February 2009


Some crazy scientist at Oxford has just uncovered some extraordinary news! It turns out that being active on Facebook, as well as other social networking sites, rewires a developing brain. Wow, that is groundbreaking. It’s not like learning how to play an instrument, listening to music, reading a story, playing sports and other activities will rewire a child’s brain. Oh wait, yes it does. Why is Miss Scientist so concerned? She feels that communicating online will eventually phase out real life conversations and dampen social skills. Someone should remind her that instant messaging has been around forever and that AOL allowed for profiles and social networking long before MySpace or Facebook ever came about.

Emily Yoffe at Slate says this scientist is concerned that “we are at risk of raising a generation of solipsists.” Are we? Or is the solipsist in all of us attracted to this medium of communication and sharing?

Someone needs to calm the alarmists down. Apparently, children’s brains are getting damaged because they aren’t engaging in activities that they have been for millennia. One would think that a child wakes up, spends all day on Facebook, and then goes to sleep and repeats the same thing everyday. Fact check: they don’t do that – adults do and it’s called work (how do you think all that daytime Facebook activity goes on?). Someone should remind these scientists that adult brains are capable of being rewired, damaged and reshaped, too.

I pose this question to those who think that Rock and Roll, TV, radio and Facebook are ruining the younger generation: Do you think there might be a certain personality type that is addicted to those activities? Is social networking ruining the brains of young children, or are young children with the disposition to abuse social networks being ruined?

Guns don’t kill people. People who want to own those guns and kill people… um, kill people.

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California is in a deep hole. There is no doubt about that. A bill in California has been introduced to legalize production, transportation and sale of the plant (notice I didn’t say drug, oh wait… dammit) in the state. We’re not going to go into a pro versus con argument on the legalization of drugs here because the argument is moot. It’s not going to be a gateway for the legalization of all drugs and not everyone will start doing it because it’s legal – although that really wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? With taxation and turning marijuana into a legitimate business in California, it is estimated that it could generate up to $1 billion in revenue. Although I’d imagine that it’s entirely possible to get that $1 billion from Humboldt, Berkeley, the UC system and Stanford apart from the rest of the state. Come on, Arnold! Rally the troops and make this happen! Oh, and to the hardcore conservatives of California who are going to dismiss this without even a second thought (monetarily and scientifically): Fuck you!

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Have you ever seen those TV shows that play clips of robbery bloopers? Shows that are entitled “World’s Dumbest Criminals” or “America’s Dumbest Criminals,” you know what I’m talking about? Well, not to be terribly insensitive but I just had to laugh when I received an update on the Fruitvale BART situation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having lived in San Francisco, I’m familiar with most of the BART stops and I also know this one well.

First, let me just say this: BART is not really that safe – as if I had to remind anyone who’s ever been on the train. Not long ago, a kid was shot by police while pinned down at a BART station. This past week, there were shootings at Daly City’s BART stop and a stabbing that lead to a death at the Fruitvale stop. Always remember to take safety precautions and to stay vigilant when you’re riding BART or any other mode of public transportation.

A young fellow named Victor Veliz held a knife to the throat of a visitor from the East Coast while his friend, Christopher Gonzalez, threatened to shoot the victim. Apparently, this victim had a bad feeling about the two as he got onto the train as he told his friend over the phone. (Hint: If you have a bad feeling, take the next train or get onto the next car.) In a flurry of panic, the victim managed to grab the knife, land a punch on one of the assailants and stab the other in the chest.

Bravo, Mr. East Coast Victim!

Is it bad that this thrills me? Well, imagine yourself at the movies following an innocent character. He finds himself in a sticky situation, such as the BART incident, and manages to thwart and hurt the villainous robbers. Tell me that doesn’t give you a rush!

Here’s what I find laughable: Gonzalez, who was stabbed in the chest, stumbled home and cried out for his mommy, daddy and sister. Meanwhile, his gangster buddy Victor made it to Gonzalez’s home with the “victim’s” cell phone, the damning evidence. Gonzalez fell into the arms of his father, and in epic fashion, died.

Enter the father who defends his son’s reputation and upholds his work ethic. Okay, your son might have had good intentions (though I highly doubt it) and he might have been as hard a worker as you say. But nothing changes the fact that he threatened another person and paid a big price for it. Hey, if you’re threatening to shoot an unarmed man and he grabs your friend’s knife and stabs you in the chest, I’d say you had it coming.

Do I feel bad? Sure, I do. Is it funny to me? Yes, it is. Why is it funny to me? No matter how desperate a situation can be, you still have decisions to make and you have to take responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions. Crying to your parents after you threatened to kill someone elicits a chuckle and having your father say, “I want someone to pay,” is even laughable. Sorry, daddy, but you didn’t do your job. Someone did pay for what happened – it was your son. The victim, on the other hand, is let go for self-defense.

From SF Gate