Thursday, June 30, 2005


What's wrong with this picture?
Ever get the feeling that we're evolving ourselves to death?

We live in a bizarre world. A population that recently went past 6.5 billion people lives in extreme disparity between haves and have nots. The poor people live in conditions that Westernized nations refer to as squallor without basic needs while Westernized nations are driven by consumption, diverting further wealth from the so-called third world countries. Meanwhile, alarm bells from all directions are signalling that the so-called "American Dream" is non-sustainable, as population growth ensures that there is not enough to go around, oil prices threaten to collapse economies, and global climate change threatens everything else, but we all blindly follow our world leaders that assure us that everything is okay as they proceed to march us off the nearest cliff before they steal our wallets.

Look at the so-called "problems" that we face every day and compare them to the type of problems we faced hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago, or even millions of years ago. We get bored, we have psychological problems, we fill the void by consuming more, we get fat because we aren't exercising enough or eating too much crap, we get old and wait for death to release us from the mechanical drudgery of our existences. There's nothing good on TV. Nice guys can't get laid. While I'm not necessarily advocating returning to an era where males used to club prospective mates across the head and drag them back to the cave for some neanderthal lovin', it's food for thought. Has progress really gotten us very far? Antibiotic abuse has left us succeptible to diseases while cheap food delivery has encouraged expanding waistlines of the people, while sedentary occupations (most of which are office or computer based) ensure that in order for us to remain physically healthy, we have to go hit the gym.

Within the animal kingdom, we no longer have natural predators, so nothing keeps the herd in check. Natural resources get consumed at a rapid clip while the population continues to expand, although it is slowing down. On the other hand, people aren't dying as fast as they used to, ensuring that the population won't be going down any time soon, unless the long promised Alaska-sized asteroid comes by and decimates a healthy portion of the human race. Best thing about natural disasters is that they don't tend to discriminate among the haves and the have nots.

Would've been nice if we got to reach the stars and discover life on other planets, but chances are that they wouldn't like what they see. Once peak oil hits and civilization crashes, the only ones to survive us will be the primitive bush tribes and any other people that have managed to maintain some level of balance with nature. Looks like it's time to go and rent The Gods Must Be Crazy to see if I can pick up some language tips.

A friend commented that I should've gotten into politics, but I suffer from an excess of personal ethics and idealism which makes it a dangerous occupation. That, and I came to the realization that as an individual, I can't save the world, but I can merely save myself and whoever's next to me.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005


After my mom came back from a 3-week European vacation coupled with news of oil inching towards $60/barrel, it suddenly occured to me that we have it way, way too easy here. We simply have become accustomed to the fact that we can just get water out of a tap when we get thirsty, crank up the heat when it gets cold, turn on the air conditioner when it gets hot, or just drive down to the local fast food outlet when we get hungry.

I'm not as well travelled as I'd like, the farthest I've ever ventured out being New York (something I intend to change really soon, before air travel becomes cost prohibitive). But, what I'm hearing about life in other countries leaves me wondering why we have it so easy.

Among the stories I've been hearing:
-UK: While people have laundry dryers, most of them lay dormant as electricity is expensive. In general, cost of living appears to be much higher (Debbie, if you're reading this, care to comment? You can probably lay on a little better insight than I can).
-Europe: Beer and wine is cheaper than water in most places, plus cars are much smaller, given the fact that gasoline is much more expensive.
-Hong Kong/China: "Westernized" toilets are restricted to hotels catering to non-Asians (ie: you gotta squat everywhere else). I'll leave out the details as to what you're supposed to do with toilet paper after you're done.

All this, and it's a small wonder why Americans tend to generate the most pollution and energy usage per capita on an international level (let's face it -- everything we do hurts). The price of gas shoots past $1/litre, and people complain, but it's still a fraction compared to outside of North America.

Once again getting back to the true cost of doing business, it very much appears to me that somebody is going a long way to ensure that we don't pay too much. All black-helicopter conspiracy theories aside, when the price of stuff goes up while wages stay the same, the economy slows down. But clearly, that isn't happening here (yet).

While I hestitate to say that there should be more rioting in the streets, we're not that far off.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

So, the King of Pop has just been cleared of all child molestation charges. I haven't quite decided what's worse: the idea of children being molested by a pop singer or the media circus that surrounds it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play that Michael Jackson baby-drop game while we await the next big celebrity scandal.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

All the side effects, none of the fun.

As I type this, I have to mostly look away from the screen because it's way too bright for me to look at. Having made the decision to get all the health check-up stuff out of the way, I went to the dentist and had my eyes examined. Good news: my eyes haven't changed since last year, even though I've been spending a lot more time staring at a computer screen. Bad news: They discovered two cavities which I had repaired the same day. Five hours later, stuff still doesn't taste right.

Gotta love the stuff they put in your eyes to make your pupils dilate (although it might be kinda hard to tell from your's a lot easier for those that don't have brown eyes). Makes it tough to read up close or looking at anything bright. This screen appears to be flashing and flickering (which it is, actually, it's just that your eyes typically filter that stuff out and then your brain fills in the gaps to make it look seamless). It's a good thing that I know where all the keys are so I can type this without looking at the screen. Three horus later, I still look like I smoked a whole bag of marijuana all to myself.

Good thing that I wasn't pulled over for speeding, or else I would've had DUI tacked on to that.

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