Some kinds of games inspire deep thought, and I admire that. For instance, Nationstates has forii attached to it, and on those boards I've seen a number of discussions, many of them naive but leading no doubt to intellectual growth, on a number of historical political events as well as modern areas of disagreement in politics. For instance, I happened upon a discussion of the four main armies in the Russian revolution, their interactions, and the strategies and morals embodied therein. Similarly, the game advocacy promoted (when it was still alive), through the sheer perversions of logic it employed, the cynical thinking that is necessary to understand modern politics. There are also social games, things like Illuminati and munchkin -- games designed with the understanding that many types of gaming are really about hanging out and having a good time with other people. With these types of games, it's actually a plus that not everyone is playing, or even necessarily at the table, at once. It's missing the point entirely to get too into the game while playing it.
In the news, China's religious leaders appeal for peace. Not itself noteworthy, but they mention China's five religions, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Christianism. I find myself wondering what they mean by the last two -- is "Christianism" Christianity? If so, why is it listed as such compared to Catholicism? It also, as a "can't we all just get along" kind of thing, says some really stupid things, like "Peace is the common aspiration of all religions". Despite what a lot of religious liberals will tell you, religions are not all about peace. Read the christian bible, the qur'an, and try to grasp what they really mean -- they're about imposing their value system on the world. This isn't to say that that, ipso facto, is bad -- most moral systems want to grow, but that growth is hardly peaceful, tolerant, or harmonious with other viewpoints. Of course, dishonest people who pretend that we all can get along without making any sacrifices will pretend that any actual meaning in the foundational texts that happens to disagree with what they're trying to sell is being misunderstood, and provide interpretations that are amazingly torturous in order to pretend that the difference between religions is trivial and meaningless. Ahh, but that's one of my favourite rants, so I probably make it too often.
In other news, for BushJr declaring war on and rebuilding two countries isn't enough -- he apparently has Iran in his sights. Apparently the pretext this time isn't too different from last time -- fears that they may make weapons. Frankly, I don't care of Iran has a number of nukes -- it is inappropriate for the United States to invade other nations because they might be dangerous. I wish that Europe would stand up to the United States even more than Schro"der has -- a military from a European nation that would actually stand against America's agression would be a good thing.
It wouldn't be the first time American government workers attempted to foster trouble in countries they didn't think were friendly enough to them. Chavez is, fortunately, handling it in an admirable way.
In case you haven't been following the news in the middle east, Israel has been withdrawing from Gaza, barring Israeli citizens from the area and evacuating settlements. The question of what happens now is high in everyone's mind -- tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been especially high recently, and it may be impossible to form a government. It is quite possible that the Palestinians, abused as they were by the Israeli system, will be abused by their own Islamist factions far more. In some ways, the Palestinians find themselves in a similar situation to the Kurds during their brief period of power in the 90s -- during that time, the two political movements (PUK and KDP), with cooperation only made possible by mutual dislike of the enemy, found a need to actually get things done, and failed utterly, killing thousands of each other and giving up, to a large extent, their shot at an autonomous government.
One of my sisters sent me this link because I occasionally enjoy, when my cats are asleep, putting coins on them and watching them twitch until they wake up. In response, they often annoy me by nibbling on me when I'm asleep :)
Oh, in other news, I am beginning to look into taking a trip to Persia sometime soon. I'm attempting to convince a Persian friend to go with me, so I wouldn't be alone in a foreign country without the faintest knowledge of the language. Looks like the plane part would be quite expensive though -- $700 for roundtrip tickets. I wouldn't want this to be another europe-style bank-busting trip -- hopefully I'd find ways to make the actual stay there not overly expensive. Alternatively, if he's not game for the trip, I may just make a trip to Cuba instead, which would be less expensive and where I would at least speak a bit of the language.
My "library" software is coming along well.