Applied Sciences

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Pscychopathic Deviates

Yesterday, while getting the results of my psychological evaluation (I had to have a psych exam for an application), I was told a piece of news that I have known for a long time: I am not normal. As a culmination of hours of multiple choice tests, the Minnessota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (a 380 question survey), Rorschach testing, and an hour of consultation, it has been scientifically confirmed that I am not normal (it must be comforting to all of my family, friends, former students, former teachers, co-workers, and employers to have this confirmed in such an empirical way.) Actually, to put it the way the Psychologist described it, “You have elevated levels of PD.”

“What is PD?” I asked.

“Psychopathic Deviate.”

Yes, I have elevated levels of psychopathic deviant behavior.

I am quite shocked that it took such an extensive battery of tests to reach that conclusion. When driving into the clinic, I was sitting at a stoplight waiting to turn left. The sign said, “Turn on green arrow only.” The light was green in the lanes next to me, but I didn't have a green arrow. It was still red, but I turned anyways. Always have. Always will. As long as it is safe. I think this observation could have saved 4 hours of testing and a slightly boring interview. Oh well. Read more »

A public apology to Tom Fisher

My roommate in college was named Tom Fisher. He was tall, an "uber nerd" (his words, not mine), and annoying. He also became one of my best friends.

He was annoying because of the following reasons:

1. He cheered for the Denver Broncos.
2. He studied philosophy.
3. He talked about philosophy when all I wanted to do was play Super Mario Brothers 3.
4. He wore Transformers T-Shirts BEFORE they were cool.
5. He used a Mac.

I ridiculed my roommate for all of these characteristics, as any good friend would do. Today, however, I am making an official apology to Tom Fisher for one of those criteria. I publicly apologize to Tom Fisher for ridiculing his use of a Mac. Read more »

iPod + iPhone + iPad = iConsumption

When computers were first invented, people realized their incredible potential to speed up productivity. And for a while, this is how computers were used: tools to enhance productivity and efficiency. People used computers to actually DO something, to CREATE something.

And then something began to change. Read more »

How your Science Fair Project can win you the Nobel Prize!

Did you ever do a science fair project that turned out a disaster? I did. I tried to determine whether or not there was a statistical relationship between full moons and earthquakes. An interesting idea, I know, but the theory was that perhaps the position of the moon and the increased gravitational pull would somehow disturb the equilibrium of the crust and result in a greater tendency to have an earthquake. After poring through 120 years of seismic activity and full moons, I determined that there was absolutely no correlation between the two. My project was a complete dud.

Now this is hardly an acceptable way to conclude a science fair project. However, I noticed that if I removed a few of the data sets from the 1930’s, my correlation coefficient would increase slightly, and while the numbers were still inconclusive, I would have at least something to say. I could comment that “there seems to be a potential relationship that requires more exhaustive analysis than I could conduct in the last few months.” Translation: “I just put this together last night but will you PLEASE still give me my bonus points for science class?”

Now some people would brush this off as dishonest (I agree) or at least skewing the numbers (I agree), but I eventually learned that this kind of “science” could win me the Nobel Prize!

You see, science really isn’t very scientific at all. Sure, there are some purists out there, but science isn’t always about the truth. The history of science is filled with people who found the truth, but the truth was not according to their hypothesis, so they changed the numbers.

Need examples? Read more »

PERFECTION IS FLAWED

Hitler was an idiot.

Hitler strove to create a perfect society, the Arian race, but if he ever reached his goals, the very fact of having a perfect race would mean that this race is perfectly flawed. The very fact that it is “perfect” suddenly makes it flawed, because by being perfect, it is now vulnerable.

This is because “perfection” is dependent on external conditions. A “perfect product” is matched to a person’s wants and needs. A “perfect coat” is matched to a person’s body. A “perfect species” is matched to its surroundings. But because perfection is dependent on this ideal match between an object and its environment, any changes in the external conditions will change the match between the object and its environment, and thus making it no longer “perfect”.

Since external conditions change, what was once perfect is now flawed. A perfect gene pool will never exist because the external environment changes. Sure, if you lived during the Ice Age and you were a dude who was so harry that you had to shave your back on your 11th birthday, you were perfectly matched to your environment. However, the environment has changed. A hairy back just isn’t quite the social symbol (and survival symbol) that it used to be. Read more »

ATTACK OF THE PSYCHO KILLER COMPUTERS

I am perplexed by the fact that I still meet people who think that one day, “technology” is going to rise up and destroy humanity. There is this notion that lying deep within the depths of our computer is a sinister power waiting to unleash its savage plot to destroy all of mankind, to begin its uprising and establishment of a new order of life. It is as if people think our computers are conspiring, plotting, and just simply waiting for their moment to take over humanity. Thanks to the producers of “The Terminator” and “The Matrix”, as well as several other testosterone-filled movies with massive biceps and smash-mouth metal-destroying machines, we think there is something to fear in technology.

But despite all the hype, people are missing a very important point: technology is simply a tool, and there is no group of people with a more-desperate need for clarity on the meaning and use of technology than the people running our schools. Read more »

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