Today: Woke up, had a conversation that resulted in this coming weekend involving travel and much awesomeness (It's also great to have things to look forward to). Helped someone move a very heavy couch up some narrow stairs, had lunch, sunbathed at Schenley "beach" for a few hours, home for a bit, dinner and then tea with Eric, home.
The parts of my body that have been exposed to sun regularly in the past remember how to tan, and they do it well. Unfortunately, other parts (anything that would be under a shirt) don't have a clue, and so my upper arms and chest are a festive red. It was nice to get some sun..
Having recently played with that geneaology software, I had a dream that I was working on software that attempted to lazily reconcile trees.. except that the lazy reconciliation, being statistically based, would only be "solid" for a given retrieval, and things would drop back into fuzziness afterwards. There might be a bit of interesting messiness in the heuristics involved to do that, but once awake I saw that it's not *that* interesting. I don't think we're really that well off having each person have their own GEDCOM file(s) for their family tree anyhow - ideally there'd be a central database somewhere that'd be open/free that would replace ancestry.com (which charges people money to access content other people (who also paid money) made) and other sites. Maybe privacy advocates wouldn't like this though...
- More thoughts on the effects of aging on people's worldviews - changes due to experience versus a loss of mental energy to sustain nuances and/or idealism versus hormonal changes versus age-based changes in social status
- Value differences between people and the difficulties they sometimes make
- The weight of nuance - it takes mental energy to sustain complex positions, and this energy fades over the years?
- Deciding things for other people - when it's appropriate, especially when one's own interests enter in from oblique angles
- Automaticity in task memory
- Shared/Given nostalgia and its social role
- I'm concerned about Chavez's taking control of one of the television stations that, by and large, was critical of his administration. According to him, it was involved in one of the coup attempts against his government - I hope, for the sake of Venezuela, that that's the real reason - efforts to establish/maintain unitary control of the media are not a good sign for a regime. At least Chavez is interesting - he does a good job of mixing very good ideas with terrible ideas to keep things lively.
- A gay rights parade went very wrong in Moscow, with the authorities arresting a number of the parade folk, including some MEPs(!) and people who travelled to Russia for the event. I'm disappointed (but not surprised) at how the Russian Orthodox Church seems to be a major pusher of anti-homosexual sentiment and violence. I also am bothered that Putin would associate with the Church in a meaningful way, even though I think overall he's a good leader for Russia.
- More political shifts in Egypt. This comes in the aftermath of an interesting conflict between Mubarak and the court system in Egypt.
- I am pleased at international support for Fatah in its struggle against Hamas. Right now, I don't think democracy is right for the Palestinian government, and hope to see Fatah unilaterally take power/control, purging Hamas entirely from their society. I don't know if Abbas has the stomach (or position) for such a move though.
- A former Catholic priest was elected to office in a province of the Phillipenes, running to clear out rampant corruption. I'm not fond of the idea, but provided he doesn't enact specifically religion-favouring laws, this might be a good thing. This is similar in some respects to the three-way struggle in several central-african countries between warlords, Union of Islamic Courts (and similar groups), and government forces - I have been working on my understanding of the issues involved in each group's ascendency in order to understand which of the groups (and when) best represents the interests of humanity (as I see them)
- Expect the Kurds to face some of the same trouble the Palestinians are facing as they're given limited self-government in northern Iraq. Turkey is not happy about this (as the more Kurds can strive towards an autonomous, thriving society, the more they're likely to fund rebel Kurd groups in Turkey that seek to overthrow the state in regions they live).
- A poll of Muslims in the United States. A few worrying parts - youth are more likely to accept suicide bombings in defense of Islam (more tactically worrying than philosophically) - unless people can accept their notions of the sacred being mocked, twisted, and even shat upon, I don't think they're civilised in the way they should be.
I have a suspicion that things are about to get very interesting.