You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

This could very literally mean a Second Cold War. Russia found out there’s about twice the amount of oil of Saudi Arabia holds in ‘their’ half of the North Pole. Reason enough just to simply claim it. What’s next? Claiming the moon? Full article here.

You might or might not believe this, but when you’re a high ranking Scientologist, only highly classified information appropriate for your level of undertanding is released to you, and nothing more. The info, that was (against the will of Scientology) released by Steven Fishman goes a little something like this, here illustrated South Park style:

Since youtube keeps taking any videos not authorized by Scientology off their site, you should watch the video at the official South Park Studios site. Enjoy!

Neuroplasticity is so cool! More and more neurologists come to the conclusion that the mind is far more flexible than was generally believed by scientists in the not-so-far-away past. The theory used to be:

“After your 18th birthday, your minds only decayes, with no chance of recovering any of the lost cells and brainpower. If your brain is damaged, that’s it. Everybody’s neurotopology (the location of brain functions) is the same and old people haven’t got a chance in improving their brainpower significantly because their cells are simply gone. FYI: we use only 10% of our brains.”

These ideas are changing dramatically. More and more it is believed that our brains rearrange themselves in very smart ways. There is indeed a localization of functions in the brain that is similar in most people, but studies have shown that the brains start rearranging themselves when the need occurs. When there’s a high demand for a certain brain function, the brain reconnects itself. Also, neurologists are abandoning the theory that we use only 10% of our brain. It’s just that we’re not using everything simultaneously.

OK … so what? Well, it means that you have the ability to learn anything you want. The neuroplastic nature of your mind opens a world of possibilities: what you feed your brain, is what your brain becomes. Feel depressed? Are you thinking about your misery all the time? The brain will adapt, to make sure you see misery everywhere you look. Make you want to think about what you’re thinking.

Wanna learn a language after 50? This is definitely possible. All it needs is the right attention, motivation, dedication and above all the knowledge it is even possible. Your brain is very much like a muscle. Don’t exercise it? Don’t expect to get yourself a ‘hard’ brain. Start exercising today!

Also, make sure you read this post about an essay of Milton Glaser, and of course the movie “The Secret”.

Is this man black inside, or what?

I’m not going to comment on this. It’s pretty self explanatory.

With all the internet and all, kids just aren’t what they used to be, just playing with a ball in the garden.

The Atheism Tapes consist of a series of conversations by the BBC, presented by Jonathan Miller with various people, the most interesting one of them of course being Richard Dawkins. Obviously these people have thought about God and the (non)existence of Him a lot. There are some very convincing and very strong arguments brought up. Especially Dawkin’s notion that you believe in the God that you’ve been brought up with and that that’s pretty coincidental is very powerfull. On the other hand, there seems to be a void in the story of ‘convinced’ atheists. The fact they are convinced atheists perhaps doesn’t make them any better than the religious people they are fighting. These scientific fundamentalists are not providing a better answer to the big questions than for example Christians or Muslims. [text continues below the movie below]

“Would we not have believed in Thor or Zeus or Jaja the Deepsea Monster if we would have been brought up in a different place and time?” is a very strong and intelligent remark by Dawkins. Is one of the religions correct, or are they all wrong? Most religions claim superiority over other religions, so clearly, the religions of the world are incompatible with one another, so only one must be the very really best top true-est religion. This is, of course, as you may or may agree with, a ridiculous contradiction. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an organization that is all about this contradiction.

It is on the other hand also impossible to ‘prove’ there is actually nothing there, like a creating intelligence. The Laws of Physics are very strong and all-powerfull. The matter of the earth attracts our bodies, so we don’t have to fear floating towards outer space by accident. Water and other materials have a melting point and a boiling point. There are some extremely dictatorial and absolute powers restricting our every move. We as people often make very smart use of the physical laws: you don’t need to be a car-mechanic to ride a car.

OK, you can say: because matter attracts matter we can walk with our body matter on this giant ball of matter. The big “where does it all come from?” question can be ‘explained’ by a ‘big bang’. Organisms came to be because of evolution. But what does it really explain? Is there really anything we people, that only recently managed to escape the animal kingdom, can say about anything? Don’t we always come to the conclusion that the pursuit of knowledge only makes us realize there’s so much more to investigate? Does knowledge have a boundary? Will we one day have everything scientifically explained and get a definite answer on the reality we live in? Imagine the news: “Good morning and welcome to News Today. Great news coming up! Scientists have now found a definite, proven answer, that explains who we are and where we and the matter we’re made up of come from. The answer also clearly and indisputably explains how the galaxy came to be and finally provides us with a definite conclusion to the question of what the purpose of our life is. More right after the commercial break, so stay tuned.” That would be one of a hell of an expensive commercial break.

How can a feather come into existence? A horse? A fern? A man? OK, evolution makes a lot of sense and is most likely true, but it doesn’t even vaguely explain why molecules react to each other the they do, the very basis of an organism: chemistry. We can check out how they react and get really studied in the field of biochemistry, but nobody in the world has even remotely the faintest idea of where molecules come from or why they react the way they do at the most basic level. The mechanics of natural laws can be researched, very deeply. There’s always more to explore there and we as people will certainly gain lots and lots more factual knowledge on this subject in the future.

However, personally I wouldn’t dare to stand up for or against any look on life and defend it passionately, weather it be religious, atheist or anything else. There really isn’t anything definite we can say about it. Looking into our hearts, we can intuitively find out what is most appealing for us to believe. Looking at the facts, we can map the workings of the universe to a certain degree, only revealing higher degrees of complexity. In the end, neither belief in the supernatural or the proven facts bring us anywhere further. Neither priests, nor scientist will give our lives a satisfying meaning that is both hopefull and proven to be true. In a way, factual science is becoming a new church. Just studying our surroundings in detail perhaps makes us wake up to the way things work, but there’s nothing observation of matter can tell us about most big ‘why’ questions.

Isn’t this pure magic? To be free from opinions that need to be defended? Knowing there’s nothing you really know or ever will, you’re free from insecurity, free from anger and full of awe for things that cannot be explained, always with an open mind to all the wonderfull things in the world, including religion. Looking at it this way nothing is impossible and everything is true. Oh what a joy.

The word is buzzing around that this company called ‘The Legacy Engineer Group’, makers of several Atari computer remakes, is about to release the ‘Atari Flashback Portable’, with 20 built-in games and a staggering 320 x 240 screen. It’s so funny how some people just cannot say goodbye to the systems they once fell in love with. Well, here’s the computer Atari wasn’t technically able to make with the technology available then.

After these Japanese English learning courses, we continue with some Dutch and German English language learning ads, both VERY funny.

Dutch English learning ad

German English learning ad

Just watch it. Many praises to this young man…

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