Monday, 30 May 2011
Sunday, 8 May 2011
I'm sure everyone reading this post did some sort of if you didn’t please accept my deepest condolences. if you did, the following question shouldn't be difficult.
Question: Given the two variables 'x' and 'y' and a constant '5'; how many mathematical relationships (equations) can you write to connect them (e.g x+y=5). Take 10minutes to try this and see how many you can come up with. Try it…No really, TRY it.
I apologize for putting you through the stress, but there is indeed a point to all this mathematical calisthenics .
Okay, are you done? Your basic answers should look something like this: x+y=5, x+5=y, x-5=y, xy=5, y/x=5; and you could have more complex ones like x^5=y, x=y>5, x=5log(y), y=Sin(x+5), ln(x)=y/5; and then some progressing toward even more complexity like: Cosh(x)+Sinh(y)=5 or even x^7+x^5+x^4-x^3+5x+5 = y, …continua ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
If you thought about it carefully, you would have realized early on that there are almost an infinite amount of relationships that can be constructed. Some of you might have also observed that the amount of mathematical relationships you come up with is also a function of a number of other indirect factors. These are:
i.) How much mathematics you've been taught.
ii.) How much mathematics you've been exposed to.
iii.) How much research and effort you put into solving the question.
My point is, our views on everything in life, much like our answers to the question above, are dependent on the same three factors: what we’ve been taught, what we’ve experienced or come across and what we are willing to find out. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm towing the line towards the third one which has to do with open-mindedness. How open minded are you? The Oxford dictionary (sorry I had to go there) defines open mindedness as “the willingness to listen to, investigate, think about, or accept different ideas”.
See, we are all different. Our ideas and opinions about different issues depend on our backgrounds, openness and natural predilections. It should be clear from this that everyone will have different views on the same issues.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but the great evil are the people with closed minds, who refuse to even think about the logic behind another person's idea or beliefs. I think this is what is referred to as rigidity. Using the Mathematical statement analogy, the rigid student would probably have been the person with the least statements and the rigid teacher would be the one who refused to accept a student’s statements just because he hasn’t seen them before.
Rigid people are everywhere around us, they are the people who argue about issues blindly, refusing to listen or even think. They don’t even TRY to think. Somehow, their minds have been blocked by something: outright stupidity, religion, culture or just a tenacious unwillingness to change.
We all know how annoying it is to argue with someone who keeps who keeps telling you 'that's how it’s supposed to be' or ‘It can never happen’. Personally, there's nothing that grinds my gears more than people who always stick to the status quo, nothing.
I believe we would be doing ourselves, and the whole world, a whole lot of good if we just took the time to open our minds a little; question things more. Read, travel (you can 'sort of' travel online), engage in conversations with people from vastly different backgrounds, ask questions, continually question the status quo, use your brain.
Personally, I have imposed the 'learn a new thing everyday' rule on myself. When I realize that I haven't learned anything, I go to the Wikipedia homepage, and just read. You can adopt whatever works for you. In the end, I believe that open-mindedness is what will bring us closer to unity as a species. But then that's just my opinion.
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Allow me to start by saying this: If you think you are better than anyone by virtue of being born into a particular tribe, then YOU HAVE FAILED LIFE. Hello and welcome to today’s post.
So on Friday night/Saturday morning, for reasons yet unknown to me, some people on twitter started throwing around tribal slurs and making jibes at other tribes. I'm sure it started innocently enough but soon took on a life of its own. Apparently, the majority of participants in this semi-humorous exchange of ‘ideas’ were of the Igbo and Yoruba persuasions and they indeed proceeded to vigorously insult everyone and everything about the other tribes from the ‘Girls’ of the tribe (some did so with very colorful illustrations by way of twitpics) to the ‘Famous’ members of the tribe including Baba Sege OBJ, Old soldier Ojukwu, Patience Ozokwor…even poor little Kelly Hansome was dragged into the fray
The fallout of this collective foolishness under the guise of humor included several hurt feelings, unfollows, an unknown number of reported blockings and at least one severely retarded, though mildly entertaining, twitterfight between two people whose handles I do not care enough about to remember. However, the fight led to one of the participants receiving intense curses that I can only describe as being ‘deeper than rap’. If I were him, I would rededicate my life to Christ and go and see my Pastor tomorrow for special prayers.
Anyway, whilst all this was going on, I was getting my Switzerland swag on, you know, remaining neutral, reading the tweets and chuckling at some while sipping on some fine spirits (God bless the Russians for what they do with potatoes). But in all this alleged ‘jest’, I did detect a lot of latent tribalism boiling beneath the surface. I mean, the kinds of things that were said are not things that just come off the top of one’s head, no, I think not, they seemed more like deep seated distrust, misgivings and spite dressed up in the attire of jokes and fun.
I know some will say I’m taking the matter a bit too seriously but then again shouldn’t I? Think about it. These kind of things seem benign enough but they never end well. I’m going to go back to Rwanda circa 1994 and paint you all a pretty picture. The Hutus and Tutsis. 800,000 people killed in less than 100 days. Neighbors who had lived peacefully next to each other for 20 years, smiling at and greeting each other, woke up one day and start slicing and dicing each other up into suya-sized pieces with machetes. You think all that intense anger and hate just appeared overnight? You do, do you? (-______-) Use your head. They had a rich history of smaller tribal clashes and so the resentment and hate was already there, just waiting for an excuse to be unleashed.
Equally importantly though was the effect of public speech on the madness, the role of one radio station in particular, RTLM in the matter is quite poignant. They never broadcasted outright hate speech, but they did make plenty of jokes about Tutsis being ‘cockroaches’ and not being as strong as the ‘Hutus’ thus making it easy for the extremists to hijack the already existing hate propaganda and use it in their highly effective ‘Kill the cockroaches’ campaign.
Ok. Yeah, sorry I had to bring up Rwanda but I wanted to ram my point into your heads. Making statements like “My tribe is better than yours” is one of the easiest ways to begin brainwashing yourself into tribalism. Calling people “omo igbo” and “dirty hausa” is just the beginning of the dehumanization process that can eventually lead to widespread violence.
And if you think you are immune just because you are ‘educated’ or ‘civilized’, then I think you need to stop, park well and get a map because clearly you have ‘miss road’. Think about Nazi Germany circa 1939: filled to the brim with smart, young, civilized Germans. You think ALL Germans hated Jews with enough passion to bundle them off into concentration camps and attempt to exterminate them with all the industrial and economic precision and efficiency of a Petrochemical plant? Of course not. But they all told and laughed at the ‘Greedy Jew’ jokes. The ‘Witch Gypsy' jokes and they all stood by when the first torches were tossed into the “Jew Banks” and said nothing. Why? Because they thought they were better than the Jews. That’s always where it starts.
Oh Wow! See what I did there? I brought up Nazi Germany too! *Ghen Ghen* Did I just bring up both Nazi Germany and the Rwandan genocide (Two of the biggest ethnic disasters of the last century) in response to a paltry twitter event that no one will remember one week from now? O_O? Talk about over reacting O_o.
Is it really an overreaction though? Is it? Maybe. Maybe not. But I will conclude the way I began, if you believe your tribe is better than any other tribe on the planet by virtue of having been born into that tribe, YOU HAVE FAILED LIFE. People are people. All people have equal capacity for stupidity, wickedness, sluttiness, female facial hair growth, Ugliness, Cruelty, Greed and Evil. Just because you and you tribe members band together to attack/make jest of one tribe today doesn’t mean that they won’t turn on you tomorrow.
Think carefully on these things.
Feel free to spew your bile in the comment box below.
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Sunday, 17 April 2011
I was watching the movie ‘The Prestige’ with a group of friends (actually classmates) a few week
s ago and we were thoroughly enjoying the movie. Then we got to the part where the great D’anton Goes to meet Nikola Tesla for help with a magic trick and then someone asked: “Tesla was real person right? It’s like I’ve heard the name before…”
I proceeded to lecture them all on the life and times of Nikola Tesla who is quite possibly the greatest scientist/engineer/mad bastard to have ever walked the earth.
I also tagged them in a facebook note I wrote a few years back about the man (admittedly, much of it was plagiarized from www.cracked.com, but hey, don’t judge me, it was written a while ago and I wasn’t yet the promising young wordsmith I am today :D -if you like be there doing Yimu, your tongue will catch fire. But a lot of the tone and emphasis is mine)
Anyway, I felt I should share this with you all as well so here, enjoy!
Apparently, surprisingly few people these days are familiar with the life and times of one of humankind's most eccentric, badass, and volumetrically-insane scientific super-geniuses. Its funny how so many people, even engineers and scientists, that use things he came up with seem to have little or no idea about who Telsa was.
First off, Nikola Tesla was fucking brilliant. And not just like Albert Einsteins "Bad guy siddon there dey look book" brilliant, either - I mean like, "holy shit! My head just exploded (from all the paraga awesomeness)" brilliant.
The Croatian-born engineer spoke eight languages, almost single-handedly developed technology that harnessed the power of electricity for household use, and invented things like electrical generators, FM radio, remote control, robots, spark plugs, fluorescent lights, and giant-ass machines that shoot enormous, brain-frying lightning bolts all over the place like crazy. He had an unyielding, steel-trap photographic memory and an insane ability to visualize even the
most complex pieces of machinery – the guy did advanced calculus and physics equations in his fucking evil head, memorized entire books at a time, and successfully pulled off scientific experiments that modern-day technology STILL can't replicate. For instance, in 2007 a group of lesser geniuses at MIT got all pumped up out of their minds because they wirelessly transmitted energy a distance seven feet through the air. Nikola Tesla once lit 200 lightbulbs from a power source 26 miles away, and he did it in 1899 with a machine he built from spare parts in the middle of the desert. To this day, nobody can really figure out how the hell he pulled that shit off, because two-thirds of the schematics only existed in the darkest recesses of Tesla's all-powerful evil madman brain.
Of course, much like many other eccentric giga-geniuses and diabolical masterminds, Tesla was also completely insane. He was prone to nervous breakdowns, claimed to receive weird visions in the middle of the night, spoke to pigeons, and occasionally thought he was receiving electromagnetic signals from extraterrestrials on Mars. He was also obsessive-compulsive and hated round objects, human hair, jewelry, and anything that wasn't divisible by three. He was also asexual and celibate for his entire life. Basically, Nikola Tesla was the ultimate mad scientist, which is seriously bloody awesome.
Another sweet thing about Tesla was that he conducted the sort of crazy experiments that generally result in hordes of angry villages breaking down the door to your lab with torches and pitchforks a la Frankenstein. One time, while he was working on magnetic resonance, he allegedly discovered the resonant frequency of the Earth and caused a bloody earthquake so powerful that it almost obliterated the 5th Avenue New York building that housed his Frankenstein Castle of a laboratory. Shit was flying off the walls, the drywall was breaking apart, the cops were coming after him, and Tesla had to smash his device with a sledge hammer to keep it from demolishing an entire city block. Later, he boasted that he could have built a device
powerful enough to split the Earth in two. Nobody dared him to prove it. I mean Dem dey crase? Nobody wanted to test the Nigga.
Tesla also ordered the construction of the Wardenclyffe Tesla Tower, a giant building shaped like an erect penis that would have housed the largest Tesla coil ever built. The massive structure, ostensibly designed to wirelessly transmit power, has been cited as a potential cause of the mysterious 1908 Tunguska Event – a ten-megaton blast that detonated in the wastelands above central Russia that completely obliterated and deforested everything unlucky enough to be located within a several hundred mile radius. While nothing has ever successfully proven
Tesla's involvement in the ass-destroyingly huge explosion, it's pretty awesome that this guy could potentially have detonated a weapon 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and have done it back before they'd even invented the submachine gun.
During his adventures blinding half of the world with science, Nikola Tesla harnessed the power of Niagara Falls into the first hydroelectric power plant, constructed a bath designed to cleanse the human body of germs using nothing but electricity, and created a 130-foot long bolt of lightning from one of his massive coils (a feat which to this day remains the world record for
man-made lightning), but perhaps his most badass invention was his face-melting, tank-destroying, super-secret Atomic Death Ray. In the 1920s he claimed to be working on a tower that could potentially have spewed forth a gigantic beam of ionized particles capable of disintegrating aircraft from 200 miles away and blinking most men out of existence like something out of ‘star wars’. His weapon, known as the "Teleforce Beam" allegedly shot ball lightning at 60 million volts, liquefying its targets with enough power to vaporize steel, and, while it could shoot further than 200 miles, it's effectiveness beyond that range was limited only by the curvature of the Earth. Luckily for all humans, this crazy shit never came to fruition – most of the schematics and plans existed only in Tesla's head, and when he died of heart failure in
1943, little hard data on the project existed. Still, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI confiscated all his personal shit and locked it away anyways, just to be safe.
Despite being incredibly popular during his day, now Tesla remains largely overlooked among lists of the greatest inventors and scientists of the modern era. Thomas Edison gets all the glory for discovering the lightbulb, but it was his one-time assistant and life-long arch-nemesis, Nikola Tesla (yes, Tesla worked for Edison and invented most of what people attribute to Edison today), who made the breakthroughs in alternating-current technology that allowed for people
to cheaply use electricity to power appliances and lighting in their homes. They constantly fought about whether to use alternating or direct-currents (their bitter blood feud resulted in both men being snubbed from the Nobel Prize committee), but ultimately Tesla was the one who delivered the fatal kick-to-the-crotch that ended the battle – at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, his AC generators illuminated the entire experience, marking the first time that an event of that magnitude had ever taken place under the glow of artificial light. Today, all homes and appliances run on Tesla's AC current and Edisons DC is used for batteries. Lil’ Tommy Edison had to go home and cry like a little baby bitch.
Nikola Tesla was one of those super-genius badasses whose intellect placed him dangerously on the precipice between "great scientific mind" and "utter bloody madness". He held 700 patents at the time of his death, made groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of physics, robotics, steam turbine engineering, and magnetism, and once melted one of his assistants' hands by overloading it with X-rays - which isn't really scientific, but is still pretty bloody awesome. And honestly, if there were one man on this planet who was ever capable of single-handedly destroying the entire planet through his insane scientific discoveries, it was Tesla. That alone should qualify him as a pretty righteous badass worthy of your undying respect.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
I saw a tweet the other day that said something like religion has become sort of like a culture for Nigerians. It drew my attention immediately. It went further to say that Nigerians thank God by default, for example, statements like: ‘thank God I was home when you came’, ‘thank God PHCN restored the power’…and many other instances. I am not one easily given to making generalizations, but sometimes they are necessary for simplification and thus a better understanding of some cases so I shall.
Religion is not an issue I like to bring up because, well, it brings out the crazed fanatic in a lot of us. Some people adopt the “Off with her head” approach to religious debates and I still like my big head the way it is. I’ve had it this way for a while now and it think it quite suits me. But I will just attempt to brush upon a few issues surrounding religion (deep breath)
First off, in my opinion, religion is NOT faith. Faith is belief, plain and true. It requires nothing but an unwavering belief in certain things, even (especially) without proof. A religion is supposed to be a set of principles or directives guiding a person’s behavior, habits and character. Being the ‘religious’ people we claim to be, something must have failed spectacularly somewhere because I do not see many Nigerians living like there’s any particular set of principles guiding any of our activities. Yet, on Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings, we troop out in our millions to our various places of worship to sing the songs, dance the dances, pray the prayers and perform the rituals which constitute our chosen ‘religion’.
Who exactly do we think we are deceiving? Our neighbors? God? When communities and countries that do not claim to be half as religious as we claim we are seem to perform better on the corruption scale than we do. Who are we trying to fool exactly? Excuse me if I’m wrong, but I believe one of the things religions claim is the potential to transform live for the better by giving them meaning and order and principles. Where then is this transformation our religions claim?
Just in the middle of that thought, I realize something. Religion, for a lot of us, is our means of escape. It is little better than an addiction, our drug; as the German philosopher and revolutionary Karl Marx once claimed, it is the “opium of the masses”. You know, when human beings go through hard times, they look for a means of escape. Some turn to alcohol, some drugs, some food, and in the process become addicts. In Nigeria, it seems we turn to religion. As with other addictions, religion is good in small doses, (in fact it works perfectly if we mix in a little true faith) but many of us, especially in Nigeria, overdose on it in its raw form and have to keep going back to our dealers for refills. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, we are in the church, the mosque, the synagogue, shrine or whatever place we have chosen as our place of our worship, begging for a hit.
One question you may ask is: “is it a good addiction?” True, some addictions are good or at least harmless, music for example; some are bad, like alcohol, drugs or even food. Addiction to religion can be deadly. Holding on too tightly to the rituals, procedures and dogma of a religion without any actual faith and understanding is what leads to religious abuse. Religious fanaticism stems directly from this abuse. Religious fanatics are the pawns that are manipulated in the many so-called ‘religious’ wars, we humans seem to engage in so frequently. Sadly, many of these wars and battles are more economic than religious but that is a debate for another day.
“What then is the solution?” you may ask. I will be the first to admit that I do not know if there is a solution in sight. I am pretty sure, however, that education sheds light in dark areas. So if we spent a little more time educating ourselves on what our respective religions actually entail: The origin, the faith, separating the true faith from the adopted culture of the religion and understanding that many religions are based on the same tenets and principles, accepting that we are human, fallible and all prone to fall from grace. This kind of education would help many of us realize that the faith is infinitely more important than the religion and hence we would be less likely to fall victim to this addiction. But then again this is just my opinion.
N.B: I wrote this in church (yeah, I know)
(This post was written by my friend @Nerdychique. I merely edited, christened and published it here because well...I agree with a lot of it and Its my blog and I can do whatever I like. )
Sunday, 3 April 2011
That was my reply anytime you called me by my full name: Oluwole, either in jest or in anger. It seems just like yesterday we were watching movies together, discussing issues and joking with each other and just like that 9 months ago, Olu-mummy was gone. The proud smile, the listening ear, the nurturing hands, the loving gaze and jovial countenance that were my Olu-mummy are gone forever. We all know that one day, we will all pass away but I never imagined it would be so soon. If only my tears could bring you back, I would cry forever. But you have gone to rest and I miss you terribly. To me, to us, your children, you were more than a mother; you were a great friend, a confidant, a rock to lean on. There is much we have learnt from you about life and love. I cannot bring myself to write of them all, I would weep for days.
The months leading up to and since your passing have been difficult beyond belief; I can only describe them as a ‘Season of Mists’ and your departure made them even more difficult. But I know you are resting, liberated from the troubles of this world, looking down on us, making intercessions on our behalf, guiding, smiling. While I wish you could have tarried a little, stayed with us long enough to dance with us at our weddings and smile your radiant smile at our children, God saw fit to call you to him then. So it was with bitter acquiescence, I did bid you goodbye and sweet rest in the Lords bosom, farewell, my absent friend, my departed mother.
This mother’s day, all I pray is that we, your children shall soon conclude the season of mists, live joyful, fulfilled lives too make you proud and that we all be reunited when the time is due.
Happy Mother’s Day Olu-mummy,
Your Son, Oluwole.