Last night I got a webcam (Logitech Webcam Pro 5000), and after considerable struggle with firewalls, got it working on my windows laptop with ICQ and Skype. Sometime soon I'll do the same with Linux. I confess that, hopefully like most people, I initially used it to make faces at the other person (and vice versa), but I suspect that urge'll die down a bit (at least to the level of which I actually make faces at other people in real life). It does make communication feel a bit more real, and adds the possibility for an all new world of second-person storytelling (move the camera around like a character)... While Eric and I were at the store last night, we both played Guitar Hero - I got fired from the band both times. It's amazingly fun, and I regret not joining in the times I've seen other people playing it. It'd be really cool if the consoles that support Guitar Hero had a midi input and would use their online play capabilities to let people practice music together across the country. I think latency would be an issue with that though..
Recently, both Toad the Wet Sprocket's "Walk on the Ocean" and the music from the old video game "1943" have been stuck in my head. Some songs from the latter feel "tragic but hopeful" in a way that gets to me (although part of it may be that a lot of that music stretches way back for me) - the first is more direct.. The first time I heard it was during the Engineering Summer Academy at OSU between my Jr and Sr years of high school - one of my suitemates in the dorms was into the group. Hmm... maybe his name was Kelsey?
Conversations as fishing for dialogue/musing versus the "hard" view of query/response exchanges of information - two very different perspectives.
I'm concerned that vote swapping was ruled legal in the United States - not that its results are necessarily bad (because they aim to correct our democratic process) but because it allows people to make pretensions to contract (whether the contracts should be enforcable is another interesting matter) on what should, if democracy is to be meaningful, be a matter outside of contracts. It would be horrific if people's votes were to be literally purchasable through market means - whether actually enforcable or not, people would feel obliged and that would be enough to give the market more of a hand in government. A challenge to my view: should we then all be voting from Rawls' original position?