Phil of Science

If anyone remembers philosophy of science, (if anyone took philosophy of science), who was the KUDOS for science guy? What does the acronym refer to? (No help from google on this one). I know the first is kommunism. I’m pretty sure “OS” is for “ostensive criticism”. Any help?


Christmas Party

Come one, come all and be merry – as your Christmas celebrations will not go without a traditional gathering at Tristan’s not so humble abode in Cloverdale. As per usual, curry will be provided, along with non-alcoholic refreshments. For a date, I have picked the 16th in hopes that it will mean increased attendence by a UBC crowd which I sorely miss, and would like very much to see again. If that date is not convinient for you, the 19th would also be acceptable. Dress will be semi-formal as usual. Any of you wondering whether you should attend or not, I suggest you ask Sonny for an opinion on my parties.

P.S. My weather widget states that it is currently minus eleven. Why don’t they just make ten colder?

It’s snowing

Last night Kate and I went for a walk in the fresh snow. We walked up to to Toronto’s Castle (which I find very impressive, no matter how lame you think it is). I spent a good while pondering how best to assail it with a moderately sized force. We took cans of killkenny with us, which make poor substitutes for water. It’s most certainly the mildest tasting beer I’ve ever encountered – those who remember my “alcoholic water” plan, it is now cancelled due to possible copyright infringement with this ale. We wandered down through Toronto’s expensive neighborhoods, and along a canyon to the resevoir – which looks like battlefield park. We made plans to return to the park with toboggans – it has several perfect toboggan hills.

Now it is morning. The snow has collected and formed a white blanket over the Annex. Our porch is uninhabitable (although, it has been uninhabited all term). Class today, I must leave in two hours. I don’t think they cancel it for snow here. The good news is that it’s warm – not meant to drop below minus 3 in the day for the rest of the week, after which it will turn to rain. So, in short, this snowfall is very much Vancouver like.

For now it’s snowing, quite hard actaully. And, for the moment I sit in my bathrobe pondering over Hegel and listening to King Crab. I can’t get them out of my head.

This afternoon I was sipping tea
When they started coming after me
Why don’t they go after you instead

Ipod in-ear headphones

are getting an A+ review from myself. While not as expensive as the Sony variety, they look better and cost exactly half as much. This obvious an increase in sound quality for an extra 50$ makes them an absolutely worthwhile purchase for anyone who enjoys mp3 player (or discman) music. For myself, someone who enjoys listening on the (loud) subway they are excellent. They present a serious detrement, however, for walking in the city – where one’s ears can be as important for safe passage as the eyes. Where standard earbud headphones do not remove you from the your audioenvironment, these certainly do. This is, I suppose, the penalty one pays for presence and frequency response.

On another note, I check my email very infrequently now, sometimes not even once a day, due to my sometimes days long visits to Kate’s house. A word on Kate: she is excellent. Although her job as de-materialized, she now has a plan – to attend Emily Carr, and enroll in the visual narrative program. Despite this being far away from where I want to be (america, or back east in a PhD program), a lond-distance relationship with someone in BC would likely be the least difficult kind. Oh, have I mentioned how much I miss BC? No? Well I do. It remains as flat as it was when I arrived here in Toronto. I miss hiking. I miss hills. I miss the ocean. I miss our transit system. I miss understanding local issues. I miss being an expert on my surroundings. I miss wreck beach in the fog and rain at English Bay. During my Christmas return, I intend on spending at least a few days in rainy, cold Vancouver – visiting friends and walking. Perhaps snap a few shots.

As to the inconsistency of my entries. It is regretable, I will try to do better. I feel as if I am letting at least some people down by not giving a constant account of my activities here. They are quite sparse to tell the truth. I either work on courses, or spend time with Kate, sometimes schoolmates. I am the house president of the coop house I live in, but I am not a very good president.


No Strike

So it seems there is truth to the idea that winning one bitter strike improves your bargaining position years into the future. For example: after rejecting a completely fine offer, and threatning a brutal strike, the York administration made a far better offer at 1am – 5 hrs before the strike was to begin. So my classes are not disrupted, and we won! What a doubly-winning end to a scary proposition.

Last night I attended the Kierkegaard Circle’s twice-yearly talk, and was really quite impressed. The circle has apparently been meeting for twenty years, and sitting with them at the Combination room at Trinity college I got the distinct feeling that I was at a far more pomp institution than usual. When the conversation spurs back and forth between scholars who have no simply been reading something for a week but for a liftime. Where bringing up and quoting from a perticular letter – either by Kierkegaard in april 1853, or by Luther in may 1518, is not considered esoteric. Aside from Milan’s first hand descriptions, this is as I envision Oxford. Having the confidence to speak in such a circle has re-affirmed by belonging in a graduate program, something that is hard to preserve when one feels as if one’s work produces no actual results.

Afterwards, I made my way to the Pour house, a Irish style pub only a few minutes from my house. I met with students from my program, who had been there for 3 hrs already, their meeting long over. The conversation was quite a let down after the Kierkegaard circle, my attempt to bring up Lewis did not steer the conversation away from a deliniation of the “bases” of sex. They left, I sat and watched the Canucks dominate Columbus – I really love the team this year. I like their chances, and I like Cloutier’s absence. Auld reminds me of Mclean. Long live 94. Kate eventually showed up, coming from the Royal Winter Fair, which I would have enjoyed attending, especially to see the show jumping, but the kierkegaard circle prevented me. We had a pitcher and a pint, enjoying the Guitar and Song of Greg Wyard. He did something I thought was impossible – which is to say I believed there was not a possible world in which this occured – the played Bohemian Rhapsody with one guitar and one voice. It was not a travesty – it was something to behold. The beer may have been overpriced, but the song was free, and worth the full price of admission. I suggest you all visit to behold the greatest single cover artist, or rather craftsmen, that could possibly exist.

On the short walk home, Kate and I stopped to lie in the leaves.

Not enough entries

I have decided that I have not been making enough journal entries lately. Nor have I been fullfilling my responsibilities has house rep, nor have I been doing much of anything that doesn’t fall under the heading of “school” or “girlfriend”. As good as those things are, I have decided to remedy the anarchy through a strict schematization of my life – to match the wonderful re-organization of my bedroom performed by Kate today (I was so impressed that I insisted on taking her out for dinner). One thing I have not decided, however, is to make my livejournal entries better organized. They will retain their “rant like” structure, which really just means moving between universals and perticulars with no warning and only sometimes a paragraph change.

New paragraph. Tonight Kate and I attended a talk on the medicalization of the women’s body and the production of “diseases” which the pharmecudical industry can produce “cures” for. For example, the FDA just recently extended the patent on Prozak because it has been proven to treat PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder) (a medicalized version of PMS). PMDD was invented by 2 psychiatrists on a fishing trip, and the evidence that “proves” it does not prove it at all – in fact the EU’s body equivalent to the FDA disallowed drug approvals based on their treatment of it recently because, quote “it does not exist”. The FDA never actually approved of it’s existence because the hearing didn’t require evidence for it’s existence to be presented. When first presented to commitees, “PMDD” was said to apply to only “a tiny fraction of women”, and was not to be simply a medicalization of PMS. However, the new adds which push Serafem (rebranded prozac, although prozac by it’s first name has remained under patent protection aswell) for its treatment present an angry women, followed by the text “You think you have PMS, but actually you have PMDD”. Several hundred thousand prescriptions for a disease that the FDA approved of only tacitly by a procedural loophole, and which the EU firmly states does not exist.

Basically what I’ve taken away from this talk is a re-affirmed sense that disease is one of many possible constructs by which me might understand a set of symptoms. A great analogy was made: when someone feels depressed, and takes a drug like prozac which treats the depression, people conclude that it must have been a neurological imbalence in their brain which caused them to be depressed. However, if someone feels awkward in a social situation, and this awkwardness is remedied by a few stiff drinks, we don’t conclude that the person had a chemical imbalence which was cured by the alcohol. Certainly this is a crude analogy, but on the surface where we are only intuiting “what sounds right”, I think it’s useful to analyze our own scientific bias which mistakes aleviating symptoms for addressing causes. The most important, obvious, and needing to be remedied causes of “mental illness” probably remain socio-economic: poverty, poor nutrition and excercise, social situations which deprive people of support, caring – friendship, abuse, etc…

I have almost come to the conclusion that the only way the concerns of the plurality of lobby groups and critical feminist analysts will ever be implemented is if we for some reason find ourselves in a situation where powerful politiciens care enough to listen to the obvious truth and enact it. I am very pessimistic about the ability of feminist lobby groups to be heard speaking the truth in the sense of being understood and having their recommendations followed. One of the speakers was so vague in her “optimistic hopes for the future” that she said she was worried about the “commodification of everything” and the only solution to that was, well something forgettable and remarkably passivly reformist to follow such a marxist phrase. When radical forces exist to enforce the status quo, only radical forces can confront them.

The larger picture of this nigh