Friday, October 4, 2013

Q and A: August 2013

If there were a country of people who are all clones of you, what would it be like?

My first question is: who made this country-sized clone-fest, and what is its purpose?

As for your question concerning the nature of this country, I would say that there are two possible outcomes for this clone-nation.

Outcome A
A great nation is born where all success is measured by progress and achievement. I am extremely goal-oriented, so I could imagine an entire country filled with driven, goal oriented clones of me would likely make enormous goals a reality.

An inevitable side-effect, however, would be that my clone-country would be very isolated and cold. It would be quite similar to an army of robots, very effective, but not very warm. I'm fairly introverted, and often social norms seem stupid to me, so a country full of me would be less of a community, and more of a functional cluster.

  2. Outcome B
The corrosive, narcissistic nation would implode into anarchy.

Since my individuality is a fiercely sacred part of my personality, I would likely resent being cheapened by a country full of clones. I would be insulted and probably very angry. Since this country consists of my clones, more than likely every clone would feel the same way. We would hate each other, despise each other, be threatened by each other.

An entire country full of this corrosive rage would result in mass murders and suicides. This would eventually continue until the country was in shambles, and each surviving clone had enough individuality to feel like an individual. I'm guessing the number of surviving clones would be a few dozen, with each ruling over a large "kingdom" in the country.

Since about 95% of the population had perished in the wars preceding, each clone would now have acquired vast amounts of wealth. This wealth, in combination with my strong zeal for success, would result in small "super countries". These small nations would be in constant warfare with each other.

I honestly think scenario 2 is more likely, I just can't see a county full of my clones surviving well in a state of democracy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Q and A: July 2013

What's it like to be out of your element?

I know what I feels like to move away from home, lose transportation and be unable to find a job.

I moved to Indiana with a friend, and eventually I was sleeping on the couch of a family who didn't want me there, and I was stuck in a town with no job or way to find one.

They were keeping track of how much gas money I owed them, and the only method I had to occupy my time was in long hours spent at the local library. I often spent hours making plans which involved lots of effort and the charity of strangers

I would say the charity was the worst. I hate owing anyone anything. I especially hate feeling like I'm in the debt of others. I'm a very self-sufficient person, and I think if my car's transportation hadn't croaked I would have lived in my car versus living under the thumb of charity.

I spent many days walking long distances, stopping at every business to put in an application. It was exhausting and humiliating. Things only got worse after I found a job and had a set schedule of places where I had to somehow transport myself to on time. I will never take a running vehicle for granted again in my life.

Eventually I was too far over my head to hold onto any semblance of pride. I called up my parents and they trucked my home where I restarted my college career with a new sense of purpose.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Q and A: June 2013

Is life a game?

There are many facets to this game, and many rules, but there is no doubt that life is one huge game. Here are a few rules/realities which determine who get ahead in this game called life. 

  • Rule number 1: good-looking people have an advantage

  • Rule number 2: if you're not good-looking you can still earn an advantage if you're smart/ambitious.

  • Rule number 3: if you're neither good-looking nor smart/ambitious there is still a place for you in life. You can be a pawn or a statistic.A pawn is basically a filler piece, we need people to work as cashiers at gas stations or McDonald's or the supermarket. A statistic is a piece which fills a necessary and inevitable percentage of the population which will "fail". These people are on welfare, food stamps, or other government funded assistance which good-looking and smart/ambitious people provide through paying taxes.

  • Rule number 4: it's not what you know, it's who you know. People who succeed know other people who succeed. They also use these connections to achieve their goals. It's very similar to picking up coins in a video games. The player with the most coins/connections is the player who wins/gets that coveted promotion.

  • Rule number 5: life does not hand you opportunities. You have to chase, hunt, kill, and bag these opportunities. In other words, if you want that promotion, instead of trying to silently make yourself shine, you need to ask for the promotion and clearly state why you deserve it. Repeat as needed.

  • Rule number 6: manipulators are not evil, manipulators are winners. Which brand name will you choose when you go shoe shopping? Whichever brand was successful in imprinting their brand name on your brain in the most discreet yet effective way possible. So what is the brand name in this scenario? The brand name is you, and the brain is other people. Human beings are the keys and obstacles in life. The most successful players are the ones which can most effectively turn the keys and move the obstacles.

  • Rule number 7: worrying will not make you safer. A certain percentage of people will die because of fluke accidents. Worrying about this percentage will not make you safer or happier. You are not special, entitled to safe passage throughlife, or even less-likely to die because an airplane fell on your car. You are simply a member of a population. You are exposed to the same risks, and you are just as likely to become a statistic as everyone else. The sooner you stop spending energy on useless worrying, the sooner you can be using that energy on other facets of the game.

  • Rule number 8: preparing for retirement when you're twenty will be less painful and more successful than preparing for retirement when you're 50.

  • Rule number 9: becoming wealthy is easy. Time and the guts to loose are the only requirements. You don't have to know everything about investing, you don't have to be risky to invest, you don't even have to have a lot of money to begin investing, you only have to start early. 

  • Rule number 10: successful people learn from successful people. If you want to learn about success, the most effective way is to hear a lot of advice from a lot of people who have succeeded already.

  • Rule number 11: time is your only enemy. The only way you can fail is if you never begin. If you want to do something, do it now! Don't waste your time.

There are many more facets to life, but these are a few of the more significant things I've learned so far in reference to winning at life.

Monday, May 20, 2013


When you ask someone what website they spend the most of their time on, most would probably say Facebook or Twitter.

If asked the same question, I say QUORA! I love everything about Quora. I love that smart people just kind of accumulate on Quora, I love that I can answer questions and ask questions.
I love that I'm write things that people actually read. Most of all, I love the knowledge. 

Anyway, so I'm going to be posting my Quora answers on here too. I'm pretty proud of some of my answers on Quora. I spend a lot of time thinking through my replies, and other users on Quora often comment and thank me for my input. So here's my first Quora reply: 

Kat added an answer. 10 votes by Connie Moore, Phil Darnowsky, Ankur Dave, (more)
There is only a matter of seconds of ATP stockpiled in your body at any given time. ATP is the "power" which fuels your muscles, including your heart. 
If the body is no longer manufacturing ATP (which is what happens soon after you die) the body quickly uses all ATP which was stockpiled.
Without ATP, the blood no longer pumps to the rest of your body. Without blood pumping throughout your body, oxygen and essential chemicals are no longer going into your brain. 
When the brain runs out of sodium and potassium, the brain stops receiving and transmitting action potentials. 

What is it that causes you to "feel" pain? The action potentials which are translating information in your brain! Without action potentials, there is no receiving or translation of information. Without receiving or translating information, there is no sensation of pain, so no! 

There will be no sensation of pain after death.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ugly girl

Ugly girl. It's tough hearing those words together. Ugly is clearly a bad word, and we should never say it in reference to anyone...ever. 

But let's just say hypothetically speaking that we aren't a bunch of dumbass Americans who have over-inflated morals and activist groups which work together to tell every little girl that she's beautiful in her own way....
Let's be real (and I say "let's" very loosely because I know that no one reads my blog). When a baby girl pops into this world and she is ugly, we don't tell her that she's ugly. We say that she has nice features, or that she has a golden personality. We desperately dance around her unfortunate phenotype combinations with all the grace of a paraplegic hippo, and we convince her ugly ass that she is going to have the same opportunities and chances as everyone else in our stupid look-oriented world. 
By the time she hits puberty she knows otherwise.

The cruelest group of people possible is a group of 9-13 year old kids. Those kids are not going to tell her that she has nice features or that she has a golden personality, they are going to call her "ugly".

Well crap, there goes a childhood full of affirmations and reassurances right down the toilet. The secret's out. That poor girl is an ugly duckling, and thanks to your poor dancing and dodging skills, she now has to sort through these new facts completely alone. 
She hears a contradictions; mom and dad say that she's pretty, but her peers say that she isn't. Somebody is lying. 
She will quickly realize, thanks to her mirror and the actions of her friends and the simple fact that a group of peers has no reason to lie to her, that she is an ugly girl. Not only will this realization be painful and frightening, but it will also be blunt. Thanks to her parent's lies, she will have this unfortunate truth thrown at her by a group of evil children instead of broken gently by her loving parents. 

Stating that a child is less attractive than their peers does not make a parent a bad parent, it makes them an honest parent.

Living as an ugly girl can be very hard. I'll share some of my own experiences, partially to vent (because who the hell actually reads my blog? No one does! Why? Because no one cares enough about what I have to say to take the time to read my awesome blog!), and partially because some attractive asshole might stumble on this page and choke on their own glee that they aren't me.
So I guess I'll approach this topically.

1) competition
This is pretty obvious, but if there is any type of serious competition, people automatically gravitate towards that adorable girl or crazy good-looking guy. It doesn't matter if that plain Jane girl in the back has better experience and/or references, eye-candy always wins initially. Now, if the source of the competition is part of a company with obligations to be impartial, or if the person hiring/choosing is sane enough to realize that they need someone who can actually do the work, the plain Jane definitely has a shot. But that's assuming that there isn't eye-candy around who also has the experience/references. In that case-scenario the plain Jane is completely screwed and won't even get a second glance.
This is a universal rule which every plain Jane is very familiar with. She'll have to work twice as hard, and she'll still be at a disadvantage.

2) friendship
Most of the time anybody who can be friendly will find friends. However, I often marvel at how easily some of my more attractive peers make friends. They don't value friendship the way that I do. My friends are friends with ME. No bullshit, no pretenses, my friends like me for who I am. I value friendship a lot, and I am loyal to the end. This is something I'm sure more attractive people can't understand the way that I do. 

3) dating
This is probably the most obvious disadvantage of being less-attractive. This is especially tough if you're a less-attractive female. Guys have to be physically attracted to a girl before they are attracted to her in other ways. I don't have much trouble getting dates, mostly because online dating is such a big asset nowadays, but it still sucks to feel inferior to other girls.

Well I guess that's the end of my rant about being ugly. Not that anyone's reading it.......because no one reads my blog........probably because I'm ugly........

(although you can bet your sweet ass that everybody would read every single word if I were suddenly killed. Isn't it great? How people care once you're dead?)

 Grrrr, okay I'm really done this time. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Alarm Clocks for the Heavy Sleeper

I have a terrible time getting up in the morning. When I say terrible, I'd like to clarify. I have over seven physical alarm clock devices, and four alarm clock apps spanning both apple and android platforms. I have family members who call me or come into my room to wake me up. Despite all this, I am only successfully on-time about 60% of the time. These are extremely bad statistics.
Also, the earliest I have to get up is 9:30 AM, and that's only on Sundays. I have never met anyone else who has as much trouble with getting up as I have. My only fault in both work and school is punctuality and attendance. In all other aspects I am far above average. This problem makes it hard to find good references for jobs or other competitive applications. Although all my professors and employers are very positive about my academic or job performance, I am always worried that my poor punctuality will ruin my otherwise good chances. I have seen doctors and sleep specialists who all seem to have the same answer, "try harder, there are solutions, find them."
Because of my age, I think people just assume that my problems with mornings are normal or the result of a lack of effort.

I'd like you to meet London.
Not Actually London
When I was about five my family started babysitting an (almost) newborn baby named London. She was a great kid, really she was, but when she was angry, all bets were off. Suddenly she became this terrible bringer of doom, and there was no reasoning with her. My five-year-old mind blew her anger way out of proportion, and suddenly (in my mind) when she was angry, she could crush cities.
I don't know when it happened, but at some point early in the whole babysitting process, I came to the conclusion that there was a tiny little angry London who lived in my brain. There was no reasoning with this micro entity, and despite my best intentions, tiny brain London would tantrum like crazy until she got her way. Even though I really wanted to do the right things, Micro London would cause me to misbehave.

Just like that, at five-years-old, I named and identified my Id.
Freud would be so proud.

The concept of micro brain London never really went away as I got older, but not too long ago I stumbled across a webpage which explained this same concept in a little different way. I have adopted many of the things found in this webpage, and used them to develop the theory that I founded at only five-years-old. Here is an excerpt:

"Quora: How do I get Over My Bad Habit of Procrastinating?:

I'll answer your question, but first I need to explain all of human civilization in 2 minutes with the aid of a cartoon snake.

Humans like to think we're a clever lot. Yet those magnificent, mighty brains that allow us to split the atom and touch the moon are the same stupid brains that can't start an assignment until the day before it's due.

We evolved from primitive creatures, but we never quite shed ourselves of their legacy. You know the clever, rational part of your brain you think of as your human consciousness? Let's call him Albert. He lives in your brain alongside an impulsive baby reptile called Rex:

(Rex is your basal ganglia, but that's not very catchy so I'm sticking with Rex).

Rex evolved millions of years ago - unsurprisingly enough, in the brains of reptiles - and his instincts guide and motivate you to this day. Hunger. Fear. Love. Lust. Rex's thoughts are primitive and without language.

Here's the bit you're not going to like. Rex makes the final call on all your decisionsEvery. Single. One.

We like to think of Albert as "our true self" - the conscious part of your brain. He's the talking, reasoning part. When we decide to go to the gym or write that term paper, Albert made that decision. 

Rex does listen to Albert. Like a child, he will do a lot of what he's told, as long as he wants to. But if Rex prefers to crash on the sofa to watch Survivor and eat Cheetos, that's what you're going to do.

The incredible ascension of mankind that surrounds us is largely possible because we've developed systems to nurture our reptilian brains, to subdue, soothe and subvert them. 

Much of this system we call "civilisation". Widely available food and shelter take care of a lot. So does a system of law, and justice. Mandatory education. Entertainment. Monogamy. All of it calms Rex down for long enough for Albert to do something useful - like discover penicillin, or invent Cheetos. 

 Now let's look at your procrastination.

You're making a decision with your conscious mind and wondering why you're not carrying it out. The truth is the real decision maker - Rex - is not nearly so mature.

Imagine you had to constantly convince a young child to do what you wanted.  For simple actions, asserting your authority might be enough. "It's time for dinner". But if that child doesn't want to do something, it won't listen. You need to cajole it:

  • Forget logic. Once you've decided to do something, logic and rationale won't help you. Your inner reptile can be placated, scared and excited. But it doesn't speak with language and cannot be reasoned with.
  • Comfort matters. If you're hungry, tired or depressed your baby reptile will rebel. Fail to take care of yourself, and he'll wail and scream and refuse to do a damn thing you say. That's what he's for. Eat, sleep and make time for fun.
  • Nurture discipline. Build a routine of positive and negative reinforcement. If you want a child to eat their vegetables, don't give them dessert first. Reward yourself for successes, and set up assured punishments for your failure. Classic examples include committing to a public goal, or working in a team - social pressure can influence Rex.  
  • Incite emotion. Your reptile brain responds to emotion. That is its language. So get yourself pumped, or terrified. Motivational talks, movies and articles can work, for a while. I use dramatic music (one of my favorite playlists is called Music to conquer worlds by). Picture the bliss associated with getting something done, or the horrors of failing. Make your imagination vivid enough that it shakes you. We use similar tricks on children for a reason: "brush your teeth or they'll fall out".
  • Force a start. The most important thing you can do is start. Much of Rex's instincts are to avoid change, and once you begin something those instincts start to tip into your favor  With enough time, you can even convince Rex to love doing the things he hated. There's a reason we force kids to go to school or to try piano lessons.
  • Bias your environment. Rex is short sighted and not terribly bright. If he sees a Facebook icon, he'll want it. It's like showing a child the start of a cool TV program immediately before bedtime. Design your environment to be free from such distractions: sign out of instant messenger, turn off notifications, turn off email. Have separate places for work and fun, and ideally separate computers (or at least accounts).

Once you know what to look for, you'll start to recognize the patterns and control them.

There's an impulsive baby reptile in your brain, and unfortunately he has the steering wheel. If you can be a good parent to him he'll mostly do what you say, and serve you well. Just remember who's in charge.

(Quora excerpt URL: 

----------END OF EXCERPT

This tiny London, or Rex as I now call him. is who I blame for my problems with getting up. The problem is that Rex wakes up BEFORE Albert wakes up. And he is extremely careful not to wake Albert up because then he will have to do things which he hates (like actually getting out of bed). When an alarm goes off, Rex immediately springs into action, and he is exceedingly good at getting the loud, annoying noise to go away before Albert hears it.

My challenge then, is to find an alarm which will always wake Albert up, and one that Rex cannot possibly sabotage.

I have decided to start reviewing all the things I have tried in the hopes that my experiences will help others. Also, if and when I finally find a solution (a solution being an option which consistently works for me), I'd like to shout it from the rooftops so that other people in my situation (if they exist) can avoid trying things which don't really work.

Option 1: Multiple Alarms

I currently have seven alarm clocks, ranging from beep-beep alarms to clock radios and I still have problems. Next?

Option 2: Extremely loud alarm

One of my alarms can be turned up to a volume where it literally knocks things off of my counters. I have found that this alarm is almost less effective than any of my others because it is so dramatically terrifying I leap out of bed and turn it off before I even wake up. Oh well.

Option 3: Moving alarm clock
This alarm clock is called the Clocky. When it goes off, it rolls off of the counter where it's sitting a rolls around. The concept is that you will have to get up and find the moving clock, which will make you wake up. Nice concept, but the reality is that the clock doesn't move very far from the original location. Also, the clock is loudly chirping and flashing a bright blue light which makes finding the clock child's play. I think it worked once, and then after that, I never even remember it going off.

An improvement on the idea would be that the clock stays on the counter and several small pieces detach from the clock and roll around. You would have to find the pieces (which are not making noise or flashing lights) and replace them in order to silence the alarm. This would be at least somewhat challenging since the pieces wouldn't be loudly and brightly signaling their location.

Option 4: Prescription drugs
 My doctor gave me Nuvigil samples to try. The idea is that you wake up about 30 minutes from when you need to be up for real and take the pill. By the time the alarm goes off, the drug has made you so awake and alert there's no way you could go back to sleep even if you wanted to. This waking-up-in-the-morning use isn't the prescribed use for the drug. It's often prescribed to ER doctors and other people who work insanely long shifts. It's a stimulant and it keeps you alert.

The problem is the Nuvigil only worked to get me up in the morning if I successfully woke up the initial time and had the presence of mind to take the pill. This made it an unpredictable solution, and it didn't insure my success.
Also, since I wasn't using it in its labeled way, as a stimulant for improved alertness in extreme work situations, my insurance wouldn't cover it for long-term use anyway.

Option 5: Smart alarms
I found an app on my tablet which forces the user to go through a series of tests or exercises in order to silence the alarm. The tests were things like matching memory exercises, math problems, shaking, tapping, drawing, ect.
This idea for an alarm was the most exciting for me because it sounded like it would work. However, the very first time it went off, Rex quickly realized that although the app could not be closed or silenced, turning the tablet off was just a button away, and even the alarm app couldn't keep me from turning the entire system off. Bam! Entire genius idea down the toilet. Now the genius app alarm with its cool tests and engaging exercises was just another alarm clock, and not a very loud or annoying one either.

Option 6: Paying someone to wake me up

For a short time I was paying my mom to get me out of bed. The problem was, since I couldn't pay her a whole lot (being a college student), it wasn't her first priority, and she wasn't reliable enough to justify the money.

Well, that's it so far. I'll be updating as needed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kids and Calories

Would it be wrong to teach a child throughout their childhood and adolescence how to count calories?

There is a bit of a social stigma about counting calories. It's associated with obsessive behavior and eating disorders. People who aren't overweight are told that they "don't need" to count calories. Because of this, the act of counting calories is associated with being overweight.

I am twenty-something years old, and at any given time, I weigh between 118-122 pounds. According to calculations on several websites (which all vary a little, but not too much), the healthy weight range for my height, age, and gender is between 107-141 pounds.  I guess my point is that I am well within the healthy weight range for these factors. I regularly log my meals and calorie intake, not for weight loss, but for monitoring and maintenance. I eat a lot of good tasting, low calorie foods; mostly because I like to eat a lot, and if what I'm eating is low-calorie, I can eat it in higher quantities. I weigh myself regularly, and if I'm getting a little too heavy, I cut back on my calories and in a day or two I'm back in my happy weight range. I eat plenty of junk food, and give myself permission to eat crazy sometimes. Overall, I stay within a weight range which allows me to be as physically active as I like, and to maintain a good self-image. All of this is possible because I count calories.

So my question is, why can't we trash this notion that counting calories is only for the obese, and make counting calories a form of disease prevention? Disease prevention is an accurate label for counting calories. After all, being overweight leads to premature death, and almost every form of debilitating disease which can be found in our country today can be linked to unhealthy eating habits. These habits can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, joint pain and erosion, and this list goes on and on.

How is it logical that we should teach our children to be cautious around strangers, but we aren't teaching them to monitor what they eat? After all, aren't we teaching our kids about "stranger danger" in order to keep them safe? Don't we tell them to look both ways before crossing the road so that they don't get hurt? So why shouldn't we teach children how to monitor their own eating and body weight at an early age so that they will avoid things which will hurt them in the future?

I'm not saying that we should make them paranoid or terrified of food. I'm also not saying that we should strip them of their childhood, take away the joy from their lives by pumping them full of military-like discipline.

If done correctly, I believe that educating kids about healthy calorie intake levels for their height, age, and gender as they grow would arm them with an invaluable tool which so many kids in our population today are lacking. Childhood obesity is a serious problem! If children damage their body at a very young age, how can they expect their body to function for them when they are adults or even worse, once they are elderly. Children who are overweight are developing problems which used to be limited to the elderly.

The values and habits that adults have are often the ones which they have been given or taught as children. This is why it is so important for children to be taught that food must have limits. Eating constantly and without considering how much is too much is a terrible habit, but many children are never taught otherwise. If counting calories can be consistently presented in a positive and beneficial way to children as they grow, this habit will be a lifelong trend. This sort of upbringing would not only lead to a healthy body weight, but a higher self-esteem, and it would lower the risk for depression and anxiety disorders.

In conclusion, counting calories is not obsessive or unhealthy. Instead, it is an essential facet of maintaining a healthy body weight and a positive self-image.