A carefully crafted selection of slightly longer random useless thoughts

If you don’t like reading, get some slightly shorter thoughts here: A carefully crafted selection of random useless thoughts


How can anyone deny evolution? It’s literally just the idea that when members of a specie tend to die for some reason, the specie will also tend to die out if the conditions don’t change. How anyone can deny that is out of my comprehension. I don’t even get why it wouldn’t be compatible with religion. Surely the Bible doesn’t say that species who die out will be revived instantly? Pandas are having trouble staying alive because they literally suck at reproduction. That’s a blatant case of natural selection (that we’re trying to fight against because we like pandas).

Why do reading Wait But Why articles like this one make me feel so smart AND so dumb afterwards? I feel smart because I’ve learned a lot of stuff, but I also feel super dumb because I never knew all that stuff. Why can’t my brain choose just one, and not have such an obvious contradiction?

Why does Google allow me to see so many stats about this blog, including the exact time (up to the seconds) of every view on my site, where they came from, their IP, country, language, web browser, operating system, internet provider, how long they stayed on the page, which link they clicked on, where they went afterwards, etc. But when I look up what keywords people who found my blog through a search engine used, Google is the only search engine who hides those keywords from me. It’s almost as if Google gave me access to those stats just so I would give them access to them on my site in exchange for grouping and ordering them in a nice interface, but they just show me stuff I could find myself anyway while they won’t give me any access to information that they own for free. Oh wait…

Why don’t people seem to understand that the whole efficiency of peaceful protests in dictatures is that when you just sit around protesting and get beat up or thrown in jail, that shows the rest of the country just how bad things are and make them want to help your cause. So many people seem to think the cause of the sympathy is the beat up, but it’s not. No matter how hard you try to get sympathy when you get beat up after an all out street war where you were caught on camera trying to smash a glass bottle on someone’s unprotected head, and you didn’t even get beat up by the government but by people around who felt you had to be stopped, people won’t give you unconditional sympathy. That’s just not how it works. As a general rule of thumb, if you have to actually start the violence in order to get beat up, you’re not “fighting the oppressor”, you’re just an aggressor. Maybe you’re in the right, and maybe you’re justified in your actions. Many revolutions in the past are seen as justified today, and they were certainly not peaceful. But just own up to it. “I believe that the situation is so bad that we have to take up weapons to fight to fix the problem”. Then people can choose if they agree or not, and if they want to help or not. You can’t literally start fighting, then complain when the people who disagree defend themselves. You are either a peaceful protester trying to win the people through sympathy, or a violent revolutionary trying to solve things by fighting. Choose one, and act like it.

Why do people buy food in movie theaters? There is simply no way the extra pleasure added from eating during the movie instead of right before or right after could ever counter-balance the fact that you paid more than 5 times the price for the same food. 20$ for pop-corn and a soft drink is just so ridiculous, yet they won’t stop being such a scam because people actually buy it. I don’t blame the theaters, if people are willing to pay that much, it’s only natural that they’d charge that price. It’s basic economics. But why in the world are people willing to pay that much? Is eating pop-corn in the dark (and making munching noises that will, at best, not interfere too much with your ability to hear the movie) instead of at home before or after so great that you get five times more fun? I certainly don’t.


  • Kingfisher12

    Evolution is not incompatible with most religions, except those that insist on some sort of literalism of scripture (which are, in fact few). Some disagree with the theory of natural selection, partially I think because the principles are often poorly communicated. People have understood the principles of husbandry and selective breeding since the dawn of agriculture (its discovery is probably what led to agriculture in the first place). The reason natural selection seems not quite right to some religions is that the idea of an earth that can take care of itself without intelligent intervention seems anathema to a human-centric worldview. How dare nature get along without us and/or God?

    Part of the poor communication seems to be a misunderstanding of the terms ‘survival of the fittest’. ‘Fittest’ doesn’t mean anything specific, like strength, or cleverness, or toughness. It means only that over time, genetic traits that led to survival in the prevailing circumstances will tend to dominate. It is valid reasoning when applied to statistical forces over epochal time, but in any other frame, the reasoning becomes circular. “we know the survivors are the most fit because the fittest are the ones that survive”. Hence pandas and dodos.

    You should feel smart when doing something – self-confidence is important when you’re in motion. You should feel dumb when learning something – humility is a prerequisite for growth. If you feel strong during and after a physical workout, you did it wrong.

    To paraphrase Karate Kid – “Walk on right side of road: safe. Walk on left side of road: safe. Walk in middle: squish – just like grape”. If you choose to fight, then commit to finishing the fight. If you choose the path of non-violence, then refuse to fight. Fighting without commitment is just stupid. I also think ‘peaceful protest’ is at best a misnomer, and at worst an oxymoron. Just because you’re exercising restraint on the violence, doesn’t make it peaceful. That’s why it’s rarely effective.

    ‘Non-violent resistance’, on the other hand is something else. The goal is to ‘overcome evil with good’. It means to reject violence as a political tool altogether, as well as the notion that ‘the ends justify the means’. An effective non-violent resister doesn’t get beat up and go running to ask for sympathy or redress. He just gets up again and again until his oppressors get sick of beating him up, and refuses, each and every time, to stay down.

    The difference is that while a peaceful protest appeals to the sympathy of a larger mob, the non-violent resistance appeals to the humanity of the oppressor. In all but the most horrific of regimes, it’s generally more effective, but it does require significantly more courage.

    People buy greatly overpriced things because of marketing. Marketing accounts for a distressingly large percentage of GDP in developed countries, but movie theatres are a good case study in how well it works, and how dumb the idea of homo economicus really is.