Archive

Archive for October, 2011

Vote Republican? I Say Vote Atheist.

October 31, 2011 4 comments

I glanced over a poll somewhere claiming that people are far more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who holds Christian or Catholic beliefs than a candidate who is an Atheist. As a devout Atheist (I pray to my very own nonexistent deity called science), I felt obligated to write.

I first read about Russel’s teapot in Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” Allow me to paraphrase.

If I were to tell you a teapot was floating in orbit around the sun between the Earth and Mars that was too small to detect by any of our current technology, would you believe me? What if someone had written about this teapot for several centuries and claimed this ceramic kettle created everything in existence? Seems a little farfetched, no? I’m sorry, I just can’t grasp the idea that a teapot cast the 10 plagues over Egypt, let alone that it even exists.

“Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” – Einstein

I reject that a society can be so invested in the religious beliefs of its leader. There is absolutely no justification to do so. If we’ve learned anything from history it’s that religion is simply a game we play to legitimize imperialism.

You don’t need a deity to tell you the difference between right and wrong. You certainly should not rely on an unknown entity to define success.

Recently I find myself taking the stance opposed to someone just for the sake of debate. Regardless of my actual perspective, I disagree because I can. However, I argue against religious beliefs because they are absurd. There are no direct benefits of having a religious belief, but there are certainly disadvantages:

1. You lose your free will. You’re now a follower.
2. Fear of punishment. Hope for reward after death. (Einstein’s elegant words)
3. Your time.
4. Your money.
5. Idealism. You must deal with the fact that you were not created in the image of your deity. Nothing has been made perfect.
6. False goals. Successful leaders, businessmen, professors, etc. did not get to where they are because of “good” deeds. If your ultimate goal is to reach your heaven, you cannot succeed in life.

So next time you go to the polls, think and vote Atheist.

Seriously, Just Trust Your Instincts

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

A while back, I wrote confidently to short Netflix (NFLX). Simply put, “short selling” is betting that a stock’s price will decline.

For those without financial background, let’s say you borrow a jacket from a friend and sell it for 100$. Your buddy will ask for his jacket back, but you won’t have it. Instead, you go to a store and find the same jacket on sale for only 70$. You buy the jacket and return it to your friend while also pocketing the difference of 30$. Simple, no?

Netflix reported a loss of 800,000 subscribers, dropping from 24.59 to 23.79 million, but also reported record earnings. The outlook of netflix appears grim though they still kept over 95% of their customer base. Disproportionately, the stock dropped from 300 to 85 in 4 months.

If I had the balls to do what I so adamantly insisted was correct, short NFLX when it peaked at 300$, then I would be able to pocket a difference of over 200$ per share.

My guess now is that with Netflix losing much of its content, subscribers will flock to Amazon (AMZN) for their streaming needs. Amazon has recently added an impressive repertoire of content to their Amazon Prime (which is also cheaper than Netflix) which I’m sure will only expand to coincide with the new Kindle Fire release.

Number Seventeen: Trust your instincts.

I failed. Trust doesn’t only involve relationships with other people, it’s also extremely important for any sort of success. Your instincts won’t always lead you in the right direction, but there was a reason you believed them to be right in the first place.

Like our teachers always said, your first answer is usually the right one.

The real question now is do you invest in Amazon or buy Netflix at this bargain price?

Lastly, Blueberry ice cream! Awesome.

MC Hammer launching his own search engine

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

MC Hammer launching his own search engine – CNN.com.

We CAN touch this. But we won’t.

Categories: humor

The Goldilocks Effect

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s gotta be just right. Always. Every week, I have the pleasure of listening to my students complain. The test was too hard. There are too many notes to take. It’s funny that I find this annoying because we complain about new ish all the time.

It rained last week. It was too hot this week. The food here is too expensive. The portions here are too small. They are making too much money. The list goes on and on.

On monday, I received my first grad school grade. 100%. The class average was likely less than 50%; I subsequently received several dirty looks from classmates. This immediately reminded me of Occupy Wall Street. We dislike people who are more successful than we are. It all stems from what I like to call the Goldilocks Effect.

Everybody wants things to be perfect, but only for themselves. When other people are doing better than we are, we get frustrated. We wish our food tasted better and our beds to be more comfortable, but all we do is complain about it.

We hate things because they don’t go our way. We hate that things work for other people and not for us. We complain and find excuses, but in the end it’s our own fault. While you’re busy complaining about hardship, others are working their butts off to get things done.

Let’s face it, things will never be perfect. Make the best of what you have. Quit bitching.

Number Sixteen: Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react.


The 25 Smartest Things Steve Jobs Ever Said

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The 25 Smartest Things Steve Jobs Ever Said (AAPL).

 

18. “I wish [Bill Gates] the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

Categories: The List

Money is Just Another Selective Pressure

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Evolution is the change over time of selected traits. In our society, money is just another selective pressure. Selective pressure acts on populations of individuals. Applying this pressure causes particular individuals to be “less fit” and others to be “more fit.”

In a very basic example, big walruses are more likely to mate and feed. Here, fitness is measured by size. In reality, fitness is measured by many factors. In today’s society, fitness can be measured by wealth.

If you are rich, you have higher relative fitness, and the children that inherit your wealth also inherit this fitness. If you’re not, find ways to gain fitness. Money is not the only selective pressure that exists; intelligence, innovation, and perseverance are contributors as well. HP, MSFT, AAPL are excellent examples of this.

Again, to the Occupy-Wall-Street-ers, stop. If you want to take your protesting talents elsewhere, direct them at David Stern and let’s get this NBA season going.

To The “99%”

October 13, 2011 2 comments

We call it Occupy Wall Street and it’s ridiculous. Sure, a small percentage of the people in this country make the majority of the money. Accept it.

It’s not supposed to be fair. I’m going to relate this to a basic concept that has been recurring for millions of years. Natural selection. The slowest zebra is going to get eaten by the lion.

Who said it’s supposed to be fair? It’s common sense that things are imbalanced. I don’t see protestors rallying in the streets to complain about Wes Welker’s athleticism, or Usain Bolt’s speed. That’s not fair either. Nothing is fair.

We always need to find someone to blame. You only make 30k a year. Since when has that ever been anyone else’s problem? You’re the slow zebra. The lion eats you and the rest of us are safe. Selfishness drives competition. Competition promotes growth/evolution.

In our example of “survival of the fittest,” fitness is measured by wealth.

Accept it, they’re making more money (higher fitness) because they’re smarter, more innovative, and/or have a better understanding of the system and its loopholes. Quit complaining about the success of others and do something for yourself.