Friday, July 29, 2011

The 14th Amendment does not force the USA to pay its debt!

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Constitutional law! What the heck are you doing thinking of getting law advice from a blog?!? :)

For anyone who doesn't live under a rock, you have heard this idea floated around that "Obama could cite 14th Amendment powers to tackle debt limit." I had just assumed that this was correct. I don't have the Constitution memorized, and I trusted who I thought would be experts on the matter. Well, then today I heard people saying that this idea is completely bogus. I tend to agree now that I have actually read it for myself. The text in question is as follows:
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

This just seems to be clarifying what debt belongs to the US and what does not. When you put this in its post-Civil-War context it makes sense. Consider this hypothetical scenario - During the Civil War, the South borrows money from, let's say, Spain. After the war, when the South has been reunited with the Union, Spain comes by asking the US for its money back. With the 14th Amendment, that money aided a "rebellion against the United States." Now the US can ask, "What money?" And Spain might be all like, "The money we loaned you." And the US will pronounce, "You didn't loan us any money." To which Spain will respond, "Yeah, we did. We loaned it to some of your southern States." Now the US can send them away with an, "OHHHHH!!! Well, see, that money went toward funding a rebellion, which has been squashed. That debt belongs to that rebellion, not us. Be on your way, now! Oh, and good luck getting your money back." (Which is really telling them that they are not going to be getting their money back.)

In summary, I suspect the idea of that section is for the US to determine which debt from the Civil War belongs to the US and which belonged to the South, which the US government probably figured it wasn't obligated to pay back.

Where I think people go wrong is that they stretch this obligation to recognize ownership of debt into an obligation to not only repay that debt, but to do so in a timely manner. To clarify, I agree that if you own debt, you are obligated to pay it back eventually. However, I don't see this as an enforcement on making a payment on its scheduled due date. Missing a payment is not the same as denying ownership. Therefore, missing said payment is not a violation of the Constitution; we are still admitting that the debt belongs to us. Much like if I were to miss a mortgage payment...I am not suggesting that I no longer own that debt or am no longer obligated to pay back that debt. I still intend to pay it back...just not at the present time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I need to freshen up on my probability!!!

Back on Sunday, I provided my answers to some critical thinking problems. By Monday, I had doubts about my answer to #3.

For reference, here is the text of the problem:
Question 3: While you were at TAM9, you decided to suspend skepticism and gamble - specifically, by playing roulette. But since you want to have some sort of strategy, you decide to flip a coin before each bet to decide whether to place a bet on red or on black (which should have a 50/50 chance of happening). Sadly, you lose sixty seven times in a row - that is, the ball always lands on the opposite color that you pick. If you turned your skepticism back on, it would be most rational to think:

A. You just have shitty luck
B. It's terrible strategy to flip a coin to pick what color to bet on in roulette
C. You should keep up this strategy because you've really likely to win the next bet
D. The roulette table is obviously broken, but you can't assume that's intentional
E. The casino or the staff are dirty crooks who have rigged the game against you somehow
F. You can't reasonably decide which of the listed options are more likely

I was thinking that if you threw in the coin flip, you were reducing the probability to a 1 in 4 chance of getting the desired result. The thought was there is a 1/2 probability on getting a certain coin flip and there is a 1/2 probability on getting a certain color on the wheel. Combining these probabilities (1/2 * 1/2) gets you 1/4. I failed to calculate what the probability of missing 67 times in a row was (it's actually 1 in 235 million, which seems big, but is not necessarily absurd), but I did figure that you should stand to win about 16 times. I figured this wasn't that bad, because probability is no guarantee of an outcome.

However, by Monday (or maybe it was Tuesday...whatever), I was realizing that I was wrong about that 1 in 4 chance. I did this by breaking down the combinations in a truth table fashion (with heads leading me to choose red as a color).

Coin Color* Result
Heads  Red Win!
Heads Black Lose :( 
Tails Red Lose :(
Tails Black Win!
* Represents the color hit, not the guessed color, which is represented by the coin flip (Heads = Red, Tails = Black)

I noticed that two out of the four combinations, I win!!! I used a similar thought process in considering using a 5-sided die to make my guess, where 3 out of 5 times I would be choosing red and 2 out of 5 times I would choose black. I ended up winning half the time.

I now realize where I made my mistake. I was originally thinking that choosing one color all of the time would be the best strategy. If the hit color was black 67 times in a row...yeah, that would clearly look like a rigged system. On the other hand, if you are changing your guess around, it could just appear as "shitty luck" (answer A) when the hit color constantly does not match. The reason for this is that there is a second factor of randomness. When I'm picking the same color every time, the only random factor is the wheel result. When I'm flipping a coin, there are now two random factors. This, at least for me, gave the illusion of a reduced probability. And with some bad math and reasoning, I "justified" the illusion.

The actual answer is E. The probability of missing 67 times in a row is absurdly high, Jonathan, who's answer is posted, appears to assum the casino sees the result of your coin flip and they have figured out which way you pick based on that flip. His complete answer is here:
Answer from Jonathan: "The probability of losing 67 times in a row is one in 2^67, ie about 1 in 147 billion billion. So this is *extremely* unlikely to be bad luck. If the game is fair, flipping a coin is no worse than any other strategy - there's no pattern to pick up on. C is for idiots, D might make sense if you were always betting (say) red, but since your choice is random and there's no sensible way your coin toss can directly affect the wheel, if must be E, and the casino is seeing your bet, then manipulating the wheel (or, at least, it's far more likely that the casino is crooked than that you've lost fairly 67 times on the trot)."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I need some help on this...

I'm trying to get some examples of a situation where something is claimed to be a bad example of something, yet there are so many bad examples that an observer gets the sense that the bad example actually "comes with the territory."

One that I have been able to come up with that is close to what I'm looking for is if someone claimed that "Rock and roll is about the music! Any musician who is a drug and/or alcohol addict is not a good representation of the industry!" The idea here being that drugs and alcohol have a history of being abused by many rock stars, so anyone who claims otherwise is stating what they perhaps see as ideal, but does not accurately reflect reality.

To put this another way, the "No true Scotsman" fallacy is being presented and I'm wanting a way to show the fallacy in some other example. But more so, I want the counter example to be frequent. In my example above, if one said a true rock star doesn't abuse drugs and/or alcohol, that would exclude a lot of rock stars!

***EDIT: My example was not influenced by the recent death of Amy Winehouse. This is an example I had before this event. This is merely a coincidence.***

And now for something completely different!

I'm also a bit of a music fan. When I started getting into hard rock/metal back 10 years ago, Staind became one of my favorite bands. They tended to release songs that were deeper lyrically than heavy instrumentally, but they weren't necessarily soft songs, either. In recent albums, their songs have become increasingly soft, however. The good news is that they've decided to return to their roots and produce more heavy songs. The first song from their upcoming album demonstrates this. Me likes!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oops! I forgot the most important highlight!

Yesterday I posted some of the highlights from BlagHag's bloggathon. I forgot to post a link to perhaps the most important post - the one on Obama speaking about "balance. Go to the post to see the transcript. This, however, was disappointing:I think we’ve struck the right balance so far, but this is something that we continue to be in dialogue with faith-based organizations about to try to make sure that their hiring practices are as open and as inclusive as possible.I'm getting quite sick and tired of Obama's "balance." I really wish he'd focus instead on doing the right thing! If religions organizations are receiving tax payer money and then being allowed to discriminate against people, that is wrong, plain and simple. (He even said at the beginning it was straightforward.) There is no "balance" to strike on this issue. When Obama said, "If, on the other hand, it is closer to your core functions as a synagogue or a mosque or a church, then there may be more leeway for you to hire somebody who is a believer of that particular religious faith," then that organization shouldn't be getting tax payer money. Plain and simple. (It's bad enough that they can discriminate while being tax exempt.)

It keeps becoming more and more obvious that Obama is concerned about balance to get the independent vote for reelection. Without a primary challenge, he doesn't need to please Democrats for that vote. Likewise, he needs not worry about Democrats for the general election. Many will vote for him to prevent a Republican from getting the office, and even if they do not vote for him, they won't vote against him. (Though, honestly, if Romney ends up being the Republican candidate, I'm not sure he'd be much worse than Obama. I still probably wouldn't vote for Romney, though.) I remember Obama telling us, if he were elected, that it wouldn't be politics as usual. So much for that.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SSA Blogathon Highlights

This past Saturday, Jen McCreight at BlagHag has a 24-hour blogathon. I'm covering what I thought were the highlights. (Psst...the headers are links!)

Sarah Palin adds another grandchild to her list of hypocrisy

Apparently, Sarah Palin's eldest son, Track, got married. Also, what I've heard is that the wedding was quick, causing speculation that the bride was pregnant. According to Yahoo! News:
Pictures of the new bride posted on Facebook show that she is rather obviously expecting, while her marriage took place just two months ago.

I think Jen's opinions on the matter are quite fitting:
But you know what I think is the really scary part of this story? That it's more important to have shot gun weddings to save face instead of using a fucking condom. You're going to make a life commitment to someone because you accidentally knocked them up? Really? And these are the same people arguing about sanctity of marriage. The same people who won't let same sex couples who love each other get married.
She has more great comments, so I'll recommend going to her post.

Solve these critical thinking puzzles, win a prize!

Nothing really news worthy here except for some puzzles, and I love puzzles! My answers are as follows:
  1. Two - Ken Ham and narwhal.
  2. 50 lbs.
  3. B.

An intro to the neutral theory of evolution

This is an interesting piece on how species can change without selection processes taking place.

What makes men gay?

Here Jen discusses the latest in the scientific understanding of what makes men homosexual. In short, scientists just don't know. Yet, there are some ideas.
A study in 1996 found that gay men had a greater number of older brothers than heterosexual men. This is known as the "fraternal birth order" (FBO) effect, and has been replicated in many studies. It's independent of potentially confounding variables like year of birth, age, socioeconomic status, and parental age. Non-biological siblings had no effect on sexual orientation.

The main hypothesis for why you see this pattern is known as the maternal immune hypothesis. Just like your body mounts an immune response against bacteria or ill-matched transplants, moms may develop an immune reaction against a male specific protein that's present during development. Those proteins are normal for a male fetus, but a mother's body still recognizes them as foreign. The immune response may then alter parts of the brain associated with male specific proteins like the anterior hypothalamus, which has also been linked to sexual orientation.

"Men should have veto power over abortions; Women should be held criminally liable if they refuse"

Some psychiatrist who is also a Fox News personality (according to Jen) suggests that men should have veto power to prevent women, who are carrying their child, from getting an abortion. He could have made a compelling argument, but he made an fool of himself instead.
We are ignoring the quiet message that current abortion policy conveys to every American male: You have no voice in, and, therefore, no responsibility for, the pregnancies which you help to create. Your descendants are disposable, at the whim of the women you choose to be intimate with.
That's not a bad point, but Jen has a good counter of her own:
Or maybe you should know if a woman is pro-choice or not before you stick your penis in her, and if it's so goddamn important to you, then don't stick your penis in her. A mindblowing proposal, I know.
A bigger point could have been made here that there probably isn't any family planning considerations being made when the couple is having sex. Perhaps we should think of promoting responsible sex practices first.
Giving would-be fathers a lack of veto power over abortions is connected psychologically to the epidemic of absentee fathers in this country...
...We can’t, on the one hand, be credible in bemoaning the number of single mothers raising their children, while, on the other hand, giving men the clear message that bringing new lives to the planet is the exclusive domain, and under the exclusive control, of women.
OK, I can agree that you shouldn't send men a message that women have all the control of bringing in new life, but to suggest that not allowing men to have veto power over abortions is connected to the "epidemic of absentee fathers in this country" is quite simply least in the direction he appears to imply. If there is any reason men should not be allowed veto power over abortions, it is because of all the absentee fathers. Absentee fathers are not the result of a lack of veto powers or other supposed lack of control over the female reproductive system, which is what this man seems to imply. It is more likely the result of irresponsible males that have no interest in being involved in the reproduction process, with the exception of that first step.

Skepticism & fiction

Some reader asked Jen how she can be OK with Harry Potter and it having an afterlife. The answer was quite simple:
...Because it's fiction? Seriously, it's a fantasy novel that's full of magic, dragons, unicorns, giants, goblins, ghosts, elves, pixies, potions, charms, hexes, teleportation, and soul splitting... and you're worried about the concept of the afterlife? You could suspend disbelief for all of that, but not one vaguely religious concept?

Dude. Come on.
Jen also points out that recognizing fiction for what it is can be helpful when it comes to being told BS stories.
I knew that The Witches, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or Harry Potter, or Greek mythology were all just stories. That's exactly why when I heard about the Bible, I immediately recognized it as just another story. Fiction doesn't erode at skepticism - it can enforce it!

Harry Potter and Skeptical Thinking

Jen discusses Harry Potter further, discussing how their are examples of skeptical thinking in the books.
Think about it. Even though their world is based on magic, they have their own version of supernatural, pseudoscience crap - basically everything that Luna Lovegood and her dad believe in. Most magical people easily accept unicorns and dragons and nifflers, but Crumple Horned Snorkaks? Ridiculous.

And Hermione is a wonderful skeptic. Just look at this quote from the 7th book about the Deathly Hallows:
"But that's - I'm sorry but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of - of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody proved it doesn't exist!"
Hermione just destroyed all Christian apologetics. ...Too bad the Deathly Hallows actually existed. *cough*
For those who do not follow Harry Potter, that last statement must be in reference to the Resurrection Stone. I think that is what Hermione was speaking of in that quote.

The University of Arizona Med School adds Integrative Medicine

This is a disappointing post on how the University of Arizona is adding an Integrative Medicine degree.
The track will focus on integrative medicine – healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (mind, body and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle.
The part where it says "spirit" should throw the red flag that this is not actually medicine, but pseudo-scientific nonsense.

LAN bans women to protect them from misogynists

This was just a post on stupid males who probably lack social skills. In order to prevent tension between misogynistic male gamers and any female gamers during a LAN party, the people running the party (probably all males) banned females from participating, instead of the misogynist males. Likely, it's easier to ban females than it is to figure out who the misogynist males are. They took the easy route to fixing a problem (which only temporarily fixes it, since it does not address the behavior that causes the problem) instead of doing the right thing.

Europeans: How does religion in the US look to you?

This post asked Europeans to chip in on how religion in the US appears to them, so check out the comments. Many looked like this:
Your religion just looks scary and fanatical, and has the kind of influence on society that it never should have!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New details on Ricky Gervais's new show, "Afterlife"

I have not blogged on this yet, but news from earlier this week revealed that Ricky Gervais is working on a comedy about atheists in heaven. According to the latest news, Gervais will be playing the role of God. As others have speculated, if this makes in on American TV, it'll probably be on a premium channel like HBO or Showtime. Time will tell.

When someone stresses "I read it," you know something's up!

Al Franken should make Minnesotans (at least the sane ones) proud. He did his homework. Apparently some guy (Tom Minnery) from Focus on the Family was a witness for a recent Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) hearing and was claiming that children are better off in a married family where the parents are heterosexual and Minnery cited a Department of Health and Human Services study to back his claim. In the video below, I knew right away something good was going to happen when Franken said, "I...checked the study out," with a long pause after the statement. Franken points out that the cited study is for a nuclear family where there is at least one child living with two married parents who are either biological or adoptive parents. In other words, the parents could be homosexual; thus, Minnery's claim was not actually supported by the study he cited. Now, families where the parents are married homosexuals are likely going to make up a very small percentage of all those families in the study, but this is then lack of evidence and anyone trying to claim families with homosexual parents are dysfunctional will need evidence, as they are making the positive claim. (On that note, I think it is fair to say the default position is that homosexual parents are no different than heterosexual parents when it comes to the effectiveness of parenting, which is why those against homosexual marriage have the burden of proof.)

(I know that this news is three days old now, but it is just so important as a lesson. Whether or not Minnery was intentionally being deceptive or if he legitimately misinterpreted the study is one thing. The more important thing is that he and people like him are counting on their audience being ignorant. They don't want people reading that study, whether or not they think they accurately represented it. They want you to take them at their word. This is what makes what Franken did particularly important. He didn't take them at their word; he did his own fact checking. That is a very important "skill" to have and comes in handy in defending off false claims.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

OK, that was disappointing

In my last post, I talked about how ABC's Nightline was having a special on demonic possession. It turned out to be fairly lame. Most of the people on the show had admitted to having been heavy drug users in the past. And, frankly, that really damages their credibility to speak on the subject. My wife even pointed out that they could have fried a few brain cells during that time (paraphrasing). The most exciting part, for me, was the brief moment (maybe 10 seconds) when Darrel Ray appeared on the show. Unfortunately, I was too busy shouting, "Holy shit! It's Darrel Ray!!!" to really even listen to what he had to say. I think it was something about suggesting that people seek professional psychiatric treatment instead of exercisms, though.

The reason seeing Darrel Ray was exciting for me was mainly because what I wrote yesterday about hypnosis was influenced by him through what he has written in his book, "The God Virus," which I am currently reading and also have a signed copy of as I purchased it directly from Dr. Ray when he was at the American Atheist national convention in Des Moines, IA, this past April. (Damn, why didn't I get a photo of this?!?)

"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion." - Robert M. Persig

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

YES!!! A show with vomiting(?) hypnotized people!!!

Note: The following post contains ideas I have collected from researchers in pyschology and my own personal understanding of that research. I do not claim to be an expert in the field of pyschology. I am not any more than a "hobbyist."

Tonight, ABC will have a Nightline special - Beyond Belief: Battle with the Devil at 10 PM, EST. I am tempted to watch out of pure pschological interest. It is amazing (and scary at the same time) what the mind can do when it is manipulated emotionally to the point that hypnosis is induced. And that is what not only I find to be true, but former ministers like Rich Lyons, who claim to have performed exercisms, essentially say that is what it is - induced hypnosis. Let's first be clear on what hypnosis is. As Wikipedia states, "contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and are focusing attention, with a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness." It's not limited to this "you're getting sleepy...very sleepy" while watching a pendulum (usually a round pocket watch) swing by stuff that used to be portrayed in media.

I have had some experience with hypnosis. In my freshman year of college, a hypnotist put on a show on campus. I actually volunteered to go on stage to be hypnotiszed (OK, am I British now?). The procedure had us close our eyes to relax1 and then start accepting suggestions like, "Your arms are SOOOO heavy, it is impossible to lift them." This is what Wikipedia says is the induction technique. I like to think of this as a "warm-up," where the hypnotist is getting the subject loose and ready for more "powerful" (for lack of a better word) suggestions. I was about the second person kicked off the stage, though, as I wasn't really playing along well during that warm-up. They perhaps noticed that my response to the question, "What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?" was not as enthusiastic as those of the other participants. (On a side note, the most enthusiastic answer probably came from my old friend, Jory, who answered "Beer flavored!" Update: Actually, now that I think of it, I'm quite sure I laughed at that, though tried hard to cover it up. That might be where they noticed I was not fully entranced.) Yet, when they asked me to get off stage, the hypnotist was suggesting that the ice cream was melting and dripping on our arms. As I was walking off, he suggested that everyone like off the ice cream. Even though I was not hypnotiszed enough to remain on the stage, I did catch myself sticking my toung out and raising my right forearm up toward it. Even though I was not playing along very well, I still had fallen slightly into a hypnotic trance. Imagine if I had played along during the warm-up. I may have remained up on stage and been riding imaginary horses, or whatever else the hypnotist had people doing.
1 I suspect, as this was done in front of the audience, this was done so as to not hypnotize the audience by keeping them from following along with the suggestions intended only for those on stage.

Now, how does hypnosis come into play in exercism? The first and most important key is getting people to believe in demon possession, as suggestions will be much less effective without such belief, much like I could not be easily hypnotiszed as I was not going along with the idea that my arms were so heavy I could not lift them. This belief is developed and reinforced over time, though, and not in just one session, as in the case of my hypnotic experience. The suggestion does not necessarily come from the exorcist (hypnotist), either, though it will come from somewhere in the Christian church. After this point, a person then needs to believe they are possessed by demons, but this is an easy step to take. And this is the second important thing to realize: those people getting exercized already believe they are demon possessed, whether they convinced themselves of it or were convinced by family, friends, or the exercist. They already believe their arms are too heavy to lift.

Another important part should be to stir up an emotional response. For this, I'm not entirely sure how the emotions might be built up, which is a reason for me to watch the show. When it comes to the actual exorcism, I have heard that there can be a lot of screaming, some of which comes from the exorcist, and crying, coming from the audience. There is also another emotion that I had not before considered. As the reporter's notebook points out, "there is a triumph unfolding before our cameras -- a triumph over Satan." Need I explain how people tend to act when they are stirred up emotionally? Behavior is typically anything but rational. If I had not been thinking rationally during my hypnotic experience, I may have been more likely to buy into the suggestion that my arms were too heavy to lift.

Perhaps the last important part (unless I forgot anything) is the response from the hypnotic subject. This is where someone might not recognize exercism as hypnotism because the subject is not clearly being fed verbal suggestions. Well, like that key belief in demonic possession, the response is suggested prior to the hypnosis. People like Rich Lyons, who I mentioned earlier, who have performed exercisms believe the responses come from what they expect demon extraction to look like. If they expect it to involve seizuring, then they'll flop and shake on the floor. If they expect it to involve vomitting, then they'll vomit. These ideas can come from many sources, including literature, Hollywood, and other believers in demonic possession. The exercist does play a role, though. It is their job to trigger when these responses occur with non-verbal suggestions. Such an action may be placing their hand on the head of the subject, and then slowly pulling their hand away from the subject as though they had a hold of the demon, or even pretending to push the demon out. Just take Benny Hinn for an example. If Benny Hinn tries to heal you, what do you do???

...You fall to the floor. Why? Because that is what you are expected to do! Sometimes seizures are involved, as you can see.

Let's now dig deeper into the reporter's notebook. There are some other ideas that are important to the hypnotic suggestion:
  1. "People have to humble themselves..." - This is part of the induction technique in which people prepare themselves for further suggestion; it is similar to the very start of my experience where I was told to close my eyes.
  2. " looks foolish. But there's a verse in the Bible where Paul the apostle says that God uses the foolish things of the world, things that look foolish, to confound the wise." - This is another part of the induction technique to surrender rational thought. Let's change this quote up a bit and consider how it might have impacted my situation: "[The idea that you cannot lift your arms sounds] foolish. But there's a verse in the Bible where Paul the apostle says that God uses the foolish things of the world, things that [sound] foolish, to confound the wise." Of course, since I don't believe in the god of the Bible, this still would not have worked on me, but hopefully you get the idea.
  3. Believers like to quote the old line that the devil's greatest trick was convincing people that he does not exist. - This is a way to rationalize that primary key belief in demon possession. It is a defense mechanism against skeptics/doubters who threaten this induction step.

In closing, the important thing to realize is that most of the induction techniques have already been completed prior to the subject arriving at the location. For example, someone who has never heard of Benny Hinn before will not be taken up on stage, or, if that somehow did happen, that person will not fall down like they are supposed to. Likewise, a person who has heard of him, but is certain he is a fraud, will likewise not fall down. A doubter, however, may very well fall down. Why? Because they will get caught up by the emotional part of the induction, which is the component that completes the induction. They have accepted enough of the other parts of the induction technique that they will give in completely once their rationality is subdued. And, being familiar with Benny Hinn, they know what to do when he gives them the non-verbal suggestion. I expect something similar out of this show - the people who go to these exercists already know the routine!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where I've been

It looks like it has been 1517 (it helps to hit the "PUBLISH POST" button!) days now since my last post. My few followers may be wondering where I've been...well, part of what has kept me away is saving Hyrule from the evil Ganondorf! Now that Princess Zelda is safe, I can return to blogging!
I've also been taking an online class to help me "get assertive." Basically, the goal is to help me with presenting my ideas. The class is designed mostly for personal conversation, and not a blog, but I figure I can still make use of some of the ideas.

In other news, I am taking a motorcycle class this weekend, so I won't be posting much. I may try to get out the first part of my morality post since the draft has been pretty much done for some time now (thus, you'll have something to read without me putting together something from scratch). I'll also try to get around to a soccer report, too.