Today’s Naturalist

We are in a world where most of the things we deal with we have no idea how it is made. Seriously, how many people know how a speaker is made, a TV, an internal combustion engine, or a watch? In this day and age where we are totally detached with the how, what is the value of this? We want the why, what and the who; not the how. For example:

Question: “how do you make a guitar?”
98% of people’s response: “I don’t care…”

Why does nobody care how anything is made. We concerned with what Oprah is giving for her yearly Christmas garbage and who Brad Pitt is dating, but we don’t care about things that actually have something to do with our life. Some of you may say, “well what does a guitar have to do with our life?”

In today’s disposable society… wait, lets look at this from a different direction.

You’re beloved grandpa, I bet when you talk about him you talk about how he could do anything. He could fix the plumbing in a house, fix a car, unjam a gun; you probably have a fond memory of him giving you a toy made out of wood when you were a child. The difference between him and you is the fact that he knows more than how to operate a computer and adjust his chair, he could make things.

One of the most valuable an enriching things in life is building something with your own hands, but today we sit in front of computer’s all day and watch videos about people making things themselves. After we watch said videos we say “that is so cool” and go on to kill some newbs or read some more news. I guess my point is this: 90% of the knowledge we peruse today has no residual value.  Being socially informed is overrated. Yeah it seems cool in that awesome argument you have with your coworker about the United States financial budget. At the end of the day the only thing you walk away with is a pissed off attitude and a hatred for your coworker’s ignorance.

Get out there, learn something new, and do it.

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Tourism, why?

Why do we goto places like Arizona for vacation. There really isn’t anything there. To be honest most of the United States isn’t worth very much visually or culturally. I know somebody can make a great argument for Arizona or really most other states in the US, but bear with me.  Seriously, Costa Rica, St. Marten? A palm tree and hammock can be found anywhere.

The US was recognized in 1776. The idiot Columbus got here in around 1492. In 1625 we had a population of 1,980 people. What amazing things had happened in the rest of the world centuries before? Well, over 100 year before the successful population of the US by Europeans, the Incan’s built Machu Picchu. Incan’s sucessfully implemented brain surgery, founded astrology, and many other things. The Spanish had guns. Good work. My point is, what is there to see after 300 hundred years of work? More so, why do we want to see things that have been here for 50 years rather than things that define our culture. There are places in the world where you can see an invention that made modern life possible. You can visit the birth place of language, and some of the greatest monuments to the human will, but we goto Chicago for deep dish pizza.

My point is, people of the United States, we waste our time traveling to places that add no real value to life. We travel for cheese steaks, hamburgers, political rallies, and concerts, but we don’t travel nearly enough for great works of art, fallen civilizations, ancient cultural displays, and spectacular geographical vignettes. Yeah there is some value in modern cultural events, but seriously, I’d goto Machu Picchu or Lake O’Hara in Canada 1000 times before I’d go see a Presidential Inauguration. Plus, which would be more money? Which would change your life.

Yoho National Park - Lake O'Hara

I realize some people live for these things in the United States, but I guess all that this is about is: for me, what really gets me going, are things that you can’t put a price on. Things that have stood the test of time. Things that you sit at, look at, and wonder how the hell did this happen? How would the world be different if this civilization lived on? Why the hell is our world dominated by weapons, and not by knowledge.

Yeah the United States has some tourist worthy stuff. The big cities like New York, Chicago, and SF are worth going to. Places like the Grand Canyon and Denali are breathtaking, but for every one of those we have here in the United States you can name twelve that are more remote, more special, and probably just as breath-taking as the above.

Technology is great and all, but it’s not much to see when you live your life surrounded by it every second.

Shootin up… down.

So, I’ve been kind of obsessed with DiggNation lately. I just really like the interesting perspective Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose have. Both of them are kind of douche bags honestly, but I still like them. I have to say, right now, it’s my favorite show besides Top Gear (and possibly, guiltily, Parenthood on NBC).

The point of this blog post is not to talk about my favorite shows, but to talk about something that has been discusses on DiggNation: health. I admitedly haven’t been eating as well as I usually do. After watching a couple podcasts when Kevin Rose and such have talked about health I have really became concerned about things like that. Point being, I kind of want to get some blood work done. Just to see how healthy I actually am: to see what my cholesterol is, what vitamins I am deficient in, and whatever else I can really look at. I guess my reason to post this is, right now, in America, the obesity rate is something like 20%. I think it is reasonable for everybody to be concerned with how healthy they are, regardless of their appearance or weight. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young. The effects of unhealthy habits are compounding. The obesity thing wasn’t a very great reason… Um, people are getting cancer a lot more frequently now, and things like vitamin D and dietary fiber are linked to prevent cancers (I don’t think dietary fiber has a blood test, but you should be watching it anyways). Maybe you look healthy, but how are you supposed to know if your body has a sufficient amount of vitamin D unless you are either, really label watching (may be deceptive) and living in the sun, or you get some blood work done. Regardless if you’re worried, supplementing without a baseline is not really the best idea. Continuing my vitamin D example, thinking you are deficient and supplementing can have severe consequences. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, and it is toxic if not taken with a proper amount of Vitamin A. In an effort to make yourself more healthy you can end up hurting yourself more.

Either way, I want to get some blood work done. It’s going on my to do list. That, along with eating healthier and exercising more.

The Random Show & Some other stuff.

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/01/17/random-episode-8-2010-resolutions-with-kevin-rose-and-tim-ferriss/#more-2636 – This is also a shout to Tim Ferriss. Who I tweeted is a pretty cool guy to be following @tferriss

Old blog, but I’m  new to it. It has some pretty great stuff on it. The following Random Show show is pretty cool also. I mean the latter isn’t as cool for a non-SF resident, but still nice to listen to.

HTML5? – I don’t know how I feel about it. I want to give all of my love to Flash after Steve Jobs said hated on it. It’s more than just embedded video. It’s really cool stuff, potentially. Youtube has it’s own HTML beta. It’s quite limited: no fullscreen, resolution is a bit less, not many videos are in HTML5 format. Dive Into HTML5 is a pretty awesome and pretty inclusive website/blog about all the things HTML5.

I’m getting pretty into FourSquare. It’s an awesome site, but it needs to improve it’s search function tremendously. I mean I want recommendations. It is quite lacking on the review, or really usefulness front.

Maybe I’ll do more of these

Top 5 Beers – verbleibenden zwei

4. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale (Trappist – Christmas Ale)

stbern

I think this may have been my first true Belgian beer ever. When I bought this I knew only the tastes that were classic with Belgian darks, but this beer opened my world to a whole new part of the beer world. Tastes of dark fruits expload in your mouth on the first tip. The classic trappist Belgian yeast dominates the palate: spicy, warm and inviting. I am not sure if I just love this beer because a nostalgic value or because of the taste. This beer packs a punch at 10.5 percent, but it is the perfect Christmas night warmer.

5. Unibroue La Fin Du Monde (Tripel)

LaFIN

Anything that Unibroue touches seems to be pure gold. Their Belgian yeast strand is magically delicious. This beer is so powerful, yet it covers up the high mark of alcohol it carries to the party. This is my choice New Years beer. How better to celebrate the coming of the new year than drink a beer that is named “The End of the World”? Spicy, warm, crisp, this beer is a solid classic (more like the gold standard) of Belgian Tripels. Do yourself a favor, grab a sampler from this K-Beck brewing company, and have yourself a good night.

Cheer,
Eric

Top 5 Beers – As of now. (3 for now)

1. Stone Brewing Company Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (Strong Ale)

OAKEDpic

Oaked Arrogant Bastard is a beer that simply states on its label that it is extraordinarily powerful. This beer overpowers your pallet to the point where it is unlikely that you will wish to try another beer after. Not because it is so good (it is, but that’s not the point) but merely because your taste buds need a nap to recover from being onslaughted by hop bitterness and a heavy amount of roasted malts.

The style of this beer is an American Strong Ale. A veritable catchall style in the beer industry of American takes on Belgian Strong ales, but with the use of American hops, malts and specifically yeasts.

2. Lagunitas Brewing Company Hop Stoopid Ale (IIPA)

hopstoopid

This is another adventurous beer. A little back story is needed here. I am quite the appreciator of high ABV beers. I seldomly drink anything that is not labeled Imperial, Strong, Double, Dubbel, or Triple. Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale, like the beer above is one of quite high alcohol. To be exact, 8%. This brew features an unorthodox brewing procedure. Instead of adding the hops to the wort pre-boil, during boil and finishing hops afterward, Hop Stoopid gets hop resin/extract or essentially a hop “tea” added in at boiling time. Though normally hop extract is often considered a cheap alternative to whole hops, in this beverage the extract brings out a whole different characteristic. Try this one if you really want to be kicked in the teeth with a hop bomb.

3. Great Lakes Brewing Company Edmund Fitzgeral (Porter)

edmund

Though contrary to my obsession with high alcohol beers the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter is an outstanding beer. To me, this is the quintessential beer for the cozying up need a fire in a log cabin type of beer. When the cold winter months roll around I crave a nice dark mocha chocolaty sipper like this. Brewed with the classic Great Lakes Cascade hops and dark roasted Two row (I think) malts, the balance of this beer is outstanding. Flavors of strong burnt coffee and dark chocolate attack your tongue. I carries a slight alpha acid hop bitterness in the beginning, but finishes off with a lingering roasty flavor that keeps this beer around in your mouth for hours. My only complaint about this beer is the over carbonation of it, but it is merely a pet peeve rather than an actual negative. Support Cleveland, buy Great Lakes.

I’ll finish up the last two a bit later. Finals study time.