Practicing mage of the natural sciences (Ph.D. micro/mol bio), Thought middle manager, Everyday Junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, No tie shoelace user, Humorist, Argan oil aficionado. Occasional LinkedIn & Facebook user
Happy Oil Expropriation Day!
Author's preface: Apologies as I realize this is going to be published a bit late for oil expropriation day, but it could not be helped. The idea to write this story only occurred to me while in the midst of an OE day inspired haze and was quickly forgotten in my post OE day inspired laziness, but then remembered again on the Monday following OE day (today). Which shall forevemer more be known as post OE day Monday, the day of atonement. Apologies and thanks also to Wikipedia from whence I expropriated a good chunk of the history of oil expropriation day
There is No Logical Requirement for Evil
Theologans and religious philosophers tie themselves up in knots over the existence of evil. The reason is simple, (almost) all religions posit the existence of a God or Gods which are good. Many times the God or Gods are the ultimate good or the source of all good and many times they are omnipotent and/or omniscient. It is easy to see the problem for those religions which posit a God that is good and all powerful and/or all knowing. Why would such a God permit, or if all powerful, be responsible for creating, evil? It is a fascinating question that can never be answered for many reasons. It is greatly complicated by the lack of agreement on the properties of God (all good or not, omnipotent/omniscient or not, one or many, etc.). It must be said that one thing all arguments for the existence of evil share, and it is a thing I think with which most people would agree, is the belief that evil does in fact exist. Certain things/people/acts are evil and we have a way of knowing what these are though exactly how that is to be known varies considerably from religion to religion and ethical system to ethical system. It is possible to argue that evil is an illusion or that there is no evil or that we can never know what is good or what is evil. The arguments for each of those positions are generally weak and few share thsoe beliefs so I will ignore them for purposes of the discussion below.
Balance Should Not Be the Goal
The topic of balance came up in a recent conversation with a friend. She was relaying the results of one of those personality tests that claim they can classify your personality “type” based on certain behaviors, characteristics, and/or tendencies. There are hundreds but the vast majority are based on the Meyers-Briggs classification system which is itself an out-shoot of Karl Jung’s personality type theory. I have no intention of debating the merits of Jung’s theory in this post, like many theories in the social sciences, it has its proponents and detractors. Instead I will accept it as generally accurate and ask what that implies from a self improvement perspective.
Satironical Meta Magical Realism
Narrator's preface: The writer who is the protagonist of the below story includes an author's preface in many of his written works. Generally these are full of psuedo intellectual clap trap that sounds intelligent at first blush, but upon closer inspection is actually nonsense. He was not available to provide an author's preface in this case telling me that he was busy "inventing a brand new genre of writing" which he had dubbed satironical meta magical realism. And there you have it, a perfect example of what I meant with that intelligent nonsense comment. Apparently he was doing this in order that he might produce a story he could enter in a writing contest for some two bit website nobody has ever heard of much less cares about. I told him good luck and offered to dream something up to cover his author's preface for this "story." His fan base which consists primarily of persons recently released from or soon to be committed to a mental institution, prisoners, hobos and homeless vagabounds get very agitated when he fails to include an author's preface in any given story he writes. Of course they also get agitated by anything anyone else considers normal. Ah well. Enjoy the below, or don't, it's no skin off my back either way.
A Mexican Cobbler in San Diego Reads Me the Riot Act
"Never give them any money, never. If you do, you are part of the problem." These were the words that came out of the mouth of a visibly agitated cobbler in San Diego yesterday when I relayed to him the story of my recent encounter with corrupt Mexican police. A story I had published here only a few days ago.
Ancient Man Vs. Machine
Author's preface: In light of some recent hullaballo on this website related to AI created content I thought it would be nice to (slightly) update amd republish this imaginary debate written in the style of the ancient Greek Socrates and a modern AI on the subject of intelligence.
Three Word Time Capsule Haiku
Immeasurable Infinitesimally Incalculable Author's postscript: This haiku has now been not approved for publication twice. I have no idea why. I thought the word count minimum was suspended for the contest but if that is not the case thus the reason for this clearly unnesccesary additional postscript. I happen to very much like this particular haiku. There can be no shorter haiku than three words given the constraints of the format. It is no easy task to find three words that actually make sense for the topic and have the correct syllable count. Oh, well at 100 words now. Let me submit this again and see what happens.
Author's preface: Last year I prepared and conducted a short course in molecular and microbiology for one of my young colleagues who was interested in furthering her post graduate education with a specific focus on rapid diagnostic methods in food pathogen detection. I had a lot of fun with the course and even prepared a syllabus which I am publishing below. It is a bit different from what you might remembe from school, as of course, I had to put my own twist on the boring old college syllabus. BTW, you can still enjoy this even if most of what I said above was Greek to you. Unlike the actual course there are no prerequisites and anyone can read and enjoy the syllabu, even if you don't understand hardly any of it. I did have to redact some parts to protect both mine and my employers privacy and protect against any potential unintentional revelation of confidential material, but it was very minimal. Where that has been done it is indicated in the body.