Category Archives: Social

The Bloodthirsty Monster Up in the Trees

There are sometimes discussion, and acknowledgement, of the alienation of urban people from nature. I got a first hand proof of this today. I was having lunch with a couple of fine ladies, the other one of which, happens to be gloriosly pregnant. The talk around the table turned to squirrels and the havoc they with e.g. pot plants.

The discussion quickly spiraled into the definite demonizing of squirrels, they are stupid, harmful, annoying and danger to children. Yes, that is correct. There was genuine fear around the table of a squirrel harming a baby left asleep in her carriage. Apparently there are even accessories sold to baby carriages to protect the child. From squirrels.

This situation puzzles me. It is obvious that the worry exerted by these women is genuine even though the basis for it might be irrational. Thus the actions they take as a response to that worry are rational. Buying something to protect that child from … squirrels will bring more credence to that worry, otherwise the act of buying those accessories becomes irrational. And so, very simply and stealthly, there’s a vested interest in preserving and defending (and probably embellishing) the original notion of squirrels as a danger to children.

On Nerds

As part of my work duties and my past academic record, I’ve come in contact with many a person that are referenced as nerds. By themselves too I might admit. This experience lends itself for me to make some observations on the nature of these people.

I’m not a nerd. There would be some notoriety in being but I’m not. My life is a collection of being in the middle, not quite this or that. This has some drawbacks and advantages, among the latter might be the ability to make observations one otherwise couldn’t.

Many nerds seem to be interested in language but language as a system. As a collection of rules and exceptions to those rules. I’m also interested in language, but mainly as a vehicle for meaning, the different ways to portray the same meaning and different meaning with the same apparent utterances.

I think this fascination with rules explains the interest many nerds have with programming. Programming languages are a far cry from the vagueness of human language. My interest in programming is mostly pragmatic, it is a means to an end. Most computer games, even today, are still written in programming languages. If you are interested in realizing computer games, it pays to know programming. I also enjoy solving problems, which programming ultimately is.

The supposed onsocialness of nerds is a muddier issue. Some nerds are as sociable as consultants. Some seem to lack certain confidence that translates in some minds as awkwardness in social settings. Some possess some esoteric interests that might translate poorly into conversation topics in a more broad setting. I like to think myself as socially adept, I have a broad range of subjects I’m somewhat familiar with, I have a quick mind although I have certain hang-ups, I’m not going to go in detail here. Although I’m not that drawn to people as such, I find you humans genuinely interesting.

The Social Rebel, Me

Last Saturday I was sitting in a cafe, reading a book, when a person addressed me. She asked me if I it was absolutely necessary for me to be barefooted in a place where people are eating.  I said:”Probably not.” She then proceeded to ask me to sit further away (I did) so she could eat. After that she left to get her supper while making the kinds of sounds appalled people do.

I was naturally taken a-back for causing such disharmony. I don’t particularly feel I’ve done something wrong being barefooted in a place where people eat, although I admit it might have stretched the limits of acceptable appearance. This caused me to think if there were any similar hung-ups I might myself have i.e. being upset enough for someone else for violating a (possibly outdated) social norm that I would say it out loud.

I found at least one such instance. I find myself strangely appalled by people (mostly women) for wearing those big sunglasses that make you look like a fly. Part of my dislike is not having sufficient kind of (eye-)contact with such people, often even the eyebrows are covered. Now, there’s an objective element here. As a cyclist, part of my survival tactic is to know when someone else has noticed me. If they don’t appeared to (whether they have for real or not)  I have to react myself. That’s passing the responsibility to somebody else. It happens much too often anyways.

If I’d run into an acquaintance and having a conversation with them while they had those kinds of glasses on I’d have no choice but to exclaim my dislike for the violation of giving-proper-human-feedback -principle by staring at their tits.

Useful Everyday Indexes and Guidelines

The Busstop-queue -index

The busstop-queue -index gives you an approximation of the time you have to wait for the bus. If there are already people on the busstop when you arrive, it is safe to bet that you won’t have to wait for too long. This holds true regardless the people are aware of busschedules, which I am usually. If there are no people on the busstop as you arrive, it might mean that you have to wait for a longer time, but it is not that certain. In my neck of the woods busses drive right after each other, sometimes in line, which is a by-product of having three different companys running approximately the same route.

Popularity -index

The ratio between sent personal emails to received personal emails implys how popular you are. If you send out more personal emails than you receive, you can’t consider yourself to be that popular. Usually communication like this isn’t symmetrical, it often follows the form: 1.) Query of some kind to person A from person B, 2.) Answer from person A to person B 3.) Acknowledgement of message from person A to person B. In this situation person A is one down and this situation is usually mirrored in all communication situations, he/she who initiates it will be one down. You have to be popular enough for people wanting to proactively engage in communications with you.

When To Sell Your Stock -Guideline

Simply when everybody tells you to buy.

Who’s Fault Is It -Guideline

It’s probably your fault, it might be somebody elses fault but it probably isn’t.

On Cute

Cute is something that seems to have found a perfect way to propagate itself in the Internet. There are websites such as cuteroverload and lolcats that are especially catering for peoples need for cute. In the Internet, cuteness is usually associated with animals, but also on inanimate objects, like toys. The defining quality in cute is not the object matter but that it somehow possesses some human qualities such as sadness, vulnerability, guilt, speaking, stealing etc. When a duck has learned to steal packs of crisps from a store, it’s cute. When a cuttlefish appears to be sad, exhibited by its (apparent) droopy eyelids, its cute, nevermind that a cuttlefish has no eyelids. If a cats mouth seems to portray a smile (preferably in a manga style) thats cute. You get the point.

Sometimes this humanizing animals for cute has its drawbacks. If a pomeranian lets out something that sounds like a human giggle, is it really enjoying the “tickleing” administered by its (apparent) mistress? Some of the viewers don’t seem to think so.

As a petless person, this tendency to see human qualities in animals is quite, should I say puzzling? It clearly gets it wrong in many occasions and therefore the whole meaningfulness of this tendency becomes questionable. Afterall we are talking about mostly people who claim to be animal-lovers who administer procedures on their pets based on their loaded view of their pets. It has been said that a dog understands its owner better than its owner understands it.

If I Had Billion Euros

This entry is represents a play on numbers, it assumes that you can get a 5% annual interest for your euro adjusted for inflation, which is quite a reasonable assumption. I also submit to you that you can get a very decent living in Finland for 50.000€ a year.

One billion euros is€.  With 5% annual interest you are looking 50 million € in interests every year for those billion euros. So, every year your capital grows with 50 million. One million euros carries an interest of 50.000 euros a year, which, as mentioned, secures one person a very decent living in Finland. Every year your billion euros interests interest could provide for 50 people a steady income for the rest of their lives. The next year for another 50 people, and so on.

All this without ever needing to touch your initial capital of one billion euros, or without the fear of it losing its value. The money it would earn wouldn’t be ‘free’ money, it would be only distributing the generated wealth of those billion euros in a manner most would find unfair and surrendering. With one billion dollars you could, every year, for the foreseeable future, turn 50 people financially independent.

That’s exactly what I would do if I had billion euros.

Pick Your Place

There are places in the world, coffee shops in general and some coffee shops in Tampere in particular where an unescorted adult male (UAM) is not welcome. He will be queried:”Are you here all by yourself!?” Nobody will sit with him if there’s shortage of available seats. Women will sit with other women, or in some cases, with couples, but not with an UAM. Couples will sit with other couples or with single women. UAM are shady.

Women are usually present in packs, but if there are single women present, they will be engaged in some meaningful activity such as writing. They are not to be disturbed. If you are an UAM and you attend the lavatory, reserve your place carefully. Leave at least a jacket and a backpack on your seat, otherwise it will be taken.

I guess you are looking for trouble if you’re an UAM and not a bar-dwelling creature…