RAGE against the machine.

So, my boss has informed me that if I don’t put out any articles he won’t put out any paychecks. He has also informed me that my sexual advances are not appreciated by any of my coworkers, and that if I continue he will refer me to the human resources department. What he doesn't seem to realize is that we have no HR department, and I can do whenever the fuck I want.

Threats only work to inflame my rebellious spirit, and I’ve been receiving quite a few lately. So today, instead of our regularly scheduled article, we’re going to learn about a few ways to rage against the machine like a true rebel.


1. You aren't my real dad.

This is the battle cry of rebellious spirits around the world. It is most effective when used against a man who didn’t sling one up your mom around the time you were born; however, someone like that is going to be hard to find. So, if you can’t find someone who fits that description (or no older man loves you enough to be your father), you can use this verbal dagger to stab at any older man that tells you what to do.

Be wary, though, as this form of rebellion can be risky. If you or your brothers-in-arms show weakness in front of the enemy, the odds are high you’ll get another whipping. Remember, every chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

Allies to your cause can be identified by their glaring daddy issues.


2. The "Communist" Revolution.

2566017633 Before you sign on, please note the subtle differences between the Communist Revolution and the “Communist” Revolution. A Communist revolution is typified by the movement of a proletariat, inspired by Marxism, to replace capitalism with communism. A “Communist” revolution is typified by high school and college aged individuals who aren’t fans of showers, having jobs, or shaving. The “Communist” revolution is manly active in capitalist societies, where members of the rebellion use complaints and idle speech in place of action.

You can identify members of this rebellion by their Che Guevara t-shirts produced in a factory in China by an exploited workforce, as well as their sticky copies of the Communist Manifesto.


3. Secession.

Suppose you've already found a group of like-minded good ol' boys friends. Well if you and your friends are feeling like an oppressed minority, you can separate from everyone else to preserve your right to oppress minorities freedom. 506-201-4585In this hypothetical situation, you have a succession on your hands. There are several steps to staging a successful secession. First you must pick a reason for your divide without stating your actual reasons. No matter what your reason is, tell others it's for your own rights. This allows you to demonize anyone who disagrees, even if your secession is about property issues. Remember, nobody can take away your right to own people.

Eventually you might find your secession is failing. This is fine, and a normal part of a healthy secession. No matter how bad things get, remember that defeat doesn’t mean you lost. Have hope, for you can always rise again.

You can identify allies to your cause by their weight class, love of firearms, blood alcohol content, trucks, and strange red flags.


4. Star Wars.

7707656598 Certainly what could have been the greatest revolt in all of history, Star Wars is the story of a rebellion against a galactic empire. You cannot make a better rebellion than that, because last I checked the galaxy was the biggest thing in the galaxy. This rebellion has everything necessary for a rebellion, but it suffers from a major downside. The moment you decide to dive into it the narrative of this rebellion critically, it comes out just being average and accessible, rather than a masterpiece.

You can identify allies to your cause by their inane conversations that end up being entirely meaningless. If you have a thirty-minute conversation with someone that’s gone on for what seems like 3 hours, you’ve found a Star Wars rebel.


Conclusions

No matter your cause, act with conviction. Never doubt yourself. Never entertain the possibility that you could be wrong. Self-awareness and critical thinking is for those who oppose your cause. When you meet opposition remember the words of the warrior poet Dylan Thomas:


Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.




Cat on a hot tin pan.

We do weird shit to animals all the time. We kill them, eat them, eat their unborn children, sell their born children, experiment on them, and occasionally give them first names and let them live in our homes. Our treatment of animals, however, varies widely on a case by case basis. For example, it’s pretty much universally okay to snap a rat’s neck for living where you live, but under no circumstances would it really be okay to snap a chimpanzee’s neck. Likewise, when considering animals on a farm, most people agree that cows and pigs are delicious, but horses are not. So, the question is why? Why is it okay to kill some animals indiscreetly, and not others? Why is it okay to eat a cow but not a dog? There no simple answer that addresses how and why we interact with animals the way we do, but part of it is likely related to how we determine the value the lives of these beings.



The act of placing a value on the life of another organism is strongly related to how we perceive the consciousness of those organisms. Most people don’t see insects as conscious beings, so their lives are unimportant to us. I could crush a mosquito right now and feel great about it. Tomorrow I could run over a cat with my car and wish it was me instead, because cats rank higher than mosquitoes in the eyes of people. The first minute and 4 seconds of this clip highlights this point elegantly.



Louis C.K.’s response to his daughter’s question “why did the fish die” clearly shows how people can connect with different animals on different levels. After answering the question, he tacked on the truly revealing phrase “[the fish] didn’t know his name and he didn’t love you back”. The idea being expressed here is that the fish wasn’t conscious enough to aware of the existence of its owners, so the owner didn’t really care about the existence of the fish.



Talking about the consciousness of animals and how it relates to our treatment of them is incredibly tricky because we don’t have a comprehensive understanding of consciousness. Even the most cursory glance across the internet will show that. The only thing that seems evident is that consciousness is not a binary condition. Living (and maybe eventually non-living) things are not only 100% or 0% conscious. That makes it difficult to determine their rights, if they have any at all. If the we found an animal that had the same level of consciousness as humans, would that animal be entitled to the same rights humans enjoy? Probably not, but it would be an interesting moral question. The following audio clip does a great job of illustrating this point.



Demetri Martin brings up a good point with this silly bit. “It seems like there is a fine line between having a pet, and having a hostage from a different species”. Household pets rest on the line of consciousness where we like them enough to not eat them, but don’t regard them highly enough to grant them personal liberties.



In summary, the way we treat animals is largely dictated by how we perceive their consciousness. The less we can relate to an animal’s experience of reality, the less we are able to empathize with them.



References:

Coombs, C. B. (2015, March 06). Do animals have consciousness? » Scienceline. Retrieved
February 22, 2017, from /scienceline.org/2015/03/do-animals-have-consciousness/




Being a less terrible person: Confirmation Bias.

It’s time for some science. Let’s start by laying down some alternative actual facts. It is a fact that all humans experience life from different points of view. It is a fact that all humans experience life from different points of view, which is why you tend to disagree with your super racist parents. Because there is not one objective viewpoint we can all use to experience reality, we have to go around and use our face organs to take in information and have our brains sort it all out individually. Every day our thoughts, opinions and beliefs are manipulated by the all information around us. It is also true that not every bit of information creates an equal impact and how we think. Every day we see the equivalent of 174 (85 page) newspapers worth of information, which means that people today see more information in their lifetime than any of their ancestors (unless they can’t read). Our ability to form and You dense motherfucker.hold differing views is only possible because we don’t all receive the same information, and we take away different lessons from the same story. If your opinion swayed as easily as the confederate flag on the back of your pick-up truck, we would have nothing interesting to talk about. However, when taken to an extreme, our selective process of considering information becomes an issue. There is a tendency, in pretty much all humans, to seek only evidence that supports our opinions. This is because being wrong is one of the worst feelings ever. So, to avoid being wrong we avoid dissonant evidence and opinions. This avoidance is called being a dense f*** confirmation bias, and it makes you look like a really terrible person.



When a group of people fail to think objectively and only accept evidence that agrees with the ideas they already had, they become polarized from other groups of people with different ideas and perspectives. This is great, because it can get to the point where no one in a group can point out a bad idea before it’s too late, and we get something like this Watters’ World clip published by Fox News:

Thanks, Fox. This video was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Somewhere along the line someone had an idea to make an entire group of people look bad on national television, and no one else objected loudly enough. Throughout the clip the people being interviewed were made to look foolish. The intent of this segment is very clearly demonstrated by the conversation at the 3:58 mark. On some level, these people were all chosen to have their interviews included in the final clip to support the idea that the people in China Town had no idea what was going on. This is made evident throughout the clip, especially when the reporter mocks some elderly people who don’t speak English.



A Comedy Central show, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, noticed the segment. The Daily show ran a bit satirizing the Watters’ world clip, which can be seen here:

This clip is also exhibits confirmation bias. In the Daily Show, all the people interviewed voiced intelligent, well thought out opinions. Three out of the four people interviewed spoke fluent English, and all the interviews showed individuals cognizant of America’s political situation.



There’s a lesson to be taken away from this example. Confirmation bias is a fantastic logical fallacy because it allows for people look bad, and make others look bad at the same time. Most of the time however, it just makes you look like a horrible person.



References:

Alleyne, R. (2011, February 11). Welcome to the information age – 174 newspapers a day. Retrieved
January 25, 2017, from /www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-
news/8316534/Welcome-to-the-information-age-174-newspapers-a-day.html

Heshmat Ph.D. Shahram Heshmat, S., Ph.D. (2015, April 23). What Is Confirmation Bias? Retrieved
January 25, 2017, from /www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201504/what-
is-confirmation-bias




8 Ways to Make Your Dorm Home.

With the spring semester coming up, some students are ready to head off to college for their first time. Living in a dorm can be a refreshing, yet stressful experience. I would know, I've lived in a dorm for the past twenty years (Pro tip here, if you never graduate, you never have to move out!). Being a resident dorm expert, I have a few tips that can make your dorm seem a little more like home.



1. Keep it fresh!

Plants can help bring together your room, by adding just a little bit of green. Some good plants for students are Peace Lilies and Succulents, as these little children require little to no care. Plants can also be used in creative ways. My personal favourite is naming plants after your friends or family members, but be careful not to cast a voodoo hex on the plants otherwise your family members may wither and die. Your lil' green pals are sure to lighten up any dorm!



2. Posters don't post-hurt.

Posters will take those blank walls and make them into either: (636) 226-8701

  • A colorful decoration.
  • A map of the world.
  • A movie poster, which 500 other people at your college also have on their wall.

But my personal favorite has to be making your own poster. It can be anything you want, artworks you like, Family pictures, or pictures of that one thing that you thought no one saw, but everyone did. Now it's on your wall. Look at how you fucked up.



3. Snack Stock Satisfaction.

Being at home, you never had to manage what you ate thanks to the feeding machines, but now everything has changed. Your feeding machine gone, you must prepare your own snacks. The tips here are few and simple. You must always have a "cabinet". I use a Sterilite ClearView Latch plastic box for this, it works fantastically. Next, you must never let your cabinet fall. There will be those who wish to steal your snacks, the "Room Mates", but you must not falter. Keep an eye on your box at all times, or purchase a combination lock to keep those MUNCHY LAMPPOSTS OF HUMAN BEINGS FROM EATING YOUR PEANUT BUTTER. I KNOW IT WAS YOU ADAM. (authors note: Adam later apologized, and we're friends again).



4. Nearly Neat, Not Nearly!

8555223572 Keeping your room space neat can be important, especially if you share the room with other people. One good tip is to take a piece of yarn, a metal rod, and a linen sheet. Decorate the sheet how you please, attach it to the rod, and yarn off an area of the room for yourself. Then, declare independence from your roommates. Every country has to have a kickass name, like America or The USA, try to shy away from lame names like You-rope, Canada, or Socialism as these can make your country seem weak and frail. Independence has two benefits. First, they cannot enter your area without a passport, and even then you can deny them entrance. Secondly, you don't have to abide by your roommate agreement as that is foreign law. Sectioning off your room like this allows you to keep everyone's spaces organized and neat, just keep an eye on that defense budget spending.



5. Locked Doors Lock Friends Out!

It can be difficult to make new friends in college, especially if you've left all of your old friends behind. The best way to make new friends is to keep yourself open, and what's more open than never locking your doors? Allowing people to just walk in anytime makes it easy to see your friends, and even easier to meet new friends! In fact, if you do this, I'd love to be your friend. Please, send an e-mail to ###@nicsknickknackshack.com (editors note: e-mail removed) giving me your dorm number, and make sure you tell me anytime you're out of town so I know when NOT to show up. Keep in mind, always unlocked means ALWAYS unlocked.



6. Home Dressings Address Homesickness.

Couch CushionsSometimes you miss things from home, like that comfy chair, or the couch you'd always lay on after school. There's a simple way to address this, you can take some furniture with you! Don't ask your parents though, they could end up saying "No", and then where would you get a couch from? Make sure that every time you come home, you grab something to take to your dorm. It can be as small as a little pillow on the couch, or one of the cushions. Your parents will just end up thinking it went missing, and suspect nothing. You can even make excuses to head home to grab a lampshade if you really need to. Good excuses include:

  • "I miss you guys"
  • "I'm really homesick"
  • "I want to see the pets"
  • "It's my sister's birthday and I want to be there."
  • "Doesn't my brother have a concert? I should go home, yeah?"

Following this advice, your dorm will feel like home in just 2-3 years!



7. Parent Problems.

Gas MaskSure, we might have trouble with our parents sometimes but we do truly love them deep down. Being separated from them for too long can be unsettling at this point of life. Thankfully, there's a few simple things you can do in order to resolve this homesickness. First, you want to call them. Maybe once a week, more than once if you're very close. Then, after a month or two, you can invite them to come down and tell them about this great seafood place you've found. You go out to eat, and everything's great, but then they get food poisoning. This is when you lock them in the bathroom, and pump in the knockout gas. Once they've passed out, place them in the dog crates you've purchased. Now you'll be able to see your parents smiling faces every day again. Make sure to feed them three times a day, and keep their water bowl full. If you ever go out of town, find someone you trust to take care of them.



8. Home Imagery.

What's more homey than a home, really? In order to maximize the home-ness of your dorm, there's only one thing you can truly do. That's right, we're both thinking it. Next time you head home, grab a disposable camera and take tons of pictures. Pictures of everything, Every wall, every lamp, cover every inch of your house taking photographs (Note: Try not to let any human subjects enter your photographs). Then, after you get these developed, tape them up around your dorm. This way, whenever you miss home you can always look and remember "Hey, that's what that corner looked like. I loved that corner" and feel right at home yet again.



Making your dorm more home-y isn't an easy task, but it pays off in the long run. You'll be far more comfortable in your dorm if you follow at least 5 of these tips outlined above. Hopefully this advice will find some of you before you head to college, and allow you to properly prepare yourselves for the years ahead. Good luck, and happy trails.




Five Steps to Make Your Website Great Again

As a web designer, it’s hard to not suck at your job. Each website you create is a new minefield of poor decisions just waiting to be made. To an amateur, the sheer number of choices to be made while creating a website from the ground up can be completely overwhelming.

Fortunately, one of the internet's greatest perks is the distribution of free advice. There are thousands of professionals all over the world handing out advice for free instead of selling their knowledge to the Chinese. This guide assumes that you already have a website in hand ready to be improved. By the end of this post I hope that you will feel more equiped to do your job.



1. Tear it Down.

As with any endeavour, the best place to start on any web design project is square zero. Whether you inherited the project from another designer or made it yourself, you’re going to have to put it down. Open the file directory that holds the website and hit the following keys:


CTRL+A, DEL


After that, make sure you empty your recycle bin. To ensure there are no remnants of the previous site, remove the storage media from the device that holds your files. Once you get a hold of it, strike it repeatedly with a hammer. Hammering the storage media is a crucial step in the design process, as each swing severs any remaining bonds between you and the terrible ideas you once had.



After there is no trace of any previous version of the site, it is time to build it back up again. Beware! One of the most common mistakes when starting the construction of a new website is wasting valuable work time on planning. What many amateur web designers don’t understand is that planning ahead is a sign of weakness. Planning shows a lack of confidence to potential clients and employers. Aside from making you look like an unqualified hack, planning also severely limits creativity later in the design process. Statements of purpose, flow charts, site maps, and color schemes are all nails in the creative coffin. Do not give in to the temptation.



2. Build it up.

Now is your time to shine. After cleansing the Earth of the nightmare that was your original website, it is time to release the beautiful explosion of internet content inside you. This is the part of the process where the site takes form. Data is entered, images are placed, and navigation is online. However, tread with care young designer, this is where things get tricky.



One of the most common, and most dangerous, mistakes when building your website is taking too long. Many projects run on strict time tables, and punctuality is key. That is why this stage of making your website great again should be done in one sitting. When the time comes, pick a 72 hour stretch of your life and dedicate it to building the base of the site as fast as you can. If 72 hours seems like it would be too much to handle don't worry! There are several options for weaklings like you.



Option 1: Energy Drinks

  • Coffee
  • Red Bull
  • Monster
  • 5 Hour energy
  • AMP
  • Rockstar

Option 2: Quit

  • You coward.


The 72 hour binge is one of the most important steps in web design. Any time spent away from a keyboard could lead to an idea relapse. An idea relapse is a dangerous condition in which you forgot what you were doing, and thus have to start a project over again. Idea relapses can range from benign (forgetting style rules and remaking them) to severe (forgetting your own name).



3. Polish it.

At this point your website should look like trash. It’s a boring mash of useful information and technical adequacy, and it’s just begging to be improved. It probably looks something like this:



5065402648

Which is okay for now because this is the stage where good websites are made great. Now is when the bells and whistles that capture an audience's attention are installed. One of the biggest flaws in the website above is a critical lack of animation . Proper use of animation engages users, and makes your website more interesting to look at. Another attention grabber that works wonders is autoplaying audio. Autoplayed audio is the cherry on top of a great website. Autoplayed audio scares the ever-loving s**t out of your users, increasing their heart rate and diverting thier focus back to your website.



Another oversight in the example above is a critical lack of CSS rules. While that steaming pile of trash does in fact have some style rules that control the color and structure, it needs more. The website is not visually engaging, and probably doesn’t elicit any emotional response from the user. If the user doesn’t notice your CSS prowess, you’ve failed as a web designer. Take a look at some of the websites below for inspiration on how to make your website visually powerful, colorful, and engaging.



204-753-3968 pseudoapologetic

4. Submit it.

Depending on how well you did, this very well may be the final step in your journey. After you’ve built your website from the ground up, it’s time to publish it and send it out into the world. If you were working for a client, now is the time to get their feedback on your electronic baby. If you were working for yourself, now is the time to base your self-worth on the judgements of self-loathng strangers. These responses often won’t be immediate. You may have to wait entire minutes to find out what others think of your work, so you’ll have to find a way to pass the time while waiting for your evaluation.



There are many ways to handle the stress of the submission phase. Some choose to wait in agony, refreshing their browser waiting for the world’s evaluation of their website. Others turn to more effective methods of passing time. Some popular options include:

  • Crying yourself to sleep.
  • Taking up drinking.
  • Getting sober.
  • Relapsing.
  • Getting into drugs.
  • Going to rehab.
  • Relapsing.
  • Entering a life of crime.
  • Cleaning up your act.
  • Jumping off a bridge.

Some of these suggestions won’t work for everyone though, so you may have to find your own way of coping with the stress of being a professional.



5. Tear it down.

This part is entirely optional. Depending on your choices in the previous steps, you may never make it this far. But the most common situation for those that do is as follows:

They hated it. You poured your heart and soul into your masterpiece, followed all the best practices, met all the specifications, and you failed. But that's all okay. Don’t worry, these things happen. Just remember to never admit your mistakes. You can fix this mess. You can try to salvage all the work you put into the project, but the most efficient way to fix a website is to kill it with fire. Tear it down. Return to section one, and try again.