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On anti-Trump protests

22.01.2017 Воскресенье 07:37

Imagine everything you've ever said (even just to yourself or your closest friend) becomes public domain. What would other people think of you in that case? Are you sure you always say only polite and good-mannered things about other people when you know you are not going to be heard? Are you sure they will not be in the least offended by your words? If not, do you have the right to judge someone whose words, not intended for anyone except certain one or two persons, become public - by deceit? I am pretty sure that in certain situations all of us let ourselves say things we would never say publicly. To me it's totally normal. There is always something that never leaves my head, then there is something I can only say to the close circle, then to the wider circle, then publicly. The real culprit of all the turmoil going on right now, as I see it, is the media that, first, discreetly records Trump's words, not intended for the public, and, second, makes it public. Media is the evil, not (or, maybe, not only) Trump.

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Amazing U.S. electoral system

14.11.2016 Понедельник 16:04

With the U.S. indirect electoral system it is theoretically possible that one single vote cast for a candidate outweighs ANY number of votes cast for a different candidate. Here is how. For simplicity, let's assume there is one very big state, allotted 100 electoral votes, and a bunch of small states allotted 99 electoral votes combined. Now, if in the big state population became very lazy and only one voter came to vote... his vote will determine the outcome of elections. If ALL people in ALL other states will vote against his candidate, his candidate still wins cause she gets 100 electoral votes, while the opposing candidate can only get not more than 99 electoral votes.

In reality there is no such a big state, of course. But there is a bunch of states which, combined, have more electoral votes than all other states combined. That bunch consists of about 15 states, I believe. Therefore, in theory, in the worst case scenario, it is possible that a candidate who loses popular vote by 15 to 160000000, still wins the election.

Pretty amazing.

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Are we living in a cage?

30.10.2016 Воскресенье 18:12


A thought has recently occurred to me, which I want to share. Consider a wild animal (a lion, a monkey, a wolf, etc.) in a zoo. Let it be monkey. It lives in a cage. It has a perception of what's going on inside and outside the cage through its senses — eye sight, hearing, probably other senses too. Energy enters the cage in various forms: food, water, warmth, light. Everything that is required to sustain life. However, boundaries of the cage are completely insurmountable to the monkey. Regardless of his desires, the boundaries of the monkey's existence are those defined by the cage.

Now. How is that different from... human civilization? Seriously. We live on our planet, which receives energy from the Sun in form of warmth and light. The same energy allows for existence of things we eat and drink. We are capable of seeing and hearing (across the full range of electromagnetic spectrum, as well as streams of elementary particles) a very considerable volume of space around us. Man walked on the surface of the Moon and our automated exploration spacecraft traversed the Solar system and reached its outer boundaries. Yet, everything behind those boundaries is completely insurmountable to the human kind. The rest of space (outside Solar system) is separated from us by such unimaginably vast distances, it is completely impossible to imagine a realistic way to even communicate with somebody who is out there, let alone travel to meet them face to face. Even the nearest star is so far away that it takes an electromagnetic wave four years to reach it. And not so nearest stars are tens to billions of light years away.

Thus, we deal with an impenetrable theoretical and practical barrier separating us from the rest of the world. Effectively, this barrier to us is the same thing a cage is to the monkey!

The resemblance is emphasized by the fact that we, like monkeys, perceive the barrier as a natural phenomenon. Cage for the monkey is a natural phenomenon. The result of the blind forces of the elements. The monkey cannot link in its mind the human, the cage and how one created the other. It lacks the skill of abstract thinking required to realize the connection. The same with us — the immense distances between stars and galaxies we perceive to be the result of the elements. An outcome of certain "Big Bang". An event, results of which we are capable of realizing, but its innate meaning is so ever incomprehensible to us. Same for the monkey. Emergence of the cage around it is its "Big Bang". It observes results of it and comprehends them to a degree (it realizes the fact of limitation of freedom), but its innate meaning (creation of the zoo for people's entertainment and education) is completely obscured to it.

To summarize. I don't see anything that could disprove the following statement. Human kind lives in a sort of a cage or paddock created by an intelligent entity which relates to us the same way we relate to the monkey, in the sense of the level of intellect and the ability to wield powers. In relation to the Universe, that "entity" is the creator. What we perceive as laws of nature are effectively artificial constructs created by this supreme being for its own purposes.

Thoughts?

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Night stay near a G-star in Orion Arm

07.06.2016 Вторник 03:56


Just fifteen minutes ago I saw this photo in my Facebook news feed. It was made by one of my Facebook friends on one of the islands in French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean. The beauty of our home planet Earth, captured in the photo, impressed me so much that I sat down and wrote the following lines. This is "an excerpt" from the imaginary flight log of a space traveler floating in space in his tiny space vehicle "Praxiteles".

"On my travel along the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy I made a quick stop on a blueish planet near a yellow G-type star. I landed on the night side of the planet and fell asleep not venturing outside Praxiteles. Several hours later, when the star has risen, I pressurized the main lock and exited the vessel. The magnificent vista I witnessed is hard to describe by means of words. Endless peaceful ocean was stretching out in all directions around me, matched from above by the sky of a lovely blue tinge. Small patch of land on which I set my ship was covered with lush green vegetation and small airborne creatures were flitting about with merry chirping. That was truly the place very close to what one would call a paradise. I had a glimpse of thought about the idea to forget all about the Inertia stuff and to stay here on this beautiful island in the infinite expanse of the calmest of the oceans and live here in peace. Forever." - from Unpublished.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

11.05.2016 Среда 12:15


Recently I've read a story by R.L.Stevenson entitled "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". While reading it I had a vague feeling that I might have read this story long time ago, may be even when I was a kid. But back to the point. I think it is quite symbolic that this story was written in the U.K. in XIX century. It was then that the notorious English primness reached its apogee. All these ladies and gentlemen, tuxedos and the stringent etiquette. Life of an every average or higher class person was at the time very much regulated by a protocol. Well, at least, this is how I see it.

This was the context in which Stevenson's story has appeared. The ode to the dual nature of a human being. Very logical, it seems to me.

Even though human nature can somewhat be concealed by the social norms, it cannot be completely suppressed. It's normal for a person to not always be "proper". All of us at some point may want, so to say, "break the system", i.e. act against rules of the social contract, following exclusively our own nature which roots in our animal ancestry.

Stevenson's story is a parable teaching us that every healthy personality has two side two it, bright and dark one. Bright side is typically brought to the front, whereas every attempt is made to conceal the dark one, although this varies. But no social norm or etiquette can eradicate one of the sides (typically, it's the dark one which one tries to eradicate). This always was this way, it is this way even now. This is the reason why concert halls, art galleries and high-profile social clubs will always co-exist with brothels, casinos and vices. Human is an animal, after all. Even though an intelligent and thinking one. Our dark side, although suppressed by the modern civilized world, is still there, lurking in the twilight of our consciousness, waiting for an appropriate moment to manifest itself.

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All Things English

11.05.2016 Среда 11:10

Yesterday a question suddenly occurred to me — why don't I have a blog in English? That would be an interesting experiment, thought I, to write, at least occasionally, in English. This probably would be good for my own practice of the language, as well as it may allow me to reach out to broader audience. Maybe some of my English speaking friends will start reading my blog.

So here it is, the very first entry in this English blog. For now it is just an experiment. We'll see how it goes. If it proves to be a good idea, it'll stick around.

One note to anyone who is reading this. I've been learning English all my conscious life. Yet, after all these years of study and practice, I still am not perfect speaker. And may make mistakes. Therefore I appreciate very much anyone pointing to my mistakes so I can improve. Thank you!

By the way, comments in English are encouraged. Comments in other languages are welcome too, but this is an English-speaking blog after all.

Welcome to Raxxla.com!

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