June 17th, 2003


(no subject)

Matrix Reloaded Abridged - here


What's the matter? Did you wet the
bed again?

I had this dream. You flew out of
a window in slow-motion and shot at
an agent and he killed you.

Well of course you dreamed that -
you've gone online and watched the
Matrix Reloaded trailer like fifty
times in the past two days.

Did you see the computer generated
me fight all those Agent Smiths? It
was awesome! I'm gonna go hack in
and watch it again now.

Dammit, where's the Two Towers abdriged? I've been waiting for that for 6 months now!

Doing the Yonmei Quiz

1. Why did you friend me?
Lessee, you were on BrandNewGun's friends list, you disagreed with me in a logical and reasonable way (while still being obviously passionate about them) and you're both interesting and smart.

Oh, and I'm incapable of of seeing your LJ name without imagining hot lesbian sex, but you knew that, right?

2. You're about the only person I know who has their real address published in the user info of your journal: why?

So that people can find me. When I started this LiveJournal I made a conscious decision to throw away my 'masks', used my real name as a username for pretty much the first time ever and am about as open about things as I can be (barring the occasional work-related post, which obviously go friends only). Havign done so, and having given out my phone/address to a few people since then, and because a 10 second search online will turn them up anyway, I didn't see any reason not to make myself fairly public. I have a general trust in people, and I'm fairly picky about my LJ friends, and so far I've had no reason to think there'll be a problem with my address being there.

3. With special reference to deep-fried puppies, is there anything you wouldn't eat?
I hate: cheese, nuts, liver and a few other things (most things that are a recognisable 'organ' rather than a slab of meat). But I suspect that wasn't the question you were asking. I wouldn't eat anything above a certain level of sentience - dogs, dolphins, elephants,etc.. Horses are on the borderline, deer just below the borderline and sheep/cows are a fair bit below. Chickens/turkeys are a long way below and broccoli is somewhere deep in the fathoms of munchability. Of course, in a 'starving to death' situation, all bets are off.

4. You have been appointed Benevolent Dictator for Europe for a five-year span. What do you want to accomplish over those five years?
Legalise and regulate drugs and prostitution, phase in Universal Benefit, get rid of the CAP, radically revamp the education system, persuade OPEC to move to the Euro, fund a study into how we can ameliorate the problems with having the different economic areas all on the same interest rate/inflation, increase the levels of 'pure' research, get renewable energy sorted out, put in place a framework to make people feel that they have a connection to their government, remove business and software patents, reduce copyright to the length of the author's lifetime (or less, this needs more study), get several films that I want to see made and have fabulous parties at my palace with various people that I've always wanted to meet.

5. Which do you think is going to be sillier: The Hulk or Pirates of the Carribean?

Pirates of the Carribean. Ang Lee, a director I respect very much for "Sense and Sensibility", "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" and "The Ice Storm" says that The Hulk will be a greek tragedy about the power of Rage and our relationship with our parents. With kickass CGI.

Pirates... on the other hand, will be a fabulous romp with an amazing cast hamming it up beyond belief.

If anyone hasn't been interviewed yet, but wants to be, let me know.

Speaking of the education system

The Guardian has an article on a new approach to teaching which apparently works wonderfully.

A new curriculum that teaches pupils how to learn rather than just what to learn has produced "stunning" results, a report following a three-year pilot has revealed.

The project grew out of the RSA's conviction that there is a growing gap between the way young people are being educated and the skills they will need when they leave school.

Pupils were encouraged to have "noisy" lessons, with as much debate as possible. "One of the headteachers characterise it as 'buzzy'. The classes tend to be noisy because people are working in groups and it's encouraged. You are less likely to see the teacher standing at the front, it's much more active," said Ms James.

At St John's school and college in Marlborough, Wiltshire, one of the participating schools, national test results achieved by pupils included in the experiment were 15% higher in maths, English and science than those who did not take part.

Headteacher Dr PK Hazlewood said: "As we reach the end of the experimental phase, our experiences have been very positive." He said he had noticed "children actively engaged in learning to the extent that they do not notice break time". He also found the experiment had enthused teachers, and parents with older children had noted greater emotional maturity.

Now that's the kind of thing I'd like to see spread. I'm not sure how well it would fit in with my other ideas on education, but I may have to do some reading...

(oh, and belated thanks to Allorin for finding it.)

Genes and Personality

In an article in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, experts from the University of Oxford looked at all the evidence so far and concluded there was strong likelihood that certain people had genes which predisposed them to certain personality traits.

They may be naturally more anxious or depressed, say the scientists, and perhaps more likely to take solace in drink, tobacco or drugs.

One particular genetic variant was highlighted, involving a gene linked to the transport of the brain chemical serotonin.

Another link has been found between gene variants and the way the brain processes dopamine - another chemical key to certain personality traits, say the researchers.

... regardless of the influence of genes, free will still played an important role.

He said: "There is no genetic condition that completely removes free will with respect to drinking or smoking.

"Genes may make someone more likely to get a 'buzz' from alcohol or set up a pattern of behaviour that is more likely to become fixed than another person."

Dr John Maule, a psychologist who specialises in how humans make decisions, said that it was "implausible" to put too much emphasis on the role of genes in unhealthy living.

He told BBC News Online: "In younger people, certainly, it's much more about conforming, fitting in with other groups of young people - which seems to me to be quite far removed from a theory that everything is predetermined, and that you're either a risky person or a non-risky person.

"When it comes to risk it's too simplistic to link risk-taking behaviour to a single gene."

Which seems eminently reasonable to me.

Of course - the wish to conform seems far too common to me to not be inherited :->