Hi! This is my talk page! If you have anything you specifically concerns me, post it here! Otherwise, I suggest you use the community portal. Thanks!


As the title says :P. Yeah.

Anyway, before we go any further... there's a few things for you to do :).

Firstly - create your signature. At "User:Shadow 7283/sig", make your own signature - feel free to make it custom like mine :) - just don't make it an image. Then, in your preferences (access it by pressing the plus sign next to "Logout" and selecting "My preferences"), set your custom signature to {{SUBST:Nosubst|User:Shadow_7283/sig}}. Then boom - everything is done!

Secondly, create your userpage! Preferably nothing fancy, just something like mine, or less.

Thirdly - keep in mind of the differences of the wiki. To keep things cleaner, for discussion, we're just going to use user talk pages (preferably little), and mostly, the Community portal talk page (see in the navigation bar).

Nothing else *specific* I have to say. So yeah - Scratch on!
Lucario621 (talk | contribs) 01:25, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Welcome to the wiki. Glad to see you're Scratching for so long! --
andresmh (talk | contribs) 00:41, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks! It's definitely been worth it.~Shadow_7283

Talk 16:46, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Okay... I'm still trying to figure this out, but I think I'm starting to get it. So what is my first priority? I've noticed that you moved a lot of the articles, and I don't think I have the privileges to change any formating or anything like that. Also, I've noticed this Wiki is a little hard to navigate. There are hardly any links, which means that I have to type the exact URL in my web browser. Are you planning to change that? Anyways, thanks for letting me in!--~Shadow_7283 Talk 01:36, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Heh - yeah. I'll try to add some more links onto the Community Portal page (which is linked to in the Sidebar) - so that will help you. But yeah, TBH, I'm used to entering most urls on my web browser for the wiki - so it might take a while for you to get used to.
Lucario621 (talk | contribs) 02:17, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Hey, it's a wiki -- you can edit any article and add any links you think ought to be there! :) —Brian Harvey (talk) 15:34, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


I put a long answer on my talk page. —Brian Harvey (talk) 00:16, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Grades and Learning

This pushes one of my buttons. I think you should absolutely try to learn everything you can, but that you should never think about grades at all.

The thing is, on the one hand, college admission really has become hyper competitive, so in a way it's rational for kids to obsess on grades, and strategies for getting good grades, and so on. But I've seen too many kids go down that road, get into good colleges (like say Berkeley, where I meet more freshmen than I do other places of course), and end up /not interested in anything/, which I think is a tragedy. All they do is jump through hoops, all the time, very skillfully.

If instead you can stay focused on learning, then your grades really ought to take care of themselves.

You're about to start algebra. For me that was a huge turning point in my life. In elementary school I thought I didn't like math, because pretty much all the so-called math I saw was arithmetic -- as if real mathematicians spent their time adding columns of numbers! Algebra was so astonishingly beautiful that I finished the entire book over the first weekend of class. Then I had the amazing good luck that my teacher noticed that I seemed bored the second week, unlike my excitement the first week, and asked why. He told me to stop coming to class and just gave me one math book after another to read. What a joyous time! I hope it's like that for you.

The school is going to make you learn a little of everything, which is fine, but the school isn't going to be much help once you fall in love with some field, maybe math, maybe computer science, maybe something you don't know about yet. Make people teach you. Apprentice yourself to a mathematician, or a computer programmer, or whatever.

I think at your age it doesn't really matter that much what you learn. In junior high I developed an interest in hypnotism and read everything I could -- real scholarly books about medical research into hypnotism, not just "hypnotize your friends in 10 easy lessons." All this learning has been of absolutely no benefit to me in later life, except that I know how to use a library, and I know how to find my way around a used book store, and I know how to think about reading conflicting stories from different sources, because of that interest. —Brian Harvey (talk) 00:34, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Good Enough

"I always thought that if I tried my absolute best and made it obvious I saw MIT in my future, then that would be good enough."

I'm on the Admissions Committee at Berkeley. (That doesn't mean I make individual admissions decisions; we have staff who do that. The faculty committee sets overall policy.) It's a heartbreaking business; we turn down hundreds of 4.0 students who would certainly do very well here, because we just don't have room to admit everyone we'd like. And MIT is a smaller school than we are!

Don't take this as discouragement. In fact my approach to thinking about college was exactly what you said, and it worked for me. It might work for you, too. You should absolutely live for your dream.

But it might not work out. You might be super well qualified for MIT and still not get in, just because they only have a finite capacity. You have to be ready for that, not only in the practical sense of having a backup plan, but also in the sense that if that happens you can't let it break your heart or make you feel worthless. There are a lot of great places to go to college.

P.S. You're welcome! —Brian Harvey (talk) 01:00, 26 August 2010 (UTC)


"This is how you organize files on the computer. This is how to properly use the schools computers. This is how you make a presentation in PowerPoint."

Oh, Shadow, I'm sorry! What a waste.

Do you live in a city with a serious college in it? [Yeah, I know, you're not supposed to tell me where you live, but I'm carefully not asking that -- just, what /kind/ of place do you live in?] Can your parents teach you the things you're interested in? Is there a private school you could attend?

I really think you shouldn't be spending your days bored. A little bit of boredom is okay, but you should mostly be spending your time excited and eager.

P.S. Okay, you can't read ahead in the particular algebra curriculum your teacher is using, but if you wanted to, you could go the the library and pull out a book on algebra. They all teach the same underlying ideas. :) Don't do that to please /me/, but if you want to do it, you can. (If you can find it, I recommend Brumfiel, Eicholz, and Shanks, Algebra I. That's the book I learned from and it's awesome.) —Brian Harvey (talk) 01:14, 26 August 2010 (UTC)


I didn't mean you should go to college in your home town! On the contrary, everyone should go to college at least 1000 miles from their parents. :)

What I meant was that you should find a way to take advantage of it now! You're not quite ready for college math, but you could be taking college computer science, for example. Get your school to let you out of that dumb computer literacy class and find a late-afternoon CS class at UT.

How soon you can start on college math depends on how fast you want to push yourself. You can do all of high school math (plus some other stuff on the side for fun, like set theory or number theory) in three years if you really hustle, and then either AP calculus in high school junior year or take it at UT.

Alternatively, after you take two or three CS classes at UT, find some professor who'll take you on as an apprentice researcher.

Politics, and Bush

Just before the "withdrawal" of US soldiers from Iraq (in quotes because there are still plenty there), the US forced a new Iraqi constitution that, among other things, *requires* that the Iraqi government allow US oil companies to control Iraqi oil deposits. Look it up.

The plans for the invasion of Iraq were made (and published! in a journal!) even before Bush was elected, by the people who became his Secretary of "Defense" and other high-ranking officials. Look it up.

I'm afraid there's no such thing as "doing good." Every action has the potential to be good for some people and bad for others. So, you may have noticed that both the US government and all the state governments are really poor right now, and have to cut back on things like education. (Not war, though; we can spend hundreds of billions a year on war without a second thought.) You were pretty young before Bush, so you may not remember, but that wasn't always the case; governments used to have enough money to do their work. What changed? Well, permanent war doesn't help, but the other big reason is the Bush package of tax cuts only for the extremely rich. We have a huge concentration of wealth in this country; I forget the exact number, but the top 1% of the population own about 80% of the wealth. And since Bush, those people pay hardly any tax on their enormous incomes. Bush definitely wanted to "do good" -- for himself and his rich friends. Look it up.

But Bush differs only in degree, not in kind, from other US politicians. To get elected, especially to get elected as president, you need to spend a fortune on advertising and other campaign expenses. Where does that money come from? It's contributed by rich people. Also, the US system is particularly bad in this respect because it's two-party (in effect) rather than truly allowing multiple parties. (For example, we could have a ranked voting system such as Instant Runoff.) That's why the two candidates people are allowed to know about are always more the same than different. Bush was a disaster but Gore was no friend of the working class either. Nor is Obama.

The issue about surveilance is more complicated than the ones about oil and torture and dishonest excuses for going to war. You may recall that our first conversation was about privacy! The thing is, if you're not an expert in the field, you underestimate how much computers change things. Today, both governments and big companies routinely collect information about you from multiple sources and correlate them to build an amazingly detailed picture of you. They know what you search for on Google. They know what you buy, if you use a credit card or a bank account. They know when you see the doctor and why. If you carry a cell phone, they know exactly where you are, all the time. You say that they only eavesdrop on your conversations if you're a known terrorist or terrorist sympathizer (a category in which they include people with opinions like mine, even though I don't support terrorism), but today the NSA openly eavesdrops on every phone conversation with at least one end outside the US. They can listen to /every/ call because of computers; they use voice recognition technology to listen for keywords, like "terror" for example, that trigger a human being listening to the call. It is widely believed that they also eavesdrop on every call within the US, too, even though they aren't legally allowed to. It really is seriously creepy.

Did you read 1984? If not, do. It's about a society in which everyone is under surveillance all the time, and it's scary. Back when Orwell wrote it, everyone took it as being about the Soviet Union, and thought "that couldn't happen here." But it /has/ happened here, even the part about torture.

I'm sorry, I know you have patriotic feelings and you don't enjoy hearing stuff like this. I'm sorry for being a party pooper. I feel like I'm telling you there's no Santa Claus. But, umm, there /isn't/! —Brian Harvey (talk) 02:08, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


Surveillance: You're wrong about the law. As of a few years ago, it is legal (even though unconstitutional) for the government to listen to phone conversations one end of which is in another country, without a warrant. They listen (using computers) to all such conversations. This change in the law was one of those great contributions of George Bush you were talking about.

It's still illegal for them to listen to conversations entirely within the US without a warrant, but they do it anyway.

Tax cuts: Okay, you and I got a tiny tax cut -- I think I got a rebate check for $50 or something -- while the rich got tax cuts in the hundreds of millions of dollars (each).

The point is, Bush paid for those cuts by bankrupting Social Security, by destroying American education, by condemning America's poor to near-starvation. You don't cut taxes at the same time that you're mounting a billion-dollar-per-day war! The fact that he sent me $50 doesn't make it better.

What made the economy grow, briefly, despite all that, was massive investment in the US by the Chinese government, which now essentially owns the US.

God: You're right, that argument doesn't cut much ice for me. But, for your sake, I'll take it seriously:

Just because someone says God told him to do something certainly doesn't make it true! There are all sorts of crazy people out there who think God tells them to murder some movie star, or just someone they see on the street. So we have to examine this claim for plausibility.

If Bush says God told him to invade Iraq, he's claiming that

  • God told him to lie to the public and to Congress about the nonexistent Iraqi involvement in 9/11.
  • God told him to lie to the public and to Congress about the nonexistent chemical and nuclear weapons Iraq supposedly had.
  • God told him to murder hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under age 5, both directly with bombs and indirectly by destroying their supplies of clean water and medicines.
  • God told him to set up torture operations, e.g. at Abu Ghraib prison, where, among other worse things, US soldiers mocked the religion of Muslims.
  • God told him to oversee the destruction of priceless cultural heritage at the place where human civilization began, while making sure the oil wells weren't hurt.

I'm sorry, but any god who told Bush those things isn't worth your worship. (But don't worry, I don't believe any god told Bush those things -- what Bush worships is money.)

America's best interests: This really is the key to understanding politics. There is no "America." There's the rich, and there's the rest of us. The rich form an international community; they don't care what country they happen to live in. For example, all the economic stimulus money given to the rich by Bush (and Obama, too) isn't generating any new jobs for the workers thrown out of work by the greed of the investment banks. The rich create jobs, but they create them in Korea or someplace like that where wages are lower. The rest of us have to think internationally, too. An Iraqi Muslim worker is my brother; an American capitalist exploiter is my enemy.

Discussions on talk pages


It's nice to see that you're having an enjoyable conversation on your talk page, as well as with bharvey and his talk page. Sadly though, talk pages on the Scratch Wiki are not necessarily places set up to discuss politics. Perhaps you should try finding another website or community whose focus is on politics, and go there for your discussion :).

Lucario621 (talk | contribs) 23:37, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Do we leave the politic discussions here? It might not be good to have around...
Jonathanpb (talk | contribs) 00:07, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh, for the love of Mike. What are you worried about, Jonathan? Some kid might be exposed to Dangerous Ideas? In my opinion people censoring each others' talk pages is way more frightening than anything we've been saying. —Brian Harvey (talk) 00:23, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not trying to necessarily censor this stuff as bad for young kids - it simply doesn't belong here on Scratch.
Lucario621 (talk | contribs) 01:19, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Sorry Lucario, but we aren't doing anything wrong. It isn't even affecting anyone on the Wiki! Hardly anyone looks at my talk page, and as bharvey posted on the Scratch Forums, political discussions are allowed, as long as we are respectful of each other.

Bharvey and I have kept our tones very nice; not just to avoid getting in trouble, but because we really are just sharing ideas and opinions here. So I don't really see a problem with all of this. ~Shadow_7283 Talk 01:37, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Guys - these talk pages we have on this wiki are for wiki discussions. Using talk pages as a forum makes talk pages into sorts of chatrooms. Anyway, why can't you use something else like Skype? :/
Jonathanpb (talk | contribs) 06:30, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
On the wiki we do things democratically, and as you can see most people agree that talk pages should not be used for this purpose, therefore you should round off your discussion. I agree with Jonathan, use Skype, Windows Live or something like that to chat. For one, it's quicker, and secondly it means everything on the wiki is kept wiki or Scratch related. I can understand how this must be hard for you Brian, considering we're a lot younger than you, but all you have to do is move your discussion elsewhere.
WeirdF (talk | contribs) 07:17, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
So, let me get this straight, you guys all think it's okay for me to ask Shadow for his Skype user name? Even though it's explicitly against the rules for me to ask for his email address?
That's the problem for me -- nothing to do with how old I am and you aren't. :) —Brian Harvey (talk) 09:00, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Skype usernames have been shared in the past... and you can't get messages on Skype until you've added the person to your contact list. :)
Jonathanpb (talk | contribs) 09:03, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Please see my post on Lucario's talk page. :)
Jonathanpb (talk | contribs) 09:03, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Well technically the terms of use state that you can't share personal contact information, but as long as Shadow's okay with it I don't see a problem. I talk to plenty of people from Scratch on Skype...
WeirdF (talk | contribs) 09:06, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

OK, fine. Shadow, my Skype id is bkharvey. Please ask your parents if it's okay (letting them know what we're talking about) before you use it. —Brian Harvey (talk) 09:09, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

@WeirdF: It's a little more complicated because I'm an adult. I think people are way too paranoid about child molesters, but they are and I have to live in the only world we have. I would have preferred to carry on the conversation with Shadow by email all along. —Brian Harvey (talk) 09:15, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, but when I signed up for Skype I said I'd keep it to personal friends only. I'm not being paranoid, more cautious.
Here, I'll create a forum topic called "Politics" on the Prism forums in the off topic section. Sorry if it's an inconvenience, but like you said a while back, the problem with our generation is the lack of regard for internet safety. :P ~Shadow_7283

Talk 14:24, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

And here you go http://prism-labs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=932#p932 ~Shadow_7283

Talk 14:25, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

O_o You're going to use the Prism Forums to discuss politics? Do as you want, you're one of the Prism founders... I'm just - disgusted.
Jonathanpb (talk | contribs) 05:40, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It's in off-topic. We are free to do want we want in that forum, right?~Shadow_7283

Talk 22:47, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

IM is dead?

Could have fooled me...

What I miss is people feeling safe on the net. —Brian Harvey (talk) 01:45, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

safety, Google, IM

If youdo your IM through some company Google doesn't own, like Skype for example, I should think it's safer than email, because (if you're lucky, and you clear your buffer regularly) it's not archived. Maybe.

P.S. You should sign your talk messages, so it's easy to click through to your talk page to reply! —Brian Harvey (talk) 22:23, 1 September 2010 (UTC)


I saw "Landmarks" on your page. You know, most people do "Milestones." If you want to be unique, I don't care, but I'm just telling you. :)
Scimonster (talk | contribs) 15:04, 16 March 2011 (UTC)


Is that your (gasp) *name* on that web page to which you posted a link?
Bharvey (talk | contribs) 06:32, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

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