Dream:I was on a mission with another person to visit another inhabited planet, do some low-key meeting of random inhabitants, and get information. Before the mission, I was modified in some way whereby I could breathe the (poisonous) atmosphere and speak the language. Everything there had a greenish tint, which did weird things to skin. These modifications felt more like digital effects - when I stepped from the craft, for a moment the air was unbreathable and then things came back. The planet was a bit dry - some normal plains/woods, but a lot of rocky/sandy soil too. After awhile of solitary exploration (might've been a few days?), my partner started to get a bit antsy to go back. I delayed him by suggesting we take some wildlife back with us, and so we started to wander around looking for something that'd fit in the spacecraft. We walked around asking people, and I was a bit surprised to see that also there were some professors from CMU's psychology department, in a bunch, walking by (thinking afterwards, this was likely the group that usually goes to lunch together at the faculty club most days). After the shock, we continued walking around, and found eventually a number of things that looked identical to terran animals, also surprising. I left my partner behind, walked further into town (strange architecture - construction officials were blocking off areas for walls to be moved around as if it were a regular thing.. the walls were a bit like paper), and I eventually stumbled into some kind of gathering of fans of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I sung a bit of one of the songs, enjoying myself, and then someone else took over for the next. I was more in the mood to sing than listen... I was also really curious as to how RHPS had gotten all the way out to the planet (which may have been called Metalluna - there were a few "This Island Earth" elements in the dream), and as I finally decided to head back to the spacecraft and Terra, and said so out loud, Luke (who's never cropped up in my dreams before, AFAIK, because I hardly know him) showed up and said "There's nowhere to go", explaining that I was actually home and the whole thing had been a joke of some kind. Apparently I had been in Saudi Arabia the entire time (apart from the first day, when I had been in Texas?). I then woke up.
As I was waking up, I wondered why I had the visual effects and seemed to be handling the language differently - I think the early parts of the dream were "written" with the intent that it actually was another planet, and the latter part's intent was different. Dream logic is like that - the flowing pen gets to both continue writing the story and rewrite parts it has already written. Almost like comics and retconning - as the reader, we can decide any of them to be canonical in our eyes (or dispense with canon altogether)...
I was interested to read an article on Rafael Correa's similarities to Chávez (although I think those ties are overstated by said article). I'm not a fan of Correa, at least partly due to his handling of the Sea Sheperd organisation and his generally poor environmental record.
- Taliban to free South Korean hostages. While I don't want to be mistaken for approving of the Taliban (or other pro-theocratic groups), one part of their demands that was met to trade for the hostages raises an interesting issue - an end to missionary work. I wouldn't quite agree with Khatami's speech where he suggested that discussions and attacks on religion shouldn't happen, but I don't think banning missionaries is a bad idea. If I had a country, I would probably do so, and in any cases missionaries certainly knew what they were getting themselves into..
- Related, I've never gotten a clear answer on whether missionary work is legal in Israel or not. I keep reading about specific cases like this, but various people have failed to find exactly where on the books it's illegal. It may be that the discretion involved in various agencies allow it to be prevented (and people who do it to be scooted out of the country) without anything on the books, but ... *shrug* In any case, it seems sensible to me.
- An interesting perspective on Yahoo's obligations with regards to American and Chinese law..
- A leaked congress report suggests that American efforts in Iraq arn't giving much in the way of results. The Washington Post says it was leaked because the committee wanted to make sure the public had a chance to see it before it gets watered down by the administration (which says a lot right there).. Even if the report is accurate, I'm not sure if an immediate withdrawl is wise (nor the opposite - it's too complex a theoretical for easy judgement) - given the present state of things, one might make a strong case for a disaster (and lasting civil war) if US/EU forces withdraw (although recent events in their parliament might make that academic, and things arn't that stable now anyhow). Ugh. It's pretty unbelievable that the US is in this position to begin with.
- Interesting discussions on governance in Citizendium. The project is a little further along since when I last checked, and many of the articles seem to be better sourced. They also seem to have fewer junk articles, and it seems to be written by people who have at one time seen an actual encyclopedia and understand it to be an academic resource.. There's still some atrocious writing though - in their article on cats, it opens with "When it comes to domesticated animals, cats are in a class by themselves" - useless. What does that even mean?
- I've heard that "Once Upon a Time in America" is a film worth watching...
- More on Cameron and Brown - I'm surprised that the Tories haven't been more successful at exploiting Tony Blair's weakening of Labour.. although without a better message, that isn't always successful.