March 7th, 2006


All Joints Will Break

I have spent the time I have had left from my adventures at work to cram for my Bioinformatics course, and am again reminded that I should've been studying the whole way through the class. I will try to be a better student in the future by doing that, and if I can pull it off, I'll be a better student than I ever was in the past. All the same, this is one of those times where I think cramming helped me a lot -- I am glad that I have been diligent in paying attention in class, but I filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge with the cramming. The only question I felt fully clueless on was a definite gap in my notes -- the definition of a confusion matrix. That's kind of ironic. Anyhow, now that the burden of the midterm is lifted, I feel free (and tired). I feel the need to take a break though, so I have packed my near future with fun things. On Friday, I will probably be going on a road trip with a bunch of people for a few days (possibly to DC and/or NYC), and then next week I'm going hiking/camping for a few days with some other people. It's going to be pretty crazy, but hopefully fun.

I recently thought of some old videogame music -- that of the endings to Super Mario Brothers 2 and 3. After a quick look around, I was unable to find any remixes of them, so I downloaded the original NSF (NES sound format) sound packages of the game. Listening to them after all these years really bridges the years, and was a surprisingly emotional experience. I think part of it is that the idea of credits has always been a big part of the more fanciful ways I see the world. I sometimes have thought of past parts of my life being wrapped up to certain music with brief snippets of the people who were a major part of my perception of my life. At the risk of seeming even more sappy (but hey, if honesty is sappy, then I'm sometimes a sappy kind of person), some of my favourite music for this has included:

  • Roxette's Dangerous
  • Pachelbel's Canon in D
  • VNV Nation's Standing
  • Bach's Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor
I am hoping to get some pretty serious relaxation done now. There's still a lot of work stuff to do, but I believe the hard part is done.

Of course, the world is not standing still. I find myself agreeing with Israel's stance on the Hamas-led Palestinian government. I do not believe that Hamas is interested in peace on sane terms, nor do I think their effect on Palestinian society is acceptable (although I suspect the foreign policy of Israel is centred on the first, not the second). For all Arafat ever was, good and bad, Hamas represents an unacceptable alternative, and as agents of a possible theocracy they should be considered dangerous enemies of the Enlightenment and stomped out through whatever means necessary. I'm still kind of surprised, to be honest, that Fatah lost so much in the recent Palestinian elections. I don't know if this was meant by voters to send a message that the corruption in Fatah is unacceptable, or was instead a genuine expression of a desire for religious belief driving the temporal parts of society. I might even concede that a religious government might have less corruption if it actually puts principled people into office, but I can't see myself ever thinking it's worth the cost to the values I cherish. Principled people are necessary, but ideally they would be philosophers and activists.

South Dakota effectively banned abortion, and challenges to it might make it through the US Supreme court under its present composition. This is particularly worrying.

Last night, I picked up some M"usli and some Kashi, the former an expensive and very nice cereal from Switzerland, the latter an American cereal of a similar sort. I will probably bring the M"usli hiking, and will eat the Kashi to see if I like it. I was amused to see on the box of the M"usli that they want people to know that while they added no sugar to it, it is not a low-calorie breakfast. Looking at the nutritional information, they recommend half the serving size that the Kashi suggests, and still have double the calories per serving. That's impressive.