Rubik’s Cube

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A few days ago, I found my Rubik’s cube, which I haven’t touched in a couple months, and now I am once again trying to solve it. I am terrible at Rubik’s cubes. I have decided that I am too stubborn to cheat and use the internet to look up the algorithms for solving it. In theory, that shouldn’t be necessary anyway, because it should be possible to figure it out sooner or later just by being logical. I actually get very close fairly frequently, but then if I make a slight mistake, I mess up all of the sides that are already solved and have to start all over again. It’s an excellent allegory for life. The difference is that if there was an algorithm for solving life, I would have no qualms about just googling it.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

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According to a page I saw on the History Channel’s website, 83% of Americans wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day. Presumably, almost all of the other 17% get pinched. Just for the record, in this case I am in the majority. I am wearing my Irish socks and Irish earrings, which incidentally earn bonus points because I actually got them in Ireland. Also, I have painted my fingernails green, but that’s less significant because I used American fingernail polish.

The website also reports that 122 million Americans celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day even though only 34.7 million Americans reported their ancestry as Irish in the 2010 census. (The 2012 World Almanac is more specific; it says 34,670, in case you were wondering) That doesn’t surprise me at all, because until this generation, Saint Patrick’s Day was really more of an Irish American holiday than an Irish holiday. Saint Patrick’s Day parades were invented in Boston. (In 1737, although the exact year is only relevant if you’re a history nerd or a Jeopardy contestant) Until then, it was a religious holiday in the Roman Catholic Church, and not a particularly important one.

Here’s one more piece of Saint Patrick’s Day trivia: Saint Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat. Presumably, he started going by Patrick when someone pointed out to him that not many people would be likely to show up to see a Saint Maewyn Succat’s Day parade.

Daylight Savings Time

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Last night, I fell asleep at about midnight, and this morning, I woke up at about six. I only got about five hours of sleep. How, you may ask, did this happen? Either I lost an hour in the middle of the night due to daylight savings, or I forgot how to count hours because I’m tired because last night was daylight savings.  Either way, something obviously isn’t right. There should always be six hours between midnight and six AM; that’s why it’s called six O’clock.  Next time I make a fool of myself by accidentally miscounting, I will point out that I can’t be expected to remember the order of numbers when even time itself rearranges numbers twice a year.

A murder by any other name…

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In twenty-first century American society, we value political correctness and tolerance so highly that actual moral values are viewed as conceited bigotry. We are expected to accept that everyone has different beliefs and opinions and that people’s values are relative.  Some of those beliefs and opinions and values that we’re supposed to accept are completely and unjustifiably wrong. There are things that should always be considered intolerable even if some people think they can justify them.

Apparently, a couple of professors recently published an academic article arguing that it should be legal to have an ‘after-birth abortion’. I found the article online, and they themselves even defined an after-birth abortion as ‘killing a newborn’, and still claimed that it ‘should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.’ They say that a child that has been born recently is no more a person than a child that has not yet been born, and neither is worth keeping if the parents choose to kill it.

I agree with them about one thing; killing an unborn baby is the same as killing a newborn baby from an ethical perspective. I would think, though, that anyone starting from that statement should come to the conclusion that all abortion is wrong, not that all infanticide is acceptable. (The authors did say that they choose not to use the word infanticide, although I don’t see why, because that’s exactly what ‘killing a newborn’ is.)

They refer both to fetuses and to newborn babies as ‘potential persons’, as opposed to real people who are old enough and have enough cognitive ability to make decisions for themselves and to experience enjoyment in their lives. I’m not sure where they draw the line between a potential person and a real person.  If being a person requires having control over one’s life and being happy with life, then I don’t think that I’m a real person yet, and I’m not sure if I know many people who are.

The article itself sounds like a joke; at first I almost thought it was a parody making fun of  people who argue for abortion. However, looking at the attention it’s gotten and the authors’ defense of it, it’s obvious that they really mean it. I understand that they are basing their arguments upon their definition of human life, not upon a psychopathic desire to kill, but the fact of the matter is that the definition of human life is not relative. Killing a human is murder, even if the murderer denies that the victim is a real person.