Thursday, February 24, 2011

Novel Update

To whoever reads this:

I recently put the finishing revisions on my book and sent it off to my publisher. I hadn't realized that putting revisions into a book would take so much time. This experience has certainly been one of learning for me. Now I guess it's time for the editorial process. I have no idea how long that will take, but the way I see it is that it's progress in the right direction. I just hope that I can get this book in print before I shrivel up and die! Anyway, stay posted to get more updates on the book and more thought provoking and humorous articles. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

50 Completely Random and Unrelated Questions

1.      What is the purpose of gift giving on birthdays? Assuming a perfect system where every gift is of the same value, there is a total transfer of $0 worth of wealth. It seems that if we all just kept our own stuff, we would be just as well off as if we give gifts.
2.      Why are so many people addicted to their cell phones? I truly do not understand this one. I don’t pay attention to my phone whenever I can afford to ignore it.
3.      Why does skin color matter? If you’re a nice person I’ll like you and if you are a total jerk I won’t like you. Skin color shouldn’t come into the picture.
4.      Why don’t women make sense?
5.      Why are there twelve inches in a foot? Why not eleven or thirteen?
6.      Why did God make the vast majority of humanity right-handed? And why do I keep meeting so many of the minority?
7.      Why do different denominations of Christianity hate each other so much? We all serve the same God, after all.
8.      Why do we use utensils when we eat? Why not just use our hands and wash really well after the meal?
9.      When a large number of college students get hired after graduation, they will work in jobs that they could have efficiently performed after they graduated from high school. Why do we make that college degree so important?
10.  Since the same gas tanker truck fills up the tanks of two gas stations which are directly across the street from each other with the same gas, why can one station charge 10¢ more per gallon and stay in business?
11.  Given that human emissions only count for a fraction of 1% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the world, how can decreasing time behind the wheel actually affect the climate?
12.  Why do Christians despise non-Christians so much? We would be just like them except for the grace of God.
13.  How can the Bible say that salvation is by grace alone but also require works as evidence of salvation?
14.  Why do things suddenly lose their problems when the repairman shows up and get them again as soon as he leaves?
15.  Why am I, a civil engineering major, required to take a music appreciation class?
16.  Why do you always have the most homework the week before a big test?
17.  Why does caffeine put me to sleep instead of keeping me awake?
18.  Why do chairs have four legs? Why not three? Why not five?
19.  It is said that everyone is special. Doesn’t this statement contradict itself? If everyone is something, wouldn’t that, by definition, make it common and not special?
20.  Why do houses without wood burning fireplaces have false chimneys on them?
21.  If trees don’t pick up after themselves but just throw their leaves on the ground, why can’t we litter?
22.  Why do opposites attract?
23.  Why do people with straight hair want curly hair and people with curly hair want straight hair?
24.  Why do people drink coffee when it tastes so nasty?
25.  Cigarettes make you stink, cough, have no stamina, and drive you to an early death. Why in heaven’s name do people smoke them?
26.  Who decided that school should be in session during the spring and the fall, the two best seasons of the year?
27.  Why didn’t God give pigs sweat glands?
28.  Why do people litter when they're only a few steps from a trash can?
29.  Does hearing something in your sleep actually cement it into your memory any more than hearing it when you are awake?
30.  Why do people question God’s love when He sends people to hell? After all, we all deserve to go there.
31.  If God made the world perfect, where did the first cold virus come from?
32.  If parents are actually showing love when they punish you, why does it feel so much like hate?
33.  Why are speed limits always ten miles an hour too slow?
34.  Why is it that people with the least to be cocky about are always the cockiest?
35.  Why does God love us even when we sin?
36.  Who “invented” the toothpick? They were a genius!
37.  Why does everything revolve around a cycle of some sort or another?
38.  Where is heaven?
39.  What is the difference between a mountain and a hill? Or a stream and a river? Or a pond and a lake?
40.  Why do people go to tanning parlors and pay to get skin cancer?
41.  Why do cheap watches from Wal-Mart last the longest?
42.  Why do certain car radios come with remote controls?
43.  Why is cafeteria food so bad?
44.  Why does the ACLU hate everything that is good? It seems like that have no conditions for their policies except that they must be against something that is good.
45.  Why do people use twitter? Do they actually think that everyone else cares that they just used the facilities and are now walking back to the living room?
46.  Why is everything worth having so hard to get?
47.  Why does it snow profusely everywhere except for where I am?
48.  Why do people die but trees grow indefinitely?
49.  Why do guys enjoy explosions?
50.  Why people say “They say…”? Who are they referring to?

If anyone has an answer to any of the above questions, feel free to respond. As always, thank you fo taking time to read my blog.

Sincerely
Peter Last

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Firearm Series Part III: Are Gun Bans Legal?

            In my previous two posts, I have shown that guns are very dangerous, but this danger can be effectively limited by the use of gun restrictions and bans. Since this is case, why is there such a large movement to keep guns legalized for private citizens? Is this just a group of adamant rednecks and violent criminals, or is there actually some basis for keeping guns legal? The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of the free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” This is the basis for arguments for gun ownership rights in the United States. (Obviously the violent criminals dug up this “Second Amendment,” whatever that is, to quote in courts of law. The rednecks, like all people from Alabama, couldn’t have done it because besides owning lots of guns, having no electricity and still using outhouses, they can’t read)
            The Second Amendment seems to be a convincing reason for private gun ownership being allowed, but upon closer examination the true nature of the amendment, that is the restriction of citizens from owning guns, becomes obvious. The Second Amendment starts out by saying, “A well regulated Militia being necessary…the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Militia used to consist of the whole of this country’s population, but now it is only the National Guard units that are the militia. Because of the chronological setting of the Second Amendment, it seems to support private gun ownership but really doesn’t.
            The opposition to sanity maintains that the Second Amendment supports the right of citizens to own firearms because it states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This is a completely stupid argument since obviously when the writers of the Constitution wrote “the people” the meant “only those people who are in the employment of the government and can serve to oppress the citizens of this country.” It makes sense that the Constitution, the document that is the basis for a republican government, that is one that gets its power from the people, would give the federal government a way to enslave its citizens but depriving them of firearms.
            Another argument of proponents of gun ownership rights comes from one of the chief framers of the Constitution, James Madison. To address the concern that the federal government might, at some time, stage a coup and seize complete control, Madison wrote that, based on the country’s population, the federal government could only have a standing army of 25-30 thousand men. “To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands…” Supposedly this proves that one of the chief writers of the Constitution considered private ownership of guns to be an enduring fact, but obviously this argument is complete and total cow feces. I don’t know why, but it just is.
            There is absolutely no reason why gun restrictions and bans should not be used to control the ever present danger of firearms. Concerns that such bans would violate the Constitution have been raised, but these have no truth to them and so should be ignored. Gun restrictions and bans are perfectly legitimate and are the only way to effectively neutralize the ever present danger of firearms in our fair country. Oh, and God (Oops, can’t say that in connection with the government!) help the man who is responsible for collecting all of the guns from the rednecks in Alabama.

NOTE: All of the information in this article can be found at http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp#constitution

To whoever reads this:
This concludes my series on firearms. I hope that it has been informative and entertaining for you. As always, thank you for reading my blog. God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Firearm Series Part II: Are Firearm Bans Effective?

            My last post made it painfully clear that firearms are dangerous. While they are not the leading cause of fatal or non-fatal accidents, they still account for a significant percentage of each. They also have been statistically proven to increase the homicide rate of a home. (The jury is still out on whether this is a property of the gun itself or not) There, it is essential that we, as responsible citizens, do something about this deadly plague that has spread across our land. Gun restrictions and bans are the most common answer to this need, but are they effective? To answer this question, let’s look at three examples of gun restrictions and bans: Britain, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
            Britain is a very striking example of a gun restriction and a gun ban affecting the number of homicides committed in the country. Britain had an essentially free policy on firearms until 1968. In this year, a law requiring the licensing of firearms was enacted.  Ostensibly, this was supposed to decrease the homicide rate by making it more difficult to obtain a firearm as well as making it easier to track down killers because their guns would be registered. After 1968, the homicide rate in England and Wales increased by 52%. Obviously the law did not produce the desired effect, so almost thirty years later, in 1997, another law was passed making it illegal for civilians to own guns. Using the licensing information that was available as a result of the 1968 law, the police were able to round up all but 8 legally owned guns. As a result of this law, the homicide rate in England and Wales increased by 15%.
            Another example of a gun ban in a specific area affecting the number of homicides committed is that of Washington D.C. In 1976, the Washington D.C. City Counsel passed a law that generally prohibited civilians from owning firearms as well as placing trigger lock restrictions on people who were allowed to own firearms. This law had a huge effect on the district by effectually restricting the increase in murders in the city to 73%. Obviously if the law wasn’t passed, the murder rate would have gone up even further, possibly so high that the entire city would have been killed. It is interesting, though useless, to note that the murder rate in the United States during this time period decreased by 11%.
            The most convincing example of gun restrictions helping to decrease murder in a city is that of Chicago. In 1982, Chicago enacted a restriction on handguns, allowing only those who had registered their handguns with the government prior to the law to retain them. Following the enactment of the law, the murder rate in Chicago decreased by 17%. It must have also influenced the rest of the country because the murder rate everywhere else decreased by an average of 25%. Obviously the handgun ban had a vast effect to decrease murders. Interestingly, since the handgun ban, the percentage of murders in Chicago committed with handguns increased by about 40% culminating in 96% on the Chicago murders in 2005 being committed with a handgun. These statistics are obviously a result of the decreased number of total murders.
            Are gun restrictions and bans a good way to decrease the danger from firearms? By examining the examples of restrictions and bans in England, Washington D.C., and Chicago, we have been able to see that not only are bans and restrictions effective, but they are absolutely necessary to keep our citizens safe. Just think about it; if we were to pass a federal law banning all firearms, we could permanently increase the murder rate by a significant percentage! Take that innocent civilians!

NOTE: All of the statistics in this article can be found at http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

To whoever reads this:
I hope that you have enjoyed this second installment of my three part series on firearms. Hopefully it has been informative to you about the effectiveness of firearm bans and restrictions. Tune in next time for the conclusion to this series.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Firearm Series Part I: Are Firearms Dangerous?

Are firearms dangerous? Should they be restricted or even banned? These are two questions that have become very important in the politics of our country. Proponents of gun rights site the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution as a reason that citizens should be allowed to own guns; however, things have changed since the Constitution was written. Have firearms become so dangerous that they should now be restricted or banned?
The easiest as well as the most striking way to determine how dangerous firearms are is through statistics and numbers. For instance, it was discovered that homes with firearms in them are 2.7 times more likely to experience a homicide than homes without a firearm. Now this statistic is actually a bit misleading because it falsely puts ownership of firearms and homicides into a cause-and-effect relationship. For example, people who live in neighborhoods with a higher risk of homicides will be more likely to buy a firearm. Because more people in these neighborhoods die from homicides, the statistics are skewed in favor of the view that owning a firearm brings about homicides. If the faults of this statistic are ignored it can reasonably be deduced that firearms themselves, even if they are not in plain sight, have a mystical way of attracting violence. This is probably through some magical property of the weapon. Or perhaps the weapons themselves are ruthlessly killing their human owners.
Another set statistic that should cause concern in relation to firearms is the percentage of fatal accidents that are caused by them. From a survey conducted in 2007, 613 fatal accidents occurred as a result of firearms in the United States. These 613 accidents were out of 123,706 total fatal accidents that year, making an enormous 0.5% of all fatal accidents that year a result of firearms. Obviously we cannot accept this very high percentage of deaths due to guns. By extrapolation, if we are to ban guns in order to remove the 0.5% of fatal accidents caused by them, we should also look into banning other things that cause even more fatal accidents than guns do. Motor vehicles account for 34% of fatal accidents and so should be banned in this country. Drowning accounts for another 3% of fatal accidents, so we should remove the cause of these deaths by banning water. Even accidents due to nature and the environment kill more people per year than accidents due to guns do, so we should ban the environment.
A third statistic that incriminates firearms is the percentage of non-fatal accidents that occur annually due to them. In 2007 there were 15,698 non-fatal accidents caused by guns in the United States. Of course this was out of 27.7 million total non-fatal accidents bringing the percentage of these accidents caused by firearms to a humongous 0.05%. This 0.05% is so important to us that we should ban firearms to prevent it. Of course, as with fatal accidents, firearms are nowhere near the top of the list for causes of such injuries. Consequently, I propose that we ban other things such as machinery and fire which cause even more non-fatal injuries every year than guns do. In fact, the only cause of non-fatal injuries with a lower percentage of the total than firearms is dog bites. This means that we could keep dogs when we ban everything else, but they already got banned with the rest of nature for its part in causing fatal injuries.
Another thing to consider when deciding whether guns are inherently dangerous or not is the benefit that they are to us as opposed to the harm that they cause. One statistic of this issue was used by the committee that proposed a complete ban on guns in the District of Columbia. The committee said that “[f]or every intruder stopped by a homeowner with a firearm, there are 4 gun-related accidents within the home.” The best thing about this statistic is that it is very easily explained and requires no lengthy examinations of numbers. In fact, it requires no numbers at all because the committee offered no explanation for their claims. The numbers can be proven though by looking at the results of studies from 1994 and 2001. In 1994 it was determined that about 498,000 instances of home protection with the use of a gun occur every year. A study in 2001 (the first with numbers on this topic) revealed that 18,498 instances of accidents due to guns occur in the home every year. This means that there are roughly 27 times more instances of instances of protection from firearms every year than there are instances of gun-related accidents in the home. If you put these numbers into the “Official Gun-Control Activist’s” calculator, you find out that there are 4 accidents for every use of firearms for home protection.
Beyond statistics, Hollywood also gives us valid reasons to fear the use of guns. If you’ve watched any shoot-em-up movies, you know that a gun can turn anyone into a deadly accurate killing machine. Forget those people that train for their whole lives to be able to shoot targets in the Olympics, Hollywood proves that anyone could do the same thing with any old gun. Hollywood also shows us that guns are deadly. One shot to any part of the body will kill you almost instantly. Of course a shot in the hand or foot won’t kill you, but a gut shot or a chest shot is usually fatal in a matter of minutes if not seconds. Obviously all of those stories about people recovering from gunshots to the torso and head are hoaxes; Hollywood has spoken. Hollywood provides a final reason that guns are dangerous: their incredible firepower. The typical assault rifle holds around 30 rounds in the clip. If the automatic rifle can spit out about 8 rounds per second. Punching 30 rounds at 8 rounds per second into the “Official Gun-Control Activist’s” calculator reveals that a typical automatic weapon can be fired non-stop for over a minute, just like Hollywood says. With this kind of firepower, anyone can be a deadly killer.
I have shown that firearms are very dangerous. Besides the many statistics that can be cited to show this danger, Hollywood has taken upon itself to reveal to us the very real and very dangerous nature of firearms. Armed with the knowledge that we have, we would be fools to not place a complete ban on guns in the United States.


NOTE: all of the statistics in this article were gathered from http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

TI hope that you enjoyed this article on firearms in the United To whoever reads this:sdfsdifjeiieiefiejfieijfijasdi iefnhie dieifjitjeiejifjerijfiefjiejfiejfiejfiejfie jfi e fjfi  I hope that you enjoyed this article on  the danger of firearms. It is the first in a three part series. Tune in next time to find out about current firearm bans and restrictions and how successful they are. As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.sd;fojsdfjiejfilksjfijsseifjewifeiejfiejfi eifaslidfjsdilfjildfjlisjfiwejfiefjasilefiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iii i Sincerely,dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddderrrrPeter Last