on March 3rd, 2012 at 04:16 pm
One kind of bad loop: When one is sufficiently verbose in an intent to be clear, one gets into TL;DR territory, and one often then becomes even more verbose to try to counter. This has a number of counterparts; too much emotional intimacy at an unwanted juncture leads to the other person pulling away, leading to a perceived distance, leading to more exposure. In each, it easily leads to a kind of false-Asperger's; while the lack of ability to notice the distancing or misunderstanding might easily replicate the behaviour, it's more painful when self-aware but the compounding response happens anyway, out of need. Like the Hedgehog's dilemma, it's a tragedy inherent in the human condition.
Every few years, I disable flash in my browsers for a day or two to see if I can give it up yet. Every few years it gets a bit easier but isn't quite there; there's a lot of video out there that's still not migrated to HTML5, most notably the Daily Show (but also a few other sites I like). The video format war between Mozilla and Google probably doesn't help. It's long been a nightmare trying to portably display video on the web, and generally when asked how to do it I've suggested people upload their video to Youtube and let it handle the formatting. Maybe someday we won't need that anymore.
Ken MacLeod (my favourite science fiction author) recently wrote a book called Intrusion, and it's a political/philosophical thought experiment (in much the same way that Clarke/Baxter's 「Light of Other Days」 is on privacy) exploring something very near the vaccine/creation-science controversy.
I first note that I have not yet read the book; I'm analysing the thought experiment in its stated form.
MacLeod imagines a pill that prevents a number of birth defects, widely accepted in society. It then imagines a pregnant mother who refuses to take the pill, and the community (and law)'s response to that. I analyse this in light of my positions on the following matters:
What does the other side look like? I suspect some people who reach a clear "the would-be mother is right" position believe in a strong right to self-determination as a family; even if the decision is clearly medically worse for the child, they would claim that the psychological harm done to a family in not being able to make its own choices outweighs the medical benefits that might otherwise compel the best treatment. That's an understandable position (that I reject). Likewise, people might have different frameworks on foetal rights than I do.
Next week I'm heading to NYC to camp the apartment spawn points; tired of missing out on great opportunities because it takes me a day or two to make it into town to tour the place. Also will spend some time at the part-time employer's office to meet coworkers and spank some bad hardware. I'll be around Mon-Wed; I'm not sure how much spare time I'll have to meet with people, but if *you* have time, ask. I'm probably staying up in the ColumbiaU area, working in midtown-Manhattan, and apartment-hunting in Brooklyn (and possibly Queens). With any luck I might also get an interview for the dream job while I'm there too.
I'm presently working on a post on a hard topic in gender relations; it's on a topic where I'm dealing with an uncomfortable liberal-leaning conclusion (that I still agree with) and trying to reconcile it with my notions of theory and justice. My take on it is more limited than certain other noisy strands of feminism, and it ties in to why I thought ZSpark's positions in an earlier debate are so reprehensible (unrelated to his also-reprehensible conduct). It's generally pretty interesting when our broad theory and our specific conclusions are in tension; that tension helps us learn how we work with our values. Post coming soon.
I'm amused that my "todo" file, which contains a lot of random notes but is mostly sketches of things to blog about, is well over 3000 lines now, although I started this one ages ago.