Hosni Mubarak Goes Down!

February 11, 2011

It looks like Egypt’s revolution, fueled by gatherings through the internet and Tunisia’s success, succeeded. It ended in the removal of Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for around 30 years. I give congratulations for Egyptians, for they have taken their first step towards democracy, and the lives of 300 people were not wasted in vain.  Now, things aren’t 100% safe because what matters the most is that Mubarak is not replaced by another egomaniacal dictator during the transition, which has happened to so many other revolutions. The eighteen straight days of mass protests were one of the bravest things I have seen people do in my life. I hope that when it comes to it, I hope the rest of us can be that brave.

In a way, this kind of reminds of Europe’s revolution of 1848. Many protests, inspired by the French February revolution, spread throughout Europe. Unlike the European revolutions that happened back then, though, the Arab revolution is actually pretty successful, and people had modern telecommunication technology on their side.

American Doublespeak

February 2, 2011

Have you ever wanted to know what American politicians are really saying behind all those nice words they say when they talk about Egypt’s revolution? Do they always seem to try to avoid issues like how Mubarak should leave now? Here is a translation of what those things mean:

America: You Can’t Even Rub Two Collective Neurons Together

November 3, 2010

So, last night I was left very disappointed with http://www.politico.com/2010/maps/.  Actually, that is an understatement, I am fucking mad! There must be a rational explanation for this result. Maybe half of American population consists of goldfish who can’t even remember which party was ruling during the Bush years. Maybe Americans are the ficklest people in the world, considering last election’s results. Or maybe, these uneducated morons haven’t been reading their politics, and are forgetting that Republicans (at least in the federal level, I don’t know locally), especially in the senate, are consistently voting against their self interests, obstructing any bills that come their way. OR MAYBE, young stupid Democrats are not voting because they are disappointed, forgetting what the alternative looks like. Whatever it is, America lost its fucking collective mind.

America, you disappointed me in the biggest way possible. I thought that even with the loud voices, a whole lot of you would ignore it and vote rationally. In fact, various polls made it clear that a whole lot of you actually wanted what the Democrats have been proposing. But even with those polls, I see the whole lot of you dropping in your position (health care being it, as I see in the polls) as the time goes by because you are too lazy and stupid to check the facts given by the American media and Republican talking points. I thought stupid and lazy Americans was a stereotype. Apparently, I was wrong. Insteady, you suckers are drinking up the Republican propaganda kool aid. So much so that 20% of you guys believe that Obama is a Muslim. Worst of all, and I am talking to you, Wisconsin, you let Russ Feingold down, one of the few principled politician who was actually the only one who voted against the Patriots Act. I am by now, convinced that at least 20% of you are stupid/ignorant, and probably more of you are now that the election results are up.

Fellow Americans (by that, I mean those who voted Republicans and stupid Democrats that didn’t vote), you suck, and all the terrible things that are going to happen and all the bills that are not going to happen will be thanks to you and your collective short term memory.

Dear America

November 2, 2010

You better get this freaking right! Right now, the sanity of America is in the balance. If Republicans take  back congress, there will be political paralysis. You know what happened, with record breaking filibuster. Also, to those democrats who are not voting because they are disappointed, do you really want that kind of political paralysis? Do you? You may think that Obama is bad (in my opinion, he is okay), but if you let those morons take over, and things get worse, you have no one to blame but yourselves. The only good thing to come out so far of this election is that Cristine O’Donell lost. Here is the election so far.

Runner Up for Worst Country in the World

November 16, 2009

While I was wandering around, I found these blog posts (from An American Perspective of China) of an American visiting North Korea, one of the handfuls who ever did, mind you. Anyways, I am a South Korean (well, genetically, although culturally, I am more of a Venezuelan/American), so the North Korea situation is especially interesting to me. His accounts and insight from the country is certainly interesting. It is pretty much what you would expect if you have read 1984. Even foreigners aren’t allowed for much freedom to look around. It is Orwellian incarnate, hell on Earth, a truly dystopian society. How something like this could actually exist is beyond me. For me, this is so unbelievable that even though I know it is true, my mind keep telling me that it is way too farfetched, over the top. Indeed, this paragraph reflects my feelings very well:

When you arrive in North Korea, there’s a sense of unreality about it.  I suspect even Bill Clinton, when he climbed out his private jet onto the tarmac at Pyongyang, must have wondered to himself, “Is this really happening?  Am I actually here?”  For most of us, North Korea seems to occupy the same imaginary plane of existence as Mordor.  I live in Beijing, and the concrete realization that the DPRK is a real place just a short hour and a half flight away — even though I’d known it all along in theory — came as quite a shock.  Showing up at the Beijing airport and checking into my flight felt like that scene in Harry Potter where the plain brick walls of King’s Cross station give way to reveal a hidden platform with a magic train to whisk him off to Hogwarts.  

But there is one thing that I think is really impressive, but at the same time, sickening of North Korea, which is the mass games. It is basically a ceremony of some sort where there are a whole bunch of people performing in exact precision celebrating the leader… How do I explain this… Showing is better than telling:

This is, by the way, another one of those brain washing devices, keeping the youth’s mind busy all year long to prevent dissent, to praise the North Korean leader, who has a god like status, and to promote basically the collectivistic mindset of the nation. Truly incredible, truly sick. It is a shame really. All of those talents wasted praising just one guy.

You know, I am thinking, this whole thing is unfair. What did those people do to deserve eternal slavery of the mind? Why do these group have to suffer? Now, I know that there is no particular reason except for the current of history, and these people had the misfortune of being North Koreans, but still… So much of our lives, like where we are born and the situation that comes along with it is so outside of our control. That sense of no control is truly a horrible feeling.  Whether I am me or another person is so much like the rolls of a die. I feel truly fortunate that I live in a good country with a good family, and even though we might not be rich and hardships have arisen, I have a decent opportunity to do what I want to do. I don’t have to think what someone else tells me to think. This is all cliche and all, but I think we shouldn’t take our liberties for granted, that is all.

So yeah, you get the point. If there ever was a contest of worst or most FAIL nation state in the world, North Korea would be a runner up. Although there are so many horrible places in this world that it is hard to make my mind up on what  is the worst country in the world. But truly, North Korea is almost, if not, is unmatched in its Orwellian way of doing things.

Hypnosis and Depressing WWI footage

March 1, 2009

This post is just a mishmash of two interesting things from my classes.

The first one is hypnosis, which I learned in AP psychology. Now, you might say hypnosis is false, and be skeptical of it. I understand, I mean, hypnosis does sound pretty strange and all. Kudos to you for it, but I think you are wrong. Skepticism is good, but in the face of good evidence, I must say I am pretty convinced. Even those who admitted that they faked part of it said they couldn’t fake other parts. Besides, there are research done on it. For example, on the effects of pain, which hypnosis is able to reduce. What hypnosis is not, though, is superpower. It won’t make you do superhuman things or do things contrary to your conscience. In fact, from my brother’s account, it is totally conscious. That is right, my brother got hypnotized as part of a demonstration for AP psychology and human behaviour!

The hypnosis was made by a man named Ramelle Macoy. We all gave him our thanks, and I am still extremely thankful for his visit, which he did without getting paid a single dime. Anyways, he made a really entertaining show. First, he made people focus into a hypnotic trance, a sleep like state where he gives command. Later, he assigned each one a number so that they could go to hypnotic sleep or wake up at the sound of it. He told them to put their hands together, and to try to get them apart, but that hey won’t separate no matter how hard. To this one girl, he made her put her finger to her nose, she later told me in my Bio class that it was bizarre, that she couldn’t take it off (and considering she faked many of it). For everyone, he made them milk a cow, drive a car, and eat popcorn. Then, he said they were watching x rated movies, and he told them to raise a hand if they wanted to get out. Two hands if they wanted to stay. Most of them raised one hand. One guy eagerly raised his both hands and a girl waved her hands in the air, which were really funny. Then, he did each one individually. To one person, he made him thirsty everytime he said certain word, so that he would grab a glass of water. Another guy felt a jab everytime he was told pins and needles. A girl was made to pretend she had a cat which escaped everytime he said a cue phrase, which she chased after. My brother was suggested to convince her that there was no cat. The funniest part was the “x-ray” glasses. My brother wore it, and “saw” everyone naked. He looked away at the sights. He gave it to another girl, who was told to keep looking, which was even funnier, especially after two guys of the audience stood up in purpose as a joke, one of them spreading his leg.  Then she was supposed to hit him, since he told her at her trance like state to do it after he told her later on that he was looking at her naked with the “x-ray” glasses. Fascinatingly, she didn’t, which shows the limit of hypnosis. Remember, it ain’t superpower. At the end, they all said they thought 5 to 20 minutes have passed. Overall, it was fascinating and strange.

My brother told me he couldn’t remember anything. From what he could remember, he told me that in the awakened state, that when he did things, they were very conscious. He said that hypnosis made him want to do whatever the hypnotist told him to do, that it changed perception, and that it was as if  one part of his consciousness split away. What was really interesting was his account when he saw people “naked.” He said that he actually saw everyone clothed, but his mind believed that everyone was naked so that he looked away. He even said that it was kind of gross that an old man was in front of him naked (even if clothed). ^_^ Later on, he had to interpret “Venutian” from a girl who had been hypnotized into speaking “Venusian” because she was an alien. I wasn’t there, but accounts say that it was really freaky, as if they were speaking in tongues. In the end, it spiked my curiosity, and it was really fun, in a schaudenfreude sort of way.

These are just some observations I thought I would share with you. ^_^

In AP Euro history, we are learning on world war one. In class, he showed us this really depressing video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Notice the initial cheerfulness of it. Indeed, when war started in Europe, it was met with jubilation. Europe hadn’t had a general war since Napoleon, and they all wanted their badge of honor and manliness, and apparently show that they had a penis. Now, there were other wars, but they were not big, were swift, and many conflicts were a whole bunch of revolutions exploding everywhere in Europe, many of them repressed. Now the new generations had a chance to show off, just like their parents and grandparents.

Apparently, they were looking at the wrong wars. It turns out WWI had more similarity with the American civil war than any war in Europe. That is, trench warfare with unimaginably massive casualties. The soldiers got more than they bargained for. They suffered unimaginable horrors in the trench. They got shelled, got trench foot, shot at, starved, massacred by huge numbers, gassed, lived in terrible trench conditions, etc etc etc. Turns out machine gun was the key to the basically stalemated battlefields. One man could clear out everyone in his field of visuals. As my teacher said, technology outpaced military strategy. Also, the gases were horrible too. Mustard gas caused blisters everywhere, and this cholrine type of gas ensured that your lungs were filled with fluids, so that you drown on land. The flamethrower wasn’t big, notice it was used to clear away the barbed wires. Later in the war, though, they got desperate, and used it on people. How terrible, that people were being made to do such things to other fellow human beings. Basically, not a pleasant war, and they all got a piece of the horrors of modern warfare. The worst part of this is that there would be an even worse war than this one, which is world war two, of course.

A Bit of Yugoslavia and History

July 14, 2008

The blog: A Blog Around the Clock has a fascinating account of Yugoslavia and the ethnic violence that broke out afterwards. You see, the guy who writes the blog , coturnix (he is a chronobiologist, though, and that is an alias, btw), used to live in it, and anyone who likes a good story or history (ya didn’t think science was my only interest, did you?) will like it. He also makes the connection with religion and group cohesiveness, and makes the case that the authoritarian parties of the cold war were also religion. Yes, he is not religious, no, you should not not read (you know what doble negative means, ja?) it because it is somewhat counter religion, because in the end, it will have taught you something, and made you think of things that you would have never thought of.