I've had a lot of really interesting conversations recently. In one, talking about health care with someone of an American Libertarian bent, I came to the realization that, when talking about socialized medicine in other countries, more than actually claiming that it doesn't work, they don't want it to work. Could it be that it leads inevitably to their conclusion, or perhaps that they see it as being wrong, and thus conclusions against it are "righteous"? This suggests a distinction -- people who think socialism would be nice but it can't work, and people who think it's "wrong" in some way. Not surprisingly, I don't think one can tell the two crowds apart by what they say -- there's always the mock courtesy that a number of capitalist supporters give, that "It would be nice if it could work but it can't so let's not try" set of lines. I'll have to look more closely than that to tell where their colours lie.
In another, I had a conversation with an acquaintence at CTree on Anti-Semitism, Israeli patriotism, and history. Conversations with this particular person are always fascinating because of his experiences with Yeshiva, unconventional way of thinking, and deep intellect. His thoughts arn't always as organised as they might be, but they're always deep and interesting.
Finally, with J and R, J provided his general Weltanschauung. It's rather different than mine - it includes some things I'd call mystical, and is fatalist when it comes to human potential -- society must be getting worse, and it was much better in the past, from his perspective. It fits with his view on modern American society, which I also share, but our different philosophical underpinnings suggest very different practical remedies. Interesting.
It seems that with the recent Apple announcement, stupid industry commentators are coming out of the woodwork. First, there's Dvorak, who thinks that Linux will suffer. Meanwhile, Cringley thinks that Intel and Apple are merging. Personally, I encourage people to remember that Steve Jobs has done this very move before. He was booted from Apple, started NeXT, and eventually, as the company began to fail, he ported NeXTStep to Intel, SPARC, and PA-RISC. It didn't help, and probably hastened the fade of his platform into irrelevancy. Now Jobs is back for an encore -- I'm not cynical enough to think that this is an intentional revenge on the company that booted him, but I do think that the same mistake is being made. No matter how good your product is.. OS/2, NeXTStep, BeOS, etc, you can't compete with Microsoft on x86, because it's a market where truly modern capitalism is in play. Exclusive contracts, arm-wrenching, and personal ties between suits are what matter.
One of the things that one notices, when reading as many other-national newspapers as I do, is that they all, without exception, use them for some kind of slant. All of them place their country/region as being very imprtant in the world, most of them have their classic struggles and attitude strongly represented, and a lot of them have a certain swagger. The People's Daily, a Chinese news source, is no exception. Open inquiry on the status of Taiwan is about as rare there as sympathetic portrayal of Israelis in the otherwise excellent Al Jazeera. Recently, People's Daily has a position paper from Henry Kissinger, one of the worst Americans of the last century, saying "don't mess with China". Kissinger misrepresents world opinion on Taiwan, and further notes that China has "managed 4000 years of uninterrupted self-government". Sure, if you don't count the revolutions and are loose with the term self-government all throughout the history.
The New York Daily News suggests nerds make better lovers.
I find this absolutely hilarious. It reminds me of yet another conversation I had yesterday, about the general case of people who are broken and/or stupid somehow, and through cognitive dissonance come to decide that the way they're broken is better. Again, like MJD's defunct game Advocacy. Of course, some might say the same of biracial people, gays, blacks, or similar groups. The difference, to me, is that said groups are fully functional as humans, with the frown some parts of society puts on them being about social differences, whereas people who are physically or mentally less-abled are actually impaired in a more intrinsic way. All of us must be able to face our imperfections. I've come to understand and accept that being left handed (Albeit close to ambidextrous) is probably a defect, and that other effects of that are likely bad for me. I understand that my heart condition is definitely a defect. It's disappointing that others have a tough time accepting their flaws.
On my list of things to do soon - check out the renovated conservatory (which reportedly has a nice cafe in it) and see Land of the Dead.
For the first time in awhile, I'm heading back to Brecksville for part of this weekend...