Pooping with Java

I’m currently living in a 17-person, sustainability focused community on Carleton College’s campus, called “Farm House.” When it comes to toilets, we tend to adhere to the classic environmentalist manta “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

Here is a java implementation of this central dogma, which I recently taped up in several bathrooms.

An image of a java version of "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down."


Quotes of the Week

I wanted to briefly share a few interesting quotes from different sources I’ve come across over the past week or so.

1) Politics

From Yes! magazine:

Attaching our values of freedom to the market is not just dehumanizing. It also fails to recognize how one person’s ‘freedom’ of economic choice is another’s imprisonment in a life of exploitation and deprivation. There is no possibility for true freedom until we are all free, and this will only come through a much richer and deeper conception of human freedom than the one that consists of going to a grocery store and ‘choosing’ between 5,000 variations of processed corn.

yes!I thought this was a wonderfully articulate snippet regarding the importance of shifting our views on freedom and capitalism. When we commit ourselves entirely to the idea of unbridled free market capitalism as the surest guarantee of personal freedom, we loose freedom in other ways, such as the freedom to live in a world with clean air and water and healthy plants and animals and ecosystems, among other things.

I read this in a copy of Yes! magazine I stumbled across– an exciting publication  that “empowers people with the vision and tools to create a healthy planet and vibrant communities.” From the same edition I highly recommend the article, Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New Normal.

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After the Emperor!

Illustration of the fable The Emperor's New Clothes
As I begin typing these words unto an empty page, I am fully aware of the onslaught of impassioned criticism my writing is bound to unveil. Admittedly, I am finding it somewhat difficult to type, for my hands tremor slightly at the mere thought of the incessant scorn that may forever befall my name. In fact, I must admit the word ‘slight’ in no way describes the violent shaking in which my hands are currently engaged, and it has taken no less than two full hours simply to formulate the past three sentences in a legible manner.

Yet I must persist. I must continue to type. For the fear that consumes me is dwarfed by the passion that pulses through every fiber of my being. Yes, it is passion that drives me on—that forces me to continue. It is passion for my cause, and sheer conviction in my beliefs, that shatters the icy embrace of terror, and forces me onward.

For no matter the response I receive, these words must be written. No matter what awaits me upon the publication of this document, be it humiliation, malevolence, or even death, I must make known my convictions. I must share with the world the ideas that have befallen my tortured mind. Listen closely now, as I impart my great epiphany upon you all. For the health, happiness, and longevity of our society, I have found it absolutely vital, that we, the people of the world, in grand and triumphant unison, cast off our rags of oppression, discard our garbs of injustice, absolve ourselves of our tyrannical habiliments! Yes, you heard me correctly. It is absolutely vital we cease to wear clothes.

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The Origins of Words: Attendance




Most etymological scholars agree this word can be attributed to a 15th century Irish improvisational comedy troop known as Dublin Over. The ten member comedy troop, which would reherse in an active barn, always began their meetings with the execution of an original dance. This ten member dance, or “ten-dance” as they called it, was initially used as a means of loosening up. However, as each group member played an integral role in the dance, it also became a reliable means of checking whether or not all group members were present.

The complex antics would go terribly awry if a single member was missing, leaving the entire party sprawled out in a bewildered heap. They found this terribly amusing, as well as utilitarian, and continued the practice with glee. Written evidence asserts that neighbors often heard the comedy troop remarking: “let’s have a ten-dance, then! See if anyone’s missing!” The term soon became widespread, and synonymous with taking role.

[Original Song] Ode to HD 40307g

While doing some research for a blog post that I will probably never publish, (a fate that befalls most of the blogs I start to write,) I learned that scientists have recently discovered a planet that could be habitable by humans. My initial reaction, sadly enough, was something along the lines of “hey, that’s great, because when we trash this one, we’ll have another in store.”

I felt that concept could make for an interesting song, and when I realized the “D” and the “g” in the planet’s name basically rhyme, making the name sing-able, I decided it had to be done.

This is my ode to the poetically named and utterly ineffable HD 40307g.

(Note: The video at the start is from “slatester,” the Slate News Chanel.)



It’s the year 2073
And the world’s no longer habitable by you or by me me
So it’s pretty clear we’ll simply have to leave
We’re headed for HD 40307g

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The Problem with Bowling

I wish to speak to you briefly on the subject of bowling, for, by means of my casual pondering, it has come to my attention that this activity is inherently flawed. Perhaps irredeemably so. Perhaps, to the point where we will have no choice but to eradicate it from our society.

Whether you practice the activity casually or, more problematically, professionally, here is the intrinsic problem with bowling: There are no variables. There are no variables! If conditions are always exactly the same, where’s the skill?

Old Bowling LaneThis was not always the case. There once was a time where we could not produce perfectly level floors, or perfectly rounded bowling balls, and where there did not exist such universal standards for the length and width of a bowling lane, or arrangement of the pins. Back then, each time you bowled things would be different, thereby revealing the skill of the bowler, in their ability to adapt.

But those days are gone. We have perfected and conformed the sport of bowling to the point where there are no variables, and thereby, skill is determined predominantly by repetition. There is no opponent, and no variation in conditions, so someone who practices enough times should be able to get a strike every single time. And indeed, this has become fairly common. So the game is beat, done, antiquated, pointless, over.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot bowl a strike every time. Most people can’t. So I suppose to the repetition-arily deficient, this activity continues to pose enough of a challenge to be enjoyable, and therefore should be retained. But still, I cannot escape an underlying sense of anxiety, a feeling of hamster-wheel-esk frivolity, at the notion of partaking in such a defeatedly perfected sport. Sure, to the casual bowler, the activity may still be challenging and fun. But troubled as I am by the fundamental paradoxicality of a sport, which we, as a society have clearly outgrown, it is my opinion that bowling should simply be eradicated.

Alternatively, the game could be updated. Rather than get rid of it completely, we could simply reintroduce variables. Perhaps we could add small mounds to bowling lane, or arrange the pins more sporadically. Perhaps we could move the activity outside, introducing weather variation. Surely, something must be done to differentiate one game from the next, reintroducing skill and variance to the saturated sport. Otherwise, bowling can be no more. For as Darwin’s theory of natural selection clearly illustrates, that which can not evolve, must perish.

Carnival-Style Urination Games: What America Needs to Get Back on Track

Among the most pressing issues facing America today is our tremendous debt, currently looming around $14 trillion. Another issue? America seems to be quite depressed. A new study, sponsored by the World Health Organization interviewed nearly 90,000 people in 18 countries, and concluded that the US and France are the worlds most depressed nations.

So, we are deep in debt and thoroughly depressed… What can be done to address these issues? I think I may have a solution: Carnival-style urination games, (CSUG’s.) It is a bold and innovative idea, if I may say so myself, and it may be exactly what our nation needs to get back on track.

You know that carnival game you might find at an amusement park, the one where you race horses or cars by shooting water guns at a target? The more precisely you fire, the faster your racer moves…

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