Tag Archives: education

Carl Sagan: The 4th Dimension

The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.

Carl Sagan

This is one of my foremost favourite lectures by cosmologist Carl Sagan who might also happen to be within the higher levels of my own pantheon of personal heroes.  In this video, Sagan explains physical dimensions beyond our familiar three-dimensional perception, and does it in such a way that even a child could grasp the concept.  The only problem is that the more curious of us might be led to delve much deeper.  Get ready for a serious mind job.

What Are Your Feelings on Homosexuality and the Consequences From It?

Author’s Note:  This question was posed to me via Formspring.me (http://www.formspring.me/matteargle), and I thought it politically significant enough to weigh in on here as well.

I’m not quite sure where to go with this question.  Firstly, lesbians depress me because those are two perfectly good females that have taken themselves of the dating pool.  Well, I say PERFECTLY good, some of them are rather scary.  Yikes.  Gay men are fine with me because they reduce competition and are often fun to watch in their antics (as in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or that air traffic controller character in Airplane!).

Seriously, though, I guess I should weigh in as if this were a heavier issue, because it is very real.

Honestly, I don’t think open homosexuality is causing quite as much damage to our society as a lot of people tend to put on.  Two men (or women; or a man and a woman, for that matter) having a consensual sexual relationship has ABSOLUTELY NO IMPACT on my right to life, liberty, or security.  If a homosexual couple wants to be committed to each other, be legally responsible to each other, and bear all the rights and responsibilities associated with marriage, by all means, they should be allowed to!

“But wait, Atari, marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman!”

If that’s your religious belief, then that’s fine, just don’t press it upon anyone else.  While you’re at it, let me have my science textbooks without a disclaimer, please.  Marriage is a RELIGIOUS sacrament, not a LEGAL one.  The government has no place to tell me who I can or can not marry, that is only up to me and God.  I am of the opinion that we, as a people, should do away with the “legal marriage” idea and replace it with a “civil union” or some such title.  A justice of the peace can still officiate a wedding, if you so prefer, but that is up to your RELIGIOUS preference.  If you don’t believe that God cares that you were married by a civil judge or a ship’s captain, then that’s your perogative.  A judge can issue a legally binding certificate of unity (commonly called a “marriage license”) to those couples that meet certain obvious legal requirements (age, blood separation, etc.), but there should be no requirement that stipulates that a (wo)man can not be legally bonded to another (wo)man.  A priest (rabbai, judge, tribal elder, military officer, chaplain, helicopter captain; whoever either holds civil/military command over the sacramental ground or between the couple and God) of the couple’s choosing can then perform a RELIGIOUS ceremony to avow their marriage.

“But wait, Atari, how can it be a religious ceremony if it’s not performed by a religious leader?”

As I alluded to before, I’m using “religion” in this sense to describe any set of values and beliefs you hold to be true.  If you believe a priest has a much power to avow a marriage as a civil justice of the peace or a ship’s captain, then that’s between you and your God(s).

“Now, Atari, you just contradicted yourself!  You said that the government has no place telling you who to marry and, later in the same paragraph, said that there were ‘certain obvious legal requirements’ to marriage.  What gives?”

Seriously?  Are you going to call me on that?  Anyone below the age of consent (or age of majority, really) should not be allowed to marry.  Sexually abusive fathers should not be able to marry their young daughters, just to “make it right.”  These are obvious provisions that, unfortunately, any society would have to accept for protection of others’ life, liberty, and security.

As far as consequences from homosexuality, I’m going to assume “negative” consequences.  Obviously, there are public displays of affection between homosexuals, and I suppose that more conservative parents would take offense to their children seeing such actions.  Frankly, I don’t want to see two guys making out either, but I’m not going to stare at it.  Govern yourself, people.  I don’t particularly like Emo kids, but I don’t think that shitty bands should be outlawed.  Parents can be honest to children, like mine were, saying that they were adults and that children should never engage in such behaviour noting that I would understand when I was older.  I honestly think that if everyone had a little more respect for each other, the problem would eliminate itself.

I think the biggest problem facing homosexuals and society, in general, is this so-called “gay pride.”  People who are overtly, over-the-top, hilariously gay are setting the equality movement back decades.  Martin Luther King, Jr. did so much for equal rights for blacks and minorities because he led PEACEFUL protests, FIRMLY, but RESPECTFULLY, demanding equal treatment.  These homosexual “shock mobs” (as I just found out that I like to call them) only succeed in (pardon my French) pissing people off, making more enemies, and detracting any would-be allys from their cause.  If you (homosexual “shock mobs”) want to be taken seriously, don’t parade around in drag, leopard print bikinis, or other fetish gear, show us (the heterosexual population) that you are capable of being legitimately respectable, productive members of society.  On that note, I’m not saying that there’s no room for flamboyance.  I have friends that are very obviously (read: “stereotypically”) homosexual, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not respectable and productive members of society.  I’m just saying that what you do behind closed doors is your business, there is no need to make it the world’s.

Teacher threatens to call the cops over Linux

For my educator friends, please, don’t EVER be THIS STUPID in your classroom! For my friends who are parents, please make sure your children never end up in a classroom like this. For my Linux advocate friends, the superintendent has looked into the matter and a conference is scheduled to enlighten the teacher, and there is a blog linked from the article elaborating the email exchange between the teacher and HeliOS. For everyone else, please enjoy some absurdity in our public schools.

A teacher has thrown a student into detention and threatened to call the police for using Linux in her classroom.

Read the rest

Flying Tomorrow!

By order of Dr. Clark, I am to start flying tomorrow–no exceptions. I’m half-way through the semester and I gotta catch up since Finkelstein screwed-up my financial aid, keeping me from flying for the past month while I had to fix it. I need a minimum of 20 hours instrument time in order to qualify for my instrument rating–got 4 weeks to get it if I want a grade for the course. Otherwise, it’s an incomplete (which could turn into an F by December if not rectified). If it’s not one thing, it’s another, isn’t it?

Anyway, not to bitch. I’m flying tomorrow, and it will be glorious! I’ll post pictures of the new bird as soon as I can.

Flying Tomorrow

Couldn’t get the override for ground school because I may not have the prerequisite for the class by fall: my instrument rating. It’s stupid.

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Instrument Stage I Exam

I didn’t do as well on my Instrument exam as I would have really liked. I could probably chalk it up to a number of factors, but the problem lies, ultimately, with me–the Pilot In Command.

Mr. Hunt is gracious enough to let me retake the exam and average the two grades together for an academic score, so I’m going to rap with him about what I missed tomorrow and probably retake the exam then.

Argh, I KNOW I can do better! The information is there, I just haven’t quite been able to pick it up when I’m on a written test. Not only that, but the Jeppesen exams we’re using are arguably harder than the FAA exam I’ve already passed! Then again, who ever knew me to resist a challenge?

I am Super Jeeves, THE Geek Shit, Atari. There WILL be better!

Classes Added

Wasn’t able to get the 43 credit hours that I wanted this fall, but I did get some things taken care of.

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Tentative Plans

After finding an error in my schedule for the semester, I get solid ideas as how best to finish my degree paths here at Middle Georgia College.

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Times Are Just A Little Rough

Sorry to open on a downer, but I needed to vent. I’m feeling a little lonely here in Cochran, but this helps me put things into perspective.

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An Update on Scholastic Progress

Well, as you may have inferrred by now, the final exam has come and gone, marking the end of private ground school.  I easily managed to get a 95% on the final (and 2nd midterm exam, by the way), so I’ve pretty-much got a 95% average for the class (not that it really means much, as long as I’m above the requisite 80%).  Simulator flights have been going well, putting me in the top tier–those ready to take on the real thing.  If all goes well with my checkride Thursday, I’ll be in N791SH (that’s our Robinson R22 helicopter) Friday afternoon, as scheduled.

Also, I need to take and ace 3 practice exams before I’m cleared to take the FAA written exam (I guess I should get started on those as well), as I will need to pass that to get my private rotorcraft rating.  Then, all I really have to do is start building hours (50 before the private checkride and start of instrument class).

Also of note:  Friday will be my first flight–ever.  I’ve never flown commercially, for travel, or for any other purpose–so my first time flying will literally be my first time flying.  Yeah, I know….