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It occurred
Tuesday. 1.13.15 12:05 am

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Doubling up
Thursday. 12.25.14 10:08 pm
Hey, lots going on this month.

But before that, an update about that adorable doggie. He's getting pretty big and he bites me a lot. But he began sitting today and he's overall adorable. Even his pointy little teeth.

So, this month. I graduated this semester. Finishing my last final was exquisite. I walked almost all the way home with my eyes closed, to commemorate the trip.

During the ceremony, there were only about eight Physics majors who were supposed to graduate...and only three actually showed up. So that's cool! I got to sit between my only two comrades. The whole time, I was waving at over-enthused parents and thoroughly enjoying myself.

They had a nice lady up there reading names, but it was quite unfortunate that she has a very strong Chinese accent. It might be generous to say that she butchered nearly every name she spoke. It wasn't just the hefty accent, it was her unfamiliarity with how names are read. She sounded unsure of herself every single time. And there was one lad with six names; when she finished stumbling through them, she sniggered. She laughed at this kid's name! For shame.

They eventually replaced her with this guy who read off a whole bunch of names, even the ones in foreign languages, like a champ. I mean, he probably missed a few of them, but he sounded confident. You felt good about the way he said the names. Like he was making them real with his voice.

Until he got to mine.

You're supposed to write the phonetic spelling if your name is difficult to pronounce. I emphasized the "F" sound in my first name, but neglected to write a pronunciation for "Hooper" because, hey, what can go wrong? I'll tell you what this man did. He called me "Hopper."


So naturally, when he called my name, I hopped up the ramp to receive my diploma, on one leg. Then I hopped to the president to shake his hand.

Hopper. Pfah.

So I graduated. Also, there was a birthday. I'll get to that momentarily. In the meantime, there was Christmas. Today was Christmas. It was a pretty nice day, all things considered. My family isn't great at conflict resolution, or you know, not fighting all the time. So it was cool to have a day with considerably less of that. I got a Chromecast , some neat clothes, and a camping stove. My brother bought me two very nice books: A Brief History of Time, (which I already own, but not nearly in such a nice edition) and The Count of Monte Christo. Both beautiful editions. Hardcover. I'm proud to own them. He did really well. I made belts out of paracord for my mom and stepdad, and I gave a gold necklace that I'd found to my brother. Sean let me have a present for Mom so I wouldn't just be giving her a cheesy belt.

Seriously, when did my brother become such a stud? Too bad he's dating, ladies.

Several of my friends started dating relationships a couple of days ago. Which brings me to my next point: I'm going to do that too. Start a dating relationship, that is. I'm gonna ask her out shortly after the new year. I'm not going to pretend I'm not excited about this. It's the first time I've been in a relationship for almost six years, if I remember correctly.

By the way, I just spent about 40 minutes going through my entries trying to figure out when exactly Katie and I broke up, but I gave up. I write too vaguely. If you're interested, it seems to be some time after March 2009, which is currently around page 68.

But yeah. I met her at a Halloween party last year (I took her on a date, before which I knew her by name only.) I've had my eye on her since she helped me a ton with the St. Baldrick's fundraiser earlier this year, and especially after the spring semester ended. Once the summer ended, and I'd made up my mind (both about my feelings, my fitness for a relationship, and the wisdom of the situation in general) I started taking her on dates more and more often. Before the Thanksgiving and Winter breaks set in, we were going out almost every week. I'm going to ask her when we both get back in town from the holidays. She's a great inspiration to me; She always finds joy in mixed situations, and she has a huge love for people she barely even knows: both areas that I'm sorely lacking in. And it's obvious she wants to be as close to God as possible, which is great for me.

I'm quite fond of her. I look forward to letting that grow even further. She's already caused me to use more happy exclamation points in text messages than I ever thought feasible.

It was her birthday that was a few days ago. I was already back in my hometown so I tried to arrange for my handmade candy-pack to arrive at her apartment. Those arrangements failed, but I am trying to forgive the one who failed me. :P But yay it was her birthday!

And in a few days it will be my birthday! I share birthdays with my roommate (well, one of them) and we're going to have a party or something at his house. He's turning 21! Go him. I hope she'll be there!

And then it will be New Years! Yippee!

And then I'll ask her out, with a date-and-switch. It's almost exactly what it sounds like.

And then all my friends will have school except me! yay?

good night

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New Doggie!
Wednesday. 11.19.14 11:41 am
My mother told me earlier this week that she got a new puppy. I didn't think I would be this excited to have a new dog but here he is and his name is Tux obviously.

Mom is enamored. And I admit I am too. Can't wait to play with him this Thanksgiving!

In other news, I want to work with LIGO. Read about it.

much love

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Crowd Sourcing Logic
Wednesday. 10.8.14 11:39 am
Preface: I have no formal training in the art of logic and debate. I think I have a pretty excellent working knowledge of how to debate something but I don't know any of the formal rules or ideas behind it. Arguing with people is something I've long since gotten tired of. Now, I present to you my thoughts and impressions with the intent of getting your feedback. If you have a formal knowledge of all this, then I especially look forward to your feedback. I'm essentially asking you guys to teach me if what I'm thinking makes sense or if I'm just making it up.

So I was thinking about the concept of the burden of proof. I've never heard anyone really discussing what it means before, so my only experience is with people claiming that other people have the burden in a given discussion. It seems, from those discussions, that on whom the burden falls is something of an intuitive "common sense." When asked a related question, a friend of mine said, "Honestly it comes down to who is claiming the more ridiculous thing."

Now, that makes a little sense, but it seems ridiculous itself. How do you judge which claim is sillier? Wouldn't both people think the other person's claim is more ridiculous than their own, in most cases?

According to Wikipedia (kill me), the burden falls on anyone who is making a claim. If you make Claim A, and I say, "I don't think Claim A is true," then you have the burden. But if I respond with, "I believe that Claim A is false," then I've made a new Claim, and the burden shifts to me. There is a difference between disbelieving in a claim, and believing in the falsehood of the claim. I think many of you can appreciate this difference.

The difference comes from this (again, from Wikipedia): in a case where there are two possibilities, and no evidence has been put forth to believe in one or the other, one cannot logically favor one or the other, and must therefore suspend belief in both. A so-called default position. It is claims against this default position that hold the burden of proof. The example from Wikipedia is that of a gumball machine: is the number of gumballs even or odd? Until I have a reason to think one way or another, I can refuse to choose a logical position. If you claim that it's even, and I challenge that claim, then you have to put forth evidence. But if you say it's even, and I challenge by claiming instead that it's odd, then I have to put forth evidence.

This makes sense. I think involving the order that claims are made muddles things a bit, but essentially it means either claim will have the burden of proof.

This is where I diverge from what I've read and start playing around.

The gumball machine is a great example, and like all great examples it is over-simplistic. What if I have to make a decision based on the even/odd status of the gumballs? I could guess, which I think protects the tenuous "default position" that I've adopted, but I could also try to find evidence to support one claim or the other. Depending on how much I care, I could find a little or a lot of evidence, and come to the logical conclusion that either Claim A or B is correct.

In this situation, there is no "practical" default position (unless I'm being irresponsible and, I don't know, flipping a coin or something.) When I'm solving my gumball machine problem, whatever it is, I have to act like I believe in one of the claims, even if from a logical standpoint, I have little reason to do so. So, even though I would prefer to be agnostic about the number of gumballs, I can't.

This is the weakest point of my argument: if there's no practical agnostic position, we can't expect the burden of proof to behave the same way, can we? Who holds the burden in a situation where we have no way to act neutrally? From a purely logical standpoint, the way we act is completely beside the point, but this is the real world, and we have to marry logic and reality somewhere.

The way I see it, having the burden of proof means I am obligated to provide evidence to support my claim. Duh. And it also means you have no obligation to change your mind unless you find my evidence meets your standards. (And how we come up with these standards is a wholly different issue that I'll look into later.) If you can adopt the default position, you should stay there until a claim is sufficiently proven to you. But what if we're all forced to adopt one claim or another? Well, we could be irresponsible and flip a coin, but logically, we would be forced to seek evidence until we're comfortable adopting one claim or another.

Or I suppose we could just pick the one we like best.

So, what do you guys think? Have I made any major errors in my reasoning? Are my sources wrong (lol)? Is this something you've thought about before?

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