All posts by ArtemS

Burning Knowledge (literally)

What would you do, if suddenly all the information on the internet disappeared? All servers and the ability to access information stored on the internet just… vanished? Burned up? I want to share an article about an event that although not similar in scale, was a huge loss to humanity, the burning of the Library of Alexandria.

https://ehistory.osu.edu/articles/burning-library-alexandria

What if?

The library itself, as the article states, had over 100 scholar actively living there and working on transcribing scrolls and knowledge found all over the Mediterranean world. And at a point it time… it vanished. The article goes on to talk about who to blame in the burning of the library, a subject which I am not going into.

However, this did prompt me to think about how knowledge today can just as easily disappear. Not with a physical fire, but a digital one. So much correspondents, data, articles and the such exist primarily on internet servers, something fragile at best. What would happened to a world in which all the knowledge we have uploaded also was to disappear? Or how different would our current reality be if the library and all the thousands of scrolls of information survived to today?

My latest attempt at being healthy… foiled. Thanks Covid.

I don’t know about you, but I have had moments in my life where I went something like “Alright! Enough. Time to implement healthy habits into my life! Time to be awesome!” and you would go out to try to implement something healthy like a new hobby, habit or something. Well this blog is inspired by such moment that happened to me recently.

For the Runners out there…

I appreciate you. You are the pinnacle that I aspire towards, although I will not *run* after you to get there (get it? haha. sorry). Many people I know have become regular joggers, running at least several times a week to be healthy and the such. I have infact attempted something similar, but after running for 10 minutes, I realized that you get nowhere and everything hurts. So for those runners out there, I salute your efforts.

Last year I lived in Florida for a time and was able to get a bicycle to ride around. And I soon fell in love with biking. Not only do you exercise, but you actually get places too! I was able to go to parks that were miles away. Stores to get snacks and just go biking to clear my mind. Eventually I moved back to Minnesota, and have been planning to get a solid bike for myself here too.

A little look at how happy I was in Florida. I had a bike, a Uke, and the sunrise on the beach.

More reasons to have Coronavirus

I had a rise in inspiration and desire to start biking again, and in that spirit, I went bike shopping. Turns out, there is a massive bike shortage going on! See the link below detailing information on why and what is going on:

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a34587945/coronavirus-bike-shortage/

So as of today, I am bummed out. I WANT to start biking again, and I will probably resort to borrowing a bike like I did in Florida. But still, its sucks. Out of all the supply chain issues to be had, why did bikes have to be impacted too! For all those who did get a bike during the pandemic… good on you. For me, the wait continues.

Modern Conservatism* is the Center, not the Right.

As the 2016 and 2020 elections rolled around, I came to notice a change in society at large, specifically on how political everyone had become. Anything, EVERYTHING became a political issue. I’m sure I am not the only one that felt that. One of the narratives that has been talked about on Vox, CNN, WSJ and other sources would be the idea that the left is slightly moving left, while the right is taking a bullet train to more extreme right positions. I’m here to try to make a case that in actuality, the modern conservative (think Bush conservative) is the center today, not this evil “right-wing fanatics”.

Big Idea 1: The liberals of 20 years ago are the conservatives of today.

Sarah Binder writes (note that this is 1996) that at that point in time, there is a consistent shrinking of any semblance of “centrist” democrats and Republicans in politics. Anyone today would also probably notice a trend that in the past 20 year politics have become more and more partisan.

One thing that I notice, however, is that a typical liberal of the 2000’s would overall sound like the conservative of today. Liberals then wanted for gay marriage to be a thing. It is now. And most, if not all conservatives today are not arguing for repealing federal law allowing for gay marriage. Even Trump, the weirdest president ever, had some support in the LGBTQ+ community.

Let us not forget that it was under Clintons administration that the war of drugs began, followed up by tough rhetoric on border security and the such. If the liberals of the 2000’s were to speak today, they would be hailed as “right-wing” and “traitors” to the modern Liberal movement.

Liberals of 20 years ago were not big on having social programs expand to include money for everything. They understood that social security and similar programs were to serve as a safety net, not the building blocks for life. This, again is touted by the conservatives today, while the modern Liberals are keen on expanding government social programs to encompass more and more for the people.

Big Idea 2: Politics is constantly shifting left. Good of bad? Up to you.

The next thought that I want to bring up is that I think overall, its the Left that is shifting more left, rather than the right shifting further away. If I was to stand in one place, and you moved farther away, it would be senseless to accuse me of moving away from you, right? Well a similar thing is happening. Of course, Right wing media is accusing of the modern Left of being “communists” “socialists” or puppets of China, but that’s not the point.

New issues have taken the stage of politics today, social and economic that challenge the status quo. Transgenderism wasn’t a question 20 years ago. The idea of what gender is was understood to be connected to body anatomy and more in-depth, to the chromosome composition. Take a look at how Bill Nye “The Science Guy” addressed the question of gender in the 90’s

Its interesting that today, the question of gender is now debated on who is allowed in which bathroom and when can an individual go through a gender-transition surgery. Conservatives are holding a value that both liberals and conservatives generally held for decades, and today are treated as “moving” to the right, where the position is very much center, agreed until recently.

The new issues coming up today on the role of the government in a modern economy and society is forcing conservatives to take a stance that most liberals had years before, while the modern Left moves further into changing the status quo. Is this good or bad? depends on your outlook on life. If you are transgender, or hold a philosophy on gender that is non-traditional, then its a good thing, the political wave is moving in your favor. Good or bad is up to the individual.

Big Idea 3: Celebrating left wing politicians as “centrists” is stupid.

This is where I get more personal. It irritates me how today media (which tends to favor a modern Liberal outlook) tries to tout that the left wing politicians pushing forward new policies are “centrists” heroes who are trying to stop this wave of “right-wing” fanatics. And yes, I understand that if one goes to Fox News, they would find the same thing happening as well, although they like to tout their candidates as people of “common sense” against “radicals”.

However as stated before, the issues being brought up today are generally moving things to the Left, and the liberal candidates moving in that direction are clearly not “centrist” in any fashion.

Big Idea 4: The liberals of today might end up being the “conservatives” of 2040.

The final thing I do want to bring up is somewhat of a cautionary tale. With the political shift coming, and from my opinion, coming at an accelerated rate, if you subscribe to being more politically “left”, I have news for you! You are probably the right-wing extremists of 2040! Soon the issues that you hold, whatever it may be, will be seen as archaic and intolerant. Similar to what happened to the liberals of the 2000’s, the tide will turn and the political parties will adjust. Republicans will embrace todays Democratic policies, while the Democrats in Washington will move on to other issues and plans, touting the “New” Republicans as not accepting and trying to cause division for holding on to what was agreed upon in the 2020’s.

Its funny how that trend has been ongoing for awhile, and a part of me is excited to see how insane politics will be in the future, where issues like questions on gender and social security expansion will be a thing of the past. Where equity will (probably) replace equality as the greatest value in the nation. However, THAT conversation is probably for another blog.

*by “modern conservative” I mean to refer to more Bush-era conservatives in office, not the more recent populist candidates that have risen up during the Trump-era, although some do tout support for Trump while still holding on to traditional conservative ideals.

15* Arguments for Why This Article is Stupid

Are you a dog lover? Welcome. Cat lover? Welcome. I briefly want to touch upon an article talking about a subject I can get very passionate about: the dog-cat rivalry. The link below is to an article by vet technician Christy Caplan, who had the AUDACITY to call her piece “15 Arguments for Why Dogs are Better Than Cats”. In response, here is this blog post, humbly titled “15 Arguments for Why This Article is Stupid”

https://dogs.lovetoknow.com/15-arguments-why-dogs-are-better-than-cats

To briefly summarize, she states that dogs are awesome because they looking forward to seeing you all the time, they are easy to train, they are not dramatic when traveling and can serve in many capacities (like service dogs) along with other reasons. That beings said, there are several arguments I want to bring, some issues with how articles like that might not be giving a faithful presentation of being a dog owner.

Reason 1: Being blind to drawbacks

The biggest issue that I have with such articles is how they try to compare apples and oranges. Owning a dog and a cat have different expectations with them. Getting a cat, one is in for the cuteness and quietness of such an animal. Dog lovers tend to conveniently ignore the hassle it is in owning a dog!

Dogs, from my limited experience, are needy! Yes, cats act like the rule the world, however, they do not act like helpless peasants who need direction and someone to lead them out here or there for literally everything. One cannot leave a dog alone like cats, and expect them to be clean. Cats clean themselves. Cats don’t need to be taken for walks every few hours. Cats are not overly dependent, they are almost fully autonomous like a fellow human being.

To that note, the rest of the reasons from here on out are for pure entertainment purposes. This top bit was the main point of my argument for why articles like that are kinda missing out on the reality of owning a dog. So again, the following “reasons” are just fun jabs at dogs and dog lovers. Read at your own discretion. Have a sense of humor. Laugh a little.

Reason 2: Dogs don’t purr.

Simply said, the sound of a purring cat is awesome. Yes, dogs can wag their tails, and its fine i guess, however, their tail wagging can get them into more trouble (knocking over stuff, or hitting the person sitting next to you in the face!) Has a cats purr ever caused anyone discomfort or pain? Nope. There is NO historical record showing atrocities caused by the purr of a happy cat.

On that note, can we all acknowledge how awesome it is to get a cat to purr? Cats often have attitudes, and to get them to be happy takes some skill and effort (they are not so easily pleased like dogs, because they clearly know their worth) and the satisfaction of interacting with a random cat and getting them to purr is worth an Olympic gold metal.

Reason 3: Dogs are too BIG. (And the ones that are small are evil)

For dog owners, how is having a giant beast land on you comfortable in any way? Yes sure, its cute to maybe cuddle for a few minutes, but dogs are huge! And often in need of washing too! Sure, some of you would then point out how there are smaller dogs, and you are right. But one will notice a trend if you look carefully… the smaller the dog gets, the bigger they try to compensate with overly aggressive attitude!

For some reason, smaller dogs tend to be louder, and more mean (Think chiwawa) while cats are small-ish and tend to be cute all the time (unless you own a phyco cat, in which case, that’s your problem). With most cats, cuddling with them doesn’t crush half of your body, AND they tend to be well groomed. Take THAT dog owners!

Reason 4: BARK BARK BARK!

Recently I had the *privilage* of doggy sitting four giant dogs. Walks were tedious, they constantly wanted attendtion and spent alot of time going at each other. Fine. Its the day, let them live a little. Eventually I settled down to sleep, as did the dogs, all around my bed. Sometime in the middle of the night, a car drove near the house… and out of nowhere the dogs exploded into a frenzy of barking.

Yes, I get it. Dogs are protective and will help keep criminals away. Thank you. But imagine having to deal with such disturbances EVERY NIGHT? My question for dog owners: why do you willingly subject yourselves to such torture at night? Generally dogs are extremely loud. With cats, your lucky is they every meow back at you.

“Bark! Bark! Bark!” – Dogs at 3am… why?!?

Reason 5: Admit it, dogs are kinda… dumb?

Many people use very generic examples to show that dogs are smarter than cats. Look, this dog is trained to walk right next to me! Look, this dog stays when I tell it to stay! And things like that. First, cats refuse to be slaves, thus they refuse to be ordered around. Power to them. Second, when it comes to untrained behavior, or natural behavior in a home enviornment, dogs do some stupid things! Take for example their illogical protection of food.

If you gave a dog a bone, and then tried to touch it, or take it back, how would the average dog react? A while back, my grandma was hanging out with other family members and had a relatives dog sitting next to her. That dog was chewing on something or whatnot. My grandma reached down to grab something, either her purse of whatever, and in response the dog bit her, protecting whatever it was chewing.

Dog owners will say that it is a virtue. “Look, dogs protect their property!” One could say. But this is dumb. Dogs literally bite the hand that feeds them. Many times I have interacted with my cats while they ate. If I move their bowl of food, they do not freak out. They understand that I will feed them, that by moving the bowl, I am not stealing from them. Another thing I could throw in here is how dogs, if let outside will run off and go bug other people, while cats maintain their distance, because they ain’t dumb. Just sayin.

Reason 6-15: Behold… kittens

This photo has the magical ability to destroy any lofty arguments made in that hurtful article about dogs being “awesome”. The author of that article clearly has not spent enough time seeing the adorable faces of such felines. Enjoy.

One of the biggest revelations I hope that you, dear reader, will have is that this rivalry has been ongoing for centuries, and will continue ongoing until scientists create a gloriously mixed new animal that has all the cuteness of cats with all the favorable traits of dogs. Until that day comes, I am firmly in the #CatTeam. Where are you?

The Upcoming War?

America is no longer the super-awesome-over-the-top nation it once was. And I’m not talking about the internal problems the United States faces today, issues that have been suppressed for so long that its all coming back in destructive implosions. I’m talking about Americas international power, and its ability to keep aggressive nations at bay.

In this spirit, I want to share two links, one for NBC news, and another from Global Times, about a situation that has been ongoing for awhile near the Island nation of Taiwan.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/china-s-growing-firepower-casts-doubt-whether-u-s-could-n1262148

And here is the one from Global times.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202104/1222217.shtml

This file photo shows Chinese troops and military equipment at the Vostok-2018 military drills at Tsugol training ground in Siberia, Russia, on September 13, 2018. MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GETTY

Both articles talk about the ability of the United States to protect the Island of Taiwan, a nation under constant vigilance, holding on to its democratic ways. This possible conflict is talked about on the news often, but not as much in social circles.

What do you think? Will America be drawn into a conflict with China in a more military-centric way? Would the United States be willing to get involved in a conflict half across the world?

Writing… is kinda Difficult

I don’t know about many of you, but writing sounds easy, but isn’t.

I often have found myself, not even in school, but in the day-to-day, struggling to put my thoughts on paper. For me, it takes a TON of time to contemplate what I want to say, and then I end up struggling with what exactly I was trying to say and how to say it correctly? Connecting with me here?

For the purpose of this blog, I’m assuming that others reading this (if you actually end up reading this, wow, good on you!) possibly also struggle with putting words onto paper (or screen). So, to throw everyone out there a bone, I went and did what others, who struggle mightily, do: googled how to write, or at least ease the process of writing.

https://www.marian.edu/academics/marian’s-adult-programs/online-and-accelerated-programs-blog/blog/2017/10/23/dread-the-thought-of-writing

Sure, all your writing anxiety hasn’t suddenly disappeared after reading a blog about a blog that has to do with writing as well, but I do hope it gives you all some ray of hope. Writing is NOT impossible. Writing CAN be done! And WOW, would you look at that, I ended up writing all of this in a span of literally 5 minutes. Time to do some editing.

Adios!

Twin Cities Takes Care: mRNA vaccines

2020 will be remembered as a year of many things. One of those would be the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we will be looking into the biggest differences with a new form of vaccine technology, and the awesome benefit that it brings with it!

The big idea with mRNA vaccines is based on HOW they cause the immune system to respond and how it trains the immune system. While more traditional vaccines tend to inject the human body with weakened strands or even dead versions of a certain disease, the mRNA vaccines tend to focus in on a protein strand, or part of it.

Traditional vaccines work as they show in cartoons or movie (for those who remember anyways) where you are injected with a weakened version of a disease, with the aim of your body having to fight it, while having an advantage. After fighting off the new infection, the body then arms itself for future battles against any such incursions moving forward.

The mRNA works in theory the same way, differing in WHAT is put into your body. Instead of teaching the body to recognize the whole part of an infectious disease without having to actually go through the struggle of fighting off the disease itself. Once injected with (most commonly) a protein strand found in a certain disease, like Covid-19, the body recognizes that there are foreign proteins present, and goes to build an immune response. The person who later encounters someone sick with COVID might pick up a thing or two, but the body immediately recognizes those same proteins in the COVID cells, and immediately goes out to protect the body, ensuring the person does not go through the struggle of learning to fight the disease.

For more information, please visit the CDC website, where they can go into further detail on the issue!

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mRNA.html?s_cid=10506:mrna%20vaccine%20technology:sem.ga:p:RG:GM:gen:PTN:FY21