Category Archives: Nonfiction

Time: Scourge of Humanity

"Who, me?"

“Who, me?”

Time wakes you up in the morning. Time puts you to bed at night. Time whips you while you work, telling you that you must do it faster, must get it done sooner. While you sip a cup of hot chocolate, time blows the cream off the top and tells you to hurry up, there are things to be done! When you are satisfied with your life, and are perhaps gently stroking a cat, time tells you that it will all end you when you least expect it, so don’t get too relaxed.

As nearly as I can tell from my time as a biologist at the British Museum of Natural History*, humans are the only creature afflicted by time. Certainly all animals move through time, but only humans know it.

Continue reading

The Politics of Hate

(Source: Tom Gauld)

(Source: Tom Gauld)

It’s fair to say that political parties hate their opposite. Liberals think conservatives are mean and stupid. Conservatives think liberals are spineless and stupid. Both sides can’t be right, and in fact I think both sides are wrong.

Politics are broken in some way. You only need to have the misfortune to wander into the comments section of any politics-related website to see what I mean. I have read comments suggesting that President Obama is an agent of Al-Qaeda, and that he is a homosexual and his wife is actually a transgender man. When it was President Bush, there were equally as many comments from the other side suggesting such things as him having been personally responsible for 9/11 and that he only had a grade school education. People from one side will excuse “their” guy from something they were crucifying the other guy for in the previous election.

On any one article you can scroll for pages and pages, with each side shouting their message at the other, and nothing happening except each side becoming more firmly convinced they are right and that the other side are wrong, and in addition are idiots.

It breaks my heart to see this happening. How can two people truly work for the good of their country if they fundamentally disagree on what that good is, and on top of that think the other person is actively working against their country? Continue reading

Getting a Job is Demeaning and Wasteful

(Source: Jenni C)

(Source: Jenni C)

So, you need a job. What do you do? First, you spend days, weeks, or months looking for a job. You try to find a job that matches your skills, because what a waste it is to you personally and to the national economy if you are overqualified for a job (which also then prevents someone perfectly qualified for that job from getting it). Once you’ve found a suitable job and have tailored your resume to suit, then you find out that they have an electronic application form online and you have to take all the info from your resume and spend an hour manually typing it in. Of course, this all assumes that  you have the luxury of looking for a job that fits with your skills, instead of being like most people and simply having to get a job – any job – because you have bills to pay and will be homeless and then dead if you don’t get one.

Alright, so you’re not homeless or dead (or at least not dead, since you’re still reading this). Continue reading

The Unnecessary Stress of Modern Parenting

None of this is as stressful as holding your child on your feet all winter while you don't eat anything and your wife has gone off to hunt in the frigid Arctic waters where killer whales and sea lions may eat her at any moment, but still. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

None of the things in this post are as stressful as holding your child (as an egg) on your feet all winter while you don’t eat anything and your wife has gone off to hunt in the frigid Arctic waters where killer whales and sea lions may eat her at any moment, but still. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Parenting can probably not be totally free of stress and responsibilities. Human young take a very long time to fully mature compared to other animals, so there is some responsibility inherent in being a parent. However, I think there are many ways that humans have created unneccessary stress and responsibilities for parents.

Take the common complain from parents about being a taxi. The internal combustion engine wasn’t invented until last century. Prior to that it was impossible to be a taxi for your kids. There was nowhere that you could take your kids that they couldn’t go themselves, unless they were too young to walk.

Before the last few centuries, nearly everyone lived in small towns of less than 300 people. Almost all of those people would be related by blood or marriage. This meant there was no need to worry about strangers. You knew every person your child was likely to come into contact with, and most of those people would be relatives.
Continue reading

We Offer Nothing

_45550314_currencies_226x170I recently read an article titled “They used to love shopping and selfies, now they’re jihadi brides”, written about teenage girls who had gone to join Isis. Not that I think Isis is necessarily better than shopping and selfies (personally I enjoy buying a pair of pants much more than beheading someone), but I don’t think it’s hard to see how someone (i.e. a teenager) who is looking for meaning in life is absolutely not going to find it in the prevailing messages our culture gives.

They see people working themselves to death just so they can buy more things that they’re not really happy with. In school, they’re told an education is important not so you become a better person, not so you can improve the world, but only so that you can then get a job (the higher paying the better), which you can use to get money and buy stuff. Continue reading

Security Absurdity

3382932556_cab88a86f3_z

(Source: Dan Paluska)

14 years ago today, four planes were hijacked and used as missiles. All 246 passengers on the planes were killed when the hijackers flew the planes into two of the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, along with a further 2,731 people in those buildings.

Nobody wants something like that to happen again (unless you’re from Al-Qaeda, in which case, as-salamu alaykum and welcome to my blog, please don’t blow us up), so security was increased immediately and then gradually over the next decade, in ever more annoying ways, to keep us safe. Continue reading

Objectification of The Spouse

(Source: Pexels)

Who are these guys? Are they objectifying each other? Are they even married? I don’t really know; stock image websites don’t give you the right sort of information. (Source: Pexels)

(I refer to spouses but my meaning is the same for partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.)
The right partner can make a big difference to your life. Being with someone who is right for you can positively affect nearly all areas of your life, and conversely, being with someone who is wrong can mess up other areas of your life. The right person can make your life more enjoyable, more fulfilling, more satisfying, they can help you reach your goals, they can cushion you from the occasional harshness of life. They’re a friend, but much more than that. A lover, but still more.

You’d think with something so important that society would place a lot of emphasis on finding that person and searching for the qualities that make a good spouse. Instead, we have precisely the opposite. Continue reading

The Problem is Not Your Resume

These people want your job. (Source: James Cridland)

These people want your job. (Source: James Cridland)

You’re trying to get a job. You’ve applied for a bunch of them. Maybe even got some interviews. Sadly, none of those big fish have bitten yet, and your savings are dwindling. Maybe the problem is your resume (spoiler: it’s not). So you take some resume advice, say from Google’s HR Manager, like here. Now your resume’s really swell. You’ll get some better attention from an interviewer, and perhaps you’ll get a job. Good news for you.

Continue reading

Certainly More than 50 Shades

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

We like to see things as black and white. Pedophiles are emotionless land-monster predators (basically the equivalent of sharks, except they can’t breathe underwater (and also they want to have sex with children, sharks probably don’t do that)); we can all agree on that, right? Women who abandon their newborn babies are hardly women at all. Politicians who misbehave should lose their jobs. Or should they? Is being a politician just a ridiculous, thankless job? Is being a new mother one of the most stressful things a woman is likely to go through? Is the life of a pedophile already a terrible one, except for the millionaire DJ ones? We’ve all avoided nuance at one time or another, and I want to examine the reasons for it. Continue reading