Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Rocky Horror in Mecca

One of the rights cultures often demand, within our semipolycultural society, is the ability, which they traditionally exercised when they fully controlled a government, to control the display of materials inimical to their culture. In times of culture-government unity, such motions protect the dominant culture from other cultures as well as smaller elements that represent a threat to it. Many cultures presumably cannot survive indefinitely without such tools at their disposal. Western governments step back a bit from local culture, permitting a certain amount of autonomy to guest cultures (e.g. Chinatowns, and to a larger extent semi-autonomous groups like the Basque or Mennonites). Stepping a bit back does not, of course, promise that the system as a whole is value-free -- far from it. The liberal programme that establishes the system (to which I identify, to a certain extent) has values of its own, and has an interest in both making room for a certain amount of cultural lebensraum and in maintaining what it sees as essential freedoms and responsibilities on everyone. Fish would call this Boutique multiculturalism, although one could imagine devolving powers to the local communities smoothly until things represent a federation, or further yet until the central government is skeletal. To some degree, the back-and-forth between our federal government and states rights is a way to distract people from this tension -- one of the key attributes of democracy is that when one side loses, its feels like it has failed, rather than that the battle is still to continue openly.

I recently discovered, while helping a coworker with some data mangling, that Excel can't handle more than 65536 rows in a table. I immediately thought this would be a great opportunity to push for use of Gnumeric, the Gnome spreadsheet. Unfortunately, it has the exact same limitation. Nice one, guys! Oh well, I guess I could recompile if I really wanted to.

The marketing people are having a blast with this one -- New hard drives for terabyte lifestyles. The problem is, none of them, at least as far as I can see, are actually close to a terabyte -- the article mentions a 160G drive, a 20G, and a 40G.

This is hellishly cool. I'd love to make those, and perhaps a potato cannon, sometime this summer.

Tags: philosophy

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