BC's blog

Atheism Doesn't Mean All is Doom

I think most people feel that one of the major drawbacks to atheism is that they can no longer legitimately fantisize about an "afterlife." Because atheists use reason and science to determine what is real and what is imaginary, we know that there is ZERO evidence for the existence of a god or for a "heaven" or a "hell" (unless you count being an involuntary audience member at a Sarah Palin event). Indeed, most atheists themselves believe that after death, "that's it." The difference with religious adherents, is that atheists are ok with it.

Not me. I think death is stupid. It's a clever concept if you're a gene and you want to spread your DNA quickly and effectively, but if you're a human, it sucks being a means to an end.

One of the great things about being an atheist, however, is that I am able to focus my attention away from fruitless fairytales about "heaven", and instead focus it on real live things...like science and technology. And as an avid reader of scientific journals and follower of technological advancements, I'm aware of the fact that scientists fully intent to erradicate death and disease altogether...and alot sooner than you think.

Seriously. Probably within the next 20 or 30 years, scientists will present us with the technology that will allow us to live as long as we like. I'm not going to go into the details of how this will all be possible, because you can read about it from a much smarter man than I right here.

The basic idea, however, is that, on average, every year technology (specifically computer based tech) doubles in speed and halves in price. This enormous computing power will become more and more intelligent because it will eventually be able to compute not just billions of times faster than the human brain (which it already does), but it will also be able to process billions of things IN PARALLEL (just like the human brain). As you may know, almost every single field is now heavily influenced or altogether controlled by computer technology. Including medicine.

And at some point our vast computing power will allow us to build millions of tiny, super-intelligent robots (or "nanobots") that can patrol and analyze your body, repair damaged cells, and destroy malignant entities. This will essentially slow down the aging process to a virtual standstill. A little further into the future after that, we will be able to literally replace our molecular biology cell by cell with materials that are profoundly more lasting and capable.

The future will not be us versus the machines. It will be us BECOMING the machines. Or at least much more intelligently designed machines.

Some people balk at the idea as if we shoudn't mess with "god's" work. Why the hell not? If your heart failed, you would no doubt accept a pacemaker so you could live longer, no? Well, what if your entire body failed and you could replace it with something much better? What if that new body allowed you to live as long as you liked free of disease or limitations?

This is not a question of "if." It's a question of when.

As an atheist, this is extremely exciting to me. Religion is attractive because it promises life after death. The irony here, is that scientists who are largely atheists that shun the cerebral sloth of religious ideology...will be the very ones that bring us "eternal" life. Once the fear of death and disease is erradicated by scientific advancement, I suspect many others will see the folly of religious dogma too.

But why wait? Become excited NOW. This technology IS coming. And rather than waste your precious time on earth praying to invisible men, or donating your hard earned dollars to the intellectual philanderers on your church's pulpit...why not instead donate your money and attention to something that can ACTUALLY change your life for the better? Why not devote yourself to learning about your amazing universe that is brimming with promise?

What is there left to discover in religion? More lazy vague explanations? More hate? More arbitrary conditions and prohibitions? More sadly empty promises? More "mysteries" that man can never understand?

Do you want to "live forever" by hoping and praying that a fairy tale will come true? Or do you want to live by supporting real science and technology that exists and advances every day in real life?

The beauty of a scientific mind is that it does not accept "it's a mystery" as an answer, but as a challenge. So I challenge YOU to start thinking about your actual, right here, right now, real life. After all, as far as the evidence suggests, you only have one.

Google Voice Feature Requests

I just realized that 40% of my blog so far has been about Google products. I swear I should be a product developer for them (or at least their PR whore). Well, I guess now that we're on the subject...I'm going to write about another Google offering that I'm liking (but not loving): Google Voice.

Well, the truth is, I DO love it. At least I love it so far. It can be soo so much more though. Like that hot girl anorexic girl that needs to eat a few more meat sausages, if you know what I mean ;).

First, here's a video of WHAT Google Voice (GV from now on) is:

Read more on GV here: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html


So know that you know what the hell GV is, let me tell you where it fails (so far). I'm creating this list so I have a single place to voice all my GV requests and desires. Hopefully, Jesus's magic will cause a Googler to see this list and correct all these shortcomings with some of their 80% time.

My Google Voice Feature Requests:

  1. I want to be able to send more than 5 SMS messages at a time. And I want to send them to my groups. One of the great things about GV and Google contacts is that you can create groups of people and have calls and texts from those groups handled differently. That said, I have a group called "Poker" that is a list of all the people that want invitations to my poker game. I want to be able to send out a text message to everyone in that group (about 30 people) with info on the time and location of my next poker game. I don't mind paying for this feature. Just charge me a penny for every extra contact over the first 5. I would totally pay 25 cents to send a mass text message out to 30 people.
  2. IMPORTANT: I want to be able to view a threaded history of all sms conversations, calls, and voicemails with one particular contact. This would make Google Voice extremely useful and powerful.
  3. I want to be able to toggle a "compact" view of listed items on an off so I can very quickly read through a list of calls/texts without having to see all the details. And I want to be able to view more than 10 items at once. This should be a setting we can toggle (10, 25, or 100 items per page).


Google Voice Mobile Interface Problems:

The following are problems with the interface on the iPhone inside the official mobile safari version of GV:

  1. The Dialer needs a redial button. Badly. One solution is to emulate the native iPhone dialer's redial functionality (by pressing "Call" when there is nothing entered...it recalls the last number that was dialed).
  2. The "History" (or any list) needs to be refreshed in the background after an action. For instance...if I make a call, that outgoing call should be immediately added to the history list. Right now, I have to hit "refresh" to see my last dialed number (which I have to do all the time because there is no redial function!)
  3. IMPORTANT: We need to be able to add a number to our contacts easily. This functionality isn't available in the mobile interface...obviously a key feature for a phone.
  4. In the compose sms message screen, the contact field should autocomplete from our address book like it does in the search contact screen (which works really well by the way).
  5. While I like that the "top" contact list automatically shows most contacted people...it would be nice if we had the OPTION of being able to create our own favorite contacts list (or simply display lists of our groups, one of which we could designate as "favorites").
  6. We definitely need to be able to use copy text inside sms messages! It would also be nice if we could paste into the dialer screen!
  7. Text messages that contain urls should be automatically clickable. It would be nice if phone numbers and addresses were clickable as well. People usually text phone numbers so they can be called...and being able to pull up a google map from a texted address would be extremely useful!


That's it for now. This list is just a starting point. I will add to it (and cross off completed items) as I see fit.

Why I am a Libertarian


Nowadays, it sounds almost silly to say it, as if "freedom" were some outlandish adolescent ideal reserved for dreamers. Well, shit. I am a dreamer. Like our founding fathers were dreamers. And just because people have become comfortable with their cynicism...just because voters have learned to EMBRACE the chains their government graciously endows...well it doesn't mean I'm gonna toe the line along with the sorry bastards. Hell, if we all toed the line a few centuries ago, "Americans" would still be slurping milky tea every afternoon at 4 o'clock like a bunch of queen worshiping pansies.

Being a libertarian is tough. Most people think you're crazy if you are. "You can't possibly win," they'll chortle. As if "winning" is voting for the guy that peddles "hope" and peace and then actually RAISES military spending after being elected. Yeah, I feel like I hit the jackpot with that one. Thanks a million...or should I say, thanks a few trillion?

I guess I'm still pissed because I got in an argument with a friend of mine last night over the philosophy of liberty. You see, I contend that you can't assign rights to another person that you don't have yourself. What the hell do I mean? If I'm not allowed to steal from you, then I can't elect some representative to steal from you on my behalf. I can't do it, and a group of like-minded mobsters can't do it. If something is wrong, it's wrong regardless of how many people want to do the wrong, or if the wrong is committed by someone we've elected to represent us.

Example: if 10 of us are on a desert island...and one of those individuals works really hard at building a shelter, collecting food, fishing, and so forth...while the other nine people sit on their lazy asses and complain about their dire situation...those nine lazy bastards don't have the right to steal anything from the hardworking individual. Not even if they are starving. They can ask. They can bargain. They can beg. But they can't just TAKE. That's what I'm arguing.

Unfortunately, that's not the reality. The lazy, uncreative majority TAKE from the creative, the hardworking, and the lucky. They justify this taking by whatever rhetorical means possible. They'll claim that it's ok to STEAL (tax) so long as that money is being used for a greater good. You know, like bombing the shit of people living 8,000 miles away in a desert...or supporting 761 military bases worldwide (YES, 761), or "stimulating" the economy by literally printing money that doesn't exist. Let's call it what it is, people. It's utilitarianism. And not a very good implementation of utilitarianism (unless you consider the "greatest good" the biggest corporations and largest lobbying groups with the most criminal political scum in their pockets).

You want to be an asshole that steals from other people? Do it. You're not ashamed. You think you know better than me what to do with my hard earned money. Fine. But call yourself what you really are. A thief. Plain and simple.

A thief that steals a loaf of bread to "feed his family" is still a thief. So own it. Be proud of your collective criminal enterprise. You have won. Your fat family has taken over the territory like the mob...and now you are squeezing the entrepreneurs and artists that built this country so you can fund your even bigger criminal ventures in the name of the "public good" or "god" or "the children" or whatever other drivel you can muster up to win over the weak minded masses.

But me? I refuse. That's why I'm a libertarian.

I refuse to behave like a low-life criminal thug. I will never kill, enslave or steal. No matter how much the end appears to justify the means. I will never make you do something that you don't want to do. Ever. Under any circumstances. Because I believe in my freedom AND yours.

And Yes. I do think I'm better than you.

Here's a video that perfectly outlines the Philosophy of Liberty:

EDIT: Since posting this story, I completely changed my mind. I'm no longer a libertarian (or an advocate of any political philosophy). Sorry for wasting your time...

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