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What IS love, exactly?
Wednesday. 10.8.08 9:36 pm
Before I say anything, I'd like to point out that I'm not driving at any specific point or answer, I'm really just trying to get some wondering down. It's distracting from these wonderful literature logs my teacher assigned to me. So.

First, I'd like to kind of define love. Love, as I see it, is putting somebody else before yourself. Investing time and energy to do somebody a favor that will possibly not be returned. When ever you go out of your way to be nice to someone, you're loving somebody. The smaller the favor, the smaller the love, but it's still love, technically.

There are forms of love, like in a parent-child relationship, or between friends, that can make us "be more loving" to a person, even to the point of discipline. (Yes, I deem discipline a loving action, as long as it is just and useful.) Let's call that Brotherly Love, because, except for parents/children, it makes us as brothers and sisters. You watch out for them. You enjoy their presence. When you exclaim, "I love you guys!" you really mean you would do anything for them.

And that's what friendship is, at its heart. Brotherly (sisterly) love on a small to large scale.

Now, being "in love" with someone is a whole other creature. I'll call it Romantic Love. (Original, I know!) I kind of want to say that it's an outgrowth of Brotherly Love (INCEST!), but stronger. But that's not really true. Marriage, the real pinnacle of Romance (I heartily maintain that, sorry) is a bonding of two people. Mind, soul, body. It's not just MORE than friendship, it's also DIFFERENT. I wonder how many failed marriages would have been great friendships.


And what's with romantic relationships these days? Why is there this...system to work through? Especially in high school. Are we trying to imitate marriage or something? That's a scary idea, looking at all the failed relationships in high school. Why does the word "dating" no longer mean "going on dates with"? A date is two people going out alone and enjoying each other, whether it be out to eat, a movie, or just a walk in the park. That's all. Whatever feelings of infatuation or attraction are there, great. Act on them. Love each other. But there's no need for all these rules. Just be happy with each other. When I "ask a girl out", I ask her if she wants to go somewhere with me, not ask her to sign a freaking contract.

Now, don't get me wrong. Cheating, juggling, whatever, is always bad, "social contract" or not. If someone is sharing their self with you, then you need to respect it. Not based on whether you're "dating" someone, but based on basic morals. Unless, of course, you're "dating" for sex, in which case you're already in a barrel of eight kinds of crap.

Now, when two people are "dating" pretty seriously, and want it to be known, then the whole boyfriend/girlfriend factor comes into play. But it should be a product of spending time with each other. Letting the romance grow. Not something that comes BEFORE.

OK, rant over. Bed time.

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Today was a good day
Monday. 10.6.08 6:34 pm
Actually, the last 12 hours have been great. Youth group is always a blast, especially when Katie comes.


Last night I learned something so amazing and justplainawesome that I flipped my lid temporarily. (Temporarily, ha, ha.) I'm not even kidding. I'm so excited. Completely mind blowing. Will it always be like this?

Yeah, it's old news apparently. What, 6 weeks? And you didn't tell me?

Hahaha, seriously?

It's OK though. I'm still crazy thankful.

So, today, I'm itching to tell people, but it would be random and weird. So I just kind of tremble and shoot Kierra death glares, because she knows, too, and in fact knew the whole time. And SHE didn't tell me. -grumble-

In Driver's Ed, I won an oil pan for storing used motor oil before recycling it. The thing is HUGE, with, oh, I dunno, a 4-5 gallon capacity? What the heck. I couldn't ditch the thing in my car, and it didn't fit in my locker, so I hauled it around the rest of the day. People kept asking me what it was.

That was fun.

I told some of them that it was motor oil, and proceeded to show them how to open the spout and the air vent at the back when you recycle it. Then I would slip and pour a little onto their lap.

At least, that's what they thought was happening, before I walked away laughing.

That was fun, too.

Before swim practice, Jack (haha, Jack. Heh. Heheh.) and I planned that all the state swimmers would dress up on Friday to celebrate the State meet. But instead of dressing up nice like usual, we would dress up gangsta. I was a little upset that I didn't have anything really gangsta to wear.

After swim practice, I randomly won some BLING BLING glasses. How lucky am I? Winning two awesome prizes in one day, one of which I really need? WhoaAA.

Of course, I DID have a most fantastic cramp DURING swim practice. All the muscles in my left calf said, "Kick kick kick CONSTRICT AGGGHHH TIGHTEN!!!!!" Jack (haha, Jack. Heh. Heheh.) pulled me out of the pool so I could stretch it out. After putting my FULL weight on it for about a MINUTE, I stretched it enough to straighten out my knee. But even then, everything was stuck.

And then the toes on my right foot decided to join the party. Which wasn't so bad, really, because I'm used to THEM cramping way back when. They eventually settle down on their own. But the timing was bad, especially since this is the first time I've cramped at all in around 2 years. I was more mad at them than anything else.

Stupid toes.

Oh, and to dispel any rumors, NO! Nobody's having a kid. Weirdo.

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Fine Tuning (For you fellow science nuts)
Saturday. 10.4.08 6:46 pm
I stole this from Gerald schroeder's website. I'm sure he won't mind. This is not a religious statement, though it certainly has implications. This is just me with my eyes wide and my jaw dropped. (Skip to the bold text if you get bored easy)

Dr. Dennis Scania, the distinguished head of Cambridge University Observatories: If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature -- like the charge on the electron -- then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop.

Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.

Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University:

"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life -- almost contrived -- you might say a 'put-up job'."

According to the latest scientific thinking, the matter of the universe originated in a huge explosion of energy called "The Big Bang." At first, the universe was only hydrogen and helium, which congealed into stars. Subsequently, all the other elements were manufactured inside the stars. The four most abundant elements in the universe are: hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon.

When Sir Fred Hoyle was researching how carbon came to be, in the "blast-furnaces" of the stars, his calculations indicated that it is very difficult to explain how the stars generated the necessary quantity of carbon upon which life on earth depends. Hoyle found that there were numerous "fortunate" one-time occurrences which seemed to indicate that purposeful "adjustments" had been made in the laws of physics and chemistry in order to produce the necessary carbon.

Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. Adds Dr. David D. Deutch: If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

Universal Acceptance Of Fine Tuning
Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment's most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning. The August '97 issue of "Science" (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled "Science and God: A Warming Trend?" Here is an excerpt:

The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life -- such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars -- also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.

In his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time", Stephen Hawking (perhaps the world's most famous cosmologist) refers to the phenomenon as "remarkable."

"The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers (i.e. the constants of physics) seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life". "For example," Hawking writes, "if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers (for the constants) that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universes that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty."

Hawking then goes on to say that he can appreciate taking this as possible evidence of "a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science (by God)" (ibid. p. 125).

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, author of "Genesis and the Big Bang" and "The Science of Life" was formerly with the M.I.T. physics department. He adds the following examples:

1) Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in high energy physics (a field of science that deals with the very early universe), writing in the journal "Scientific American", reflects on

how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.

Although Weinberg is a self-described agnostic, he cannot but be astounded by the extent of the fine-tuning. He goes on to describe how a beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. But this is not the end of Professor Weinberg's wonder at our well-tuned universe. He continues:

One constant does seem to require an incredible fine-tuning -- The existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places.

This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not:

100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000,

but instead:
100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000001,

there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe because as Weinberg states:

the universe either would go through a complete cycle of expansion and contraction before life could arise, or would expand so rapidly that no galaxies or stars could form.

2) Michael Turner, the widely quoted astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab, describes the fine-tuning of the universe with a simile:

The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.

3) Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, discovers that the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding,

namely, an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros! (That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros.)

Penrose continues,

Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe -- and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure -- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment.

Cosmologists debate whether the space-time continuum is finite or infinite, bounded or unbounded. In all scenarios, the fine-tuning remains the same.

It is appropriate to complete this section on "fine tuning" with the eloquent words of Professor John Wheeler:

To my mind, there must be at the bottom of it all, not an utterly simple equation, but an utterly simple IDEA. And to me that idea, when we finally discover it, will be so compelling, and so inevitable, so beautiful, we will all say to each other, "How could it have ever been otherwise?"

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Tasteless like the gruel they feed orphans!
Friday. 10.3.08 9:48 pm
Yes, John really did say that today at lunch.

Here's all the BUMPER STICKERS that Ryan has sent me on facebook...

These images are prone to stop working. I hot linked them from Facebook. Don't hurt me.

This will probably not be entertaining for anyone who doesn't know Ryan personally. Ah, well. Today we changed Ginger Alert to Moose Watch, "in honor of Sarah Palin's Alaskan heritage." But then we changed it to EmuEmu are Alaskan, right? I meant Elk, not Emu. It's a freaking bird.



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