Thursday, 19 January 2012

Annoying things

1.  When the toilet roll's 2 ply papers are out of phase
For fuck sake people, if you notice this somewhere - someone's house, a workplace, a public toilet - just unwrap the top layer one revolution to get the perforations to line up again.  At my work it seems like about a full quarter of the time it is out of phase, and not just on new rolls which may start like this.  What dickwad wankers out there are so ball achingly retarded as to fuck this up?

2.  There is an obstruction in a car lane, someone scoots up the empty lane, indicates in to bunk the queue and the person in front of you lets them in
Oh my cunty god, if someone walked up the side of a queue of people and said "can I get in here?" you would laugh and tell them to fuck off to the back of the queue.  What's the difference?  Of course people will do what they can get away with, and I will often be that person cutting in, so I don't blame that person - I blame the person who lets them in.  When I get let in I certainly don't wave thanks etc. because I don't want to encourage that kind of inconsiderate behaviour.

3.  Christians (and other religious people)
Arrogant, intellectually dishonest, smug, illogical (all religions except mine of course), judgmental... Apparently meekness is a virtue, and questioning your religion is a sin.  They don't even know what they believe; try trying them down on the specifics of whether we have souls, or what heaven is like, or whether prayer really works (and how that fits with god having an all-knowing perfect plan).  They think I am disrespectful if I question some bullshit they believe.  They believe shit that affects their everyday life but haven't even bothered to do the most basic fact-checking.  
Basically they are puppet muppets.  I could go on, and have done in other posts.

4.  New parents
Is it a rat?
No, your excitement/pride/happiness will not rub off on me.  No, I certainly do not want to see pictures - a newborn baby resembles a baby rodent and is not beautiful.  No, I do not want to hear about how I should have one of my own.  No, I do not care what weight the little sucker was when she squeezed it out.  Just no.  Piss off.

5.  Cricket
Dullest sport in the world; goes on for days and you don't even know who's winning.
Only acceptable use: bashing zombies

6.  People who don't know when to single-click, and when to double click
I guess this is a sub-set of a larger annoyance of mine: other people.  It's getting harder and harder to find people who aren't annoying.  Being trapped in a situation where some dull twatcum is attempting to small-talk with me really is one of the few times I will be deliberately rude even if allows the mask to slip in front of someone when I would rather it didn't.

7.  Hearing an American say "spit" instead of "spat"
Although I am a bit of what's commonly known as a grammar nazi, I normally I don't really get very upset about grammar, punctuation, spelling, or Americanisms - I know not everyone is as observant, intelligent, or has had the education that I have.  But, for some unknown reason, 'spit' as the past tense of 'spit' really gets my goat.  It spoils the otherwise great song "My Way", which sounds so much better when it is "I ate it up and spat it out, I faced it all and I stood tall... and did it myyyyyyy waaaaay".

Thursday, 12 January 2012

New Year

Christmas break was good; I tended to lie in bed until it got dark, then got on with my day.   My gf was around a lot, so I haven't had as much time alone as I'd have liked, but I still went on a couple of nice middle-of-the-night excursions.  The whole family thing and "get in the xmas spirit" pressure was less tiresome than I expected it would be, and I got away with the bare minimum of effort buying presents.

I fucking hate shopping: online is bearable and over quickly, but physically going into shops filled with imbecilic sheep is something I have little patience for. I barged deliberately rudely through a gaggle of women standing in a doorway... snarling something to myself I didn't expect them to hear.

The break is over and I've gone from late nights of booze and weed to the respected senior professional at work seamlessly.  I'm waiting for the backlash.

I've been thinking a bit about whether I should settle down... part of me knows my life would be easier if I was in a normal couple – I'd eat better, do more, go places, meet people... but I also know I enjoy living alone and having time to myself to pursue my interests. 

I've lived my life making friends in different circles when I wanted to, and staying alone when I wanted to.  With a 'life partner' there is less scope to choose my own state and I tend to get frustrated that whoever I'm with can't change themselves to be the perfect gf the way I can easily slip into a perfect bf persona.

My gf has a 1st in psychology and knows I... well... we were scoring someone we know on the PCL and she asked me what I scored. I said 10 (I think actually between 16 and 22 depending on whether I score questions erring on the side of being conservative).  She was OK with that and she also asked me during a Dexter episode whether I was “dead inside” and I said “I guess I am what many would call flat affect”.
So maybe I could carve out an acceptable long term relationship with her, though she obviously lets her heart tell her I'm all good even though she knows a lot of how I behave must be an act.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Moral Dilemmas and PDs

I've written before about a typical and famous moral dilemma (click here).  There has been a recent paper published called "The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas".  In this paper, the authors argue that instead of wondering why 90% of people make illogical decisions in moral dilemmas (choosing to let 5 people die instead of killing 1), we should be wondering why that 10% of people don't get drawn into an emotional decision.

They gave personality tests to a group of people and then gave them dilemmas and correlated their answers with their personalities.
The conclusion was stark; to quote the paper: "those individuals who are least prone to moral errors also possess a set of psychological characteristics that many would consider prototypically immoral".

This should not really surprise anyone, and I'm dumbfounded as to why the paper has become as well known as it has.

The addendum to the paper that they should have written is the further correlation between people who take logical decisions, and people in positions of power in politics and the military.  If an airplane over the ocean, heading towards a city, cuts communications and ignores emergency protocols then I hope the person who decides whether or not to shoot it down before it reaches land has 'immoral' psychological characteristics.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Left Brain Vs Right Brain

The brain is far from understood, if it were simple enough for us to understand then we would be too dumb to understand it.  However, we do know a lot about it.  Only quite recently the plasticity of the brain has become accepted - it used to be thought that the brain structures were fixed and that they filled up with knowledge and experience, much like a computer.  I remember as a boy being taught that the number of neurons in the brain grew until adulthood and then they just started dying off with no new ones replacing them.  The truth is more complicated - our brains form new connections all the time and can become rewired dramatically through necessity if one area becomes damaged, but generally there are structures in the brain that perform [more-or-less] specific functions.

People sometimes talk about being left or right brained, i.e. more dominant in the left / right hemisphere.
The left hemisphere contains the structures strongly associated with: grammar and vocabulary; logically structured thinking; analysing and controlling feelings; reality.
The right hemisphere contains the structures strongly associated with: intonation of speech; an unstructured approach to tasks (they call it 'multitasking' which has been shown to be less efficient in tests); emotional responses; fantasy.

To summarise, the left brain is rational, and the right brain is a hippy.
No prizes which side I'd be associated with, although actually I'd say I am much better than average at seeing the big picture - the less immediate consequences of actions - which is a right-brain trait.

The 2 hemispheres communicate by little roads called commissures, and one superhighway called the corpus callosum.
For severe epilepsy this superhighway of communication is sometimes severed, leading to some fascinating discoveries.  The two halves of the brain can be thought of as having separate consciousnesses!  Imagine being trapped inside someone else's head, much like in the film 'Being John Malkovic', able to see everything but only able to have a slight influence on his behaviour.  That may be happening inside you right now!  With some subjects who have had their corpus callosum severed, a written command can be flashed up visible only to the eye without the subject being consciously aware of it.  For example, if the word "LEAVE" is flashed up, the subject may get up and start to leave the room - when asked why they are leaving they reply something like "I'm thirsty, I want to go get a soda".  The right brain has invented a story for the the conscious mind that is coherent with the action demanded by the subconscious.
Some of these patients also experience 'alien hand syndrome' in which one arm is under the control of the 2nd hidden consciousness.  Freaky.

I wonder if the religious doctors see these patients as having 2 souls?

Most people invent stories for their lives that fit with their actions.  Most people believe they have rational reasons for their actions, but actually it is just lies told to them by the ultimate manipulating puppet master - their own subconscious.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Imagine you are expecting a pay-rise at work, and then you open your wage slip and find that instead of the £3.5k raise you were expecting you got an increase of £12.5k per year.

This is obviously a mistake, and one that should be easily noticed at the next salary review...

Would you own up ASAP?  I think the key phrase here is "plausible deniability" - if it transpired you knew of the mistake and didn't say anything then that would probably be construed as gross misconduct.

Not quite sure if I could pull off the plausible deniability thing... my boss certainly knows I am not hanging on for pay-day and accounting for every penny, and I could stop opening my payslips from now on so if challenged I could show them unopened "except for the one I opened last night to verify I was getting too much".  Probably worth the risk - if I was suddenly asked to leave they'd be fucked anyway so the worst they could really do is get me to pay it back.