May 21st, 2008

Semiformalishmaybe

Monk Reagent

Rhea stood, Collapse )

Possibly interesting:

  • I'm not sure if it should be illegal to continue as-is, but it's probably a good thing that the US Treasury might be pushed to make money distinguishable by touch. Given how much money is in circulation, it may be a long time before any actual changes would become common enough to really help the blind out though.
  • I am frightened by both the photos and the ideas of Libertarian hopefuls for the LP Presidential nomination. People with different aesthetics and/or politics may, of course, feel differently.
  • It seems very unfortunate to me that the Public Order Act of the UK (see section five) is broad enough to bar a lot of public discourse, both because such discourse (and criticism/mockery) is something which may cover pertinent social issues/be part of the normal competition of ideas, and because barring it goes against traditions of autonomy in speech that are important for happiness. In this case, the application is a kid who called the Church of Scientology a cult and faces a trial over that. I understand that Europeans have different political traditions, including in some nations a greater tendency to protect "sensibilities", prevent growth of extremism, and similar. In some circumstances I feel that more European approaches to steering and protecting society are warranted, but I feel they are misapplied here, first because the Church of Scientology (like Falun Gong) is in fact a dangerous cult that should be both labeled as such and supressed, and second because barring a strong argument otherwise I hold that legal traditions on public criticism/mockery/expression should be very permissive. Some types of expression, particularly those tied to groups with a theocratic or racist agenda, may be stifled given a sufficiently strong argument (the banning of the swastika in many contexts may make sense in Germany or Russia given the existence of violent subgroups that intimidate and use violence against foreigners, and prosecution of groups like the Ku Klux Klan may make sense here), and I hold that mostly-but-not-entirely-free speech is better than either completely free speech or heavily restricted speech. Britain's Public Order Act is too restricted, I feel.
There are a few people I know who sometimes take long drives in the dead of night as a form of release. I kind of wish things were right so I could call them up, hop in the car with them, my hand exploring the car door and imagining the world outside the window, lie back in the seat, and watch the road go by with them. I've done that a few times with a few people, and when things align right, it's pretty cool. Right now I hear the horns of distant trains....
Semiformalishmaybe

Geographic Food Fair

It would be awesome to have a giant food fair (or market) where there were booths on a huge world map, with food traditions for an area being represented by vendors in roughly corrisponding places on the map. There are parts of the world which have food traditions that I've never sampled from, and it'd be a fun way to rectify that by wandering around such a fair. Perhaps the UN should arrange this.

I also sometimes wonder how different things would be if Russia had never gained territory in or east of Siberia. Given that Eastern Russia is, by-and-large, not ethnically Russian, perhaps we'd see a number of additional Asian countries, and perhaps China, Korea, and Mongolia would be larger. It seems like it would be very interesting to spend a few years wandering around in central and eastern Russia..