Summertime Sadness

NOT.

I love the summertime. Maybe it’s the lack of stress and the ability for me to do whatever the fuck I want in these 3 months, or because I don’t have to deal with the annoying kids at my school, or it’s the weather and how it’s always so pretty outside, but the result is that for the past couple of years summer has been the only time when I’m not suicidally depressed. Seriously. Stress, anxiety, and depression build up inside me during the 9 months of the school year, and over the summer, I slowly get better. But by the time I’m 87-ish percent healed, school restarts. Every time. So then I start school in a decent mood, but every year this mood at the start of the school year also gets just a little bit worse, because 3 months is obviously not enough for me to become thoroughly fine again, and my sadness just builds up off of that remainder 13% of sad me.

Also, if you’ve made it thus far, you are a genius. I post this sort of stuff on an anonymous blog mainly because people think I’m fucking insane when I say this to them, and I don’t blame them for it – I’m not very descriptive. And, just for the record, I’m not complaining – I know that I’m extremely privileged, especially compared to, say, the starving kids in rural Ghana.

But anyway, I don’t know if it’s just me, but every single summer I have this dread in the back of my head of school restarting. It’s like an hourglass or a “progress bar” of good times, if you will – you hope to manipulate gravity so that the sand moves more slowly, or even reverses itself, or you hope to somehow hack the computer so that the progress bar stays at 10% instead of inching toward 99%.

And I don’t know about you, but usually after, say, 2-3 weeks of the summer, my life starts going back into a routine. And then the days pass as quickly as the pages in a good novel.

And then school starts back up again.

But, this time, I swear, it’s going to be different…

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Which Way Is Right, Which Way Is Wrong?

The road to success has been described by various successful people in varying lights, various authors to “bibles to a successful life” claim to know the exact way to success, and parents, relatives, and old people alike often offer (quite unsolicited) advice on this matter. My question: which of these people is/are right, and when?

I know that the road to success varies for everyone, as does the definition of the word itself, but the people who write these various “success bibles” probably don’t realize this fact. Or maybe they do, and prefer to not acknowledge it.

I’m not saying that I don’t read success bibles: in fact, I’ve read multiple biographies of successful people (Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett) and want to read more, mostly just for the hell of it but also to try to figure my own life out – not that I want to model mine after theirs, but just because I want to get some “inspo,” if you get my drift.

But my chief complaint is that these success stories oftentimes contradict each other (e.g. Buffett: “the 1st rule to making money is to not lose money; the 2nd rule is to never forget the 1st rule.” vs. Don Keough (former President of Coca-Cola) in The 10 Commandments of Business Failure: “If you quit taking risks, you will fail.”). I know that what works for someone may not work for someone else, but for a confused 14-year-old who still doesn’t know what the fuck I’m going to do with my life ((starving) artist? (starving) writer? (hopefully not starving) businessperson/financier?), that is pretty hard to digest.

However, the bright side is that at least I get to decide my own path – I get some freedom to write my own story, essentially, whether it be of success or failure.

BUT here’s another complaint: notwithstanding the fact that biographers oftentimes exaggerate certain aspects of their biographees, all of these supposedly successful people already had some marking/special characteristics by the time they’re 14, and I’ve done NOTHING special…it really makes me doubt whether I’ll ever do anything special with my life…

END OF RANT

The Benefits of Global Currency Digitalization

**This is a more serious post than what is usual for this blog. In fact, this was originally a research paper for my English class, but since I thought this topic pertinent and important, here it is on my blog.**

The digital revolution transformed the human experience. It forever altered human relationships, from changing the media through which daily interpersonal interactions occur to completely overhauling the human relationship with information and even widening the generation gap. What went into a letter written in pen on paper now goes into an email, what required physical meetings for face-to-face conversations now requires text applications such as iMessage and SMS, and what required a scan through three volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica now requires a scan through the top five lines of a Google webpage. But yet the financial industry has remained obstinately backward. Transactions still take a preposterous amount of time, and a glance through the pockets of almost everybody will prove that cash has remained king, despite the multitudes of superior options. Hence, governments, businesses, and individuals alike should aid in expediting the transition from a cash-based currency to a digital, paperless one.

First, the transition from a cash currency to a digital one will improve the efficiency of monetary transactions and hence that of the entire economy. Currently, international bank transfers may take up to a week and usually require loads of documentation (Athey). However, the same transfers conducted through digital money companies take an average processing time of just a day (Gimein). Ditching our current currencies in the favor of digital ones provides an even better option. Bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency, sends transactions over long distances cheaply, safely, and instantaneously. Furthermore, these digital money companies have fast-tracked everyday small-scale transactions: clients can now pay through the sheer swipe of a card or code, instead of having to stand in line, count bills and coins, and wait while the vendor counts change. Reducing or eliminating the need for physical money will move transaction fees and processing time down with it.

Besides, the widespread use of digital money will aid in efforts to reduce crime. Property crimes currently occur around 1.2 million times annually just in the United States, making them the second most common felony in the country (Schatz Anderson & Associates). Replacing physical money with digital currencies presents a solution to the proliferation of these crimes. First and foremost, criminals cannot rob or steal digital money, such as virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies, through physical means. Moreover, digital currencies such as the cryptocurrency Bitcoin utilize multiple layers of encryption for security. Therefore, hacking to steal or utilize others’ digital money entails numerous difficulties, or, in some cases, impossibilities, for even the most experienced hackers (Lynch and Lundquist 75). This added monetary security will undoubtedly alleviate the burden that physical money now places on the law enforcement system.

Digital money also lays the path to increased flexibility in options to ensure bank account security. For example, in a type of smart contract called an escrow account, the buyer puts the money in question into escrow, and the seller only receives this money when the buyer receives the property. Though this arrangement can significantly reduce the risk of fraud, currently only large transactions on the scale of property or estate deals use escrow as a method of transaction because of the difficulty and complexity involved in implementing the escrow system. However, digital money has created a thriving online environment for these transactions. These online environments include websites like Escrow.com, where individuals and firms alike can reap the benefits of escrow on transactions both large and small. Multisig presents yet another example, where multiple persons need to authenticate before disbursing money from an account, preventing theft and ensuring monetary security when conducting transactions internationally, externally between individuals, firms, or other organizations, and internally between different parts of a firm (Athey). Also, numerous digital money firms utilize a complicated cryptographic technology called digital signature. Through this system, each money receiver employs public and private keys to decode each sender’s unique signature. Senders can therefore rest assured that the intended receiver and only the intended receiver will receive the money in question, while receivers can rest assured that the supposed sender actually sent the money (Lynch and Lundquist 111).

The environmental boon to using digital currencies instead of cash provides an added incentive, especially in an age where global warming is essentially melting the one and only planet on which all humans live. Cash bills ultimately hurt the environment, as they only have a life of around 16 months before wearing down to the point of uselessness. Additionally, the process of manufacturing bills from cotton and linen fiber commands a substantial amount of energy – “cultivating, harvesting, and ginning 1 kilogram of cotton” (Rastogi) consumes almost as much energy as producing the same amount of PVC, an extremely environmentally unfriendly plastic. Coins not only use up even more energy in production – specifically, a hundred and nine megajoules per kilogram of copper, compared with sixty megajoules for a kilogram of PVC – but they also annually consume an average of forty-one thousand tons of metal just in America. Moreover, transporting physical money has more environmental implications: moving money around the globe causes more than half of currency’s overall pollution (Rastogi). On the other hand, digital currencies like Bitcoin can transact money, store value, and act as a unit of account with almost no pollution or impact to the environment.

Additionally, cash carries a shocking amount of bacteria. In May of 2016, ABC News conducted a study on the amount of bacteria present on one-dollar bills. The organization asked sixty-eight random people in Dayton, Ohio, to trade an old one-dollar bill for a new one, and then it told doctors to analyze the sixty-eight old bills collected. The news agency found that five out of the sixty-eight bills contained bacteria that could infect perfectly healthy individuals. Also, fifty-nine bills out of the sixty-eight studied contained bacteria that posed a danger of pathogenic infection to people with compromised immune systems, such as those afflicted with HIV, the abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or cancer (Mitol). When CBS News conducted a similar study in New York City, the news agency found that more than three thousand types of bacteria lived on the city’s one-dollar bills in 2013. Additionally, they found that cash, especially bills manufactured from cotton and linen fiber, such as U.S. dollars, create a stable environment conducive to spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria, mutated supergerms on which antibiotic medication has limited to zero effect. Combined with the statistic that antibiotic-resistant bacteria killed 23,000 in 2013 alone, this fact definitely gives enough reason to make the shift from a cash-based currency to a digital one (Tanglao). Furthermore, money not uncommonly contains even trace amounts of feces. Therefore, when food workers handle physical money and food at the same time, both feces and pathogens, such as E. coli, salmonella, influenza, Rhinovirus, the hepatitis A virus, and Staphylococcus aureus, can get onto foodstuff, causing cross-contamination and illnesses from preventable infections (Angelakis et al. 249).

All of the above discussed culminates in the empowering, streamlining, and equalizing effects of digital currencies on the global economy. First and foremost, instant monetary transfers through digital means will create a financial norm where firms do not have to tolerate late payment. Thus, small companies with limited cash flows will not have to suffer anymore from liquidity concerns stemming from large clients reimbursing their smaller suppliers months after the initial purchase (Lynch and Lundquist 100-101). Digital currencies will also expedite the globalization of commerce. Because international bank transfers entail a greater risk of fraud than domestic ones, many firms currently refuse to sell internationally, limiting their customer base and sales volume. Digital currencies like Bitcoin solve this problem through their encrypted security and irreversibility once parties complete their transfers. Escrow accounts and multisig provide alternate solutions to ensure transaction security. Hence, digital currencies will essentially eliminate the trust barrier to international trade (Athey). In addition, the dissemination and widespread usage of digital currencies will curtail the currently vicious effects of high “frictional costs,” such as foreign exchange rates and international bank transfer processing fees, upon global commerce. As long as enough individuals and businesses worldwide recognize and accept a certain digital currency, they can establish it as an innovative, efficient, and globally-accepted medium of exchange. In effect, this transformation will replace local currencies in international commerce and thus eradicate the prohibitive effects of frictional costs upon international trade (Lynch and Lundquist 122).

Poverty and living in an area with a less stable economy only amplify this empowering effect. If societies go cashless, the security issues surrounding poorer areas will also fade, as discussed before. Likewise, e-commerce combined with the security of digital currencies has the power of lifting entire communities out of poverty. As soon as one member of an impoverished community obtains Internet connection and a connecting device to set up an online shop, the entire community can produce products to sell for a profit via e-commerce (Athey). The residents can then reach the entire world online, swelling their customer base. Thus, distance will no longer bar isolated, impoverished communities from trading with developed, affluent areas; instead, a vendor in rural Ghana may attain almost the same opportunity as a supplier from New York City. In a time when isolation resulting from a landlocked geography keeps the countries with the lowest GDPs, the abbreviation for Gross Domestic Products, and standards of living in poverty, the equalizing effect will show visibly (CIA). Besides, in countries with highly unstable economies, using digital currencies as an alternative to the standard national currency can save the vulnerable masses from the terrible effects of currency instability and hyperinflation, afflictions oftentimes due to government corruption and incompetency rather than the average citizen’s wrongdoing (Abramowicz 119).

The time has come to expand the reach of the digital revolution to the financial industry. The world must switch to a clean, safe, environmentally friendly, and efficient method of transaction in order to connect the world and give everybody a fair chance to succeed financially, regardless of nationality, gender, social status, or current wealth. Governments, businesses, and individuals alike should aid in expediting the transition from a cash-based currency to a digital, paperless one.

Works Cited

Angelakis, Emmanouil, et al. “Paper Money and Coins as Potential Vectors of Transmissible Disease.” ResearchGate. Future Medicine, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://tinyurl.com/jd8alqe&gt;

Athey, Susan. “5 Ways Digital Currencies Will Change the World.” World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://tinyurl.com/jfydy4q&gt;

Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook: WORLD.” Central Intelligence Agency. 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://tinyurl.com/z5vgorm&gt;

Gimein, Mark. “Why Digital Money Hasn’t Killed Cash.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/why-digital-money-hasnt-killed-cash&gt;

Lynch, Daniel C. and Leslie Lundquist. Digital Money: The New Era of Internet Commerce. New York: J. Wiley, 1996. Print.

Mitol, Jennifer. “Cash Carries Lots of Bacteria.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 23 May 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117433&gt;

Rastogi, Nina. “Is Cash Better for the Environment than a Credit Card?” Slate Magazine. Slate, 14 Apr. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2009/04/how_green_are_greenbacks.html&gt;

Schatz Anderson & Associates. “20 Most Common Felony Crimes in the U.S.” Schatz Anderson & Associates, 4 Jan. 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://www.schatzanderson.com/information-and-resources/20-common-felony-crimes-u-s/&gt;

Tanglao, Leezel. “Dirty Money: Your Cash Is Home to Thousands of Bacteria.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dirty-money-your-cash-is-home-to-thousands-of-bacteria/&gt;

I Used to Actually Give a Shit [Rant Version]

I can’t anymore.

This has been bugging me for the past I don’t know how long, but I feel I finally have to get it out. Long story short, I don’t think I actually give a shit about anything anymore.

Almost all the people I have ever known have turned out to be fakes, and now I’ve lost approximately 99% of my faith in humanity.

I used to try to change my personality so that more people would like me more. Now I simply can’t give a shit – first off, no matter how much I change my personality, people will hate me; and second, no matter how much people smile to your face, half of them will stab you in the back.

And if you didn’t know, that fucking hurts.

But to get to the beginning of all this…

I’ve spent my entire life on the margins of society. At five years old, I was that one kid with whom nobody wanted to play. At ten years old, I was that one kid who talked about things in which nobody in my age group was interested. At fourteen years old, I’ve still never hung out outside of school with a single person.

I’ve always tried to get people to like me, to make friends, to get the people I love to love me back. But I’ve never actually succeeded in any of these attempts – I shit you not when I say that literally everything hates me; I’ve never had an acquaintance you can call a friend until a couple years earlier, and I cannot actually even talk to this aforementioned “friend,” because whenever I talk to her about anything that’s not G-rated, she immediately changes the subject to Disney or something equally innocent; also, I suspect that I’ve never earned the love of anybody.

So here’s my dilemma.

People think I have a perfect life – I get the best grades in class, get medals from what they think are big, important, statewide competitions, have made money from business and stock ventures, am the youngest one in our entire high school, have a seemingly good family, and have lived in and traveled to many different places, so why wouldn’t they think that? To make matters worse, I think I somehow am scared of ripping that mask off and telling them my life isn’t a bed of roses either (b/c some are currently jealous, and I’d rather let them be that way than look down upon me?), which means I can never talk to them about my problems, and which is also exactly why I blog – if I never let this out, I will physically explode in tears. As things are right now, I’ve never cried in public.

What people don’t know, anyways, is that all of my success comes from my insecurity and mental/emotional issues.

They don’t realize that while a small lack of confidence just leads to shy or awkward behavior, its complete nonexistence can make a person accomplish things other people would only associate with successful, confident people at the helm of society. They don’t realize that completely insecure people feel such a strong need to prove to both themselves and the rest of the world that they are actually not worthless and that to do so, they work themselves to the brink of exhaustion if only toward achieving that depthless end.

And to make matters worse, there oftentimes is no ceiling to this sick ambition.

If you have all A’s, you don’t feel adequate until you get all A+’s. If you have all A+’s, you don’t feel adequate until you are the best orator in the class. If you are the best orator in the class, you don’t feel adequate until you are the best orator in the nation. If you are the best orator in the nation, you don’t feel adequate until you make a million dollars. If you have a million dollars, you don’t feel adequate until you have a billion.

So…yeah. Sadly there’s always room for improvement, and that means that there’s always ways of pointing out to myself that I’m not good enough.

Also, on an off note, because I’m so scared of loving him, I’ve noticed I’m pretty mean to the guy I’m crushing on…which is really okay, because 1) he’s more or less a fuckboy, and 2) I am almost positive he hates me.

By the way, the people who really bother me aren’t the ones who say to your face they hate you; instead, the ones that bother me the most are the ones who are nice to your face and stab you in the back. Can’t everyone be at least courageous enough to not be such a multi-faced fake? Moreover, what irritates me is that society tells people to be “polite” ever since they’re young, setting them up for this type of asshole-ish, confusing behavior later on in life.

When some kid in my class tried to kill herself a couple weeks ago, I was sort of shocked, but now, after reflecting on everything, it’s not really a surprise why she decided to do that. I still feel bad for her and would help her if I could, but now I understand why. I think I might really understand why she did it.

But all this doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart – I think I do, it’s just that after certain experiences, you just can’t love anymore, unless if you count that type of twisted love-hate as genuine love.

Something Else Happened Today

I’ve always felt like I’m the most depressed one in my class. Sure, others had their own problems, but I was the only one who just pretended to be fine but was fucked up on the inside.

Turns out I was wrong as wrong could be.

Turns out some others are even better actors than I am.

I can’t write any more. Maybe in time I’ll have recovered enough to write something decent about this, but right now, I just can’t.

 

Sometimes Righteousness Is in the Minority, Even the Minority of One

*This post will be bilingual. For Spanish, scroll down. Also, I’ve only been learning Spanish for around 4 years, so please feel free to correct any errors.*

Image result for minority of one

English Version:

Some of the best people I’ve ever known are minorities of one, “outsiders” who stood up for what they know to be right. Though they knew they never had a chance against the majority’s opposition, they still kept fighting and standing strong, refusing to violate their conscience or compromise their integrity despite whatever pressures they faced. Today society and bureaucracy beat down yet another such acquaintance, teacher, and friend of mine, simply because she refused to give people grades high enough to satisfy the wishes of certain indolent students and their doting parents. In her teaching philosophy, we students have to really study, to really work hard every day in order to learn. Then, the good grades will come naturally. But people who never understood this fact and decided early on to neither work nor learn anything at school complained about bad grades. The school administration decided to support them and pressured her to resign. Knowing the administration will fire her sooner or later, she handed in her resignation letter this morning. Naturally, this happened to many tears on the part of some, and to great joy on the part of many others. A student even announced a party to celebrate the end to having to deal with the “Panamanian devil.” Though he was obviously joking, it still depresses me to zoom out and think about the bigger picture. Have we, as a society, really sold out to just mere numbers? Whether using numbers after a dollar sign or numbers before a percentage sign, we as a materialistic culture seek to quantify things too much and refuse to hold ourselves up to moral standards and ethical convictions, deeming them inconvenient and a burden in the constant battle for more, more, more.

Thank you, Sra. G., for all that you have taught me, not only in Spanish but also in life, and for setting such a great example by being such an amazing person. I sincerely wish you happiness and good luck in everything that you aspire to do.

 

Versión española:

Algunas de las mejores personas que he conocido son minorías de solamente una, “forasteras” que defienden lo que sepan ser correcto. Aunque siempre sabían que nunca tenían ni la menor oportunidad contra la oposición de la mayoridad, seguían luchando y manteniéndose fuertes, rehusándose a violar su conciencia o a comprometer su integridad a pesar de todas las presiones que se enfrentaban. Hoy la sociedad y la burocracia suprimieron todavía tal otra conocida, maestra, y amiga mía, simplemente porque se rehusaba a darles a estudiantes notas suficientemente altas para satisfacer los deseos de algunos estudiantes perezosos y sus padres. En su filosofía de enseñanza, nosotros como estudiantes tenemos que realmente estudiar, realmente trabajar duro todos los días para aprender. Luego, las buenas notas vendrán naturalmente. Pero las personas que nunca entendían este hecho y que decidieron muy temprano de no aprender nada en la escuela se quejaban sobre sus malas notas. La administración de la escuela decidió de sostenerlas y la presionó para que renuncie su trabajo. Sabiendo que la administración la despedirá tarde o temprano, entregó su carta de renunciación esta mañana. Naturalmente, todo esto sucedió para muchas lágrimas por algunos, y para mucha alegría por muchos otros. Un estudiante incluso anunció una fiesta para celebrar el final de tener que tratar con el “diablo panameño.” Aunque obviamente bromeaba cuando lo dijo, todavía me hace deprimida pensar sobre el panorama completo, la perspectiva general. ¿Hemos nosotros, como una sociedad, de verdad traicionado nuestras conciencias para solamente números? Utilizando números detrás de un signo de dólar o números ante un signo de porcentaje, nosotros como una cultura materialista tratamos demasiado de cuantificar cosas y nos rehusamos a permanecer en un nivel de comportamiento moral y convicciones éticas, pensando que son pocos convenientes y una carga en la constante lucha para más, más, más.

Gracias, Sra. G., por todo lo que me ha enseñado, no sólo sobre el español pero también sobre la vida, y por fijar un tal buen ejemplo por ser una tal gran persona. Sinceramente le deseo la felicidad y la buena suerte en todo lo que aspire a hacer.

3 Types of Leaders

*Disclaimer: this may be a gross overgeneralization, but this may come from the fact that now I am completely fed up w/ most-all authority.*

The “Rebel Leader”
Isn’t this pretty much self-explanatory? The Steve Jobs-esque guy who’s completely fed up w/ all the shit of this world & wants to create something new, even a new world order? But anyway, this type of leader is subdivided into two major subcategories.

a. The “Mother Teresa”

This is the eternal saint, the one who plans to change the world for the better, but conscientiously, gently, kindly. This is also the leader whom everyone loves.

b. The “Steve Jobs”

Jobs was a visionary asshole. He was willing to fire longtime employees w/o prior notice whatsoever (or severance pay) just to keep his company alive & cut down costs. This type may also be the essential tyrant, but at least he’s a tyrant w/ a visionary goal, a goal higher than just $, power, & more $.

 

The one who actually believes in the current status quo

No matter the fact that they’re already thirty-eight; these unthinking “sheeple” never grown up from that five-year-old mindset that the teacher or the parent is always right. They follow every rule & are “model citizens” in every atom of their being, not because they have to do so in order to keep themselves out of trouble, but because they actually believe that it is only right to do so, and many even bring morals and fucking ethics into the argument – if you’ve broken one goddamn tiny-ass rule, they’ll say you’re being an unethical, horrible person, no matter how stupid or unfair the rule is. These are the ones who made the Nazi Party what it was, with the Holocaust and all the casualties of WWII. They’re the ones who made the Soviet Union what it was, with all the gulags and oppression. In brief, most of the world’s large-scale evil can be traced back to these shitheads.

 

The “ruthless manipulator”

This type of leader simply doesn’t have a conscience. (S)He may be a demagogue, a firebrand who manipulates the masses’ anger to his/her own benefit and to increase his/her own power. A highly controversial example of this may be Napoleon Bonaparte, though, as I said, this is controversial and debatable, since some may actually argue that he belongs to type 1b). But that’s a little arbitrary: the type of ruthless manipulator that I hate the most is not the demagogue type; rather, it’s the type who flatters & sucks up to superiors & fucks others over, who pretends to be Type 2 though Type 3 fits the bill a hell of a lot more, as they act just to benefit themselves, oftentimes at the expense of numerous others.