Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why I Hate People

I hate people. This is something I've been increasingly realizing about myself over the past 5 years or so.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I *love* people - but I hate them as well. I definitely hate them to a lesser extent, but on some days I feel both in equal measure.

I think the biggest drivers of my hatred for people are:
1. Their seeming inability to think critically
2. Their lack of empathy
3. Their willful ignorance

I am reminded of my hatred when I take time to observe and consider the things people say and do. For me, the most egregious offenders are highly educated/well-read people whose emotions will not permit them to analyze difficult things through objective lenses. I feel this way because they should know better. 

This feeling seems to present itself most often in partisan discourse on whatever the subject of the day is - be it issues like racism and systemic injustice, or stuff like religious ideology and the broader implications thereof. For example, why can't some people see that it is shortsighted to say something like "all lives matter" in response to hearing or reading "black lives matter"?

Though I listed three things above that drive my hatred of people, continuing to think as I'm writing has helped me to see that one point encompasses the other two, and that is the second one: lack of empathy.

If we seek to show others empathy (including those we don't particularly care for), we will think more critically and less so in a self-serving fashion. Additionally, in seeking to identify with others, we will not be willfully ignorant of the issues that matter to them.

I halfway felt like it would be appropriate to discuss how I try to apply these feelings of mine as a theologically conservative Christian (this is not a statement about my political beliefs), but I struggled to state it concisely. Suffice it to say that my personal goal is to love others in the same way that I have been loved by God - namely, with empathy and compassion.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Why I (probably) Won't Buy Amazon Prime

In light of all the buzz surrounding their new series "Transparent", Amazon is offering a one day only Prime sale.

I'm probably not going to sign up. Here are the benefits of a prime membership:

Here's why I think 12:00 am PDT on 9/26/2015 will come and $67 will still be in my pocket:

1. Free Two Day Shipping:
 $35+ order free regular speed shipping works fine for me. I don't shop at Amazon as much as I used to and when I do, it is usually to buy stuff that costs more than $35 (like protein powder, camera lenses and smartphones).

2. Unlimited Ad-Free Streaming Music:
I never really got into the whole music streaming thing - I think the biggest hurdles for me have been incomplete streaming libraries and weird rules about offline access.

I typically buy complete albums from the Amazon mp3 marketplace and listen to them on my 120gb Microsoft Zune. I don't want to use my phone to listen to music because my phone is too big to carry around the gym and music always gets interrupted by notifications. If someone would make a connected device to replace my Zune, I would buy it. Maybe there's an android device out there somewhere.

3. TV Show Streaming:
There is too much good stuff on TV. I have too many choices. My humongous DVR is full of stuff that I don't have time to watch, why do I need more stuff?

4. Unlimited Photo Storage:
The unlimited photo storage is cool, but I'm currently using Microsoft One Drive (dropbox cut my storage, in turn, I cut dropbox) to back up pictures I take on my phone. I keep redundant external hard drive backups of photos I take on my DSLR and I've recently started using Flickr, which offers 1TB of free cloud storage, to back up/showcase these same photos.

5. Free Kindle Books:
I barely read books - and when I do, I read physical books. Currently reading a hard copy of "God is The Gospel" by John Piper. Good stuff.

6. It's On Sale! :
~$5.50/mo is enticing, but it goes back up to the normal price of $8.25/mo after a year. This is not a lot of money, but i'd rather keep my money in my pocket than pay for convenience that I probably won't use

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal Trial and Sentencing: Racism?

This is not racism.

These teachers were offered pretrial deals and post-conviction deals. I've *never* heard of a post-conviction deal. The ones doing hard time rejected the post-conviction deals.

I do think the racketeering charge was too much. As far as I know, racketeering as a charge has only been used to address organized crime (e.g. mafia activity, drug gangs) and not teachers participating in a very different kind of organized crime.

Everyone who went to trial went because they felt the racketeering charge wouldn't stick. After going to traffic court in 3 different states, I've learned that the letter of the law is the letter of the law - if you've broken the law, being a good person, being "not as bad a criminal" when compared to others or having somewhat pure intentions wont make you any less guilty.

Going to trial when caught with a smoking gun is essentially trowing yourself on the mercy of the court - and at two different junctures, the court offered all of these teachers mercy. Just because they were black does not make this whole situation racism. Let us not play the race card with haste lest it be robbed of its meaning.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Solitary Confinement

I recently read an article on solitary confinement here on Mother Jones. The article, in part, discussed movements to ban solitary confinement for juveniles.

Here are my thoughts:

Solitary confinement is incongruous with the notion of prison as rehabilitation. Prison is punishment enough without this exercise in stripping people of their humanity. This needs to stop, not just for juveniles, but for all people. It is a hazard for prisons and it is a hazard to normal society when these individuals are ultimately released.

One potential solution would be to have the equivalent of solitary, but in a place where prisoners can see and communicate with one another. I guess it wouldn't be solitary if people can see and communicate with others - but what is needed is a way for prisoners to be incarcerated in a way that balances the need for the safety of prison officials and the general prison population and the need for us as a society to respect the dignity and mental health of disruptive and/or disobedient prisoners.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I'm gonna be a coder

After much trial and error and heartache, I finally got django installed on my machine.

Things are weird with django installation when you're running windows - and no one tells you that. After running into a wall every day for the past 4 days when trying to install it on my PC, I finally asked myself 
"what if it has something to do with the fact that i'm using windows?"
...And sure enough, there are special install instructions for windows users on the djangoproject website - and those special install instructions are nowhere to be found on the main install page.

I'm probably going to sign up for code academy/treehouse or something similar after I work my way through the introductory "welcome to django" projects they've set up for new users to learn the ropes.
This whole "learning to code" thing is my new year's resolution.

I don't "do" resolutions, but because the new year represents a new season in my life, i'm going to make my goals into "resolutions" for 2015.
Why coding? Why not?
I've missed lots of opportunities in life to develop my coding skills (not the least of which was being a student at MIT) - but i'm not going to let missed opportunities get me down. Here's to a new year, a new season and to new goals.

Check out a blog I wrote on resolutions over here.