September 25th, 2010


Naked Humanity

This morning, I was surprised by a utility person, and it led to philosophy!

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I don't remember how I came across this, but it makes me happy to think about piles of kittens.

Random goodies:

  • mjd asks a variant on the philosophical question on Star Trekのtransporters (came across this when emailing him requesting he put the archives for his old social game, "Advocacy", back online)
  • On the spirituality of atheists. I'm not fond of the term "spiritual" myself, in that for a lot of people it literally implies spirits, although I do value moments of emotional attachment to sights and concepts, appreciation of the intricacy of things, feelings of peace or of gushing. I think over the years I've become more comfortable with my positions and their stability in my mind - I don't mind religious metaphors so much as I once did, so long as they don't threaten my actual identity.
  • Economic reforms in Cuba
  • I have hotel reservations for the Stewart/Colbert DC rally - I initially was bothered that the travel reservation sites indicated no rooms were actually available for several inexpensive-ish-and-near-the-national-mall hotels, but it turned out that it was very possible to just go directly to the sites for those hotels and they had rooms. Technical error, or were these sites trying to drive business to more expensive hotels? Also cute: sattelite events are being planned in other cities. I remain curious as to if there will be a coherent message and ifso, what. (Also, Colbert tiptoes into political matters offstage)
  • I agree with this article that Bill Clinton remains very influential on the political stage. Part of it is that, like many democratic presidents we've had, he's been an active do-gooder in the years since, and part of it is no doubt to his wife proving very well-suited to her role as Secretary of State. I am pleased so far with what the Clinton Global Initiative has done - I may write more about this later (or maybe I already have?) with how it relates to Slavoj Žižek's claims about efforts to soften capitalism through ties with charity - in brief I think Ž is correct when it comes to shallow charity like his Starbucks example - charity is meaningless or harmful when it's sold as part of a purchase (but not if it's bought as part of a purchase), but as part of donations in the right light, the act of charity is healthy and positive in any society and strengthens the kind of social bonds that form some of the ethical prerequisites for the kinds of socialism we would build. Fits under general reasoning: societies require certain virtues particular to their system in order to properly enact that system appropriately.
  • Recently bought the Oxford 「Atlas of World History」. The ability to visualise history helps me pull together some things I never understood before, and I've now curious to what extent the expansion of the Russian Empire eastward was similar to the United States pushing westward - it seems a lot of analogies can be drawn, particularly regarding how natives were displaced.
  • Curious about LLVM (as an alternative to GCC). I have a lot of reading to do when I get around to it. Given how it seems to depend (or at least fit into) some parts of the GCC effort, could it eventually come to have the same relationship to that project that EGCS did?
  • Interesting analysis on how the current Conservative-LD government in Britain is (not) engaging Scotland. It makes the coalition government interesting, I'm sure.
Tonight: going to a friend's birthday gathering. Haven't seem them for awhile.

Never forget the Music

What is the relationship between science and storytelling? The collection of data, the ideas we weave from them, similar aesthetics? Is bad science bad storytelling? Stories constrained by an external limit: often more interesting; science as weaving meaning, stories out of data, data being the constraint? Nature of parsimony..

What is the relationship between understanding people and being able to plausibly inject stories one makes into them?

If stories are so much part of how we see ourselves, the idea of storytelling may infuse everything we do. Still, the concept of stories is so broad, maybe this statement fails to cleave reality and in doing so becomes a perspective rather than necessarily a candidate for truth. If we are to include of the flavour of being storytellers and storylivers and storykillers into how we see ourselves as humans and as thinkers, that would be, I think, a pretty identity.

  • Current Music
    Lemon Demon - I know your Name