Oct 31, 2016

Some Thoughts On Donald Trump and Polling

This past week, I heard two different people justifying their belief that Donald Trump will become president despite the fact that he has been consistently down in the polls with the Brexit vote. One of them was a girl standing in front of me in the sandwich line at lunch, and the other one was Milo Yiannopoulos.

I've never felt so embarrassed to pose for a picture.

This grinds my gears. It's too convenient to say that your candidate is going to win because polls are wrong. The logic is stupid: If polls were wrong for Brexit, then they will be wrong for Donald Trump. This is an apples to oranges comparison. It's not valid to compare a U.S. presidential election to a referendum that was, for all intents and purposes, happening for the first time ever. Presidential elections happen so frequently that there's quite literally a science to polling them. The same can't be said for a referendum that has very little, if any, precedents.

Perhaps my point will be countered by those who say that right-wing populist forces led to Brexit, and the same forces are fueling the rise of Donald Trump, therefore justifying a belief that it's inevitable that Donald Trump will win; again, this is the logic that if Brexit happened, Donald Trump will also happen. Again, stupid logic. Again, apples to oranges comparison. The point is, you just can't compare the Brexit vote to a U.S. presidential election. Unlike our presidential elections, there are absolutely no precedents for a Brexit referendum that will allow for any sort of serious polling to be accurate.

And there's another point that should be brought up. In the case of Brexit, support for both Leave and Remain crossed party lines. This makes accurate polling even harder. Perhaps you can argue that you're seeing some party-crossing here in this presidential election, but that's certainly something a Trump supporter would not want to bring up.

EDIT: May 27, 2017
lmao omg i was so wrong sorry

Oct 21, 2016

10 Things It Would Be A Shame To Forget

Waiting for statistics class today, my mind wandered around and recalled a few random things that we must never forget under any circumstances. Here are the precious memories:

1. That time Rand Paul was briefly detained by the TSA

 (I swear I had a dream about this incident once)

2. When the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine fried Paul Ryan for citing them as his favorite band in a Rolling Stone article

I wonder what Ryan's favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of "Fuck the Police"? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!

3. That hot summer day when Twitter kept talking about "daddy appropriation:"

4.  Pajama Boy, the photo advocating for Obamacare that conservatives freaked out about:

5. When Michelle Bachmann tweeted that "All Labs Matter" picture, inducing uncomfortable shifting in seats all throughout the nation:

 Bonus: remember when Michelle Bachmann won the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll?

6. That poor, poor raccoon who lost his cotton candy in a puddle: 

7. When David Cameron tried to impress Angela Merkel by making a slideshow of them embracing:
"Wooing Merkel is a major pre-occupation... she is coming to a private dinner in Number 10 that evening. Cameron has an idea: 'Why don't we show her a PowerPoint and give some of it in German?' The team likes the idea: it is a way of engaging her and injecting humour and informality.
... Hurriedly a presentation is cobbled together, including pictures of Cameron and Merkel hugging."
8. The time that Tony the Tiger went on a spree blocking innocent furries:

9. Those weird, somewhat disturbing tweets from Scott Walker:

10. And, finally, that tweet from Bill Kristol:

I hope you enjoy reminiscing as much as I do.

Oct 17, 2016

Something Interesting About Roman Sculptures

Here's an interesting thing about Roman sculptures that I learned today!

It's true that there are many similarities between Greek and Roman art, but one thing that was very important to the Romans was that there was a distinction between the two cultures. The Romans didn't want to rely on the the Greeks, they wanted to make a name for themselves. This distinction can be seen in the differences between the portraits of Greece and Rome.

Take a look at this Greek portrait of Alexander the Great. We see a very handsome man indeed. There's a dreamy look in his face, an ideal man. Why? Greek artistic conventions expressed ideas about what the ideal person should look like. Perhaps Alexander didn't look exactly like that, but that's what Greek conventions made him look like. The important thing to take out of this is that this portrait shows an idealized image.

Now let's shift our attention to a Roman portrait:

Here we have what looks like an extremely detailed, extremely realistic depiction of a Roman man. One will immediately think that this is a stark contrast to the idealistic style of the Greeks. It's true that differences between the Roman style and the Greek style exist, but they are similar in ways you may not expect.

I learned that there is a style called verism. With this style, artists seek to include super fine details quite meticulously. This is apparent in the wrinkles visible on the subject's face. So you might think that because of this, the artist is depicting the subject in the most realistic, accurate way possible. This is not true. 

Verism was the convention of the Romans, just as idealism was a convention of the Greeks. Rather than portray people realistically, they portrayed them with as much detail as possible in order to express the unique Roman values of wisdom, maturity, and service to the state.

So luckily for this guy, he probably didn't actually look like that. Rather, through this portrait, the sculptor is showing that the subject bears the ideal Roman virtues. Artists did this so frequently that it is nearly impossible to distinguish between who is who -- everyone pretty much looks the same as a result of the conventions.

I thought that was really interesting!

Monday Music Sharing

Yes, yes, I know that I shared an Alex G song last Monday, too. But here's the thing: Alex G is fantastic. Beach Music has been on repeat all week.

I am of the opinion that the top three songs on the album are Walk (shared last week), Kicker (which I probably won't share because literally everyone has heard that song and loves it -- I'm no exception), and Salt. My favorite song on this album is Salt. And here it is for you:

And there you have it! My favorite song lately. Enjoy, have a great week.

Oct 10, 2016

Again, I Told You

Yes, I am allergic to beef. Many people don't believe me when I tell them that, and even less people believe me when I tell them that it is the result of a tick bite.

But it's legitimate. So legitimate, in fact, that The Guardian reported on it Friday:

People living in tick-endemic areas around the world are being warned of an increasingly prevalent, potentially life-threatening side effect to being bitten: developing a severe allergy to meat. 
The link between tick bites and meat allergies was first described in 2007, and has since been confirmed around the world.

Sufferers of “tick-induced mammalian meat allergy” will experience a delayed reaction of between two and 10 hours after eating red meat. Almost invariably, they are found to have been bitten by a tick – sometimes as much as six months before. 

Due to the role of cofactors like exercise, alcohol consumption and other medication in allergic reactions, and the risk of death that comes with anaphylaxis, many often follow vegetarian or vegan diets. 
Sufferers are also advised to prepare their food at home, as fish and poultry are often combined with mammalian meat products such as stock, and to avoid cross-contamination between utensils and cooking surfaces. 
Pearce has cut out all meat bar poultry and seafood, and eats dairy in only limited amounts after developing an allergy in late 2012. 
The possibility of a third anaphylactic shock, she said, was “too scary” for her to take the risk of eating red meat again.

I feel validated. Thanks, Guardian.

p.s. Once I heard a great joke about The Guardian -- what is The Guardian guarding? Neoliberalism.

Monday Music Sharing

Welcome back to the second weekly Monday Music Sharing! Yay!

This week's song of the week: "Walk" by Alex G.

"Walk" is a nice little instrumental tune from indie artist Alex G. A song great for walking down a street lined with metamorphosing leaves as the breeze blows maybe a little too strong for comfort. Your hands are in your pockets and things are going really well for you. But at the same time, sadness is pecking at the back of your mind, begging for attention. You give, and memories begin to flood and nothing really seems right anymore. This isn't right. This isn't me. I miss the way that things used to be.

Enjoy, and have an excellent week. 

A Memory From 2015

Remember that one week in late June last year, where all of those progressive things kept happening and it was really incredible?

One of those incredible things happened to be the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in every state throughout the country. I remember being on Twitter that morning and seeing so many happy tweets. Yes, there were some tweets from hateful people that were not so nice (many people were unfollowed), but many more happy tweets.

But this story isn't about a tweet. It's about something more physical, and as terrible as it is, it's hilarious and I can't believe that I've never blogged about it until now.

So basically there was this woman, and for whatever reason I was engaged in an interaction with her. The decision had just come out a couple of hours before this story takes place, so a conversation about same-sex marriage was topical at the moment. Her daughter mentioned that same-sex marriage had been legalized nationwide. Knowing that things like this was something that I was interested in, she asked me for an explanation. So I explained.

She took a deep breath and placed her hands on her hips.

"So that's what they're doing in Washington," she sighed. "Doesn't Obama have something better to be doing, like fighting ISIS?"


1. President Obama did not legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, the Supreme Court did. Yes, maybe he played a role in this by nominating justices that were more likely to do this, but nominating justices is part of his job as president. He's doing his job.

2. So is she saying that as long as ISIS exists, all domestic issues need to be put on the backburner? Injustices such as refusing to recognize the legitimacy of love between two individuals of the same sex should just be ignored until we diminish the threat of terrorism? Yikes.

3. I won't even get into why it's ridiculous to support LGBT issues...

Thanks for reading, just wanted to get this off my chest.

Oct 3, 2016

Monday Music Sharing

Here's "I Follow You," by Melody's Echo Chamber. This song has been stuck in my head all day and I love it!

I am very ready for a new album. Soon, I hope. Have a nice evening, everyone :-)