Rainbow Of Goodness

‘I really love it, thank you!’

These are the actual words that came out of my mouth when someone handed me a broom as Christmas gift, a few years ago: surely I would have used the same words in case I would have received, let’s say, an empty CD or a jar of expired peanut butter.
If my reaction doesn’t sound so absurd to you, chances are you -like me and so many others- are in the ‘White Club’: the less exclusive club in the world.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:
Here at the White Club, we emphasize the fact that we say lies in order to save humanity.
That’s why we don’t say lies but “White Lies”, even if that name might create confusion: we indeed do not mean “Pure BS” but instead “Harmless Smarts”. I have been told it is an important difference to make.
Being smart by definition, we apply our ancient techniques to our modern day society, so that everyone can harness all the benefits, known for millenniums: we do all of it just for the love we have for others. Yes, we are heroes and our words are the light in the darkness, the power of wisdom against the forces of evil… or something like that: each member has its own personal view because we are also an open and equal opportunity entity. We make it ultra easy for anyone of any culture and race to join.

It sounds neat, I know, but it is mostly marketing hype. Truth is, there are plenty of clubs of this sort and each one has its own strong logic. For instance:
– The Black Club, which underlines the importance to put all your potential in what you do;
– The Red & Blue Club, standing at the heart of our decision making process, its philosophy precisely describes the amazing dance-like steps that so many beloved politicians use in their vital day-to-day operations;
– The Big Club which, as the name suggests, is followed by the smarter ones among the smart ones: the most exclusive of the bunch and an evergreen for heads of states, presidents and VIPs.
Whichever you have chosen, one thing is clear: we all do it for the Greater Good. Never give up.

Certainly you won’t mind the ‘broom for gift’ anecdote never actually happened: it is raining outside but we might truly find the rainbow at the end of the storm.

The Waterfall Chart

How do you know if you’ve become a statistics fanboy?

Yes, it’s a vested-interest question: apologies if you were looking for a vested-interest answer.
I mean, I know I could list some absurd stats which both you AND I compulsively have to check while watching sports or on election day (which seem more and more alike to me): TV producers strive to make these data look as sexy as possible, with all the help of their colored 3D pie charts. The fact that we want statistics on our screens is, of course, proven statistically: that’s why they bother making those cheese wheels in the first place. We just love them and crave them.

And how about our working environments? These bubbly graphs seem to be porn, in these contexts: as soon as someone draws one, workers unions and corporate CEOs alike start to forget about ‘rights and stuff’ and begin thinking with their genitals, arguing about who’s got the biggest spike. So let’s admit it, being statistics-freaks is among the essence of the being human experience, at least today.
I feel I need to admit it at least to myself: I think I’m addicted. How productive can it be thinking about the fact that modern humans have been on this planet for less than 0.12% of the time dinosaurs were? Yes, that’s the kind of stats I go after. Yes! Less than 0.12% is also how much you care about it, too! It is insane!

But there always have been those who opposed this love we all share: Winston Churchill was one.

I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself

It is mean, I know, and our love has got to be strong in order to overcome it.

Anyway, touché: we need to recognize that certain statistical data might be ‘noise’ (or junk, if you wish) but, in that case, shame on the person that applies the method, not on the method itself. This same falsifiable dynamic is also often found in scientific communities, which I find amusing since many people seem to perceive scientists to be agreeing with each other all the times. Fact is: it is possible to manipulate people by exploiting their statistical fetish. That’s why it’s important to remember that we are easily seduced by percentages and, therefore, we should keep the pants on next time the news channel show the GDP growth mountain graph.

Regardless, there are stats that seem to be dangerously overlooked, like the ones regarding global warming or arms industry: continuing the previous analogy, these numbers seem to have the same sex appeal of a bank you owe money to.
Why is that? Is it because we just need confirmations? Or because they threaten our convictions and/or force us to take action? Do they just need a waterfall chart, maybe..?

Squealing Drake

I don’t especially like extra-terrestrials: let me start here.

I believe they are way over-rated and it’s quite surprising seeing so many people, which usually dislike even a mere contact with their foreigner neighbors, saying so many great things about them. Hollywood certainly didn’t help improve my general impressions by usually depicting aliens as ugly humans. And, by the way, since when we do like ugly people?
Glad if I missed a meeting in which it has been collectively decided that we won’t discriminate against these anymore, but I don’t think that’s the case: the latest Elle issue confirms my suspicions.

Proudly offbeat, these intergalactic hipsters always seem to win: UK leaves the EU but would join the AU in a snap.

640px-Techno_alien,_Techno_parade_2011

However, what really bothers me about ET’s is the lack of evidence supporting their existence: being unable to see them somehow damages their credibility. But, most importantly, might damage our credibility. I would LOVE to find evidence of intelligent alien life because I’m somehow optimistic by nature and the idea of the Great Filter ‘in the future’ being right clashes with my hippie philosophies.

A lot.

Problem is, I’m also rational and there must be an answer to the -what else- Fermi Paradox. Of course, I might miss a billion of factors which I may never even be able to grasp but I believe we can all agree that we built most of the means for our own destruction before we figured out a way to live together. And of course anyone can point out to the violence in nature and in our history everywhere. While recent findings about the number of possible habitable exoplanets begin to shed some light on our dark ignorance on the subject and the Drake Equation seems weirder than ever.

Two minutes to midnight, baby.

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I admit I don’t have any good argument against the ‘self-destruction’ theory besides the fact that it feels a bit like fate… But  it also feels odd, unpleasant and uncomfortable, which are all typical symptoms of scientifically true facts: I’m sure the biggest fans of the theory hate it as well. It’s like recognizing your drunk uncle exists: you wouldn’t deny his existence but wouldn’t really want to be bragging about it either.

Finding aliens would disprove the whole thing and so would a ban on weapons and solutions to global climate change. So let’s keep looking up for extra-terrestrials of course, but let’s as well remember we might want to look closer: in each other’s eyes.

flake_equation

 

Photo credits:

ESO, xkcd, tangi bertin