Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

The Era of You

Time Magazine recognises the shift in information dynamics in our society made possible through computers. This is a bittersweet transition - who's driving the bus in society is something that's shifted as a response to many factors, from enabling technologies (this shift), philosophical advances (a la Adam Smith and Karl Marx), altered labour efficiencies and societal/political needs (Feudalism), etc etc. Each social arrangement has vanguards, rebels, advantages and disadvantages. One of the things I'm most concerned about in this particular shift is whether the opportunity given for greater social equality is used to bring it on average up to a new level or causes everything to sink to the least common denominator. This always was a problem for democracy in the past - I have come to understand that democracy-as-republic-with-statesmen-as-leaders is more healthy than democracy-as-representative-with-politicians-to-represent (whatever terms you might like for these things). Whether this is the age of quality-from-wide-nets-and-meritocracy or mob-rule-and-decreased-meaning-through-populism-and-voting remains to be seen. I am on the side of learning, not entitlement. I hope you, my dear readers, are as well. It is, regardless, an exciting time. All these dashes make me feel very French.

I appear to be embroiled in a bit of irony at the moment, and might find myself jumping through some hoops to honour a committment I made to someone. Sigh. I may be consequently a bit hard to contact for the next few days.

Some interesting things:

  • Castro's ill health worries me, although he really should've arranged to transition power more smoothly quite some time ago. I am very hopeful that the .. ex-Cubans living in Florida don't get their way in pushing for another American-funded invasion. Then, they are one of the few large groups of people that I really deeply hate. I hope Castro's health lasts long enough that the transition can be arranged to someone younger.
  • From another blog, non-commercial reuse CC license is accepted by a large-ish newspaper chain. I don't think large-ish newspaper chains should exist, but this change is a step towards a good thing and is a bit useful as-is. I hope people are starting to archive these.
  • Sometimes scientific advances make one go "Wow, that's new!". This is one of those - some guy with a new heart implant that delivers a continuous blood flow, rather than a pulse. Given that the body evolved around a particular design, I wonder how this different design changes things.
  • Ban Ki-Moon is the new United Nations Secretary-General, placing ethics as the central focus of his campaign. Ethics is very important, but it should ideally be a given in governance/organisation. I hope he's competent at persuading against conflict.
  • Civil Unions in New Jersey. It's a step, I guess. Until marriage is abolished as a legal institution and they're converted to civil unions en masse, traditional privilege won't be over. I'm not against government being deeply involved in culture (anymore), I just want that involvement to be very progressive.
  • Europe has thankfully tightened the rules for EU entry, delaying Turkey and some other members from entry. I don't see the need for the EU to sweep across the entire area so rapidly anyhow - it seems to me that it's expanding at an incautious rate that threatens stability of the arrangement. Having the union sitting without new members for about 20 years seems like a good way to test the arrangement and do needed internal reforms.
  • Convert or die. Ties to the "Left Behind" series of books... Probably not related...
  • Sometimes Linus Torvalds has strange ideas about when to follow principle and when to be pragmatic.
  • Women advancing in the middle east
  • Artists for free trade? This kind of thing is outrageous - offering poor people things as a way to control them .. I suppose in this case the artist, who as he says sees it as a service he's selling them, not a charity, is a great demonstration of the problems with the system he champions.
  • Persian students heckle Ahmadinejad.
I've recently been thinking about small/dying languages/cultures (from the European Union's efforts to save/revive Gaelic and similar to the United States efforts to fund preservation of Amerindian languages and culture) - is it worth it? How does this compare to cultures that have factions that are actively aiming for assimilation (including, bizarrely, South Korea)? Part of what made France a powerful nation was a serious effort to standardise and universalise (through France, anyhow) the French language - nationalism and universality of language paved the way for cultural dominance and growth, and this naturally cost other languages/dialects significant ground. I wonder at the cost of these revival efforts, both in deep mutual comprehensibility with the rest of society and in the likelihood of learning even more distant languages.

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