Thursday, April 26, 2007

Second Round NHL Playoffs

In the first round of the playoffs my statistics weren't exactly great I managed to get 5/8 series correct ( the coin toss got 3/8), however the number of games I predicted were pretty close.
(1) Buffalo vs. (6) New York Rangers
The Sabres are a very deep team and tough to play against but the Rangers have some great players in Jagr and Nylander. I can see the Rangers stealing a few games but going down in six or seven games. (Buffalo in Six)
Coin Toss: Rangers
(2) New Jersey vs. (4) Ottawa
The Senators put out an overrated team in the Penguins and are now confident and cocky. New Jersey has a tough goalie and are a tough defensive team that will put out Ottawa in six games.
Coin Toss: Ottawa
(1) Detroit vs. (5) San Jose
San Jose is a tougher, better team than Calgary and Detroit had some trouble with Calgary. San Jose is a big team and they'll give Detroit a run for their money. Detroit in Seven.
Coin Toss: San Jose
(2) Anaheim vs. (3) Vancouver
Vancouver has a great goalie but they can't score (nor could they all season) so Anaheim in Five games.
Coin Toss: Anaheim

Sunday, April 15, 2007

2007 Playoff Predictions (First Round)

The East

(1) Buffalo vs. (8) New York Islanders:
Buffalo seems to be always Playoff capable so Buffalo in Six Games
Coin Toss: New York

(2) New Jersey vs. (7) Tampa Bay:
Once again Tampa is relying on their big three who can be very good so Tampa in Seven Games
Coin Toss: New Jersey

(3) Atlanta vs. (6) New York Rangers:
I don't see Atlanta lasting long in the playoff and the Rangers have been great recently so New York in Six Games (Possibly Five)
Coin Toss: Atlanta

(4) Ottawa vs. (5) Pittsburgh:
Ottawa has historically been paper tigers in the playoffs and I don't see this trend changing and as much as it hurts Pittsburgh in Six
Coin Toss: Pittsburg
The West

(1) Detroit vs. (8) Calgary:
Calgary has grit and determination but they will be dominated in Five games by Detroit
Coin Toss: Detroit

(2) Anaheim vs. (7) Minnesota:
Anaheim as been great this season on the Ducks in Seven
Coin Toss: Anaheim

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Dallas:
Vancouver has only two goal scorers in the Sedin twins and a terrific goalie, while the Stars have some great lines and a goalie who chokes in the playoffs so Dallas in Six (Maybe Seven)
Coin Toss: Dallas

(4) Nashville vs. (5) San Jose:
San Jose is a tough team especially with its recent accquistions, so San Jose in Six
Coin Toss:Nashville

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Respect the Religious, hate the religion

Technically I'm a Catholic, but I don't believe in God. Not believing in god for me is like not believing in Zeus. In the future we will learn of the Christian god in mythology the same as we learn of Odin and Jupiter. You may ask how did I come to not believe in god?

I remember when I was six or seven and trying to figure out death. I thought of it as being asleep but wihtout dreams, and that's the way I've thought of it ever since. I didn't grow up in a devout Christian household, I think my parents are atheist or at least agnostic, but we went to church every now and then and I was confirmed (despite my protests). Hearing the bible read was simply like hearing a fairy tale read, I would no sooner believe in the talking wolf of The Three Little Pigs as I would believe in Jesus. When I finally got old enough to think critically (twelve or thirteen) I began picking apart the things in the bible.

For me, there is absolutely no possibility of me ever believing in an higher being. If there were a god, I think he would agree with me. As supposedly a rational being, he would be able to see my point of view and understand why I could not possibly believe in him. This rational being would also be mystified by why people would follow him around like sheep. We have evolved large brains to use, not to allow them to be filled with jiberish and have others think for us.

What's worse, I have yet to meet a religious (devout) person who was able to argue reasonably well. The ability to argue and critical thought are linked, so perhaps it's because those who are unable to argue well or think critically would be more inclined toward religion. More often than not, religious people are very ignorant about scientific processes and advances and state "facts" about them that are completely false.

If we doubt the very existence of god, you cannot use it to back up your argument. It's like saying I belive in pink unicorns and you doubt that they are real. I can't use information that I supposedly learned from this unicorn to prove my points because we are at disagreement as to whether the unicorn is real. The same argument can't be used aginst an atheist however because their reasoning is based in science and logic. Science and logic reguire no leaps of faith and use transparent processes to come to their conclusions.

If you say physics is phooey, then how do you explain how man built the atomic bomb? The physics as to work or the bomb would be little better than an anvil. For example say if I were caculating squares and I had to find the root of 4 and found that it was 2 and wrongly came to the conclusion that to find a root I have to divide the number by half. If I try the root of 100 I'll get 50 istead of 10 even though dividing by half worked for 4. If the basic principles of physics did not work, nothing based on it would. However science, at the moment, is unable of explaining everything but with time and experiment it can. The scientific method allows science to understand the world through experiment and observation, which the bible and the religious mindset does not allow.

As for accepting the beliefs of others, I find it very difficult to accept the beliefs of people who cannot or will not think for themselves. It's like the belief in Santa for children. I have a brother that is five years younger than me and he would use arguments for his existence based on his own lack of understanding of the world. To an adult ear, these arguments were easily disproven. I respect religious people, but not their conclusion because they are based on ignorance and lack of knowledge.

I have yet to hear one good rebuttal or argument for god!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Godless Tinted Glasses: The Atheistic Perspective

"There are no atheists in foxholes," I find this this old saying quite offensive and it despairs me that it is still in relatively common usage. It is suggested that there are a number of ways this saying can be interpreted, but most of the time it is used as an insult. One suggested meaning for the saying is that the dangers of combat would instill the fear of god in anybody. However, just as likely as a belief in god can be acquired, the killing, maiming, and hopelessness can and have produced atheists out of devout religious people. The second suggested meaning for the saying is, that foxholes are so dangerous that it would take a belief in a higher being to occupy one. This explanation does not make sense as the foxhole is safer than standing around on open ground during war. Presumably the phrase is thrown around suggesting the religiouness and patriotism of the American armed forces during this time of conflict. To some extent it is also something repeated for assurance of the religious community; those undevout individuals will come to the right conclusion when afraid and surrounded by death (hence therefore (somehow) there must be a god). Kind of like saying something over and over to convince yourself that something will come true. A love sick individual with a crush on a women who is in love with another man saying "in the end when their relationship will crumble and she'll realize her love for me," seems similar to "there are no atheists in foxholes" in a multitude of ways. Something that only happens in movies, but you sincerely and veremently hope is true, even despite evidence to the contrary (she is with another man after all rather than you).

There is another possible explanation for there being no atheists in foxholes. The people who serve in the army have traditionally come from lower social classes, and these people have historically had more faith in god. It has also been shown that, like vegetarians, atheists have higher intelligence and more education. People with more education and higher intelligence usually come from higher social strata, and higher social strata generally do not go into the army. So the result is two-fold, the military attracts the lower classes which have, on average, less education (less opportunities) and are more religious. So theoretically there were/are few atheists in the military, and hence "no atheists in foxholes." I do not mean to say that there have been no atheists in foxholes, but presumably the number is very low.

Atheism is also said to be something you grow out of; the argument is given that there are few elderly atheists, but there is a logical flaw in the argument. The older generations grew up in more religious times and are hence more religious or give the appearance that they are. In the same manner there are seemingly few elderly homosexuals because they grew up during times where it was not accepted and even if they were, would probably not admit to it. Many teenagers fall into atheism the same way they fall into drugs and alcohol or, conversely, religious groups. Theirs friends and peers are drinking/smoking/praying, and being at a impressionable age, they too begin the actiivites to be accepted without a mature belief in their activities.

Atheists are also thought to be without morals because they have rejected gods, (like the all moral Christian god.) However, the fear of being sent to a place where you will be tormented mercilessly for eternity, should not be what keeps you on the righteous path. Children, for example, do/don't do things for fear of punishment not because things are moral or immoral. The truly mature individual does not murder because of the fear of punishment, but because it would take away a persons' life and bring pain to their family and friends. For atheists this aspect is critical because they do not believe in heaven or hell, and the right or wrongs a person does during their life will not be rewarded or punished in a afterlife. In the Christian ideology, a rich person who has gained his wealth on the backs of others will go to hell where he will be punished for his sins, and the workers (if they lived good lives) will got to heaven and be eternally rewarded. In contrast, atheists believe the rich man will die after a life of pleasure and luxury and the worker will die after a life of misery and pain, and it will be the end of their stories. Thus this life is all that people have and it makes it all the more precious, and absolutely crucial that everyone around them have the best life possible because it's the only chance they get.

Most people approach atheism with religious views that form an absolute reality from which atheism is inconceivable. Understand that atheists reject God as we reject Odin, Zeus, or Jupiter. Atheism relies on a system of law and government that organized religion made possible, and as a people with a sophisticed state, we have outgrown you. We have no further use of people and organizations that would seek to gain at the cost of our "immoral souls."

Recently I have expericenced the death of a loved one, and though difficuly I know I will never see my grandfather again, but he lives on in my memory and the memory of others. Rathers than dwell on the dearly departed, I move on to my other loved ones and cherish every moment of the precious time I have with those I hold dear.

No matter how much we believe in something we cannot make it real. "A casual stroll through a lunatic asylum proves that faith not not prove anything."-Nirtzsche. From the religious persective, atheism is attempting to kill their god and their afterlife, and the loss of both causes life to become depressing. However, the perspective of a life spent helping others for an eternal reward is taking emphasis away from the actual life and the rewards and pleasures offered by knowing that you allowed others to have a pleasurable journey. We know for certain that life is real, but are unable to verify a god or afterlife. Why not make the most of life, after all we know with 100 percent certainity that it's real.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Neopets: Subtle Evil

On a casual viewing of Neopets you may not find it threathening and may even direct others there. The site is bright and "kid friendly" and "free." Such is the case that your children may be sucked in and you can be totally unawares to what they doing. There is no pornography, swearing, or inappropiate subject matter, however their morals are lacking in other respects.

First off, for those of you without familarity with the insidious Neopets, it is a site based on caring for a pet through playing games and buying items. There are millions of users online and has a very strict behaviour policy.

To get money a user has to play games or gamble. This is all well and good until you realize the amount of time and effort needed to get better items and afford to do what you want to do. All the items are overpriced and the Neopet owned stores needed to buy items are impossible to access due to the large numbers of users. It is simply impossible to buy items without a fast internet connection and even then you have a small chance. This means users have to patronize user owned stores with very high prices, thus reguiring more time and effort playing games. The games and gambling give paltry sums of money, and the gambling can often involve substantial loss. The enrmous amounts of money needed to buy certain items is staggering, and then inflation sets in making a bad situation worse. 15 neopoint books would often be sold for 100 times that amount in user owned stores, the likes of which represent considerable amounts time and effort on the part of your child to obtian. Many of the games that pay out the best prizes are also maddeningly difficult and repetitive.

It has been suggested that people become addicted to actions, so that a smoker can become addicted to the motions and events of smoking (standing in a small group and chitchatting) rather than the actual cigarrette. Anyone who has tried to pull a child away from a video game that they have been playing frequently can attest to the likelihood of becoming addicted to anything (wheter or not it contains nicotine).

This is where the insidiousness comes in, the children will play the games because they are fun (at least in the beginning) but later when they become more tedious and boring they will still be drawn back to them like a smoker going for a drag. Neopets is "free" (at least it used to be until it started a preminum membership service) so it needs to make its money through advertising. Our children, thus addicted to this seemingly innocent game, are constantly subjected to advertising at every turn in the site. Certain endorsements for neopoints (the currency of Neopets) can be gained from signing up for sites that flood inboxes with their spam and other that are more nefarious. The advertisements are everywhere, in the links, the items names, and on the banners.

I think there is something seriously wrong with a business model that seeks to make kids addicted so they can be subjected to endless advertising. What's worse, parents see the "kid friendly" site as just that kid friend and devoid of offensive content. There's no blood, no killing, no nudity, no offensive content, so it has the perfect cover to find a way into your homes and you little ones heads.

Unfortunately, the same excuse can be made for a number of other activities, namely television, but that fact does not make their actions right. Monitor your children's activities at all time and make sure you poke around in seemingly harmless sites. Grand Theft Auto may be considered the devil in some circles, but Neopets seeks to get into the minds of your children under cover of being "kid friendly" which GTA has never suggested.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's Evolution Baby!

How can humans possibly believe that we have a purpose on Earth? Many of us kill icky spiders, use insectides, and eat meat.

Take the meat industry for example. Some nearly hairless biped hominids domesticated cows, chickens, pigs, etc to their presence and feed them and safe gaurd them from other predators who wish to eat them.....then kill them themselves to eat. How can you raise something, watch it grow, and then slaughter it when the hunger pangs set in? It's sick!

Ah, the dog, mans best friend....and portable meat source in times of need. How many people acutally think of the history of why they have a dog when they set out for a game of fetch or snuggle up in bed with it.

With evolution, whatever creature that is able to become best suited to its niche survives and any who share that niche dies. How many millions of organisms have died since the conception of life so many billions of years ago? Just as we might use insectide to kill an infestation of carpenter ants in our homes, the cosmic justice might send a large flaming rock to kill the infestaton on his (live with it feminists) pretty planet. Our majestic spires of commerce and humanity could be used by furture species as material for their outhouses.

Take for example when we brew beer: we put the ingredients into a bottle and the bacteria consumes the food until they literarily perish from their own excrement. Are we any different? The Earth is our bottle filled with the necessities, will we perish from literarily drowning in our excrement?

Maybe our supposed intelligence will help us avoid diaster, but then these are the same people who blindly follow Jim Jones to their space ship and re-elect George Bush (for that matter elect in the first place). Needless to say I place little stock in humanity's supposed intelligence.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Murphy, I hate you.

Being a Political Science undergrad means I have to write a tonne of papers, being a History minor doesn’t help. Once in a while when I’m not being raped by school work I like to drink myself silly. Binge drinking is awesome after writing a 5000 word essay on Anwar Sadat.

On this particular night my “girlfriend” Elaine (girlfriend because I don’t know a nice term for whore) had too much work to do, so I got drunk without her. Later that night I found myself downtown and plastered. The club was nearly empty, but I somehow ended up dancing with the ---hiccup---hottest (hottest or most inhibited-S.C) girl in the place. Like horny little bunny rabbits we scurried home to my dorm room.

I was being ---hiccup---charming and was holding my alcohol reasonably well. Somehow I gave her a piggy back ride up to my room on the fourth floor, she was half passed out and nibbling on my ear. I threw open my door………..and Elaine was asleep on my bed in her underwear. Someone opted to take that moment to blow an air horn outside.

Elaine: Who’s that?
Me: A friend. You look really tired, you ssssshould get some ssssleeep in your bed.
Elaine: Get off of him you little whore! Wait, Molly?
Molly: Uh? What’sssss going on?
Elaine: You went out and dragged off my best friend! How the hell did you think you were going to get away with this?
Me: I….er…..uh…er (Molly got off of my back and went and hugged Elaine)
Molly: It’ssss been a long time ssssince I talked to you.
Elaine: We talk every night on the phone.
Molly: Long time…
Elaine: I think you should slap him.
Molly: But he’ssss sssso cute!

And that’s how Murphy screwed me over, not only was I going to get some anyway if I had not dragged someone off, but I ended with nothing but a hand print on my face and puke on my floor. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong ....or.... maybe it's Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.