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Robet Éiva
31 January 2010 @ 09:40 pm
 "Hahahaha. If we worked together , we could kill my boss and no one would ever know."

CHOOSE YOUR RESPONSE

Response 1:
-->"Hahaha. Yeah, we could. He'd never even see it coming."
"I have a gun in the back of my car. Let's do it!"

Response 2:
-->"Wait. What? That's so wrong!"
"Haha. Geez. You really need to lighten up! You always take everything so seriously."

Response 3:
-->"I like pizza."
"Mmmm. Pizza."
 
 
Robet Éiva
01 October 2009 @ 06:30 pm
Is there a distinction between agnostic and atheist? Is atheism always about rejecting the Christian god?

There are plenty of other religions and myths out there; some of them were proven true.

I don't reject anyone's beliefs, though I'm sure I'd question their logic. I just live my life to the best of my ability, given the world around me.

I'm not an atheist. In order to believe in a Christian God, a person must reject the beliefs of Muslims, Jews, and at least 99% of his fellow Christians. I do not think that a god-like being is impossible. However, like any believer, I feel that most people have got the wrong idea of what is possible. I am not experiencing a drought in belief.

We can all learn to expand our beliefs beyond those with which we were raised with -- but the more I learn the less I find relevance or plausibility in the concept of God.
 
 
Robet Éiva
16 July 2009 @ 03:04 pm
I have been accused of madness for planning to take on as monumental a task as the OzTAKU publication. Well, to add yet more colour to my madness, my first unit I'll be undertaking in my postgraduate course is Visions and Revisions: Reworkings.

This is essentially a literary course, and it builds upon knowledge of classic literature. It's assumed you've studied Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. I'm lucky I've even heard of those books. Here I am, about to undertake a unit expecting a "5th-year-level standard" of work on a subject I haven't studied since high school (I didn't do particularly well), and I have to earn at least a Distinction.

If I make it through this alive...
 
 
Current Mood: crazycrazy
 
 
Robet Éiva
I recently received a package in the mail. It was a book I bought through ebay, a book I need for my postgraduate course. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 2500 pages of tissue-thin paper and microscopic text. The entire play of The Importance of Being Ernest fills pages 1664-1709 in this thing. This monstrosity usually costs around $75, but I got it second-hand for around $25. It's the perfect book for clubbing baby seals.

I don't really know why, but the package I received addressed me as "Dr". It's premature, but still it gives me chills. One day, I will earn that title.
 
 
Robet Éiva
16 March 2009 @ 07:36 pm
Another interesting point I tend to notice about Zak's mum... Zak doesn't show her enough love. *cries a mantear*

lol. She made him clean his room. Take THAT.

Tomorrow night he'll have to go to bed without dessert.
 
 
 
Robet Éiva
13 March 2009 @ 07:27 pm
Zak (my roommate) has had his mum over to visit since Monday. She came over from Tasmania, and she's been staying outside in her van. I think this is kinda odd, because the couch really isn't too bad.

What amazes me is that she's been doing washing everyday since she's gotten here. I've been wanting to do some washing, but she's kept getting to the machine first. She's had her own stuff to wash, but she's also been washing Zak's stuff. After one week, his clothes pile is half-depleted. I'm really getting the impression that Zak doesn't so much wash his clothes as buy new ones when the old ones get dirty.

It's a little weird because she reminds me of my own mum in some ways. Maybe it's just that she's of that age, but I haven't really met someone of that age who seemed to much like her. Not even her twin sister, who actually kind of managed to turn out as my mum's polar opposite. Mum the atheist, my aunt the conservative.

Of course, there are a few distinct differences... Zak's mum leaves pegs on the line after she's taken her clothes down. This was something I got annoyed with Zak about once after he "borrowed" my pegs. (If I wanted them left on the line, I would have left them there myself.) Also, while I certainly appreciate her deciding to keep doing the washing-up for us, she doesn't clean to the same standard we have at home -- and I find I need to do a little extra before using them.

And plenty of other details, so mostly she's not like my mum. But... more than many other mums I've met. :P (For one thing she got here by boat. My mum is hardcore. She would SWIM!)


PS: I just watched Jon Stewart interview Jim Cramer from CNBC and... my god, that was painful to watch. 12 minutes of Cramer (or rather CNBC) getting torn to shreds by Jon Stewart (I can't even bring myself to watch the 30-minute full version). I feel sorry for the guy. I have a lot of respect for him for even coming onto the show, when he knew it was going to be brutal.
 
 
Robet Éiva
08 March 2009 @ 12:09 pm
When I first saw the CHOICE website, I was a little suspicious. However, recently they've launched the website Comparison Net website. It's the best product comparison site I've seen, due to the filters available. You can filter appliances by energy star rating, which is something I've not seen anywhere else. The best price comparison site is still Shopbot, due to the wide range of retailers and products listed (but you really have to know the products).

Still, even Comparison Net has a way to go. You can filter to 4-Star energy rated products, but you can't filter to 4-and-above, which would be much more useful.

Anyway, the CHOICE website was a bit meh, because all the best articles apparently require a paid membership. I've just discovered that this is because the business is a registered not-for-profit, and it refuses to accept advertisements or manufacturer freebies. I'm starting to respect these guys more.

And this all brings me to this article of theirs: GreenPower: Keep it real

"But under the legislation being released this week to establish Australia’s new Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the extra bits we do as individuals – whether purchasing GreenPower or home-grown carbon offsets against our next holiday – inadvertently make it cheaper for high emission industries to keep on polluting."

It seems the reduction scheme works based on a national quota. This means that if households reduce emissions, then it'll just mean less pressure for the big polluters. It renders voluntary effort completely meaningless. It's ridiculous.

These CHOICE guys seem to know what they're talking about.
 
 
Robet Éiva
08 March 2009 @ 09:43 am
There are plenty of things I should be getting around to doing, but chief among these is my writing. I've realised this just recently, and I've put my mind towards getting into it properly.

I've managed to reignite my involvement in manga projects. I have two on the table. There's Burning will with my sister, an old project that we've restarted -- it will be a challenge because I'll have to overhaul it to make sure it meets my new standards. The other one has a working title of Cyborg magicians, and it's a new project I've started with Matthew "Nobody". This one will be a challenge because I have such a grand vision for it, and I'm not quite sure how to bottle a storyline into 20 pages. I'll spend today working out the answer to that question.

I picked out a few good writing books and placed an order. Although I am good with plotting and character and such, I think I lack a little in style and expression. I have blogged consistently for almost six years, but it hasn't helped as much as you would hope.

Since moving out of my parents' place, I've found it difficult to commit to an exercise routine in the morning. (Not much space to work with.) I am taking a look at my morning routine, and while I can't fit in exercise just yet, I figure I can fit in some mental exercises. I've committed to a page of freewriting every morning, and already I can feel it breaking some of my mental blockades.
 
 
Robet Éiva
I've been excited by OLED technology before. OLED screens are pretty impressive. Fast refresh rate, high image quality, wide viewing angle, and low power usage. The technology has a lot of potential.

Lately it's occurred to me that the potential of this technology is really overshadowed by the potential of electronic ink, or electronic paper displays (EPD). It's still primitive stuff -- common screens are capable of around 8 shades of grey, with a refresh rate of close to 1 second. All the same, I find it hard not to be impressed by a technology that can display a static image without consuming any power. The Amazon Kindle can be left on for a week before needing its battery recharged.

Yesterday I had a small discussion/argument with Tycho. He said that paper and stationery were things that would always be needed in schools. While these things have endured, I feel that with the Kindle we're seeing the beginning of the end for books and old fashioned paper-and-pencil. Not that books will be obliterated from the earth, but I can see them getting pushed to the sidelines simply because electronic libraries are so much more expansive. A physical library can never compete with something like Questia, and getting e-books from Amazon for the Kindle sounds incredibly fast and easy. Nevermind the ability to carry these libraries with you wherever you go. EPDs are already beginning to replace paper in the Netherlands.

Tycho's main argument against it was that he felt that they would never take off, because the screens cause eye-strain. "No," I had to explain, "they use electronic ink screens, and that's basically the same as paper." "Well sure," he replied, "they don't emit radiation, but..."

Seriously, it's like paper. They don't emit any light, radiation or anything. The surface of the screen changes colour. That's all. When idle, the screen uses no power, and it's no different from looking at a page from a book. That can certainly cause eye strain, but there are already plenty of people who have been forced to wear glasses because they've spent too long with their nose in a book. EPD is even friendlier than paper, because you're able to do things like adjusting the text size so that it's comfortable to read.

Some people complain that it's worse for your eyes than LCD if you're trying to read in the dark. Reading in the dark is bad for your eyes either way, so it's not a very good point. A real problem with EPD is that it's not very good with zooming. With a refresh rate of around one second, it'd be practically impossible to move around the image once you'd zoomed in. The biggest case against EPD at the moment is the basic problems with image quality.

There are advanced models of EPD that support 12-bit colour. Anything less than 16-bit colour is still pretty pathetic, but they're getting there. It'd allow for much better than the digital photo frames currently available, which rely on power-hungry LCD technology. It also would have some awesome implications for billboards and such things.

I wonder how much they can improve the refresh rate, and if they can get it down to the 2ms advertised by LCD manufacturers. It'd be great to have a 32-bit EPD that's worthy of full-motion video and video games (and great for everything else).

Until then, I'll just have to hope I'll one day be able to get myself an e-book reader like the Kindle. It's only for the US at the moment. :(
 
 
Robet Éiva
23 February 2009 @ 08:52 pm
A while ago, I started on some reviews, but got distracted by the bushfires before I could finish. I'm not going to finish them now, but I'd just like to point out that I intend to, eventually.

Recently I've been investigating healthfood and the vegan lifestyle. This all started one day, as I pondered climate change and what I could do to help. I remembered hearing that avoiding meat was a good way to reduce your impact.

I did some research (which I suggest you all try), and began to realise that it was true. Eating meat and animal products does have a significant impact on the environment -- from the farting cows to the clearing of forests for pasture to the vast amounts of food and energy needed to raise an animal to the age it's worth slaughtering.

As a result, I looked into finding easy ways to reduce the amount of animal product I consume. So far, I've looked into TVP and soy milk. I've tried both, and am slowly trying to transition my diet. TVP mince (a soy-product) is particularly impressive, as it is nutritionally very similar to beef mince, except it has a lot less fat, and the fat is unsaturated "good fat".

Now there has been some talk about the dangers of soy products. I can't say I'm particularly concerned -- spaghetti bolognaise with TVP mince leaves my stomach feeling better than I could have imagined. However, it seems worth investigating.

It's hard to get a good answer. The websites touting the dangers of soy are full of warped anecdotes and tinfoil hats. They're even less convincing than climate-change deniers.
"Despite an impressive array of scientific evidence that soy is not a fit food for man nor beast, the soy marketing mastodon has marched through the American market like Sherman through Georgia"
[...]

The result is an industry that will systematically steamroll anybody that dares suggest there may be problems with the darling soy. When we first questioned the safety of soy, a representative of Protein Technologies told us that they had:
"...teams of lawyers to crush dissenters, could buy scientists to give evidence, owned television channels and newspapers, could divert medical schools and could even influence governments..."
Soy Online Service

To translate: While they're determined not to let anyone know that they're poisoning MILLIONS of people, the soy companies are perfectly happy to confess how willing they are to blatantly break the law to cover it up.

Another high-ranking Google result is this site from The 7th Fire.
Now, I had started using soy when I was 19. The onset of these problems quickly began at 20. By the time I was 25 my periods were so bad I couldn't walk.
[...]
I came upon a web page that linked thyroid problems to soy intake and the conspiracy of soy marketed as a health food when in fact it is only a toxic by-product of the vegetable oil industry. This was insane, I thought. After all, the health and fitness magazines had said nothing about soy being harmful. I visited an herbalist who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1985. She informed me that soy was the culprit.
[...]
My co-worker is big into soy and I see her losing hair and gaining weight despite a walking workout during her break and after work, and apples and oranges for lunch. She just had cysts removed from her uterus too.

Soy Dangers: One Woman's Story

From the description of The 7th Fire website:
We are in the astrological age of revealing, the end times, whatever you may call it. This means the truth about the world around us is out there, it is up to us to find it and use the knowledge for good. No, this is not a movie, this is life.
the Seventh Fire

Could these guys sound any more crazy and self-righteous?

Of course, shifting diets is going to cause some health concerns in some people. If we suggested that everyone drink milk, we'd get problems from people who are lactose intolerant. However, it's apparent that the risks caused by the "poisons" in soy are less than those caused by the saturated fats of meat. I wouldn't be surprised if these people spent the next evening binge drinking.

The most reliable source I've found so far is About.com: Thyroid Disease, which quotes scientists worried about the effects of some chemicals in soy, but it's still a bit sketchy. There are arguments here about the risks of soy, but there's no mention of counter arguments, no explanation of the justification used when the findings of this research were disregarded by the FDA and other groups.

As far as I can tell, the consumption of soy products can slightly increase your risk of thyroid disease. But at the same time, it seems to drastically reduce your risk of heart disease, among many well-documented benefits.

So what did I learn today? *shrugs*