I’ve decided I’m going to start a new series for my blog: This series will be classified as “interesting links” and is scheduled to appear every Wednesday. It should be a great way to spice up the middle of the week! Anyway, the links will be selected from an assortment of news, articles, or current events that I happen to find interesting and may be edited throughout the remainder of the week. Consider it a polymorphic post. I won’t be tagging it at all, that way it won’t interfere with the tag cloud. Instead, you’ll need to access older entries by clicking on the Links of the Week category.
Software and Programming
We have a selection in this week’s line up from the “I could’ve told you that before” category or… Writing Software is like … Writing.
I think I’ve mentioned something about that before. Oh, would you look at that, it seems as if I did.
Updates Friday, April 24
It appears that Lifehacker’s Keir Thomas has a nice write up on Ubuntu 9.04. I can see some improvements but to say that Ubuntu’s default install is “on par” with Windows and OS X in terms of its UI might be a bit optimistic at best. I really dislike Gnome.
We also have a little treat I’d like to classify as “I can see my house from here” or… Lightest Exoplanet Discovered.
It is unlikely to harbor life–it’s so close to the parent star that it completes an orbit in a little over three days!
5 Responses to “Links: April 22nd”
I cannot personally relate to the first link, “Writing Software is like … Writing”, but I do; however, have an opinion on the latter.
I think its safe we assume all reading this accept the fact that the earth will implode and consume itself in approximately seven and a half billion years… So think for just a moment of just how far we, as a planet all together have come. But to what avail? In the end *everything* will go to waist. In fact, the complete obliteration of everything is inevitable unless we were to somehow develop the technology to travel to exo-planets such as e, b, c, and d. But even then, we’d be back a square one, with (in the big picture of things) hardly any technology or means of survival. I realize this concept is ‘far out’ and almost idiotic to conceive, but do I not have a valid point? If I don’t, please shoot me down immediately. I think at this point I need a nice teaspoon full of logic to get me through the rest of life.
Hmm, you could look at it that way. On the other hand, it’s a moot point anyway if you consider that the universe itself has a finite lifespan. Whether it suffers its eventual demise in the form of heat death, the Big Crunch, or any multitude of other potential fates, it really doesn’t matter. Our own lifetimes aren’t even so much as a blip in the radar. So really, if one were to appeal exclusively to logic, it would seem there is no point to our ingrained desire (and capability) for survival. Logic can be pessimistic and depressing.
That’s also why I’m religious; it makes more sense that there would be some sort of purpose in all of this–our ongoing struggle. There are those who disagree, of course, and that’s okay. We’ll know who’s right after all when we’re pushing up daisies.
I used to be optimistic that our species might eventually succeed in traveling to other stars. I also imagine that it will invariably happen assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out (and I don’t think we will). Our progeny will survive. I think that it is more of a question relating to how long it will be. Unlike the naive views expressed by series like Star Trek and any other offshoot science fiction in popular culture, I suspect that such advancement will require thousands–if not tens of thousands of years to mature.
We can always dream, though, and I think that’s why discovering exoplanets is such a wonderful thing. One day when we’re no longer obsessed with the next election cycle or the next airing of our favorite program, perhaps we’ll be motivated to look toward those other solar systems as a goal.
There’s always a purpose in life, if you’re willing to look hard enough.
As being (from what you’ve stated) a religious man, what would you deem the purpose of life to be? And why?
I think the easiest way to circumvent that question is to simply state that the purpose to life isn’t within our capability of understanding. I’m probably the wrong person to ask, because there are many philosophers (often very famous ones) who have struggled with that very same question. Of the religious philosophers, they tend to argue that the purpose to life is to serve God; I believe this is correct although it doesn’t address certain things like human needs. I also believe that God gave us the capabilities we have for a reason: For example, appealing to the Almighty to pay the bills isn’t going to pay the bills, and I would assume that God might find that foolish–“I gave you the ability to write, so why aren’t you writing checks? Was the gift of dexterity in your fingers too good for you?”
With that tangential thought, I suppose I would have instead been easier to say that I simply don’t know. The purpose I see in life is to do the Right Thing and live without regret. Otherwise, life would be very depressing! Here’s an example of what I mean: Say a friend of yours is in need, and you offer to let them borrow a sum of money. You never hear from them again and are thus never repaid. There are two choices that can be made in this situation. The first, regret it and fret about the money you lost which could have otherwise been spent on things you wanted. The second, realize that what you did was the right thing to do at the time, and learn from it. In other words, always do what you feel is right at the time. We have such a gift in retrospect in that we’re able to see our mistakes in a greater context, and we often wish we did things differently. I would argue that we should take a different approach and realize that given the context of events as they occurred, we should instead be comfortable with the decisions we made such that we would make them again exactly as before if offered another chance.
The approach of doing the right thing does require some discipline, but I think that if choices are made carefully the first time, there won’t be much to regret down the road. Likewise, I also believe that the purpose in life is to do what we can, do it right, learn from mistakes, and learn not to regret our choices, because they all happen for a reason. It’s a deterministic way of looking at things, but I find that it’s much better than the alternative which is to assume that there is absolutely no purpose in life, that our choices don’t matter (whether we do right or wrong), and that we simply die in the end. I think this is also why religion exists. Sure, there are a lot of “fire and brimstone” types out there–I’m not one of them–but I think the fundamental importance to religious teachings is the notion of loving each other and looking out for our mutual interests (though this doesn’t supersede the importance of national interests, like national security and the likes).
I don’t think that answered your question, but perhaps in a round-about way it gave you some insight!
You’ve raised many good points and I appreciate the noble attempt to formulate a response to a nearly impossible question. I must concur with many things you’ve stated about doing the Right Thing at the Right Time; although, as you’ve stated this doesn’t answer the question. And the deterministic way of looking at things is most certainly a much “optimistic” way, but just because the alternative way may be somewhat depressing, doesn’t dismiss it as being true. I still believe we must keep an open mind to those things that may not be so theoretical…
I’ve tried to view the purpose of life from a religious aspect, but my way of thinking just won’t let me, no matter how much will power I pour into it, allow me to accept that we were put here for one reason. And that reason being to serve a God. This is strictly illogical and I can’t help but immediately dismiss it as a valid answer. That response friggin’ infuriates me to an extreme extent that I can’t even begin to explain in words…
This topic is really deep. And my brain is starting to hurt… I may come back to this post later, but until then, this is all I’ve got.
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