Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

A Clown for the General

Vision: Rapid motion beneath the soil, perhaps a foot down. Sight: noclip for soil within a foot or two outwards. Zipping around people unaware, various paths of life. Anger? Pain? Happiness? No - just the determination that this motion must be done, a once general intelligence narrowed down to this task, perhaps a speed of twenty miles per hour. Insanity through simplicity? Some spark remains, remembers something else. Awareness is there, though focused. It ponders a transformation, a final merge or simplification into what is simply the task before it. The last executive..

I got a haircut. Picture here:

Personal Technological amusements:

  • I've been playing with Alpine (a renamed newer version of Pine) in the CMU Andrew environment - with some work, I've gotten it mostly able to do what the pine install on Andrew unix systems does, although unfortunately I lose out on all the local customisations. Some of it is useful (better "collections" support so people can subscribe to newsgroups) and some of it is unfortunately needed to make talking to servers easy (all the Kerberos cruft that CMU seems to love). If I can get my hand on diffs between stock pine and what's on the servers, I can probably patch Alpine (with some manual effort, I'm sure) to do this stuff too.
  • Playing a bit with Povray again... I am amused that it's still awesome and useful after all these years. I've been toying with the idea of having scripts that would generate images "on the fly" using it for various ends, as well as using it as a general data visualisation tool. If we have the CPU horsepower nowadays, maybe it can be the next gnuplot? (it is admittedly amusing to think about such venerable programs replacing each other like that). I have to dig out my old emacs POV mode definitions (and install Emacs) if I really want to get back into this..

Much more random stuff:

  • Wikipedians, not knowing any better, elected Eloquence/Erik Möller to the board again.
  • On the topic of homelands and identity, I think there's an important point to be made here, where Iranian jewish groups attack Israel's attempt to entice people to move to Israel. I realise that to a certain extent, communities are living entities, but to treat an ethnicity, a people, and a community as being tightly overlapping, and to tell people that they belong in a certain place because of that thing is bound to bother people whose conceptions on these matters don't line up. Why *would* Iranian Jews want to accept the notion of a Jewish homeland? If there's mistreatment, they could presumably move someplace else where they wouldn't be mistreated (Australia, China).. If I took ethnic identity seriously, should I accept Scotland as being some kind of a homeland for me (presuming I chose the strongest aspect of my ancestry as definitive) and "my people"? What's the argument? Should I then worry about not being a "true Scotsman" if I don't join the Kirk? These forms seem arbitrary - whatever happened to the non-Haredi non-Zionists? (note that the degree and form of my support for Israel are unchanged, but it is not that similar to eitther the Zionist or the Millenialist perspectives)
  • I strongly suspect the movements to impeach BushJr and/or Cheney are dead in the water. I don't know if there's much of a legal case to be made (given a few chats with lawyerly folk who're interested in the matter, I understand it to be pretty questionable) as "whether X is actually illegal" is both a bit fuzzy and in some cases goes into untested legal waters - a conservative (haha) legal judgement would likely put him in the clear for most of what's been put on the table... More opinions/thoughts are welcome, na klar.
  • Mohammad Ali Abtahi's blog, always interesting, is particularly fascinating on the topic of Lal Masjid. His perspective on Taliban-style administration is particularly noteworthy - civilised republican theocracy versus tribal direct theocracy.. his overall analysis is interesting as well - I'm not sure if I agree that the United States could've "sold the wars" to the Islamic world in a way he proposes (and I seem to recall that some effort was made to attempt to do just that - did the US not go far enough on those lines? Should the US have dismissed that officer who some years ago spoke publically (in uniform but not at a military function) about how the fight against Afghans was a battle for Jesus? etc etc)
  • If you've seen Charlie the Unicorn, this might amuse.
  • Displeased - ability to resale attacked.
  • Can Nelson Mandela's "Council of Elders" actually do anything besides look good on a stage? ...
  • I am bothered by Chavez's recent moves - When is socialism not socialism? - I initially thought that he was talking about private property in the sense of personal (non-capital) property, but it looks like he wants private control of the means of production (in some cases) too, making him more of a state capitalist rather than a socialist. Not that there's anything wrong with that (It's probably better than allowing harmful competition via free trade), but calling it socialism seems dishonest. Much more worrying is his intent to silence dissent that comes from outside the country - this puts the replacement of a TV station that was critical of his movement into appropriate context. I don't mind if he's antidemocratic, but a free media and keeping large amounts of free speech is necessary for intellectual autonomy and cultural integrity, both of which his recent moves threaten. I would like to see him out.
  • Lese Majeste in Spain. Disappointing that their courts enforced such a regressive law - insulting royals (or politicians or whatever) being a crime speaks ill of Spain.
  • In Turkey, AK (religious party) won elections, continuing to erode Ataturk's secular legacy. I hope the military will protect the constitution if it is called for.
  • Libya is special...

Presently, at work I'm trying to figure out why my behavioural data and scan data for this experiment don't line up well...


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