Monday, June 20, 2011

Murphy's overstatement

We humans are so interesting! I'm just trying to understand, as many of you might have already, why is it that we're naturally so inclined to negative thinking. In fact, there is no historical record that I know of about anyone ever inventing any anti-Murphy laws. Nobody ever said that given the chance that something might go well, it is very likely to go well, or maybe better than expected.

Also, why will we always try to leave home minimally prepared for an unfortunate event, like randomly taking an umbrella "just in case" when spending a long time out far, and we are not really likely to take, for example, a camera, just in case we see something really interesting that deserves being photographed? As a matter of fact, in modern society, but I believe ever since the existence of mankind, the circumstance where "I'm feeling lucky" isn't considered unwise is while Googling. My take on it is that our mind is built to let us be happy with all the imperfection in and around us. We are imperfect beings, and the randomness of events will naturally not synchronize with our needs: if we are in a bad mood, there's no increase in the likelihood of a positive event, and vice versa.

Let us analyze how positive and negative "karma" affects our brain machinery. If we are leaning towards the negative side of our perception of reality, some brain functions will slow down, or show certain inertia. If we are in a neutral state, brain functions will work just fine, as they are needed to do so, at average pace of everyday activity. If we are "happy", the brain gets stimulated to work faster and more efficiently. However, the superior efficiency is not always needed, and does not necessarily improve the quality of what we are doing (if we need to solve a simple mathematical operation, positive mental incentive might not have any impact beyond what's physically possible in neutral state already, while negative incentive will decrease efficiency proportionally, possibly until mental blockage).

So we will only notice positive incentive on more complex tasks (that do not make up most of our normal activity), but negative input will always affect efficiency. So since our brain is so masterfully engineered, even though we don't really know this consciously, our subconscious takes care of keeping us aware that all we really need is to focus on not getting negative input, and we don't waste extra energy frustrating ourselves while attracting unnecessary positive input. So to me, though it may seem at first a symbol of negativity, our way of always keeping danger and bad luck in mind is indeed nothing but another ingenious stress defense in our amazingly complex and clever gray mass – a positive control technique seamlessly hidden in common social behavior. Once again, all I take from wondering about the issues of humanity and the complexity of our minds is just how great of a piece of machinery with a well-measured touch of humor we are.

It would be interesting also to see what Albedo (Happy birthday by the way ;) ) has to say on this, since she is far more than me into sociology and human sciences than I am. I'm just a curious bystander. Good reading folks!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Poem in a white box*

I have a box.
It's white inside.
It has a hole.
Wow! You can see the sky.
It has the size of your eye.
Can you see?
It's like me.
A purple leaf.
Above your head.
Drawing your thoughts.
Singing for me.

Oh but can't you see!
Inside the box
there is a dream
made of gold
and dust from a palm-tree
Woman, what are you saying
That's not a poem!
It's just words!

Well my friend, rocks always stay rocks.

*Inspired by "Gift in a black box"

Gift in a Black Box

Hello again dear reader. I have a question for you: how many times were you thankful for your life? I suppose many, but then... How many times have you felt glad that you will die? Strange question, I know. But it certainly deserves that we take a deeper look at it: what would happen if people, and for that matter animals, and every lifeform we know, simply stopped dying just like that? Just how chaotic and scary can that get?

Overpopulation, resource exhaustion, socioeconomic chaos, biotic unbalance...

Living forever would literally become a curse, an infinite hell as experienced by Tantalus. Our brain was not made for thinkign of infinity, and that is why imagining an infinite universe is so hard. We were made to think of temporary, finite things, and we can't base decisions, behaviors, actions and even thoughts on an infinite timeline. We would never feel compelled to anything, not even living! Besides, if there was no death, there was no justifiable reason for protecting life, and ethic values would be awkwardly improper and inadequate for the human condition. Living beings would maybe evolve into ones that don't reproduce at all to avoid overpopulation, sexual organs and functionality would be lost, the mental processes of socialization and affection, related to the natural sexual needs as a thriving mechanism among species, would disappear. Full-fledged feeling, thinking, reasoning humans would live mixed with cold, stupid and inert ones.

Life has gifted us with some ingenious emergency mechanisms. Our brain will shut down if extreme pain, confusion, or emotional overload occur, both temporarily (comma), or even permanently (brain death). More interestingly, still, our brain will tell us to do it ourselves, inducing feeling of suicide when life becomes unbearable and mental stress is beyond what our system can endure remaining sane and viable. If this is taken from us, imagining a world of constantly wanting to suicide but always failing will resemble the tantalizing agony as well, and pretty much becomes a paradox: if you go crazy enough, you die to prevent being a dysfunctional being, but since you can't die, you become a living "not-supposed-to-be-alive" thing; if you can't eat, you become biologically dysfunctional and you die, but since you can't, you become a huge question mark again.

Isn't it scary? Are you so afraid of dying, or is it a blessing that something makes you feel that what ends is more enjoyable, and that you have a reason to live well while you can? I feel glad that one day I will die. It gives my offspring a chance to live as well or even better as I did, and it preserves this wonderful spinning cycle of life. Exactly... death is necessary for the existance and viability of life.

Have a good day everyone and enjoy your life, 100%.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

How do you know?

How big is the universe? 
- Infinite. 
- How do you know? I know because all the data indicates it's infinite. - But it hasn't been proven yet. 
- No. You haven't seen it. No. How do you know for sure? I don't, I just believe it. 
- It's the same with love I guess.

"A beautiful mind"

You're all the music I'll ever need

Minnie: Oh, Mickey! When I hear you play that harmonica, my heart sings! Why don't you play some music for us? 
Mickey: Don't you think you should open your present first? And by the way, what time is it? 
Minnie: I think it's time to open your present. 

they both open their presents

Mickey: Oh, uh... a case... for my harmonica. 

Minnie: Oh, a chain for my... watch... but I traded my watch to buy you that case. 
Mickey: And I traded my harmonica to get you that chain for your watch. 
Minnie: Oh, Mickey. I can't believe you gave up what means the most to you! 
Mickey: Don't worry, Minnie. You're all the music I'll ever need.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

One night

The room was cheap and sordid,
hidden above the suspect bar.
From the window you could see the alley,
dirty and narrow. From below
came the voices of workmen
playing cards, enjoying themselves.
And there on that common, humble bed
I had love’s body, had those intoxicating lips,
red and sensual,
red lips of such intoxication
that now as I write, after so many years,
in my lonely house, I’m drunk with passion again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ηappy Birthday!

With this little post I want to wish you the very best for your birthday and your life my love. Last year I was trying to learn the birthday song in Portuguese to sing it for you when I had no idea what Portuguese was. This year, things are better because I can sing it and understand it! Acho que sim. ;) Many things have changed since May 2010, but others remained, fortunately, the same. It's wonderful to see how you have grown and what have you learnt throughout the months, all the experiences you had and all the knowledge you got. 

May you always be healthy and strong, inspired and motivated to fulfill your dreams with passion. Never lose your courage and  always follow your heart. Learn from your mistakes and be always surrounded by people that give you energy. With each year I'll love you more. Remember that your best years are still ahead of you and I'll be there for every up down and in between. 

Make a wish! ;)

Happy Birthday Citrinitas!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's important and what is not

These days I've been wondering about what is important, and what is not. In other words, what makes something important to our eyes and what makes less sense. The environment around is forcing me to examine those thoughts every single day. No matter what I am I thinking, there is always something in this city to remind me that I have to think in an alternative way. No matter where I am (in school, on the street walking around with my friends) there is something to confirm that things are not as well as they should be. I don't know from which country you're reading this post, dear reader, but maybe you feel the same way.

The faces around,the newspapers and the media (that are simply trying to overload our minds with useless information) the basic, everyday conversations that are gradually following the same path of topics: the bad situation of this country and the future. People are moving abroad (or they have already done it) and many of them are thinking about it. I guess it needs nerves to deal with the future. And walls made out of stone to surround you with patience. Athens needs to fight all that misery, for sure.

An everyday scene

In this environment, you can't help wondering: what is important if everything seems so fragile around? Maybe all of those things that last, independently from a material basis.Yeah, right. That's a simple thought to make. But how many of us are actually doing that?

Health, quality of life, love, people, creativity, freedom, being touched by art, interest in self-improvement and self-knowledge, dreaming and last but not least, hoping.

(Now that reminds me of the truly wonderful soundtrack "The heart asks pleasure first" from the movie "The piano")

I didn't write the word happiness itself because to me, happiness is only in moments. In small moments. That yes, they can exist everyday, but only if we want. Can we find reasons to want that, when everyone around is pushing us to the opposite direction? Yes, if we remind to ourselves, what's important long-term and what is not.

So, what's important to you? When was the last time you actually did what's important to you and not to the others? Or the opposite: when was the last time you didn't ask from anyone to fulfill or even find that importance for you?


Friday, April 29, 2011

The God forsakes Antony

When suddenly, at the midnight hour,
an invisible troupe is heard passing
with exquisite music, with shouts --
your fortune that fails you now, your works
that have failed, the plans of your life
that have all turned out to be illusions, do not mourn in vain.
As if long prepared, as if courageous,
bid her farewell, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all do not be fooled, do not tell yourself
it was a dream, that your ears deceived you;
do not stoop to such vain hopes.
As if long prepared, as if courageous,
as it becomes you who have been worthy of such a city,
approach the window with firm step,
and with emotion, but not
with the entreaties and complaints of the coward,
as a last enjoyment listen to the sounds,
the exquisite instruments of the mystical troupe,
and bid her farewell, the Alexandria you are losing.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Technicalities: 1

This is a guide on building the first kind of computer for a certain purpose of usage. In case you're just looking for enough to let you read/write MS Office documents, browse websites, check your e-mail, read blogs, etc., then this is your kind of build. Note that there is no graphics or sound card suggestion, because in this case, the motherboard chipset and built-in sound chip will be enough for what you will be demanding from your computer. Of course more is always better, but we're trying to go for an acceptable minimum, and buying hardware is most of the time the way to go for mounting a cheap computer with exactly what you want. So here's my suggestion for parts in the market for this computer (for AMD or Intel builds*):

Asus M2N68-AM Plus (AMD build)
Asus M4N68T-M (Intel build)
both are easily found in Europe at around 45€


AMD Athlon X2 6000+ (AMD build)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (Intel build)
both are found for around 70€ in Europe


RAM Memory
Kingston PC6400 2Gb DDR2
should cost around 30€


Samsung 250Gb 7200 RPM S-ATA2 8Mb
found at about 40€


Optical Drive
LG GH22NS50 (or any other that has dvd read and write functions)


Operating System
I recommend Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium
As an alternative, Windows XP Professional should be enough


Any USB mouse/keyboard configuration (I suggest that you keep in mind ergonomics and durability)
(USB is faster and more flexible, but if you have few USB ports, use PS2 options for mouse and keyboard)
A screen (TFT or LCD preferably) with a resolution of at least 1024x768 pixels
A printer should be part of your basic office investments too, but I won't cover that market area


Any simple ATX format case that includes a power supply will do just fine

*Note: the difference between AMD and Intel builds is only a matter of taste, at this point. It depends on what you have experienced before and prefer. Both are good platforms, and both offer similar prices in this quality range.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Hello again dear readers. I would like to start by apologising for the long winter silence, but as both of us are students, exams are a priority.

That said, this new article will be a technical guide for those of you looking to build a new computer for whatever your needs are. It will be divided into three distinct posts, based on the criterion of what the computer will serve for. This because building is generally cheaper than buying a pre-made one, and it ensures you have all you want and need, and none of what you don't want or need.

I hope this tech guide proves useful for those looking for this kind of information, and entertaining/instructive for everyone else. Note that I am by no means a professional in computing, and any suggestions or corrections will be welcome. Stay tuned and enjoy.