea of god is the root cause of his idea of god. Indeed, he seems to presuppose god’s existence to prove god’s existence, but he must to support the sufficient means law of all things. So, god, in all of its perfect-ness, gave humans their facilities and from our facilities we can makes misjudgments because we do not have all of the pieces needed to make the proper judgment. Error comes from the misuse of the perfect faculties that the perfect god gave us. There are two parts to judgment ; the faculties of intellect and will. Intellect serves as the ability to perceive to form ideas and make judgments on them. The ideas presented to the intellect are neither true nor false. The intellect serves a passive function as a warehouse of ideas of which we pull from to further qualify other ideas. The second perfect faculty god gave humans was will. Will only affirms or denies ideas presented by the intellect. The ideas presented can be a mix of new information and ideas from the warehouse of intellect, ready to be iterated with the new ideas and for the will to choose to affirm or deny the new idea. If the intellect is presented with ideas which are already misjudged by the will, or are not presented in their entirety, the will can misjudge them. This is not god’s fault; god is perfect and bestowed onto us perfect faculties, it is my incorrect use of my free will that causes error. “…extends in general to every case where the intellect does not have sufficiently clear knowledge at the time when the will deliberates.” In the last paragraphs of the Fourth Meditation, Descartes further substantiates god’s perfect-ness and why that leaves him null of responsibility for error, although he created humans with free will, which can lead to error. Descartes says that god gave him the ability to agree or disagree with ideas, presented to his intellect, and when he chooses to agree with something when he does not have the clear and distinct knowledge of truth, is an imperfection in him and a misuse of those perfect faculties. He prescribes man a method to always avoid error from this logic: restrain your will to only pass judgment on ideas that are extended to the intellect with the clear and distinct quality, since everything with that amount of clarity is something (not nothing) and everything with thing-ness came from god.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

if you give a fuck...

I'm coining this expression: "why don't you put giving a fuck to good use and vote"

Be prepared for bumper stickers. This one will definitely appeal to the people who are so misinformed that the only truth they can relate to is giving a fuck. I am a convincing political enthusiast and can almost always show a person that they give a fuck. It is an easy argument.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

con te partiro

my handcrafted version of BattleShots

great grandma

swinging girls

happy girl

sickie girls, but still fashionable

A couple links I think you should check out:

A blog about the improbability of your personal existence. Yes he uses generalizations, and yes it's still fabulous. Follow the link, here.

This cute cover of Two Headed Boy/Holland, 1945, here. All of his stuff is pretty good. I dig that voice.
Please read this paper on quantifying the attractiveness of a face, here. It's terribly interesting.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

eleven years of gadgets

since the turn of the millennium we have witnessed some incredible leaps forward in technology. i think iPods define this generation of people, y or whatever. the first model, released in '01, was brick like device that had buttons and a dial. it could hold 5-10 gigs of music, and no other data. they started getting larger (60 gig) by the 4th gen which could also display crude pixalated images. apple has already designed it's own throwback "iPod classic," which can hold 120 gigs of crap. the iPod comes in minis and shuffles and mini iPads, i mean, touches.

my little brother was born in '05. he is ridiculously good at angry birds and can easily learn how execute commands on iDevices. he will certainly have an iDevice sooner than later. my littlebits aren't even two yet and already can "unlock" my toys. when they insist they need iDevices, i am certain we will give them ours and get new ones. they will lern how to send their grand parents emails before i stopped believing in santa. i know they'll be as addicted to music as i am so they will need mp3 players! i don't know how i would've turned our if i had the Internet at my finger tips when i was a kid. I am excited to see what the future holds.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

playlist: piana

Rabbit in your Headlights: U.N.K.L.E.
Jealous Guy: John Lennon
Everything's Not Lost: Coldplay (you know how i know you're batting for the other team? you like Coldplay)
Goshen: Beirut
Passenger Seat: Death Cab for Cutie
Like Spinning Plates (I Might be Wrong Live Version): Radiohead
Perfect Neglect in a Field of Statues: Eluvium
The Freshman: Jay Brannan
Tiny Dancer: Ben Folds
Big Boat: M. Ward
One of These Things First: Nick Drake
Maybe I'm Amazed: Sir Paul McCartney
True Love Waits: Christopher O'Riley