Thursday, September 18, 2008

Death Magnetic

So, I got Metallica's new album, "Death Magnetic."

A friend at work let me listen to it, and to my utter shock, I really liked it. The "black album" was the last thing from them I ever enjoyed, and that was about 17 years ago. Then after the whole Napster thing I declared myself an ex-fan.

I think this is the first mainstream album I've purchased in... well, a very long time. It's very reminiscent of their older stuff, which is fairly interesting. It seems like after the last few mediocre albums they decided to "go back to their roots" and find something that works.

So, there's an semi-interesting story surrounding this. The first time I heard the album (or even heard that it was coming out) was from a leaked version a few days before the actual release. I really liked it, except the sound quality was really bad - overly compressed, clipping and distortion. I figured it was just a bad rip or bad mp3 compression or something. But I really did like it, and decided that rather than just pirate it, I would actually buy a copy. That's the whole thing they were so uppity about that essentially made me an ex-fan in the first place, but I decided that since I liked it, I was going to buy it, because they deserved it.

See guys? Make something that doesn't suck and the honest people are going to give you money. Screw the dishonest people, you weren't going to get their money in the first place. The irony in this is almost killing me. They're so against piracy because it cuts into sales... but they're breaking huge sales records and they got my money, even though I already had it.

But wait, there's more!

As has been documented elsewhere, it wasn't that I had a bad copy of the music from the leaked version. Somebody massively screwed up either mixing or mastering the album. The music is awesome and I love it, but the sound quality is terrible!

But in an even more ironic twist of fate, there is another mix of the album that doesn't suck. It was released via the game Guitar Hero 3.

So, I had a pirated copy of the album, but I decided to buy the album anyway because it was the right thing to do and I figure they deserved it. But the album as released has major problems, so I downloaded the Guitar Hero 3 version so I could actually listen to a proper version of it, as I would hope and self-respecting musician would appreciate. Given Metallica's (or at least Lars') rabid anti-piracy stance, it seems very strange that it took two acts of piracy to both get them paid and get me a proper version of the album.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The word "believe" seems to have vastly different meanings to different people.

The usage of the word in Christianity roughly comes down to, "think something is true without any evidence, even in spite of contrary evidence."

The scientific usage of the word roughly comes down to, "think something is true because there is good evidence for it, and because there is no contrary evidence."

When you look at it like that, these definitions are almost exactly opposites of each other.

How are we supposed to have a meaningful conversation between the two groups when we can't even agree on the definition of the word? It's even more daunting when that word forms the basis of the religion to some extent, as it does in Christianity.

Election time again

Who to vote for this time?

  • Liberals - No, the Entitlement Party still needs a few more significant kicks to the head.
  • Conservatives - Bribe me with my own money. Yay. At least they called an election before their copyright reform bill could pass, but I don't suspect that was a case of sudden blinding reason. They're still the closest thing we have to a Radical Christian Fundamentalist Party, although nothing like they've got in the U.S. Still, points against.
  • NDP - Note to the Corruption Party (I live in BC, I've seen the NDP in power): The government is not a money pit. The only thing worse than bribing me with my own money is bribing other people with my money. OK, that's not the worst thing, the worst thing is destroying the economy with handouts until there's no more money left to hand out, then borrowing money to hand out. No. Just, no. No. Bad radical socialist, bad. I think you need a time-out.
  • Green - Radical environmentalism, pseudo-libertarian everything else. Close enough. My local Conservative candidate is James Moore though, so they don't really stand a chance in my riding.
I think I'll just have to vote for the best candidate instead of the best party. At least James Moore wrote me back when I wrote to him. They still tried to pass the stupid copyright bill though, so that's not exactly a positive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


If time were an illusion, and all moments that we perceive as time were all happening simultaneously, how would you be able to tell?

Like a movie, where every frame (to itself) appears to be in motion, it is but one of many frames that exist simultaneously without time.

What if the universe is "made of math," and time is just one of the variables, but the flow of time is just an illusion?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The thinking man's post

So, I've been thinking (yes, again, or maybe still).

I'm thinking I'm not really an atheist as such, although in common parlance that word probably provides the most accurate picture.

One of the most accurate ways to describe me is as an intellectual. Actually, I think anti-anti-intellectual might get my precise meaning across more accurately.

Curiously, I've never enjoyed school all that much. I always did very well, so while I may have been good at learning, I've never exactly been a model "student." I never took notes, and I rarely studied. Of course, I found taking notes distracted me from paying attention to the instructor, and if I could internalize and understand what the instructor was saying, there wasn't much point in studying - either I knew it or I didn't. The benefits of having an excellent memory I guess.

Anyway, back to the point. I think education is good and fine and that everyone should get more of it. There's more than that though... there is an undercurrent in Western culture that knowledge and intelligence are bad. I find it very interesting when my wife describes China where intelligence is revered, and all of the popular kids are what would be the social outcast nerds over here.

It seems to me that most fanatical fundamentalist religion springs directly from this sort of anti-intellectualism. My real problem with (some) religion is not that it often teaches things that are blatantly false, but that it encourages a mindset where nothing is questioned, including (or especially) the authorities. Ultimately most religious arguments come down to argument from authority, and I think if we've learned anything in the last few centuries it's that authorities are often wrong, even the ones who are not self-serving manipulative liars.

I think it is extraordinary that we have created a view of the universe that is consistent across physics, chemistry, biology, geology, archeology and astronomy, among many other areas of investigation. It seems equally extraordinary that Young Earth Creationists can have a similarly comprehensive and coherent worldview... but only if you disregard, say, actual physical evidence.

And that is really the key. YEC springs forth directly from the belief that all of the answers have already been provided, so the use of intellect in the investigation of the world is pointless. That is precisely the kind of belief that I am saying I do not have and am opposed to when I say I am an atheist.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In newspeak...

..."freedom" means, "the freedom to rule with the iron fist of God."

You're not truly free unless you're free to be a fascist!

OK, joke over. Please elect someone who remembers that the Renaissance actually happened.