The question was posed…..

The question was posed in one of my many ‘think’ groups recently. “What’s your opinion of how the world started?” That was somewhat erroneous, especially when the person asking the question was really referring to how the universe was created.

Well, the answer is highly speculative, to be sure. There are several theories concerning the creation of our universe. I won’t go into any depth over the theories. That’s something best left to the individual to discover through their own questions and research.

I’m kinda partial to a cyclical Big Bang. One theory is that the universe expands and contracts, Big Bang/Big Crunch. But then how do we account for the increasing expansion of the universe? Well, maybe… it’s like a spring. The Big Bang is followed up, in time, with the subsequent Big Crunch. Just a thought…

Posted in Random thoughts... | Leave a comment

Life has interesting twists….

 

It’s been a lifetime… I was just a child, about seven years of age, when I left behind the country of my father in 1976. The story of why my family left the United States and moved to Colombia, and then returned to the United States two years later, is a convoluted one. Suffice to say, when we left, there were some hard feelings. I was too young to fully understand the dynamics and the depth at the time.

I had not heard from any of my Colombian relatives after our departure. It wasn’t that I had any choice in the matter, those were much different times and the ability to maintain contact was limited. I spoke almost no Spanish and they spoke very little English. What’s a seven year old to do?

Anyway, out of the blue about two weeks ago, I was contacted by a 2nd cousin through social media. He was intent on finding his ‘American cousins’. He reached out… and after a few questions about common relatives, came to the conclusion that yes, we were related. Forty-one years… how does one make up for the passage of time?

Posted in Family | Leave a comment

What’s the point?

The conversation returned to the question that had originally brought us together… “What’s the point?” Meaning, why does any of this matter? In the end, nothing we do really amounts to much.

From the perspective of the individual, we’re connected to one another via three or four generations, at any given point in time. Beyond that, people exist only as names in a grand story in which we may or may not play a significant part. This human story has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years. So, what’s the point?

It was suggested that perhaps, as a means of creating a purpose… and as a consequence thereof… that volunteering in some fashion may give more meaning and significance to our lives. It was an interesting proposition, but not one I hadn’t already contemplated. Sure, helping out by ‘giving back’ to others is a great and admirable thing to do, but it doesn’t do anything that will ultimately make much of a difference. The feelings we have when we help others are only that… feelings… and therefore, self-serving. Perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical? This very question is something I struggle with on a regular basis… finding a meaning, a point to life.

Posted in Random thoughts... | Leave a comment

What do you think about when you’re by yourself?

What questions come to mind when you’re alone? Are they based upon regrets? Joys? Or, just what’s currently going on in your day?

What keeps you up at night?

Posted in Random thoughts... | Leave a comment

Something to contemplate

 

What is the purpose of our existence? Are we just the latest in a long line of organisms to have mastery over the Earth? Do we even matter?

Evolutionary timeline:

The universe, based upon the recession of distant galaxies, is approximately 13.8 billion (13,800,000,000) years old. Our solar system and the Earth, 4.57 billion years old.

Earliest life (single cell) on Earth, 4.25 bya.

Multi-cellular (cyanobacteria-like) life began 3.0 to 3.5 bya.

Ozone layer develops 600 mya.

Earliest known animal footprints on land – 530 mya.

Earliest dinosaurs – 225 mya.

Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, wiping out most dinosaurs – 66 mya. This event gives rise to the dominance of mammals.

First hominins – 4 t0 13 mya. The divergence of the Pan (chimpanzee) and the Homo (human) occurred during this time. The Hominini was the last common ancestor of both the Pan and Homo lines.

Homo Habilis (Africa) – 2.6 mya. Habilis are thought to be the first Homo to use tools (2.3 mya).

Homo antecessor (Spain)- 1.2 mya

Homoheidelbergensis (Europe, Africa, and China) – 600 kya

Neanderthals (Europe and Western Asia) and Denisovans (Russia) – 350 kya to 28 kya

Anatomically modern humans appear in Africa – 250 kya to present.

The genetic ‘bottle-neck’ – 70 to 90 kya. Homo sapiens numbered very few and we almost went extinct.

Modern humans start to migrate out of Africa.

 

Ok, that was quite a lot to digest without losing interest. But, consider this; at what point did we gain a soul, if we do in fact have souls? When did we develop consciousness? When did we ‘leave the safety of trees’ and venture out as ‘land walkers’?

In the evolutionary timeline presented above, modern humans have been walking the Earth 250,000 years or so. We’ve taken many baby steps as a species. In the last 130+ years, we’ve accelerated those steps… going from the invention of the car to a man-made probe entering interstellar space.

Are we alone? Are there other life forms in the universe? Are we unique? With trillions upon trillions of planets out there in billions of galaxies, it’s doubtful we’ll ever know for sure. Even if we were to detect life in a nearby solar system (Alpha Centauri), it’s still 4.3 light years away. The fastest outward-bound spacecraft (Voyager 1), has covered 1/600 of a light year since it’s launch 30 years ago. That means that a trip to Alpha Centauri would last 80,000 years. Would those life forms still exist once we’ve arrived?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Random thoughts... | Leave a comment

2017 American Mensa AG! FireHouse Special!

This year’s American Mensa AG is was held in Hollywood, Florida at the beautiful Diplomat Beach Resort. With nearly a thousand Mensans worldwide registered to attend this event by March, it was certainly shaping up to be a large party!

Within the Mensa organization is a FaceBook group called American Mensa FireHouse (1,575 members strong). Members of the FireHouse are known affectionately as “FireHosers”. Mensans from all over the world are welcome to join the FireHouse. Here are a few of the pics from this year’s annual gathering featuring FireHouse members.

The FireHouse!

 

Angie and Kash

 

Bethany and Erin

 

Cat

 

Diann and Kash

 

Erin and Bjorn

 

Erin

 

The Boob Court

 

In memory of Marc Lederman

 

Johnnelle and Erin

 

Kash and LaRae (Mensa Chair… go LaRea!)

 

Lily and Erin

 

Jam session (Chad on the guitar and Seongtaek at the piano)

 

Seongtaek playing

Laura and Taz

 

Therese Erin and 杨冰阳 (Aya)

 

 杨冰阳 (Aya) ready for a swim!

Johnnelle

Laura and Kash

Group pic!

Johnnelle and Bethany

Jason with Penn and Teller (Keynote Speakers)

Jennifer with Penn and Teller

Jimmy, Taz, and Jason

Michael

Penn and Teller

Bjorn

Touchy subject…

 

Gala dinner

 

Erin and Ellen

 

Erin and Ellen

 

Erin and Harriet

 

Erin and Kelli

 

Erin, Michael, and Johnelle

 

Kash and Kurt

 

Laura, 杨冰阳 (Aya), and Bjorn

The Airing of Grievances 2017

 

Andre hard at work

 

FireHosers 2017

 

Laura and Rob

 

Laura and Tony

Thierrion and Bethany

Seongtaek and Bethany

Timmy and Stacey (Who says you can’t pick your friend’s nose???)

 

Posted in IQ Related, MENSA | Leave a comment

San Diego Mensa uRGe 2017, aka “Nerd Camp” (26 May – 29 May)

The San Diego Mensa Regional Gathering kicked off today at 3 pm and runs through Monday, ending at 1 pm. The event is being held this year in Palm Springs, California.

The event theme this year is “Midnight at the Oasis”

Mensans from all walks of life will be in attendance. We have lawyers, authors, Armed Service members (current and retired), professors, artists, physicists, engineers, IT professionals, and even a sitting judge!

 

Movies being shown are:

Friday evening – Hidden Figures

Sunday evening – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Here are a couple of items that may be useful…

RGlineup2017 Agenda for 2017 San Diego Regional Gathering

Agenda for 2017 San Diego Regional Gathering

 

I’ll post stories and pictures, time permitting, as the RG unfolds.

FRIDAY – 26th

Registration

Margie and Dave Bowles manning the registration area.

 

Lots of fun Friday! Following registration, the day was filled with the laughter of old friends and new alike. Card and board games were enjoyed by many and puzzles were pieced together into the wee hours of the morning.

 

SATURDAY – 27th

Activities and conferences!

Very interesting seminar given by H. Stanley Jones covering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator  (MBTI). Upon completion of the MBTI worksheet and further analysis,  Mr. Jones will personally email the results to seminar attendees.

 

Bob Tutleman’s Sing-a-long!

Really enjoyed Bob Tutleman’s Sing-a-long. As always, it was a great performance! Thanks, Bob!

The Mensa Song – https://youtu.be/GQYBKeRTwEM

 

Again, more games! Games are a big part of AGs and RGs!

 

Sunday – 28th

The day was filled with games and shared fun, discussions, and testing applicants for Mensa. RGs and AGs are a time to make new friends. The American Mensa Firehouse was well represented! I personally counted 9 members in attendance. The ‘award’ for the farthest traveling Mensan in attendance goes to… Laura Ingram, who flew in all the way from Indonesia! Congrats!

Two Firehouse members are shown below.

Carole Lane (L) and Laura Ingram (R)

Later in the evening, several of us Mensans went to Toucan’s Tiki Lounge to see the “Drag Revue”. If you have to ask…

Anyway… there has to be a punch line in there some where… “10 geniuses walk into a gay bar…”  Yeah, I need to work on that one.

Monday – 29th

The end has come, as all things must. Time to say our goodbyes and fond farewells. Until we meet again…

Posted in IQ Related, MENSA, Nerd Camp 2017! | Leave a comment

Sometimes a Blog Post Writes Itself…

 

Recently, I was talking to a co-worker about a picture I had run across on FaceBook.

He thought it was funny and asked, ‘Are all of you guys crazy?’

‘No’, I replied but then went on to expand upon my answer. I explained that we’re pretty much like everyone else, but a little more intense.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

‘Well, a lot of us are very knowledgeable in very specific areas… more so than the average person. We tend to research things that we’re curious about, in order to learn or gain a better understanding about a subject matter. And many of us are quite passionate about our points-of-view. Sometimes that passion is mistaken for being crazy. But that’s not to say some of us aren’t ‘touched in the head’, I said smiling.

‘So, some of you are mentally unstable?’ he prodded.

I did my best to answer… ‘Of course! It just stands to reason that a certain percentage of any population will have problems… whether it’s mental illness, specific health issues, and so on and so forth. I’ve read articles that attribute a higher instance of mental illness to highly intelligent people and I’ve read articles that say there’s no correlation between the two. I think it has a lot to do with how people identify and deal with potential mental health problems. That’s true for the super smart people and those who aren’t.’

‘Alright. Answer me this. Looking at the scale, where are you? he asked.

‘Oh, dude… you really don’t want to know!’ I remarked, laughing… and walked away.

 

Posted in IQ Related, Random thoughts... | Leave a comment

Misfit Toys

I’ve struggled with depression over the course of my life. There, I said it.

Depression was something I had always regarded as a sign of being mentally weak. To counteract my depression, I pushed through it by ignoring the emptiness… the despair… and tried to replace those feelings with a series of intimate relationships. The net result, aside from the countless notches on my headboard, was unhappiness. But I didn’t really have great coping skills in my youth either.

Today, it’s much different. I’ve learned to cope with depression in other ways. I’ve tried my hand at writing, a little sculpting/drawing, and devoting more time to my lifelong interest in learning more about world history. I find that filling my time with activities tends to limit the frequency and intensity of my bouts with depression. But there’s also a big downside to this approach. I usually get less than 4 hours of sleep a day… sometimes it’s as little as an hour. That can only go on so long before my body is exhausted. At some point I have to crash… sleeping for many hours at a time, trying to ‘catch up’. It cannot be good for my overall health.

It’s common for people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives to seek out religion. It’s not that I lack spirituality as much as it is not believing in organized religion to begin with. Religion provides people with a sense of belonging, comfort in times of crisis, hope for a better future, and reward in an afterlife. Not being a religious person, and not believing in an afterlife, there’s really no reason for me to adhere to any sort of moral compass or by societal standards… aside from creating pleasant living conditions for myself and my family. Let’s face it. The reality is that in order for many of us to be successful in life, we must adhere to certain standards, societal and otherwise.

Does that mean I can do anything I damn well please without concern for any repercussions? Absolutely not. I find that I’m still guided by a strong sense of what I consider right and wrong… good versus evil… and an obligation to others who depend upon me in the context of a family member, friend, or co-worker.

But, I do find myself wondering at times why any of it matters? I don’t believe in a god or gods. And if there aren’t any gods, then the concept of good and evil or right and wrong, are really just social constructs. All of it is then relative. The obligations that I feel towards others is, more or less, limited to my immediate family and close friends. And, as a very introverted person, my circle of friends is quite small.

I’ve reached a point in my life that I’m no longer too concerned in how others view me on a personal or professional basis with the exception of my family and close friends. Sure, I want people to like me but I won’t work for their approval. It either exists or it doesn’t. A sense of complacency now defines that part of my life.

That complacency, in conjunction with intervals of moderate/severe depression, have given me periods when I experience a complete lack of passion for life… a lack of empathy towards my fellow man… and that scares me. I know it isn’t healthy. Being the type of person that I am, I analyze myself constantly… my goals, my beliefs, and my obligations. But in the midst of an episode of depression, I wonder again… ‘why any of it matters?’

 

 

Posted in IQ Related, Random thoughts... | 4 Comments

Extraverted or Introverted Preference

 

Extraverted and Introverted are opposite preferences. A person’s natural tendency toward one will be stronger than the other.

Extraverted (E)

Extraversion is a preference to focus on the world outside the self. Extraverts enjoy social interactions and tend to be enthusiastic, verbal, assertive, and animated. They enjoy large social gatherings, such as parties and any kind of group activity. Extraverts are likely to enjoy time spent with people and find themselves energized by social interaction.

Extravert Characteristics

  • Gregarious
  • Assertive
  • Talkative
  • Social/outgoing
  • Likes groups, parties, etc.
  • Energized by interaction
  • Expressive & enthusiastic
  • Volunteers personal information
  • Distractable
  • Has many friends
  • Easy to approach

Extraverted Personality Types

  or  
Introverted (I)

Introversion is a preference to focus on the world inside the self. Introverts tend to be quiet, peaceful and deliberate and are not attracted to social interactions. They prefer activities they can do alone or with one other close friend, activities such as reading, writing, thinking, and inventing. Introverts find social gatherings draining.

Introvert Characteristics

  • Energized by time alone
  • Private
  • Keeps to self
  • Quiet
  • Deliberate
  • Internally aware
  • Fewer friends
  • Prefer smaller groups
  • Independent
  • Not socially inclined
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Thinks before speaking

Introverted Personality Types

Posted in IQ Related, Random thoughts... | 2 Comments