Sunday, November 18, 2007

Photoshop Work

Sorry for the dearth amount of posts these past few weeks. Though I'm spending more hours of the day in front of a computer, most of the time is spent on accomplishing activities I am required to do rather than activities I am seeking out (such as this blog and my website).

I am spending the little photography time I have available working on two skills I need to develop: learning how to get the sepia- & chrome-style images from digital photographs, and attempting to teach myself airbrushing and photomanipulation techniques.



Below is an example of one attempt at sepia-style black & whites.

Photo from a Sep. 2006 Agora II performance in Brooklyn, NY.

Secularizing a Holiday

I got into a short discussion with an acquaintance on whether or not the effort to secularize holidays was a good thing. I had mentioned to him that the movement to remove the Christian aspects from Thanksgiving and Christmas has not died, rather they have nearly completed their work.

I cannot count how many Happy Turkey Day signs I have seen in the past few weeks, and every time I see on of those signs I am somewhat disappointed. While I understand that some nonreligious people don’t want to be exposed to religion at all, I think the trend has gone overboard. The history behind Thanksgiving—as a national holiday—is relatively recent, the colonial roots of the celebration are important and religious in nature. Even for atheists, agnostics, and the non-religious can it really be such a bad thing to take a moment and remember the history of this nation, can it be so awful to step back and cogitate on what the individual has to be thankful/grateful for? Giving thanks is one of those two-way gifts that benefits both the giver and receiver. We could stand to do much more of it.

My acquaintance mentioned that some national holidays are maintained because such a large number of the population would request the day off, that it makes better sense to regularize observation. He pointed out that if people of Jewish cultural origin were of greater numbers in America, we would probably nationalize their holidays similar to what is done in Israel. I responded that I would be fine with that if we did. I certainly wouldn’t try to remove all religious references from Rosh Ha-Shanah.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Productive Paranoia

Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you!

I just finished reading an article at CNN.com (drawn from the AP) that has reminded me that the demise of citizen anonymity (and the advent of Big Brother) is imminent and all-encompassing.

Jump to the Article: Intelligence Deputy to America: Rethink Privacy.


I remember thinking how intelligent the Founding Fathers of America were when they designed a system with separation of powers, that separated what the federal government could & should do, from what the individual states could & should do. Today I am continuously reminded that the modern day political spectrum seeks more to consolidate and hold power than maintain the bastion of democracy set forth in the American Constitution.

A direct quote from the article: “Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

This is one of the most foolish statements I’ve hear from a public official in a long time. The government that cannot properly manage natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires wants us to trust them to manage private communication, personal, as well as financial data? The government that cannot account for how vast sums of money have been spent in the Iraq War, the government that routinely hides pet projects and kickbacks inside unrelated bill proposals wants the citizen’s of America to trust them with the most (non-physically) damaging information it is possible to obtain?

To be clear, I have no theoretical problem trusting the federal government. I believe the American system sports far less corruption than many of the other similar representative democracies. What I have a problem with is the perversion of the natural system of checks and balances--originally designed to combat such corruption--being systemically eroded, particularly in the name of security.

Another quote:Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission, so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S.
The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted on U.S. soil in order to protect Americans' privacy. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering because, as technology has changed, a growing amount of foreign communications passes through U.S.-based channels.

In simplest terms: Congress was designed to make laws; the President set up to administer them; the Courts designed to verify that both groups are obeying them.

By allowing Congress to pass—and the President to enact—a law that at best circumvents parts of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has neglected to uphold their duty in preventing The White House from bending (potentially breaking) the law. Does the simple nature of a law obstructing intelligence gathering give enough rationale for that law to be abolished? This is analogous to a doctor assigning a private investigator to constantly follow you around to report when you eat unhealthy food, then complaining that your refusal to tell the investigator what you ate is hindering his information gathering efforts.

I am reminded of a Benjamin Franklin quote: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

If the world has become a dangerous and unsafe place, then we need to recognize and accept that is the world we live in. We cannot buy our safety with the trading of our liberty: it is impossible. If we attempt to do so, we will find ourselves robbed of everything we value, holding dirt and stones instead of what we were told were diamonds.

The White House complained that getting warrants to tap phones and listen to conversations was too cumbersome. So rather than get Congress to pass laws to increase and streamline the U.S. Court system, The White House Administration gets Congress to eliminate the law requiring them to get warrants. That is akin to a six-year old deciding that rather than asking a parent to reconsider a request for a pre-dinner cookie, it is just better to eliminate the parent entirely. No parent, no oversight; no oversight, as many cookies as the six-year old wants.

It is officials from this type of administration that ask us to trust them in how they handle the information they are gathering. How does the saying go…? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Is the American populace still so naive that we’ll believe that someone who says ‘Trust us, we’re the good guys!’ cannot do any wrong?


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Feminism & Social Justice

As a combined result from exposure to a new blog, along with conversations with some new acquaintances, I have been again pondering the issue of feminism (and the greater issue of social justice in which it resides).

I recently saw a sticker an acquaintance had placed on her coffee mug that said: “This is what feminism looks like.” When I asked her what feminism meant to her she proffered that her short definition would be equal opportunity and lack of discrimination/bias across gender lines.


The question I’m posing in this post is only semi-rhetorical. If you are aware of the theistic (particularly Judeo-Christian) belief that the world is not as it should be (i.e. not currently as God wants it to be), then the question is this: can humankind alone change the world to the way it should be? This question is relevant because if the answer is no, then serious re-evaluation of the purposes of pursuing social justice must be made.

I have non-theistic friends who firmly believe that a society can change—for the better—and make pursuing social justice an accomplishable priority. I have liberal friends who firmly believe that for a society to survive it must make social justice a priority. But after some cursory examination of the religious organizations I am acquainted with, I wonder if those organizations have the same beliefs on the matter of social justice.

When it comes to some of the overarching goals (as I understand them) of feminism—eliminating patriarchal bias in public, corporate, and private life; promoting gender equality; promoting sexual equality—do the majority Christian religious organizations actually want this? And if not, is there an acceptable alternative being offered?

There are 2 passages from the Bible (one OT & one NT) I think that are relevant to this question and are excerpted as follows:

To the woman He[God] said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Gen. 3:16 NIV

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything….However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife Eph. 5:22-24, 33

Go to online versions of: Genesis Chapter 3 / Ephesians Chapter 5

On the surface, the idea of submission appears to directly conflict with the idea of gender equality. I’ve heard numerous sermons attempting to explain what exactly submission is (and what it looks like in the modern world); and since I am no theologian I shall not attempt to recite them herein. I will only state this: status and power are not necessarily the same thing. Two individuals of equal status may not have equal power in a relationship at any particular time. If Joe and Jim open a business as equal partners, but divide the business responsibilities such that Joe manages the finances while Jim manages product; Joe may spend time giving Jim orders about when to buy or sell product, while Jim may give Joe orders about what products to buy or sell.


So even with the instruction (as given by the apostle Paul) for wives to submit to their husbands, it is premature (and likely erroneous) to conclude Paul implies that wives have a lesser status than their husbands.


But what about the Genesis passage where it is directly attributed to God saying a wife will be ruled by her husband? Well there are two points that are critical to understand this passage. God’s proclamation comes in response to Adam and Eve’s violation of His edict about not eating from The Tree of Knowledge. In other words, Eve’s punishment is to have painful childbirths and to be ruled by the husband she desires. If you buy the idea that God’s proclamation extends to all humankind, then conceivably we are all under the same punishments. In other words, all men receive the punishment given Adam, and all women receive the punishment given Eve. This does not seem to bode well for women seeking gender equality.

The second critical point of this passage, is it does not directly indicate what the ideal setup of a husband-wife pair should be. Some might argue that the passage’s preceeding description of life before the fall of mankind explains the ideal, but even those descriptions are very vague.

In short, the Bible’s stance on the matter of gender equality does not disagree with the gender equality goal of feminism. I will save discussion of patriarchal bias and sexual equality for another post.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New (Sort of) Deviation at DeviantArt

I posted Setback - A Short Story up on my Deviant Art page. Because I put myself as primarily a writer before photographer, I felt something of my work should be up. I don't know how one would classify prose fiction as art (or not art for that matter) but it will be interesting to see if it gets a response.

I have been pondering lately if I should attempt more short-story and short fiction writing. All my current writing projects are novel-length fiction or journal-length academic work. It has been several years since I have attempted to sit down and churn out short works in a matter of hours; I may have lost the skill. The current primary obstacle is just that I have so many things I want to write about already, I am hesitant to use my little available time writing anything else.


Interesting stuff has been happening in the world of late, but I may be somewhat late in posting thoughts. My schedule this past week (and this coming week) has surprised me in its business.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In memoriam of Charles Shultz

The sad, wonderful, complicated life of Charles M. Schulz. (CNN article link)



An interesting article about a Charles Shultz book that has come out recently. Next time I'm at the bookstore I'll look it up.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It comes Around again

So just as my previous post was fading from memory, something happens in the news which makes it relevant again.
From CNN.com: 'Race row' Nobel winner suspended

In short, one of the scientist credited for discovering DNA spouted off some claims that it was tests of people (who can trace their genetic roots to races geographically separated Africa) showed that they were less intelligent than the rest of us. He continued to say that the prospect of progress was gloomy.

Though this is not the first of Watson’s somewhat extreme claims, it only bolsters my point about how science has major endemic problems in the way its conducted and the analysis of what the resultant data means. Psychology has mostly failed—in holding itself to a higher standard—by allowing geneticists and biologists to repeatedly misconstrue & misuse their data. There isn’t even a coherent unitary definition of what intelligence is in the psychological world; so to allow the term to be used outside of psychology in the field of genetics is irresponsible and negligent.

But such occurrences of misusing and misconstruing data are all too common. I still believe that the major contributor to this pandemic is agenda-driven science. Until that is stamped out, it won’t just be the quirky, old academics making claims such as these.

Is this Art?





Stumbled across this website. After reading through the blog posts, I am wondering does this project actually constitute art? I don't have any opinion on the artistic merits per se; I just thought that it poses an interesting question.

To clarify: How much of an internal psycho-logical/physical process can a third-party understand by observation? This photographer/artist wants to know if the physical release (at ecstasy) is different when a couple is in love, from individually-initiated release, or from other circumstances.

I wonder if the answer can even be quantified?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Elections & the Democratic Ticket

If you had to pick your three major issues for the upcoming Presidential election, what issues would they be?

I think the majority of Americans will have one or more of these in their top three (whether or not they actually admit it out loud): Iraq War/War in general, Economy/Where federal money goes, Gender/Race conflicts.


Iraq War

According to FactCheck.org the differences between the leading Democratic candidates are small on this issue.

  • Clinton: Goal to have all troops out. Reality is that some will likely remain, indefinitely (likely Special Forces for counterterrorism).
  • Obama: Goal to have all troops out. Reality is that some will remain to support embassy, civilians, and counterterrorism.
  • Richardson: Goal to have all troops out within 1 year of taking office.
  • Edwards: Goal to remove all combat troops. Some token troops <5000.
  • Kucinich: Goal to have all troops out within 3 months of taking office.
  • Biden: IF/THEN proposal. If political settlement reached (that ends civil war), troops remain. If not, then troops removed.


Economy/Money

This general category refers to health care, jobs, immigration, etc. I think the category is less important only for the reason that until whatever candidate is forced to get the proposal past Congress, all the claims of what will be accomplished are moot points. So while you may favor one candidate’s health plan over another’s, it is not until the elected candidate is forced to try and get the bill through Congress and pay for it that the candidate can back up any of his/her claims.

Another point, if a Democratic gets elected President, that person will be in a slightly less advantagous position than President Bush was in 2000 (in terms of having party control of the House & Senate). The current unfavorable public opinion of the federal government will likely lead to elected politicians being more concerned with maintaining their jobs and party power than accomplishing much in the way of improving the nation.


Gender/Race conflicts

This is actually where I believe those not using the Iraq War as the deciding factor will probably end up using gender or race to make their decision. For the first time, a woman and a black man lead the polls in the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, those polls results do not reflect what I believe to be actual reality. I am more than willing and ready to be proved wrong, but I simply do not think the general American populace will elect either a woman or black man as President of the United States. Would the public settle for a woman or minority if they had no choice, yes. But given an alternative, I do not believe people will choose a female or minority leader.
That means I am pessimistic about either Clinton or Obama securing the Democratic nomination for President, much less either actually winning the general election. As I told someone this week, either of them would actually serve to bolster the chances of one of the white male candidates. So here would be my prediction. Assuming Clinton actually fails to secure the nomination, it will probably be Biden or Edwards leading the ticket with either Clinton, Obama, or Richardson balancing out the bottom-half of the ticket.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Photoshop Tutorial up on website

I've just uploaded a quick tutorial, onto the website, that explains how to use the Levels Toolbox in Adobe Photoshop CS. The page is in the General Writing section.

It is not a comprehensive explanation of the Levels toolbox, but it serves as a start. Feedback on how helpful it is, would be appreciated.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Conclusion of my LP saga

So quite surprisingly, I actually got a call from the LP Critical Care Department on Friday. The representative went through a convoluted explanation about the delay in my laptop being due to problem with the parts manufacturers not making enough replacement parts for the number of laptops sold. He didn’t explain why they failed to contact me; instead he shuffled past that negligence by saying that they had just decided to replace my laptop with a brand new machine. (Don’t get me wrong, new equipment is great. But my chief problem with that department was the lack of communication, not that they couldn’t solve problems when they actually got me on the phone.) He then went on to tell me how the new machine would end up being better than the one I previously had: how they were tossing in all the bells & whistles like 250GB hard drive, 2GB Ram, 256MB of Video Ram, Fingerprint Reader, TV tuner, etc. At this point, I just wanted to get to the end of the conversation and move on with my day, so I confirmed my address and contact information, he said it would take 7-15 business to build and ship, then we ended the call.

So now I have a brand new computer coming that outpaces both my existing desktop, and the laptop I had to purchase while I was waiting for my old one to get back from the repair center. The upside is that now I can use the new laptop for all my photography & image processing needs without worry of slowing my system down. The only downside is now I’m forced to purchase new programs updates for all the software I had old XP versions of because they are too old to qualify for free updates.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Truths & Lies

The master deceiver can spin a web of lies with the truth.

I was reminded of the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from the Garden of Eden this morning: how Satan used a combination of leading questions and incomplete truths to walk Eve down the wrong path. It was then I thought of the above line.

I think the above statement relates to one of the reasons I have difficulty paying people compliments. The whole process seemed to be designed to mislead and deceive. When I’m appreciative of something someone has done for me, I just say so. The procedure of bestowing effusive and lavish praise is something I do not understand. I rarely say anything about people’s particular physical features; but when I do speak I don’t see what I say as compliments (to boost someone’s self-esteem or my position) rather I view my words like rain washing off a dirt-covered flower. If I speak truth, the underlying beauty is revealed. If I speak lies, the underlying beauty is distorted and damaged.

I think that was the reason—in the story—that God was curious who told Adam and Eve they were naked. Something that had been unsullied and beautiful became twisted because of lies and poor decisions.

A copy of the text is below:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

deviantART

So I've discovered the website deviantART. It was rather by accident, and I'm uncertain whether it will end up being a really good thing, or an extreme timesink. Like many things on the internet, it should probably only be taken in small doses.

They have a process there by which sales of picture prints can be made, which is worth some investigating. I admit I was bamboozled by all the caveats and addendums to the liscening agreements, so I have no idea if the two pictures I posted there I actually own anymore or if I signed away my rights to the website. I set up a profile page, and I will let you know how it goes. Fortunately, their website seems to operate relatively simply on the end-user side, so I won't need to learn anymore additional programming.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I’ve added a new Survey page up on the website. The page is put up to get an accounting of the Sexual History/Proclivities of people, and more specifically how they communicate these with partner/s, friends & family, and social acquaintances. Right now, only the preliminary survey is up; I’m waiting to see what sort of response I get before putting the expanded one (with the follow up questions) up.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be talking more about the purposes of the survey and what I’m anticipating I’ll find. But to whet the appetite, here is one question—the answer to which will be fascinating—about the communication practices.

For those individuals born after 1970, has the entrance age, when graphic discussions of sexual activity begin, into sexual communication increased or decreased? In other words, do people talk—with their family/friends/acquaintances—about sexual activity/proclivities at younger ages?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bureaucracy vs. Customer Service Part 1

I had a phone conversation today with a representative from Executive Customer Relations of a major computer company whom I will call Lewhitt Packard. On the 9th of August, I sent in my laptop—which had ceased functioning—to the repair center. Because I had purchased the extended service plan (with the Accidental Damage Protection), I expected the company to repair my laptop or provide me with an equivalent replacement.
According to the company’s own website, the typical repair schedule if from 5-7 business days at the repair center, followed by 2-day or next-day FedEx delivery. I received one email when the company shipped out the box I was supposed to mail the laptop in. That was the last direct communication I had from the repair center.

Using the information I had received in the email, I was able to verify that the repair center received my laptop on the 11th of August. I expected to receive a call or email from the repair center by the 20th of August telling me what had been done to my laptop and when to expect it returned. That call never came.
Starting on Monday the 27th of August I called the status check phone number every other day, to find out what was going on with my laptop. The people there—who I believe are actually located in India, despite their ‘American’-sounding names—repeated what was displayed on status check website for the company and told me they had no more information. The webpage for my order changed the expected delivery date 3 times: from August 28th, to September 13th, to September 21st. Each time the date changed, no other information was put on the website to indicate why the date changed, or what had been done with the laptop.
Despite my busy schedule, I called LP at least once a week hoping to get some information about my laptop. Not once from August until September 13th did they send me an email or call me to inform me of the progress (or lack thereof) on my laptop. When the 13th rolled around and the date was adjusted back, I called the status check line and insisted that they do something to resolve this problem. The phone operator then explained that my case would be escalated to a Critical Care case, and I should expect a phone call from a case manager, on how this lack of service would be rectified, within 24-48 hours.

No call ever came.

On the 18th of September, I called the status check line again. After conversing with the operator for over 30 minutes about my problem, and getting transferred to another department, then back to the original status check department again, the operator said that they would send another case escalation to the Critical Care Department, and that because this was the second escalation, I should hear back within 2 business days.

No call ever came.

On Friday, the 21st of September, I called the status check department again. I insisted on talking to the supervisor of the department. After another half-hour conversation, the supervisor said he would send another case-escalation through the LP’s computer system. I asked why he couldn’t call the Critical Care Department directly and connect me with a physical person, he claimed that type of connection was impossible. But he insisted that with his new escalation, the department would respond within 2 business days.

No call ever came.

On Wednesday, the 26th of September I called the status check department again. I insisted on talking to the superisor of the department (a woman this time), and again got the same song and dance routine about how they could not connect me to the Critical Care department. When I expressed how frustrating being sent in circles was, she said that I could call the Corporate Complaint Line for help.
The next day (27th) I called the Coporate Line at 10:00am. After walking through the problem—another 30 minute conversation—the phone operator agreed with me that there was a problem with how I was treated. According to her computer, the case manager had marked down that I was slated to receive a replacement laptop. She explained that she would send a re-escalation order to the Critical Care Department; that order would be sent to the supervisor of the person who was assigned my case. I asked her how I was to be certain that anybody in the department was even seeing the message, but she insisted that they were getting through. She also asserted that I would be contacted within 36 hours of her sending the message, but that if I wasn’t to call the corporate line again on Monday.

No Call ever came.

Monday afternoon (Oct. 1st) I called the corporate line again. After a 20minute rehashing of the entire saga, I queried if there wasn’t some way to bypass the Critical Care Department entirely. Since the corporate computer page stated I was to receive a replacement, couldn’t they take care of it themselves? After conversing with her supervisor, the operator said she would just do the process herself. I was pleased to hear this. According to her, she said that I would need to go to the LP shopping website and build a computer system. Once done, I would need to send her the purchase price for that system, along with the original receipt for the original laptop. (Side Note: The laptop I had sent in for repair was a replacement for an even older laptop that LP couldn’t fix from a December 2006 problem). When I explained that the currently held laptop was given to me by HP, and that I didn’t have a purchase receipt, she responded that she would need a purchase receipt for the original laptop. I answered her that the orginal laptop was purchased in 2002, and that because I had moved 5 times since that date, my chances of finding that receipt were non-existent. She then refused to do the requirements necessary to put in a build-order for a replacement; she claimed the rules stated she needed the original purchase receipt. When I asked her what was her solution, she replied that she would send another escalation order to the Critical Care Department. I likened her order to sending something into a black hole and asked what I should do when the typical non-reponse occurs. She said that she believed the department would contact me, but to call the corporate line again if they failed to contact me by Wednesday.

No Call ever came.

Unsurprisingly, I was forced to call LP’s corporate line Wednesday morning. I spoke with a different operator, and went through the same rigamarole. After this operator conversed with her supervisor, she came back and told me that my case hadn’t been re-escalated, just escalated a second time. She said that this time, they would re-escalate my case, but from the corporate-line department head to the Critical Care department head. I’ve now been told that I will most definitely receive a contact from the department. When I queried what I should do when I don’t, I was told to call the corporate line if the CC-department fails to contact me by Friday.

So what was the point of this saga?

The LP bureaucracy has essentially stripped their company of any sort of useful customer service. The status check department (as well as the corporate line) claims to not be able to contact the repair department directly. This is likely true, if one department is in India and the other in Canada. Even worse, they can’t give me the phone number to the repair department so I can call them directly, because they claim not to have it. The computer system is set up so that two days have to elapse before they can do anything new on a particular case. Consequently, after each phone call, 2 days are wasted while I wait for non-existent contact from the repair department. The setup of LP’s bureaucracy allows an individual in a department (and that whole department as well) to shirk their responsibilities without chastisement, leaving consumers abandoned to fend for themselves.
All of these problems could have been averted with either of 2 simple solutions. LP could have an internal phone directory website which employees can access to contact any other employee directly. This would allow the corporate line or the status check department to call the delinquent case manager and get some direct answers. The second solution is to have someone (most likely in the corporate headquarters) that a customer can be connected to, who is capable of making unilateral decisions on how to solve the problem. In other words, rather than try an hunt down a 4 year-old receipt and fax that in; this person can just decide to send me a new laptop and carry it out, without having me have to do any more work.
It is Thursday now, and I am quite pessimistic about actually receiving a call from the repair department. Miracles can happen, but bureaucracy is like a malignant cancer that refuses to die. I have not decided yet what to do, when LP fails me again. But I’ll update you when I have more information.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Avoiding Sociological Agenda-Driven Science

On the ride home today, I got into a conversation with an acquaintance that I have had with other people many times. I mentioned to her that I felt that scientists had a responsibility to see that their science is understood and used properly by both scientists and the general public, while also refusing to engage in social agenda-driven ‘science’ or allow their science to be used for any group wishing to drive its social agenda. While I was trying to emphasize the difference between collective and personal responsibility, she was more focused on the point of science (then), and curious about how I reasonably expect scientists to enact this.

I tried to explain—via examples—why agenda-driven science, or science used to push forward a particular social agenda, is undesirable. I mentioned that—in the recent past—people attempted to prove all sorts of truths about how minorities did not have similar mental capacities as Caucasians; other people also endeavored to show that women were not as good as men at sciences and academics. My point I was trying to make is that using science to prove “collective truths” is a waste of time and a misapplication. An example of a collective truth is whether it is right or wrong to kill someone who is endangering your family. An example of an empirical truth is the attractive force between two objects (with physical masses) that attempts to draw them together: between a planet and objects on it, we call that force gravity. While the former collective truth can be argued (logically) from both sides and there are multiple logically-valid conclusions. The empirical truth cannot be logically argued from both sides; to accept reality means either gravity exists, or something that causes the identical reactions that the theory of gravity predicts exists.

The topic was broached because I had mentioned how I felt that members that make up the psychological sciences have failed in their collective responsibility to avoid sociological agenda-driven science and abrogated their responsibility in preventing their science from being used to push social agendas by third parties. I spoke of how proponents and antagonists of gay rights misuse psychological science to justify their social position (and how politics then subsequently uses those groups to manipulate society one way or another). I spoke of how psychologists themselves utilize the agenda-driven science of biologists to come up with complex and erroneous statements about genetics-driven behaviors.
In short, life scientists (primarily biologists or those in closely-related fields) have propagated assumption-based predictions, masquerading as hypotheses and theories, that genes drive behavior of living organisms. When pressed to explain, I endeavored to separate out chemical reactions (and their byproducts) from actual behavior. I said that chemical reactions are a just a special sub-level of physics (the physics of small numbers of atoms and molecules, not planetary bodies and galaxies). It doesn’t make sense to say that the sun behaves by nuclear fusion or fission, rather nuclear fusion or fission is a reaction that occurs inside stars. There is no inherent behavior to it. I suggested that a behavior has to be put into a system, for a behavior to be gotten out of that system.
In other words, if 10 atoms don’t have any inherent behavior, why should 10,000, or 10 million? To ascribe motive or will to genetic code is simply ridiculous. A gene has no idea if it is replicated or not; in fact a sequence of DNA has no conception of whether or not it is gibberish or the formula for a protein. So while the chemical reactions inside a living cell can be predicted, the chemical reactions take place is not behavior per se, to have a behavior you really must put one into the system.

The point of the behavior explanation was to show that saying your genes make you who you (in terms of mind and behaviors) are is complete scientific nonsense. Not only is this conclusion based on unprovable and unscientific foundational assumptions, there is no viewpoint-independent way to verify the claim. Viewpoint-independence is critical to forming scientific theories. Why? Look at it this way, it doesn’t matter whether or not you or I are around to see it, if you have two objects with physical mass, the force each object’s mass exerts on the other is gravity. The simplest way to disprove that theory would be if we could find two objects where one object’s mass did not exert any attractive force on the other object’s mass. Behaviors—by definition—are not viewpoint independent. If I take you apart and just look at your DNA, I can’t find out whether you like pickles on your icecream or chocolate chips. Any scientist who says otherwise is either lying or mistaken. How can I say that? It is quite simple, to get the answer to the question I have to put a behavior into the system. I need to ask you (verbally or otherwise) to make a choice. And here is one fundamental truth of science—discounting single-cell or smaller lifeforms (of whom many scientists are debating the classification of them as living or non-living), to qualify some system as capable of behavior requires a Qualifier (i.e. some being capable of behavior making the decision), and that there is no progression from being incapable of behavior to being capable of it: either the system is or isn’t.

I’m running up around 900 words here so I’ll conclude with a thought puzzle. Computers are essentially a web of complex, interconnected chains of dominoes (also acknowledging that chains of—or individual—dominoes can be added or subtracted). The atoms that make up computers have no will, purpose, or goals. In fact—unless power is added—the computer will never do anything (other than eventually decompose). It is not until some behavior-agent begins to add power to the system and poke/tip/pull particular dominoes that the system begins to tumble, turn, or act. If ‘higher’ life-forms are simply complex biological computing/decision-making systems, would it not be prudent to extrapolate that we also need some behavior-agent to add power to our system and poke/tip/pull us until we begin to tumble, turn, or act?

Monday, October 1, 2007

New Short Story Up on Website

In the Fiction Writing section on the website, I have posted a short story. The Story is called "Setback."
I wrote the story several years ago, and recently ran across it again. For something less than 900 words, I believe it accomplished its objectives. In the future I may go back to the story and revise it, but the small problems I saw were mainly grammatical and I have more crucial items to work on before I deal with something that minor.

The html-version works on both Explorer and Firefox. I haven't been able to get the pdf-version to work on Firefox, but that may just be my computer. Let me know, if you want a pdf-version to read, via email: dae@daeenterprises.net.

Time Article

Here is a link to a Time magazine article about the V-22 Osprey.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1665835-1,00.html

It is articles like these that lead to to wonder if some serious studies should be done about the people who make decisions for weapons design & procurement, as well as the people who control the funding for the above areas. The thought processes these individuals have that lead to the decisions made I find quite interesting.

Performing Artist and their Performances: Who Owns Them?

Performing Artists & the Performance

A conversation I had with a friend a few months ago recently came back to mind last week, and I’ve been pondering the topic off and on since. When you are a performing artist ( music, dance, theater, etc.) who really has ownership of your performance, during the performance? Is it the performer, the audience, the producer/director/choreographer?

My dancer friend had commented that her significant other expressed some unsettling feeling about her working in close (or immediate) physical proximity with male dance partners. I believe the source of the disquiet arose from the possibility of the two dancers maneuvering all around and over each other, and that the dance partner may be brushing/sliding/touching/rubbing my friend in ways that the significant other finds unsettling.

NOTE: Examples of how physical proximity plays out in dance performances can be seen in the AGORA II Gallery. Some images are included here. (Not of the above described person)

Putting myself in the significant other’s position, I could understand the unease felt. It is a rare couple that would allow some third person to randomly come and engage in similar behavior with the partner, so what about performing arts makes them different?

I thought about what I told my friend. I said: “What he needs to realize is that while it is normal for couple to get a sense of ownership of each other (that sense that you belong to me & I belong to you), his agreeing to get involved with a performing artist (her) necessitates that he understand she doesn’t fully belong to him. In particular her body, doesn’t fully belong to him; for that matter, her body doesn’t even fully belong to her. When she is performing (and also true in the training and practice that leads to the performing), part of her mind, body, and soul is given to the performance; and part of the performance is likewise partly hers."

I would liken the above to the concept of participatory theatre, where the audience has a role and part to play with the performers to make the performance complete. Even though the audience bought tickets, they must take shared ownership of the performance itself in order to achieve the best outcome. In a similar way, when a musician plays a solo at a concert hall during an orchestral piece, it is not just the musician, but the entire orchestra, conductor that share in the performance. During that solo, the music doesn’t just belong to him; and while the soloist is playing the instrument and hands playing don’t just belong to her. Rather there is a synergism between the soloist and the orchestra & conductor that separates the great performances from the mediocre.

I will return to this topic again in the future, because I think it will be interesting to discuss how this plays out when you get into different mediums like People Photography and Modeling.

A Time for Change

So after an extended break away from the website and blogging I have returned.
There were many issues that kept me away for these past months (some of them situational, some intellectual, and other unnamed issues).

My schedule is busier than it was three months ago, but I made a decision that I hope is the best one I can currently make. My current goal is to add something to the blog at least every other day, and something to the website once a week.
While waiting to complete larger works and projects so they can be uploaded as a group is theoretically better, I have found that delays, setbacks, and other complications of life can result in none of the large-scale or long-term things getting completed & uploaded in a quarter-year period. That sort of progress is not satisfactory.
In addition to putting product up more often, I will be bringing in outside items (or sites) of interest, either for discussion, informational purposes, or just because the item/site is entertaining.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Missing What You've Not Got

It is amazing the things you appreciate when you no longer have them...

My physical location has changed as I've hopped from the East to West coast of North America. One situational factor I will not miss is the humidity. Being in an urban environment with 100% humidity is not pleasant. However, my current location has limited the access I had to some human information sources I utilized for character backgrounds in my current novel.

The recalcitrant nature of my recent schedule has delayed my projected website updates. My intention at the start of the summer was to have something up for every section of the website as well as complete my novel. Neither has happened yet.

Hopefully some essays will be up soon.

Monday, June 4, 2007

New Book I'm Currently Reading


There is another book that I’m currently working my way through, during my transit times on the subway and buses. Continuing my current practice of pairing one book of fun reading with another from an academic/scientific allows me to continuing the learning process beyond university education and expand my knowledge base, while still allowing me to enjoy the process of reading.

In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind, was published in 1996 by Bernard J. Baars. Baars currently works at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California. The following descriptive quote is from the Barnes & Noble.com website, and is attributed to the publisher:

Written by eminent psychologist Bernard J. Baars, this book brings us to the frontlines of the consciousness debate, offering the general reader a fascinating overview of how top scientists currently understand the processes underlying conscious experience. The study of conscious experience has seen remarkable strides in the last ten years, reflecting important technological breakthroughs and the enormous efforts of researchers in disciplines as varied as neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy. Scientists are just now beginning to find common ground in their understanding of consciousness, which may pave the way for a unified explanation of how and why we experience and understand the world around us. This book offers an invaluable introduction to the field, brilliantly weaving together the various theories that have emerged as scientists continue their quest to uncover the profound mysteries of the mind--and of human nature itself.

I am taking copious notes and comments as I work my way through the text. When I reach the halfway point, I will begin uploading a summary/commentary section to the General Writing section of the website. When I have completed my reading, I will begin directly addressing the topic of consciousness and some other related psychological topics.


References

Baars, B. J. (. (1997). In the theater of consciousness: The workspace of the mind. New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Agora II Images added


More images have been added to the Agora II Photogallery. As of yet, I still haven’t fixed the comment feature problems I'm having. I keep trying, so I can get viewer responses added into the gallery. I've added several images from just before and during the Sleep section of several different shows. I reduced the image size and added filter effects to soften/haze the image to increase the difficulty in identifying specific individuals, since I know some of the performers did not want their images displayed on the internet. Hopefully they appreciate the methods I took to protect their identities; there is nothing left more identifiable than what could be picked up by walking past them on the street or at a beach.

Click to go the entrance page for Dae's Agora II Photogallery.


Within the next five days or so, I hope to add more images to the Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanical Garden Galleries. I’m also working on a new article for the General Writing Section, that I hope I can finish by the middle of June. Sometime next week I’ll upload 1 or 2 short fiction stories I have had for several years but haven’t looked at in a while. After a quick editorial review they should be ready for the website.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Information Actor Paradigm

The first part of the Information Actor Paradigm article has been posted in the General Writings Section. Further sections will be added over the course over the next two weeks. The current version of the article is a culmination of over a years worth of academic work. Destined to form a unifying theory of psychology, the IA paradigm still has more work to be done before complete.

Over the next month or so, I anticipate adding other academic articles and several essays that haven't yet been put up. Additionally, there are images still to be added to several of the galleries.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Protection of the MInority

I was reading an article online a couple days ago from the website: The Straight Dope. It dealt with the history of the “freedom of religion” concept when utilized in the Constitution of the United States. Before I had read that article, like many of the people I grew up with, had my own opinions about the subject, particularly whether or not the current application is what this nation’s founders intended.

I was quite surprised.

One of the things I love about the Internet is that for those willing to put in a little work, there is a vast amount of information available that can bring greater understanding and new perspectives. It wasn’t until I finished the article that I began to realize how convoluted the history of the issue is. Should American citizens have the right to be free from religious oppression; free from forced displays of public religious/spiritual practice, free from religious influence; free from religious offense? I no longer have clear answers in my mind to those questions, particularly after reading through some of the reasoning of people who’ve addressed those questions before me.

There is a vocal subset of the population that is extremely displeased with the current status quo when it comes to religion and government. From the lawsuits, protesting religious holiday displays in public areas to the contradictory practice of opening sessions of Congress with a prayer, it is evident that many people are unhappy with how the current legal and political federal stance shakes out. Regardless of what people believe the founder’s intended, a valid query is what the answers to the above questions mean for today.


Whatever you or I believe in regards to religious and spiritual matters, does the Federal Government have any power to force us to practice (or not to practice) some particular organized set of actions? If that answer is no, then many observances (such as moments of silence, singing the national anthem, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance) cannot be mandated, even to individuals holding public office. However, it is valid to question whether the inability to mandate also extends to forbidding the occurance. In other words, because the federal government cannot require observance, does that also mean the federal government is forbidding from putting on the event/occurance? There have been multiple lawsuits alleging that the phrase ‘under God’ in the pledge of allegiance alters the pledge into the domain of religious practice and because of that should be removed. But does not the mere adherence to reciting the pledge itself (regardless of whether or not the phrase is there) constitute a religious-style practice? Should not the entire pledge be thrown out of federalized behavior?


Since the majority of U.S. citizens did little to nothing to actually get their citizenship (being born in the U.S. or children of citizens), the whole Pledge of Allegiance is sort of a secularized pseudo-religious practice. The ‘under God’ phrase just connects it to a particular religion, even removal of the phrase doesn’t change the overall religious undertone. But before one eliminates the pledge, it should be considered whether the primary purpose of elimination of to free the public from religion (religious influence) or to force the federal government to adhere to the ideal of not requiring any religious-style practices. There are already safeguards in place in certain domains: one cannot be forced to fight in the military (even in cases of draft, the alternative to simply be jailed is available); one cannot be forced to receive federally-initiated medical treatment; and one cannot be forced to testify in court against one’s own interests. Adding religion as an additional domain would seem a simple decision. But where does the line between religious, pseudo-religious, and secular-organized get drawn?


I had an acquaintance who once argued that the line was drawn at organization. Any group that had specific, ritualized beliefs and practices and formed an organization to help spread those beliefs constituted a religious organization and all those practices should be avoided by the government. He argued that atheists are exempt because they do not have specific, ritualized beliefs and practices. He further argued that atheists do not form organizations to spread their beliefs and practices. I disagreed.


Atheism is just a strongly a philosophical stance as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, or any other religion. While membership in an atheist group may not necessitate church attendance or the giving of money, the raw number of requirements or what they are does not dictate whether or not atheism has a religious structure. Just as Christianity has denominations and sects, atheism has many subgroups with the primary group probably being scientific atheists followed by atheist humanists. And while neither group may assert claims of supernatural access or intervention, both groups do push their own agendas (physical science as the source and purpose of social organization and social science as the source of moral/social authority respectively), and resist encroachment by rival groups. And while there are certainly atheists who have no interest in pushing any social, political, or philosophical agenda, there are just as many religious individuals in the same vein (Quakers and certain Jewish groups for example)


Ultimately, removing all agenda-driven, philosophically-based practices from the government is probably impossible, and potentially disastrous. However a balance must be struck between efforts to protect minority groups from oppression and the agenda-driven attempts of philosophical organizations (whether they bear the banner of religion or not). Should all animals really be given the same rights as humans? Certain secular animal rights groups think so, and advocate eliminating all animal testing (even for medical research). Should the government ascribe to that practice when awarding federal grants? Certain Christian groups believe marriage licenses should only be granted to male-female couples. Should the federal government ascribe to that practice when issuing marriage licenses? I won't pretend to have the right answer for the above questions, but I do think the issue of 'freedom of religion' need to be readdressed.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Photography Galleries Updated

Just a quick note.

I've added eight images to the Prospect Park PhotoGallery. Most of the images are from Summer 2006.

I know I keep saying that I will add more writing to the website's writing section; I still intend to, and have scheduled myself some time to edit the works before I upload them. Hopefully there will be more by Wednesday, April 18th.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Late Updates

Just wanted to apologize for the dearth of new material lately. There are real-world reasons for my tardiness is revisions and updates, but I don't really wish to discuss them at this time.

My hope is to have some new writing samples up by Wednesday, April 4th. I plan on revising the Beginnings excerpt, and adding 2 more chapters to the online version. I can't predict when there will me more updates to the Photo Galleries. All I know is that the Prospect Park Gallery is next in line to get updated. Because of a complex schedule-this week-I am unsure if I'll get to it before the coming weekend.

Right now, I would like to spend the little time I have for the website filling the writing sections with more content. I have plenty of material sitting around in shelves or stored electronically, it is the process of finding and reviewing the materials before uploading that I have yet to do.

Sometime on Sunday, I will be posting a new blog discussion topic. It is based on an article I recently read at the 'The Straight Dope' website. I am currently 75% of the way through writing my thoughts, and will probably finishing typing them sometime tonight.




Thursday, March 15, 2007

Genius

I was pondering the concept of genius on a subway ride today. While I haven’t descended upon a firm conclusion, I’m hovering around some central ideas. It seems to me that based on observation of all the people that get labeled as genius, it is actually possible to break down the concept into its constituent parts. I would proffer that there are 5 general categories of genius, and they are as follows:

  • Recall Genius
  • Tactile GeniusFine Motor
  • Tactile GeniusKinesthetic(Whole Body)
  • Creative/Innovative Genius
  • Pattern & Flow Genius

There are additional subcategories which will examine a bit later, but let’s run through each general category first.

Recall Genius is probably the most common attribute of those given the genius label. This type of genius means that the individual essentially has the ability to store information better and in greater quantities than the average person. People who claim photographic, near photographic, or perfect recall fall into this category. These individuals can pull out studied information—no matter how long ago it was studied—and often have exceptional recall of non-studied information as well.

Tactile GeniusFine Motor is also another common attribute of geniuses, however it is usually due to particular subcategory membership. There are 3 subcategories: 1) Stop-motion dexterity; 2)Flexibility & Strength; 3)Sensitivity. Stop-motion dexterity is the ability to hold the digits in the hand and feet motionless for extended periods of time without incurring trembling. Flexibility and Strength are the abilities to manipulate the digits beyond standard range of motion, manipulate the digits into uncommon or difficult shapes and positions, and to apply a greater range of forces with the digits. Sensitivity is the ability to more precisely detect properties of objects such as texture, rigidity/flexibility, and temperature.
Examples of these types of geniuses are commonly found in music(string instrument players, piano players), mechanics(jewelry/watchmakers) and in medicine(surgeons).

Tactile GeniusKinesthetic is an uncommon attribute of geniuses, however it does have higher occurrences that other genius types in particular fields. This type of genius has an extremely high degree of control of body position, movement, and/or an exceptional ability to know the position of the body in 3-dimensional space.
Examples of these types of geniuses are most commonly found in two areas, athletic sports and performance art. These are the rare performers and competitors that have a body that manages to do everything they can think to demand of it.

Creative/Innovative Genius is a very rare attribute of geniuses, and typically has a limited lifespan. This type of genius causes an individual who possesses it to generate and create new and different things. It is a costly form of genius for the specific reason that it almost impossible to turn off; as long as the individual is focusing on a particular item of interest that individual will be generating additional output that may sometimes only be tangentially related. This type of genius is also more difficult to find because social systems & organizations typically pursue progress more than creativity, and also because existing systems & organizations usually have a collective historybank of ideas. Even when the individual comes up with an idea that is new to him/her, unless that idea is new to the system/organization and helps said organization progress further, the individual is not typically recognized as genius.
Examples of this are spread through many different fields. In performing arts, these types of geniuses are often composers and choreographers. In science, these types of geniuses are often theoreticians and inventors.

Pattern & Flow Genius is a common attribute of geniuses, and—aside from recall genius—one of the easiest to recognize. These type of geniuses are able to take in large volumes of information (sometimes disparate information) and see how(or make how) the information fits together. They are also able to see organizational structure of information well enough to postulate about missing information pieces, and how those unknown pieces effect the structure & flow of the information available.


Usually people that are termed genius have 1-2 of the above listed types. Occasionally you can get a person that may have 3 of the types, but it is nearly impossible for someone to have all 5. This is because there are biological costs, and the more genius types you have, the higher the cost. While there may be cultural factors that contribute to what types of geniuses arise in a given generation, there are often type clusters that emerge. Here are some common ones along with examples of what field these geniuses often end up in:

  • Recall , Tactile-Fine Motor.
    • Surgeons, Musicians
  • Tactile-Kinesthetic, Pattern & Flow.
    • Athletes in multi-person sports
  • Creative/Innovative , Tactile-Fine Motor.
    • Sculptors, Painters, Physical Mechanics Inventors
  • Recall, Pattern & Flow.
    • Physical and Theoretical Scientists

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Recent Updates

Just wanted to let you know. I've added two DVD reviews to the General Writing Section of the Website. Over the course of the next month I hope to pull out some reviews of old TV shows and other movies I had from several years & websites ago and put them up. I'm still considering whether or not to review current TV shows. Because they haven't finished their runs, it is hard to know whether or not some of the issues and problems I see are strategic choices made that will be resolved before series ending, or if they are just missteps and miscalculations.

In the next two weeks I'm going to try and rehabilitate some old academic essays and put them up as well.

I should have around 10 images up for the Prospect Park PhotoGallery by the end of the week.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Recent Fiction Novel I'm Reading


Just wanted to let you know of a science fiction book I'm rereading during my waiting times (for subway, bus, etc.).


The book name is Shadow of the Giant, by Orson Scott Card. It is book 3 in a 3-book series that follows one of the supporting characters from Card's original novel Ender's Game. I probably reread Card's books once or twice a year. He has a way of explaining world-level politics and cultures that has the ring of truth in it, even if it might sometimes be prejudicial and superficial. As I ponder, explaining world cultures for my upcoming Superman novel, I like to remind myself of the authors I believe did it well.

I hope in the next 3 weeks to have a brief blurb for the upcoming Superman novel uploaded on the website's Fiction Writing Section. I haven't seriously started the process of writing the novel because I'm still working on the Batman novel, but the process of background, character development, and outline is ongoing. If I can actually meet projections and finish the 1st draft of the Batman novel by the end of the 2007 academic semester, I may be able to start writing my Superman story. I'm excited because it represents a new and different style of writing for me, and I think the story I'm coming up with is actually very interesting and topically relevant in today's world.

More Images added to Gallery




More images have been added to the Agora II Photogallery. I've also changed the layout of the gallery, to a more streamlined design. At some point, I hope to fix the comm
ent feature problems I'm having so I can get viewer responses added into the gallery. I've added in a compilation panorama from the Sleep section of the Sep. 30, 2006 show. I reduced the image size and added filter effects to soften/haze the image to increase the difficulty in identifying specific individuals, since I know some of the performers did not want their images displayed on the internet. Hopefully they appreciate the methods I took to protect their identities; there is nothing left more identifiable than what could be picked up by walking past them on the street or at a beach.

Click to go the the entrance page for Dae's Agora II Photogallery.


I'm setting aside the guestbook/comment page for now. I'm hoping over the next 10 days to get some more writing samples up, particularly in the nonfiction section. I've got some old essays that could use some polishing, but are good enough to merit posting.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Setting Up a Guestbook

Sorry for the delay. It seems that what I would like to do is much harder than I expected it would or should be. Apparently even the simple comment style post use see on myspace or blog sites actually has some complex programming code that runs it. Setting up something simple for my website requires more time than I have to give it right now. Basically I need time to learn the programming basics, so that if I take some freeware code, I can make sure I'm not opening the site up to being hacked. Alas, I shall not have this fixed for an update anytime soon.

However, those wishing to add comments or thoughts, just email them to me, and I'll add them the old-fashioned way to the pages.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Game Theory & Decision-making

Over the course of the last week, during meals when I’m alone or when I’m waiting for the subway, I’ve been rereading a book on game theory I purchased when I was an undergraduate. It’s been bringing up some questions that I’m not assured the book I read can answer.

What do you do when you have to play a game that only has one round (non-repetitive play), or that has only one round per each set of conditions?

What do you do when the decision of what strategy to choose is broken up into pieces or broken up in time?

I’m unsure if classical game theory addresses this or not. I seem to remember when I first got the book, that there was another dealing with game theory and psychology, but I didn’t have the funds to purchase it because it was more expensive. Maybe I should get that now.

This is concerning me lately, because I’m beginning to think that the modern era has led to more of the decisions critical to life being distributed decisions and less isolated, solitary decisions. I will probably have a later posting explaining the concept of distributed decision-making, but to explain it in short I give this example. The decision to become a smoker, or to be overly sexually prolific is not actually made in any one action. Rather it is made in little pieces over time, and the accumulation of little actions. I named the examples I did for the simple fact that I’ve had acquaintances in the last year deny being a smoker, and another deny being slutty. If you spent some effort, you could probably name multiple acquaintances of similar ilk.

As I said, distributed decision-making is an interesting process that I believe may be occurring more and more in modern society. What I’m hoping some of you can help me with is this, does game theory address it?