Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rise of the Cybermen

I know in reading that headline all of you either said "huh?" or put on your skeptic hat (or both). Bear with me.
For those of you who don't know what a cyberman is, a quick explanation:

A cyberman is a machine (usually robot) with a human brain and/or consciousness inside. I encountered the concept via a TV show known as Doctor Who. I've been watching it obsessively lately for two reasons:

  1. David Tennant (the 10th regeneration of The Doctor)'s finale has come. Part 1 last Saturday, and Part 2 this coming Saturday. Naturally, I've rediscovered how freaking awesome it all is and am rewatching lots of old episodes. For instance, we watched the finale to Season 3 this morning. I've seen the End of Time Part 1 twice and listened to BBC's commentary podcast episode on it twice. Stop laughing at me.
  2. My friends are visiting from Indiana, and they like Doctor Who but haven't seen all of the New Who episodes. We always watch at least a few whenever they come. 
Anyways, I was reading the latest issue of Popular Science earlier today, and was shocked to learn something:

The cybermen are coming.

The subtitle of the article reads "According to Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity is a point at which man will become one with machine and then live eternally- which makes Singularity University, a nine-week academic retreat named for the concept, sound a little cultish. Our writer traveled west to investigate and found 40 stunningly sane braniacs out to change the world."

The writer "expected to encounter a bunch of sci-fi nerds who couldn't wait to plug into the Matrix" but instead found a group of graduate students scientifically working with "far out" concepts to try to make the world a better place. The "university" isn't actually much of a school- it's an "intellectual retreat". There are no tests and no papers. Collaborative projects, thinking, and presentations dominate.
The University isn't even centered around achieving Singularity, although it is one of the things they play with. That's just the school's chancellor (Kurzweil). He estimates that by 2029 we will achieve AIs (Artificial Intelligences) equal to humans and by 2045, we "should be able to upload our consciousness into machines, providing eternal life."
Remind anyone of John Lumic?
Of course, what Kurzweil is talking about will (hopefully) be radically different from the episode. He's already on a " regimen designed to prolong life (minimal calories, healthy foods, no booze, many [over 150] supplements)", and has made arrangements to be cyrogenically frozen in the event that the technology is not ready within his lifetime (he's currently 61). He appears to have none of Lumic's qualms about becoming a  human mind in a metal body.
I'm writing about this not to say "WE MUST STOP THIS" and not to heavily endorse it. I think we definitely need to be careful in this field and that there are pros and cons to Singularity. I think people should be made aware that this concept is not as sci-fi as they think it is. I think we should all come to our own conclusions. I think we should be wary, but open-minded. It doesn't seem like the Doctor will be around to save us if we mess up (although that would be beyond awesome), so let's think it through, and be careful.
I know it sounds like I'm paranoid of being attacked by robots. I know it sounds like I'm against this technology. It scares me, yeah, but I'm open to the concept of using it. If I see people making the change and still retaining their humanity, and nothing weird or horrible happens (observation for a few years) then I'll be in the car on my way to the integration facility. I don't want to sound like I'm dissuading the project from continuing.
My point: Yes, sci-fi is fiction, but we can still learn from it. So let's be VERY CAREFUL. Who says these AIs won't try to take over the world and obliterate humanity from the face of the earth?

A question for Kurzweil: are you talking computers with consciousnesses floating around in cyberspace, cybernetic organisms like the Termiantor (minus the guns and stuff), or brains in metal suits?

Forgive my Doctor Who fanship and slight paranoia. Like in Galaxy Quest when Nesbit tells Branden "[everything on the show] is all real" and he exclaims "I KNEW IT", perhaps I never quite accepted that some stuff is entirely fake. Most children are like that, right?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss Part 2

Here is my classmate Lauren's response to my post on the quote "Ignorance is bliss".

I completely understand where you are coming from, but I have to disagree. The quote "Ignorance is bliss", in my opinion, is very true because in all three books-Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, and Harrison Bergeron, the characters hold to some degree of ignorance. You said that Montag was ignorant but unhappy, but really he was happy. Before he understood what was going on, Montag was happy with his life, until he met Clarisse and Faber, who you even said drew him towards realization and away from ignorance. Before anything had happened to him and before he met Clarisse, Montag led a content life, such as on pg. 10 " Are you happy?....Of course I'm happy. What does she think? I'm not?..."(I'm referring back to the discussions on whether or not Montag was really happy). Only after encountering Clarisse does Montag finally start to realize how unhappy he is, once he becomes less ignorant.

I'm not so sure she "completely understood" where I was coming from, but okay.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ignorance is Bliss...Or Is It?

We had an assignment in English to go on Blackboard and respond to one of the quotes our teacher had posted. There were four. I chose "Ignorance is bliss" and the following is what I wrote.

  I suppose it depends on the level of ignorance in question when it comes to agreeing or disagreeing with this quote. If a person (or animal, in the case of Animal Farm) is completely ignorant through and through regarding their situation (such as how the animals had no idea what Napoleon and his cronies were up to) and they believe everything they are told, their ignorance truly will be bliss. The animals believed they were far better off under Napoleon’s rule than they had been under Jones, so they were happy. Boxer and the rest worked their tails off for the bare minimum and were still completely in love with the idea of their new lives.
            However, ignorance far easier to break than the possession of knowledge (unless one is in control of mind-wiping technology). Granger and his companions in Fahrenheit 451 have books in their minds and nothing can extract that knowledge from them. Montag, on the other hand, is floating just a few inches under the water, and it only takes a few thrown pebbles from Clarisse and Faber to break the surface tension and allow him to emerge into the sunlight. After that, he is still ignorant, but he is aware of the fact. This sort of ignorance is the complete opposite of bliss. It’s terribly aggravating and is sure to make a person feel completely helpless. He struggles to learn by reading his hidden books, yet remains utterly left in the dark.
            Ignorance is a fragile thing, and even the slightest bit of disturbance can disrupt the total immersion that is essential to maintain the state of bliss. There is a point where the victim begins to fight his or her savior in order to keep drowning, as is the case with Mildred.
            Today, we live in a state of perpetual fluctuating ignorance. We’re doing the breast-stroke: one moment our head is above the water, so we take a breath of air, and then we plunge ourselves back into the icy depths from which we emerged. Exposure to the truth of an issue (such as the brutality of war, the corruption of a person or organization, the obesity epidemic, or our own grotesque spending habits, etc.) only lasts for so long before our minds block it out again and we go back to our old ways with little thought to our brief respite from the conditioning we have undergone our entire lives. Whether this brainwashing of sorts is from our parents, our religion, our general society, or our own psychological refusal to see what is hidden in plain sight, it remains a problem. We are land animals, so let’s go walk around on the beach.

I'll post one of the responses I got later, possibly tomorrow. Then you'll get to see MY response to THAT. We had a bit of an argument. 

So: What do you think of the quote?

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Quick Update Of Little Significance

I've changed my display name, so don't worry: it's still me, the same person who has always been here. In a few months I might change it again. Eventually I'll find something that I won't want to change, but that time is not yet here.

A Catch Up: Writing Plus A Bit of Politics!

I hearby commit to never saying anything like "long time no blog" ever again. I have resigned to the fact that there will pretty much ALWAYS be a long time between posts. This makes such slogans pointless and repetitive.

During the last month, I participated in NaNoWriMo. My word count by the end of the month was around 57,000. Now I've got 6 months to finish the story and revise before I can get a free proof-copy of it from CreateSpace. So exciting!

As for what I've been working on in the time since then...I'm attempting to turn my poem "In The Maelstrom" into a song, but it's not going terribly well. I will try to persevere.

Two 1-2 page things have sprung up in the last week as a result of the thing known as Honors Biology. Both have the same sort of style as what I've taken to calling "Brownie Day" (although if I were to actually name it, that wouldn't be the title), which was also written during that class. Is this a trend due to the class itself, the fodder I've been drawing from, or just the mood I'm in? Probably a combination of all three, I'd wager. The last of those might be read at the writing club I belong to sooner or later. Possibly this week.

Now to a non-writing thing:

Apparently there's a conference going on in Europe right now between lots of world leaders of the issue known as Global Warming (gasp!). Although this definitely is a serious issue on our planet today, I have it on the authority of my World History teacher that 1500 limos have been rented for the occasion. Did you catch that? 1500. Well, technically it's only 1200, but there's another 300 in reserve. How many of those are hybrids? 5. Just five. I forget the number of personal luxury jets, but there's a bunch of those in use to.
All told, the total amount of carbon being generated as a result of this FOUR DAY conference is greater than ALL of the carbon burned in an entire YEAR in Morocco in 2006. Sad, isn't it? The hypocrites.

That is all for now, my trio of followers. I suspect I shall see some if not all of you on Wednesday.


-(if you know my name insert it here).   :D Incentive for you to find that out, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Machine Pwns Noobs

I highly recommend everyone buy Hank Green's new album This Machine Pwns Noobs. If you're having doubts, read this amazing blog entry/review of the album:

The album is currently on-sale via link @

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo Widgets!

Look at the new widget calendar thing for NaNoWriMo! So unbelievably sweet!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A La Procrastination Station

I have been NaNoWriMoing my face off all weekend. I am tired. I just want to sleep. I also have English homework to do. I need to write another 850 words by the end of today in order to reach my personal goal of 25,000. That's halfway to the end of the word goal, but not nearly half of my novel.
I have been eating candy today.
I don't want to write anymore right now. I want to go do something else. 10,000 words in two days is a time-consuming endeavor.
So I am making this blog post as a way to procrastinate. There's only 850 left, but at this stage of the story that is going to be a very arduous 850 full of contemplative words and insightful dialogues.
If only the human body could preform a massive mitosis (yep, I was doing Biology HW earlier as well) so there would be two of me. One could write and the other could sleep. Yes. Then we would merge back after the other one finished the 25000.
Actually, I think I will abandon the Internet entirely for an hour or so. Yes. Goodbye.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

At The Bottom Of The Page...

At the bottom of the page, you will notice some new banners I encountered while surfing the net. I love those books dearly and have a special connection to them (NOT the thing for the stereotype of a typical guy).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Looking For Alaska

Long time, no blog. I apologize, Danny and whoever else is reading this.
This morning at 12:00 am marked the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, in which I am participating. My novel hasn't got a title. On my hardrive, it is simply called "The Novel". This is my first year attempting this feat, and I think I'm off to a pretty good start: currently 4825 words.
My outline is over 9000, however, and is taped to the wall next to my computer. I must admit, 23 pages taped together in three strings is a beautiful sight to see.
Other news: a Paper Town has been discovered. Read about it here:

I read John Green's Looking For Alaska yesterday (yes, the entire thing). I enjoyed it very much. In John's video he talked about how certain people did not want to book to be taught to highschool English classes. He argued that teenagers are fully capable of reading critically and realizing that he was not condoning the scene between Lara and Miles (which was full of physical intimacy but with absolutely no emotional connection), but using it to provide a contrast to the scene between Miles and Alaska (which had both kinds).
Yes, teenagers are quite good at reading critically, but not when it comes to something like that. John insisted that there was nothing erotic about the scene between Miles and Lara. I agree wholeheartedly, but I also think that many people (meaning, many teenage guys, sorry Danny) would disagree. When it comes to this subject matter, I think it's difficult for certain people to read critically. That's my opinion. I don't think the book should be banned, but I don't think schools should require people to read it, either. Don't get me wrong, I love John and his books and his writing (god, his writing is wonderful), but still...
So there's my review on that aspect of the book.

And that's all for today.
May the Force be with you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chart Jackers

right, so this is important, even though it has nothing to do with writing.
The entire Internet (meaning, the people on it) is coming together to make a hit single that will take over the Charts (hence the name- Chart (Hi)jackers).
It needs as much radio time as possible, and as many people to buy it as possible.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday's Quote

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." -Norman Vincent Peale

So, so true; from a metaphysical standpoint as well as from a practical one. Thank you, Mr. Peale.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


There is a land, in a far off place and time. It is called Ishaera. The people in the kingdom love their King, but they used to have another one. They used to have a Queen as well as their beloved King Cerdic. Queen Ethelwyn left the kingdom after the first war with the Mercians and returned to her kingdom beneath the sea, leaving behind only her daughter, Princess Sierra Witherwind. Sierra, although she grew up with her father, is utterly her mother at heart. She is a sea elf.

Now the Mercians are coming again, and Sierra must realize her true power and fully become the Sea Storm of legend, the personification of the storm that brought the mythical Flood.
Aided by her six hand maidens, The Wind, The Fog, The Currents, The Foam, The Rain, and The Thunder, she must prepare for war and, at the same time, reconcile her parents, for only then will they be able to resist the Mercian onslaught.

Meanwhile, deep beneath the waves, her true love Eodred has been brought by The Wind, Fog, Foam, and Currents, to train under the Queen to become the seventh and most powerful of the godlike beings that serve Sierra; the Lightning.

Even though they are on the brink of war, can the two lovers bear to be apart, will the Ishaeran Army be ready in time, and when Sierra's power is taken from her, can they retrieve it in time for a battle even greater than the one that destroyed their predecessors?

The Other Oz

Far away, in a mystical realm called Oz, there once came a little girl named Dorothy. She was from Kansas, and with the help of her friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, she made it back home. The end.

But what if that was just the cover up?
What if that story was the Disney remake of a horrible tale worthy of the Brothers Grimm?
What if Dorothy was a boy from outer space, come to take over the world?
What if the dog's real name was Otod, and he was possessed by demons?
What if, instead of being a good witch, Glinda is actually a sorceress in the employ of the greatest thief lord ever to roam the land?
What if the Tin Woodman wasn't actually tin; what if it was aluminum?
Who IS this mysterious G.W.B.? And why is he always combing the air in front of his chin?

The Other Oz: a parody, a truthful telling, and a riot. Collaboratively written with "Tobi Tobi" and "Quest Dawn", this is the byproduct of a year of afternoons in an elementary school's teacher's lounge.

Today's Quote of the Day

Hey, there's going to be one today after all! Sorry that I didn't include it in the poem post (I hadn't checked my Google Reader yet).

"The problem with any unwritten law is that you don't know where to go to erase it." - Glaser and Way

It's difficult to change things when they aren't exactly tangible (although there are most certainly ways to do it, as Rose finds out in When The Sun Was In Your Hair). That's part of our problem. There's things we know are wrong, and we would like to change them (at least on some level), but it is not a procedure or policy or group of people that needs the changing. It is our collective mindset. Or, as puts it, our thought bubbles.
That YouTube channel is an excellent one that I recommend to everyone.

Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive. However, there is nothing in either Islam or the government's laws against it. Women are severely punished if they do drive somewhere. Fortunately, the King is willing to change this. Unfortunately, because there is technically nothing wrong with them driving, it will be difficult to do.

Just something to think about.

Maybe I will try to provide daily quotes. Or at least daily ones on the weekends. We will see.

Poem In Process

I started writing this poem back in July, and never got around to finishing it. It's related to the piece I'm going to write for National Novel Writing Month. I think it still counts, seeing as the website said "no complete sentences" are to be written prior to November, and a poem is just phrases.

Here it is:

Flick of a tail
Flash of the eyes
Dark of the female
The witch's cat cries

Around corner of street
Dashing cloak hem is seen
Asphalt on bare feet
The night's silent queen

Checking behind her
Cat at her heels
Not frightened as they were
At the altar she kneels

I know that in the "cover art" question, I said that she would have semi-high heeled boots, but feet rhymes with street. She will have boots, because the area she lives in at the time of the story is rather dangerous to go around without shoes in.

I may continue the poem, and I may not. Right now, that is what I have.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shelfari Widget!

I've just installed the Shelfari widget. Now you can all see what I'm reading. I try to keep it updated...

Now, about Shelfari: Shelfari is a website on which you have a book shelf. Your shelf is organized into three categories: what you plan on reading, what you are reading, and what you have read. You add books to your shelf simply by searching for them and then clicking "add". When that book's status changes, click on "Edit" to update it with things like your review of the book and stuff.

You can make friends with people, too. It's like a social network for book lovers. Fun, right? (I think so!)
The problem is, that I have read far too many books to take the time and add all of them. So I just add as I go. If I finish one book in a series, I add the rest of them as well.

Enjoy my mini shelf!


Greetings, Friends

Hello, Hola, and Chow. Even though that's not how you spell it.

This blog is not for the purpose of me rambling about stuff. Although there is a chance I may ramble. This is for me to alert peoples about book-related things. And interesting things. And generally me rambling on about cool stuff while apologizing for the fact that I'm not sticking to the topic.
So. Quote of the Day (which I will NOT have every day)

"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think." -Edwin With A Long Last Name That Starts With A S.

I will be adding little widgety things as I go. I hope to get a Shelfari widget so you can all see what I am reading. That should be good.

For info on the books, and for other stuff pertaining to this, go to

That's my site. I'll try to mostly post everything in both places, but most likely information will be here. And so Huzzah.

And I'm running out of ideas as to what to write here. I'm a writer who can't write blog posts. Wonderful.