Sunday With My Thoughts – Death

I’ve mentioned before I hold death responsible for the birth, and continuation, of most religions.

I may or may not have spoken to the perspective the view of death gives on this life. Of course, I cannot realistically speak to a perspective other than my own . . . but I can give my observational perspective.

Death.

At first brush, it seems like a simple thing to define, but it turns out it’s not that simple. The definition, you see, is tied to how we define life. I say that because death is simplistically defined as the absence of life and ‘life’ is difficult to define.

For instance, we are organisms composed of matter arranged in an arguably complex, almost chaotic, system. The problem is we say we are alive, but matter itself is not “alive”. Just because we have some of the same chemicals found in a rock, it does not imply those chemicals, or that rock, are themselves alive.

Somewhere there is a threshold, the transition from inert matter, to parts, to an arrangement of parts that functions as a machine. We are, looking at it very simplistically, the same as an automobile, with nature playing the role of a car manufacturer.

Don’t laugh . . . we have an engine, run on fuel, operate with electrical signals, and fluid is a necessity for us to operate. In addition, we are loud, produce noxious fumes, and tend to need a lot of upkeep.

This idea is not new, going back more than two thousand years . . . and it may be what gave birth to the idea of a ‘soul’ or ‘lifeforce’ or ‘breath of life’, or any concepts of an outside agency being necessary for what are essentially raw materials assembling themselves into living organisms.

This then, I imagine, must have been reinforced when considering the cognitive abilities differences between, say, a politician and a weasel. Surely there must be more to a politician than a weasel!?

Well, no, but taking humans in totality and weasels in totality, one can certainly argue for a difference in favor of humanity (barely).

Where I am going with this? The weasel, you see, does not know it’s a weasel. It just wants to eat, sleep, and occasionally reproduce. Even using “want” may be generous . . . it has drives based on the needs of its form.

It turns out most complex forms we call “alive” have similar drives . . . they have a drive to survive (eat, drink, sleep) and reproduce.

Humans have the same drives (except some, like me, don’t have the drive to reproduce – a result of a higher cognitive ability than, say, politicians . . . or weasels; take your pick).

But, humans have something else, something lacking in most other organisms . . . a measure of self-awareness. As a direct result, they also assign themselves an amazing amount of self-importance.

Because of it, many humans find the need, the drive, to define themselves as more than just inanimate matter functioning in the guise of a sophisticated machine.

Death . . . I took a long detour to get here, and I’m only skimming the surface of very complicated subjects.

Are they really that complicated? Yes, when it comes to biology, medicine, law, and whatever other human consideration comes into play . . . but in some ways, not.

Regardless of the arguments and debates of what is life, and when it ends, we all recognize that at some point our bodies no longer contain the self-aware entity that is us.

In fact, the body may still be alive, and be artificially kept alive for months, even years, without anyone seeing the equivalent of a candle on a windowsill indicating someone is home. But we, as humans, as fellow inhabitants of similar machines, certainly know when someone is no more.

At some point the complex machine interacted, contributed, was compassionate, was happy, was hateful, was emphatic . . . and at some later point, it was a lump of matter, starting to decay.

We know we no longer are in a presence of a working machine once a car’s engine won’t turn, the electrical system won’t work, fluids are no longer circulating; likewise for humans.

Again, a long way here to give the background for the whole death thing . . .

You see, unlike a car, and more than a weasel, we want to keep going. The idea that we, the one and only us in the whole history of the universe, at some point will no longer exist . . . well, that idea scares the bejesus out of most people.

Many thus turn to one of any 2,000 or so religions promising death is not the end.

I won’t go into all the concepts of life after death, for they are not important.

What is important is whether one believes there is life after death, in whatever form it is imagined.

Let me give you my perspective before my impression of the perspective held by other people.

I came into being, I function, and as some point I will cease to be, preferably later rather than sooner.

This is my one and only life, my one and only time in which I will exist. If I’m fortunate, I will exist for 90 years or so. Could be a lot less, could be a bit more.

And then I will be no more.

It does not bother me.

Mind you, if I could live forever, with some caveats, I would. At least, as forever as the word means in terms of this universe. The caveats, of course, relate to the quality of life, the health, if my wife is with me, if salame e formaggio sandwiches survive in that same time span.

But the fact that I will someday no longer be, that does not give me pause. Yes, I care as to the manner of my demise.

For instance, dying in my sleep ranks way up there in preference, and dying by exploding after being force-fed twenty pounds of broccoli ranks somewhat lower.

Even then, whatever suffering I may have to endure, it is finite. At some point I will be no more, and my body will get a busy signal as it tries to convey its pain, hunger, cold, heat, or any discomfort to the me that was. There will not be a candle on the windowsill.

Again, it may not be my preferred path, but it’s not like I have a choice, so that’s that.

So, how do I live my life? How does that knowledge direct my actions?

I could go into all sorts of explanations, but here’s one I’ve come to like . . . I live my life so as to leave this world a little better, or at least no worse, for me having been here.

Not the whole world, of course; people who know and have known me (except them who be rear orifices), places I have lived, lives I have touched. Yes, some will not like me having lived (or living), but on balance, I try to live so that the needle is on the plus side.

That’s it. My purpose, my reason for living, my path in life . . . leave the place better for me having visited.

I will defend that as a worthwhile goal, and can even specify what that entails given a circumstance I might encounter. And I can do all that without resorting to a book.

“How are you doing with that,” you ask?

Fair to middling.

Now let’s look at them people who believe (without any cause to do so) they will go onto another life, another body, an eternal existence, or any of hundreds of ideas all aimed at stilling the fear of death,

How do those people live?

Well, Bob, I gots to tell you. I ain’t much impressed with them.

I can go into specific criticism, but to a belief they all have one thing in common; they care more about sucking on the security blanket of eternal life than to ensuring they do no harm while here.

Harm be done aplenty, even as they claim that is not the case. Sometimes they hypocritically profess piety by ‘helping’ others, whether such help is needed or wanted.

Even when they do good deeds, their motives are suspect . . . are they really doing it out of the kindness of their heart, or is the reward what motivates them?

Worse yet, are they doing it out of fear of eternal damnation?

I don’t know, and I don’t care; I don’t trust them not to do evil in the name of good; I don’t trust them to be true to their humanity; I don’t trust them, period. I don’t trust them because they are making up shit out of fear.

Most of all, I believe, I strongly believe, with evidence solidly behind me, that by en large they are causing immeasurable harm, thereby not only soiling the only life any of them will ever see, but the lives of people around them.

I see parents take their kids to church, and I know those kids will grow up with a fear of eternal damnation. Think about that. They can’t comprehend things like concepts of deities, but they can comprehend burning. They can’t comprehend eternity, but they comprehend that it will hurt.

I see adults do despicable things to other human beings because of their fear of death. They have bought into demented rules that call for the subjugation and mutilation of women, call for the killing of those who don’t agree with them, call for depriving rights of individuals who don’t conform to their imaginary ideals.

Many believers revel in their adopted role, joyously behaving as inhumanely possible.

“I’m not like that! I do good! I live a good life! I don’t harm others!”

So say some believers.

Sorry Bob; you might not see it, but all believers are part of the greater tapestry. They might not be the ones who personally do any of those things, but they are one of many threads indirectly supporting all those acts.

Not for any reason but their own fear of death.

Their fear of death has made them afraid of life. Their fear of death makes them the enemies of humanity.

I can’t think of anything sadder . . . it’s enough to make one look forward to death.

I can help you with that, even hasten it by many years,” say some believers, “unless it’s to stop your suffering. We might be afraid of death, but we want it to be painful for you.

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I’ve taken to including this for my opinion pieces. Of course, it says nothing for or against the merits of the content.

Reading Ease
A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.
Readability Formula Score
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 72.1

Grade Levels
A grade level (based on the USA education system) is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. Scores over 22 should generally be taken to mean graduate level text.

Readability Formula Grade
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 7
Gunning-Fog Score 10
Coleman-Liau Index 8.6
SMOG Index 7.2
Automated Readability Index 5.8
Average Grade Level 7.7

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Atheism, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Philosophy, Religion, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Summer’s End

Hummingbird,

Mid-September, I look out the back, and here’s this hummer “guarding” the four feeders  . . . well, more like half-guarding-half-sleeping.

It’s sitting on the flower basket, dozing off against the morning chill (it was overcast, and the light was bad, so I’m shooting at a high ISO, meaning more grain), and woke at the sound of the camera snapping the photo.

Hummingbird,

That made it fly to the hanger for the feeder, where it promptly resumed his guard duties.

But, to its credit, the shutter noise did get its attention . . . really, I need to get a camera that does not make so much noise.

Hummingbird,

This time it realized where the noise was coming from . . .

Hummingbird,

. . . and gave me “the look”.

Hummingbird,

The title refers to this being the last of this year’s hummingbirds photos; the end of Summer per my personal way of marking these things.

To be sure, we had hummers until nearly two weeks ago, but I didn’t snap any picture of them. They were obviously not my ‘regulars'; probably migrating birds, and very reluctant to let me get close, let alone snap a photo.

My last two feeders are coming down tomorrow, it being two weeks since I’ve seen the last one. That’s the recommended wait time before removing feeders.

Last year we had bad weather by early October, and were worried for at least one hummer.

This year we think they are done passing through. But back to my friend. I’ll only post a few shots here, but the SmugMug Gallery HERE has the whole series.

Anyway, it had returned to the basket handle, still giving me ‘the look’.

Hummingbird, Hummingbird,

. . . and even posed a bit, giving me a bit of profile.

Hummingbird, Hummingbird,

Next it did what still mystifies me about birds . . . they leave a perfectly good, perfectly flat perch location, and go perch on a slope.

Look to the right!

Hummingbird,

Look to the LEFT!

Hummingbird,

Sleep!

Hummingbird,

And once again, the shutter noise startles it . . . and it don’t look pleased!

Hummingbird, Hummingbird, Hummingbird,

All of the above (and more in the gallery) were shot with my 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens . . . but since I’m already shooting a high ISO, and the photos are already grainy, I done grab my 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. Better zoom, but slower lens, so higher ISO and more noise.

Hummingbird,

Yes, it’s still trying to sleep.

Vigilant!

Hummingbird,

. . . dozing off . . .

Hummingbird,

Vigilant!

Hummingbird,

. . . eyelids gettin’ heavy . . .

Hummingbird,

Must. Stay. Awake!

Hummingbird,

What’s that on the inside of my eyelids?

Hummingbird,

I’m awake! I’m awake!

Hummingbird,

I hope it made it to its winter-ground. 

Most of all, I hope it comes this way again, and perhaps even decides to stay.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Big Fat Kiss

Big Fat Kiss

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Birds, Hummingbirds, Musings Stuff, Photography, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

October 2014 Bees and Butterfly

On a recent post I showcased flowers that are still hanging on; doing well, even.

That requires a small effort on my part . . . I need to water them every few day. A fortuitous thing that, because . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

I’ve seen West Coast Ladies all summer long, and no way would they let me come close, or stand still long enough to photograph.

But now, now there ain’t much food about . . . this Lady was more intent on gathering what little was left than avoiding my unrelenting macro lens.

I have to warn people . . . I shot 120 photos, kept 80. All of them be residing in the SmugMug Gallery HERE, but while I will post many, not all 80 will appear in this post.

Here’s one I processed to show the detail you can see if looking at the full resolution photos . . . remember, the next three shots are all from the same photo, just cropped tighter.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Remember, also, that you can click on any photo to open it to a larger view on a new tab or window.

This next photo has a decent view of the underside of the wings. The flower don’t look too bad, either.

Bee, Butterfly,

One thing . . . no, wait, two things . . . I normally have the focus set on ‘spot’ focus because I want to know exactly where the camera will focus, but in this instance I had a larger focus area.

That, combined with slightly breezy conditions, resulted in the focus being not as precise as I like. I was shooting with moderate f-stop, but I was so close that the actual depth of field was still pretty narrow.

“What do it mean, oh wise and wordy Disperser?”

It do mean some photos will not have the depth of detail I like to shoot for. Many people won’t notice.

Bee, Butterfly,

For instance, this next trio of photos are OK as photos go, but I sure would have liked a bit more of the Lady in focus. Oh well. C’est la vie.

Bee, Butterfly, Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

These next shots shows there is still pollen on the flower . . . and the Lady.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Here’s a few closeups, chosen for the selective focus on interesting features.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

So, what do my readers find more interesting?

The setting . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Yes, those are nearly identical shots . . . anyway, what do readers find more interesting; those wide shots, or details of the Lady?

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Frankly, I like them both . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

I know at least one reader that’s all “Yeah, yeah, butterfly, blah, blah, blah; where’s the beef . . . er . . . I mean, where’s the bees?”

Interestingly, I had just taken the above shot and lowered the camera when a bee landed right in front of the butterfly and shoved her way under it. A brief scuffle, and they both flew off . . . and I missed what would have been a great shot.

But, at least now I knew there were bees around.

This next shot is not showing the bee very well, but I like the flower.

Bee, Butterfly,

Same for this next shot.

Bee, Butterfly,

To really see the bee, and the pollen sacks it’s collecting, you need these shots . . .

. . . beware . . . lots of shots coming. Most are worth clicking on, or visiting SmugMug.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

The bee really wanted to work this flower . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

The butterfly . . . she was still there, one flower over.

Bee, Butterfly,

I tried capturing them all, but that whole depth of field bit screwed me up. I was going to up my ISO and shoot at f/16 or higher, but I did not want to mess with the camera and miss the action . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

The bees, unfortunately, are out of focus.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

One bee flying, but still out of focus.

Bee, Butterfly,

. . . almost there . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

A least one bee (almost) in focus.

Bee, Butterfly,

. . . so close to being the perfect shot . . . still not bad, though.

Of course, the setting is nice with just the Lady feasting on meager stores of food . . . 

Bee, Butterfly,

But, come on! . . . the buddy shot has to be marginally preferred!

Bee, Butterfly,

OK, let me showcase a bit more of the bee . . . remember, windy, shallow depth of field, but you can see the pollen sack a bit more clearly, and some of the bee anatomy.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

. . . the setting . . .

Amo end on the Lady because she was the reason I ran to grab my camera, and ended up with this whole series. So, in honor of the Lady . . . 

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Honest, had you told me I would be shooting flowers and butterflies and bees in my yard in the middle of October, why I would have thought you loco.

But here I am, letting you see proof of it. 

I hope it was enjoyed. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Large Intestine

The Large Intestine

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Bee, Butterflies, Macro Photography, Photography, Photography Stuff, Spiders and Insects, Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Epiphany

Yup, I had me one . . . an epiphany. 

No, not the manifestation of a divine being. Rather, an experience of sudden and striking realization. It came as a shock, it did.

You see, after literally stumbling on a number of stories, comments, posts dealing with religion, religion moved to my storefront, so to speak. And there, in the front window, spotlights on it, a small motor waved a plastic hand signaling for me to ‘jump in’.

Fall,

You might say I cannonballed it . . . my Religion At Its Worse post was purposefully written while I was angry (and I’m still angry when I think about it).

My radar active, I took note of other religious stuff that crossed my path. Some on Twitter, some on Facebook, and some on blogs. Politicians, celebrities, and regular people all added to the din.

One of my many problems is that I can’t ‘just ignore’ certain things. I dropped the occasional comment here and there, started discussions, participated in existing discussions.

I am 61 as I write this. Serious discussions about religion came into my life when I was 19. By serious discussions I mean people sitting around with bibles in hand, logic and reason at our sides, and the patience of Job (not Steve; the biblical Job). Interesting phrase that . . . 

. . . it refers to Job’s refusal to condemn God when Satan, doing god’s bidding, destroyed Job’s family and his livestock, essentially turning Job from a rich family man into a childless and widowed pauper overnight. But, that’s another story.

The point is that I entered into discussions with honest believers, and, verily I tell you, I myself was not many years into having accepted my lack of belief in god . . . the discussions we had were seldom conclusive, but they did serve to reinforce the soundness of my arguments.

You see, time after time the end result was the believer ending with the equivalent of “because” as an answer. They believed “because”.

Sometimes they added the “I want to”, as in “I believe because I want to”, but there was never even a shred of justification for that belief that came from the Bible. I can respect that somewhat; I don’t understand it, but can marginally respect it.

What I can’t buy are people wanting to validate their belief by logic, by argument, by evidence, and then making up shit, evading, and denying all the arguments refuting their statements.

Side note: I often have been tempted to join a Bible study group. I’m curious about what they are actually doing as they sit there, Bibles in hand. 

Fall,

Move forward twenty years, countless discussions, canned answers, flawed logic, unsubstantiated assertions, personal anecdotes (one person told me she had prayed for some money, and the next day there was an envelope with said money at the foot of her bed – she was overjoyed; I would have been creeped out that someone had been in my bedroom while I was sleeping, then I would have been ashamed for having prayed for money instead of praying to cure a kid or feed starving people, and then I would have wondered if the money was counterfeit – I mean, either god stole money from somewhere, or he manufactured it), and just plain nonsense, and I started to see a shift. 

You see, believers shifted proof from the Bible (where it can’t be found) to nature . . . using ‘science’.

Ah, science . . . I love science; I even understand most of it (unlike, you know, most religious folks). 

Another twenty years followed; more discussions about the Bible, and many discussions about nature, our origin, science of belief, the increased understanding of our brains, and all sorts of fascinating topics of discussion that usually still resolved into what is the only honest answer I ever got . . . “I believe because I want to”.

Fine. I really don’t care what anyone wants to believe. I do think that if they are not constantly questioning what they believe, then they are seldom deserving of respect or consideration, but that’s another story; at least most of them are not jerks.

. . . unless they take their belief and use it to tell others how to live their lives.

Toward the end of those twenty years we come to the glorious years of discovering people who thought like me, and not only they did not stutter, but wrote and spoke my thoughts much better than I ever had, or could. Hitchens, Harris, a few others.

You see, many, many atheists I had known walked on eggshells, dodging the serious questions, veiling their answers in what I call accommodationism . . . something like “yes, they are wrong in their beliefs, but we don’t want to piss them off by pointing out their fails in reason, logic, history, science, and basic humanity”.

Damn, but I miss Hitchens. 

“Where is this going,” you ask? “Where’s this epiphany?”

Whoa! . . . there’s someone still reading this? OK, OK . . . I’ll wind it up.

Fall,

Remember I mentioned discussions with honest believers? Them now be rare . . . I also mentioned I dipped back into discussions, and what I find is that the narrative has changed, the tactics have changed.

They make a statement; you counter it; they ignore most of what you say, ignore links, ignore data; they make another statement; you correct them, provide the reason, show where they went wrong; they make a different statement, but really just a rehash of the previous one.

They do not address the tough questions, they do not acknowledge responses, they shift, shift, shift.

Forty years; I am tired.

On three discussion over the past week I reached a point where I just have to leave. It had been a waste of time, effort, and the exposure to faulty thinking damaged my calm.

Also, even though I try to answer in kind to the tone of the other comments, I’m sometimes accused of being mean, rude, or just plain not nice. 

Perhaps I am, I don’t know . . . I don’t try to be any of those things unless really provoked, but I know I can unleash; perhaps I now do it without realizing it. I mean, I usually go back and reread what I said, and I don’t see it, but maybe I have a higher threshold than others.

Or, perhaps, I’m arguing with the equivalent of emotionally and intellectually stunted individuals, incapable of holding a frank discussion. 

Or . . . we’ve entered The Age of Entitlement. Unlike The Age of Enlightenment, it’s not characterized by reason, but by superficial feelings and toddler brains.

From Psychology Today:

“In the Adult brain, which reaches full maturity around age 28, we have the mental capacity to construct a solid sense of self. Living in it, we’re able to improve situations, connect to others, protect all that we value, and appreciate people, ideas, nature, and creative beauty. We can stand for something, learn from our mistakes, make the world a better place, and forge a legacy.”

“. . . the Toddler brain . . . Instead of regulating alarms with reality-testing, then, our thought processes amplify and magnify them. Intelligence and creativity go to justifying the alarm. Commandeered by Toddler brain habits, the prefrontal cortex can reduce the alarm only temporarily by blaming it on someone, denying responsibility for it, or avoiding it through distractions. That’s right: It employs the familiar toddler coping mechanisms of blame, denial, and avoidance.”

Read it again . . . “learn from our mistakes, make the world a better place” versus “blame denial, and avoidance.”

Please, convince me. Give me a cogent argument. Show me the logic, show me the data, show me the proof. That’s what I’m about in all my arguments . . . convince me, and I will change my mind.

The problem is that people debating me don’t appear to actually listen to what I say . . . while I spend an inordinate amount of time responding to each of their point, all they do is move on to something else, not acknowledging the argument, not answering questions, not responding to challenges.

My epiphany? . . . we never had children; I’m not equipped to deal with toddlers.

I’ve stopped the subscription to a number of blogs, cancelled subscriptions to many, many comments, and removed the religion, atheism, skeptic, and tags for similar topics from my readers (even though I seldom visit it, I do occasionally look at it, and I don’t want to accidentally see some blog post and be dragged in). 

Mind you, I will still write about those things, but only in reaction to the news and current events.

As of right now, believers will have to earn a measure of my respect before I consider another discussion about religion with any of them, and even then, it better be a new argument; if it’s a rehash of stuff from the past forty years, sorry . . . go get your education elsewhere.

Fall,

I don’t want to diminish the few good discussions I’ve had, but even those take time, effort, and invariably still end up with “I believe because I want to”. I can respect that, but then why start a discussion? If that is the starting point and ending point, we are both wasting our time.

Just once I would like to hear . . . “Uh; interesting points. I have no answer to that, but it has instilled doubt in my mind, and an awareness that perhaps I’ve not thought this through well enough,” but I’m done hoping for it. 

Listening to a few atheism and atheist podcasts, I know it happens; I know some people do apply reason, logic, and some have even found it liberating to do so . . . but not anyone I ever spoke to. Not a one.

Perhaps I am just a jerk, and I’m hurting the cause (if there were a cause), and actually driving more people toward religion; as good a reason as any to extricate myself from the fray.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Something I’ll be adding to my opinion pieces. It comes from a discussion I had (unrelated to religion) regarding the difficulty of writing to an 8th to 10th grade level. I did not tweak the writing after checking readability.

Reading Ease for this post

A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.

Readability Formula Score
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 66.3

Readability Grade Levels for this post

A grade level (based on the USA education system) is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. Scores over 22 should generally be taken to mean graduate level text.

Readability Formula Grade
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 7.9
Gunning-Fog Score 10.7
Coleman-Liau Index 10.1
SMOG Index 7.9
Automated Readability Index 7.1
Average Grade Level 8.7

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Religion, Skepticism, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Samsung Note II – Photo Processing Comparison

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The previous post drew a few compliments for the quality of the photos.

Well, gosh . . . it’s obviously my immense talent, vision, dedication, and overall niceness as a human being that gets them there results.

Although . . . the equipment helps. Yup, I’m about to sing the praises of the Samsung Note II camera.

By the way, the photo above is one of the grass photos from the previous post processed through Snapseed, and then Pixlr Express (one of their Creative Effects options).

But, I’m not here to show you grass . . . I’m here to show you cars. That’s right; four-wheeled monsters of the road, guzzlers of limited resources, and the bane of modern society.

What I plan to do is show you three versions of each photo:

1) the photo as shot by the Samsung Note II camera
2) the photo as processed by Snapseed and then Pixlr Express (in-phone apps)
3) the photo as processed in Lightroom, onOne Suite, and Lightroom finish

Here we go.

As shot

As shot

Processed in phone

Processed in phone

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Processed with Lightroom and onOne Suite

Now, if you click on any of the photos, they will open in a new window or tab. They will also be larger (maximum dimension of longest side will be capped at 1280 pixels).

Also, it’s a pain typing the caption on each one, so the sequence will always be the same; original, Snapseed Pixlr Express mods in phone, Lightroom onOne on PC. I assume most of my readers are smart.

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I usually crop photos, and the reason is that I shoot larger because a) you can’t see the screen clearly in full sunlight, and b) often I adjust the level of the photos, and that gives me room to frame something like I want to.  Not always (the first shot was not cropped), but usually.

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Oh, yeah . . . because they are edited on two different machines, the cropping will not likely match.

Note, also, the in-phone processing – I opted for a more dramatic look, so it’s not a perfect color comparison, but it does give you an idea of the amount of work I sometimes do.

Well, actually, the ‘drama’ filter is something I seldom use, but it looked good for these cars.

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Yes, yes, I know . . . I be a master of composition, of presenting the subject, etc. etc.

. . . please, hold your adulations until the end.

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One of the reason I opted for the ‘drama’ postprocessing is that the originals were fairly bright.

The post-processing in Lightroom ends up with a brighter shot . . . I used my favorite processing sequence, and it might not have been the best choice for all these shots . . . but it was expedient.

Now, the above shots were taken at the YMCA’s parking lot. That’s right; I work out. I’m on my way to becoming just another big bundle of muscles, but with a brain.

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Some people I know pride themselves into not cropping . . . well, I ain’t them.

Also, very difficult to get the shot you want with a fixed wide-angle lens such as found on most phone cameras.

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Keep in mind those are three versions of the same photo, and not three different photos.

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Once again reflections on the window keeps us from a clear shot at the interior.

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You know, it’s difficult for me to pick one version over another. I can see plusses and minuses in each.

OK . . . on to the next car, this one in the parking lot of the local post Office.

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Now, this was a more overcast day, and the cropping is less extensive since I could see what I was shooting at.

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Also, you know, the window was rolled down . . .

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I found the wipers interesting and probably ineffectual.

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Now, you notice there are only two versions of this photo; the one processed from the phone is missing.

That’s because I did not process this one on the phone. I meant to, but I didn’t.

Instead, I will give you the full-resolution original (all the previous originals are resized to 1280 pixels; this next one is the same size as shot. Click on it, and then zoom in to the various parts to see the resolution and quality of the photo straight from the phone.

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This next one is presented as shot . . . no cropping.

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OK, so maybe you are now one of them who thinks this phone camera is pretty good.

It is, but . . . 

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The weather has been cold, and the moisture of a few days ago dumped a bunch of snow on Pikes Peak . . . 

The mountain is not that far, and from where this was shot (the parking lot at Costco) it seemed as if you could just reach out and touch it . . . 

. . . not that you can tell from this photo. 

Therein the limitation of a phone camera stand naked and exposed.

“Mine’s got zoom!”

Oh, you foolish dreamer . . . yours has digital zoom. Basically an in-camera crop. You might as well do what I did; take the full picture, and crop close in processing . . . either way, you’ll get this:

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If you click on it, you’ll see it’s not very good . . . digital zoom does not gather any more data than the original, so when you crop – unlike full SLR photos with true zoom – you’re basically enlarging, and the more you ‘zoom’ (enlarge), the worse the photo will look.

Mind you, shown that small it’s almost passable, and on a phone screen it will probably still look good.

But, this is what you can get with an SLR . . . click on it, and then zoom into the various parts – it’s 9,031 x 2,260 pixels (125 inches by 39 inches). You can also use the sliders to navigate.

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While they may eventually get there, phones have a long way to go.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Cars, Machines, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Fall – Part 1

Yes, I know . . . it sounds like some epic story . . .

The Fall – Part 1
copyright 2014, EJDAlise

Lucinius looked out over the rushing horde . . . they were going to reach the gates soon, and there was nothing that would stop them.

He turned his back on them, looking instead at the faces of his small army staring back at him . . . in them he could see the reflection of the efforts, the sweat, the joy, the sorrow, and all that went into building works of art, orderly displays glorifying man’s ingenuity . . . soon it would all be in shambles, and there was nothing he could do.

He turned once again to face the oncoming horde and barely managed to step aside as two women simultaneously dove for the same toy, and in the process knocked over the carefully stacked display.

. . .damn, but he hated Black Friday sales.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No, this is about a different kind of fall, and all captured with my Samsung Note II, Processed in Lightroom and onOne Suite, and posted here for your enjoyment.

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These ornamental grasses from Melisa’s cousin’s yard in Illinois . . . I would love being able to grow it here. These stalks stood above my head.

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These next one were checking out my shoes . . . I stood very still so as not to spook them.

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That was in late September . . . 

. . . this next photo is from about a week ago. We were on a walk, and I noticed this plant. It looked out of place . . . I had not noticed it before, and it is fairly late in the season for this to be flowering, looking still green, and still standing.

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It was not until I processed the photos that I noticed the spider . . . can you spot it?

The other flower was even more interesting . . . 

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That’s right . . . that’s some sort of bug burrowing into the flower. Fairly large bug, too, as the flower was at least four inches across. I opted not to mess with it.

Now, you might recall some posts back, like in early September, I mentioned a hard freeze (low 20s). We’ve had a few more overnight dips below freezing since, although not as cold as that first one. That’s why I’m surprised I still have flowers. Mind you, we lost a bunch, and I cut many of the annuals down in preparation for the winter, but . . . 

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Even with the cold we had these past few days, these flowers persist. 

It could be these are just hardy flowers . . . 

The aspens have already lost most of their leaves, the silver maples are getting there, but this tree (one of two whose names I can’t rightly recall at the moment) is just now hitting its peak color.

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Those colors are all on one tree, ranging from bronze, to red, to yellow, and everything in between.

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These last two were shot with the phone level to the ground and ‘looking up’.

But, back to the flowers . . . I was not surprised of the previous flowers having survived . . . but these, these surprised me . . . 

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These should have frozen and died, and in fact, you can see many dead leaves, but these dang petunias hang on.

Far as I see it, them petunias been given the shortest end of the stick ever been offered a petunia in this crap-heel ‘verse. But they took that end, and they – well, they took it. And that’s – Well, I guess that’s somethin’.

And it weren’t just one pot . . . 

. . . there was this one too.

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Here’s another angle . . . 

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Of course, them other flowers, them ones that ain’t petunias, them too be going strong. 

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There were two other pots with petunias that survived when they shouldn’t have . . . one was in the shadows, but one was in full sun, and I done took me a couple of more photos.

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There are other flowers that are still fightin’, still wantin’ nuthin’ more than to be . . . to be for just a few more days. Them fools . . . but I can’t find no fault with them; I too might be inclined to stretch my last days on this here non-god given Earth.

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Some might wonder about the attempt at a bastardized Firefly/Kentucky accent . . . you see, the missus’ and me have been binging on the show Justified. The setting is Kentucky, and I have this here habit of picking up speech patterns . . . mighty inconvenient, it be.

Anyway, the banana flowers are also still doing well, but I screwed up the photo of them (out of focus), so, as a reminder, I offer up a previous shot, but know they are still there.

Flowers,

BUT . . . this is supposed to be a post about the colors of Fall.

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Yup, this is the other tree (you can see the first in the background).

This tree is a little sparser, leaves-wise. Here’s a shot looking up.

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The other tree, the first one, has more color variation . . . here’s a few more examples.

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Here’s another shot looking up from under the tree . . . 

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You can clearly see the color distribution in the leaves in these next two shots.

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So, that’s it for now . . . I had these on the phone, and I shot them in some fairly strong wind, so I am surprised how well they turned out. 

I did not do a SmugMug gallery, but you can click on the photos for a larger version. Let’s just say I was pleased with how all these turned out.

Before I leave, I have to share this advertisement . . . it’s been cracking me up for the past week, even for as little as I watch TV.

I especially like the “Are you crazy!?” line. It’s only forty seconds; give it a play.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A Mob Be

A Mob Be

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Writing Fiction and Blogging

What follows was meant to be a guest post on the One Cool Site blog, but as she decided to pursue other interests, it was never published. 

By the way, the site, and especially the section HERE, is a must read for any new bloggers. The lady gave much to the community, and while I’m sad to see her go, she does leave behind a heck of a legacy. I am happy, however, that she is pursuing other interests that bring her more joy in life.

Anyway, since she is obviously not going to use it, I decided to post it here (I’m lazy that way). I’ve written about this before, but it won’t hurt to repeat it.

Writing Fiction and Blogging

Many people yearn to become authors while others, whether they know it or not, just want to be writers.

Writers blog their fiction.

I’m sorry I have to put it so harshly, but it was like a slap in the face for me when the realization hit.

Authors do blog, but they do not blog their fiction; they blog in support of their job, being authors. Authors blog about writing, they blog about life, they blog about their pets and families. But they don’t blog their fiction.

 “Why not?” . . . the answer is FNASR.

“Gesundheit!”

No, I mean First North American Serial Rights.

Basically, it means the following:

. . . most publishers are not about to make a big investment in an unknown author if the story is available for free. There’s no profit to be made, and an initial investment to be lost.

Also, once something is on the Internet, it’s there to stay. Copies propagate without the author’s knowledge or consent. Removing the story from your blog won’t impress the publisher much.

So most publishers will consider that you no longer have first publication rights to sell. You’ve already squandered them.

Timethief has touched on losing control of one’s content by way of reblogging HERE and HERE. When you put content out onto the Internet you lose some control, and sometimes all control.

Be it opinions or fiction, writing is uniquely personal. It’s not the underlying idea, you see, it’s the style, the choice of words, the pacing . . . all of it combines to produce something that is unique, and hence valuable. Not all, of course, but there is a lot of talent out there in the wild.

I don’t know how good I am, or if I’m good at all, but I had given some thought to submitting for publication some of the stuff I’ve already written.

BUT . . . FNASR.

“Gesundheit!”

You see, I’ve been dumping my fiction into my blog ever since March of 2010. Some stories are fanciful flights of fancy; short pieces that are not publishable. But I could have submitted the others instead of posting them. The only way they are now likely to see publication is if I self-publish. 

Well, there is one other way . . . I could become famous for something, then die tragically, and then someone will maybe try to make a buck or two by publishing my stuff postumeously.

The trick, then, is to get famous for something, preferably something good, before dying.

Meanwhile, what can a writer do to ease their travel on the road to becoming an author?  Well, this writer asked an author.

I e-mailed Mary Robinette Kowal, and she graciously answered.

Dear Emilio,

Blogging your work gives up your first rights. Some publishers will buy it anyway.

My suggestion is to post the first three chapters in the clear and then go to password protection.

As for {what} should you {do}? It depends on why you are doing it. If you work better with a feedback loop, which I do, then blog away. If it’s because you think you might snare a publisher that way? It’s so unlikely to happen that’s it’s not worth it.

I did that with my NaNoWriMo novel. I put a password on all but the first four chapters, and I put a password on the complete novel.

That’s what I plan to do with future stuff . . . but be forewarned, there is a downside to doing that.

My readers dropped from an unknown number (hard to estimate if “likes” translate into readers) to six confirmed readers (meaning, they asked for the password). Six hundred followers, hundreds of ‘likes’ . . . six readers.  Of those, I think only three commented.

So, if I wanted to be brutal about it, adding the passwords brought my 50-60 views per chapter down to six readers per chapter, only three of which are confirmed.

My advice? If you want to be an author, if you like what you write, forget the blog; try to publish it first. Once you know your story won’t sell, there is always the option to still blog it. But if you blog it first, you greatly decrease the chance anyone will buy it from you.

To that end, RALAN.COM is a great resource. It lists different markets (I linked to the pro-market, but you can click on the others once there) accepting material.

So, perhaps, instead of blogging your next masterpiece, you might first consider sending it off to an appropriate market, at least trying to eventually become an author. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Creative, Opinion, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments