Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Rodent Conclave

On the way to work today, I noticed about 6 squirrels all playing in the same area. As I walked by, I could see their ears prick up and their movements change subtly, preparing to run if I proved dangerous.. and then as I walked by they relaxed again. All the squirrels seemed pretty young.. I had a brief daydream of, in some time in the future, them all gathering together to house another reunion of their meeting today.

Last night, I went out to Whole Foods to get more tofu and black-eye peas, and ate a nice, healthy dinner there. Before I left, I promised my cats that I'd come back with food -- they finished off the last of their food late night sunday. After Whole Foods, I hung out at Coffee Tree until midnight, then drove to the Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle, which, while normally 24/7, was closed for holiday. I then tried the Edgewood Giant Eagle, which apparently was also closed for holiday, but even if it wern't, doesn't stay open that late. The Waterfront Giant Eagle was closed too, surprisingly also not 24-hours. I guess the relatively small Giant Eagle in Squirrel Hill is one of the few 24/7 ones in town. So, I went back home empty-handed to angry cats. It's not hard to tell when my cats are mad -- they actively destroy things and yowl continually. I tried cooking some saag paneer and sharing with them (after a search of the apartment revealed I had nothing else to feed them with), but indian food isn't their bag. They eventually yowled me awake around 6am, and so I made a very early morning trip to Giant Eagle to get them food, after which I happily slept in relative silence and undisturbedness.

With France's nay vote came Chirac's shuffling of Prime Ministers. Preliminary opinion polls suggest that the Netherlanders are to reject the new constitution too. Meanwhile, in response to American charges that European subsidies of Airbus are improper, the EU made WTO charges over American subsidies of Boeing.

So, Google Maps added the UK, but not the rest of Europe. There's something creepy about this. Of course, Google Maps has some pretty stuff too. I wouldn't mind having a secret lab on this island.

Apparently, the original lyrics to Bonanza were considerably more offensive. Speaking of offending people, the US military is budging a bit on what they admit to with regards to handling of the Qur'an.

I like this phrase for new efforts towards socialist economics - Post-Autistic Economics. I recently had a conversation with a friend who was born in and emigrated from the USSR who's leaving town soon. He's convinced that communism is impossible in principle, but, at least from my perspective, that's all based on criticisms of its realization in the Soviet Union, with very little thinking as to alternate forms it might take. While I wouldn't tout the Soviet Union as a good example of an ideal society, the fact remains that, after a fashion, it worked. Capitalism too has severe problems, in the United States and in Europe, if we only commit to looking clearly and judging fairly. Of course, we almost never do. In another conversation with someone else at work, we were talking about gender seperation in society, and how when she went to China and smoked, she found it odd that there were men's smoking rooms. After thinking about our culture in that light for a bit, trying to find similar examples, restrooms came to mind -- that answer was there, but it had become so second nature that we failed to see it. For most people, the problems of Capitalism are like this -- hidden in plain sight. Anyhow, back to my conversation with the first person, one of the problems he pointed out was with one of what I see as being a core and nonnegotiable aspect of socialism -- all management must be elected by and from the workers, recallable at any time, and have no special privileges. The rise of unaccountable bureaucrats strangles a society, and provides the basis of a new ruling class, whether in name or not (The Soviet Union fell prey to this thanks to stupid optimism and misunderstanding of human nature on part of the Bolshevik party). He argued that people will naturally seek power, and this aspect goes squarely, directly, and concisely against human nature. I believe it is possible to bend human nature, and further that, a la Freud (read his Civilization and its Discontents), much of it happens in order to build society. By having the principle out in the open and foundational, it would be more possible to ensure compliance with it. We do struggle with some part of human nature in order to create a socialist new order, specifically the desire to acquire power and have advantage over one's neighbour. I believe it can be conquered, but it is not an easy struggle. I hope to have conquered it within myself.

For a slightly surreal story, an activist nun who was imprisoned with Martha Stewart says that Stewart is anti-war. I'm sure that's going to impress a lot of people, that a yuppie icon who was busted for some white collar crime is against the war. It's good to have as many people against the war as possible, sure, but making a big deal of the criminals in particular is counterproductive.

Intel's new chips implement DRM. AVOID AVOID AVOID.

The Phantoms of the Right have some of their scary creations being challenged, and they're mad about it. Apparently, a district court blocked government use of secret, nondisclosable searches by the FBI, because an ISP sued the government over it. Government spokespeople are trying to get that changed, because by the very laws ruled unconstitutional by that judge, the ISP was not supposed to be able to sue over it, because that constitutes breaking the order of silence. This is very scary to me.

Lest anyone think that only America has loonies, good ol Osterreich has a Bundesrat member or two who are prone to see the Nazis in a positive or sympathetic light. Apparently, one of them is due to be rotated into the head of the Bundesrat at some point, at which occurence, a number of members have pledged to walk out every time he takes the chair.

Ugly and ugly are to wed. Two worthless members of society that have some fame.. sigh.

The Canadian Red Cross has admitted to an incredibly huge screw up, distributing blood tainted with HIV and Hepatitus, resulting in the deaths of over 3000 people over the last 25 years. Few details were made public as to how this could have happened, but one hopes that the problems are fixed, and were limited to Canada. (Nothing against Canada, just hoping there arn't more, unreported deaths elsewhere)

"it's a story of company fat cats who left their morals in their limousine" -- this could apply to a lot of corporate heads, but in particular this is about a recent takedown of a large industrial spy ring that includes a number of high profile companies. I am of the opinion that these things are not limited to one nation -- that if the masses really knew what happens in boardrooms anywhere in the world, there would be blood in the streets.

Finally, I looked over the Wikipedia article on LINK, and found an interesting 15 beliefs that are common among New Agers that might, more or less, be definitive. A list:

  1. All life in the universe is spiritually interconnected and shares an energy, which might be called God
  2. Spiritual beings exist and provide guidance to those open to it
  3. The human mind has deep levels and vast powers that transcend physical reality
  4. The human mind is also subject to effects that transcend physical reality, such as karma
  5. Individuals have a purpose on earth, to gain spiritual understanding and learn to love
  6. Death is not an end - it is a transition to other lives or types of existence
  7. Science and Spirituality, properly understood, are harmonious, and principles in each point to the other
  8. Some Science's preference for naturalistic explanations is a failing, and both ignores the importance of intuition and the possibility of nonnaturalistic truth
  9. All religions have a mystical core, which contains the important parts of the religion. The other elements are surface and unimportant
  10. The bible is a holy book, but is incomplete
  11. Feminine spirituality has been masked by patriarchy, and should be given a rebirth
  12. Ancient advanced civilizations existed that have left behind things and landmarks that are not yet understood by science or history
  13. There are no coincidences - life is rich with meaning, and each part of it is part of spiritual lessons that one is meant to undergo
  14. The mind has hidden powers and abilities, within dreams and psychic experiences (similar to number 3?)
  15. Meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, etc are useful and valuable
Apart from the last, they all seem to be to be utter bullshit. Meditation, while popularized by the new age idiots, doesn't need to be connected to any of that -- it does not necessarily have a mystic or spiritual element.
Tags: philosophy, politics

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