Wednesday, October 14, 2009

let x equal x.

"I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious."
- Michael Scott "The Office"
We really want to believe in stuff.
We want to think that the things that happen are the result of something other than our own stupid decisions, smart decisions or somebody else's decisions. We want to believe in some supernatural outside influence. We use words like "luck" and phrases like "it's better to be lucky than good." I think we do that because we're afraid to admit that we were the reason something went badly or that our well wishes had nothing to do with the fortunes of others. We like to think we are included, when in fact, we usually are not.
It's baseball playoff time around here (and other places) and the local sports talk radio is infested with stories of people who feel that by leaving the room, entering the room, standing still, moving about or even turning the game off has somehow influenced the local sports team to score some runs and win the game. It would be amusing to listen to these flights of fancy if it weren't for the fact that people actually believe themselves.
Seemingly intelligent people living in this 21st Century have somehow convinced themselves that wearing their hat inside-out or urinating in a circle has some influence on events thousands of miles away. We don't have that sort of influence on events in our own lives, let alone the lives of others. Besides, if you had those mystical powers, why wouldn't you use them to help you lose 20 pounds, quit smoking or stop masturbating so much? The local sports teams have all the help they need, thank you very much. Believe it or not, they win or lose with no help or hindrance from you and your "lucky shirts" or voodoo hexes. Try this: Sit down and watch the game.
We want to believe in things that we make up, like alien spacecraft, even when it's just a bunch of clouds. Sometimes - OK, all the time - it's just a bunch of clouds. Let x equal x, and stop trying to make it equal x + y (where y equals you).

A spokesman from Moscow's weather forecast said: "Several fronts have been passing through Moscow recently, there was an intrusion of the Arctic air too, the sun was shining from the west – this is how the effect was produced."
He added: "This is purely an optical effect, although it does look impressive. If you look closer, you can see sun rays coming through that cloud. Most likely, the sun was setting when the video was being made."

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