February 19, 2005

Interesting programme on the feminist movement!

I have just watched a really interesting programme on TV about the feminist movement and how it has actually hindered older generation women. The basic concept of the programme was that the fight for gender equality over the last thirty years has seen some great achievements but the women who fought so hard for the improved equality now see themselves facing a different kind of injustice which is a direct result of their campaigning.

The show started off with an interview of a 48 year old woman who had a high profile PA job but was unfortunately made redundant. When she applied for other jobs in the same field she found herself being constantly rejected in favour of younger prettier girls despite her being more than qualified for the job. As a result she ended up having to settle for a lower paid, less qualified job in a supermarket so that she could pay the bills.

After this they did a little experiment where a load of business students had to choose who they thought was the best candidate for a job between 8 different, youngish women with similar experience and a ninth with a little more experience but aged 53. Rather surprisingly the 53 year old woman was almost instantly rejected by everyone, despite her experience, simply cause of her age.

The feminist movement has achieved a lot over the last thirty years and has helped women get more out of life than they would have done 10, 20 … 50 years a go. It has given young girls the self belief that they should be equal among men, and rightly so. However, the movement has been a disaster for middle-aged women. The equal status for women only seems to be working for the younger generations. The movement has also caused the attitude of young girls to change from dolls, ponies, and so on to make-up, looks, boys etc.

This has seen a dramatic increase in the cosmetic and plastic surgery industry as it appears that to get somewhere as a woman you have to be slim, pretty, good-looking etc. The scary thing is that girls as young as 11 start to think about plastic surgery as they think it is more important to be pretty than to be a nice person with a good education. Even more surprising was that while young girls look up to women who are pretty, young boys look up to older men who have skills (of any kind) rather than their actual appearance.

I do think it is quite strange that this is happened and I think it goes back to what I said when I got involved in the big "gay movement" debate a good few months back. No one can take away the immediate benefits of all the major equality movements of the past and present but there comes a point when you have to be more careful with what you do because you can come to a point where you create a different kind of inequality that could be that little bit harder to get rid off.


February 18, 2005

Socs Day update

So yeah, The societies day was great. It started with me helping out in the running of the bullseye competition that darts was doing. Despite being stuck in the Graduate it was a much better success than the last time we attempted it though it did take several attempts to get rid of all the prizes as all the darts people were playing badly :s

After that I had to man the Society Federation stall for about 2 hours. It was the most boring, mind-numbing thing ever and it didn't help that I was the only one on it and had a busting headache and no ibuprofen. Thankfully it eventually went away on it's on accord so I went to the "Animal testing: Where to draw the line debate?" It wasn't really all that good as it was simply filled with a few people from thte bio-medical department and some animal rights activists so there wasn't actually any real debating going on so I had a go at them all for being narrow-minded and not being prepared to at least entertain the other sides idea so that we could have a proper debate on the topic.

I left the debate early as it was getting boring and also had to go back to the Union and set it up for the Awards Party. It was really hectic getting everything put in place and looked as if we would not be completely finished by the time we were supposed to start but thankfully all the sabbs helped out and we got there in the end. The night started off quite slow as not everyone arrived at the start meaning that it was hard for the Brass Band to make much of an impact but everything picked up by the time Street Vibes were performing. The committee were able to chill for a while which was nice. We were generally sat together with the sabbs which I found a little weird socialising with them despite doing it a lot when they were being trained over the summer.

We were meant to give out the awards at 10:30 but as the Big Band were playing some great stuff we let them continue on for an extra 30–45 minutes. They were absolutely amazing and I think highlights why I like being involved with the wide variety of societies that Warwick has to offer. We rattled through the awards quite quickly so that everyone could get back to enjoying themselves asap. The winners were:

Best Society: Photo Soc
Best New Society: Table Football
Most Improved: Codpiece Theatre
Best Social: Chinese Society
Best Non-Social: MORSE

I think the whole night was a major success and much better than last year's Societies Week. Lets just hope that next year's is as good.


February 16, 2005

Working chris :)

I didn't really get off to a good start today as I managed to stay in bed so that I missed both my morning lectures. As a result I made a huge effort to get into the last one of the day but the dam bus went through Kenilworth meaning that I was late so there was no point on going to it. However, I was a good child and went to the library instead where I started sorting out my Algebra II notes. As I went through them I slowly began to understand some of the concepts which makes me feel a little bit happier about getting something out of this year. I just have to make sure that I keep putting the effort in.

Once the lecture was supposed to be over I got all the notes that I missed off Katie and went back to the library and got them all copied up. I think I will have to go over the Differentiation ones again as it is a little complicated but the Intro to mathematical biology ones were easy to understand. I am really loving that course as we are two weeks in and I am still following it easily (I am even pre-empting some of the stuff in it).

I stayed in the library for a good few hours before coming home. Once I did I sorted out my room and did a load of washing. I even got round to cooking for myself (the 1st time in about 3 weeks); I had the best pizza ever. And after that I did more work … I just hope it all continues :)


Hectic weekend, failing my degree!

It's been another hectic weekend. It's weird that I have stopped working in Yates', yet still find myself far too busy to do any work.

~~Friday~~

Friday started off badly with my test on Metric Spaces at 9am. I was nearly late for it but thankfully just made it in on time. However, it would have been better if I just didn't turn up as I could only answer one question which happened to be the one that wasn't marked … ggrrr. After that I had french, but the teacher forgot to tell us that she wouldn't be able to make it so we were left sat there for a while before someone told us that she left us work to do. I didn't get through it all because of the not knowing at first which means I have more to do this week.

I got home with intentions of doing some work but ended up playing a load of games on Yahoo which meant I got bugger all done. I was supposed to go into work on Friday night but could not be arsed as it was my last shift so ended up going round to Emma's as she was ill and I hadn't seen her in a few days. WE just sat about and watched TV which was really nice.

~~Saturday and Sunday~~

I had the BUSA ten-pin bowling tournament over the weekend. I was very worried about it as I hadn't been bowling well recently and this was a scratch event representing the uni so I didn't have my handicap to fall back on.

We had a 2-hour coach journey up to Nottingham which flew by in no time (ever since I flew and travelled around Australia, a 2–4 car/coach journey feels like nothing). When we got there I was given the choice of whether I wanted to bowl in the 1st, 2nd, or 4th set of games. Rather stupidly I choose the first as I wanted to see Emma bowl and didn't want to wait until the end. That turned out to be a big mistake as Ben and I were the only people bowling so had a good few people watching us and the lanes were extremely wet meaning I found it hard to get any hook. I was terrible and could not hit the head pin to save my life so ended up with a 374 series which I was extremely annoted about. The only real good point of the day was that the C team (which I was in) were beating our B team and the ladies were winning their section.

We had to get up at 5am on Sunday to make sure that we got back up to Nottingham in time for the start of bowling. I was not all that happy about that but I seemed to waken up relatively quickly which was good. I managed to convince Laura to not put me in the 1st round of matches which meant when I bowled some oil had been taken off the lanes. That meant I was getting a good bit of hook on my ball which for the first time in ages I was able to control. I didn't miss the head pin at all in my first 3 games, though I did have a lot of trouble sparing up but thankfully was getting a good few strikes to make up for it. I ended up getting a 116, 146 and 189 to get a 451 series which I was extremely pleased with.

Afterwards my first set of games, myself and a few others decided to go into Nottingham's town centre to get some lunch. We went into a Yates' and I have to say that Nottingham's Yates' is so much nicer than the one in Leamington. It had much better decor, better furniture, the food was served better … everything about was great. On the way back I was beginning to get a little worried about my next set of games as the lanes had been re-oiled which meant I may not get much hook on the ball but that was not the case at all. I started off with a 153, then a 185 meaning I just needed a 162 for a 500 series. I wasn't really thinking about it at the time but I managed to close the first 5 frames when James mentioned it to me. I kinda slipped up after that and just couldn't get any spares on the right hand side of the lane and I was getting too much hook on the ball so ended up with a 159 game which I was still happy about but a little annoyed at just missing out on the 500 series. Oh well!

I am not really sure why everything went right on the Sunday but am pleased it did as I needed the confidence boost. I don't wanna say I had luck on my side as I think it was more the absence of bad luck that seems to have plagued me this season (ask any of my team mates and they'll tell you how bad it has been). I just hope that I can transfer it over to wednesday league bowling. I am not expecting to get close to 500 every week but just start pushing my average up would be nice.

~~Failing my Degree~~

As I was so shattered from the weekends bowling I slept right through my alarms meaning I missed my first 2 lectures. When I finally did get in I realised how bad I did in the Metric Spaces test and how close I am to failing this year. I managed a whole big 1 out of 25 in the test and handed in an assignment with only question done.

The only good thing that I think has come out of today is that I now realise that I really need to get my ass into motion and sort this mess out. If I work hard enough over the next few weeks and over easter, with a bit of luck, I can pull it all back. fingers crossed


February 11, 2005

Can you buy happiness?

posted on livejournal in april '04

I was browsing some philosophy site last night and came across a philosopher called Epicurus. I had heard of him before but as most of the philosophy that I have been looking at recently is from the modern era I hadn't really had much chance to look at his ideas in any great depth. His philosophy was mainly about how we achieve happiness in our lives. He didn't believe that material objects can bring you much happiness but true happiness was achieved if you had the following:

1. Friendship: Epicurus says that 'Before you eat or drink anything, carefully consider who you eat and drink with rather than what you eat or drink: for feeding without a friend is the life of a lion of a wolf'

This is a little extreme but I think what he is trying to say is that it doesn't matter if we have all the worldly goods we want, if we have no one to share them with then what's the point. And conversely, if we have little it doesn't really matter as long as we have someone to share what little we have with, then we can be happy.

2. Freedom: For this he says that 'We should free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics'

By doing this, the simple life you would lead does not affect you or friends status because by distancing yourself from the commercial world you cease to judge yourself on a material basis. By living this way you have nothing to prove.

3. Thought: By thinking about a problem that one may have, we are able to find its essential aspects emerge. Once we know these aspects then we can remove the problem or the secondary, aggravating characteristics.

Given that Epicurus in 341BC I thought this was a rather interesting way of thinking considering the emphasis put on material possessions in today's society. To a certain extend I believe that this Epicurean way of thinking about achieving happiness is more relevant today than in his era. But this would mean that a lot of the developed world are unhappy, most of the people in the developed world think that having beauty treatments, going on nights out, buying themselves that fancy house will make them happy. Often it doesn't, I wouldn't be all that surprised if they did lack one of the three properties of Epicurus' philosophy (most likely the freedom one).

I suppose this could mean that the only way to be happy in Epicurus' eyes would be to live in a commune and more or less be self-sufficient and give up your job. You would be among friends, have nothing to prove to anyone and have all the time to think that you desire. This does seem a bit rash and I am sure that people can live happy lives without being as strict as Epicurus was, I think we just have to not be worried about being judged and not feel the need to give in to the social pressures of having all the material things that we are expected to have. To a certain extend I feel that the saying 'Being a student is the best days of your lives' because generally students have all an equal status, and they are not as worried about material things compared to when they were a teenager and after they graduate. And they are more accepting (don't look down at those who have little) and hence live a more happy life then. Just a pity it only lasts for three years!!


rant!!

~~Bowling~~

Anyway, yesterday was a weird day. Don't think anyway weird happened really but I just didn't feel right at all. I somehow managed to get into my 9am lecture which was good as i couldn't be all that bothered with uni again. As per normal was bowling after the lectures. I am really beginning to get frustrated at my lack of progress this year. I finished off last season with a 131 average which was ok I guess (though I did think I would be better than that). This season I have somehow got worse and am now only averaging 125 and haven't had a good game in ages.

I can vaguely understand why I may have declined initially as I changed from straight to hook bowling but I certainly didn't expect to stay this bad. Even when I first crossed over I showed signs that I would improve quite a bit as I managed to get 7 strikes in a row (though over two games … gggrr) and in general just had problems sparing. I didn't bowl much over the summer so when I started this season i was pathetic but didn't think too much about it as I thought I'd get back to the good standard again but it never really materialised. The only time that I showed any signs that I was getting better was in the London tournament when I hit a 197 (my PB when hooking) and my PB series ever but at the next days bowling I was back to my rubbish self.

I am probably playing badly now cause I am doubting myself but I can't help it. We are at the time of the year where most of the tournaments are and have the BUSA one this weekend where all the good people are going to be and then me who is going to be shown up by everyone. I am really not enjoying bowling at the moment and rather than being a time when I can chill out and relax it is becoming irritating and stressful. I just wish I could see some kind of improvement.

~~Degree~~

I have no motivation for my degree at all. I am so stupid for choosing maths, I don't enjoy it all that much (except the Biology/nature related stuff). It doesn't help that I am not all that good at it anymore either. Yesterday, when I got back from bowling, I somehow managed to distract myself for about 5–6 hours on the computer as I couldn't be arsed doing any uni work (despite having a lot to do).

I don't even know why I am here at all. A degree means nothing to me, it is simply a bit of paper that is supposed to imply that I am smart … big deal. Yes people say that it help me get a well paid job but most of the jobs that are well paid i don't wanna do. I really need to sort out what I want from my life/what I am going to do with it.

~~Today~~

Today has been ok. Not really done any work but that is cause i have had a load of meetings. We finally got round to finishing going through all the socs fed awards which is good. Should find out which societies have won over the weekend and we will then nnounce results next thursday. After that was Union Council (my first with an actual vote). It was quite boring this week as there was no fun controversial policies but at least it was short.


February 09, 2005

Do you follow the crowd?

Writing about web page http://www.livejournal.com/users/wavinordrownin/2358.html

Posted on 7/4/05 on livejournal

I was exploring live-journal last night and by pure chance stumbled across incognito84 's journal. His last entry asked if he was a loner due to the fact that he had been eating in the cafeteria alone. If this were to be the case then that would also mean that I too am a loner as I also tend to eat lunch at university alone and have spent the last 4 days with minimal contact with the outside world. But I do not consider myself or incognito84 to be a loner. Why would be loners? Just cause we aren't surrounding ourselves with false friends so that we feel popular doesn't mean me are loners, we may just want to eat/read in peace.

There is this pressure on us all to conform to the norm, to be like everyone else. If we don't then you are considered to be strange. There is some sort of 'code' which governs what we should wear, what we should believe, whom we should befriend, what kind of life we should lead. To question these or not to adhere to them is deemed to be bizarre. When I was walking around town today I saw a large group of teenagers all wearing the same clothes, same style of hair etc. They were all goths I guess and trying to show that they are that little bit unconventional, that they don't conform (just a shame that they happen to have done it in the conventional way).

There aren't that many people who are strong enough or willing to question this so called 'code'. Most likely because they are scared of the ridicule they will face and the possible unpopularity. These people tend just to believe the opinion of the majority without giving it any real thought (and why should they, surely if most people believe it then it must be right …..... wrong). A typical example would be if you ask someone

Q: 'Do you believe that water drains from basins in opposite directions in the northern/southern hemi-spheres?'

I won't offer a guarantee, but based on what the answers of few of my friends, they confirmed that most people seem to think that water does drain in different directions depending in which hemi-sphere you are in. There seems to be some common mis-conception that this is case when actually the Coriolis force (which does influence weather patterns) is not strong enough to influence the direction a fluid flows and so water can flow in either direction in both hemi-spheres. All but one of my friends thought it was the former (well done Rich). When I asked them why they thought that this was the case they all said things ranging from it was what other people had told to them till they saw it on 'The Simpsons'. Just because a TV show/others believed that this was the case they thought it must be true without actually thinking about it or looking into it further. Maybe it was the fear of challenging someone who seems to know a little bit more about it than them that scared them into thinking that it can't be wrong. Obviously people didn't question the person or the thing because they feared it would make them unpopular but in other examples this is the case.

An example of this is when Descartes wrote his book on Physics 'Le Monde' (The World) he pulled out of publishing it because of what had happened to Galileo in 1633. Galileo was condemned by the Inquisition in Rome for releasing his paper 'Dialogue' which supported the Copernican view that the earth went round the sun and not the other way round. This was a brave step from Galileo considering it was unfashionable to have such a belief in those days and he had already been in trouble with the Inquisition for other beliefs that he had. As a result he was sent to prison for life and had to recant his belief in the Copernican planetary system. Descartes was not this brave, he was scared of his book being condemned, as it had un-fashionable views in it that didn't entirely support the Church. Even a man as wise as Descartes was scared of the unpopularity his work might receive even though it was thought out in a rational sense. Though, I should point out that as a result he revised a lot of this work and as a result came up with the 'Meditations' which started the scientific revolution. A further example, and probably a more nobler one is that of Socrates who would not submit to the common opinions in Ancient Greece, even when he was faced with the death penalty!!

I never really appreciated it before but I kinda admire these supposed loners, they don't feel the need to be always have people around them, they don't worry that because they are on their own that people might think they are strange. Even more so I admire what people would probably call 'geeks', the people who do not try and fit in, the people who don't feel the need to buy all the latest fashion, the people who think for themselves and don't just accept what the majority think!! Because they privilege the stance of good reason, as opposed to childishly trusting others that tell them that they are wrong.

Alain de Botton sums up this very nicely with the following quote: 'The validity of an idea or action is determined not by whether it is widely believed or widely reviled but by whether it obeys the rules of logic. It is not because an argument is denounced by a majority that it is wrong nor, for those drawn to heroic defiance, that it is right'.

This I think this is partly why I do philosophy, I do not readily accept what I am told, I like to think of things rationally. Moreover, this is what I feel philosophy is all about: using it to help us work on the problems of everyday life.

Edit: I no longer do philosophy as part of my degree as it was affecting my maths too much


I'm back!

So i have been encouraged to restart posting in this blog. I felt a little stupid putting the same entries into my livejournal blog and this one. I am not really sure if i am going to post everything in both but will probably put my less personal, boring entries in this one and use it only for my rants, philosophical stuff etc.

Oh and will probably copy and paste previous entries in my other blog here at some point.


December 12, 2004

degree/immigrating

I didn't get any uni work done at all yesterday but that was mainly due to working in Yates' most of the day. It was a lot more chilled than Friday so it has got rid of a little bit of the stress that I have been feeling recently. The rota for the Xmas period was put up as well. It looks like the manager is making up for me missing the Xmas period as I am going home as she has put on 4 very long shifts in a row over the new year!

I have really started to wonder why I am at uni. I do love the place, the people and in general I am having a good time but I really don't have any motivation to get a degree. I never really have. It is really annoying that there is such a hugh importance put on having a bit of paper that says you have one as it means you are 'intelligent'. It isn't even proper intelligence … all you are doing is being spoon fed someone else's ideas. There are much better forms of intelligence … shame no one really considers them as in high regard as a degree.

I have been getting really itchy feet recently. I really want to go traveling, though this time properly. I want to just go from country to country in a random fashion with only the bare essentials. I have also found myself seriously looking at immigrating somewhere … mainly Canada or Australia at the moment but I am also going to be looking at South Africa and Eastern Europe. But if I am going to do this it will probably be best that I get a degree of some sort first.


December 10, 2004

Over–worked!!

I have actually been a good boy over the last couple of days as I have started attacking the mountain of work I have to do over the xmas break … unfortunately my motivation has pretty much nose dived to minus infinity as I don't seem to make any head way at all. It didn't really help that my head wasn't really funstioning at all today. Even when I was simply coping a few little extracts from one of the books that I was looking at I kept making really silly spelling errors!! Also, I am struggling a little with my big assessment, I just don't seem to be able to get threw any of it at all.

I was really hoping to get through as much of this as possible before going home so that I could chill for a few days but it is not looking like that will be able to happen. If push comes to shove I may even have to consider doing a little bit of work on xmas day!!

I suppose the only good thing is that I think I have more or less sorted out some kind of topic for my essay. It isn't quite what I was originally planning on but it isn't far off. I have a shit-load of reading to do for it now though which is gonna be fun!

I am so hoping that it'll be a good night at work tonight as I could do with something to de-stress me!


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