Monday, April 29, 2013

The Best Comedy Stand-Up Intro Of All Time? - THIS

I'm a modern man, a man for the millennium
Digital and smoke-free
A diversified, multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction who's politically and anatomically ecologically incorrect
I've been up-linked and down-loaded, I've been in-putted and out-sourced
I know the up-side of down-sizing, I know the down-side of up-grading
I'm a high-tech low-life
A cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bi-coastal, multi-tasker and I can give ya a gigabyte in a nanosecond
I'm new-wave but I'm old-school and my inner child is outward-bound
I'm a hot-wired, heat-seeking, warm-hearted cool customer
I'm voice-activated and bio-degradable
I interface in my database, my database is in cyberspace
So I'm interactive, I'm hyperactive, and from time to time I'm radioactive
Behind the eight-ball, ahead of the curve, ridin' the wave, dodgin' the bullet, pushin' the envelope
I'm on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs
I got no need for coke and speed, I got no urge to binge and purge
I'm in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top but under-the-radar
A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary
A street-wise smart bomb, a top gun bottom feeder
I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps, I run victory laps
I'm a totally on-going, big foot, slam dunk rain-maker with a pro-active out-reach
A raging work-aholic, a working rage-aholic
Out of rehab and in denial
I got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda
Ya can't shut me up, ya can't dumb me down
'Cause I'm tireless and I'm wireless, I'm an alpha-male on beta-blockers
I'm a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward
Up-front, down-home, low rent, high-maintenance
Super-size, long-lasting, high definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last
I'm a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head-case
I'm prematurely post-traumatic and I have a love child who sends me hate mail
But I'm feeling, I'm caring, I'm healing, I'm sharing
A supportive, bonding, nurturing, primary care-giver
My output is down but my income is up
I take a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash flow
I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds, I watch trash sports
I'm gender-specific, capital-intensive, user-friendly and lactose-intolerant
I like rough sex, I like tough love
I use the F word in my email and the software on my hard drive is hardcore, no soft porn
I bought a microwave at a mini-mall, I bought a mini van at a mega-store
I eat fast food in the slow lane
I'm toll-free, bite-size, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes
A full-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically-formulated, medical miracle
I been pre-washed, pro-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and I have an unlimited broadband capacity
I'm a rude dude but I'm the real deal; lean and mean
I'm cocked, locked and ready to rock; rough, tough, and hard to bluff
I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide, I got glide in my stride
Drivin' and movin', sailin' and spinnin', jivin' and groovin', wailin' and winnin'
I don't snooze so I don't lose
I keep the pedal to the metal, and the rubber on the road
I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time
I'm hangin' in, there ain't no doubt
And I'm hangin' tough, over and out.

~ George Carlin from Life Is Worth Losing

YouTube Link to Video

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Personality and Human Emotion - The Story of Phineas Gage

The control of human emotion differs from that of many species because of the presence of the massive cerebral hemispheres, which act, in part, to regulate the functions of many lower brain systems (Damasio, 1985). The importance of the cerebral hemispheres for emotion and personality, in particular the frontal lobes, was made strikingly clear over a century ago by the case of Phineas Gage.
Gage, 25, was a construction foreman who in 1848 had the following 'bad day on the job'. Working on railroad construction, Gage was blasting a path through hard rock. His co-workers could not know that they were about to witness one of the most celebrated incidents in the annals of neuroscience. Following procedures in which he was skilled, Gage drilled a hole in the ground, filled it with explosive powder, and inserted an iron rod. Next, a fuse was lit. Though Gage was an expert at this, on this occasion he was distracted and the charge blew up in his face. The explosion blew the 13-pound, 3 feet long iron rod through his left cheek, the base of his skull, and the front of his brain. It largely destroyed a part of Gage's frontal cortex. The rod then exited through the top of his head, landing 80 feet away smeared in blood and brain. 
With a little assistance Gage walked to a cart that brought him the short 1km trip to his local lodgings. The first physician to see him was Dr Edward H. Williams:
I first noticed the wound upon the head before I alighted from my carriage, the pulsations of the brain being very distinct. Mr Gage, during the time I was examining this wound, was relating the manner in which he was injured to the bystanders. I did not believe Mr Gage's statement at that time, but thought he was deceived. Mr Gage persisted in saying that the bar went through his head .... Mr G. got up and vomited; the effort of vomit­ing pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain, which fell upon the floor.
Dr J. M. Harlow, who also treated Gage, described the incident:
 The patient was thrown upon his back by the explosion, and gave a few convulsive motions of the extremities, but spoke in a few minutes. He seemed perfectly conscious, but was becoming exhausted from the haemorrhage. Pulse 60, and regular. His per­son, and the bed on which he was laid, were literally one gore of blood . . . the blood pouring from the top of his head . . . You will excuse me for remarking here, that the picture presented was, to one unaccustomed to military surgery, truly ter­rif­ic. He bore his sufferings with firmness, and directed my attention to the hole in his cheek, saying, 'the iron entered here and passed through my head' (1868).
Miraculously, he survived the injury. He was able to walk and speak. Further, he could describe what happened in full detail and communicate in a rational way. Yet Gage had changed deeply. Before the accident, Gage was a model citizen and employee, but the frontal lobe damage transformed his very character. As related by the eminent neurologist Antonio Damasio (1994):
''Gage's disposition, his likes and dislikes, his dreams and aspirations are all to change. Gage's body may be alive and well, but there is a new spirit animating it''.
Once serious, industrious, energetic, and responsible, immediately after the accident Gage became irresponsible, thoughtless of others, lacking in planfulness, and indifferent to the consequences of his actions. Gage's physician described the change as follows:
''His physical health is good, and I am inclined to say that he has recovered. Has no pain in his head, but says it has a queer feeling that he is not able to describe. . . His contractors, who regarded him as the most efficient and capable of foreman in their employ previous to his injury, considered the change in his mind so marked that they could not give him his place again. The equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculty and animal propensities, seems to have been destroyed. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged that they are abandoned in turn for others. . . . His mind was radically changed, so decidedly that his friends and acquaintances said that he was ''no longer Gage''. (Harlow, 1868).

Gage's story is dramatic to say the least. But it suggests that there exists deep interconnections between brain functioning and personality functioning, that brain and personality are intimately, directly connected. Similar cases, although less spectacular, continue to be reported. They occur following extensive frontal lobe surgery. Such patients usually remain well-orientated, alert, with memory intact. Intellectual capacity seems undiminished, at least on the surface. However, as with Gage, there is a loss of sustained attention. The ability to plan and order daily activities is also markedly reduced.
With respect to emotion, there are also marked changes. Often the patient seems to cease to experience strong emotion. Feelings become transitory and superficial.
Significant brain injury is often fatal but sometimes scientists learn a lot from accidents. Physical damage to Gage's brain changed his thinking and behaviour so radically that he became, psychologically, a different person. The conclusion to be drawn from the history of an unfortunate human experience emphasizes the importance of the frontal lobes for personality and for the control and expression of human emotions. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I think, therefore I am...unemployed

Up to now, most scientists have been too occupied with the development of new theories that describe what the universe is, as opposed to why it is. On the other hand, the people whose business it is to ask why - The Philosophers, have not been able to keep up with the advance of scientific theories.
In the 18th century, philosophers considered the whole of human knowledge, including science, to be their field and discussed questions such as whether the universe had a beginning. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries, science became too technical and mathematical for the philosophers, or anyone else except a few specialists. Philosophers reduced the scope of their inquiries so much that Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of the 20th century, said, ''The sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of language.''
What a comedown from the great tradition of philosophy from Aristotle to Kant!
                                                                                                                                                                   (Hawkin & Mlodinow)
Forget the economic downturn, it's pesky science that's putting people out of work!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Some Principles that allow me to understand Self-Injury.

With 12,000 people attending Irish hospital emergency departments in 2010 due to self-harm (Ring, 2011), it is important that ways of alleviating its prevalence in society are addressed. Furthermore, it is believed that cases which present to hospital are only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately there is no panacea to ameliorate the suffering of the person who self-harms, and it would be na├»ve of me to assume that the following principles alone would be enough to suffice for an approach to understanding and responding to self-injury. Nevertheless, they stand out amongst others.

The first of these principles is that 'the injury is not the problem'. You would be by-passing a host of problems if it was only concern for the person’s actual injury. Having an erroneous assumption that the injury should be the focal point of attention would only be delivering a lump of verbal refuse to the client.


There should instead be a focus on their feelings before their behaviours. Most of the 'problems' with self-injury are nothing to do with the person who hurts themselves. While the scars may be psychologically detrimental to them, underlying deep seated issues should be regarded as a lot more insidious. The injury has to be viewed as an outward expression of their inner pain.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The 80/20 rule

I find this actually allows me to stop stressing when assignments are due and just in everyday jobs of life.
This rule - also known as 'The Pareto Principle' or 'The Law of the Vital Few' - basically states that 80 percent of the value you will receive - will come from 20 percent of your actual activities.
''The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.''                                                                    
Hence, you start to realise that a lot of what you do is probably not as useful or necessary as you think. So, you can stop 'arse-in' about the place doing shit that probably won't even make a difference to the end result. You can drop; or at least vastly decrease the time you spend on a whole bunch of things, allowing you to have more time and energy. Which you could focus on those things that really bring you value, happiness, and fulfilment in your life.

154 seconds of the 80/20 Rule