Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ice Cream, Wine, Jazz, Poker. Life Is Good.

The month started off with a wedding, A fairly standard affair, outdoor, had the ceremony in the same spot as the reception, which is a great idea, had a splendid time with the family, and the occasion was ended properly with a supremely trashed automobile for the new bride and groom. The culprits are still at large.

June 11th brought something amazing. The Scooper Bowl. It is an ice cream festival held in Boston, and Kari, the wonderful person she is, took me there as a late birthday present. Ice cream. Everywhere. There were 9 vendors touting about 50 flavors of ice cream, each had 3 out at a time in little cups, I guessed them to be around 4 ounces. Haagen, Ben, Jerry, Breyer, Robbin! They were all there! And they were all showcasing their finest flavors. Maine Lobster Tracks, delicious, nothing to do with lobster. Zesty Lemon Sorbet, I heard from multiple people walking away from the stand "Wow! that really is zesty!". And it was. Rock n' Pop swirl! It popped in your mouth! Bailey's Irish Cream, tasted like the real deal, it seemed illegal they were giving it to kids. But the best flavor, without question, Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. They held a contest for the best flavor, and after all the votes, on all 50 flavors, Oatmeal Cookie Chunk won with a full 25% of the vote. It is that good. I ended up eating 25 cups of ice cream, that was one of each flavor that each stand had up (skipping a couple boring repeats like chocolate), and at 4 oz. a cup, thats almost a full gallon of ice cream. That is a lot of ice cream. Enough to make even the most lactosetolerant person become intolerant... hah, dang that was good though. The trip also introduced me to New England for the first time, with the drive up to Boston, a stop in Providence, and a day walking around Boston, I was really impressed. Boston is a beautiful city, not too big, clean as can be, good food, I give it an A. Makes me appreciate some things about Pittsburgh, spending so much time in other big citys, like in Pittsburgh there is not an obsession with tourism being beaten into your head around every corner, you dont have to pay $50 to park for a day, you can find comfortable little places to stop that arent one of a thousand exactly like it in the world. But it was a great city, it really was. Plus, there is ice cream everywhere.

Back in Jersey, we were looking for something to do, and it may surprise you, but South Jersey is a certified wine region, there are lots of vineyards in the area. We went and tasted wine, schmoozing with the other clientele, ended up chatting with the chief of police (there for his monthly "inspection"), his father, and a local italian restaurant owner. I will say at this point, it is great to go out with two young attractive ladies, Kari and her friend, you seem to get lots of free stuff from guys. The Italian restaurant owner, Giorgio, invited us to his place, and when we showed up he took a seat with us, gave us an appetizer and a bottle of merlot from the local vineyard, then a "real bottle of wine" from his home town in Italy, then one of the cooks came out and gave us a bottle of his home made wine. After giving us dessert and shots of espresso and sambuca at the end of the meal, I went over to say by goodbye and thanks and got sucked into conversation with he and a friend at the bar. We ended up staying another few hours at the bar chatting with Giorgio and his friends. We had a good time, and I feel like I must reccommend, not only because of the hospitality but because the food was incredible, that you must go there if you are ever in the unfortunate predicament of being in South Jersey, it will be a cherry on your hot sludge sunday.

Like I said before, I caught the New York Fever when Kari's parents took us last month, so I was back last weekend to see Jamie Cullum play Carnegie Hall. We bought a $1 bus ticket that got us in at 9 from philly, and spent the day walking around the city, had lunch at S'MAC which only serves variations of mac n cheese, toured the Metropolitan Museum of art, walked through Central Park, took some busses, took the subway, and after walking something like 10 miles we took our seats in Carnegie Hall to watch the jazz genious unfold on stage. When we got to our seat, we were in the second to last row in the highest balcony in the whole theatre, so we... upgraded, a fairly simple process, you just scan out some empty seat and look like you know where you are going, nobody asks questions. We ended up right down on the rail on the third balcony, pretty close to the action. The show was incredible, with a modern jazz opener that had a great techno twist, and Jamie took the stage with a storm with his piano acrobats, some wicked improv, he took the stand up bass, trumpet and the drummer with a snare out into the audience and set up a little jam session in the middle of the aisle, just flowin for 10 minutes or so, it was groovy. Truely an amazing concert, the only bad part was at the end, the audience gave him a screaming loud standing ovation for something like 10 minutes after he left the stage and he didnt come back out for another song. After I got home I looked on his twitter and he apologized for not coming back out, saying that they would absolutely not let him. Stupid. Still. Awesome.

I am just starting to come off my high from the concert and just getting pumped for my trip to Vegas in a couple weeks, the excitement just keeps comin. Other than that, I signed up for a soccer tournament in July and I am trying to get myself in suitable shape to step onto a soccer field, I put an add trying to sell myself on craigslist, that hasnt panned out, so I sit around a lot, doing things like writing blog posts, looking for what might be a real job sometime in the distant future, creating sweet buisiness cards! check these bad boys out! I printed a few out and dang they are sweet. If you want me to make one for you I will, you can even pick your card of choice, what else do I have to do?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Evolutionary Explanation for Altruism

In a previous blog post I addressed the topic of altruism and devised a hypothetical mechanism for its evolution through Darwinian theory. The subject of evolution and more specifically the philosophy of altruism and how it came to be really intrigues me, as is evident from that post. Mark sent me a couple links to articles that address the issue and I was amazed by how similar the arguments presented were to my own, particularly in the first article "An Evolutionary Explanation for Altruism". They talk about insects primarily and get into the necessity for a complex social structure, taking a similar path to their conclusion. The second article talks about this transition to a society that interacts on a level that allows the benefits of altruism to be seen, which is a potentially problematic phenomena, and I think he tackles it with grace. The third article builds further on this idea, focusing on the human race and offering a real life scenario for the theory to play out.

My previous post on the matter

1. An Evolutionary Explanation for Altruism

2. Competition, Loss of Selfishness Mark Shift to Supersociety

3. Altruism's Bloody Roots

Let me know what you think!

They call me the rambler

It seems that evolution would have led to a population that was predominantly female. If there were a population of 10 humans, 5 female, 5 male, then only 5 offspring could be produced in any single reproductive cycle, but if it were, say, 9 women and me, then there would be 9 offspring every reproductive cycle, and if those progeny were again 90% female, the cycle would continue with reproduction at a much greater rate. Now these days, with over population, such an increase in the growth of population would be undesirable, but i'm talkin back in the days of nomadic tribes and whatnot. And this does happen in a lot of populations, a greater ratio of females to males, for the aforementioned reasons of the increased reproductive efficiency, however, humans do not experience this, leading to the conclusion that males are essential in the fitness of the species. It is easy to see why this might be in said nomadic tribal days, what with the males hunting and gathering, it was a full time job that a group of 9 pregnant females and me would not be able to fulfill. Things have changed though, and females are able to raise children on their own, all they need from a male is some... "seed". I don't think that the day is far away that we will be able to control the sex of our children, and when that day comes, I feel this could be the end of a paternal era. I am not necessarily saying this is a bad thing though, in a world where there are 9 females for every male, well, I think a lot of problems would be solved. I don't really know, but it seems like 99% of sex crimes are committed by males, but in such a world, with such ratios, I think that just about any guy could find someone. Wars would change drastically, with countries not willing to sacrifice their males, the lines would be saturated with women, and the squabbles would be over totally different things, like which country gets to have the pink flag with a purple heart on it and a little kitten in the middle of the heart, or they would just start whining about random stuff that happened years ago once a month for no reason. With such a high density of estrogen operating together on a day to day basis, entire continents would experience the sorority house effect, you know what I am talking about, leading to mass chaos once a month, maybe it would just be a national holiday, maybe it would unite the countries and serve as a platform for world peace. Males would be reduced to nothing, like the little spiders that mate and then get eaten by the female, but the human race would go on without us.

I am not sure what that was all about, I am currently in the car on my way to my cousins wedding, I just started writing, but really guys, now that I think about it, just keep that in the back of your mind. So, I took up a new hobby a couple years ago, it is a rare one, but not unheard of. I try to actually dry my hands in the air dryers in bathrooms. It is a time consuming hobby, but it has its rewards. While spending time at the dryer, you get to read the clever bits of wisdom that people leave etched into the metal. Place hands on butt. Rub vigorously. Tops all. They get all that just by erasing letters! how clever! Or my personal favorite. Push button. Get bacon. It is because the red wavy lines in the picture coming out of the dryer look like bacon. And then sometimes, you get to experience exciting advances in hand dryer technology. If you find yourself near the MOMA in New York, it is worth a stop in to use their hand dryers. The Dyson Air Blade. Instead of a leisurely 15 or 20 minute zephyr that you get at a normal hand dryer, it is an exhilarating 10 second gale force blast, wicking the moisture away from your hands.

In other news, I read this morning that you are supposed to use "at least an inch long strip" of toothpaste when brushing your teeth, I read it on the tube of my Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. What happened to "use a pea sized amount", that is what it always used to be. I think the toothpaste people are just trying to get a little more turnover in their product, with an "inch long strip" being an estimated 4 times the volume of "a pea sized amount". Crafty. So, they say to contact a doctor if you ingest more that the amount used for brushing, but the amount is now significantly more, so the amount used for brushing is more than the old amount used for brushing, so I foresee lots of accidents with people using the "pea sized" toothpaste, but using an inch long strip of it, and then if they swallow some, they wont be worried because it is the amount used for brushing, but really it is 4 times the amount used for brushing, so they will end up dying.