Obama Won

Obama won.

Shouting and celebration was met by a quiet rumbling of a dream of a junior king some time ago. I consider myself guilty of putting more attention of the politics of a country other than my own, but, frankly, who can blame me? That democratic race was a ride, full of gaffes and inspirational moments that made it unforgettable. All of those dirty moves and emotional speeches entertained me greatly for the last two years, always making me think about what will happen to the world with the next leader of that hate-it-or-love-it country. And, of course, I am going to be able to say that I was alive when the first black president of the USA was democratically elected.

However, I'm feeling somewhat disturbed. An stereotype, even if it has an apparent positive side to it, is still a generalisation, which takes offence and that must be straightened. Some news organisations and many US citizens are feeling pride of having elected a black man to office; and it bothers me because it is implying a racial stereotype that I thought was already overcome. Obama seems to be a good man, and if he is, that is the reason to celebrate, but to be joyful because he is black has a weight of prejudice that I see very similar as wanting a black man in your basketball team. I understand the historic implications of having elected a a black president, and it is truly a landmark event, but to present that as evidence of moral evolution and stating it as a reason to "believe in the USA again", is the same as being proud of not going to jail. Let me remind you that in that same election, Proposition 8 (a California state amendment banning gay marriage) was passed.

Was Nelson Mandela celebrated this way when he was elected president of South Africa? Would people feel the same pride when electing a white man to that office (he would be the first)? A Korean right now is the Secretary General of the UN (a highly important position in world politics), an African, a Chinese and many others of different ethnicities have been elected to that same office, where was their celebration? There wasn't, because there shouldn't be. Obama himself stated that race is only the core of oneself, not our identity. Obama's performance as a president will be irrelevant of his skin colour, so being proud of having a black president concedes itself as plain ignorance and prejudice.

For the record, I'm happy that Obama was elected, out of the two he seemed more humane, honest, and I really like his speeches, but, like with any other politician, I'm not keeping my hopes up. Frankly, none of the persons that were considered during the race seemed adequate. That bottleneck of a system that breaks people and gives out candy for following orders is still in place. Even though Obama frequently distanced himself from McCain, their policies on the fundamental issues of democracy and wealth are not that different (they both voted for the bailout plan). USA is still shouting itself as the beacon of democracy when in reality it's anything but... the citizen didn't get to rule on the war in Iraq (even with all the protests), or the bank bailout plan, or the healthcare system, which have far greater importance than the propositions they actually get to vote on. The only time they get to decide on an important national issue is for the presidency, the race for which spends millions of dollars of endorsements by corporations that are planning to cash their check later, and the options for which are just different flavours of the same thing. I'm sorry, but this is no different than before, other than the fact that the person elected is black; to shout "Look at us! We got the black guy on top, aren't we civilised?" is like a crack addict claiming progress because he only does coke now.

A truly democratic country would have the people running the country. It'd skip all the smokes and mirrors that this pseudo-democratic system has put in place, and make every citizen a politician. Debating each other, reading upon the issues, and getting acquainted with the world outside of their house, the population itself would strive to reach a true country-wide consensus. However, a person today is too busy to read, too tired to debate, and too docile to contradict the status quo. I won't get into why this is so, but I will say it is not entirely the person's fault.

And for all of you that are thinking "We just voted a black man for office, how is that not contradicting the status quo?", remember that you still went into the same ice cream store you have gone into for the last hundred years, the only difference is that you asked for chocolate instead of vanilla.


Because of my research endeavours (or, rather, my attempts of), I've been reading a bit more than usual about the topics of my project. And usually, to start off a thread of thought about a certain subject, I start out by first looking on Wikipedia, and then stranding off from there.

However, I stumbled upon this article that talks about the Corruption of Wikipedia. A little bit long for my taste, but interesting nonetheless. The subtitle of the article reads 'Can Wikipedia be Reformed?' (which, in my opinion, if it is corrupted, that's the question I would like to be answered), but the article extends upon various unfortunate situations that occurred to several researchers that created content for Wikipedia, at Wikipedia's fault (at least, that's what the author implies), and no real answer is given. The article's main points can be summarised as:

  1. Wikipedia has evolved into a hierarchy, similar to a bureaucracy, with Jim Wales, aka 'Jimbo', aka 'God-King', at the top, with total power over the site's content. To be part of and remain in this bureaucracy no knowledge of certain areas are needed, just a "devotion to Wikipedianism".
  2. This results in 'amateurs' running the show, and 'real scientist/researchers' left out. This is a problem, as the researchers are actually the main content creators of the site (I really doubt that this is true, but for the sake of argument I'll let it slide). Meaning that for a certain topic to be clarified, an MIT Professor has to debate with a high school graduate about the amount of ions in a glass of milk. These debates are usually won by the amateur teenager as they have more time in their hands to edit the content more frequently (deleting the Professor's contribution, replacing it with theirs). Coincidentally, because of the number of edits and stride for "Wikipedianism" shown by the teenager, he/she is ranked higher than the Professor.
  3. Having the amateur on top, makes for an ignorant fool to be able to label real research as 'vandalism' and changing/banning the contents of articles about subjects out of their scope of knowledge.
  4. This frustrates the real researchers, making them stop contributing and, thus, stopping contribution all together in the near future.

The rest of the article, frankly, constitutes a long, worn-out rant. A frequent reference was the case of another contributor called Gann, in which at one point denounces the use of the concept of 'Conflict of Interest' when he tried to cite his own findings in an article that was of the subject he's an expert on. Although he does seem to the see the point of why this rule is necessary ("You don't want every unpublished crank using Wikipedia to propagate his crackpot views"), he fails to see that the main problem is not the actual rule but the usage of it... I'll explain myself later. At this point I want to to also cover another interesting titbit coming from Gann. I'll post the whole thing here:

This was not only one bad experience, but the worst of several - plus the lack of fairness in the implementation of rules, which seem to apply to some and not others. I've quit jobs at paying publications for less provocation. Perseverance would have gotten me further where? What was I trying to achieve? I was doing Wikipedia favors. How many bad experiences should it have taken me to no longer want to do things for them? If there is a permanent structural problem in using my own research and expertise, what possible incentive could I have to continue? What would I want to write about except my own areas of expertise? When I see such abundant evidence from the people who have posted here and all those experts who have left Wikipedia that the problems will certainly continue and there is no structural process for avoiding them, why would I volunteer to continue fighting fights in which I have nothing whatever to gain?

What is there to gain? What incentives are there? ...talking like a true researcher.

When I decided to undergo my academic career, I did it coming from the business side of things, where people are constantly trying to gain up on each other and the ego of one has to be contemplated when negotiating with another. You're constantly licking boots and kissing behinds just to get a good deal, and always trying to see what you can get out of it. I was sadly disappointed when I realised that the academic side is no different.

"In normal academic practice, the views of experts are solicited and discussed." This is because any discussion without that 'expert' in the room is considered an insult, which will provoke later publications delayed out of that account because that expert is usually their reviewer.

"In normal academic practice, expertise is honored and respected." This makes the creation of new knowledge difficult, as egos have to considered. Finding out anything out of the status quo of the Professor's ideology is research suicide.

"The problem is that Wikipedia forces its contributors to come to a consensus, and building consensus with a crank is a fool's errand." Unfortunately, to have a PhD only proves to a small amount of people that you're not a crank. To the rest of the world, it doesn't matter, and it shouldn't matter. Believe me, I've had my share of "consensus" with PhD-bearing cranks.

(Making a brief parenthesis here. I'm reading this while writing it, and it seems like I'm saying that everything from the academic side is crap. It's not, obviously, and I will explain myself later.)

The beauty of Wikipedia, or rather the Wiki concept, is that it doesn't matter who you are, you can write or delete its content. The author of this article, and the persons he referenced, come to the table thinking that their research contributions entitles them a golden rod in every corner of the knowledge-loving world, which I can't help feeling as being arrogant.

"On Wikipedia, academic experts who have tried to participate have been denigrated as 'self-promoters', censored, and then banned." Stating in an article that something is so because a certain reference says so, and then pointing to your own thesis is self-promoting. It is another reference made to your work, elevating your academic status (answering the question "What am I getting out of this?"). If these researchers think that their contributions should come with a pat on the back and some type of retribution, maybe they shouldn't have gone into research in the first place.

Besides, coming into an article and 'contributing' your own findings as being knowledge that has to be accepted and not modified because you are from the 'academic side', is as dangerous as somebody coming into a news corporation and stating what can and can't be broadcasted because they're from the government.

Academic research doesn't hold a stranglehold on knowledge or common sense. The number of articles a person has published doesn't relate to the person's knowledge of the subject. I know of people who have read in their own free time hundreds of papers in Biology and not have one publication in the subject, but can give a whole lecture on it. Many of the persons that have revolutionised our way of seeing our world have come from the outside the academic circle:

  • John Harrison, clockmaker. Revolutionised the way ships made their way through vast oceans.
  • Srinivasa_Ramanujan, indian child. Contributed in many areas of mathematics with no formal training.
  • Guillermo González Camarena, mexican radio-amateurist. Held a patent for a color television set, later used by NASA to take picture and video of Jupiter.

And Wikipedia is a way for these persons to share their knowledge without the need to obtain a high-level degree just to be recognised by other high-level-degree-bearing persons.

However, to be fair (this wouldn't be my blog without hitching out the other side too)...

Wikipedia is banning information? Censoring? That's too much. Even though I don't contribute to the Wiki movement much (I'm more of a leech), censoring is an important point that this movements stands against. One of the big problems of the academic research mob (which disgustingly resembles a political party at times) is that in paper the ideologies seem nice, but they fail when acting upon them because of poor judicial elements. Everything the author referenced could be worked around by having a close eye on how the consensus procedures are going along and if any person on top is misusing their privileges. But the Wikipedia heads are failing to act upon their own statures.

The situation of the author is not infrequent, unfortunately, and the freedom that a person is promised by Wikipedia to share knowledge is being taken away by another set of egos. And these are fed by the article-editing obsession to be on top, making them worse than the academic ones.

Institutions that are reigned by a handful of persons that promise an alternative from another bureaucratic institution, are bound to become one. The fact that Jim Wales can change any article he pleases is a problem, a big one. Wikipedia has now the potential to become either a knowledge dictatorship (which in our time, is a very dangerous thing), or a place of knowledge with its own conscience, with no person bearing all the power. 'Jimbo' is not comfortable giving this up, it seems; having too much power does that to a person.

An important subject is the way that the heads of Wikipedia are being chosen. The fact that a person edits a lot of articles doesn't imply that such person is qualified to edit ANY article. I think there should be a careful re-thinking of how a someone gets a higher rank, specifically judging by the quality of judgement taking place when editing and the type and scope of articles he/she is editing. Because, if a high-level degree is not necessarily a sign of good judgement, neither is an obsession for article-editing. And this is a failure coming from both sides: it is erroneous to think that any one attribute is sufficient to state the qualifications of a person in a scientific area. A hands-on debate, coupled with a wide account of references, is a good starting point for me to judge if a person is knowledgeable; both sides are failing to do even this, for their own ego-filled reasons.

There are obviously very nice, down-to-earth people in the academic side, as well as they are intelligent people with common sense inside the Wikipedia site. A recent Wikiversity topic has been created called Wikipedia Studies, the aim of which is to find the problems of Wikipedia and bring out solutions for them. As John Schmidt, a Wikiversity Editor, states in the comments area of the article: "Some Wikipedians are rude to other editors, which violates the civility policy. I'm sorry if you have been treated rudely at Wikipedia. [...] I think it is possible to improve Wikipedia by working from withing the system. The community is in control....[sic] its just tricky for such a large and rapidly growing community to recognize and repair the problems that arise. We need your help."

PS. One more thing: just because the name "Wikipedia" ends like the word 'Encyclopaedia', doesn't mean that it is a valid source of information. Wikipedia is NOT the sole indicator of what is in the world. So:

Wikipedia heads: you're job is well-appreciated, but get off your horse, editing articles doesn't entitle you the virtue of knowledge, and I can always go somewhere else for my information. You're not essential, so stop acting as if you were.

Researchers/experts: get through your heads that there's a world out there that doesn't care about your publications and so-called 'expertise'. If you can't reach a consensus with a nutcase because he thinks he knows everything, maybe it is time to see that reflection in the mirror more closely.

And readers, yeah you, don't think that you are out of the hook on this one: the reason why Wikipedia got so arrogant was because of your laziness at research. Wikipedia is just one source, and getting all of your information from just one source is not only lazy, it is dangerous and just plain dumb.

I will, Mom.

"Are you ok?", the paramedic screamed. I nodded. "We need to check her, son." There was no need... she was gone. He grabbed her wrist, trying to find a heartbeat, and sighed heavily while his stare went blank.


"This is RAID 800.75 FM! The time is 8:15 am, time for you to wake up, sleepy bird!" While a big yawn poured out of my mouth, I looked at the ceiling and the absence of the scent of burnt toast filled the air. "Happy birthday, son!", dad yelled. "Yeah, yeah..." They don't matter anymore; not without her. "Ok, mom, you're right," climbing out of bed, I yelled back, "Thanks, dad."

"I'll try to smile a little today for you, mom," I walked out the door, turning my music player as a distraction, but I know, she knows, it's of no use. The bus was late, as always, "I'll try to be patient, I know, mom."

"Are you sure about that theorem? I'm not convinced of the validity of your mathematical proof", the Professor threatened, with his usual pompous stare. "I know you have proven the reverse of this", I replied, staring back. "But your assumptions are too strict. If we loosen the restrictions, my proof is valid. Believe me, it's correct." Her stare filled me with acceptance. She knew I was right; I knew I was right; that's all that mattered.

Afterwards, at the bar, some friends and family gathered for a brief drink. "Good job on defending your work, bro!", a friend cheered. "Thanks", I replied. "Oh, don't be modest! You looked at the Professor right at the eye and basically said his long-proven theorem was outdated. You have balls, man!", he insisted. "He got that from our mom", my brother replied. I felt a little smile come upon my face. Then, perhaps out of too much alcohol in his blood stream, my friend slurred out, "Have you ever thought what would it be like if your mom would still be around?".

The silence in the table woke up everybody for their drunken daze. "No. And to answer your other question: Would I bring her back If I had the chance? No, I wouldn't", I calmly said back. The oxygen inside the bar went down a couple of litters, as everybody gasped simultaneously. "I'm proud of who I am, and am such because of her and what happened to her. To want her back would be an insult of her doing, of her sacrifice. She gave her life for me to be who I am. What mother hasn't done the same thing for her son?"


As I looked at my mother's blood-stained face, she looked upon my tear-filled eyes. "Don't worry, baby. You're ready. Make me proud."

"I will, mom."

Where I'm Going

"I don't know where I'm going", one of the many themes of my life throughout it. It has been plaguing my conscience since I was given the gift of memory... or, depending how you see it, the curse of remembrance. It is this lack of knowledge that has, ironically, made me who I am: lonely, confused, and detoured.

Little by little I've been finding peace in that confusion: the fact of not having control on everything has evolved from being torture to a feeling of liberation; loneliness has finally uncovered itself as something that my subconscious yearns for, so I shouldn't escape from it; the sun has its virtues, and the moon isn't perfect.

I tend to write these posts as a way of freeing from me my demons and my angels, to communicate to the world what I'm feeling, and, thus, let go. However, as I read through my life, there hasn't been the change that I was trying to accomplish: I still don't know where I'm going. I find myself wanting my past, probably because I know how it ends. I keep seeing in others those entities that have followed me here, and they don't let me grasp on the current situation of uncertainty. I keep recognising patterns that are probably not there, and I cry and follow them as if I'm back then. There have been a couple of times in which nobody could deny the familiarity between the two instances (past and present), and it has been those couple of times that have been (and are) difficult.

However (oh, how I'm loving that word right now), a thought has come to me, for which I'm ever so eternally grateful for. That is the next step, that is the next peaceful confusion that I need to conquer and, from what I'm recollecting, I am (we are) doing slow-but-steady progress on:

No se a dónde voy, pero sé con quién voy.
I don't know where I'm going, but I know who I'm going with.
Alejandro Jodorowsky

Thank you... thank you so much, my love.


I haven't written or recorded in a long time, so I've decided to do both:

The song has greatly impacted me since I knew of the existence of José González. I first heard it when he was touring with Zero 7, where they played their version of the song. It sounded like that kind of sound that could mean different things to different people, each, in essence, hearing a different song.

It's interesting how people do that. One person says one thing, and the other understands another. Not because of stupidity or ignorance, but because it's our nature. We carry baggage that gets in the way. Our sub-conscience is very powerful and sometimes can distort things to a point of creating misunderstandings. I've tried leaving some of my baggage to rest with some success, but I think that such baggage can identify a great deal who we are. It's in that decision of what we carry and what we leave in the road that truly defines us.

Coincidentally, what I hear from the song is exactly that: crossroads, decisions, and the baggage that goes with it. This recording shows how I listened to it... this is my version.

Diary Entry of Pilates


My spies came to me with the news of gross behaviour of an individual inside Palestine, preaching words of cannibalism and vampirism. I've heard some of these stories before, from fairy tales of the old Druids up in the Celtic territories.

The reports informed me that he had illegally gathered twelve slaves, "disciples" he called them, showing them examples of his mind-numbing powers. He apparently also worked well with hypnosis, as many peasants had said of him doing miraculous things. My men described these "miracles" as only foolery and illusion; I thank the Roman Gods, as they protect us well. Still, he seemed strong and potentially dangerous, so we had him followed and seized. One of his slaves was freed off his power by one of our most powerful priests; it was at a high cost, though, as our priest went into a comma for forty days from the effort. When freed, the slave pointed us to him. Interestingly, his mind went numb again shortly after and crawled back to his owner in remorse, as if he wanted to be enslaved again. My scouts found the slave's body under a tree afterwards... poor fool, one even comes to pity such blind obedience... we did pay him a fair amount for his deed.

When the man was brought in front of me, I asked him for his name. He said that it wasn't relevant, as he was just one of many that would come. He told me that his denominated "angels" would fall from the sky and grant my kin immortality by only drinking their blood, which rang congruent with the Druids' tales. These stories also describe horrid nightmares, and constant pains and suffering endured by these "angels", also known as vampires. Immortal, yes, but in a repeating cycle of hunger and hunt that no man should confuse as a divine reward; it is a condemning punishment. Death should be the only true reward for any Roman.

His stare dug inside my head, and his smile left no room for doubt of the truth of not only his words but of the thoughts that I just described. His teeth, salivating over the sight of my naked throat, sent chills through my spine. I knew this being should not be let loose, but, under Roman Law, the only judge for this was the will of the Jewish people, a favour from the emperor to their kind. Before the hearing, we tortured the being to try and weaken its power over the crowd. I also sent several incitators into the crowd to cheer for the petty thieve I put at the beast's side as the alternative. Who knew that the love of the family of this thieve would win over so many of the hearts of the crowd and momentarily overcome the being's numbing power? Who knew that mankind's ability to love by means of empathy would be its true saviour?

After the thieve was proclaimed as free, we set our eyes to the beast. We made it bleed to see if it secreted any clues, but our alchemists found an enigma with no resolution: its blood was human, but didn't carry any life. I ordered a handful of guards to angry the beast, to taunt him into attack and see how strong its power was against the protection of our Gods. The being didn't react however, his stance expressed weakness and relinquish; pity, I would've enjoyed to see a test of our Gods' powers.

We let it carry its cross over the hill, like any Jew, while many of its followers wallowed. Some helped, but the rest just watched. I don't understand the usefulness of such power: the only thing you can do with it is force people to praise and follow you, but not to protect you, that is left to their own will. This makes me believe that it is possible that this vampire wasn't fully matured and hadn't developed that part of his ability yet. If this is true, it was a fatal judgement on the timing of when to come to our plane; a simple, idiotic mistake. Mankind is truly lucky.

Some of my spies have reported some peasants describing a resurrection, which may appear to be worrisome, but precautions were taken. The guards watching over the cross of this being took the necessary steps, described in the Druids' tales, to kill a vampire: through a punctured heart. This "resurrection" story must be an invention of the peasants, trying to deviate some attention off from the beast onto them... it wouldn't be the first time.

I've been also informed that some followers "converted" to a new religion, having this being as their prophet with the name of Christ, or the Appointed One; appointed by who, I wonder. Others report that some "disciples" are starting to preach of a new, unifying god that has befallen over us, and that the recent earthquake is evidence of his anger towards the Roman empire.

I am not worried, in fact, I'm even amused by the whole thing. Our astronomers knew of such an earthquake, and laugh at the coincidence. I suspect that this following is just some residue of the being's power, and that this "Christianity" is just a fad that will die on its own in the coming years.

Similar and Details

My thoughts began to wonder today of the similarity between you and me. I always thought that we were different: I was special, and that you are as well... but, then, everybody is and, thus, isn't.

So that thought came on to me today (well, frankly, for the last few days)... similar. Interesting, as that word is probably one of the most similarly used word throughout the world (it means the same thing in many languages). But as I turn around to you, I can only see differences: skin color, height, character, points of view, etc. We are different.

You see, that's the beauty of this word: it doesn't mean "equal", it's more like "not the same, but close enough". And that's exactly what we are, the rest are details; but it is on those details that wars are fought, genocide after genocide is justified, and blind-hatred is harvested. "God is in the details", they say. Coincidentally, I know of others that say "The devil is in the details". Minor detail, I suppose.

So they are important (ask the wife of a 20-year-old marriage that didn't get a Valentine's Day present if they are or not). Doesn't that tell you of the mass obsessive-compulsive disorder that we as a global community suffer? Those details are all minor, no two words about it: everything you see in others as different is minor, irrelevant, unimportant... at least they should be. The human body as a concept is so similar all over humanity that it is the sole reason we are considered as one species. If we go over to the thoughts section of the body, at the end of the day every human out there desires the same thing, just have different, conflicting ways to get there. Minor detail, I suppose.

Mayonnaise? Ketchup? Mass on Sunday? Prayer on Friday? It's been over 5,000 years, and we still haven't agreed on any of these? For the looks of it, it seems that we don't even want to. What is there to gain if we do come to an agreement? Peace? Guess that it isn't as much fun as seeing people getting tortured to "save" the other side.

"We're right, they're wrong. Stick with that story until you die."

What about "we're both wrong"? Because, I'm pretty sure none of us is right. We're human, we're bred to be wrong.

"I'm entitled to my opinion", yeah and it's wrong. There's always going to be something that you haven't considered, a detail you've overlooked; there lies the problem with everybody. For some reason, we've always assumed the other side knows the details that we know, and when they violate those details, an Inquisition of the Spanish kind takes place. It isn't their fault they don't know our details; in the most part, it's ours: we haven't been communicating them enough, or haven't got the vision of others needing to know them because we always think that our side is the 'normal', universal one. And, when the dust clears, the suspects are questioned/purified and the rest are exiled. The details are known, yes, but it's either too late (with nobody else there to applaud you) or too lame (killing any good argument you may have had).

So, we're both wrong.
Well, it's obvious how you're wrong: you're missing my A and B... How am I wrong?
... I'm missing your X and Y? You're kidding! Really? Hmm. Minor detail, I suppose.

The False Prophet

He sat there with a grin in his face, "You see? That's why I'm here." He didn't budge, he just wrinkled his eyebrow in disbelief. "Fine. Don't believe me. Wait another four days, and you'll see what I mean." Finally giving up, he lowered his eyes to his coffee, "Okay, say I believe you. What are you proposing? Revolution? How can that make sense? You're trying to avoid a disaster, not start it." "You're not listening. Revolution as in change. If we start now, we could make it so that the end of your existence would never come", adding more cream to an almost empty glass. "Start what? I'm trying to listen, but you're just stating vague assumptions and doubtful facts, no specific action." "Vague assumptions? What is vague about complete and utter non-existence?" "That's not the point. You want to revolt people to avoid conflict. Don't you see the hypocrisy there?" "Ah, hypocritical am I? You sitting here waiting for death to happen, and then you judge me, the only sensible voice here trying to avoid it." "But what am I suppose to do to avoid it?!" "Speak up. Tell people what they are and what they need to be doing." "I'd be asking people to stand up to overthrow a divine leader." "In a way, yes, but not by hostile measures. And it would be to put a new, fairer divine plan in place and change the outcome of our repeating end. This is about universal justice: the memory of you will not be, and will continue to not be unless you do something about it." He pondered a bit, looked up and sighed acceptance.

The bar was as you'd expect a bar would be at five o'clock in the afternoon. He stood up and looked around to find a pair of eyes that would connect with his. A couple in the corner were already glaring at him with scarring judgement. He looked back with appreciative understanding, "This is the life you'll live in the next four days, but then: Puff! You want to change it? You'd be interested in doing so. If not, you, me, and the spiky haired freak at your side will cease to exist." The spiky haired freak rose up with anger on his forehead and a fist in his hand, "Excuse me, sir, but I don't think I heard you correctly. Did you just threaten me?" He stood his ground, without fear (to his surprise), "The threat is already here, my friend. Your trajectory in life is already in a downward spiral to an abyss. You're not doing what you're supposed to: change course!" His mind went blank.

He woke up in what seemed to be a hospital bed, and an earthquake of a head. A lady that seemed like a nurse came in, "My! Look who has woken up? You got one hell of a beating, sir. Have some aspirin, you're probably in dear need of it." She hands him a glass of water, barely touching his hand. "You've been the talk of the ICU; they're calling you the fortune teller." "What date is it?", he coughed. "You've been out for four days. Good timing, I'd say. I overheard the doctor say that, when you finally came to, you'll be asked to stay in the hospital a bit more time. Psychiatric care: doctors are not fond of all that talking-to-yourself thing. I guess it doesn't matter much now." "I wasn't... that was..." he looked closely at her. "Who are you?" "That doesn't matter, sir. Right now is your time of glory. Look out the window and see your prophecy come true. Wonderful, isn't it?"

He painfully turned his head to see a black shadow fall from the sky. He looked at the clock in front of him, ticking away. "There's time" he said. He started to wrestle out of the bed's sheets. "You might think that, but why spoil it? Isn't it beautiful? Just look at the magnificent treachery literally falling over this world! Man strives to be God pursuing His perfection. Ha! That emptiness there, my good sir, that is perfection." He looked again, and watched the shadow eating the horizon up in such a way that he began to forget what a horizon is; his eyes swelled with awe. "What are you doing? Stand! Go and start the revolution!" he exclaimed. "I can't... she's right: it's beautiful, it all makes sense now." She smiled and climbed up his bed to lay at his side, caressing his hair. "Look at it. Nothingness. Is this what you were trying to avoid? But, why? It's... it's... what is."

Silence came upon them both and their memories sucked into oblivion, never to be thought of again. Silence became inexistent, and any concept of noise and its absence was erased. Then the act of erasing was inexplicable. An explanation became inexistent. And to exist was not to exist.

A light appeared for nobody to see. "Time. There's always time," he said. "And you're not the only one that can hear me."

Genesis 0, aka Revelations 23

Pseudo-Code for a PhD

//   Preamble    //
define interests = ['childhood dreams', 'tips of BA teachers', 'family know-how']
define max_wait_time = 10 days //change accordingly

list_of_possible_supervisors = new list()
list_of_answers = new list()
list_of_universities = new list()
   list_of_possible_universities = google(interests)
   for each (list_of_universities as university)
   for each (list_of_possible_supervisors as possible_supervisor)
      email(possible_supervisor, interests)
   //do polling of supervisor list
      for each (list_of_possible_supervisors as possible_supervisor)
         feedback = check_email_from(possible_supervisor)
         if exist(feedback)
            redefine interests = change(interests, feedback)
            if not exist(list_of_universities[possible_supervisor.university()])
         elseif possible_supervisor.current_wait_time() > max_wait_time
   while list_of_possible_supervisors.count() > 0
while list_of_universities.count() > 0

//    Aplication phase    //
//Most of it is just for show: we all know at most 1 university answers back
for each list_of_universities as university
//poll each university response
list_of_accepted_letters = new list()
   for each list_of_universities as university
      response = check_mail_from(university)
      if exist(response) and response = 'accepted'
      elseif university.current_wait_time() > max_wait_time
while list_of_universities.count() > 0
if list_of_accepted_letters.count() == 0
   return 'Failure. No applications accepted. Run again for another try.'

//   Scholarship phase    //
//assuming you have a scholarship, and if you do, it's always just 1
//that you're eligible for
if not family_savings_ok()
      if exists(feedback)
         redefine interests = change(interests, feedback)
      essay = write_essay(interests)
      [answer, feedback] = apply_to_scholarship (essay, list_of_accepted_letters)
   while answer == 'no'
   define soul = extract_from(interests)
   money = letter_from_scholarship(answer,soul)
   accepted_university = extract_from(feedback)
   money = beg_from_parents();
   accepted_university = extract_from(list_of_accepted_letters.random())

//   First year   //
supervisor = meet_supervisor(university.supervisor)
project = remind(supervisor)
list_of_papers_to_read = extract_from(supervisor)
list_of_papers_read = new list()
   for each list_of_papers_to_read as paper
      redefine interests = change(interests, paper)
      redefine project = change(project, interests, paper)
   list_of_papers_to_read = send_to_supervisor(supervisor, list_of_papers_read)
while current_time() < 10 months
redefine project = extract_from(list_of_papers_read, project, interests)
first_year_report = write_report(list_of_papers_read,project)
feedback = first_year_viva(first_year_report, supervisor)
if feedback == 'fail'
   return 'Submit for an MPhil.'
first_year_report = rewrite(first_year_report, feedback)

//   Second year   //
list_of_papers_to_write = extract_from(supervisor, first_year_report)
list_of_papers_written = new list()
list_of_publications = new list()
for each list_of_papers_to_write as paper
   list_of_papers_to_read = extract_from(paper)
   list_of_papers_read = new list()
      for each list_of_papers_to_read as paper
         redefine interests = change(interests, paper)
         redefine project = change(project, interests, paper)
      list_of_papers_to_read = send_to_supervisor(supervisor, list_of_papers_read)
   while list_of_papers_to_read.count() > 0
   paper.introduction = extract_from(list_of_papers_read)
   paper.rest = extract_from(project, interests, ass)
   journal = find_journal(paper, supervisor, project)
   if exists(journal)
      feedback = submit_to(journal,paper)
      if exist(feedback)
            paper = rewrite(paper, feedback)
            feedback = submit_to(journal,paper)
         while current_time() < journal.publishing_date()
second_year_report = write_report(first_year_report,list_of_papers_written,project)
if current_time() < 2 years
feedback = second_year_viva(second_year_report, supervisor)
if feedback == 'fail'
   return 'Submit for an MPhil.'
second_year_report = rewrite(second_year_report, feedback)

//   Third year   //
while list_of_publications.count() == 0
   for each list_of_papers_written as paper
      journal = find_journal(paper, supervisor, project)
      if exists(journal)
         feedback = submit_to(journal,paper)
         if exist(feedback)
               paper = rewrite(paper, feedback)
               feedback = submit_to(journal,paper)
            while current_time() < journal.publishing_date()
thesis.introduction = extract_from(list_of_papers_read,second_year_report)
thesis.rest = write_thesis(list_of_publications)
feedback = phd_viva(thesis, supervisor, supervisor.external_examiner)
if feedback == 'fail'
   return 'Submit for an MPhil.'
   thesis = rewrite(thesis, feedback)
   return 'Congratulations, Dr. You'
If you actually read all the way to here, and found the error in there, you my friend are sick!

Un año mas, un año menos

It has been a year... so? What's changed?

I'm in a relationship that has challenged me to not only fulfill the part that lies in my responsability and that I usually am not able to meet, but to also commit to a long-distance situation that is famous for its difficulty. However, it has sustained me, I don't know how, but if it wasn't for it, I would probably be lost (more so than I am right now); I tend to be a loner, and seeing myself relying and pursuing the oral company of someone is not something that I'd expect. At the same time, it's not a question of reliability, as being so far away there is so much that someone can do to help. It is a matter of reflection, of feedback (ironically, me in the Control Engineering side); we're a mirror of each other, with all its caveats: I talk like a madman (yes, that hasn't changed) and she's the silent type; I'm more in the commercial arts, while she's more underground; I'm a techy, she's a bio; I don't read, while she loves it; I'm a raging thundershower, she's a spring breeze; I'm a know-it-all, while she actually does. Yet, we click, we nod in the same direction... Thank you Carmen, I love you.

I'm a fullblown PhD student now, with all its glory and stress. I am getting the hang of it though, little by little. I've found that is a matter for persistance, not in the work part, but in the planning. Knowing what to do today and the next day is always comforting. That, and waking up early really helps to get over stuff quickly.

Finally, I'm still here; I'm still going at it. I guess that's the thing that I should be most grateful for. I just hope I'm going about this the right way.

A sense of wonder, the joy of day, and glory of self, all smiling concur with the sound insane.

... Sort Of

I've waited much this day, and work's completed... sort of. I always tend to describe a phase of my life by a phrase, and this past few months have been exactly that: "sort of". Everything is closer than being finished than ever before (which, logically, it always is, but that's a topic for another time), and there's a blinking light at the end of the tunnel. Blinking, unfortunately, so it may be just a figment of my imagination, which from grading my own sanity, it might probably well be.

For those that have endured my weird, non-constant, non-periodical ramblings, and care at least a little for it: you may ask yourself, "How is this any different than before?" If you haven't asked yourself that, you might want to ponder it now... don't worry... I'll wait...

... The difference is that there's no turning back now. I'm more than halfway there, it feels like it. If I know myself as well as I think I do, I know that I won't leave this unresolved; pride is one part, fear is another. Yes, fear. You see, my mum is quite the silent psychic; once she just felt that I needed to bring an extra pair of shoes to a holiday trip to a place that unexpectedly had strong showers. I think I had some of that passed on to me, as I'm always thinking "Five years from now, I'm going to regret not finishing this, being so close to it." And it is true; not the best reason to finish it I suppose, but it does the job.

It's an acquired taste this research thing, and it has been a weird path to acquire it. I'm not too sure that I've acquired it completely though; I hope that the other half of the path takes care of that.

So here I go, ready to jump in this next part, and see it through the end... sort of.

Who is screwing who?

I live under a rock, apparently. No wait, I live in the United Kingdom (which may actually qualify as being under a rock). And I just came across the most hideous way to tell your partner you're screwing someone else:

It gets even better in the strike back:

Funny, yes, but what impresses me the most is the kind of pull that this Jimmy Kimmel has! His show is nice (I've watched it a couple of times in YouTube), but it isn't that nice. Just goes to show you how far a guy can go to hurt the people he has been betrayed by.

And for the record, I know it's a gag... well, I hope it's a gag, for the good of the little dignity that Hollywood and all of the invited guests have.

A Dream

Children talk about what they want to be when they 'grow up'; dreams of yonder, and sighs of tomorrow. Unfortunately, they don't realize that it implies one little thing: growing up. A dream is affected by situations and external factors that change it, corrupt it. A dream is an innocent thing when being child, even noble sometimes (a firemen, a doctor, an astronaut), just like a child. Then, through the process of growing up, that dream grows up too. It changes: "Well, maybe not a firemen, too dangerous, why not a chemical engineer? I can still deal with fire and maybe save some lives." Then it comes to the point that it's possible that the dream, when grown up, is a completely different dream with a completely different objective then what it had when it was born... just like us.

I don't have or done many things to be proud of. Being an only child was a crutch that until very recently have I been taking away, and I'm not known as being ambitious. But I do have one thing: my dream.

As I stood there, 12 years old, in front of 30 or so parents and teachers, I recited my speech. It was for a grade for the Oral Communication class, about a week or two before I graduated from junior high. I felt a sudden stroke of steadiness in me while I was shaking like a mad man. I had my notes on my hand and the group in front of me. I started. The topic was about my top ten most influential persons; I don't remember them all, although I do believe I included the persons who helped cleaned the school as one of the top ones (I liked talking to them). Everybody was looking at me, not with the comfortless stare that I was accustomed at the beginnings of puberty, but with interest and surprising wonder. I loved it, and I craved it from then on.

I found myself directing small study groups where it was mostly me over at the blackboard explaining a problem, or everybody gathered around me and my laptop seeing how to debug lines of code. My geekiness strived around the fact that it didn't really matter if I masterfully knew the subject that I was talking about, it was about how well I transmitted what I knew about it that made the difference. Einstein, although a great mind, was a terrible teacher because he didn't know how to conduct himself in front of a group of persons.

It was during my high school years that I confirmed my dream, my 'What am I Going to Be When I Grow Up?' story: I want to be a teacher. It hasn't changed after high school; no matter what has happened around me, it just keeps getting harder and harder to steer me away from it. It also really doesn't matter if I'm in a school or not (although, I rather be in one), while for an hour or so I'm in front of a group of people and they grant me that beautiful "Oh! So, that's how it's done." And some decades later, I receive the news that one of my students made it big and became a teacher, and loves it as much as me.

Such is my everlasting dream, and tis' I: the dreamer.

Using a Motorola L6 to Connect a Powerbook G4 to the Internet by UK T-Mobile

EDIT: Sept. 5, 2009. The information presented in this post is possibly out of date. Specifically, the dial-up telephone number is suspected to have been suspended by T-Mobile UK. For information on how to use this same mobile as a GPRS-capable modem in Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6), please read this other post.

I've always liked the idea of being able to connect to the Internet from anywhere. I'm a PhD student after all, the Internet is my life now. The problem is when I'm not near a Wireless Hotspot or an Ethernet port. Cellular Signals are the next best thing: my mobile here in the U.K. has Bluetooth, my Powerbook G4 has Bluetooth. There should be a way to use my phone as a sort of modem for the laptop. Well, yes, apparently there is.

It took some time to figure out, not because it was difficult, but because T-Mobile (my carrier) doesn't give a lot of information for the appropriate setting to make this happen.

As it says on the title of this post, I used a Motorola L6 phone. My Powerbook G4 has Mac OS X 10.4.11 installed. No other software was needed.

First, I paired the phone with the laptop. It's a pretty straighforward process, I just needed to turn on Bluetooth on the Mac and on the phone and make it be discoverable. During such process though, it was important for the Mac to know that it can use the phone as a modem; almost at the end it asks such question. It can use the phone as a modem in two ways; the Motorola L6 and T-Mobile work with GPRS, so that option should be checked.

After that, it will ask for what script/driver to use and other information that T-Mobile for some reason doesn't make public, but I found them and I know for a fact that they work.

Script/Driver: Motorola iR TimePort (7089). (This one took a long while to uncover...)
Telephone Number: +447953968999
Account Name: user
Password: wap

Before you hit that "Connect" button, though, go to Systems Preferences, make it show the Bluetooth settings. Then, under the PPP tab, click on PPP Options and uncheck "Use TCP header compression". Apparently, it doesn't like it when the header is compressed, complains about it quite a lot in the logs to the point that it crashes the pppd process, leaving the device unreachable afterwards (something about failing to open the device file, because of permissions).

Also, be aware that even though I can now potentially connect to the Internet anywhere there is a cellular signal, it is very slow (took almost half a minute to pull up Google.com) and very costly (it is making a call after all) so, even though it's a nice choice for connectivity, it should just be a very nice last choice.


I frequently find myself analyzing what I'm doing and where I'm going. Unfortunately, I also find myself not doing much about it, because it turns out that, as I've seen in myself the past few weeks, I'm a very complicated being. I carry baggage, a lot of baggage. I blame this baggage for what I am, good and bad, but I think it's time I put it to rest:

"The thing with Julia and Hugo screwed me over." No it didn't, I screwed me over. I had nothing to do with this, I'm not part of their life, and they're not part of mine. We're not the threesome that we once were, but I wanted us to still be it, badly; it was me all along making my life miserable, not them... they're them and I'm me. It was nice when it was there, but now it's not, and finally I have come to the understanding that it's nobody's fault. People change, they carry on with their lives; I can't expect for them to freeze in their place while I carry on with mine. Even more so considering that they had each other for so long: it was bound to happen, and I'm truly happy for them. Congratulations if you're reading.

"Juarez will always be my home." No... Hugo was the only thing binding me to that city. Even before I left for Manchester, I knew that the house where I have lived in since I was 5 years old wasn't my house anymore, it's my parent's home. I moved to Queretaro and that was my home for a while, now I'm in Manchester and that will be my home for a while. After that? Well, that's for God to know and for me to find out... however, Queretaro seems nice enough.

"I will always be the 'lonely' one." No, Carmen has proven to be the best thing that has happened to me for a long while. If I feel lonely it's because of my own thoughts and needs, I've chosen to feel this way and I think it suits me. It's good to feel lonely, it gives opportunity for introspection and makes the time which I don't feel lonely much, much better: thank you for the time we spent together, baby, I know you're reading (coincidentally, "Wish you were here (Balkce Version)" just came up in iTunes).

Hate, intolerance... it's all baggage. I never thought that blame on others was too, but it is. Makes you think: "feeling light" may actually be a double entendre...

RIAA Satire

I hate it when people come up with funny, genius stuff before I do:

RIAA Declares Using Brain to Remember Songs is Criminal Copyright Infringement (satire)

I loved some of the comments as well: some people thought this was actually true. Unfortunately, it may not only be that the commentators are gullible. As the pace that we're seeing the RIAA handle so-called 'copyright infringement', waving the banner of 'protecting the artist' when they're really just protecting their pockets, this feels eerily possible. Being gullible or not, it's frightening just to think that this may happen someday.