Death, Gender, Lonely, Math, Media, My favorites, race, Socialism

In Which I Qualitate/Quantitate

Don’t read this until you are ready to READ this. By that I mean, click on all links. You don’t have to read them, but they are an important part of the narrative. But do read the last link. It is the most important and is a news story and provides context.

c) I’m pretty sure that everything I think has been thought before.

That is simultaneously comforting and terrifying.

Often times our world is misled by what we think we think though. We then suffer under the great injustice that is our own misconceptions of ourselves. Specifically, the fact that 4 million more people watch Modern Family than The Middle. Both shows analyze the changing definition of the American dream, but one does it through shallow analysis of obvious xenophobia and one does it through thoughtful revelations about the inhumanity inherent in a capitalist society that refuses to empathize with struggle. Modern Family is a person who has not listened’s analysis, The Middle is someone who paid attention’s analysis.

1. I have had arguments with three people who have stated their frustration with the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Each of them went like this:
Them: “I agree with what they’re saying, I just don’t know what they’re saying.”
Me: “Have you been down to Zuccotti Park?”
Them: “No” and a bunch of more words that don’t matter.

2. I have a belief that Taylor Swift is doing the more harm to American society than Lady Gaga – specifically that Taylor Swift is doing the most harm and Lady Gaga is doing the most negative harm (negative used in the mathematical sense). This belief is challenged often. Typically those conversations go like this:
Me: “Don’t ask, don’t tell would have been repealed 3 years earlier if it weren’t for Taylor Swift.”
Them: “That’s ridiculous” They’re right “Lady Gaga isn’t even saying anything. She’s just the same mindless pop that we’ve had forever.”
Me: “Have you heard her new album?”
Them: “Um..” and a bunch of defensive lies about how they have an appropriate sample size that don’t matter.

3.

2. Frankie Heck – Patricia Heaton’s character on The Middle is a true hero of the Michael Moore union version of socialism. She is a lighthouse that shines light through all the cracks in the American Dream. Hard work equals hard work, but having money equals having money. Surrounding her is pain and suffering that is solely the gift of a desire for things she is told she deserves. And yet this could all be solved with a simple sharing of some wealth. It doesn’t need to be opportunity because we don’t all need to the freedom to try. We need the freedom to succeed. And success is not defined by being in the 1%. Then only 1% of us, necessarily succeed. I aim for 100%.

I like to play a game called turn concepts into rants for socialism in as few sentences as possible.

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Math, Socialism

Why Math Can Save Me From Having Babies

I liked how math was always a discovery and never an invention. I preferred when people say that Newton “discovered” Calculus as opposed to Newton “inventing” the mathematical system. Discovery implies that this system of numbers and operations was inherently true in our world, but had not yet been found until Newton started drawing graphs. Mathematicians were talked about like explorers – they were Magellans of the mind – and that seemed cool.

That’s what I wanted to do.

I wanted to be an old timey explorer with a couple brass’n’glass instruments that helped me draw maps of the new islands I discovered filled with animals and plants that I discovered, but the more school I went to, the more I felt like everything on the globe had been discovered. Our world was finite – even if we hadn’t discovered every island or every canyon or every tributary, soon we would. But in Math! In math the exploration was unending – numbers were infinite. They were the first thing that was ever infinite. But to me it wasn’t just numbers. It wasn’t just adding, subtracting, and super-exponenting. To me it was about ideas. Mathematicians were explorers discovering new ideas and then sharing them with the world. They found how numbers worked and then they told everybody without patenting or protecting because these ideas could be used bye everybody to further new ideas.

This is where my issue with intellectual property comes in.,. As a struggling, starving, strangely shaped artist, I obviously believe that I should be paid for what I do, and more importantly have a say in how my art is presented because, after all, it’s MY art. But the idea of art is that it is a way to inspire ideas – that it is ideas, and how can you claim ownership over ideas? Don’t they just exist in the ether and someone was smart enough to discover them? How can one hold back idea from the rest of the world? What right do I have as an artist to do that?

Maybe I don’t believe in invention. Maybe I think of invention as the literal creation of tangible objects – the assembly line worker is closer to the inventor than the idea man.  Discovery is still important, but we have this cultural fetish with inventing. Inventing is a more tangible thing to pay someone for. This is why capitalism fails. Ideas are not sellable because ideas are not created. They are found. It’s rude to discover something and then sell it.

Magicians buy tricks. They spend uncomfortably large sums of money on a trick at a magic shop that they then perform in front of people without telling them how they are doing it. This insures that people will keep coming back to them to see the trick. This insures that they can be the government that regulates their own economy.

We need to stop living like magicians. If we live like magicians, we’ll never get male birth control.

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comedy, Gender, Indignant, Math, Media, My favorites

Women, Fun, Math – A New Thesis.

“When I’m Ira Glass I’m gonna have chapters instead of acts.”

-Me, Right Now

I’ve shared three videos on facebook recently. I think they are the three videos that perfectly describe what my life is. This realization comes on the heels of a change in the domain name of my blog – a long needed change as the contents no longer fit what it was called.

Chapter 1.

We change the way we view things based on the context under which we view them, obviously. Information is so free though nowadays that anything that is imbibed comes with a whole set of preconceptions. Therefore we can never know if Bridesmaids was truly a good movie or bad movie. We demanded to know if a woman could make a Judd Apatow movie because we were confused about our role as an audience member and then Kristen Wiig did it – she made a Judd Apatow movie.

Guy has chance to have something super hot and rich yet unhealthy with one girl, finally finds joy in something more interestingly attractive and healthier. Screws things up with it, but gets it back in the end. = Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Switch “guy” and “girl.” = Bridesmaids

Two best dude friends have a constant passive aggressive battle because despite the fact that they like each other, the one that isn’t as much of a conventional “failure” feels like the other is holding him back. The “non-failure” also wants to hang out with an annoying person who is more successful at the next step in their lives. The two dudes make up in the end after a big blowout fight where they decide not to be friends anymore. = Superbad

Switch “dude” to “chick” and “him” to “her.” = Bridesmaids

“Screwup” man has a failure business that he put everything into despite the fact that he didn’t put that much into it. He learns to try by the end of the movie because a woman that he likes does try. = Knocked Up

Switch “man” and “woman.” Bridesmaids

A bunch of male friends rag on a dude who has still not done something that the rest of them have done. That dude feels likes an outcast, but then feels less like an outcast when he becomes comfortable with his own pace of doing that thing that he hasn’t done. = 40 Year Old Virgin

Switch genders. = Bridesmaids

But is it more important because it’s women? We as a society, unfortunately, but obviously treat genders differently – as should be realized by the fact that I equated a male’s loss of virginity to a female’s wedding night, but because we treat genders differently do we have to reward genders differently?

I am a straight male who looks and acts like a straight male and that gives me a key to a safe space that I don’t feel safe in. A safe space that does not need to be designated as a safe space because it is the controlling space. Straight males are the people most frightened of admitting women are funny because they’ve been given the monopoly on funny and losing things isn’t fun. The most common defense of their monopoly when they see funny women being gross in order to be funny is that that type of thing wouldn’t work for a man because the bar is higher for men. Pooping is hilarious when anyone does it, it’s just also important when women do it. If you’re jealous because a woman can get a laugh by making poop noises while she has sex with a blowup doll and you can’t, then try growing up in a culture that tells you that sex and poop are shameful and still make shitfucking sounds. The humor comes from the vulnerability that is inherent in admitting your inability yo conform to society’s demands of you.

Apatow has made his fortune on creating male characters that don’t quite conform to the expectation of men in our society. Therefore, when we asked K-Wiig to do the same for women, we didn’t give her a chance to succeed. Freaks and Geeks came out with no expectations and was cancelled after a season. Same with Undeclared. 40 Year Old Virgin came out when Apatow was still known as a guy who had something to do with Anchorman. It was going to be an mainstream comedy with offbeat antics, and it turned out to have heart. Knocked Up looked sappy and romantic from the trailers and when it turned out to have bong rips and birth video footage, people fell in love with Judd. By the time Forgetting Sarah Marshall came out Apatow had created a new genre of comedy that was only missing one thing: Developed female characters. He tried letting Aubrey Plaza create it in Funny People, but the movie was still about two men’s relationship and Plaza’s plot got thrown do the side. Wiig took the reins. The problem being that we all saw her take the reins. This movie had to be funny in the same way Apatow is, but about female dynamics, but it couldn’t be just about chick stuff because then it wouldn’t prove that women could do universal humor, but it had to have heterosexual attractive women because it couldn’t buy into the stereotypical lesbian imagery of the 1970s. We expected all of this from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. What we expected, at best, from Apatow was dirty comedy with heart. His task was easier.

Then there is the even bigger problem of succeeding. Which Wiig did. She did it. She made the movie we wanted, but in doing that, we all knew what was coming. She simply achieved our outlandish expectations instead of surpassing them.

There are two people in this world that I don’t think it’s okay to be mean to: Kristen Wiig and Christina Aguilera. It’s not because I think they are the best people. It’s because they are doing what has been asked of them by the brightest in society – and doing it with talent. Being mean to them doesn’t make sense because you asked them to do what they are doing. Get mad at yourself instead.

Jacob said it best.

Chapter 2.

Artists should not be asked to conform to a role imposed upon them by an audience. Their role should be self-determined. I want Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats to be the new Keenan and Kel.

I’m not sure if that’s racist, but I’m pretty sure that it’s hypocritical.

Hypocrisy used to be my main exploration as an artist. At another time it was the relationship between logic and emotion, and at another time it was the correlation between confusion and comfort (it was a negative correlation), and at another time it was “why doesn’t anyone like me?!”

I think the word artist should be spelled F-A-R-T-I-S-T. Because of the word “fart.”

If we’re going to pick a correlation that sums up my fartistry right now, it would be the correlation between fun and importance. This time is different though. This time I feel like the correlation I’m creating fart about isn’t about pointing out an existing statistical anomaly, but rather is about forcing a correlation to exist that I desire to exist. Fun and importance should be highly positively correlated. The only way to get people to do things is to make those things fun to do – nobody does for others, so as long as we make important things fun and fun things important than we will have a successful world.

This philosophy is not one I feel comfortable taking credit for. This is a philosophy that I have appropriated from Keenan and Kel. The message of their fart was a message of fun. Never was a motivation anything beyond attempting to have more fun accomplishing the tasks they needed to accomplish. OFWGKTA is also a group dedicated to the motivation of fun. Guns, eating bugs, vomiting and frightening rape innuendos may not seem fun to you or me, but they are teenagers with an excessive number of resources and an even more excessive imagination. They are starting a sketch show, but just as The Keenan and Kel Show was a far superior spin off of All That, I feel as though (Futurely Named) The Hodgy Tyler: More Than You Show will be a more focused version of exploring fun than the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s ragtag group of teenagers.

I just think people should have fun, and judging others’ versions of fun is rude.

Chapter 3.

Math education has been regarded as too unfun for too long. Math education could save our society. Math class from age 8-15 is the most important hours in the development of a child into a correctly functioning human. This has nothing to do with learning the quadratic formula or how to find the area of the space left over in a circle when a trapezoid is taken out, it has to do with a method of think.

Math teaches us how to discover. A good math education teaches us to find ways to learn from everything around us. It’s about understanding how to find a problem and then find the steps necessary to reach the solution of that problem.

1st Grade: Kids should be taught the coordinate plane. We need to understand what numbers are. How they interact. 1/2, one half, and 0.5 are not different things, they are all one thing split into two parts. Too often when I’m tutoring statistics to grad-students do they write 32.0650. That isn’t appropriate, and if people understood that putting a zero at the end of a number that has reached below zero specifics is useless than they wouldn’t do that.

Here’s a quick test:

1. Read this number out loud: 45.123

Did you say:

a) “Forty five point one hundred and twenty three”

b) “Forty five point one two three”

c) “Forty five and one hundred and twenty three thousandths”

If you said (a) you were taught numbers incorrectly as a child, if you said (b) you taught yourself numbers and are probably pretty good at math, and if you said (c) you are a goody two shoes.

2nd Grade: Kids should be taught long division. In the process of learning long division they are forced to learn addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

2. When you look something up on google maps do you:

a) Look at the directions on the left for indications of where to go

b) Look at the map for indications of where to go

If you said (a) you learned long division incorrectly and if you said (b) you learned long division correctly.

Long division is a unique step-by-step process unlike most processes that we see in our day to day life. Each step of long division takes the answer you found in your last answer and directly applies it to the next step to find the next step, and then repeats. Practicing long division is to logic what sit-ups are to your abs. Reading a map involves finding the connections between two steps and considering that connection to be a step of its own. Long division also demands patience and a respect for the journey toward the solution. Long division teaches you to care less for the final answer and more for the process getting you to the final answer.

Also, operations are not different. Multiplication is just addition done a bunch of times. Subtraction is just addition backwards. Division is just addition done a bunch of times backwards.

3. How would you say the following: sin(30), sin, 3*sin*10?

a) “Sine thirty,” “Sine,” “Three sine ten”

b) “Sine of thirty (I’m going to assume degrees),” “the word ‘sin,’” “that doesn’t mean anything, Nisse you are annoying, what is the meaning of this? I hate you”

Answering (a) means you never understood how operators (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) work. Answering (b) means you understand how operators work. I hear so many students say “sine 30″ and when I clarify that it is “sine of 30″ they go “yeah, yeah yeah, whatever.” It’s not “whatever.” This is a very important distinction to make. Trigonometric functions are operators like addition, they are not variables to be placed wherever. They function only if they are of a degree or radian.

None of that needed to make sense to you. What needs to make sense to you is that finding new things is fun. A new operator should be an exciting adventure into a new way to deal with numbers.

3rd Grade: Give the students an abacus, a protractor, a compass, and a slide rule. Don’t teach them anything for an entire year. Put different numbers on the board each day. Let them play.

Math is fun and given the tools to realize that, kids will find that on their own. If we tell them that it’s boring, then they will think that instead.

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