Monday, June 30, 2008

And are thee an equivocator?

It's easy for me to overstate my intelligence. I've done well in school, but not that well. I'm well read, but again not that well read. I'm a jack of all trades but certainly a master of none and indeed, there are some trades I haven't jacked quite yet. And while at times I feel dispassionate and analytical, how I feel about myself is by no means an objective metric of how I'm looking at an issue. So let me throw all those cautions out there before I proceed (I should make this a standard disclaimer).

Now The House Next Door is an excellent source for some excellent reads about film, tv and culture (somewhat less so since the departure of the irreplaceable Matt Zoller Seitz stepped down as editor, no insult to the current editor but note the irreplaceable adjective), however, there are some authors I like more and some I like less. One I like in a middling sort of way is Lauren Wissot. She writes with decent skill but is undermined by over-the-top political exclamations (actually, all and all, she makes a number of over-the-top generalizing exclamations in many fields, but the political ones are the most egregious and common). It helps that she is often on the right side of the issue, if very extremist on that side, but such extremism weakens the prose of her reviews and often blurs the reality of complex issues.

My disclaimer was not for my analysis of Lauren Wissot, I am fairly confident that I am correct in my assessment of her and I think, with the partial exception of that last clause, agree with the assessment. My disclaimer takes effect now though, since I am wading into one of the issues that I feel Ms. Wissot oversimplified.

The issue comes up in a film Ms. Wissot glowingly reviewed from the Human Rights Film Festival (human rights are always a good cause and often are shown in excellent and tragic ways in film, so even if you don't check out this film festival, I suggest you still check out human rights films) called USA vs. Al-Arian.

I don't disagree with her central point (or at least her central descriptive point, her central thematic point about the American Dream being a shame I thoroughly disagree with) that what happened to Mr. Al-Arian is a clear violation of the spirit of the law (if perhaps not the letter) and human rights, is a shame upon our country and never should have happened.


But besides the demonizing of the Bush administration, her review in general seems to ignore the complexities of the issue, even if some of the less-flattering points she makes about the Bush administration and US gov. in general still stand.

Let me step back for a moment, from the chasm I am about to leap into, by explaining why I felt I needed the disclaimer before. Now for you, my dear readers, it is probably unnecessary, since your razor-sharp minds and ability to spot the many "may"s and "probably"s would likely show that I am a bit uncertain here on matter of fact. But the real reason for my earlier disclaimer is because I am morally uncertain here. Am I just trying to lessen the situation to weaken the shame I feel for my government and my country? Am I just trying to shoehorn this into my "they're wrong but not necessarily evil" vision of the Bush administration?

Or even worse, have I become an equivocator who can brush off any moral failing by saying "You're not looking at the full complexity"?

I hope and overall think that my fears are misplaced. This was indeed a great moral failing, even once complexity is given, and this is a moral failing worse than that of ordinary men and even most extra-ordinary men. The treatment of Mr. Al-Arian is a true sin, an act that moves the actor further away from God. What happened (and is happening (despite my cautions, I advise you to read the review and watch the movie (which I myself ought to do) to get a sense of things) was wrong, that is simple.

The depth of the wrongness and how it came to be, however, are matters for complexity.

Let me finally lay out the gist of what happened to Mr. Al-Arian (more of the gist is in the review and the full account of things can be found elsewhere or in the movie). He was a Palestinian rights activist, a rather famous one, in fact, and after 9/11 he was swept up in the arrest sweeps of "suspected" terrorist sympathizers on nebulous charges (if any) that plagued the country in the fall and winter of 2001 (in truth these things did not begin in 2001, or did they end after 2001, but they were not as bad before, and while still somewhat troubling now, are not that bad currently. But in 2001, these terrorist sweeps were truly tragic). Treated badly and publicly humiliated, the eventual case against him was typical of the weakest of the cases. He was charged with contributing to a terrorist organization through a charity.

The weakness of the charge is amplified by the maddening amount of wire taps that were taken against him over the last 9 years! (seeing as they never got more than this charge, how could they justify this? I am sure there may be some technical ground, but if the spirit of the law is at all adhered to?) (as I said things didn't start with 2001 or Bush even, 9 years before 2001 is well before Bush)

Here is a perhaps important, perhaps incorrect legal aside. The charges that came from contributing to charities linked to terrorist groups (linked and then banned in a vague manner, but in one that is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to overturn) veer very close to ex-post facto laws, that is laws made after the alleged crime was committed. There are ways that at any time giving money to these charities might have been regarded as criminal, since these charities often minorly or majorly support groups that are inter-linked with terrorist organizations. However, that is because some terrorist organizations, especially those claiming to be alternative governments, often do also try to support the community. This is not necessarily an Islamic thing, often anti-colonial governments or US political radical groups also had charitable sides (for example PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is linked, in an indirect way, with ELF, the Earth Liberation Front, a designated terrorist organization).

So there might have been an indirect degree of truth to the claim that Al-Arian was supporting terrorism, but if so it was in a way that had rarely before been labeled a crime, since the link is so incredibly indirect. As Ms. Wissot points out, it was admitted that the prosecution wasn't alleging a direct link to murder, but there likely was a credible case for an indirect link, but this was so indirect, and so overlooked in the past!

Yet this was 9/11, we had been attacked by terrorists who essentially declared war on us. Some might say that if we leave groups like Al-Quaeda alone, they'll leave us alone. I don't believe that. I've studied Al-Quaeda, and their ideology is so total and destructive that it is clear to me that that they want a world revolution, and they see the United States as the main stumbling block to that goal (as has been said before (hence where I got it from) by many experts in the field, Al-Quaeda doesn't resemble anti-colonial terrorist groups who their apologists cite, rather it resembles the more hard-core communist groups, who fight on until they're too tired or too drained of men to fight any more).

After 9/11, no link was too indirect, after all, all's fair in war, right?

But did we not say that "All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights"?

Isn't that the founding principle of the United States of America, right?

But apparently, it was deemed that rights were not the question here, any link to terrorism, even if the link by the spirit of the law should have been ignored, should certainly not have been publicly broadcast, and should never have been taken to trial, any link to terrorism was enough by the standards set forth by the government at that time.

And so Mr. Al-Arian went to trial.

A note here, Ms. Wissot makes a big deal about the sight of suicide bombings being shown and not the Palestinian side. It is questionable to show the suicide bombings because of the prejudicial nature of such sights, but in a trial about whether or not someone supported the murder of a group of people, the question cannot be "Well, did they deserve it?" Evidence to that point therefore cannot be shown. That's like showing photos of a girl who was raped and asking "Doesn't she look trampy?" The only way that could factor in if the case was being made for self-defense. But suicide bombings target mostly civilian targets, the only way you could argue self-defense was alleging that the whole of the people was attacking yours and you had to respond by attacking all of them. Such group-rights defenses are morally flimsy and open to endless interpretations, I could go into that more, but I am digressing a lot.

A more telling counter-point however, would have been to show Hamas' social services and such, and say that's where I was sending money to (I've been assuming Mr. Al-Arian innocent, it is possible he was giving via means that less distinctly allocated things, but I doubt it), anything else was like the 0.00001 cents that goes toward the spread of Christianity when you give to Catholic Relief Services.

But again, I am digressing.

Overall, the jury in Mr. Al-Arian's case saw through the fear and found him not guilty.

The exactitudes of what happened afterward likely are only known to internal government records. But Mr. Al-Arian was kept in jail, charged again, and eventually fell into a deportation sentence, which was then shifted to prison time, in a maze of legal abuses.

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment. The reason why you might deport someone who was found not guilty is because "beyond a reasonable doubt" means that the person was 90+% guilty, which may be under your tolerance level for a person who might, just might be a potential terrorist.

Hey, he was giving to groups that have a tenuous tie to terrorism.

Hey, he was advocating for a case that is associated with terrorism.

Hey, now that we started this thing, we can't look weak, maybe we're just frustrated with how stupid people are being, maybe...

I'm tired of playing the devil's advocate.

There are mitigating factors here to what happened, but that doesn't mean what happened to Mr. Al-Arian isn't a massive abuse of the law.

I'm willing to admit to complexities here, but this is not a case where all sides are right. I will not equivocate a clear human rights violation, even if it does bring shame on the country I love.

And there has been so much to be shameful of in America's past, so much to be proud of too, but...

And yet we strive on, boats against the current...

The American Dream I always believed was more about fighting the current than actually getting somewhere, and so despite America's failings, I still believe in her. After all, I believe patriotism is about love, and I love the United States of America.

Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight. And God Bless.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

History is a mess, but I love it

I do apologize for the major break in my schedule, but circumstances do intervene.

Still let me wax poetic a little about history.

Or rather I would if there was a strong tradition of history poems nowadays. It's sad that this noble tradition seems in decline or if found in disarray.

Alack, alack, alack.

And what of poetic history plays? Whatever happened to those? Are they just a memory of history?

Just a momentary aberration?

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

But let me call at least for a revisiting of great history poems and plays.

For when history stirs your soul,

What magnificence shall emerge?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Add in some listlessness and...

So right now I'm a swirl of different competing emotions, as usual really, although the mix is different as each moment the circumstances are unique.

But anywho...

I've been feeling listless, and after some advice, I realized that much of it is because I'm not really moving toward anything, and when it comes down to it, I'm like a shark, I'm either moving or I'm dead. Actually that's a tad dramatic, but thus I have to get to work.

See that's what I've been avoiding for a while now, that's why, although I've been postulating and brain-storming, I haven't been doing sessions here or posting much on the web, or even writing into some final form one of my ideas or projects. I've been keeping everything ethereal and semi-imaginary, thus I feel no pressure from them. Ah, but I must invite pressure, I must thrust it on me so I can be pushed forward and then...

Well, one thing I need to always watch out for is over ambition, but this sort of feeling I've had now is under-ambition, a fear of ambition, and that doesn't suit me either.

So it's time to suit up and get to work.

And what is work you ask?

Well, it's not exactly my profession, since I have none at the moment and what I am going to be able to get at this point in my life is unlikely my dream job, but getting a profession is on my goals list, so job-hunting, that's a one.

Sending out published work, that's a maybe, I'm not sure how much time I should devote to that, but I should at least start writing stories more.

Finishing and running programs I've been working on, that's a one.

Really mastering tech I've been dabbling with, that's a one.

Seeing stuff on my to-see list and reading stuff on my to-read list, well there you go.

Of course that's all short-term stuff to get done with, because essentially I'm still on semi-vacation, which isn't bad, but full vacation, full-doing-nothing vacation, I'm tired and done with that.

So on to the wild blue yonder, Rand-style all the way!

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks! And God bless.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Miss me?

So it has been a good while since I last posted, and undoubtedly I've lost any fans I may have ever had. None the less, I am back, with a vengeance!

To express my mood more clearly, here's the good boys from Weezer:

Weezer - Pork and Beans

Ah that line, "Imma do the things that i wanna do/ I ain't got a thing to prove to you."

What has kept me from posting lately, is a great wondering, about the future, about my career, about my brain, the usual crap. And with that comes anxiety, etc. But that has all amounted to me not knowing what to do about this blog and about all my activities.

Well, I can go with Weezer's answer, maybe.

(Just once more, a good hand of applause for those Weezer kids. Excellent, excellent band. Now musically, they pull off some pretty complex and well-performed material. But that alone doesn't give them the greatness they have. They're one of the few bands whose lyrics play an immensely positive role in the impact of their songs. I mean, come on "I'm going to eat my candy with pork and beans!" Now I couldn't understand all the lyrics of that song, but I understood enough for the psychic impact to be magnified many fold. That's not to say they're flawless. I haven't heard a bad Weezer song, but I've heard some so-so ones (Beverly Hills, for example). Yet they've really pulled off some classics, and if you want some examples of that, check out some of the previous posts I've done involving Weezer, here, also here, and finally here.)

But "whatever I wanna do" is an answer that does contain some flaws. What is it that I want to do? Hmmmm?

Well what the Lord wills, but then again there's a lot the Lord wills.

Well, perhaps what I want to do is just try out some of those good stuff that seem to intrigue me in a place I like, and do the best I can with that.

That's a poor answer really.

Ah, maybe I'll eat some pork and beans, and some CANDY!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Great Companion of Man

War. I was tempted to do a bad pun, like starting out with: war what is it good for, etc. But that seemed disrespectful, especially given the context in which that song was written (that's one of the burdens of knowing the history behind these songs, I imagine the many comedic videos, such as the Rush Hour trailer, were likely (although not necessarily) made by people who weren't thinking about the historical context of the song (Just to given some more exact information the song in question is "War" by Edwin Starr, written in 1970 in protest of the Vietnam War)). (Actually one of my annoyances with many journalists is their disrespectful use of puns, like for example saying the cultural changes in China are a "Cultural Revolution," I mean it's somewhat forgivable if the article focuses on the differences between the Cultural Revolution and Chinese culture today, but really...)

Actually writing about war is always a dicey endeavor, but people have written about it and in many, many different ways. You can take a funny angle to it (MASH, Hogan's Heroes, etc.), a satirical angle to it (Dr. Strangelove, etc.), a tragic angle to it (Letters from Iwo Jima, etc.), a triumphant angle to it (Glory, etc.), and there are more ways of looking at war. In fact, I say with a decent amount of certainty that war can be written from any perspective of the human experience, because war is so central to the human experience. That's a bit of a weighty, vague sentence, but essentially, war is when humans dispose of some or all of the basic rules of conduct in pursuit of some goal put higher than not only their lives, but the lives of entire peoples.

Yet, the human experience should not be reduced to war. Often that is the prelude to the common 19th century belief that war was not only the great companion of man, but his essential lover. No, humans can pursue just goals just as passionately and just as successfully within the rules of society that prevent such catostrophic conduct. In fact, if one of those just goals is the appreciation of the beauty of the human spirit, war is best avoided.

But one would be naive, and again, disrespectful to ignore war and its impact on history. Wars are often decisive events in the shaping of people and states, and when they are not, that is an immensely important fact unto itself. And thus the historian must be familiar with war, must not flinch from blood nor from horror, and must stare into the abyss, taking care not to let the abyss penetrate his soul.

With that melodramatic introduction, let me give some quick facts for those who enjoy or find useful quick facts. Here is a brief summary of the wars of the United States of America (I apologize that many of the conflicts are generalized, I will try to go into them more particularly later, but I ended up spending more time than I planned covering the general essence of the historian and war).

1775-1783 - The American Revolutionary War

1783-1794 - Conflicts and Rebellions related to the establishment of the US federal and state governments

1798-1800 - Quasi-War

1775-1900 - Wars with various Native American powers, often connected with the wars with Britain, intensifying in 1865-1900

1812-1815 - War of 1812

1846-1848 - Mexican-American War (some might include the Texas Revolution 1835-1836 as part of this, although Texas was not part of the US till 1845)

1861-1865 - American Civil War

1893 - Semi-Intervention against Hawaii

1898 - Spanish-American War

1898 - 1913 - Philippine-American War (till 1902) and suppression of remnants

1903 - Semi-Intervention against Columbia for Panama

1916 - 1917 - Punitive Expedition against Mexico

1907 - 1933 - Latin American Interventions

1917 - 1918 - World War I

1918 - 1920 - Russian Intervention

1941 - 1945 - World War II

1945 - 1981 - Cold War Conflicts

1950 - 1953 - Korean War

1959 - 1975 - Second Indo-Chinese War (Vietnam War, Cambodian and Laos Interventions)

1979 - Grenada Intervention

1982 - 1984 - Lebanon Intervention

1991 - Persian Gulf War

1992 - Somali Intervention

1994 - Haiti Intervention in support of Aristite

1995 - Bosnian Intervention

1998 - Iraq Bombing Campaign

1999 - Kosovo Intervention

2003 - Liberian Intervention

2004 - Haiti Intervention - escorting Aristite out of the country

2003 - Current - Iraq War

Sorry for the briefness, but I got carried away with the intro. I hope to expand on all of this later, but till then, the History is out there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Because Math rocks... and Raps

Now ever since Pythagoras, and indeed even before, math and music have been intimately linked. Yet in modern times we seem to have forgotten that. Well, here are some rappers bringing back the math... old school style.

What You Know About Math (Caution: the video has something like 20 seconds of dead air at the end, still awesome though) by TI-84

Math Rap 2007 by Billy Spivey

Show me a Sine by Franklin Gervacio

Math Rap 2008 by JD Freak Daddy

Calculatin' by Mr. Dobleman's Math Class, 2007 Deer Valley High School

Because Math is just that awesome, rap on!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shout-out to some mad-awesome historians

So since I'm probably going to tell my former professors (at Rutgers University, whose History department ought to be recognized as totally rockin') (I'm graduated, wooooooo!!!!) about this history blog soon, I thought I'd give them some props before they actually see the site, so here it goes:

Matt Matsuda - I had him for Histories of the Pacific, although he is also a master of European History and other fields, and he's now the crazy-awesome Dean of College Avenue Campus.

Herman Bennett - I had him for Age of European Global Expansion, an intense man, a great historian, even if I don't agree with everything he says. An expert on colonial history especially in regards to Afro-Latin, I look forward to his book-length project on Afro-Mexicans.

Samantha Kelly - An excellent scholar of Early European History who taught me Development of Europe Part I. She had an eclectic approach to the subject which helped to overcome my initial reluctance to learn more about Europe.

Martin Klimke - A man who brings remarkable depth to modern European history, revealing sides of a well-trodden history I never knew when I took his class for Development of Europe Part II. Immensely friendly guy too. Met him while he was visiting at Rutgers, but his native university is University of Heidelberg, and his native land is Germany.

Sumit Guha - The absolute master of South Asian history. I took him for South Asian History, 600 BC - 1950 AD, but to be honest I wanted to also take his South Asian History: The First 3 Millenniums and South Asian History: 1950-present. Like I said, the man dominates South Asian History.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The art of revision

One of the greatest insults among historians, or one of the greatest badges of honor for historians of a certain stripe, is revisionist.

The revisionist's essence is that they rebel against old research, which they believe is ideologically slanted beyond any worth, by creating all new research and a new point of view on the history, which, despite a usual protestation of less bias than the past, somehow agrees with their ideological point of view.

The essential flaw of revisionist in its purest is that they discard all the old research and create history so ideologically slanted that it's almost impossible for those not sharing the ideology to read it without a burst of vomit shooting up their stomachs.

But to be fair, the revisionist is usually correct, to a lesser degree though, about the bias of the old research, and moreover the revisionist often has new research that has a few gems of useful information.

In the end though, I object terribly to any throw out all the old movement, and revisionism is one of them. There are so many points to object to, but I think I covered most of the major ones in my description. My point essentially is that old, consensus research, while biased often, usually has at least some worth that should not be discarded.

Having said all that, let me come to the newest bit of revisionism. Although revisionist usually belong to the left-wing of politics, they also inhabit the right-wing, and this figure belongs firmly in the latter. Pat Buchannan has written a history book that to a greater or lesser extent almost certainly belongs in the revisionist column. Since I've been dealing with essences largely so far, let me get to the essence of his book. WWII could have been avoided if we just let Nazi Germany take Poland.

I have to say I don't have his argument down precisely, you can check it out on if you'd like. I may read it, but I might find that I can only stomach a summary. The key problem with his logic I think, or if not with the logic of his book, the logic of much of his rhetoric, is that he assumes strong nations have the right to sacrifice weak nations.

Morally, that's monstrous, geopolitically, that will cost you in terms of bitterness and the future changing position of countries.

But just to strike at one argument to shoot at his book, without even reading it, admittedly, and if someone has read it and like to shoot this argument down, feel free to:

Nazi Germany was part of the Axis pact with at the time. Even if Germany would have been satisfied with Poland (which it wouldn't have been), other Axis powers such as Italy and Hungary were moving on their own territorial ambitions, notably Greece and Transylvania. It is very hard to imagine that Yugoslavia would not get involved in the mix, and then the European geopolitical situation would be reduced to this:

Portugal, Spain, France, Britain, Scandanavia, Switzerland, Axis powers, USSR. Envision that for a second, and realize that you have there Hitler lying surrounded by passively or actively hostile enemies with very rebellious territories barely under his control. It is hard not to imagine the war widening.

But to attack something further. Pat Buchanan combines in his argument that the reason why WWII was so sad, is because it cost Britain its empire. Screw the British Empire. It did provide some marginal improvement in SOME situations, but it was an oppressive, exploitive regime and it needed to fall.

The Cold War was awful, it really was, but you can't let that get you nostalgic for colonialism and imperialism. Imperialism was just wrong Pat. It was just wrong.

Mathimoto's Real Complaint

My real complaint is I haven't been able to post more.

Alack, alack, alack. And the real victims are you good folk. But even Mathimoto needs a job, and rest assured once the job situation is stabilized, posts will come once more!!!

But in lack of that, let me give you a little play with number, related by the way, to some secret math speculation I'm doing.

If you want to find if a number is divisible by:

2, check if it's even. (Simple enough)

3, add all the digits and see if the sum is divisible by 3, if it is then the actual number is divisible by 3. (That's one of the cooler tricks)

4, if the last two digits are divisible by 4, then the whole thing is divisible by 4.

9, add the digits, and if the sum is divisible by 9, then the actual number is divisible by 9.

Do you see the suggestion here? Maybe there's a relation between numbers and their base 10-representation. Maybe... and maybe I'm getting close to it... maybe...

But what we do know for sure (to quote my good friend Kendrick), is that numbers are awesome.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Lord remains

Even before the beginning
Even within the thought
The Lord remains

And then success
And then failure
The Lord remains

Even when desperate
Even when joyous
But even when tragic
But even in sorrow
Even in madness
The Lord remains

And then death
And then the end of the world...

The Lord remains

And we remain
In the eternal shelter of His Love

Poets or mullets, or can you have both

Yes you can. It's actually getting harder and harder for me to think of good post titles, but I'm pretty good with that one, even if it has only highly tangential relation to my actual post.

Anywho, for a while I've debated back and forth between putting poems up on my site. Ultimately I think it's a good thing. If a poetry magazine what's exclusive publishing, I can take it down, but honestly, I'm not spending that much time (if any) sending work out to magazines, so might as well put it up on the web. Hopefully that will keep me writing.

Because honestly, I haven't been writing that much. Now I've been doing some posting, and some decent posts have come out, but even though I insist that blogging is a creative work, and sometimes I get a nice thunderstrike and make something totally awesome for my blog, fiction and poetry... now they too often come from reality, but still need more work for the ideas to be teased out to something concrete. Taking away my distress at not spending that much time writing (even the posts are in between stuff and without that much discipline), I've also got a good deal of distress that my creativity's leaking a little. Now that might just be stress, that might just be overreaction, that might just be busy-ness, but there might be a gem of truth there, even if it just means I have writer's block. And that's, that's a bit scary for me.

I actually have a poem for that, but I have another poem that I'm pretty damn proud of. I always think of my writing as working for the Lord through making something high-quality. But this is more direct. However, let me withdraw the pretty damn proud, at least tentatively, because I'm a little unsure of the quality here. I've worked on this, but I can never be sure of quality immediately after something's written. And yet... and yet this is something important to me, and ah, aren't you here to understand the inner-workings of the Rand-ish mind?

Or something like that.

Anyways, I'm going to post up a nice little poem I call, "The Lord remains"

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Cause TV ain't easy

People will tell you tv is for bums. And heck there are bums that watch tv, but then there are tv conousseurs who are anything but bums. And I, my good friends are in the latter category.

So here's a quick run down of some nice tv I've been mulling over in my head lately.

Season 19 Simpsons - The season's over now and the verdict is... pretty good. I was surprised by this season, it had some very nice episodes including a few that I might dare (and I do dare for I dare!!! For I AM RAND!!!), most notably "That 90's Show" and "The Debarted." That doesn't mean these season hasn't had it's fair share of meh episodes like "All About Lisa" or "Love Springfield Style" and this season has had a few out and out bad episodes like "Funeral for a Fiend." Yet what this season shows is that The Simpsons can still turn out good, ney, excellent half hours of tv. This isn't a return to the glory days when even when the Simpsons was bad it was great, nor is it even a return to the uneven 10-13 seasons, rather it is a new phase in Simpsons-dom, maybe one that's been building. And if it is not back to the past, it is still a good future, and I wait with great anticipation to see what will come of it.

Battlestar Galactica - Any quick rundown of the web can give you a dozen better reviews than what I got for Battlestar Galactica (for one such source (also a good source of reviews of Lost, which I haven't even really had a chance to mull over) is the always excellent What's Alan Watching. What I'd just like to say is I don't think Battlestar Galactica's ending is going to live up to the hype, but on the other hand it can't. The hype's been built up with style and flair that has been one of the most interesting things about the show. To put it more plainly, it's not just hype, it's a well-built structure of suspense integrated into the story. I can't imagine the story actually living up to that suspense mind you, especially given this up and down season, but even if it all comes crashing down, the ruins will still be amazing to gaze at. So yes, yes I will watch Battlestar Galactica come to an end, even if it cannot fulfill my dreams.

Big Bang Theory - Weird show. From the premise I'd just assume it was awful, but there's something charming about it. I suppose it's the fact that at its best the show is an homage to nerdage, which doesn't shy away from nerdage's problems, but finds humor in both the greatness and the flaws of nerditude. It doesn't seem to have gotten into a groove where it can be put into that class of greatness, but it does have its moments. On the other hand, it does have moments of pure condesension or mockery toward nerds which is just irritating, and then there are moments of pure sitcom-i-ness. But I'm hoping that the best in it might flesh out. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Coupling - That's where I'm getting the perhaps, perhaps, perhaps thing. I'm not going to say much about it, except that it's highly confusing when you try piecing together what's going on. But what's going on is never the important part for me, it's funny moments are just perfect combinations of wit and characterization that, heck, maybe it doesn't add up to anything, it's still nice to watch.

Now for my final bit of tv rumination (although not the actual final bit of rumination in my head, I just need to get on to other things), what the television viewing public really needs is Rand on tv.

You know you want it.

So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Let me hear you say math... MATH!!!

A friend of mine once noted that it's a shame that math theory is becoming too complicated for normal people to play with.

But I don't think that it's a necessity, I think mathematicians just accept that this is the way the world must be, and thus refuse to take any effort to simplify mathematical theory.

And perhaps more importantly, new areas in math theory which might be more accessible to amateur innovation aren't being explored as vigorously as they should, largely because mathematicians are starting to forget what math is really about...

Playing with numbers.

Because numbers rock.

In that spirit, look at a list of squares

If you look at the differences between consecutive squares, you'll see a pattern and if you play with that pattern a little, you get...

n^2 = Sum from i=1 to n (2i - 1).

Think about it...