Archive for March, 2008

March 19, 2008

basing decisions on bad information… the american way?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080318/sc_livescience/immigrationreducescrimerates;_ylt=AgW5wRp7vxu45ypgVEASATsPLBIF

Two articles I read this week revealed something to me about me that I was a little uncomfortable with… I’m pretty naive. Not in the innocent way of a child. I’m naive in the more dangerous way, I’m ignorant.

First there was an article in a scientific journal on the Mpemba effect. If you are not familiar with that term, in lay-terms it means that hot water freezes faster than cold water. Many people believe this to be true (and under the right conditions it IS). It is not, however, a scientific law. So when you see someone turning on the hot water in the sink and letting it run before filling an ice tray (i’m telling my age…) they are doing that because of a fundamental understanding of the Mpemba effect. The problem with that is… hot tap water placed in a plastic ice tray doesn’t necessarily freeze faster than cold tap water. It very well may take longer. When I first heard of this phenomenon, it was from an elder whose word i trusted. I then operated off of this belief until yesterday. that’s over 30 years of running hot water to freeze something. Without going to in depth (and to prevent the scientific community from attacking), yes I do understand that under some circumstances hot water freezes faster than cold. My point is, that is only part of the information. The particular set of variables required to observe this effect are not even fully understood by science, and yet I was repeating “hot freezes faster than cold” as if it were some universal truth that only a few were aware of.

ok, i know you are thinking…. so? the link at the beginning of the article involves a more commonly held and DANGEROUS misconception. Our fear of immigration has led to something i hoped i would never see in my lifetime… african-american racism directed at another minority group en masse. I’ve heard many of my “brothers and sisters” lamenting the lack of jobs in this country due to immigration. I’ve heard of the “unfair advantage” given to “them” from the government. I’ve heard of their “lack of hygiene”, “inability to speak english properly”, etc…. and all I can say is, THESE ARE THE SAME THINGS THAT WERE SAID ABOUT US AS RECENTLY AS ONE GENERATION AGO!!!! something does stink, but it’s not the immigrants. have we assimilated so well that we even have adopted the superiority complex of the more imperialistic members of our ruling class? I assumed like many that in areas where immigrant populations were high, violence and crime would also be higher. wrong! which throws off another of my previously held beliefs. Poverty doesn’t HAVE to lead to crime. Go figure. Some of the reasons given in the article for the lower crime rate were strong work ethic, a desire not to be deported (can be viewed as an appreciation of the opportunity to be here), strong family structure, etc… good old american values. So why did I believe that it was automatic that immigration led to crime? Ignorance. MY ignorance. Isn’t it easier to say “crime is a result of poverty” than to begin to investigate why african-americans commit more violent crimes per capita than whites? That’s the easy answer, but an incorrect one. Genetics (the opposite spectrum answer for the ignorant) won’t work here either. In African and West Indian immigrants crime rates are also lower than those of african-american’s (and white american’s). No… the answers are simple, but not THAT simple. The answers involve an appreciation for hard work, not the get rich today mentality of many americans. The answer is an appreciation for the opportunities this country provides (including the opportunity to disagree with it’s policies). The answer is to return to a mindset of family first. Our focus on the individual is seen in our governing decisions. Just as I had incorrect beliefs based on bad information given to me by someone i trust…. WMD’s anyone? I’m not defending or bashing…. just stating. I could have┬ávery easily tested what i was told about hot water myself in 30 minutes, yet I spent 30 years believing wrongly. I hope pres. bush doesn’t do the same… it’s been 5 years. its not that hard to imagine….

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March 19, 2008

March Madness has got me going loco

Here are my tournament picks;

Sweet 16; UCLA, UNC, Wash. St., Louisville, Tennessee, Kansas, Clemson, Wisconsin, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas, Connecticut, Xavier, Arizona and Memphis.

Elite Eight: UNC, Louisville, Kansas, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona

Final Four: UNC, Georgetown, UCLA and Stanford

Championship Game: UCLA, UNC

Champions: UCLA

March 15, 2008

NBA MVP. Kobe over Lebron

Sometime last week my brother took the time to call me up. He was in a panic. He had this to say; ESPN is starting to hype up Lebron James over Kobe for M.V.P. I assured him that it wasn’t going to happen. I told him that ESPN was only hyping LBJ because he had just dropped 50 points the day before. Don’t get me wrong, Lebron is a worthy candidate but I don’t think he should be given M.V.P over Kobe Bryant or even Chris Paul.

Everytime it was Kobe’s turn to win M.V.P, the media has come up with some reason not to give it to him. My favorite one is the ever popular; “he is the best player in the world but he isn’t the most valuable player”. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t M.V.P supposed to be handed to the best player? All those years Jordan was winning them, was he the best at making his teammates better? Wasn’t it just his pure dominance, his motion that was straight poetry and his charisma off the court. In fact, didn’t Jordan’s team do pretty well without him when he went off to play baseball?

Don’t even get me started on this myth of making your teammates better. It is more like working with your teammates and not making them better. You are a team so by playing your role you are making the team work. Your teammates make themselves better by putting in work and in turn you trust them with the ball. No amount of passing is going to make a person make a wide open shot unless they have practiced that shot by themself. Yet this was the rationale given for wresting it away from Kobe all this time.

To show how inconsistent this award is, Steve Nash won it two times in a row and then went ahead and posted better numbers than he had those two years but it was given to someone else. Why? Well they just didn’t want to give it to him three years in a row. The M.V.P should just go back to being what it used to be; the best player that season and not a popularity contest. It isn’t Mr. Congeniality or M.L.P (Most Liked Player).

This season, Kobe has become the leader that he supposedly wasn’t all those years. He has drastically reduced his shot attempts and is averaging more assists. However, the mistake that most people are making is assuming that more assists means he is passing the ball more. Kobe had always passed the ball. The difference is that his teammates are making those shots on a consistent basis. He is also very tenacious on defense when he is locked in and he is playing with an injury that would otherwise require surgery. Input the fact that he is still the best player in the league (Lebron being a close second) and he should be a run away winner. Why shouldn’t Lebron win it? Well because Lebron’s team is in the Eastern Conference and still isn’t doing as well as Kobe’s. Look how tough the West is and don’t even bother comparing it with the east. Game over.

March 5, 2008

Today

I have a confession to make. Today, I don’t feel powerful. Actually it had been going on for a few weeks now but I don’t feel strong. Today, I feel quite normal. Like I can’t make a difference. I feel like there are only a few of us and we are like water drops in the big ocean. My God today, I need your strength, your grace and your mercy.

Today I feel very much like I am just a college student and not a man with a big, bright future. After all, I have bills to pay and I am not making enough to offset them. So I am broke and this changing the world thing doesn’t pay a dime. Therefore today, I want to focus on the green and forget about everything else wrong with the world. I promise that if I make money enough I would be able to give more back and I would focus more on others. Or would I?

I don’t care. Not today. Today is all about me. My needs, my tears. My fears, my way. The highway is yours for this is my world and being good doesn’t come with a credit score. So talk of what is right is becoming a bore.

Today, I need you the most because my cross is getting heavy and my loss has kept me weary so stay with me. Today, be my voice and carry on what we started because I feel more ghetto than philosopher and the fight has not been won. But I won’t stop my roll for therein lies my soul. Again I have to ask you; where is your heart?