The following headline ticked across my newsfeed today: "Twitter vs Female Protagonists in Video Games". Given that exclusively feminist news outlets are far from rare these days, I wasn't surprised to read the inflammatory headline. Of course this was the point, thus I was compelled to read further--which I encouragePortrait/Logo anyone to do for the sake of context. This is something I've seen more and more often lately--that is, a feminist agenda attempting to make a case using hyperbole rather than rationale. It's not particularly necessary to point out to anyone with a brain that this is exactly what you should expect on a public forum like Twitter [or Reddit, or even Facebook for that matter]. Regardless, just to sum this up with a hint of lime and spicy reality, I'll forcibly share [as I'm given to understand is the custom within the various rape cultures] some anecdotal evidence as to why the claim being made by the feminist-but-also-hardcore-gamer demographic would be a complete crock of shit even if said demographic was statistically  significant enough to make a claim in the first place (and it's not--but more on that later).

Where I live and go to school, there are people who stand in areas with high volumes of foot traffic--areas both on- and off-campus--and shout about things that bother them. Every day. As people pass by these soap-boxing purveyors of truth, the vast majority don't say anything, and most don't even acknowledge the phenomenon itself. However, I'm going to be generous and say that maybe 5% of passersby respond with something like "Shut the fuck up" or bait two can play"You're a fucking asshole". To take it further, maybe 1% are even more confrontational and actually stop to loudly argue with whatever point or claim the shouter du jour may be making regarding what's wrong with the world today.

Now, those types of verbal reactions seem pretty noncommittal, right? Telling someone to shut the fuck up or calling them an asshole--those are pretty neutral things to yell at someone as they're yelling things at you. You're just expressing that you don't want to fucking hear it. To put this in perspective, what do you think people shout when it's an evangelist complaining about people not believing in god? Or a pro-lifer calling complete strangers baby killers?There are some "Shut the fuck up"s, to be sure. But that ~1% I made reference to might shout things like "Satan raped your mother and you were the result" and "Jesus gives great blowjobs". Now I have to wonder--do these people really MEAN or BELIEVE these things?

Nah. They probably don't [we are talking about the outlying 1%, after all].

I decided that anyone who bitches and moans in a high-traffic area is bound to have that ~5% shout right back at them, and they'll be responsible for it, no matter how legitimate their cause.

"But why? What if they're RIIIIIIIGHT?"

They'll still be responsible for it. Simply being pretentious enough to feel compelled to martyrdom doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you're responsible for your actions. Furthermore, if you consider yourself to be a qualified representative who has a responsibility to speaki am a little upset on behalf of other people on any subject, you are automatically responsible for what you say by virtue of representation. And you are certainly not exempt from the hostile criticism that you are inviting [oh god, I'm victim-blaming again] upon yourself for doing so. Will you experience the occasional "You're a raging cunt go get raped" every now and then? Sure. That's the nature of the beast. That's the ~1% rearing its head. But it's not the nature of who and what you're trying to demonize--an entire sex, gender, or culture of people--many of whom actually have vaginas, mind you [those poor, doe-eyed casualties of the Patriarchy]. It's not even the nature of a subgroup--it's a sub-sub-sub-group of individuals. Using outliers as exemplars to illustrate grievance is not only ignorant, misleading and insulting--it's potentially damaging to your cause if even half of the people for whom you're claiming to speak can think critically and/or for themselves.

If you don't have a legitimate enough reason to complain, it will eventually become apparent to those around you. Your cause will fail, and people in the environment will start to fuck with you for no reason other than it is clear to them that you feel entitled to somethingThis a completely legitimate, if unpleasant, reaction for people in the environment to have; I think most of us react negatively when presented with someone who possesses an attitude of entitlement.

Inversely, if your cause has legitimacy and you actually care enough to work to promote it, it will probably become apparent to those around you until the problem starts to be seriously considered. It is also definitely possible that the cause you're championing is not one that enough people share to gain the attention you think it deserves. This sucks, but there are a lot of causes that suffer from a lack of visibility despite affecting millions of people. Like a lack of clean water and food everywhere. Chinese persecution of the 70 million practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline. Child soldiers. Human trafficking.

Lack of Female Protagonists in Video Games.

If gaining visibility takes more time than you have available to devote to your cause and your cause is legitimate--I'm sorry (and I do mean it at least a little). But when you consider that it took over 1500 years to convince people the earth wasn't flat--and a lot of people died just for openly disagreeing--I hope you'll understand why I'm not up in arms about your personal grievances.

One of the most important questions that I don't think people are asking is: "What are you sacrificing? Is it more, less, or equal to what you hope to gain?"

Simply believing in something isn't enough; other people have to believe in it too, and sometimes even that isn't enough. Ideology is no longer (if it ever was) the driving force behind change, and in my book that's a good thing. Given exceptional time-management skills and a viral ideology, Hitler only needed a few years to orchestrate the obliteration of hundreds of millions of years worth of human life.

It doesn't matter who the special interest is; within the context of this post it happens to be neo-feminists with such an ironically narrow worldview that they actually think it's worth complaining about the lack of female protagonists present in a form of media that literally was and is still created to function as an escapism from real life. I'm sorry if the irony is somewhat mired in the overall negativity of it, but I happen to find the complaint that there's a disparity between the sexes regarding the right to be distracted into complacency by a strong female protagonist somewhat revealing. There's a really big problem here, and it's one of scoped perspective; nobody gives a fuck because it's just not a worthwhile issue when you consider the scale and frequency of actual atrocities taking place in the world right now.

No matter who you are or what you're championing: if you are the flag-bearer, you will be the first one aboard the rape train, and that's just life. But hey, you could always post a link to your tumblr via Twitter, promote it on Facebook and make people who might not have cared otherwise feel bad for you and hate men who play video games with men in them. That's works, too.

*While obviously debatable, I'm referring to the fact that over the last few millennia the global population has either seen an increase or no change as opposed to a decrease in "quality of life". Regardless of whether I or anyone else agrees with the definition, my claim is a probable net "improvement" (normalizing for population).
Posted in General | Leave a comment

“Why the Fuck Can’t I Climb This Tree?” AKA “A Cautionary Tale For Which You Shall Receive No Refund Due to Loss of Personal Chronology”

Today I was climbing a tree outside the UCPD. I have been wondering for some time about the university's policy regarding this, and had even climbed outside UCPD before. Despite this, I try to exercise caution when climbing publicly, so I would briefly stop when somebody came in or out and wait for them to pass. Finally, as I was descending, a female officer walked out, staring at her iPhone. She was walking on this sidewalk, though I was much lower in the tree when she passed:

After watching her walk about 10 yards away, I figured I might as well take the opportunity to finally learn the policy and dropped out of the tree. The exchange went something like this, with changes in the officer's name denoting alterations in demeanor--I spoke only to one officer:

Unpleasant Officer: [walking slowly toward me, talking into shoulder walkie] "...code XXX"
Me: "..."
Unpleasant Officer: "Are you a student here?"
Me: "Yes."
Suspicious Officer: [into walkie] "Yeah... he just came out of a tree." [to me] What were you doing in that tree?"
Me: "...cardio."
Confused-But-Pretty-Sure-She-Heard-Me-And-Is-Now-Pissed-Officer: "What?"
Me: "I was climbing it."
Pissed Officer: "Do you know you're not supposed to be up there?"
Me: [holding out my gloved hands] "I climb trees all the time, I didn't know there was any rule against it."

At this point, three other officers--seriously, three--walk out of the UCPD and effectively surround me.

Pissed Officer: "Do you have ID?"
Me: [probably smiling like a smartass, but only appreciating the irony since my ID was stolen the day before] "No."
Mistrustful Pissed Officer: "You don't have any ID?"
Me: "Not on me."

She takes down my name, her tone and demeanor embodying skepticism.

Skeptical Officer: "What's your ID number?"
Me: "ID number? My Driver's License number?"
S.O.: [looking impatient, like she didn't just ask a student for one of the seventy different types of numbers by which we're identified] "Yes, your ID number."

At this point I take a moment to look thoughtful and concentrative. I know my license number like the back of my hand [as any good citizen should!], but I have no desire to let her know this because I'm reasonably sure she believes I'm giving her false information. Eventually, I painstakingly manage to get it out, and then a second time when she asks me to repeat it--this time in under three seconds. Bear in mind there are still two other officers standing by [the fourth having abandoned the situation altogether], though they've moved over near the golf carts to talk between themselves after realizing that their perp is a recreational tree-climbing college student. They will completely give up out of boredom about a minute later and retreat inside.

Arithmetically Challenged Officer: [talking slowly to herself, but loudly enough that the nearby officers can hear] "That's
too many numbers..." [continues writing something]
Me: [inappropriately grinning like an idiot] "...okay."
A.C.O.: "Alright you seem a little sarcastic, so I don't know if you were aware or not [gestures to my gloves] that you weren't supposed to be climbing these. What were you doing in THIS tree?" [gestures to the tree 5 feet from the police department]
Me: "I just got froyo across the street and these were the closest trees. I climbed that one over there before I went up this one."
A.C.O.: "Why would you climb trees?"
Me: "Didn't you ever climb trees as a kid?"

I was vainly attempting to appeal to her sense of childlike wonder. Besides, it's not like I was peeping in on people.

Insta-Pissed-Officer: "That's besides the point."
Me: "Well not really; I climbed trees as a kid and just never stopped."
Really-Annoyed-Now-Officer: "You're free to go. You may or may not be contacted by Student Conduct regarding this matter." [The implication presumably being that if I didn't give her false information, I would hear from Student Conduct]
Me: "Okay. That's not too many numbers, though." [pointing to her notepad]
R.A.N.O.: "Well I'll be running it-- [mumbles and trails off as she walks away]

Granted, I was smiling like a smartass the whole time, but good-naturedly considering the circumstances. Even still, this was only because Officer Hardass called out three additional officers for an open and shut case of motherfucking tree-climbing. I'd also like to reiterate: she did not see me at all until I willingly jumped out of the tree an entirely inoffensive and non-threatening distance behind her. She literally almost walked under me [it would have been more forgivable if she had, in fact], a person sitting in the lowest branch of a tree not 10 feet from the UCPD exit. A person donning red pants, a bright blue shirt wearing an orange backpack. She was probably just laying a trap--and I literally fell into it! Blast!

I stand by my climbing-turned-social experiment! I don't regret the result of the first "strike" on my record for tree-climbing and happily note the experience here for posterity. Besides, maybe she was texting a co-worker about solving a crime and that's why she didn't notice my practically-camouflaged-self until I jumped into her lap. It's not like I was wearing anything conspicuous.

Posted in General | 2 Comments

L’Hopital’s Rule – Day 1

He's pretty swank looking, really.

So, today we started going over L'Hopital's Rule, which is a fiendishly hidden concept that would be pretty useful in Calculus 1, except they don't tell you about it until Calculus 2. Why is it useful? Well, in this case, I DO know why.

L'Hopital's Rule essentially allows you to reduce limits that are in indeterminate form to something more workable--which is saying a lot. But don't trust me--here's an example!

Now because I'm so bad at math, I couldn't have told you how to solve that limit a yesterday. Ordinarily, you'd use a direct substitution and, failing that, you could try to factor it. If none of the normal methods work, however, you're sort of dead in the water. L'Hopital's Rule to the rescue!

L'Hopital's Rule basically tells us that if a limit is in indeterminate form (in other words, if direct substitution results in   ,  ,  ,  ,  , or  ), you can reduce it by taking the derivative of the top and the derivative of the bottom.

That's it.

So back to the example!

Look at that for a second, then try to plug in infinity for x to see if you can do direct substitution. No? Me either, it comes up indeterminate of the form . No small surprise, as both the numerator AND the denomenator both have cubed powers. So now what? Well, we could try factoring, but if you take a look you can pretty much eyeball that it won't work--that is, if you factor an x out of the top, you're still stuck with a denominator that has multiple terms, so you can't cancel anything. Lame! L'Hopital!

Step 1: Derive the numerator

Step 2: Derive the denominator

Now put it all back together:

Nice! Now try plugging infinity back in.

Uh oh. Didn't work? DOWN WITH L'HOPITAL'S RULE BURN IT AND HIS STUPID HEAD OF HAI--wait, what? Oh. Well, L'Hopital's Rule can be repeated as many times as necessary, and in fact it IS necessary much of the time. That's less fun, but okay. L'Hopital! Again!

1. Derive the numerator

2. Derive the denominator

Put it all back together:

Well... when we plug infinity into that, we still get infinity. However, it is clear to see that if we derive both top and bottom again, we will be left with constants! And what does that mean? It means that our limit, after it is simplified, would be a simple

and you can verify that answer with a graphing calculator, or use the WolframAlpha link in the sidebar to graph the very first iteration of our rational expression. You can see that they are approaching a number. Try graphing the limit to see the exact line that constitutes the limit.

[As a sidenote, I really cannot say enough great things about WolframAlpha. Please go use it.]

Is it really that simple? Yup. Don't get me wrong, when you start throwing in transcendental and trigonometric functions, it gets a lot more complex--and quickly. There are also some exceptions and details I left out, but that is the fundamental explanation of how to execute L'Hopital's Rule on a limit of indeterminate form. I'm not even going to begin with the proof, you can look that up yourself. Duh.

(this is part 1 of a 2 part series--I haven't been to class to learn the second part yet duh)



Posted in Lessons/Concepts | Leave a comment

First Order Linear Equations



I was sick with some kind of food poisoning so I wasn't able to go to class today (Monday), and now I'm attempting to struggle through section 9.2 -- First Order Linear Equations!

Alright, so here's what I have so far:

Problems begin in various forms, and the first step is to get each equations into the following form:

Now, given this form, we have to find something called the "Integrating Factor", which will be factored INTO every term of the equation. This factor is generally given by the notation v(x) in the book. So in other words after this factor is found and distributed, the above equation would look like this:

Why do this? Honestly, I don't know, but the general consensus from the internet seems to be that by multiplying this factor through the problem, you are able to put the equation into a form that is integrable on both sides, allowing you to solve for y. Cool huh? Whatever, let's do this.

After a lot of digging, I found the formula for the "Integrating Factor" to be

This all looks like nothing without context, so I'm going to post the first problem from my homework and maybe I'll figure it out somewhere along the way.

, where x > 0

1) Put it in standard form of

After some algebraic noodling, I ended up with

Okay, great. I cheated and it looks like I'm on the right track. Now, onto the "Integrating Factor" bit.

2) Multiply the whole equation by the "Integrating Factor", defined as

Based on the standard form, we know the following:

Given this, we know that    , and we have to solve the integral to get the value of v(x). That's a pretty easy integral, so you'll get           and      simplifies to 1, giving you    for the value of v(x) or the "Integrating Factor".

3) Multiply the equation in standard form by the "Integrating Factor".


Now the weird thing here is I'm not sure what happens to the dy/dx.  The x's cancel to leave y and e^x, but I'm not sure about the math with the x(dy/dx). All I know is that after you find the "Integrating Factor", you should end up with the following form:

If you can't, you can simply plug in the known v(x) or the "Integrable Factor", the known Q(x) as per the standard form, solve the integral, and lastly do the algebra.

Okay, so to cobble this together:

1) Put the equation in standard form to determine P(x) and Q(x)

2) Find the "Integrable Factor"

3) Use the form of the solution above to take the integral, clean up the algebra and solve for y.

I'm going to try and practice now, but there's a huge portion of this that I'm missing.


Posted in Lessons/Concepts | 4 Comments