February 6th, 2007

Semiformalishmaybe

Auditory Audits

The apartment is still a work-in-progress. I'm glad that my landlord is using skilled, diligent people for this - I think yesterday they worked well over a 12-hour day. It's also nice that so many people are willing to help out with some of the details of making life livable. The help and the offers are much appreciated - as many of you know, I hate the cold.

I recently have been bumping into random, interesting people while discussing politics. A few examples on a recent bus trip to the Waterfront with Gustavo -- while we were waiting for the bus to take us back to SqHill, I bumped into an anarchist I had met at a POG party recently, while Gustavo bumped into a friend of one of his friends. Then, I saw a number of additional POG people in the restaurant, and later while talking about western imperialism in Persia and some aspects of post-soviet russia (a lot of history and current events), a guy at a nearby table introduced himself, said he was from Russia, and was happy to see someone who understood history/world events beyond a surface level. This is one of those things that I like to hear - I put a lot of effort into understanding how the world fits together, and it's nice to hear that I'm getting somewhere in that. I'm not much bothered by people having different ideas of "should" from mine, but I hope they at least respect the time I put into "is".

One of the things I really respect about Lawrence Lessig, apart from him being a law professor, an author who shares his books, and being a great speaker (his speech at Wikimania 2006 was very good) is that he blogs and that he's approachable on his. Most of his entries have at least a bit of discussion, and the back-and-forth that happens both includes him and sometimes has him altering or clarifying his positions on matters. He's one of the great minds of the new digital culture. I am tempted to say that taking blogging seriously is the first step towards citizenship, but using words like citizenship for this sort of thing is a bit too newbie-ish for my tastes.

On that last word, it's funny how BBS-jargon has evolved over the years. Around some CMUfolk I often use terms or reference cultural things and am saddened to see that nobody gets it (or that the terms have evolved and I sound like a newbie or wannabe who doesn't quite have things right).

A quick note before I run to class: I recently had a discussion with someone where they both expressed the opinion that the market should decide on morals and then expressed that people should not criticise, picket, or boycott businesses who do nasty things because they're just doing what they're supposed to in maximising profits. The two of these taken separately seem questionable, but together they lead to a kind of market-amoralism where there's no way anything that interferes with market efficiencies should be permitted. I regret not being able to make this point clearly in the discussion -- I only really contrasted the two ideas after we had moved onto another topic. Something to discuss next time, I guess.

HatConductor

Carpal Tunnelling

I'm sure a few of you have had to deal with this kind of thing -- for the last 10-15 years, I've occasionally had strange pains in one of my arms, and I'm wondering if it might be CPS. Description as follows:

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Sound familiar? Sound like Carpal Tunnel? If it *is* carpal tunnel, what protocols can I layer on top of it (ha ha)?

Also, a little joke: How can you make a Texan walk quickly? Send him north for the winter. Probably similarly unfunny, but in my case true.

I'm now regretting that I didn't accept a Neuros OSD developer board when it was offered to me - I didn't want it because I don't have a use for something that can record television signals, but now it's starting to look like they're going to use roughly the same architecture for the Neuros3 and other pieces of hardware that I do want. On the efforts to get X11 and other interesting pieces of infrastructure built on it, right now I can't be very helpful. I should probably get back in touch with them to get the hardware - I really want to port SDL so the N3/442v2 will be usable as a gaming platform (beyond the intended goal of being a portable music/video player). Maybe the iPod is reasonably cool, and will always have more marketshare, but the next Neuros projects run linux and are far more open - they'll be far cooler in my book, and I'm glad I'm involved.

Sometimes plumbers are pretty cool people. I've been talking a bit with the guy who's been here for most of two days fixing all the pipes, the furnace, and the rest of the frozen hell in my basement, and he seems to be a really happy, technically inclined-but-not-letting-that-dominate-his-personality person. This has also been true of pretty much every fireman I've known (although some of them are actually fairly geeky in their field). Some bus drivers I've interacted with have been pretty happy too. I wonder if it's that it's clear with those positions exactly how they're helping society -- maybe with jobs where that's not so clear, it's easier to become jaded. It would be very interesting if there were political consequences to that jadedness -- if it led to people ceasing to identify with society and moving more towards individualism if they or their parents work in a job that's not on-the-face-of-it obviously useful.

This negation acts as a clue to something I see as very important -- I want people to identify with society, to not feel alienated from the state, and to view society's problems as being partly their responsibility. I want people to have a stake in society and the state, and to (cautiously) identify with it, even when it acts with more wisdom than they sometimes do individually. To make that possible, I would like to see both society and the state restructured.

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