Monday, March 28, 2005

Sabotage.

I did something funny today.

I missed my Gender and the Philosophy of Science class last week so, as I was walking out of another class last week, my prof passed me in the hall and told me that she left the handouts that I was supposed to read for the next week on top of the filing cabinet outside her office. So I went straight to her office and found two large stacks of paper. Assuming that she had given out the hand outs to everyone else during class and that she had only left out the ones for me (as she did about a month or so ago), I took both stacks without looking at them.

Last night, after procrastinating all weekend, I decided to pick up the stacks and read them. "Wow," I thought, "this sure is a lot of stuff to read."

I then thumbed through the papers to see what kind of reading was in store for me.

The first one was about the phallogocentric way that some scientists interpret the interaction between sperm and eggs during procreation. I sighed a bit and flipped to the next article in the stack.

"Hm, that's interesting," I thought, "It's the same article."

A strange feeling radiated through my stomach as I flipped to the next article. I went through a whole stack of identical articles and realized that I'd not only taken my hand out, but had also taken *everyone else's* hand outs.

Ah shit. It turns out that the second stack was a set of identical copies of another article. If I had looked at the reading a few days sooner, I could have rectified this situation, but it was eleven o'clock the night before the reading was supposed to have been done.

So I showed up at class and found out that some other kid (who got to the stacks before I managed to steal all of the other copies) and I were the only ones who had done the assigned reading. I meekly admitted that I was responsible after I reasoned that my prof would have figured it out on her own, given that the stack vanished within minutes of my being informed of their location.

My teacher gave me this look that was somewhere between sheer confusion and exasperation for a few minutes straight while the whole class laughed at me. It was actually pretty funny.

Then she called off class. Apparently, there was no reason to even meet, given that no one knew a single thing about what we were supposed to talk about.

So, yeah, I'm responsible for derailing an entire class discussion. My professor (who is also my advisor) is pissed at me and probably thinks that I'm as dumb as a bag of clams. Oh well. It was pretty funny. I single-handedly sabotaged her lesson plans by accident and got an afternoon off in the process. Hopefully this doesn't nuke the difficult process of credit transferring she's doing on my behalf. Heh.

--

I dunno about the various strengths of the strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational forces, but I think Italo disco, stout, and muenster cheese are as good of a proof of the anthropic principle as you'll ever find.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Schiavo bullshit.

This is fucking insane.

In. Fucking. Sane.

I don't have any words. The only thing I can do is record all of this Schiavo bullshit for posterity. Every time in the future that someone attempts to suggest that the American right has any basis in reason, principles, or honesty, I'm just going to direct them back here. All of the bullshit during the election had nothing on this. Absolutely nothing. Everything ridiculous and rotten about American politics has come to the front. It's not even covert or subtle. We're wearing out batshit bullfuckery on our sleeves for the world to see.

Tom Delay says that God delivered Terri to the GOP

News reports nurse who says Terri can talk!

Oops. They forgot to report that she's an attention whore who was dismissed by the court

Frist is full of shit

Hay guys! I have an idea! Let's take her into protective custody!

Or lets have DCF take her!

Doctor says Terri can be saved... after looking at her and not conducting an examination

Shit. Looks like I'm in the middle of the Party of motherfucking death

This is clearly the same thing as abusing animals and starving third world children

Have you ever noticed how much faith liberals have in "studies?"

Some poor sap on Free Republic: "President George W. Bush has the power to declare Terri Schiavo an enemy combatant, and send federal agents to arrest her. She can then be transported to an undisclosed location where she can be given the medical care guaranteed a prisoner of war until she is capable of being interrogated. Let's see how well Michael Schiavo fares in getting a habeas petition."

Whoa. Pat Boone's second opinion is in and the diagnosis is that she can be saved!

Unplugging Terri justifies killing infants and people with low IQs

Hannity's brother swears that an MRI is totally safe and necessary

Ralph Nader has jumped on the idiot bandwagon

Frist: Using the disabled for political gain is shameless... unless I'm doing it

The courts aren't a legit branch of the government and Jeb Bush is a contemporary MLK

Not only should lawmakers violate the law, but judges aren't even people

Man steals gun to rescue Terri

Courts have no authority to... er... interpret the law... let's force a constitutional crisis

HOLY SHIT! IF YOU ARE DISABLED, THE DEATHOCRATS ARE COMING TO KILL YOU NOW!!!

A doctored, illegal, and inconclusive video? Well dammit, I'm persuaded

Man arrested for hiring someone to kill Greer and Michael Schiavo

Raging psycho calling for the murder of police outside the hospice

Terri's dying words? "Ahhhhhhh waaaaaaaaa!"

Limbaugh: Voice of Reason

Uh oh, guys. Looks like we made a monster

State agents vs. local police. Beautiful. They even admit they're willing to force a constitutional crisis over this bullshit

Good job with that assholes.
Oh yeah, here's a breath of fresh air:
A good New York Times Rundown

A truly excellent overview by someone who goes by Succubus and has been following the case for years. This was posted to a forum that I read:

"I'm absolutely astounded by the misinformation that is out there. Terri collapsed, due to cardiac arrest. 3 years after her collapse her husband won a malpractice suit with the award being a grand total of $1 million dollars. $700,000 for Terri and $300,000 for the husband. The orginial award was a lot greater, but it was reduced because it was found that Terri was 70% responsible for her own condition. The collapse happened in 1990. In 1998 her husband, after having agressive treatment pursued for Terri for YEARS with no improvement, petitioned the court to remove Terri's feeding tube. Dr.'s had diagnosed her with PVS. The Schindler family disagreed with the husband, so as per the law, the husband as next of kin and guardian of Terri petitioned the court to have a trial to determine Terri's wishes. The trial found that Terri would not want to be kept alive in this manner. Terri's parents testified in court, and under oath that they did not know what Terri wanted, and even if they knew that she would want the feeding tube removed they would not do it. Terri's husband and two of his family members each testified (and were unable to be impeached under cross examination) that at different times, Terri had expressed a desire not to be kept alive by artificial means. The court also based their decison not solely on testimony, but as the court stated, taking into account the person that Terri was, her personality, her previous decision making process.

The case went to the 2nd District Court of Appeals, which found that the trial court had followed the law, and upon review of the case found that the trial court was correct in it's decision, and that they came to the same conclusion as the trial court. The decision of the Trial court was reviewed and affirmed. The Schindlers have petitioned the court for YEARS over a wide range of things, and have lost every single time. For all the screaming by the Schindler family that the husband only wants to get his hands on her money, they forget to mention that they want custody of her, and then they would be heirs to her estate, much like the husband is now. The fail to mention that they demanded money from the husband from the malpractice lawsuit, and when he refused to give it to them, then and only then did they seek to have him removed as guardian. They have changed their story throughout the years, while the husband has consistantly maintained that he is only doing this because he believes it is what Terri wanted. The husband has been offered money time and again and it's always been refused. He offered to "give up" the malpractice award if the Schindlers would just walk away and allow Terri's wishes to be carried out, and they refused. The Schindlers offered to sign over book, tv, & movie deal rights if the husband would give them custody of her. He refused, saying again it wasn't about money or anything other than following Terri's wishes.

Timeline of Events:

February 1990… Terri suffers cardiac arrest and a severe loss of oxygen to her brain
May 1990… Terri leaves hospital and is brought to a rehabiliation center for aggressive therapy
July 1990… Terri is brought to the home where her husband and parents live; after a few weeks, she is brought back to the rehabilitation center
November 1990… Terri is taken to California for experimental therapies
January 1991… Terri is returned to Florida and placed at a rehabilitation center in Brandon
July 1991… Terri is transfered to a skilled nursing facility where she receives aggressive physical therapy and speech therapy
May 1992… Michael and the Schindlers stop living together
January 1993… Michael recovers $1 million settlement for medical malpractice claim involving Terri's care; jury had ruled in Michael's favor on allegations Terri's doctors failed to diagnose her bulimia, which led to her heart failure; case settled while on appeal
March 1994… Terri is transferred to a Largo nursing home
May 1998… Michael files petition for court to determine whether Terri's feeding tube should be removed; Michael takes position that Terri would chose to remove the tube; Terri's parents take position that Terri would chose not to remove the tube
February 2000… Following trial, Judge Greer rules that clear and convincing evidence shows Terri would chose not to receive life-prolonging medical care under her current circumstances (i.e., that she would chose to have the tube removed)
April 2000… Terri is transferred to a Hospice facility
January 2001… Second District Court of Appeal affirms the trial court's decision regarding Terri's wishes
April 23, 2001… Florida Supreme Court denies review of the Second District's decision
April 23 or 24, 2001… Trial court orders feeding tube removed
April 24, 2001… Terri's feeding tube is removed
April 26, 2001… Terri's parents file motion asserting they have new evidence regarding Terri's wishes
April 26, 2001… Trial court denies Terri's parents' motion as untimely
April 26, 2001… Terri's parents file new legal action against Michael Schiavo and request that the removal of Terri's feeding tube be enjoined; the case is randomly assigned to Judge Quesada
April 26, 2001… Judge Quesada grants the temporary injunction, orders Terri's feeding tube restored
July 2001… Second District rules that Judge Greer erred in denying the motion alleging new evidence and, in essence, orders the trial court to consider whether new circumstances make enforcement of the original order inequitable; Second District also reverses the temporary injunction and orders dismissal of much of the new action filed before Judge Quesada
(uncertain)… Terri's parents detail their reasons why enforcement is inequitable: (1) new witnesses have new information regarding Terri's wishes, and (2) new medical treatment could sufficiently restore Terri's cognitive functioning such that Terri would decide that, under those circumstances, she would continue life-prolonging measures; Terri's parents also move to disqualify Judge Greer
(uncertain)… Trial court denies both motions as insufficient
October 2001… Second District affirms the denial of the motion to disqualify and the motion regarding the new witnesses; the appellate court reverses the order with regard to potential new medical treatments and orders a trial on that question with doctors testifying for both sides and a court-appointed independent doctor
March 2002… Florida Supreme Court denies review of the Second District's decision
October 2002… Judge Greer holds a trial on the new medical treatment issue, hearing from doctors for both sides and a court-appointed independent doctor; Terri's parents also assert that Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state Schindlers file emergency motion for relief from judgment based on a 1991 bone scan report indicating Terri's body had previously been subjected to trauma November 22, 2002… Following trial, Judge Greer denies Schindlers' motion for relief (new medical evidence motion), rules that no new treatment offers sufficient promise of improving Terri's cognitive functioning and that Terri is, in fact, in a persistent vegetative state
November 22, 2002… On this same day, Judge Greer denies Schindlers' emergency motion related to the 1991 bone scan
June 2003… Second District affirms the trial court's decision denying Schindlers' motion for relief from judgment
August 2003… Florida Supreme Court denies review of the Second District's decision
September 2003… Terri's parents file federal action challenging Florida's laws on life-prolonging procedures as unconstitutional
October 10, 2003… Federal court dismisses Schindlers' case
October 15, 2003… Terri's feeding tube is disconnected
October 20, 2003… Florida House passes a bill to permit the Governor to issue a stay in cases like Terri's and restore her feeding tube
October 21, 2003… Federal court rejects injunction request
October 21, 2003… Florida House and Senate pass a bill known informally as "Terri's Law" to permit the Governor to issue a stay in cases like Terri's and restore her feeding tube ; Governor signs the bill into law and immediately orders a stay; Terri is briefly hospitalized while her feeding tube is restored October 21, 2003… Michael brings suit against the Governor, asking to enjoin the Governor's stay on grounds "Terri's Law" is unconstitutional; Judge Baird rejects Michael's request for an immediate injunction, allowing the tube to be restored, and requests briefs on the constitutional arguments involving the new law
November 7, 2003… Judge Baird rejects Governor's motion to dismiss Michael's suit and have case litigated in Tallahassee
November 20, 2003… Judge Baird rejects Governor's request for the judge to recuse himself
December 1, 2003… Guardian ad litem appointed under "Terri's Law" to advise Governor submits report to Governor
December 10, 2003… Second District rejects Governor's effort to have Judge Baird disqualified
April 2004… Second District affirms Judge Baird's decision denying Governor's motion to dismiss and have case litigated in Tallahassee
May 2004… Judge Baird declares "Terri's Law" unconstitutional on numerous grounds
June 2004… Second District certifies "Terri's Law" case directly to the Florida Supreme Court
July 2004… Schindlers file new motion for relief from judgment based on Pope John Paul II speech
September 2004… Florida Supreme Court affirms Judge Baird's ruling that "Terri's Law" is unconstitutional
October 2004… Judge Greer denies Schindlers' most recent motion for relief from judgment (motion based on Pope John Paul II speech)
December 1, 2004… Governor asks U.S. Supreme Court to review Florida Supreme Court's decision declaring "Terri's Law" unconstitutional
December 29, 2004… Second District affirms (without written opinion) Judge Greer's ruling denying Schindlers' most recent motion for relief from judgment
January 6, 2005… Schindlers file new motion for relief from judgment, alleging Terri never had her own attorney, that the trial court impermissibly applied the law retroactively, and that the original trial on Terri's wishes violated separation of powers principles
January 24, 2005… U.S. Supreme Court declines review in "Terri's Law" case

February 11, 2005… Judge Greer denies Schindlers' latest motion for relief from judgment

All court decisions can be found at this site:
http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

The discharge diagnosis from the hospital where she was originally taken is:
Principle Diagnosis:
*Cardiac Arrest

Secondary Diagnosis:
*Anoxic Brain Damage
*Hypopotassemia
*Respiratory Failure
*Pneumonia Due to Staphylococcus
*Effusion of Joint, Lower Legs
*Bacterial Disease
*Staphylococcus Infection in Conditions Classified Elsewhere &/OR Of Unspecified Site

Here is a link to the CAT scan done on Terri in 1996



Her cerebral cortex is gone and has been replaced with spinal fluid. Her brain stem is still functioning and is the cause behind her movements and the noises she makes. It's simple reflexive actions, not cognitive activity.

She's been given 3 separate swallowing tests and each has determined that she is unable to swallow on her own. If someone tried to feed her or give her liquid by mouth, she would most likely aspirate and/or develop pneumonia.

It's my opinion that the parents are less than honest, and have proven that they don't care as much for their daughter as they do for the spotlight of the media. These people went against court orders and took video of their daughter at the hospice facility and has been offering those video clips online, for a donation to their fund, and even went so far as to ask the court to allow the media to be in her room during the death process after the tube is removed. Their claims of abuse have been investigated time and again, and proven to be unfounded.

The person Terri Schiavo was, is gone. Her wishes have been determined in a court of law."

Friday, March 25, 2005

mimic the strata.

Playing Go, drinking Guennis and listening to the Boomkat top 50 of 2005.

Kind of sublime.

You can learn how and play online here or download a mini-version for your PC here.

Very soothing and a nice diversion from the Terri Schiavo bullshit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tracks.

Particulate matter spreads in the air into thin sheets
shaded by the orange hue of streetlights,
stretched into sediment over the corner where the sidewalks form
a right angle and twelve year old girls
ate watermelon and Trix flavored popsickles during vague nauseous
afternoons last summer.

But the only thing here now
under the albedo cloth
is a bunch of tossed cigarettes,
some scorched to the filter and others
waiting to get scavenged
by reluctant teenage boys
who will give a subtle look down
both streets
before bending down in their sagging
yellow Tommy basketball pants to scoop them up
while images of greasy middle-aged
business men are pushed into the background
behind lines and lines of half-full green
dumpsters that smell of day old hamburger helper
and thoughts of tomorrow's biology lab
that will involve white crucibles
provided by the Coors corporation and
the occasional exposure of skin that
opens between the bottom of a girl's skirt
and the upper limit of the black sock below.

The cigarette butts have a lot in common with
MacGuiver reruns and the sensation of recently melted wax solidifying
around your thumbprint. An initial acrid bite
followed by a stretch of mellowness that smacks
of the menthol numbness of eucalyptus coughdrops
and the subtle scratch of someone who hasn't
quite contracted emphysema. The soft saffron filters suggest
the narrow draft of an open window
while you watch Letterman on a November night
with guests, that pneumonia gurgle through cracked
car windows on the highway when plegm
obstructs the speech patterns of old men
and turns them into semi-mammalian reptiles
that dessicate in front of you by the minute while
you listen to them go on about
the availability of sugar during World War II
in those biannual awkward moments
when you've exhausted your list of inoffensive
observations about how much it rained last week
and what you plan to do after you finish school.

The background heatbath of cosmic x-rays that
turns some random person's liver or skin into
a Schwan's Salisbury Steak microwave dinner on a daily
basis now gets through less and less.
Large spectra of its sine waves bounce
off of the orange sheets of frosting that hang
in the air and the street corner's
temperature falls into the night.
The two people left on the street
pull their blankets tighter around their heads,
suck at the taste of the muffin they found this morning,
and hope that the faded feeling in the tips of their
toes will soon spread to the other parts of
their bodies,
and wonder whatever happened to that warm industrial smoke.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Entropy.

I think some stuff about the universe is starting to come into view, thanks to some of my reading that's been broken down into lay terms, which is good since my knowledge in this area stops right after Trig and high school physics.

If I'm reading Greene correctly, entropy isn't a process confined to temporal movement towards the future, but also occurs when you move backwards in time. This seems strange because all of our day-to-day references seem to indicate the exact opposite. A slice of bread left on the side of the road decays into disorder and you never see slices of bread being composed by random movement of matter. Or, to use Greene's example, eggs dropped on the kitchen floor break and we never see them randomly form from the molecular constituents that make them up. That's because movement from states of high entropy (the chaos of dispersed particulate matter) very rarely moves towards states of low entropy (such as we often see in the order of day to day life... complete objects, ordered sets, and so on) are extremely rare.

This means that the assumption that entropy only increases towards the future is highly improbable. If that assumption is true, it would be required for the current, improbable, state of low entropy arose from a state of even lower entropy, something that is even more statistically unlikely. In fact, it's more likely that if you go far enough back, you'll find low entropy reverting to high entropy. The order that we see in the universe (galaxies, stars, life, and so on) was a random emergence from pure chaos. All such phenomena indicate that entropy can decrease (and it had to at some point in the past, otherwise we wouldn't be here), albeit on extremely rare occasions. This puts the Big Bang in a new light because it means that it was nothing more than a chance movement from a state of high entropy to one of low entropy. The universe has probably existed for an eternal amount of time. Given that infinite time span, it was inevitable that the universe would eventually be created. Who knows how long the universe sat in chaos, just waiting for that unlikely event to occur? Probably an amount of time that we can't even conceptualize. This is interesting because, in contrast to scientific eschatologists, like Tipler, who think that the Big Bang implies a "beginning" of the universe, this suggests that there was chaos prior to that beginning. Don't misunderstand me, the Big Bang was definitely the beginning of space-time in the way that we understand it, but entropy still existed before it occurred, which gives some credence to the Nietzschean theorists of eternal recurrence because it allows for an infinite span of time, allowing the occurence of every possible configuration of matter, no matter how unlikely.

It also forces us to reconceptualize time. Up until now, entropy was the best way to determine whether time was moving forwards or backwards from an absolute perspective; but if entropy increases when you move backwards, we lose that frame of reference and time becomes symmetrical. This suggests that, even though we seem to perceive time in a unidirectional fashion, there's no legitimate, empirical basis for assuming that that direction is an ontologically applicable feature of our universe. Separate from our specific apprehensions of time moving in one direction, there's no reason to assume it's any more of a forced sequence from past to future than there is to assume that one part of the curved space of the universe is any closer to the end than any other. Time certainly exists, but it's not linear in the fashion that we normally assume that it is.

This also has interesting implications for an open universe. It means that even if the universe continues to expand forever into a state of heat death and entropy, that state can be reversed, even if it's extremely improbable (after all, it was also unlikely when it happened last time). Maybe this is just one brief phase of low entropy among an infinite number of them throughout the infinite expanse of reality.