Archive | August, 2012

My story, told by someone else

Posted on 30 August 2012 by The Secular Nerd

World of Warcraft Logo (c) Blizzard

A lot of people suffer, or have suffered from depression and/or social anxiety disorder in their lives. It can affect anyone at any time. What a lot of people don’t realize, is that video games can not only be therapeutic, but also used as treatment for depression and social anxiety disorder.

I encourage everyone to take the time to watch this video, come back, and see the rest of this post. You won’t regret it, I promise you this.


That is Boogie, and you can find his Channel on YouTube, and his page on Facebook. I have been following him for awhile now, watching the silly videos, the serious videos, and watching his transformation as he works on controlling his weight.

You might be asking, why is this so important? It’s because he told my life’s story exactly, from the games, the living situation, the mental illnesses, to the resolution. He’s not alone either. From helping soldiers with PTSD to anger management, video games have a beneficial therapeutic response. Boogie, myself, and others have come to find the benefits of on-line, off-line, and real world table top gaming to help us get through our darkest hours and come up on top.

A quick search on YouTube revealed this video about a former High School football player who found video games to be therapeutic, a huge confidence booster, and a purpose for him. Stories like these greatly contradict the negative press video games get, from blaming them for murderous rampages, theft, etc. As a rather avid video gamer myself, I have never felt compelled to go off on a murderous rampage, steal a car, or find a prostitute, bang her, and leave her for dead in an alley way (completely random, but Grand Theft Auto has been blamed for a prostitute death).

– The Secular Nerd

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img courtesy of Wired.com

First Medical Marijuana State of the South?

Posted on 29 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

img courtesy of Wired.com

image courtesy of Wired.com

 

First Medical Marijuana State of the South?

   Living in Arkansas, we’ve all been subjected to southern society and their demands. It is impossible to avoid religion and conservatism. Statistically speaking, there are more ‘immoral’ people living in the bible belt than anywhere else. Some Christians can spend more time converting than helping people down here.
For a long time, the state of Arkansas has been the strictest as far as pot laws are concerned. However, this month the Arkansas’ Secretary of State office confirmed that the issue will be on the ballot this November.

I like so many others could really benefit from Medical Marijuana, instead of polluting our bodies with narcotic medications to kill the pain. At least marijuana isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause horrible withdrawals. For those of you that aren’t familiar with some of the things it can do, it can:
-relieve chronic and neuropathic pain
-increase appetite
-decrease nausea
-relax muscles

For someone that suffers with chronic pain, it could do so much for them. However, down here in the south it could prove to be difficult to convince conservatives of it’s benefits. Marijuana is already all over the south, being sold to people, which is in fact illegal. However, even if a Medical Marijuana Dispensary opened up in Arkansas, that wouldn’t mean that everyone would be smoking pot. It would just mean that the people that really need help could go to the doctor and get a prescription for it. It would be just any other prescription you could get, and people do sell them on the streets too but you don’t see them getting all bent out of shape about that.
The Family Council Committee, a group whose purpose is to instill traditional family values through politics, said they would be fighting the proposal. Jerry Cox, the President of the committee, issued a statement saying:

“Substance abuse creates very real problems for families,” Cox said. “If a husband or wife is addicted to something, it’s going to put a strain on that marriage. It’s going to put a strain on their kids. If you think we have problems with marijuana now, just wait until it becomes legally available.”

Wait, how can they be addicted to something that isn’t addictive?
He also went as far as to bring smoking into the statement:

“It’s the only medicine you smoke. The health community has spent almost fifty years trying to stop smoking. Now a group of people wants Arkansas doctors to start encouraging just that: Smoking for your health. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Now, just to clarify, Cigarette smoke is way more harmful than the smoke from marijuana. I do agree that the smoke itself can be harmful, but scientist have found that it is not the plant itself that is harmful. Depository’s always have plenty of other marijuana products for patients. All pain medications have side effects and harmful long term effects such as liver damage. Besides, there are always pot brownies.
My point is, I’ve been trying to inform as many people as possible so that when November gets here, people will vote for the legalization of medical marijuana. It would mean that the people of Arkansas could get the help they need. I know I will be voting for it when November 6th gets here.

– That Heathen Girl

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Praise the science and technology for a safe Isaac experience

Posted on 29 August 2012 by The Secular Nerd

Hurricane Isaac

I have always felt the need to mention to people that a lot of the things they have “praised the lord” about, is all really taking credit from where credit is due. For example, hurricane Isaac visiting the United States, was all spotted from outer space by man made equipment. The people that are safe now in the path of Isaac, is all due to our advancements in science and technology.

To go into greater detail, we have satellites in orbit around our planet. These satellites give us crystal clear pictures of weather activity all over the world. Several thousand people participated in the creation of these satellites. Going further in-depth, we have thousands more who contributed to the study of weather patterns, climate changes, influence into what fuels major weather events, and so much more. Through science we have learned that given the right conditions, hurricanes can form. What are these conditions you ask? Well, here they are:

Hurricanes begin as tropical storms over the warm moist waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans near the equator. (Near the Phillippines and the China Sea, hurricanes are called typhoons.) As the moisture evaporates it rises until enormous amounts of heated moist air are twisted high in the atmosphere. The winds begin to circle counterclockwise north of the equator or clockwise south of the equator. The reatively peaceful center of the hurricane is called the eye. Around this center winds move at speeds between 74 and 200 miles per hour. As long as the hurricane remains over waters of 79F or warmer, it continues to pull moisture from the surface and grow in size and force. When a hurricane crosses land or cooler waters, it loses its source of power, and its wind gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force–less than 74 miles per hour.

Hurricanes over the Atlantic often begin near Africa, drift west on the Trade Winds, and veer north as they meet the prevalling winds coming eastward across North America. Hurricanes over the Eastern Pacific begin in the warm waters off the Central American and Mexican coasts. Eastern and Central Pacific storms are called “hurricanes.” Storms to the west of the International Date Line are called “typhoons.”

Because of the destructive force of hurricanes during late summer and early autumn, scientists constantly monitor them with satellites and sometimes even fly airplane surveillance to keep track of tropical storms that might develop into hurricanes. [cotf.edu]

That was about the most basic explanation I could find, short of posting a kids version of it. We know all of this through science and technology though. We should thank the thousands upon thousands of people who contributed their time, money, resources, and even their own lives so we could be safer. We should further be thankful to the thousands of men and women out there during, and after the hurricanes, rescuing those whom are stranded, trapped, or otherwise harmed. These men and women risk their lives to save other lives. That is humanity at its finest, working together for the betterment of all human kind.

While I’m on this topic, I’d like to share a few other examples of how we should thank science, technology, and more specifically the people physically there helping you every day:

  • Your doctor, and the hundreds of thousands of people before him/her, who contributed to the discovery of all our medical and technological advances to treat you every day.
  • Your IT guy, and the thousands upon thousands of people before him/her who contributed to the inventions of electricity, circuit boards, education, technology, and the science behind computers.
  • Your weather man, and the thousands upon thousands of people before him/her who contributed to meteorology, satellites, and radar to give you advanced warning about storms.

We have a lot to be thankful for, because if it wasn’t for these men, we would still be in the dark ages believing that a higher power will watch over us, and protect us.

– The Secular Nerd

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Atheism Plus, and what it means to me

Posted on 28 August 2012 by The Secular Nerd

Atheism + Logo

It’s starting to spread life wildfire. Atheism + is clogging our interweb tubes, making splashes all over the place. For quite some time now, I have seen people use the definition of Atheist wrong, comparing Atheism to Humanism.  We have apparently added a plus sign now, to basically show we are atheists with a humanistic-like philosophy to life.

Here is what other peoples take is on it:

We are…
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.
[Blag Hag]

Recently, Greta Christina piped in about it, saying:

What I think it would mean, at a minimum, is that atheist organizations would keep their own houses clean. At a minimum, it means they would pay attention to social justice issues with their own internal matters: hiring, event organization, community structure, etc.

All of that is great, except for the fact that is sounds a lot like humanism to me. More specifically, it’s putting militant in front of humanism. Humanism is a word to describe that you follow a philosophy that all of humanity is important, and that everyone should be treated equally, humane like. Put secular in front of humanism, and you are not motivated by the superstition that come with religion. Put militant and secularism in front of humanism, and you have Atheist Plus (if you were an atheist who went under humanism).

Personally, this whole initiative I think, is great for the militant atheists… because in the most raw form, Atheist simply means you don’t believe in a god. Put a plus next to it, it’s just saying you are a militant secular humanist. There’s one slight problem with that… humanists really aren’t militant. In fact, it’s a rather interesting paradox to do that. Humanists don’t go out to fight the world… they peacefully resolve things, or simply live their lives with the intent of doing good will toward others. Not getting up in peoples faces.

So in reality, I suppose this could just clearly be viewed as taking the beliefs of humanism, sticking it with the term “Atheism Plus” and calling it a day. Sure, I find myself being militant all the time, yet I still call myself a secular humanist… but that’s because I have respect for other non-theists. Where’s Agnostic Plus? Where is Deist Plus? Isn’t it just simple enough to call yourself a secular humanist, and have militant tendencies toward racism and hatred?

– The Secular Nerd

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Todd Akin was keeping it real

Posted on 25 August 2012 by The Secular Nerd

Todd Akin

I will admit when I am oblivious to beliefs of religious or political organizations, I am usually not shocked when I hear about them. When I found out what Todd Akin had said, it blew my mind. Not just what he said about “legitimate rape”, but that MANY believe this to be fact. Here is the quote, straight from the horses mouth:

First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. [TPM]

Thousands upon thousands of male conservatives believe this. Todd was just keeping it real, because he thought the whole world knew this fallacy. When the shit storm hit the internet and other media outlets, he quickly retracted his statement with this:

 In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview, and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. All of us understand that rape can result in pregnancy & I have great empathy for all victims. I regret misspeaking. [Yahoo]

Any rational thinking person would know his first quote was him speaking as though it was fact. Any rational thinking person would also know his second quote was him scared for his political career. It’s a fairly well guarded secret, except for the occasional slip up’s, but doesn’t that make you wonder why it’s a secret thought? Could these people realize that deep down, this might not only be wrong to use this as an excuse against abortion, but that it’s actually wrong anyway?

This man is on the Committee for Science, Space, and Technology. I don’t think he understands the first thing about biology.

– The Secular Nerd

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The Hunger Games Series: Review

Posted on 25 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins Review
(Warning! Major Spoilers)

Let me start off by saying how much I was looking forward to reading the series after I found out the movie was coming out. The idea of something so messed up like that peaked my interest, as I’m always looking for interesting reads. Basically the story is about Katniss Everdeen and her family and friends of District 12; the area that specializes in coal mining for the Capitol, which is a huge city that houses President Snow. Every year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games, which was created in order to remind the citizens of the 12 districts who was boss. Back in the day a rebellion within the districts had broke out and in order to keep his people from turning on him, he instituted the Hunger Games and wiped District 13 off the map.

At the reaping, Katniss’s worst fears are realized when her sister, Prim, is selected and she volunteers to replace her. Now, I won’t go into a huge spill on details since I’m assuming you read the books. She and Peeta are taken from their homes and forces to compete in a battle to the death between two other kids from each other district, a boy and a girl.

I have to say that the first two books were phenomenal. The detail of the food alone in the Hunger Games made it seem so real, and quite often I found myself hungry or cold or thirsty just from the description of Katniss’s senses. In Catching Fire, I was quite shocked to see that Katniss and Peeta were once again to take part in the Hunger Games, a ploy in which President Snow stated that the reaping would be using only winners of the Hunger Games as participants. The Quarter Quell was more interesting as far as the characters in the games, who were much older and wiser than the children they once were. The arena was even more fascinating; a large dome that resembled a clock, so that at certain times of the day specific areas would bring on deadly occurrences to kill the tributes. One section of the clock included jabberjays, birds that could mimic voices to trick them and drive them to madness.

Now, like I said, the first two books were pretty good. However, in Mockingjay, it seemed that Suzanne Collins just gave up. After they retreat to District 13, a place they once thought didn’t exist anymore, they settled into a very routine lifestyle, where they planned to fight the Capitol and use Katniss as a propaganda piece for their rebellion. You would think after the endless torment Katniss had to suffer along they way she get a bit of a break, but no. She ends up in the hospital two or three more times. Her friends die one by one, one of which was a guy who had just gotten married to his long time sweetheart. She was also a former tribute winner and was kidnapped by President Snow and had just reunited with him. Peeta ends up being batshit insane, having been tortured using tracker jacket venom to rewrite his memories so he’d kill Katniss. The worst part is, that after she manages to sneak into the Capitol and disguise herself to get closer to the mansion that houses Snow, she sees her sister, who was supposed to have been in District 13, get blown to bits along with a whole group of children. Best part is, and I hope you can sense the sarcasm there, she ends up being with Peeta after all the crap he did to her! I get that he was “tricked” but she even says he still has freak outs at the end of the book, but she just deals with it.

I can understand what she was trying to accomplish (Collins). I’ve written stories where the main character gets shit on constantly, not really catching a break until the very end. However, in this instance, I don’t feel like Katniss ever really caught a break. She didn’t even get to kill Snow like she wanted, she had to watch him die of whatever disease he already had. I just think she went too far with the sister dying. That was the whole point of her volunteering at the reaping. She could have saved herself so much misery. I really think that if Prim had been taking into the area she would have died, and Peeta would have won. Sure the whole mockingjay symbol wouldn’t have happened, but I think she still would have fought for the rebellion and I think they still could have won.

As for Peeta vs. Gale, I think she probably picked him just because he’s the only one that really understands her insanity.

All in all I’ll give this series a 3 out of 5 stars. If the last book hadn’t been such a let down I’d give it a better rating.

-That Heathen Girl

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The Dalai Lama had a point…

Posted on 24 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

Image ©dreamstime.com

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” – Dalai Lama

What if all the religions sacrificed the need to build monuments and temples to their faith and instead built schools, houses, even hospitals. If they instead used kindness to their fellow man instead of living in fear of some unknown entity. Helping their fellow man because they care, not out of fear of some unknown entity. Not to say I condemn them for their beliefs, because I’m just not that kind of person. I live in the bible belt, and there can be up to 10 churches in one town around here. That’s just way too much! If they used that money to help the community instead of building fancier and fancier churches, they could help their fellow man.

I’m That Heathen Girl, and I figured since the Secular Nerd posted such a thorough opening post I’d introduce myself.
You can check out our bio’s to learn more about us. We will also have links to our personal sites at a later date.

The kind of posts you can look forward to from me are going to be the entertainment reviews. Some of my nerdy points of interest are:
– Books & Movies
– Graphic Design & Photography
– PC Gaming

Welcome to the site and enjoy!
– That Heathen Girl

 

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It all started with a big bang…

Posted on 24 August 2012 by The Secular Nerd

It all started with a big bang…

The Secular Nerd said “let there be nerdy reasoning” and so it began…

We are extremely thrilled to start what is going to be a very exciting journey into the world of secular nerds. What are secular nerds you ask? Let’s explore these two words in detail, shall we?

sec·u·lar
[sek-yuh-ler] adjective
1. of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as
religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secularinterests.
2. not pertaining to or connected with religion ( opposed to sacred): secular music.
3. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with non religious subjects.
4. (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order;not bound
by monastic vows ( opposed to regular).
5. occurring or celebrated once in an age or century: the secular games of Rome.

nerd
[nurd] noun Slang .
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.

Our first word “secular”, is very important to many people. It is the pursuit of a world not connected with religion. We live in a society that’s focused on many different agendas. The pushing of a religious agenda is one huge conglomerate of many sub agendas, meaning there are many different religions, and many different interpretations of their religious dogma.  The forcing of these many different religious beliefs in our world has caused not only wars, but skewed day to day habits that infringe on many peoples way of life.

You might be wondering where I’m going with my take on this. It’s simple; get religion out of politics, government, and public places. Don’t get me wrong when I say that though. I consider myself a secular humanist. I believe people are free to believe whatever they wish to believe, but I don’t want your beliefs interfering with my day to day life, or that of humanity as a whole.  One very bright, shining, and painful example of what I mean, is marriage equality. The term used a lot against marriage equality, is “the sanctity of marriage must be upheld. It is a union of one man, and one woman”.

Let’s look at the word “sanctity” before you claim that religion has nothing to do with marriage equality.

sanc·ti·ty
[sangk-ti-tee] noun, plural sanc·ti·ties.

1. holiness, saintliness, or godliness.
2. sacred or hallowed character: the inviolable sanctity of the temple.
3. a sacred thing.

Let’s talk about “the sanctity of marriage” for a moment. Marriages between one man and one woman happen everyday. They also divorce everyday. What happened to the sacred oath they have taken? Till death do you part, right? People divorce all the time, yet there is no war against divorce lawyers. The war is against what peoples beliefs are. In a secular government, you would have none of this. We would already have marriage equality. We, however, do not live in a secular world, we do not have a secular government, and we have the religious agendas to thank for this.

The above, is what you can expect on the secular side of this website. It won’t always be “militant”, but it sure will be blunt, and straight to the point. I am a nerd which embraces many of the “nerdy” genres. Let’s look at them in a fancy bullet list!

My nerd expertise:

  • Computer Programming (Website design, application, databases)
  • Network Administration
  • Table-top Role-Playing (Dungeons and Dragons, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, etc)
  • Collectible Card Games (Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, etc)
  • MMO’s (World of Warcraft, Star Wars, etc)
  • Computer Strategy Games (Starcraft, Command and Conquer, etc)
  • Social Network Marketing
  • Live Action Role-Play (Vampire: The Masquerade, Dagorhir, etc)
  • Star Trek AND Star Wars fanatic

When it comes to any of these topics, I become an elitist monster. I’m very passionate about these topics, but I also enjoy a good clean friendly debate. Why, you may ask, did I list my hobbies and skills? Because those are the topics I will discuss, along with a secular twist (but not always).

So here’s to a very exciting journey together!

– The Secular Nerd

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