Thursday, December 21, 2006

...nose bleed...

Funny how yucky it feels when all of a sudden, in the stillness in front of the computer, something wet and sticky starts its way down your face. The faces of my co-workers when I more or less moved quickly towards the paper towels in the common room (the bathrooms are way down the hall...) while holding a couple of fingers on the bridge of my nose, pausing for a second while the pain from the still slightly swollen cartilage (can cartilage really be swollen?) made my eyes fill with water (aka tear fluid) and finally I reached the wondrous paper to help stop the blood from being everywhere in my face….

Combined with the knowledge that my jar of Advil is almost empty, the memory of when I last had spontaneous nose bleeds makes me think a little more. Again, I can see why hiding is tempting, but still - it is going to be like Jack Torrence ‘Come out, come out where ever you are’ or Roy Batty ‘Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.’ - which makes the hiding quite irrelevant.

And as always, the rational cynic man (Gaff) sums it up:
It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?

[quotes from The Shining and Blade Runner. I still wonder how it would have been to act against Jack Nicholson when his character is also called Jack. How could you distinguish them apart, when trying to explain “are you like that. No I am like Jack… Jack who?” Redrum indeed.]

Reality `a la feminist?

Thinking about reality and that, with one exception, the [female] post docs in my institute all are single or have a spouse that is a senior post doc [they are juniors]. The male post docs are either single or have a spouse that is a junior post doc, research technician or a stay at home mother.

The situation in the field back home, as I have seen it, was female researchers often happened to be in the spouses’ lab, i.e. the spouse was the professor or senior PI. Or the females were research technicians in lab of their spouse.

All this is generalization, of course. Not reality. And even if it was some kind of reality surely this is mostly due to the research environment, rather than society as much?! Or if it is in society, it is probably most natural and nothing to go against… who am I to preach about something like that?!?

Looking at the relationships that my friends have… All in all I could say there is a slight bigger diversity – although there is only one woman who finished her degree and got a job before her husband, and they met during the same education in uni. Other than that, it is indeed a somewhat bleak picture. Or maybe it is just life.

I would like to know, for real though, if it is due to the women (wanting men to be ‘more’ than themselves so they can learn) or the men (wanting to not threatened by the woman they love)?

Love is indeed something that makes us vulnerable so maybe in order to open up and be a real man, you have to be with someone who you can beat, in education, salary or something… Because she can always be the better mother, emotional icon for your children and social hub as for your friends and families… (All this according to the truth as known by the 50ies…)

Maybe I should just conform and find my place in all this; because boy, am I in the wrong end of the spectra at the moment!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kant and Hume

They might be the two people I thought most about today - apart from a little trip into the lands of freedom as seen by Nozick and Rawls. (I still find it very inspirational that both of them worked at the same university, Harvard, and kept so different views of society! That is my sense of academia, needless to say it is not as much that feeling today for me...)

Kant apparently said Hume woke him up from his sleep... and Hume was a scientist as well as a historian and a philosopher. With Kant, there are some things I like. "Maxims should be made as they could be hold an universal law" [could be off a little with the translation] as well as "not be treated as an ends to an mean" and the autonomy of a person. Rawls make it all a little more "modern" in his A theory of Justice and Nozick writes his reply in the book Anarchy, State and Utopia. (Night watch state as a minimal state with less rights than the individual etc.)

Hume on the other hand handles causality and empirism interestingly and as a scientist I do like some of the more complex thoughts he presented. He worked from Locke, a large influence, and improved some of the more "old" empirists and also showed that some things are deductable, rather then experimental - touching rationalism just a little.

I guess that is some of what I truly like, a little bit of rationalism and deduction mixed with empirism and true dogmas (like the 'universal law'). This is also one of the reasons I detest stupid people who try to make all issues simple, easy and think the discussion is unnecessary unless you agree with eachother from the beginning. Really, an easy and worthless argument of never having a discussion and never increase your own view of the world. Of course, it is easy to say if you do not agree with me, you are dead stupid.

I prefer to say, if you can not even argue your own stand point or admit the complexity of the world, then you are truly stupid... and your place in science is, as far as I am concerned, questionable.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Me, myself and I – neolibertarianism and egos

Having yet another discussion that ended into “Do not infringe my rights to do what I want” I realize what it is that really bothers me. It is not as simple as saying that it is only, “you are a person that is allowed to do whatever you want and society (government) should not interfere with you” attitude that disturbs me. No, it is more than that. It is first and foremost the assumption that YOUR needs are in focus. That the thing you want to do and what you want is more important than anything else. Rather than seeing you as a part of something bigger, society or a community or whatnot. It really bothers me.

And in combination with “all people are free, have free will and adults should be allowed to do whatever they wish” (the more vocalized argument of allowing prostitution) and “ethic and morals are only something for religious people who wants to pass judgment over me” it gets downright silly. Trust me, if life was so easy and clear cut things would be lovely (maybe even a little boring) but now it is not.

Furthermore, a very common argument (or maybe I should call it excuse since that it was I think it is) is the “don’t put up boundaries just because there are small things you don’t like”. When said in reference to large question in science (stem cells, animal research etc.) or things like what you as an adult can do with your own body and mind.

No, I do not think people in general are free and unbiased and that these people can make educated decisions about all things that can lead to very unforeseen, at the time of the decision, consequences. It is very hard to define a line in certain cases and simplifying the questions really does not help in the end. That is why we would be content and thank our stars that we have “professional” people who use their lives to ask the hard questions and keep the rest of us not falling down the slippery slope too fast or too far gone… we will never be able to climb up again when we loose our footing.

Also, what bothers me is the fact that they use this “individuality” (egocentric) view as an excuse not to care (take responsibility) about other people, this since we are all have free will to make our own decisions in life. Spiced up with the wonderful naïveté that people are unbiased and unattached to feelings and desires of other people (not to mention money…) and therefore that the so called “freedom” of choice is always somewhat murky and biased.

No, I do not believe that people make the right decision, especially since most people tend to choose the simple and wide road rather than somewhat smaller and trickier… it’s just life…
And I do not think we should ban things or keep strict laws about everything, but I do think that certain things might be harmful to us and that if it isn’t directly beneficiary for us… why allow it? Just taking the argument 180 degrees around… sometimes I just tire of people and their so called rights to do whatever they want.

Freedom of speech, I would die for your right to scream your hate to the world – just don’t expect me to smile when I do it. I am doing it since Kant, Hegel, Aristotle, Mill and Voltaire had very good points, most of them called moral, ethics and grounds of value.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

1984, already gone and over with?

I kind of promised myself a while back that I wouldn’t write too much political stuff in this blog…or maybe I should say not too much nonscientific political stuff… I avoided commenting Mr Padilla, Guantanamo or Iraq although I had some thoughts regarding moral and the kind of actions people and their governments now assume one can do in the name of freedom and security.

I also avoided talking about things I found particularly frightening and annoying in the EU when the talk was mainly about the national parties gaining ground, Islam, Christianity, libertarianism and of course, the right not to be included in society.

Well, now I have to say something simply because this annoys me. In Seattle Times, and I realize now that it is an old issue from mid November, they report that “hunger” is exchanged for “low food security”. Sure it is only in the States, in the governmental papers, but still…. When talking about poor people. Sure I can see the somewhat need of distinguish between people having now food at all and people having almost no…. No I can’t. Sorry. Sometimes I feel that the need for new words and things really does not help with the real problems we’ve got. But hey, newspeak isn’t bad all the time now, is it?

Better go back to the slides… they are beaconing me… (or rather I know I will sleep better once I make them)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

confusion and languages

It is hard to think in one language and talk in another... realising that is not my situation today answering a statement in a conversation "you don't translate do you, in your head I mean" and my response was simply no. Not unless it is feelings... feelings are still hard to tell in only English. Half of it is still trapped in the belly of the beast in native tounge.

it is interesting, as well as scary. I am on the verge now, this is a time were I have been before. A few months in and your head starts to spin. You are not good at your native tounge, yet not a master in the new language. It is a confusing and frustrating time. Last time I "solved" it by reading more dictionaries and picking up words, at least one new a day, in English while I wrote essays in native tounge during weekends and evenings.. maybe I need to do that again.

It is worth thinking about. As is some other things. I think the brewing is finally getting somewhat done. I relish that thought. Although in this context I must admit the relish part seems strange and out of place... hmm... maybe I should find a dictionary...