The Fountain of Serenity











So after over two years, the time has come for me to return to this blog.  Something is amiss in the world and I need to get the word out–well, somehow.  Unfortunately, commentary like this is quite frankly liable to just drown in the sea of mostly inconsequential conversation known as facebook, and I don’t know how effective this post will be on my almost completely forgotten blog (sigh…).  Might as well try I suppose.  Here goes.

So a friend of mine on facebook posted this article with the following commentary:

Anyway, if you go to the article itself you’ll find given the use of quotation marks and apostrophes everywhere that it was clearly written by the conservative and homophobic/transphobic section of the media in response to the grant for this study.  If you don’t believe me, read Free Beacon’s about page, and notice that it was effectively reposted by sites such as…

teaparty.org
townhall.com

And some guy on wordpress who–well I’ll yap on him later… Btw: I would have already commented and told him how ridiculous his sole commenter was being but he of course predictably disabled comments, hah:
antzinpantz.wordpress.com

So moving on, all the articles I’ve found all depict this particular study as lunacy given it analyzes the trans community (which these sites stubbornly refuse to recognize and thus universally portray as something phony) and their interactions on facebook that lead to other actions in reality that put them at greater risk of contracting HIV.  So, the facebook moniker was where my friend freaked out, given as we all know, most people use facebook to interact with people they trust in real life in open conversations.  Clearly, most people aren’t going to be talking about illicit sex work on a site where their parents and any potential friends they might have can also see what they’re chatting about.  From that point of view, you can then easily draw a conclusion that people usually don’t get their first solicitations to participate in the sex work industry through facebook in particular–which is where the confusion began.

However, the actual official description of the study paints a completely different picture.  Excluding the obvious differences like the lack of mis-quotations and actually respecting the integrity of the trans community as a legitimate group, the description never even uses the word facebook once.  Instead, terms like SNS (Social Networking Sites) and technology-based networking platforms are used for this purpose (referring to the internet and places to communicate with friends and strangers on it in general, whether they are beneficial and detrimental).  When I made this clarification, she of course immediately rested her complaints on the matter :D.

But seriously, after this conversation with my friend and doing further research, I am seriously just passionately frustrated about the kinds of reactions I am seeing to this all over the net.  I have yet to find any sites online that paint this initiative and expenditure in a positive light and emphasize with the study and the thousands of transgender people on the streets who will likely benefit from it.  Instead, all I can find are fiscal conservatives, who are ramming on this as a waste of money, while simultaneously just doing their usual spiel to depict transgender people as non-legitimate and deserving of HIV infections (I’m looking at you, Mr. Leonard Jones, the sole commenter on antzinpantz’s post) .  Seriously, what year is it, 1983?  Is no one going to stand up against these bigots who believe transsexuals and gays deserve to burn in hell and are second-class citizens?  Is no one going to put the monetary expenditure in perspective and note that despite how inefficient the study may seem–it will likely save valuable human lives and alot of wasteful government subsidies on ridiculously priced HIV medication?  Seriously, even if the study proves relatively ineffective, which it very well might, even just one life for $200k nowadays is definitely worth it.  Even if you’re into fiscally conservative economic policy, to put $200,000 in government funds into perspective, the government probably pays more than that to train, maintain, and pay every single individual soldier in our military.

There really is too much change that needs to happen much faster than it has come so far.  Blegh.  Anyway, thanks for reading folks.  You’ll probably see more articles from me in the near future.

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{February 14, 2012}   Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Logo

Logo for Final Fantasy XIII-2. All rights go to Square Enix, I do not own this image. It was obtained from http://www.finalfantasy13-2game.com

So on Saturday I finally finished this game completely–and I mean every single fragment/trophy/achievement and all.  I think I’m now qualified to give a review of the game, and I might as well too as I can’t think about anything else to write about atm and haven’t posted in a while.

Story

The story in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is great, but it’s not like the story was in XIII.  It seems to be lacking in the epicness/scale and drama that XIII had.  This is especially noticeable in the middle/beginning of the game as there is no real drama between Serah and Noel.  Noel also seems to be a tacked on character until around the end of the game (sorta like Vanille in FFXIII).  Also, the fetch quests and what not (for the main storyline and sidequests) in the game detract from the flow of the game’s story line.  The game’s main ending is also sadly left open–but apparently that is because the main ending (which there is going to be more than one of) is supposedly going to be taken care of by DLC (which is a bit unorthodox; I feel like I should have gotten a “complete” story with my purchase).

However, around the ending, the game starts to pick up in epicness and drama.  Around that time, I started to really like the dynamics of Noel and Serah.  Caius is also an excellent antihero (not really a villain as you can sympathize with his character), and the game has a lot of well thought-out plot twists.  I also love how the game has paradox endings, or alternate endings you can achieve, mostly after beating the game the first time (there is one alternate ending that doesn’t require you to beat the game first).  Additionally, I love how there are conversation choices in this game, similar to Mass Effect; some of them are pretty funny too (there is actually a crossdressing joke you can choose early in the game with this system too, not gonna give it away, sorry :P)

Story Verdict

Pros:
Multiple Endings, main and side-endings
Humor and conversation choices
Excellent anithero (Caius Ballad)

Cons:
Lack of scale/drama of previous game before the main climax
No real ending without DLC

Score: 74/100

Gameplay

This game has the same battle system (love it or hate it) that FFXIII had with several improvements.  The crystarium is firstly alot more interesting  than it was before as you now have some sort of control on how your characters develop.  I also like the monster mechanic, which is despite its merits slightly flawed as I only needed to choose to raise different monsters once or twice during the game.  There is also a single battle in this game (for one of the alternate endings) that I found much harder than anything in the last game; battles in the main storyline are about the same difficulty though.  Character motion and attack animations also seem more natural than they did in XIII; they don’t go through the same set of attack motions over and over like in FFXIII.

My only serious complaint with the new battle system would be the fact your main characters kinda suck as synergists/saboteurs–they cannot cast haste (I’ve heard no monsters can normally either) nor any offensive buffs.  Likewise, your main characters can’t really cast anti-offensive debuffs like debrave, slow, or defaith, although you can use dispel.  They essentially take a back seat.  Despite this however, Sentinels seem to be much more important, even outside of boss battles.

Outside the battle system, I liked the puzzles in game (especially the clock puzzles, as I mentioned in a previous post) and the way you can now jump anywhere, anytime.  I also like the new mog clock system and the several fragment skills you can get in the game.  However, I really didn’t like the slot machines–particularly due to the fact that you are actually required to play them to get one of the fragments in game.  It’s also stupid that the card games in the casino are upcoming DLC–square enix should at least make them free upon their release.  I never tried Chocobo racing though, but I imagine its better, kinda like Chao racing in Sonic Adventure (2)–I’ll give it a go on my next playthrough.

One other complaint I’d like to mention is the fact that some areas are overused in this game, particularly the Yaschas Massif and Oerba (Yaschas Massif had 4 separate renditions over 4 time periods, which were all very different, but the same area again and again.  Oerba had 3, all of which were far too similar).

Gameplay Verdict

Pros:
Better crystarium
Monster mechanic
Difficulty of non-storyline battles
More natural attack animations
Puzzles and jumping
Sentinels are more important

Cons:
Synergists and Saboteurs take a back seat
Slot Machines are annoying and card games not available without DLC
Overuse of certain areas in the game

Score: 83/100

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in this game, just like in XIII are absolutely beautiful and even improved over XIII.  You can also move the camera in most of the cutscenes, in a similar manner to Metal Gear Solid after getting a certain fragment skill as they aren’t prerendered CGI.  Additionally the sound quality and soundtrack selection is excellent.  There were some very memorable new songs on the soundtrack.  Despite this, some songs were badly reused from XIII and sometimes the graphics noticeably slowed down a tad at 1080p resolution (yes, on PS3, not just on Xbox) during certain action intense cutscenes.  but these are relatively minor complaints, especially because I tend to really notice stuff like the aforementioned graphical slowdown (ie: I’m one of those people who can tell the difference between 720p30/60 and 1080p30).

Graphics and Sound Verdict

Pros:
Graphics are really good
Moving camera during cutscenes
New Soundtrack is really good

Cons:
Some songs reused from FFXIII
Minor graphics slowdown using 1080p during some action intense cutscenes

Score: 95/10

Final Score

If you liked FFXIII I would highly recommend this game.  If you didn’t like FFXIII for the gameplay I would not recommend this game.  If you hated the linearity of FFXIII but loved the gameplay I would cautiously recommend this game and if you never played FFXIII, I would recommend this game.

Story: 74/10
Gameplay: 83/10
Graphics & Sound: 95/10

Overall: 84/10



Edit

I found this…someone else was rather intrigued by these puzzles–apparently they can be better interpreted as directed graphs. (Finite state machines are essentially directed graphs that are non-specific to inputs/functions.  In addition, the type of solution we’re looking for is called a Hamiltonian Path, the theory behind which has been researched to an extent.)  He couldn’t find a solution either but there’s some great theory and proofs of certain properties of the puzzles here…

http://www.njohnston.ca/2012/02/counting-and-solving-final-fantasy-xiii-2s-clock-puzzles/

Original

So I’ve been absolutely binging on Final Fantasy XIII-2 to an insane extent this weekend (finished the story already–just to give an idea), and of course now I need to come back to reality because it’s Sunday evening and I have class tomorrow.  I’ve even got an electronic exam for one of my electives this semester tomorrow and I haven’t even studied for it yet–I’ll do fine though, the professor in that course literally tries to make his class extremely easy because he knows most of his students are taking his course for general education credits.

Anyway, so before I go off to eat (late night) and do some homework for another class, I wanted to mention something that’s been bugging me ever since I got to a certain part of final fantasy XIII-2.  Oddly enough, this is math/computer science related (don’t worry, it’s something relatively easy to understand); in fact, to something I learned about in a discrete math course last semester.

You see in several parts of the game, there’s this one type of puzzle you have to solve, which due to its nature can be difficult.  The puzzle is thus: There is a circle with with 5-13 numbers, pre-set or random (in a manner that always has at least one solution), evenly spaced on its circumference, none of which can be greater than # of numbers/2, rounded down (floor(# of numbers/2)).  You need to mark all the numbers, and you can start by choosing any number to mark initially.  Then, your next number must be the number of spaces on the number you just marked off going either clockwise or counterclockwise away from the number you just marked. You can choose either if there are two not yet used options, and you continue the process in this manner, going a number of spaces away counter-clockwise or clockwise that was designated on your new number.  If you have not marked off all of the numbers yet, yet you cannot make a move to another unmarked number after several moves, you fail the puzzle and need to start over/do another puzzle of equal size.  These puzzles get VERY hard to solve mentally when there are more numbers on the board.

If you’re having trouble following that, watch this video for examples from actual gameplay footage.  The puzzle footage (giving solutions only) is at around 5:50.


Now, based on what I learned last semester in my discrete maths course–I eventually recognized this puzzle as simply being a disguised representation of a problem related to finite state machines.  A finite state machine is a system of sorts where you have a finite number of elements, or states, and a finite number of inputs, or functions, which map each state onto other states or trivially back onto themselves.  For example, this would be a finite state machine with states あ, ひ, ユ, ネ, and よ (I used my favorite Japanese Kana cuz I can…xD) and inputs, or functions, f and g.

Sample finite state machine with states あ, ひ, ユ, ネ, よ and functions f and g. This is my own work, and I give license for academic/non-profit use, no need to contact me, just cite. Anything otherwise please contact me.

So in the above example, if you were at あ and did input g, you’d end up at ひ(g(あ)=ひ).  If you were ユ and did either f or g, you’d end up at あ.  If you were at あ or よ and did f (or g as well on よ) , you’d stay in the same place.

Now you can probably see how this relates to the puzzle from Final Fantasy XIII-2 at this point.  Basically, each of the numbers would be one of the states, and there would be two functions, ccw (counter-clockwise) and cw (clockwise).  Your goal would be to find a path through the state machine, traversing all values without going over one of them twice.

Now, in order to solve some of the actual puzzles in game, I actually worked out finite state machine graphs to use as an aids in solving them, labeling each state as the number labeled on it and a superscript if need be to help clarify which number it was if there were duplicate digits.  I didn’t bother to keep track of the two functions/inputs (which was which) as that wasn’t relevant to the problem…take a look for yourself.  Sorry if it’s a bit messy, this was scratchwork not a homework assignment for a class–lol.  It’s an interesting parallel though, don’t you think! :D

Some scratchwork I did for solving one of these FSM puzzles in FFXIII-2. Along with the graph, you can see some things I implied by viewing the graph below it, and the solution below that. Please contact me if you wish to use this image in any other context for any reason whatsoever, thank you.

So, besides doing this to solve these problems, I was wondering if there was infallible algorithm that could actually be followed to solve these problems on the computer (I’m figuring this may be too cumbersome to do by hand, but if you can prove me otherwise, go for it). (If you don’t understand the next few sentences, that’s fine–feel free to skip over the rest of this paragraph) I was figuring that these could be done by creating a matrix of sorts with rows corresponding to x (original state values) and columns corresponding to cw/ccw(x)=y (destination values) that has true (1) values when one of the functions maps to a given value, else 0.  The i-th row’s state would have to correspond to the i-th column’s state in this matrix for all i.  If one could interchange corresponding rows and columns (keeping the i-th row corresponding to the i-th column by interchanging the corresponding columns/rows after interchanging rows/columns respectively) in a way such that you’d end up with a diagonal of true values above the main diagonal, that would be a solution…problem is though I’m pretty sure I’d need a pivoting/interchange algorithm to get that done, else I wouldn’t get anywhere with those interchanges unless I already knew the solution.  Some feedback on this would be nice…thanks!

Oh and I know I could do this with guess and check or constrained guess and check on the computer, but that’s not the point.  (Skip the next part if you don’t understand…) Straight guess and check has a complexity of O(n!) in this case anyway (being that there are n! possible paths to check, n being the number of numbers in the puzzle), which isn’t good–a faster algorithm that could be scaled (even though that isn’t relevant to this case as n<14 in all these puzzles in game), would be more interesting.



{February 3, 2012}   Final Fantasy XIII-2: So far

So for the past few days, along with working pretty hard on my schoolwork I’ve been playing a new game that I preordered months ago that came in the mail on Tuesday; Final Fantasy XIII-2.  I’m personally thoroughly amazed by this game, more so than I was with XIII (which I loved too)–it has a lot more story, towns, missions, and talking (even with circa “Mass Effect” style conversation triggers) in it than Final Fantasy XIII did, the same amazing battle gameplay with a few tweaks (there’s a monster mechanic rather than a third party member), and even some interesting mini-games.  Oh and its non-linear, unlike its predecessor, which makes the game even more fun ^_^.

But yeah, one thing that’s really standing out in my mind right now in this FF is the music–it’s really just plain amazing (And I mean to the level of like Metal Gear Solid…that’s REALLY saying something!).   Glad I got the collector’s edition since I own the entire game’s soundtrack with it…anyway, listen on youtube for yourself; these are some of my faves.

Colliding Worlds – One of the boss battle songs…


Dash – Combination exploration/boss battle theme


So yeah, keep you all posted on this one–and I can’t wait for the DLC to come out :D.



Ok, due to these matters becoming more and more clear to me lately, I wanted to write about my experience as an MTF in terms of how I believe hormones have affected the way I think, process information and input from some of my senses.  I also wanted to mention this because these matters are typically overlooked when people discuss the effects of hormones on MTFs, post (unfortunately) naturally-induced male puberty (As people tend to overemphasize physical changes such as libido, fat distribution, breasts, skin texture, etc…).

Anyway, on my medically supervised hormone regimen, which I started 2 months after I turned 18 (currently a 100 mg spironolactone (pills, swallowed)/2 mg 17β-estradiol (estrace, pills, swallowed, I tend to not do under-the-tongue (sublingual) administration) dosage twice daily (so 200 mg spiro/4 mg estrace total daily)) I’ve noticed MANY changes regarding the way I process information.  Before I was on hormones, I was an absolute math and logic/computer genius.  I could, without much thought or difficulty, learn new mathematical concepts, make arithmetic calculations, picture things graphically, or write complex computer programs.  However, ever since I started hormones, these things have gotten increasingly difficult for me; learning mathematical concepts now takes practice on my part and some concepts which I understood without a hitch before barely make any sense now.  Also, I typically need to write on paper to crunch numbers, it is very difficult for me to conceptualize things graphically, particularly in 3 or more dimensions, and writing complex computer programs has become nearly impossible for me to do as I can no longer quickly conceptualize the intricacies of the structure of such programs so well.  Mind you, this has become so apparent that in the fall I switched my major from computer science to mathematics (which despite my current aforementioned shortcomings, I can still handle math at the very least on paper).  I would’ve chosen something related to the general sciences but I need to graduate on a deadline due to $ issues and switching to math was the only way I could keep that deadline…so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

Despite this however, my abilities in other areas have increased dramatically since before I was on hormones.  My language/writing (not just in English…) abilities have clearly improved (and they were pretty good to begin with as well).  Communication is far easier for me as well now; I can, without thought determine the tacit message people might be conveying through any medium (word, song, speech, gestures, expressions, etc.), and express myself much better in such a way as well.  It’s also easier for me to see “the big picture” in a complex system or an issue, as opposed to nitpicking at the smaller components making up such things.

Additionally, input from four of my five senses is much more vivid than it was before.  My sense of smell has clearly improved, or at the very least, my brain has become more aware of it.  In addition, I’m far more sensitive to the touch of others, I seem to hear, or at least notice, everything now, and my sense of taste has become more vivid as well.  My emotions, as many other MTFs have mentioned, have also become more vivid and overpowering as well, on another note.

However, I’m not exactly sure how many of these effects would be considered universal to MTFs.  The reason I’m stating this is because when I was younger, I showed classic signs of having High-Functioning Autism.  If I didn’t tell you this now however, if you met me in person, you would probably have absolutely no idea that I was diagnosed as such when I was younger, even if you were a professional, clinical psychologist/psychiatrist.  Possibly due to the advocacy of my mother and father and extensive care during my childhood in and out of the public school system–I am essentially asymptomatic and don’t identify as having Autism today.

Now if it is true that I was or still am indeed technically Autistic, it is entirely possible that the introduction of estrogen and the blocking of the effects of testosterone has contributed to a lessening of the symptoms and “gifts” of Autism that I was endowed with at birth and didn’t realize I was actually experiencing.  This could be due in part to much needed feminization of my brain via the introduction of the requisite hormones (as Autistic symptoms are sometimes hypothesized to be caused by an overtly male brain).  A friend of my mother’s has also given another theory he’s read about. which is that Autistic symptoms occur due to a high concentration of certain heavy metals within one’s body.  I’m not well-versed on the matter, but according to him, in summary, the action of estrogen and the inaction of testosterone likely played a role in clearing these metals from my body, lessening the Autistic symptoms I may have been experiencing.

So yeah, that’s all I wanted to say.  Leave a comment on your personal experiences or professional knowledge and theory on this matter, I’d love to hear from you!



So I was just watching some TV online and I saw an ad for this new Kellogg’s Cereal, Kellogg’s Krave.  And it made me so happy because…

Kariyot Box next to Krave Box

Edited from images obtained from kelloggs.com & isreview1.blogspot.com. All copyrights belong to Kellogg's and תלמה

Seriously, when I saw the commercial for this cereal, for this reason, and this sole reason alone, I was absolutely ecstatic!  כריות (Pillows) are the bomb, I was addicted to them when I went to Israel a few years back (yes I did).  I’m betting that Krave is nowhere near as delicious–but still, they were obviously inspired.  I might actually go to Wal-mart tomorrow just to see if I can pick these up, lol ^_^.

EDIT: So I actually went to Wal-mart today to buy the cereal (along with a few other things I’ve been procrastinating to buy lately).  It’s pretty good, like light כריות, probably better for breakfast than a snack–haha.  To give you an idea of what it tastes like, imagine something between Crispix and corn flakes with a very whole grainy/mult-grain taste with a smooth, melted and resolidified chocolate taste inside…mhmm (כריות are like that except the exterior of each cereal piece has a consistency like Cocoa Puffs except a bit harder–both are pretty good in general ^_^)



{January 22, 2012}   On the Death of Joe Paterno

So, I’ll come out and say that I’m a student at the Pennsylvania State University and mention that earlier this morning, if you haven’t heard, the “legendary” football coach, Joe Paterno, died at the age of 85 due to medical complications he incurred due to lung cancer. I’ll also say that, despite being here for over 5 semesters, I have never been to a single Penn State Football game (Although I was at a Pep Rally my first year in Beaver Stadium and saw Joe Paterno speak from the field there) nor do I have any interest in the party/football/drinking scene here in the local area, so you can get an idea of my general bias on this matter.

Joe Paterno, in Memoriam

Obtained from gopsusports.com, all copyrights go to their respective owners

Now this guy, flat out, was definitely a hero and a philanthropist of sorts here at this university in my mind. Due to his actions over 61 years, he has helped to expand Penn State University through his monetary contributions and his work as a football coach. Effectively, through these actions, he has helped make Penn State’s academia world-class and has put this university in the national spotlight through its football program. In addition, he has also donated millions and millions of dollars to charity.

Despite this however, I believe that Joe Paterno is not without his faults, he was absolutely not a god. Joe Paterno, despite following the proper protocol to the letter, did not act in high moral character when he didn’t bring up the incident that Mike McQuery mentioned to him to the police. In addition, Joe Paterno allowed Penn State’s football program to go too far in its quest for glory, sacrificing moral acocuntability and the character of the student body. Seriously, if you ever have a chance, come visit this institution. Especially in the fall, you’ll see that football is all anyone can think about; it’s almost like a cult! Joe Paterno’s actions have created a local culture where studies take lower priority under partying, drinking, and football games for a large number of students. In addition, Joe Paterno is revered like a god. In fact, Joe Paterno and football are so important to this university’s student body that when Joe Paterno was fired, there were massive riots downtown that severely damaged this school’s reputation, as we were depicted as caring more about our football program than the children abused by Jerry Sandusky (No I wasn’t present in the riots personally if you’re curious). These riots were picked up by news agencies all over the world; hell, the iconic footage of the the CBS news van getting turned over was even picked up by Russia Today, for example.


So, it looks like now, by the way Joe Paterno’s death is being reported in the news (In an uncalled for amount of enthusiasm, in addition to a cruel false report that Joe Paterno died before he actually did last night by CBS Sports) that Joe Paterno’s funeral is going to be a very large event, so large that even the Westboro Baptist Church is going to fly over and picket the funeral (which is absolutely uncalled for, like almost everything they do for the most part). On the basis of what I know about the student body, there’s probably going to be a lot of students there, and there is probably going to be a lot of emotion. This personally saddens me. Yes, Joe Paterno was a great man, but as I said before, he was not a god; he had his faults. There is more to this university than his legacy, and we need to let the world know that. We need to let the world know that there are things more important to us than Joe Paterno here at Penn State (such as the welfare of the victims in the Sandusky case, our academia, our local culture, etc.). We can’t let Joe Paterno’s funeral essentially be an analogue to, as I read in a tweet (which I placed below) I’m not kidding here, Kim Jong Il’s in North Korea. I wouldn’t be surprised if JoePa’s funeral is similar to his, with a huge crowd of people, except alot of them ACTUALLY crying as opposed to faking it (and not just people who personally knew Joe Paterno either). Take a look at the footage below of the “Great Leader’s” funeral if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Joe Paterno’s funeral in Happy Valley is gonna end up resembling Kim Jong Il’s. Just replace crying Koreans with crying Caucasians. @AntiGlib (http://www.twitter.com/antiglib)



{January 21, 2012}   Taking a Broad Perspective

As a person, I have always been rather curious and hungry for knowledge, scouring the internet, going to classes, talking to people, watching the news, etc, to learn more about whatever tickles my fancy at the moment. In general, my feeling is that the more knowledge I procure and the more points of view I can justify based on what I know of a given person’s axiomatic thinking in my mind, the better I will be able to relate to others, understand this peculiar universe of ours, live a productive/enjoyable life, and leave my temporary and/or permanent mark on the world and humanity. However, I’ve noticed over my years on this earth that many people are very closed-minded. No matter what anyone says, their opinion will be always right in their minds and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot and does not deserve respect. Plus, they may feel as if they already know all they need to know, so they don’t bother listening and comprehending when they have a chance to learn something. It’s as if they look upon the world with tunnel vision, seeing only what they want to see. Personally, I feel this is the wrong way to go about our world, even though I probably do this myself to an extent (I’m not perfect either).

Artist's Depiction of Wikipedia Blackout

Obtained from http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/16/technology/sopa_wikipedia/index.htm all copyrights go to their respective owners

Anyway, I wanted to mention this as a few days ago, I was having a heated debate on facebook (not giving the entire conversation for privacy concerns) with another individual on the justification on certain protest actions some parties took or the lack of them upon SOPA/PIPA. In particular, we were discussing the website blackouts that occured 3 days ago in response to the pending SOPA legislation in US congress. Personally, as you can likely tell if you’re reading this post before 1/24/2012 as I currently have the anti-SOPA/PIPA banner activated on this blog, I am against the SOPA legislation as it currently stands in congress. In my opinion, the pending legislation as it is now written gives the US courts far too much power (which they may or may not wield in what I might consider a proper manner) in policing the internet against copyright infringement, particularly on US-based domain names.

However, as it stood, I was against Wikipedia’s English Blackout and I was I was glad that Google/Bing/Facebook/and Twitter did not shut down their services on the blackout day. However, the person who I was talking to thought exactly the opposite. These were the general arguments they used against me, all of which I can very much understand:

  1. SOPA/PIPA is a global issue and will affect everyone, everywhere, on the internet as it will allow all websites to be shut down by the US government. These laws are everyone’s problem.
  2. These blackouts will raise awareness of these laws and cause action against them due to their severity.
  3. Passage of these laws may result in the shutdown of Google/Bing/Youtube/Facebook/Twitter/etc, so these websites should shut down in protest to deliver a message.
  4. A one day blackout of these sites wouldn’t affect most peoples’ livelihoods too dramatically and it is not these websites’ responsibility if they do.

These are my general rebutals and arguments against the blackouts:

  1. These laws are primarily a US issue; the US government will only be able to take down US-based websites and block/restrict access to foreign websites from within the US with the current writing of this law, at least without foreign cooperation.
  2. People in foreign countries need to use these services as well, and their awareness of this law isn’t going to really affect the probability of it passing or not.
  3. If the US government shutdown Google/Bing/Youtube/Facebook/Twitter/etc (which would be unlikely in the first place as these websites have the capital to influence the government and police themselves), these websites could easily just move their servers overseas, outside of the US’s jurisdiction, so other people could access their servers outside the US despite the action of the US government against them.
  4. A shutdown of Facebook/Google/Bing/and Twitter could very well result in peoples’ deaths due to people’s reliance on these services for GPS, search, communication, etc; particularly on mobile devices. If someone wasn’t aware of the blackouts and wasn’t prepared for a shutdown of these services, an inability to use these services could cause them ALOT of trouble.

In my opinion, both sets of arguments are very reasonably justified and thought-out. However, I stood where I stood during this debate, yet mentioned that I indeed understood where the other participant was coming from (which I believe I did) and respected their opinion. However, the other person did not respect me nor try to understand where I was coming form, but instead started to jeer at me and talk down to me using foul language, calling me terms such as a moron and accusingly presuming without evidence that I wasn’t truly reading their arguments on the issue. This negative behavior was probably reflective of the close-mindedness that I mentioned earlier.

So, long story short, I just kinda want to say that I believe (although I’m open to argument of course, feel free to comment) that it is important to go about this world with an open-mind and try to take other people’s opinions and new information from an unbiased perspective. Taking any idea as completely canonical, whether it is religious beliefs, perspectives on certain issues, different facts, and even that 1+1 will always equial 2 (Yes, I know, in binary it can equal 10, but that isn’t my entire point) is a bad way of viewing the world in my opinion. Ultimately. I believe that an open-perspective leads to greater enlightenment, and I encourage you to try to take this to heart and help others understand this as well.



{January 21, 2012}   ヌ。。。

Hi, my name’s Jessie and I’m a 20 year old transwoman or just woman, currently in her sixth and (hopefully) last semester of university full-time at the undergraduate level, working towards a BA in Mathematics.  Personally though, I don’t even think I’m gonna have a career related to mathematics in the long run, I don’t know if I would enjoy it.  But anyway, I decided to take the plunge and try starting up a public blog on here on WordPress and see if I can get anyone’s input on whatever I might post up here (assuming I do keep at this blog, haha).  I’ll probably mention more about myself in further posts.

So–if you’re confused about the URL of this blog, don’t be.  I’ll explain (but that’ll be all for now); seitenkansha, or 性転換者 (せいてんかんしゃ)  is the one of the many Japanese terms I’ve read about referring to transsexuals (this one literally translating to, “one who changes sex”).   I can most identify myself with this one in particular as I would consider and accurate term to describe me (As I’m currently still in the process of transitioning to change my phenotypical sex to match my identity).  Personally I think it sounds cool+Kanji are just plain genius but that might be just me, hah (I just started learning Japanese, lol).  Oh and the title of this post is just a Japanese Katakana transliteration of the Hebrew word נו (which means well (as in the placeholder/thought word) except it’s just fun to use, idk why–hah).

Yes if you didn’t catch that yet I’m a language buff as well :D.



et cetera