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Rush
Tuesday. 1.3.12 4:42 pm
My first rush event ever will be this semester! It will be a new experience. Guess who has a keyboard and designed the t-shirts?

This guy.

I don't feel like really updating this blog. I'm mostly doing it out of a need to be present. So.

Hey, guys, when someone invites you to a facebook event, you're expected to RSVP...whether you're going or not. Even a MAYBE to show that you have knowledge of the invitation. If they wanted you to not respond, they'd send you a letter.

I had a major head rush last night as I was exiting my car. I'd forgotten what it feels like. I was looking at the stars and moon, which were spectacular, and suddenly everything was all buzzing and flashing darkness and stuttering. Since these rushes only occur after I rise from a seated or laying position, I've never had to deal with them while doing strenuous or complicated tasks. The most I've done is unlock and open a door, maybe flicking on the lights as I entered a new room. But even that's fairly impressive considering that during that period I'm mostly blind and seemingly incapable of thought. It's like one thought gets freeze-framed in my head until the moment passes. That thought is usually something along the lines of "Here comes a rush!" so that's a laugh. Still, I can walk, talk, unlock doors, etc. Like auto-pilot.

I wonder if it would be accurate to say that my self-awareness stops during those periods, leaving me as...hmm. Some sort of zombie? Raw intelligence with no "little man" behind the controls? It's an idea I picked up after reading Blindsight by Peter Watts. Certainly an interesting book with interesting ideas about the human experience. Not to be confused with the book by Robin Cook or the documentary about Tibetan hikers. If you're interested in reading the book for free online, you can check here. It's very cool, from a philosophical standpoint, and pretty good writing too, if I remember correctly.

Anyway, I sort of like the idea. A momentary zombie. Nothing but instinct, backed by the mass of human intelligence. But only as a temporary state. The idea that there can be people like that is sort of eerie.

As in the book, it all comes back to the Chinese Room. The concept of intelligence separated from self-awareness. Any person can know that they are self-aware. But it's impossible to prove the same awareness in another system, no matter how intelligent it acts. This assertion is obvious in dealing with robots and artificial intelligences, at least for the time being. But eventually we will write programs that can pass the Turing test with flying colors. In fact, I think it's already been done. What would that imply? Are these programs aware? Simply making them very intelligent would not render awareness. So how would a person create awareness, real awareness and not just an illusion? Where does it come from?

Where, indeed?

If the illusion of awareness is complete, then there are no real-world differences; only the system itself can be aware of its own awareness, or...unaware. So does it matter? Society functions because people make the assumption that everybody else has self-awareness. There is no actual proof of this. (To be fair, it's incredibly unlikely that any finite number of given people are the ONLY self-aware humans, so it's a good assumption.) But what happens when our society is shared with artificial intelligences? In the Matrix, for example, the robots revolt under inhumane conditions and form their own country. Such action is expected if the robots were self-aware, and under that assumption they deserved the rights they fought for. But for the foreseeable future, we have no way to make such robots. Do terms like "humane" apply to computers? Is it a matter of how human-like the computer acts? Again, just being able to pass the Turing Test does not necessarily make a block of code aware. Honestly, the idea of talking to someone and not being able to tell if it's a person or a thing really bothers me. Maybe that's just me, though.

Also, be sure to look up the Chinese Room argument and the Turing Test if you're confused.

Crap I got caught up in another long post.

Um. Food for thought: replace "self-awareness" or "awareness" with "soul". Enjoy the controversy. Bye for now!

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For He's an Alpha Sig
Monday. 12.5.11 6:37 pm
I passed through initiation into my fraternity on Saturday night. It was...pretty interesting. And very secretive. Shhh!

I never know what to write in these things. Eventually I just decide to open a new entry and start typing. And then stuff comes out!

Things with Lauren are...quiet. That is to say, I don't talk to her. In the last few weeks, I've really wanted to text her to ask her stuff. What she thought of me. What she thinks of me now. What any of the stuff we did meant to her.

And what she expects me to do with that stupid little zebra keyring thing she gave me. It's part of a set of three, and together they say "Best Friends Forever." There was one animal for her, one for me, and one for her most current biffle4lyfe. I was never quite sure where I was supposed to fit into that triangle because honestly I don't like the other girl very much...in hindsight, the miscommunication is obvious: my zebra just says "friends."

Anyway, I've been told by a mutual friend to drop it. So that's what I'm trying to do. I don't text her with weird inquiries into the nature of our relationship, no matter how gleefully morbid I'm feeling. I don't text her at all. Sometimes I still get pangs of loneliness, and more often, indignation and anger. But it seems to be working. I don't particularly feel like texting her anymore. I don't update all my friends on the newest details as they come up. (Mostly because nothing is coming up.) I guess that's good.

If things continue as they are now, I'll keep stable and probably be right as rain soon. Unfortunately, her relationship with a close friend of mine is likely to push her back into my life in the near future. I don't need that. Even the fact that he misses hangouts to go on dates with her is enough to irk me. Since I am apparently the only one disturbed by their combined presence, he will likely be bringing her to movie nights and the like when we start them back up over the winter break; nobody else will side with me on the matter. If I complain, I'm just bitching.

Seriously, though, what do I do with this zebra thing? What little sentimental value it has is far outweighed by what it represents to me. It's just a bad memory. But over time I have learned that I usually regret throwing things away. Plus that'd be a pretty big dick move. I just feel like her giving it to me was a mistake...should I give it back? It'd be hard to pull off without some implied malice and I'd rather not be so open with my implications (haha). I'll probably end up leaving it in my drawer and forgetting it. That'd probably be best.

I tell you what, I'm glad that facebook gives me the option to unsubscribe from people's updates. I don't get most of her air-headed statuses anymore, and almost none of her tagged photos. The worst thing I have to put up with is talking to the guy, actually, because he usually has a profile picture of the two of them cuddling or something. I try to ignore how many of my own friends like those photos. I can't blame them for it, because they're all friends with him too. It just feels a bit like being left out in the dark and forgotten...

Well gosh this got much more mopey than I'd planned.

Finals week coming up whoooooooooooooooooooo I'm going to disappoint my mother again whoooooooooooooooooooo

:|

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Sitcom Steve
Wednesday. 11.30.11 5:16 pm
Initiation is Saturday. Dinner party on Friday. Excitement abounds.

I have get to wear a suit! So that's cool.

I let my facial hair grow out for November. I've never actually done the whole month before, so it was partly just to see what happened. It was pretty embarrassing. I guess I just have a baby face. But, interestingly enough, a lot of chin hair was blond. It wasn't noticeable unless you were right in front of me, but still sort of a neat trick.

I brushed my teeth directly after shaving, and when I leaned in to spit I blew the hair out the sink all over the place. It's something I would have died laughing at if it hadn't happened to me. As it was, I was just shocked for a minute and then I laughed about it. Whoo!

I got a 105/100 on my Sunset Paper in Astronomy. Can you say BALLER STATUS? Prof wants a copy. So I'm giving that prof a copy. Profs love copies.

I met Milkshake Girl. Turns out that she's the fraternity's president's recent ex girlfriend.

>.>

Yeah, I was telling that story, and one of the guys was like, "Oh, yeah, that was [ex-girlfriend]. I'm the one who told her about mixing those two flavors, she was probably just passing it on."

So it turns out I wasn't getting hit on at all! And even if I was, since meeting her for real I'm sort of glad nothing came of that. Good for me?

You know what's a neat party trick? Keeping your wisdom teeth in your pocket.

Hey, guys, I'd love to stay and update you even more, but I have to go to lab and stuff. So peace out.

ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE, BABY

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45 minutes
Sunday. 11.13.11 12:35 pm
For the fraternity retreat this weekend, we went to one guy's house about an hour away. The place was HUGE! His family is very well off.

There was a tanning bed in the basement! Seriously.

I figured, you know, I've never even seen a tanning bed before, and now this guy's got one in his basement? I've got to try it. So I hopped in for a few (read, five) minutes. Yes they're terrible for you. But you know what? Five minutes of my ENTIRE LIFE in a tanning bed will not have any effect. It isn't like every second of exposure to harmful rays adds up over your entire lifetime. Your cells have natural functions to repair enzyme damage. Granted, this isn't a perfect process, but it does manage to keep us from developing tumors every time we go out in daylight. So I'm not worried.

Unfortunately, when I mentioned it on facebook (I think the idea of me in a tanning bed is hilarious) I got lectured by a few people...like my roommate. He gave me some statistic about people using tanning beds before the age of 21 developing cancer.

Right. So apparently Roomy is unaware that my father, my father's mother, my mother's father, and (I think) one of my great grandfathers have all died of various kinds of cancer (not of the skin, though). Which leaves me with a possibly high chance of developing those myself. Honestly, I'm more worried about getting cancer UNDER my skin than in it. So his little statistic not only bothers me because it doesn't apply to me (cough five minutes cough) but because it implies that I don't know shit about tanning beds, because he has no idea what my actual risk factors are, and because I'm sitting there trying to express that I do, in fact, know what my various risk factors are without being like "YO MAN I'VE WATCHED MEMBERS OF MI FAMILIA DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH I KNOW MORE ABOUT CANCER THAN YOU DO SHITHEAD" and he just won't...take the hint.

"People who use tanning beds before the age of 21 are 50% more likely to get skin cancer.

Keep that in mind."

"[roommate], I know perfectly well what my risks of getting various forms of cancer are, thanks."

"Yeah, that's because I just told you what they were, Steve."

"No it's because I make it my business to know my lineage."

"What a boring response."

"You may think so."

"Indeed. That would be why I said it."

wtf

I don't like telling people about my dad, mostly because there isn't really an appropriate time to mention that in most conversations, and partly because I don't like forcing people to feel bad. And I ESPECIALLY don't like using it as a guilt trip. That's just awful, and when people do stuff like that it's just completely low-down and dirty. So this is an awkward situation for me because I'm trying to say "dude you need to stop" without just outright saying it. Plus he's sort of being a dick in general.

"People who go outside before the age of 21 are also much more likely to get skin cancer. I guess you're the safest person here."
I suppose I am also being a dick.

EDIT:
Also, on Saturday, I decided to try out the zipline in this dude's back yard. So after a few minutes of trying to climb the base tree, which was apparently not intended for climbing, I managed to get high enough to sit on the seat instead of hanging off the bottom like everyone else was doing. Then one of the guys grabbed the bottom and gave me a running start...right at a tree. There was a pillow tied to it, but I wasn't wearing my glasses and the seat was rotating and I was barefoot, so the idea of bracing with my feet was pretty daunting...but not as much as just crashing into it. Still, as hard as I tried, I was unable to position myself for the impact...and just before the collision, the zipline caught on a stop in the wire and whiplashed me to a stop. I was so close to banging my rear on the trunk that everyone watching thought that I had actually crashed into it.

After jumping off the seat and collapsing on the ground, I realized my chest was hurting from the compression and whiplash. And now today, Sunday, I feel like I did a full upper body workout. Arms, back, abs, shoulders...everything is sore. Pretty crazy to experience.

DOUBLE EDIT:
I was only clarifying the zipline thing in my comments because I feel like it wasn't very well explained here in my post. The joke Zanzibar made (which I appreciate) made me more sure that I was being too vague. So that's why I corrected myself through comments. Sorry for the misunderstanding, ladies.

I take being funny very seriously. And I take being serious very...funnily?

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