Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Sites 5

You know the drill by now. So, click and enjoy!
I love this program. While it is nowhere as pretty as anything that Microsoft makes, its just as functional and can read and transcode everything.
Microsoft are Morons... and that's coming from a current Microsoft user. Don't get me wrong, I like Vista, in fact, way more than XP. But still, there is a ton of potential in this turkey that wasn't noticed by developers. So then, why do I stick to Vista? Simple, game developers never looked much into Linux. If you aren't a gamer and don't need to use any special software like MatLab, take a look at this.
C++ is scary. With so many lines, it intimidates pretty much anyone. Python is easy to read and nowhere as intimidating as other programs. In fact, you can make a "Hello World" program in five seconds.
Ccleaner means Crap Cleaner, and it more than lives up to its name A registry cleaner, enough said. A free online-shooter from Nexon. The action is fast, almost spastic. The only bad thing is the "system" that was set up for acquiring equipment, which demands that you play a lot.
It's Quake that anyone can edit, modify and redistribute. And it's cel-shaded.
Thirty Days with Linux. Consider this if you want to convert.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Sites 4

This weeks Sunday Sites:
The Art of Non-Conformity: Just recently, I discovered this blog at my brother's suggestion. And there is quite a bit of good stuff in there.
"Why Atheism" by Scott Young. Some of his best.
Just for the Lulz.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Proposition Eight is Immoral

Proposition Eight aroused the strongest emotions on both sides of the issue than any other California proposition in recent history. It set a world record for amounts of donations. The same-sex marriage banning proposition passed in California to the great disappointment of many San Franciscans. In the days following the election, widespread protests flooded the states, with 50,000,000-member Facebook groups protesting its passing sprouting up in a single afternoon. The result of the proposition disappointed many, but strengthened the desire to repeal it for many more.

I myself strongly oppose the ban on Same-Sex marriage for the same reasons that many others do. All throughout history, laws and propositions have been passed that guarantee rights to citizens, the passing of proposition eight marked the first time that human rights were taken away from citizens. Being a left-leaning Libertarian, economic and social freedom are what I base my political views upon. With the recall of rights from citizens, the prohibition of discrimination is compromised. It is the only action that takes away freedom of choice in legal arrangements for people of differing sexual preferences. This in itself is discrimination, as it denies certain human rights to citizens on basis of sexual orientation. Says Libertarian Philosopher Ayn Rand: It is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults.

However, before any judgment on the “protection of marriage” is made, the very nature of marriage must be brought into question. Here, marriage will be defined as the social ritual of the unity of two (or more, but that's another issue) individuals. Still, the definition of marriage has been redefined multiple times throughout history: polygamy has been legalized once by the Mormon church in the nineteenth century, and prior to 1967, efforts to prohibit interracial marriage were attempted.

Most of the support of Proposition 8 is based on the question of morality and ethics, with many citing their religious heritage as proof of its immorality. While the morality of same-sex marriage has been questioned, the immorality of it hasn't. According to John Stuart Mill's utilitarian. ethical theory that “The moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome and that what is moral is what makes the most individuals happier.” many social conservatives are displeased with same-sex marriage, its prohibition leads to the stronger unhappiness of the entire LGBT community. As the prohibition of same-sex marriage makes more people unhappy than if it were allowed, its prohibition will be unethical as it makes more people unhappy.

I will end with a note from philosopher Thomas Hobbes. That the government may take away the rights of the citizens only when it offers a protection in exchange. The government may take away the right to kill from the citizens, but at the same time, they give the citizens protection from murder. Unlike the kind of recall of rights Hobbes is talking about, the passing of proposition eight takes away essential and fundamental rights from citizens and gives no protections in return. Such a law is immoral.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Sites III

Dissapointed with the passing of Prop 8, this week's sites will focus on the topic of same-sex marriage. How do I wish he were alive today Join the impact too
My own Facebook event protesting against Prop 8. Motherlode of information on the issue Being a Libertarian, I value human rights and freedom above all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday Sites II (Belated)

Sorry for being late for last week's Sunday Sites. But at any rate, here are this weeks sites. Thanks to the recent election, the internet is buzzing with wonderful articles. Thus, here you go:

Suddenly, it may be cool to be an American again Many of us felt this way after the election, myself included.
Its a wonderful thing to see such a dream come true.;_ylt=AnWmlWLTykLU.JE1XC.RsAn9wxIF Excerpts from many editorials
For me, this broke the Republican Party. Seeing Palin for the first time made me loose all my already dwindling respect for the Republican Party.


I am sure that almost everyone who reads this has at some time purchased music from an online store, such as iTunes. Those who have bought their music from iTunes might have noticed a “lock” appearing on the song’s file. This “lock” is called “Digital Rights Management,” or DRM. DRM is intended to protect the intellectual rights of the artists who created the music and made it available for download. While this is beneficial for the artists, as it gives them control over what search yields thousands of ways to illegally distribute media. For example, serial number happens with their music, those who purchase the music may find it very restrictive and annoying.
Open-source hippies often protest against DRM because of its restrictiveness. They have a good reason for doing this. DRM turns media into more a hassle than a pleasure. For example, DRM prevents the purchaser from backing up his or her music files. This is restrictive to the buyer if they experience a computer disaster because it only permits him or her to have the file on a licensed machine or hard drive. Therefore, in the case of a computer disaster, the only way to recover lost music is to download the files again or burn the tracks onto CDs. Such restrictions increase the use of file-sharing systems like Limewire and BitTorrent.
It is understandable why artists and vendors would support DRM, but it lessens the pleasure the audience gets from the music. Copy protection actually does little to prevent piracy, as a quick Google generators are created within days of a video game's release, movies are “acquired” by many before they are released in theaters, and it is not unusual to find people with ridiculously large music libraries. Digital Rights Management is detrimental to the music industry because of the illegal things it pushes media users to do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I am sure that almost everyone who reads this has at some time purchased music from an online store, such as iTunes. Those who have bought their music from iTunes might have noticed a “lock” appearing on the song’s file. This “lock” is called “Digital Rights Management,” or DRM. DRM is meant to protect the intellectual rights of the artists who created the music and made it available for download. While this is beneficial for the artists, those who purchase the music may find it very restrictive and annoying.

Within geeky technology communities, you may find open-source hippies protesting against DRM because of its restrictiveness, and with good reason. DRM turns media into more a hassle than a pleasure. Take for example, DRM prevents you from backing up your music files in case of a computer disaster, because it only permits you to have the file on a licensed machine. Thus, the only way you can recover your music when disaster strikes is to download the files again or burn your tracks onto CDs.

Such restriction raises the issue of music piracy through Peer-to-Peer networks like Limewire (Gnutella) and BitTorrent. While I understand that many people illegally download music because the idea of free music seems so attractive, I know that some people pirate music because restrictive DRM prevents them from being able to do anything creative using music files, (i.e. video slideshows) Now, DRM prevents people from using downloaded music in derivative works. Thus, the only way to use music for your own works is to rip songs from physical CDs or to purchase them from obscure music vendors such as Rhapsody or Windows Media Store. The great difficulty that DRM places on these people pushes them toward illegally (and mayhaps immorally) downloading music. This in itself is unethical, because it both restricts people from making such art as slideshows and ironically pushes people toward stealing music.

While it is understandable to why music sellers would support DRM, it significantly lessens the pleasure derived from digital music. The DVD you purchased won't play on your player, you will need to buy extra licenses to play your music on your computer and you will have to buy two copies of the same game to play it on different computers. In addition, copy protection does little to prevent piracy, a quick Google search yields thousands of ways to immorally distribute media. Take for example, serial number generators are created within days of a game's release, movies are “acquired” before they are released in theaters and it isn't unusual to find people with ridiculously large music libraries. Considering the things that DRM pushes users to do, it can be said rationally that DRM is actually bad for the music industry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-Election Depression

All is quiet at the time and place of this writing, just hours after Barack was confirmed to be president select.

Everyone is talking politics at my school, which seems to be deserted today. Perhaps celebrating victory. A man talks about the future on the radio. We find ourselves in a discussion about how the Platonic Republic works in Latin. Everything seems to be upended. My adviser tells me that one of our students had the opprotunity to meet Barack in person just last night, and will be present at his inauguration in January. The headlines read: Much of the World Applauds Obama, while much of the world will not be governed by this man, they will indeed be affected by his actions. The prospect of the outcome of Prop. 8 still lingers in our minds.

The election is finally over, after two long years of madness. In retrospect, it is saddening to see it all over now. While the future seems so much more solid, there will be less to argue about now. No more extended arguments at school, no more quarreling news-anchors, no more blazing editorials regarding economic philosophy.

For many people, it represents both a thrilling victory and a period of post-election depression. Now that the conflict is over, there is far less to fight for. Thus, the prospect of returning back to normal life seems very unattractive. 

Until there is another conflict, more to fight for, people will be in this post-election depression.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night 8:08 PM

Times Square erupts into an energetic party of chants of "YES WE CAN". I can't do anything but agree with them. I am happy.

Congratulations America. Even in a place as remote as Kenya, the celebration is ecstatic.

Election Night - 8:00 PM

Barack Obama - 44th President of the United States.

The article on his victory on Yahoo! News is only one sentence long. The TV shows a picture of Times Square, in ecstatic energy. A rock concert of energy. The Wikipedia article on him is in a flurry of edits.

For the first time, an African American president has been selected to lead our country. For the first time in a long while. We have a charismatic democrat in the White House. My fingers are excited. Quickly pushing out this blog post.

I really think we can. Good luck.

Election Night - 7:52 PM

No one knows what will happen. Not even the government, not the teachers, not even the NSA. So many secrets are kept from us by the government. A strange thing to know that, even though they know so much about the secrets of our security that we will never live to see, they do not even know who will become to be the next president of the United States. All the speculation, all the estimation. We just don't know.

Election Day, 7:05 PM

Obama is at 207 and McCain is at 135. Wild rallies are held at each party's headquarters. The Arizona Biltmore Resort for the Republicans, and the Democrats in Grant Park. Yahoo! News's website is down, probably because of all the traffic pouring in. Wikipedia is also having server issues, thanks to traffic. On Facebook, anticipation and enthusisasm can be seen everywhere. A group named "If Barack dosen't win, we riot!" has sprung up there. I am in a wonderful miasma of anticipation, finding it hard to concentrate, but I know that I am not the only one.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On Election's Eve

Through many of my previous blog posts, my political views have become very clear to my readers. As a philosophical, left-leaning libertarian, I would naturally vote for Obama. While I understand that many people in even such a socially-liberal place like San Francisco refuse to vote, citing things like "My voice is so small that it would not make a difference anyway". I object to such inaction. If you don't do what only you could do? Who would?

Here, consider this story:
A man looked out of his New York city apartment building and saw a woman being raped in the streets. He was disgusted and shocked by this, but he didn't call the police. He knew that he was in the most populous part of the city, and he thought that someone else would call the police within a few minutes. So, he returned to his usual business.

Well, the police never came. The woman was found the next morning, dead. The thought that others would save the woman led the man to inaction, thus leading to her death.

The same goes for those who don't want. I am sure that every single person who lives in this country has political views. Yet, only sixty-four percent of our population voted in the 2004 election. The inaction of the other thirty-six percent brought us out of the frying pan and into the fire. The inaction of that thirty-six percent led them to an unhappy future.

So what am I trying to say with this? You've heard it before, and I will echo it. Get out and vote, it's not that hard. I know that we have all seen pictures of massive lines, which have deterred many people from voting. Well, I will give a note to those people. What would you rather have? A long wait, or unhappiness with the way the country works for four years? If you do not take action, and work toward making the government work for you, then you are playing the part of the man in the story. Letting unhappiness attack you because you either believe that someone else do what only you can do, or simply ignoring it because it is too difficult, too long or too risky.

So go out and vote. I don't care what you want. Just don't be like the man I told you about earlier. Fight, fight for the impenetrable ideals that you feel are best. Fight for your future and those of your peers. Fight for your own happiness, for if you don't, four years of dissatisfaction awaits you. Fight to separate yourself from the archetype of the man of inaction. Fight for your philosophy and your moral standards. Fight for what makes you happy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Sites: I

A large chunk of my time is spent on the internet, browsing blogs, commenting on statuses and reading essays and articles. Here, as a part of this blog, I will share some argument-provoking links. Pages that question the answers. This I hope to make as a weekly series. Now, hands down, this is my favorite blogger of all time. Each one of his blog posts is intensely interesting and thought provoking.
So, why the Wikipedia link? Well, it isn't the article that is interesting, it is the subject. Into the Wild is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read with truly amazing characters. Those who have read my blog frequently have seen this link before. I'll beat this horse again. This is one of the best arguments I have read about animal rights. Wonderfully sound and very powerful, this pushes forth great support for California Proposition 2 as well as free-range farming.