Suicide Isn’t the Problem

Credit: Matt Calder

Credit: Matt Calder

“Suicide, I’ve already died, you’re just the funeral I’ve been waiting for.”
– Metallica, Cyanide

As one of the souls both unfortunate enough to be cursed with suicidal tendencies (the affliction, not the band) and fortunate enough to be blessed with wonderful friends who regrettably share my darker inclinations, I once again find myself talking about suicide. It’s okay, I’ll happily accept this responsibility if I can make a difference in someone’s life. But I don’t want to talk about the actual act, or the desire to engage in it. I want to talk about the real issue, the elephant in the room that no one ever wants to address: how people get into a position of wanting to take their own life in the first place.

Why? Because suicide isn’t a problem. It isn’t a philosophy, and it sure as hell isn’t a random affliction that pounces on unsuspecting prey. It’s a tactic, an approach, a (final) solution. Block the symptom, and the problem is still there. I’m here to talk about the problem.

Human beings have an incredibly strong survival instinct. How else could such a slow, weak, and fragile species of shaved primate manage to not only survive, but flourish, in every environment imaginable, to the point where humankind has become the unrivaled global apex predator? While this instinct is no longer quite as necessary in a world where vast swaths of people have all but conquered unnatural death, it still remains ingrained in our psyches. For someone to go so far as to fight directly against their strongest, most basic instinct, you know something serious is wrong. And usually, it’s something that’s been wrong for a very long time. [Read more…]

Regression Continues in Math Education


The year is 2015. Computers are used daily by almost everyone. Demand for programmers is as high as ever. Data is ubiquitous, but useless without human brains for interpretation. Twenty-first century educators will surely rise to meet the demand of our ever evolving, ever expanding technology.

Unfortunately, it seems that instead of education rising to meet demand, it is in fact regressing, to a state that has not been seen before. Evidenced by San Fransisco’s Refusal to offer Algebra 1 to 8th graders, educational institutions are unable to adapt to the modern world.

I’ve spent over a decade working with the educational system, mainly teaching at the college level. I taught my way through a Ph.D. I studied math and loved it (well, most of the time). I’ve seen the results of the public education system for a while. From that vantage, there doesn’t seem to be any progress.

Why is education going in reverse when compared to technology and other economic sectors? Why are children not better problem solvers sooner? Why are some students learning high school algebra in college? Why are some colleges thinking of making a remedial course to prepare students for a remedial course? Oh, and by the way, remedial is now called developmental. Not only is secondary education failing, we’re changing our language to hide this fact. [Read more…]

An Open Letter to Conspiracy Theorists


Dear Mr. Conspiracy Theorist,
You need help. No wait, that didn’t sound right. I apologize. What I meant to say is, you’re right about everything. Except you aren’t. About most things. But you still are… Argh, this isn’t working. Ok, here’s the deal: I understand and appreciate where you’re coming from with stuff. But you believe some crazy things that just aren’t so. And it’s because of something missing inside. Don’t worry, I’m your friend. I’m here to help you.

I get it, we all need hobbies. Some play sports. Others are makeup enthusiasts. Some people get into politics, and still others are history buffs. Some people do board games. Like, all the time. Religiously. Seriously, they can’t even go out and date because they have some weekly board game on every night, and heaven forbid they miss one in order to get some action. Who the hell would choose… anyway, I’m sorry, I’m getting distracted here. Point is, I understand your pursuit of extracurriculars. It’s just that some of this stuff you get into is kind of a little nutty. Okay, really pretty insane.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly understandable. I agree with a lot of what you think, I really do! Skepticism towards the official news story is healthy. Of course the government lies. And yes, I definitely think they’re behind a lot of the crazy and terrible things happening in the world today. Same goes for the corporations. But some of this stuff is just crazy. No, those aren’t chemtrails, that’s just plain old condensation. The official 9/11 story is pretty sketchy, but the alternative conspiracy theory is even worse. No, there aren’t crisis actors everywhere. Yes, Sandy Hook was a real place, and real kids died there. And please stop denying their existence. You know there are dozens of grieving parents who lost their little children there, and rubbing salt into the gaping wounds in their hearts is nothing short of barbaric. Please, stop. You can do better. [Read more…]