May 20th, 2005


Morbid Weavings

On the way back from work today, I spotted a strange conglomerate of ants on the sidewalk. I stopped for a moment, and looked at them -- the effect was hypnotic. Most of the time we see scenes with a lot of motion, the motion is all connected in a fairly simple way -- even crowds of people can usually have their motion simplified to a few streams of movement. Ant swarms have their motion coordinated in more subtle ways, and so it's very different than anything we, as humans, normally see. As far as I could tell, there was no good reason the ants were on that part of the sidewalk -- there was nothing there to eat, and they were crowded fairly thickly. I walked on.

Occasionally, when I think of the human form, I feel a sense of disgust, and our bodies lose the familiarity that they have. I see our faces, necks, limbs, torso, and turn away. It's not just ugly versus attractive -- I think of some of the few people I find attractive, and while I can still feel the attraction there on some level, it's definitely masked by that fundamental inease with the human form. And then, eventually that fades away and I see things normally again.

In Uzbekistan, there was an uprising by fundamentalists that was put down by the government. It apparently started when they stormed the prison to free some members of their movement, and made moves to install religious law in the local government. A number of people were killed in the conflict, and the president of the country is under criticism for the handling of the situation. I can understand why the criticism is there, but also can understand and sympathise with the ruler, as he is attempting to maintain his (relatively secular) rule of the country.

Some friends and I were browsing through some websites detailing dog breeds, and came across some very badly named dog breeds, like the .. well, just go look. While the picture there isn't the best example, a large number of the mixed breeds are also really ugly, with head size mismatching body size by a wide margin.

Republicans are trying to keep women in the kitchen again. To glance into yesterday, here's a recent article on Malcolm X. Overall, I'm not a big fan of Malcolm X, largely because he preached ethnic nationalism and religion. He was, however, a great speaker and an interesting person, and the fact that he was able to change his perspectives so completely from an eye-opening experience says a lot about his integrity.

jwz writes about an interesting approach to limit city growth -- don't expand roads, and so more people will either use public transit or not come and overcrowd a city. It sounds like a good idea, and perhaps would push us from the American city design, with urban sprawl surrounding a commercial core and no room for culture, into something more like Europe. This is one thing I really hope to see in the next twenty years -- cars becoming much rarer, doing whatever is needed -- outright bans, expensive gas taxes, etc, to ensure that.

China has a fascinating approach to deal with a certain kind of corruption.