Ryan's Rants - Installment #10

I find myself finding getting irritated by many things. With that being said, I thought it would be quite cathartic for me to write a series of weekly articles in which I rant about the various things that annoy me.

I know this has nothing really to do with Fantasy Football, but hell, it's my website, I can do what I want.

Here is the 10th installment of "Ryan's Rants" :

1. Paradoxes - Call me a geek, but I like paradoxes. They make you analyze a situation in detail and ultimately lead to a higher level of thinking. I've listed some of my favorite paradoxes below. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as I do (if you don't, I really don't care :-)).

Pinnochio Paradox - This is my favorite paradox. I found it on the Internet a few months back and instantly was fascinated by it.

Pinnachio Paradox

Some argue that this is not truly a paradox since, by definition, lying implies that Pinnochio was aware of the falsehood of his statement when speaking it. If he is unaware or he believes his statement to be true then, by definition, he is not lying (i.e. lying entails willingly and knowingly deceiving). According to this line of thought then Pinnochio may have truly believed his nose was going to go and therefore he wasn't lying and consequently the paradox does not exist. However, this is largely a case of semantics in my opinion. It's a very cool paradox to think about regardless.

Omnipotence Paradox - I learned about these types of paradoxes while taking a Philosophy of Religion class my Junior year of college. Atheists have used this type of paradox throughout time in an attempt to disprove one of the central core traits of God: omnipotence.

For example, many Atheists pose the following question, "Can God create a rock so heavy that not even God himself can lift it?" If he can create it, then the rock is now unliftable, limiting God's power and disproving his omnipotence. But if he can't create it, then God is still not omnipotent (i.e. all powerful) because it is outside the scope of his powers to create the rock.

The problem with this argument is that going off biblical context, God is considered "almighty" not "omnipotent." It may seem semantical, but it's an important difference. Being almighty just means that that God has absolute power and that no other entity has power greater than his power. So following this definition, the real questions become:

1) Can any other entity create a rock too heavy for God to lift


(2) Can God create a rock too heavy for any other entity (or deity) to lift?

The answers to these questions are quite possibly no and yes. Thus, it's possible no other entity (or deity) can exert any power over God and claim to be more powerful than God and therefore he reclaims his almightyness.

To read on further about some of the great paradoxes of the world, click here.

2. The Scope of the Universe - I often (usually when drunk) ponder the following question: is the Universe/Space infinite or finite? Either option seems equally absurd to me.

If the universe physically ends, how does it end? Is there just a wall there and we can travel no further? That doesn't make any sense as there would have to be something over the wall. You just can't have nothingness. My mind can't even fathom that.

However, the universe not having an end makes no sense to me either. How can we just travel on forever and not reach an end. I understand the concept of infinity when it comes to numbers and non-real objects, but when it comes to real, physical space, it doesn't make any sense to me.

Obviously, this is a layman's point of view on the topic. But it still keeps me up at night thinking about it.

3. Traffic Jams -
How do they start? I've just recently moved to Chicagoand the biggest thing I hate about big cities are the traffic jams. Call me an idiot, but I really don't understand how traffic jams occur. It seems reasonable to me that, excluding lane closures and accidents, cars should all be moving at an appropiate highway speed and that these jams would never occur.

This web page helped clear things up and even has a link to a video to help explain traffic jams.

4. Riddles - I love riddles. Similar to paradoxes, they make you think outside the box and stregthen your problem-solving skills. Plus, they're just cool. Listed below are some of my favorite riddles:

1) A man was to be sentenced, and the judge told him, "You may make a statement. If it is true, I'll sentence you to four years in prison. If it is false, I'll sentence you to six years in prison." After the man made his statement, the judge decided to let him go free. What did the man say?

He said, "You'll sentence me to six years in prison." If it was true, then the judge would have to make it false by sentencing him to four years. If it was false, then he would have to give him six years, which would make it true. Rather than contradict his own word, the judge set the man free.

If you like riddles, visit this online site and see how far you can get. To date, this site has had 14.5 million visitors, but only 20 people have been able to solve all 140 levels. Very interesting.

5. The Improper Use of Irony - This word has to be the most incorrectly used word in the dictionary. For God's sake, Alanis Morissette wrong an entire song dedicated to the word and improperly referenced it throughout the entirety of the song. As Ed Byrne was said, "he only ironic thing about that song is it's called 'Ironic' and it's written by a woman who doesn't know what irony is. That's quite ironic."

According to a survey by the Usage Panel, the word "irony" is misreferenced 78% of the time.

Most people's bigest mistake is that they seem to confuse irony with coincidence. For example, I've heard someone say, "Someone dreams of a plane crash so they travel by car, the irony is that the plane they would have taken ended up crashing."

This is NOT ironic, it is coincendence. Now if that person is too afraid to fly in a dangerous plane so they drive instead, but a plane crashes into their car killing them, then that is ironic.

The most straightforward definition of irony is "An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning."

I let the improper use of the word slide on most occassions because I'm not sure I myself use the term correctly all the time. And there are different varieties of irony that make the whole matter more complicated. However, it's still slightly annoying to hear especially when it happens all the time.

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It's me Jessica said...

Dude, that fuckin dark matter!

Anonymous said...

Scope of the Universe - assuming General Relativity and current theories from Hawking (although I have not read his latest book yet), the Universe is finite an boundless. The universe contains all of space, time, and matter. Asking the the question "what is outside the universe?" is a silly as asking what came before the universe. All of 3 dimensional space and time are the universe itself. If it exists in time and has some dimension > 0, it is part of the universe.

The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary. If you had a powerful enough telescope to see to the end of the universe, when you went out into space and looked though it, you would see the back of your own head.

Anonymous said...

"If you had a powerful enough telescope to see to the end of the universe, when you went out into space and looked though it, you would see the back of your own head."

Only if the universe is round and not linear

Anonymous said...

First time commenter. Great site! Living in Boston, I think I can answer your question on how traffic jams start: Usually it starts with stupid drivers who cannot grasp the notion of reaction time/depth perception, combined with the really stupid people designing the roads, intersections, and all-round traffic flow. Would it kill anybody at the local highway department, to synchronize stop lights, so that traffic can actually make it through without being disrupted changing every 3rd intersection?

Most of life's headaches are caused by the same people trying to solve the headaches.

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