dal niente

Month: November, 2006

My picks for most interesting videos of the day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzqumbhfxRo

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“What did you hope to accomplish here?” asked the student.

And my professor laughed.  “Here, in class? Or do you mean at my old job?”

He worked as a cousellor at a jeuvenile detention center for five years before becoming a philosophy teacher.  The average life expectancy of people who steeped into his offce was 18 years old.

He considered his words for a moment.

“Every one of you in this class has questions about life.  And because you have a social network, because you have the herd to fall back on, you are physically safer than they are.  Meanwhile when one of those kids had a breakdown– as all people do– it isn’t just a slamming door, a drink at the bar, or see-minus on your last paper.  For them, it leads to a knife in their hand, or a knife in their back.  I am not trying to make you feel guilty, or priledged– none of that matters. But really, to understand that they have the same problems as you– the tools by which they deal with a lack of meaning though are different.  We can talk about the herd as if it’s a bad thing, and that’s an easy scapegoat– but those who don’t have the herd have the knife and the broken bottle, and you see the violence that has been scaled out of us.  On one hand, they live authentically– they take action because they think it is right.  They don’t hesitate.  And yet, we here in this room in comparison hesitate too much.  Yet what’s the result?  So you ask… what did I hope to accomplish there?  I suppose you might say, i hoped to prevent the reconcilitation of who we were and who we are to be from coming to an insupportable level of violence.  I hope to find that me, between the violence and  the complacency.”

Let’s talk about crazy (sleep deprived)

… no, i don’t mean that bachelor in new york that was apparently gunned down, along with some friends, 2 hours before his wedding, just because he was… um… wait.  Why did the police fire at them 50 times again?  Somebody forgot to tell me.

Naw.  Crazy as that sounds, is that really what crazy is?  What do we mean by crazy nowadays?  Is it just something that we can’t see ourselves doing?

Crazy. 

At the end of your life, you realize that craziness is the driving force.  Just what is that limitation?  Craziness is the outcasts, the avant garde, the ones who stuck out their necks (and oftentimes got them chopped).  A bit of crazy per day is how you live… otherwise, you’re yesterday.  You’re not tomorrow.


Every one of us exists, in a sense, in triplicate.  You exist in the past, in the present, in the future.  But there are slight differences to each, each sheet has a different set of lines or fine print, essentially a different context.  One is for you, one is for the store, the otherone is the actual.  Or at least, so we hope–  who really knows which one is the actual– some people live for tomorrow, others live in the now, others live in the past.

But really we sort of have to live in all three at once, and yet, there have to be differences.  Because perpetuation isn’t the currency of life.  Perpetuation is just a scattered paper trail.  A hundred copies of the same thing. A copy verbatum is just eternity, and if things were eternal then well, the temporality of life itself would be lost, and without that temporality, what is life, really?  It’s no longer a breath– it’s a frozen moment, without a possibility of ever converting potential into reality.

Existence isn’t enough.

Lucky for us, time moves. Time dilates. Yes.  SOmetimes time flies, sometimes it crawls to a stop.  Our perceptions control the throttle.  But we can’t always control our perceptions.

And that seems unfortunate– because mastering our perceptions seems to me to be the first step in mastering our so called destinies.

We should become who we are.

Think about that.

Let me rephrase that, in case you want to do something stupid like assume that ‘we’ means that you’re part of a group in this endeavour.

You should become who you are.

You’re really alone in this task.  You see, isolation, they say, makes people go crazy– but I say this is a good thing.  The alternative is to be muted altogether, and what is life if not the ability to exert through a metaphorical scream.  I am not talking about raising your hand and saying “present!” when someone calls your name on the list of the begining to the end.   I am talking about a metaphorical scream, something you do to test that you’re there.  If such a thing is possible. but you try.

Say goodbye to yesterday, but don’t take too long doing that because you don’t want to get caught up dealing with all that triplicate. Don’t say hello to tomorrow– tell me what tomorrow is.  It is that simple.

And if you try and tell someone what tomorrow is, and they call you crazy, you tell them they’re sane and you laugh (as crazy people do).  But laugh not because of why they think you’re laughing– laugh because you know that being sane is normative, it’s sedated, it’s rounded and it is sad.

I am not saying to be a rebel without a cause.  Never assume this is what i mean.

I am saying that once you get to the bottom of things, neither sanity or insanity means anything– crazy as it sounds, you make of it all whatever you want, whether that is everything or nothing at all.

Ask Canadian motorists why they idle their vehicles, and you’ll likely get a simple answer: to warm up the engine before they drive away. It’s one of the most commonly held myths in Canada about driving. And it costs you money, wears out your vehicle’s engine and generates unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.


Contrary to popular belief, idling isn’t an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm it up is to drive it. In fact, with today’s engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before you start to drive.


The notion that idling is good for your vehicle is passé – in fact, it hasn’t been the right thing to do since the advent of electronic engines. The truth is that excessive idling can damage the engine.


The reason? An idling engine isn’t operating at its peak temperature, which means that fuel doesn’t undergo complete combustion. This leaves fuel residues that can condense on cylinder walls, where they can contaminate oil and damage parts of the engine. For example, fuel residues are often deposited on spark plugs. As you spend more time idling, the average temperature of the spark plug drops. This makes the plug get dirty more quickly, which can increase fuel consumption by 4 to 5 percent. Excessive idling also lets water condense in the vehicle’s exhaust. This can lead to corrosion and reduce the life of the exhaust system.


Besides, what’s often forgotten is that idling warms only the engine – not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission and tires. These parts also need to be warmed up, and the only way to do that is to drive the vehicle.


Perhaps you’re concerned that continually shutting off and restarting the vehicle is hard on the engine. But studies show that frequent restarting has little impact on engine parts such as the battery and starter motor. The wear on components that restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to the cost of driving – money that you’ll likely recover several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling.


So, when should you turn off the engine? Believe it or not, more than 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. As a rule of thumb, if you’re going to stop for 10 seconds or more – except in traffic – turn the engine off. You’ll save money. And your vehicle won’t produce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.


 






 


Climate change is a global problem, but a big part of the solution lies in the hands of individuals – including the millions of Canadians who drive vehicles every day.


What exactly is climate change? Scientists believe increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are trapping heat near the earth’s surface. This is causing global temperatures to rise, which in turn is triggering changes in climate. We’re already seeing the early impacts of climate change in Canada, with severe weather events in some parts of the country, but it could get much worse. Unless action is taken, climate change could put Canada’s forests and water supply at risk, endanger plant and animal species, and harm human health.


Human activities, particularly the combustion of fossil fuels, are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. And Canadians’ love affair with the car – we own more of them and drive them farther than ever before – is a big part of the problem. In fact, the transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.


For every litre of gasoline used, the average car produces about 2.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas. This is unavoidable with today’s internal combustion engines. But we can avoid producing unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions by reducing or eliminating wasteful vehicle idling.


Emissions from idling vehicles are needless and can be easily prevented – all it takes is the turn of a key.


If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Canada avoided idling for just five minutes a day, we would prevent more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year. That would represent a huge contribution to Canada’s climate change efforts.


Health impacts of idling


Carbon dioxide is only one by-product of fuel combustion – the vehicles Canadians drive every day also generate other toxic substances that are fouling our air, contributing to urban smog and threatening our health.


Studies by Health Canada and community health departments and agencies have shown a direct link between contaminants in vehicle emissions and significant respiratory health effects. These studies have concluded that poor air quality and smog – caused in part by vehicle exhaust – are resulting in increased hospital admissions, respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, particularly in urban areas.


In fact, Health Canada estimates that more than 5000 Canadians die prematurely each year because of air pollution, and thousands more become unnecessarily ill. Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per kilogram of body weight. Air pollution also causes unnecessary difficulty for elderly people and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.


These health problems could become even more common and pronounced as climate change progresses. That’s because climate change results in more frequent and severe heat waves, which tend to make smog and air pollution worse. One way to head off the problem is to stop unnecessary idling. Our air would be cleaner, and respiratory health would improve in our communities.


For more information on health and climate change, visit the Web site of Health Canada’s Climate Change and Health Office. Information about respiratory issues is available from the Canadian Lung Association.


Idling Wastes Fuel and Money


One of the most powerful arguments in favour of reduced idling is an economic one. Unnecessary idling wastes fuel – after all, idling gets us nowhere – and wasted fuel is wasted money.


Many Canadian fleet operators have implemented idling policies to reduce their fuel costs and improve their competitiveness. (In some heavy-duty vehicles, electronic engines can be programmed to shut down after a certain period of idling.) With today’s high fuel prices, individual Canadians might be well-advised to consider adopting a personal idling policy.


If every driver of a light duty vehicle avoided idling by five minutes a day, collectively, we would save 1.8 million litres per day of fuel, almost 4500 tonnes of GHG emissions, and $1.7 million in fuel costs everyday (assuming fuel costs are $0.95/L).


There is lots of opportunity to achieve that goal. Research indicates that Canadian motorists idle their vehicles an average of 5 to 10 minutes a day. One study suggests that in the peak of winter, Canadians voluntarily idle their vehicles for a combined total of more than 75 million minutes a day – equivalent to one vehicle idling for 144 years! We idle about 40 percent less in summer, but it still amounts to an enormous waste of fuel and money.


There’s another issue to consider. Gasoline is derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource. We’re not in danger of running out in the near future, but crude oil reserves in Canada and around the world are dwindling – why waste this precious resource?


To sum up, gasoline is costly, its use has significant environmental impacts, and there’s not an endless supply – three good reasons not to waste fuel through unnecessary vehicle idling.


 


News Flash! Idling Is Not Good for Your Engine


Perhaps the greatest myth about idling is that it’s good for the engine. The truth is that excessive idling can actually damage a vehicle’s engine.


Contrary to popular belief, idling is not an effective way to warm up a vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. Today’s electronically controlled engines allow you to drive away after only 30 seconds of idling, even on the coldest winter days.


Excessive idling can be a problem for a few reasons:



  • First, since an idling engine is not operating at its peak temperature, fuel combustion is incomplete.
  • As a result, fuel residues can condense on cylinder walls, contaminate oil and damage engine components. For example, these residues tend to deposit on spark plugs. With more engine idling there is a drop in the average plug temperature and accelerated plug fouling. This can increase fuel consumption by 4 to 5 percent.
  • Excessive idling can cause water to condense in the vehicle’s exhaust. This can lead to corrosion and reduce the life of the exhaust system.

There’s another good reason for motorists to drive away soon after starting a vehicle. The engine is only one component of a vehicle. Other parts, such as the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission and tires, also need to be warmed up, and the only way to do that is to get the vehicle moving.


Another common misconception is that it’s better to let an engine idle than to continually shut off and restart the vehicle. Research has shown that frequent restarting has little impact on engine components such as the battery and starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that can be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling.







A good rule of thumb for smart, idle-free driving is this:



  • If you are going to be parked for more than 10 seconds, turn off the engine. Ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it


Block heaters save fuel and help the environment


Starting a vehicle on a cold winter day can be hard on the engine and the environment. The best way to get around this problem is to use a block heater when the temperature drops below 0°C.


Here’s the Problem


When an engine starts up, it pumps oil through the engine block to lubricate moving parts. In a cold engine, the oil is thick and resists flow, so the engine has to work harder to overcome internal friction. As a result, the engine uses more fuel and creates more pollution in the first minutes after a cold start than when it reaches normal operating temperatures.


Fuel combustion is also less efficient in a cold engine, and the air-fuel mixture is richer – in other words, there is more fuel than needed in the mixture, and less air. The combined effect is a sharp increase in pollutants. Since a vehicle’s catalytic converter doesn’t work when it is cold, all of the engine’s emissions pass through the exhaust untreated.


Here’s the Solution


A block heater is an inexpensive device that warms the coolant, which in turn warms the engine block and lubricants. The engine will start more easily, reach its peak operating temperature faster and won’t have to work as hard to pump oil through the block.


At –20°C, block heaters can improve overall fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. For a single short trip on a cold day, fuel savings could be in the order of 20 percent.


An automatic timer can be used to turn on the block heater a couple of hours before the vehicle is to be started.

Actualization

Science says: “We must live,” and seeks the means of
prolonging, increasing, facilitating and amplifying life, of making it
tolerable and acceptable. Wisdom says: “We must die,” and seeks how to
make us die well.

I’m quite certain that I must die, someday.  So, let’s see what I can do in the meantime.


Valuation. Actualization. 

Creation.

So, just what really is this big thing everyone calls ‘purpose’?  What is ‘movition’?  What is ‘happiness’?

These questions I ask without getting anything but broad answers, and if you were to ask these same questions you could only expect the same.


I will talk a bit something I call actualization.  I think Neitzche might have referred to this as the Will to Power in part, but I don’t want to misquote him so just listen for a moment to what I have to say.  The fact that what I say is what I say is an important concept of actualization.

What is actualization?

Suppose there is you, standing perfectly still.  Devoid of all meaning, purpose, intention.  And then… you take a step foward.

Metaphorically speaking, this single step is an action… it propels you forward.  If hints that perhaps you have a direction, a goal.  But you might not.

But it is the motion that is important.  The instand you decide to act upon your idea to move, that is an act of actualization– you are bringing, into the real world, something from your imagination.  And it is not just an act of transporting– it isn’t opening a closet and taking out a toy.  Actualization is creation, in time and space.  It is something that then exists external to you– and your respect for what it was in your imagination makes it have an effect on you.  In fact, if you force of actualization is strong enough, you can even affect others through it.

Actualization is creation, and valuation.  Nothing outside of you can make the transition into your mind without first passing through your filters– concious and unconcious.  And sometimes we have concious filters which were created unconciously.

And so we agree with things, usuauly social norms, because we perceive that others have associated value to it.  Even when we’re not thinking, we’re sorta democratic aren’t we?

This leads me to what I call symbiotic or social actualization.  This is where your acts of actualization, that is, your acts of creation or valuation coincide simply with those acts of others.

On the other hand what you have is severed acualization.  This is where your acts of actualization have a relative degree of independance or selfawareness.  Your conciousness is ‘severed’ from that of the social mind, and thus,  you are beside yourself with the ability to evaluate even yourself.


An awareness of the power of actualization is the first step towards developing the machinery to really coasting in your life endeavors.  With actualization, you can define what means failure, success, or you can even redifine the very concepts of it.  The very fabric of the machinery of the social world become atomic, disectable, reconfigurable.  You become not so much a ‘victim’ of life as much as a ‘subscriber’.


Some people tend to separate intelligence and emotion.  So ‘wise people’ aree ‘less emotional’. I rather think that intelligence is a mechanism, and emotion turns is an essence.  It isn’t that wise people are any less emotional– but they are able to focus those emotions better.  If we are to take it that that emotion is a demonstration of soul, then perhaps wisdom is a harmony of emotion.  You can look at a wise person and see that for all situations, thick and thin, good and bad, there is a relative sense that the person is ‘surfing’ or at least ‘floating’ on emotional waves rather rather than swimming for their life.  And no swimmer attempts to tell the waves of the ocean which way to go.  The swimmer just acknowledges that water is the medium, and that the swimmer is the spec in the universe.

This is not to say that the swimmer is doomed to drown in futility– rather, that the swimmer is the person who decides how and which way he swims, regardless of where water carries him.  It is not your choice where you end up– but actualization is the choice of which way you decide you want to go.


It is not that you need to ‘find meaning’, or a reason to keep on going.

Rather, you have to step foward. Actualize.  And create that which nobody has left for you.

Randomly, someone’s post that, though is in the context of martial arts, really applies to life in general: http://www.xanga.com/zao_tok/550536167/item.html


Assorted Updates

Provincial Tournament Results:


Defeat! I lost in the first round (the tournament is single elimination) and I also lost in the first round of consolations (though at least it was 2-1, so we did fight back somewhat).  In general it was an interesting experience for a first time. But i was kinda dissapointed about one thing– people kept telling me how the pressure would be intense.  I went there expecting to play against people who were monsters or something, but though they were good it wasn’t anymore a fearful experience than LBA, or random vagrancy to other gyms.  Maybe everyone who tried to scare me are just cowards 😛


 


RsM Div 5 vs Beaconsfield Results:


Defeat! But it’s getting there.  It was nice to see that the players seemed more relaxed, at least the house isn’t built on quicksand anymore.


 


Finals:


Oh don’t even ask.


 


Finances:


…unknown.  I’ve got a lot of merchandise that’s supposed to be heading to me and on the other hand a lot of people owe me money, and I owe a lot of money.

Closer than I thought

(To realize your opponent is human is the first step to realizing that you being only human is enough)

Yesterday I played 5 games of singles against someone who I’ve pretty
much considered to be a better badminton player than me in all
categories.  He’s got more experience, he’s got more power, he’s
got more technical skill,  he’s got more tactical knowhow and he’s
got more presence on court.  I guess I could say that I can run
faster than him, but that’s not exactly an ‘elegant’ solution in a
contest of any real skills.

Out of 5 games, he won three, and I won two.  TWO?

It might not sound like a lot but don’t get me wrong: I am
ecstatic.  And it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t used to the gym
and I was: I am still ecstatic. I’ve never been able to beat him in
singles before, and that’s since we started back when RsM opened almost
2 years ago now.  Nevermind beating him: I’m never been able to hurt him before. 
Forget the scores. Two entire wins, disputable or not, rather, those
instances where I dealt real damage against a player of his calibre,
they’re a huge milestone for me.  Especially considering in the
past he’s beaten me with my score closer to zero than to 21.  When
I played yesterday, even the games I lost I never lost by more than
about 3 points out of 21.

The games were superb.  I had recently upgraded the strings on my
racket to something stiffer, higher tension– basically, from a hammer
to a sledge hammer.  It can do kick harder overal, and yet, if
you’re not strong enough, you can’t use it in the first place. 
The racket and the player in a sense need to find a sort of harmony
that goes beyond the technical– it depends on how much willpower you
put into your swing, and how you learn not how to  work it but how to work with it.   And yes, this tension has been giving me problems in the past.  But yesterday… because it was him i didn’t even notice.

I could actually feel the racket flexing backwards, it’s weight unable
to keep up with the speed of my swing and thus it was bending at the
shaft,  the swing of my arm was so strong yesterday.  My
footwork was on the dime.  My hits were powerful and sharp. 
My recoveries were efficient.  My presence was solid.

To be honest, I expected to lose– I don’t know how such a weak spirit
could have won, except that at some point I realized I was scoring
points and that even if I didn’t beleive in myself, my skills were
still there, doint their job passively.  My potential was just
waiting behind an unlocked door, I just had to  decide to turn the
handle.  All it needed to finish the games was a bit of courage, a
bit of catalyst.  And at that point, the physical truths– his
superior technical skill, experience, tactics– that didn’t even matter
because it was just a question of fighting spirit.

The physical truths of non-mattering-stuff even includes the actual
scores.  I mean… after all, I did lose three games.  And
yet, during those games, our spirits knew that at times, I caught him,
and I caught him bad with things neither of us thought that I could
pull off.  Those moments were descisive, that damage on
the idol irreversible and delicious, like the chipping away something
of a Rosetta’s authority of the order of things.  It was just a
symbol all along, just looming– behind it was still still something
human, no more god than me.


Tonight, I’m going to be playing in my first provincial MD tournament,
in the C Class.  I have no clue how that will turn out. 
Players of higher calibre than me have told me how their first
experiences where characterized by them shaking while they served, and
getting muscle cramps just from being too tense.  And all the
while the ones who do manage to get back up from each successive
provincial, having faced that kind of fear, they keep going back, in the way that once you get good at something in face of terror you want to be the terror of
others, just to give back the favor and perpetuate the truth of the
myths.  Like how parents terrorize their children because that’s
what happened to them.  People can’t get revenge at the real
purpetrators– so they take it out on the inexperienced who don’t know yet how to deffend themselves. 

I’ve been told that this is what provincials are like.  It ain’t
no micky mouse.  If your face is in front of the net, they won’t
hesitate to risk your teeth or an eye to finish that point off. 
They’ve earned their position on the court, and they’re hell as not
going to give it up without a fight to some new kid.

Well… who know how I’ll do?  At this stage in my life, if
there’s one thing I know is that there’s a very fine line between
nervousness, fear, and downright excitement.  Who cares what it
is, as long as it’s an emotion that will fuel you?  People always
talk about conquering fear– I tells ya, those people are fooling
themselves and indeed, only the fools are fearless.   For the
rest of us humans, it isn’t the destruction of fear but the
confrontation or even alliance with it that keeps us alive.

So… how are my spirits for tonight?  I don’t know.  But one thing is certain, that I have to remember:

They’re human.  And so, for me to be only human too is enough.