Monday, March 2, 2009

An Appeal to Reason
An Environmental Studies Undergrad’s Frustrated Rant

The capitalist system works because it has mechanisms built into it to correct market failures, and to encourage both technological advancement and the availability of goods to the masses. Any company that has poor business practice will tank because of lack of consumer confidence.

However, this idea assumes that the consumer base is informed and educated about the ramifications, effects, and externalities of the production of a product from the cradle to the grave.

Let me tell you, when it comes to the process that gets us the shit we buy, we’re all ignorant. Go ahead and pick up your cell phone or your mouse or whatever it is in front of you that’s man made. Do you know where the materials that made it came from? Do you know what’s going to happen to it when you’re done with it? This ignorance means market failures, specifically regarding environmentalism.

Now we come to why I’m writing: The American people are in denial about the most pressing issues that has faced our species. A lifetime of Hollywood movies and an American consumerist ethos has led us to turn our backs on Global Climate Change.
I came across an article on Digg today about the conspiracy theory that is Global Warming. I’ll link it to you, only because I impel you to bury it. "Even Left Now Laughing at Global Warming"

For an added laugh, go through the comments section. These people are convinced they’re being lied to by a vast scientific conspiracy. What makes this so ironic is the fact that the Scientific Community is probably the least likely institution in history to lend itself to the prospect of corruption and conspiracy.

The article begins by stating that Global Warming, which it infers is the idea that the globe is going to boil over in the near future, is false, and it cites three examples of extraordinarily cold weather in various parts of the world as examples.

“ - Nearly four inches of snow blanketed the United Arab Emirates' Jebel Jais region for just the second time in recorded history on Jan. 24. Citizens were speechless. The local dialect has no word for snowfall.

- Dutchmen on ice skates sped past windmills as canals in Holland froze in mid-January for the first time since 1997. Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop, who inhabits a renovated 17th Century windmill, stumbled on the ice and fractured his wrist.

- January saw northern Minnesota's temperatures plunge to 38 below zero, forcing ski-resort closures. A Frazee, Minnesota dog-sled race was cancelled, due to excessive snow. Snow whitened Surf City, North Carolina's beaches. Days ago, ice glazed Florida's citrus groves.”

This frustrates me as an informed individual. First of all, the proper terminology is Climate Change, not Global Warming. The reason this distinction is important is because, as a whole, the global temperature is predicted by the International Panel on Climate Change to rise somewhere between 2.4 and 6.4 degrees centigrade. [source]

This will not cause the earth to boil over. In fact, many people would probably find this temperature increase pleasurable. But Climate Change is not about us. It’s about the global ecosystem. This temperature increase will throw local climates, which rest upon the delicate relationship between the oceans, the atmosphere, and the forests, into disarray. This will lead to things like, oh, I don’t know, snowfall in Dubai?

The erratically cold weather patterns across the globe are not an indication that Global Warming is false, they are an indication that Climate Change is very, very real.
What gets me so worked up is that these people are convinced that Global Warming is a conspiracy theory by the left. Climate change is NOT a political issue! Climate change is a HUMAN issue.

I’m a libertarian. I believe the government that governs best is the government that can successfully govern the least while maintaining the public good. We’re not going to be very well off as a people when San Francisco has the climate in 80 years that Tijuana has today. [source] That’s going to kill the most lush redwood groves our beautiful countryside has. That means the deer will die, which means the cougars will die, and the coyotes will die, and the keystone predators that keep the system working will fail us. That saddens me, and I hope it saddens you, too.

Wake up, people. Don’t give in to your “common sense.” Give in to your pragmatism. Make up your mind when you’re confident you know the facts, because this issue has nuances that not enough people understand; nuances that opportunists can take advantage of to misrepresent the truth, appealing to your "common sense."

Snow is falling in Dubai. What lesson are we, as a people, going to take from this?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jack Johnson

- Jack Johnson had sex with your daughter and then never called her back.
- Jack Johnson looks forward to jury duty.
- Jack Johnson ate your cookie and said it was gross.
- Jack Johnson's favorite kind of cereal is dry oatmeal.
- Jack Johnson was a hall monitor.
- Jack Johnson got drunk to go see Schindler's List and laughed the whole time.
- Jack Johnson is a Yankee's fan.
- Jack Johnson never liked the Simpsons.
- Jack Johnson never thought much of the American flag.
- Jack Johnson supports abortion. Not for the civil liberties, but because it resembles killing babies.
- Jack Johnson swallows his gum.
- Charlie horses are caused by listening to Jack Johnson.
- Jack Johnson finds the sound of digital alarm clocks soothing.
- When you bite your tongue, Jack Johnson laughs at you.
- Jack Johnson does that thing where he points at your chest, and then when you look down at his finger, he rapes and kills your family.
- Jack Johnson went to the farmer's market, ate all the free samples, and then didn't buy anything.
- Jack Johnson prefers the new facebook.
- Jack Johnson wrote his own wikipedia article.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Songs

I was bored so I made a couple songs.

This first one's the most intricate chord progression I've ever done, which doesn't necessarily make it better, but I am proud of it. My solo stuff falls under the name "The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada"

The samples are from Vertigo, Brick, and Roman Holiday

Let's See You Do It (mp3)

This second one is cool because Vince Hjerpe lay down the drumbeat, emailed it to me, I did the instrumentation and chorus vocals, and my good friend Andrew Kim busted the rhymes. I'm not sure how well the distorted guitar and lo-fi pop vocals go with hip hop, but I think it's cool anyway. This was recorded under the name "Zombie Jesus"

Your Airs (feat. AK-47) (mp3)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why It's A Moot Point Whether You Hate or Love Indie

A lot of people have been talking online, mostly in favor, but also against the rise of indie music. Common complaints are that indie music is genderless and lacks the emotion of other forms of music. Others claim it's bland and all sounds the same. Another common argument is that it's pretentious, and only scene hipsters listen to it.

All of these arguments are invalid, and I will explain why.

Firstly, I will go right on ahead and do what everyone is having such a hard time doing; define "indie music."

I did not make up this definition, it's one that's been around for ages.

Indie Musical Artist (n.) - A musical artist who has released one or more records without signing to a record label in the "Big Four" corporate music industry, who account for 85% of all record sales in the US; Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Entertainment, EMI Group, or Warner Music Group.

Now this seems obvious, but many of the scene hipsters I mentioned earlier will be quick to note that there are death metal bands and hardcore screamo bands and foreign bands and unsigned rappers who don't fall under the genre of "indie." Neither their fans nor indie music fans would say they're in the indie genre, right?

Well you're all wrong. Indie is NOT a genre. It's nowhere NEAR a genre. There are absolutely no similarities in sound between the bands !!! and Belle and Sebastian. The Decemberists would never be mistaken for LCD Soundsystem and Death From Above 1979 is not Death Cab For Cutie. They are NOT THE SAME GENRE. These bands, as well as the screamo, metal, rap, and foreign bands, all fall under the definition, so they're indie.

"Well then that definition isn't good enough!!"

Okay, give me a better one. What's that? You can't? Okay, then shut up and listen.

Whether the scenesters and the hardcore screamo fans and unsigned hip hop fans and death metal fans will admit it or not, these groups are still indie. Indie is popular for the same reason Firefox and Wikipedia and Youtube are popular. Forgive the computer lingo, but it's open source. It's created on its own and spread through word of mouth. Don't like what you hear on your speakers? Okay, you do better. If you do manage to do better, than someone will hear it, like it, and tell other people about it. Now you're better. See how it works?

Because indie music wasn't put out by a corporation who thinks that we'd like it, and was instead popularized because it found its audience through word of mouth, indie music adapts to the needs of the listeners more readily and instantly than non-indie music.

Let's go 50 years down the line and assume that internet piracy has killed the big corporate music conglomerates. You know who's still around? Indie music. It's a noted trend that while the 4 major labels are slipping not-so-slowly towards certain death due to piracy, indie labels are nearly retaining their profits, and many are actually growing.

So that's all good and nice for us Spoon fans, but what about fans of Underoath and The Used and Alexisonfire? You guys can't stand this girly pop bullshit, right? You're tired of hearing how "awesome" this pretentious, preppy grad student coffee shop music is. Okay, so cut an album. Put it on the internet. You're not alone in your tastes. You're never alone in your tastes. If there's a type of music you like, and you think it's underrepresented in the larger music world, then do something about it! If you've got what it takes, then someone out there will listen. If you don't have what it takes, then hopefully someone else out there with a similar thought does. Odds are, if you're right, and that type of music is underrepresented, then they're out there recording right now. You just have to find them. That's really what it means to be indie.

Now it's important to note that none of this is to say that indie is superior to non-indie. Far from it. That is not my point. If you like Kanye West, you like Kanye West. I'll be honest with you, I LOVE Kanye West, and I bought Macy Gray's albums. When Gnarls Barkley got popular, I was one of the happiest to see it. My point is that it's pointless to lament the collapse of the 4 major labels. This collapse won't change anything about the type of music that's available to us, it'll just broaden what's indie to include the types of music that once fell under the conglomerates' power. So let's stop using "indie" to mean alternative pop/rock, and let's stop using "indie" to mean pretentious hipster. Can't we just start using "indie" to mean "independent?" Or is that too far-fetched?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Enough With The Fucking Conspiracy Theories Pt. 1

I consider myself a liberal democrat. Hell, I was raised in the Castro in San Francisco and am a sophomore at UC Santa Cruz. But that doesn't mean I'll just sit by and let fellow liberals make us all look like we're crazy.

In my day, I've heard enough conspiracy theories to make me not believe in gravity. While it takes a lot for me to believe any of them, it doesn't take a lot for me to hear them out, because hell, if they're really totally bullshit than there should be a way of telling, right?

So here's my first installment in my crusade to debunk the debunkers.

I stumbled upon a youtube video called "Laser Targeting UAV, Evidence of Military Technology on 9/11"

Scary, right? It makes sense if you take it at face value from a cynical liberal standpoint. Who's benefited the most from the September 11th attacks? The Middle East certainly hasn't. Our economy certainly hasn't. The Bush Administration's approval ratings undeniably have.

That doesn't make it true, though. What if they just got lucky?

Here's the video in question:

Seems reasonable enough. The US Government has been using laser guidance systems in their missiles and bombs since the Vietnam War.

But then why does the laser swoop across the tower so sloppily? If it behaved like it did, the laser would have been visible to the missile/airplane only during the few moments before impact, making the benefit of such a system pointless, as the missile's trajectory was already carrying it directly into the tower.

Well, maybe the UAV was sloppy, or maybe the camera only caught the final moments of the laser's path, or maybe I'm wrong for some other reason I didn't think of. Okay, I'll cede that. But look how the dot goes across the face of the "neighboring building."

That building is in the foreground. It's on the banks of the East River, while the towers stood on the Hudson. That's half a mile.

Here are some images:

This is the view from where the camera was. The towers would stand roughly in the middle of the image, in the background:

Now here's another view, a birds-eye one, of downtown Manhattan Island. See the "neighboring building" at the shore on the bottom? See ground zero? Near the top, on the left-middle?

In this image the "neigboring building" is all the way on the right, the towers would stand all the way on the left. Kinda far, no?

In fact, somewhere around a half a mile.

But look how fast the laser travels from the face of one building to the next:


That means whoever was aiming the thing, assuming this laser bullshit is true, was somewhere in this direction.

The way the laser traced across the face of both buildings means that the aimer had to constantly be at or above the position of the camerman, and could not have been moving across the sky, as the author of the video claims, unless the UAV was lower than 1,000 feet above the cameraman at the moment the beam switched from the smoke plume to the face of the "neigboring building."

This means that the UAV, if spotted from Broadway street, was traveling in the same direction as the aircraft that struck the tower. This doesn't make much sense with regards to the reasoning behind laser-guided systems.

Here's an approximation of the only possible trajectory the UAV could have taken (moving from bottom to top, with the point of impact of the airliner being the very bottom point)

Here's the flight path of the airliner (the point of impact being the topmost point:)

UAVs almost always take perpendicular paths to their targets, and if their target was vertical, like the face of a skyscraper, that would put it above the New York Harbor, which is impossible given the path the lazer beam takes.

Also if you look at the video you can see that the UAV is two birds flying together, because in successive frames the wings are flapping.

Wings down...

...wings up.

Which seems more likely? That the Bush administration is competent enough to hide a blatant and ridiculously well-photographed lie from the American public or that a terrorist attack on American soil has been over-analyzed? Keep in mind, it's the Bush administration we're talking about. The guy was almost assassinated by salty delicious pretzels.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The 10 Best YouTube Videos of All Time

This is an interesting post to write, because, since the titling system on is less than stellar, I am assuming the right to title these videos myself.
My friends told me about some of these videos, my sister, my father, some of them I came across myself, and some were uncovered via the nifty little tool that is StumbleUpon.

So, let's get started...

Checking in at number 10: NYC Helicopter Crash.

I wouldn't have included this if I wasn't sure everyone survived. Amazing.

No. 9: Take It To The Next Level

You KNOW I rode those jet skis in Cabo, broseph.

Number Eight: Never Before Seen GI Joe PSA

An old GI Joe PSA dubbed over with nonsense. Sometimes the best things ever don't make any sense.

Numero Sept: If Tintin were Scottish...

You may not understand this video if you never read Tintin or saw the cartoon, but if you do, it's priceless.

Number Five: The Mantage

These men have more balls than anyone can or will ever hope to have.


Number Four: The Best Soccer Goal Ever

This video was seen widely on the internet a few years ago, as it should be. It's fucking hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing

Number Three: Gymnastics Accident

Like a fucking cartoon or some shit.

Number Two: The Talking Goat


And finally, NUMBER ONE: Ah-Waa


anthony albert