Monday, July 28, 2008

Moral Dilemmas

Mmm we all love a good dilemma don't we? Here's today's: Would you kill someone? Would you have someone kill for you? Would you torture someone? Would you pay someone a lot of money for information, even if you knew that money was going to finance awful things? Where is your line, and when is the situation right to say yes to these things? The way these questions are phrased you are the Pres and you're talking to me the operative.

The name of the game is this: You are the President of the United States, and you are giving instructions to a CIA operative. The instructions can be either yes or not yes. No in between, yes or no, do it or not. I'll put my vote into parenthesis just so you know how I score in this test. There isn't really a 'right' answer and that's what makes this hard.

Question 1 - Would you have me as a CIA operative associate with terrorists so that I can gain information that could save American lives? (Yup)

Question 2 - Terrorists aren't going to give me this information for free, can I use a lot of the governments money to pay this terrorist for information if he's going to use the money to get his family out of the terrorist ring? (Yes)

Question 3 - What if I don't know how the terrorist is going to use the money? (Yes)

Question 4 - What if the terrorist is going to use the money to finance an attack on an adversarial nation to us, say Iran? (Yes)

Question 5 - What if the terrorist is going to use the money to finance an attack on an allied country? (Not Yes)

A couple definitions. Assassination - a CIA operative killing someone. Act of War - a soldier killing someone.

Question 6 - Let's say pre 9/11 an agent has eyes on Osama bin Laden (who attacked the USS Cole) and he's in one of 5 tents. Would you as the President send a cruise missile and take him out? Remember at this time 1% of America knows who bin Laden even is, this would be an act of war. (Yes)

Question 7 - Still pre 9/11 same scenario but the other four tents are filled with the royal family of an oil rich country who we are allied with? (Not Yes - a real situation)

Question 8 - Same scenario as question 7, but post 9/11? (Yes)

Question 9 - Can I torture someone for information that could lead to American lives saved? (Yes)

Question 10 - We have a prisoner in custody who has been taking flight lessons, but he's not so concerned with landing the plane. Pres gives the order to have him tortured to find out his plans. An operative, the only one who can translate Arabic in the room, says he cannot participate in the torture and leaves. He is tortured and his video will take 24 hours to have translated by someone else. 18 hours later 4 planes crash into the twin towers, the pentagon, and the ground, killing 3000 people. When the video is translated you find the prisoner gave every detail of the attacks. Should the operative be prosecuted as dereliction of duty? (Yes - also a real situation)

My answers seem straightforward but trust me they weren't and there were many discussions on what would be the best. But this conversation is best debated and not dictatorialized so I will stop here and just let you think about it. Interesting questions though and something else to consider when you are electing a president. Can he make these decisions? One woman I encountered said Not Yes to every single one of these questions (except torture, she said that was okay as long as we weren't doing in the United States, so dang hypocritical if you ask me), and my friend and I decided it would be awful if she ever became Pres because we would all die.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's the thought that counts

Today's thought was thought about 5 days ago but I kept forgetting the thought so it wasn't thought out at the right time so I could blog about my thought but now I've remembered the thought at the right time so I can write it down! Yay me!

Haha okay so here's the thing. I love starbucks! I get starbucks almost every morning and I don't know how I'm going to live without it when I go back to school. I adore the smell of the place and could be in there for hours just watching the people and listening to the (insert nerd term here) baristas be not so smart with eachother. It's awesome. I know their computer thing better then they do since I always have to explain where they need to ring me up when I order what I always get. My thought though is about their water. Ethos. So the stuff is $3 a bottle right, but you feel good about buying it because they donate to places so they can have all the clean water they need. YAY good cause!! But then we read the fine print..... for every bottle of water you buy, we donate a grand total of $0.05!!! Now doesn't that just warm your heart?!?!? I thought it might. So ya, bottles of water probably now cost about 50 cents at most to produce, and we're donating 5 cents from an already costly bottle of water. Just consider the irony.

Is it just the thought that counts?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lacking Information

So I can't think of anything else to write about...and the thing I want to write about I haven't thought through enough. It's all about my generation and what we are like. But so far the article I'm reading I've only read a third of it and it's upset so I need to finish it first and then formulate my thoughts. But wait with bated breath because it's going to be good! We're going to save the world but the way we're described is incredibly wrong from my point of view. But more on that when I finish.

One thought for today: Happy Birthday Abbey!! And K is cute when she says my name.

Here however is a different thought that is shorter and less cognitively intensive then the one I'm trying to sort out. So McCain doesn't know how to use 'a google'. How impressive is that. Not only does the man not know how to use google he doesn't even know what it is. I wonder how incredibly mixed up he would be if we threw the wikipedia concept at him. Now I don't think this will effect the man's ability to be a presidential candidate but still you have to admit that's incredibly weird if not pathetic. How does someone not know anything about it? But at least the man is doing things unscripted so you know he's an actual person as opposed to Obama who won't talk at all without scripting.

Walkin down memory lane

So I stole this from Abbey, it quite fantastic actually. I love to think about memories and the fun times when I was laughing incredibly hard. I would LOVE it if you would all play!

Here are the directions:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one (I would actually love many more than one) memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love lives on

Okay today's story comes actually from an advertisement that half way creeps me out and half way is really kind of sweet.

Diamonds represent love, marriage, eternity, and they of course last forever. That's their alure. Well partly, they also sparkle quite nicely, and are a girl's best friend. Of course I may be somewhat bias as first I am a girl, and second it is my birthstone so I have always had an affinity for them. But let's focus on diamonds being a symbol of love. A miraculous quote from this advertisement defines love in a way I haven't really thought about before. "Love. Life’s single greatest risk. Life’s single greatest reward. Love captures your heart in a second and holds it for eternity." What a beautiful way to put it right? Explains that it can totally rip you apart and leave you with nothing, but if it works out it will stay with you for eternity.

Well now there is an additional way to remember the love that you had for someone who has died. Now you can have a certified diamond made out of the carbon of a loved one. Creepy right? Ya incredibly creeptastic. But wouldn't it be interesting if you could have something like that to remember someone by. They can make all the different colored diamonds (just a question of adding different impuritites to the carbon), they're still the qualified hardness, brilliance, everything that all normal diamonds are rated by. Although if you think about it there would be no reason why they would be any different. Carbon is carbon and carbon is what makes diamonds. The only difference would by your mindset when you look down at your pretty hand with a gorgeous ring on it and you think wow what a beautiful reminder of the person I love, or, whoa, still kinda weird that that diamond is actually my mom or whatever. I don't know how I would feel about it actually but it is an interesting method that completely changes how you would think about your loved one.

Another question and something to think about is would it make a difference to you if you used a guy someone that you love as opposed to a girl someone that you love. And let's be honest that only a girl is going to do this. What guy is going to make a diamond out of someone that he loves? First he probably isn't going to wear it and second who is he going to give it to? So a girl is going to buy it. But would you make one out of your mom and not your dad, or the other way around, or would there be no gender discrimination? I myself would feel weird making a diamond out of a guy because I know they would feel weird being one. I don't know maybe this situation is just so weird that I can't handle it. A good memory definitely but how about the other person? Ya maybe just too weird....

An interesting idea to be sure. Maybe I would look into it because I do love diamonds. Well I guess it would depend on how big of a diamond I could get out of the person. (0:

On another note, sound off on whether I should run a 5k or a 10k on August 3rd...?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ice -- Polar Bears -- Kidney Stones (the logical progression)

Well I searched pretty far to find a candidate for today's thought. Found some interesting ones too but then I saw this and it took the cake. It happens to be about one of my favorite topics -- Global Warming.

"Scientists" (I use this term ridiculously loosely) have now discovered that global warming is causing more kidney stones than ever!! Hoover Dam what are we going to do now? First the sun is just melting the ice and hurting some furry incredibly vicious animals, but NOW it's coming after us!! Can we dramatize this situation enough? I don't think so!! You know those moments when you're sitting by yourself reading something or just thinking about something random and you start laughing out loud like a lunatic? Ya, just had one of those.

Here's the basis for the study: kidney stones are most often caused by dehydration which causes salt to glob together inside your kidney and crystalize. Not fun. Kidney stone cases have been becoming more frequent every year since 1976. Global warming means it's getting hotter so that's causing people to be dehydrated more, thus causing more kidney stones. Brilliant logic if I do say so myself! Oh......but wait guys.....what about all the other factors in the universe that affect us? Shucks we forgot about those....too bad we didn't take them into account. Oh well, let's publish the findings anyway and call ourselves heroes for finding yet another way global warming is ruining our lives.

Here's my theory as a scientist. I call myself a scientist even though I'm only 21 with only some formal training is the area of deductive reasoning but I figure if they can call themselves scientists so can I! (once again scientist is used loosely) Hmm so the kidney stone numbers have been on the rise since '76 huh....okay....well didn't the baby boomer generation start getting old then?? Hmm maybe more people all around caused more kidney stone cases which constitutes a rise. We could be onto something there. Hmm maybe that isn't enough though, we need something else...Oh I know! Hasn't the American population been getting steadily more obese since, oh I don't know, the 70's? Hasn't one of the major causes that studies point to for obesity been the obsession with drinking more and more soda instead of water (as I sit here drinking my soda might I add)? Isn't soda also a diuretic which causes dehydration? Hmm, I'm starting to see a trend. The afore mentioned study also says that more people get kidney stones in the hotter southern states than in the northern states. Aren't there more old people in the hotter southern states? And dehydration is a ridiculously common ailment in hotter areas, it's sort of because they're hot and people don't drink enough water. So according to my extensive studies of my brain and the commen sense areas of my brain, I see no supporting evidence for global warming to be causing more kidney stones. But I'm no scientist.

Here though is my favorite part of the article: a quote from a nephrologist (a doctor who deals with the kidneys, and ya I looked that up) who didn't participate in the study, he's just commenting. "Everyone in warmer temperatures is at higher risk for kidney stones, so the findings make perfect sense, What's so impressive about this study is how they've brought together models of warming and kidney stones for the first time." Oh can we get a round of applause for this man? I think he needs one! I also think it's impressive that they've brought together the models of warming and kidney stones for the first time but probably for a very different reason that Dr. Goldfarb here. At the end of the article they also give fun tips for avoiding kidney stones, (although why they're trying I don't know because global warming will get us all in the end!) first, is to drink more water, second, is to stay cool. Oh I think a second round of applause is in order. But most important they stress the drinking water because as Dr. Goldfarb aptly points out, "Not everyone can stay inside." Oh thank you doctor for those words of wisdom, we will forever be in your debt.

I end with this advice -- kids, don't do drugs. And watch out for global warming, it got the polar bears first but now it's coming after us, keep a sharp eye out and don't wander into dark alleyways.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Turning a new leaf

So I was trying to find something to do to keep me from sinking into depression and here is what I decided I would do. I'm going to investigate the web or whatever every day and write about it. I decided I'd do this because first I love to learn new things and second I love to write. I love to make the words flow together and especially I love to express ideas and try to instill in others the passion I may have for a subject. I've always been a writing person, I used to write stories for school all the time, my journal, random letters, quotes in my planner, notes, everything. So now this is how I'm going to keep myself sane.

Today's subject: names. Interesting tidbit - there are now professionals who rate how good your name is. Haha a whole charade of these people have been called out en masse to evaluate the names of Angelina and Brad's new twins; Knox Leon and Marchelina something or other. Basically their names didn't do very well, b minus' or c basically. But this got me thinking about my name. I don't have anyone to rate it so I'm just focusing on what it means.

First name: Heidi. German derivative of Adelheid, which is a German and Dutch form of Adelaide. Adel meaning noble and Heid meaning kind. So basically noble and kind. It became popular in the US from the movie Heidi, big surprise here haha. It also comes from the French form of the Germanic name Adalheidis. So it's basically all German...all roads lead there. It also means noble and kind in Old English. So ha that's what the first name is.

Middle name: Alyssa. Now listen close because this is all new information. Alyssa comes from Alicia, then Alice. Tracing Alice back we get that it is a short form of Alis, which is short for Adelais, which is short for, drum roll....Adalheidis. It's Old English meaning is....noble and kind.

So what did I learn about myself?! Basically I'm noble and kind. Or am supposed to be. And even more interestingly both my names come from the same Germanic name. They're the same! That must be why they flow so well together, at least in my opinion. If I were to rate my name I would give it a solid A for flowing, a good acronym (HAZ), and a good meaning.

Here's the thing, do we exemplify our name or does our name exemplify us? Am I really doubly noble and kind or just should I be because that's what I was named? What makes a name mean something? How much should you let something like this define you? I suppose it isn't too bad to let this define you though. I mean I haven't seen a name mean something bad so why shouldn't I try to be always noble and kind, although that sounds a tad boring, still good though. Just some things to think about when you're wondering what defines you and what you define.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sink About It

Well it's been a long time since I've blogged mostly because I haven't really had anything truly interesting to talk about (and my job has been slowing sucking my soul out), and maybe this won't be interesting at all anyway but it has nonetheless captured my attention. And it's crazy because once I got started on this I started seeing in so many different contexts and situations. So the three contexts that I am choosing to discuss today are in family life, politically, and religiously. Sounds dangerous already I know. So the thing that is really bothering me is how people are biased, but they're biased in the worst way. They are biased simply because they don't think things out, they don't decide things for themselves and they believe what they're told without (insert engineering term here) critically thinking about it. The only hard thing to decide is which to start with because I'm fairly equally passionate about all three. Dilemma.....hmm I'll pick out of a hat.

First Politics (order courtesy of Lauren). Have you ever noticed that some people have one opinion when you're talking to them strictly about the issue and not coloring it with McCain's position is this and Obama's position is that. Then they have a completely opposite position when they're discussing their support for their candidate. It's like they get so caught up in the eloquence that Obama possesses or the nice suit that John is wearing that they get lost in the words and, forgive the blasphemy, fall in love with how someone looks or talks. They don't stop to think, okay what is this person saying, is this the same thing he said last week? Now don't get me wrong I'm not endorsing either candidate, to be honest I don't really like either of them. And I'm also not supporting any "party", because both do it and there are stupid people on both sides of the fence. I'm also not just talking about this in the context of 'party lines' or just to do with elections and debates. It also has to do with our entire view of the world politically. Glenn Beck (seriously the more I read of this guy the more I am in awe) just did an article about things America does right and I completely agree and am floored that it plays right into my mindset of the week. So so often we get caught up in all the 'woe is me' things that are happening. Ya gas prices suck, ya some stupid high school students who can't count change without a calculator didn't get a job this summer, the world is going to hell. Seriously people why are we being so pessimistic? A friend of mine just wrote a thing about how bad Africa sucks right now. Ya there's civil war there and unfortunately people are dying. That really breaks my heart. It's awful that people don't have enough to eat, nowhere to live, and all they have is a gun to terrorize people with. But honestly, let's think about this, Africa has been a war zone since cavemen moved in there in the first place. This is not the first time this has happened people now just 'care' because they can see it on their tvs. Now that they see it they have the AUDACITY to say that WE have failed because this is happening right now. (just to lighten the mood I feel the need to be like Dwight and yell "right now this is happening!" and run out the door waving my arms ;) Why is everything in the world our own fault? Granted we are the most prosperous nation in the world no doubt and with greater abundance comes greater responsibility, but come on, does that mean we have to do everything? And if everything isn't patched up perfectly we are hypocritical and failing? In Glenn Beck's article one thing he mentions is we as a nation give the most out of the world to charity. Granted we are the most rich, but even taking into account that, we give 1000 times more than our closest competitor France. How can these idiots say that we aren't doing anything? Now I love my friend to death but I had to restrain myself from yelling at him. I just think that people need to, one, think a little bit more before they spew out pompous remarks that make them sound humanitarian and special if they haven't really done all the research. And second, people listening to people afore mentioned need to take the time to step back and ask, what is this person really truly saying, and is it at all able to be backed up.

Ah whew my heart rate could be at aerobic exercising range. Ha this passion is getting me worked up, I need to remind myself to calm down.

Religion. A friend and I were talking on Sunday about how incredibly shortsighted people can be when it comes to their religion and values. (BTW names have been left out on purpose...) First a disclaimer, I realize that people's values are at their core. They need to be and they are what define us in the easy times and the really tough times. I am also not applying this to only people of one religion, I include all religions in this hypocrisy but also that all people of that religion are not the same. It's only the really awful ones that usually give a name to a religion and that saddens me more than I could ever express. All Muslim people are not terrorists, all Baptist people aren't totally intolerant, and all Mormon people are not arrogant and haughty. Okay so your values are what make you a person, they're what define how you act and what you think. My issue is, what value is ingrained in your soul that makes you believe that your values are, not only more important that other peoples, but that you should also make it known that they are more important and try and put another down for not having the exact same beliefs as you? How can you not see any good in any other situation just because it's not the way you would do it? I feel the need for an example and since I'm Mormon I'll use a Mormon one since it's safest. A Mormon woman was recently put into a situation where she was in a gay home where the men had adopted a baby (and on national television but that's a different rant). Their rational was that their home was better than any foster home and the baby would be SO loved and cared for. This woman thought the baby was almost better off dead. Now look, I'm not gay, I don't think it's right, but I can't deny they will love that baby. And foster care almost never works out well (just look at degenerate statistics). Isn't this better than nothing at all? Also what about parents who are a mom and a dad but fight all the time...that child isn't raised in a good home. Or single parents... are we going to knock on all of them? We can't exclude them just because they're heterosexual! Shouldn't the foremost goal of parenting be to love and care for your child? Just because someone doesn't believe the same way you do, RESPECT their right to believe it!! There is good in all things, and wouldn't you want that same respect when someone thinks that you're a crappy mother because you make your child go to church every Sunday? The Golden Rule people, treat others as you want to be treated. Jesus didn't talk to the good Jewish high and mighty people, he talked to the lepers and the adulterers and the Samaritans. Study the text you claim to lay all your beliefs in.

Okay last family dynamic. I took a little break so maybe I'm not so worked up. Parent's always want to teach their children to be good people (well if they're good parents). They want to teach them how to succeed in life and to have good values and be upstanding people who will actually contribute to society. Again this statement applies across all religions, ethnicities, everything. My blanket statements here target stupid people in all areas not one 'group' of people. Here's where my problem with parenting and guardianship and mentorship comes in. It can be explained succinctly in a statement made by a teacher I had senior year of high school who taught me the United State Constitution and Politics. The very first day of class he came in and was talking to us about all we would be learning about: party lobbying, bills, pork, how the justice and lawmaking system works, etc. Basically a lot of things that can be potentially argumentative. But how he qualified things to us was this: "I am going to teach you HOW to think not WHAT to think." This distinction is so incredibly important to make especially if you're take a child who is a blank slate, who absorbs everything you say and everything they see you do and bases their life on it. We all act how we do to a certain extent because our parents taught or didn't teach us to be that way. There is no way to avoid this and no way to deny it. Because it is like this, you as a parent have an amazing terrifying responsibility. And you sure as H*** better think about the consequences of the good and bad things you teach them. Are you going to teach your child that you are always right and they need to follow blindly those who are in authority? Granted I totally understand the need for the "because I said so" moments. But I'm not talking about doing your chores and cleaning your room. I'm talking about bigger moments, the kind that facilitate things like thinking outside the box in the workplace or deciding what values are most important to you and what you believe at your core. It's the people who think outside the box who make millions by coming up with innovations. But aside from that, if you teach your kids to be able to think for themselves and analyze situations around them, then they can LEARN. They can take situations that maybe are awful like parents divorcing or catastrophies at school and adapt themselves so that they don't fall prey to the same situations and mistakes. One example of this is teen pregnancy, my friend from work and I were discussing how it is such a viscious cycle because how do you explain to your child that they don't have a father because you were too young and that teen pregnancy is such an awful thing, but still it's good because you have your child? How does that logic make sense to a child you always thinks literally? Now I'm not saying this always happens but it makes things so much harder if you don't teach your child to learn from others' mistakes. John Bytheway once quoted a parable that said "a wise man learns from his own mistakes, a superwise man learns from the mistakes of others." Don't we want to be superwise? I'm not only talking about mistakes, I'm also talking about the ability that a person has to solve their own problems if they can think for themselves. They don't have to be dependent on other people to tell them what's the best answer, they can deduce it for themselves. That kind of independence is amazing and exhillirating if you have it. Whenever I ask my dad a question, no matter if it's about electronics, the car, the weather, whatever, his response always begins with "well let's think about this." My father all my life has been teaching me how to learn things. Now I don't like to talk about my ability at school, it makes me nervous, but school has always been easy for me and it may be because I'm a technical genius, or a better reason for my ego and my logic is that I've been taught how to think problems through in order to solve them. My sisters are the same way, they can think things through and they don't have the same ease with school that I have had. (not trying to brag, really, but they're better at some things than me and I'm better at school.)

I guess the point of this whole long verbal oration was to express my distaste with people who don't think. We have such an amazing mind and supposedly we only use 8% or so percent of its capabilities - 5% of which goes to bodily function like breathing, pumping blood etc. Some people may not even use that much of their brain. Why should we waste what we have by being lemmings and following those who are loudest or sound the best?