Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Yard of Junk Associations

A conversation that materialised in my mind when I was trying to get to sleep last night:

  • Here they say "Check the historicisity of his claims"
  • The historicity, you mean?
  • No, the historicisity..
  • What does that mean?
  • The historic nature..
  • You mean, whether they're true? Same thing.
  • No - whether the claim itself is a historic event, having a larger meaning, changed the world, etc
  • That's not what the dictio
  • (interrupts) *ahem* dictionaries are great tools for learning the basic meaning of words. They're quite poor for nuance and settling arguments between people who know the basic gist of words because that's not their purpose
  • Yes, but if you ask 30 people on the street, only a few people would use the word this way, at best. Why did they phrase it like that?
  • Language is always private to some extent. Each person has their own set of bubbles, sets of meanings, etc with overlapping words and concepts beween
  • That's anarchy! I can't see how it would lead to anything but confusion
  • And yet on some level it works - we know what the author meant by the term now, and can move ahead in that understanding..
  • And what if we hadn't? Or what if we had a disagreement? This is like reading poetry - are we all pushed into that position where the author sits back and smiles and refuses to tell us what it is they're supposedly communicating to us?
  • Maybe we have to deal with that anyhow - wern't you telling me about how body language and subtleties of phrasing convey layers of additional meaning, sometimes mostly unrelated to the content of what's going on? Ya know, small talk being mostly filler so all the communication can happen on higher levels? Remember?
  • Yes, but here even that basic level of communication is hampered - like a luddite with a wrench making noise and disturbing anyone not in their little club. It's not the same at all because this is only about one stream of communication
  • But isn't it like the deniability and etheriality of those higher levels of communication? That we have to deal with
  • (interrupting) Those other levels of communication, let's not call them higher, serve a specific social purpose that isn't always relevant. Further, at some level at least people have one level of communication they can trust, governed for the sake of smooth conversation by coversational implicature. Finally, a lot of people, when they're tired or whatnot, intentionally ignore those otther levels in whole or part - telling people they can't
  • (interrupting) Is it really entirely like that though? The vapour of these other levels versus language being private on some level - they're not the same thing. They are on the same gradient, but they're very different positions.
It went on for a lot longer than that... kind of a pastiche of a number of conversations I've had with people..

I've decided to venture a solid opinion on two things that've been in the news a lot recently:

  • From what I can read about the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the (present) governments of Sri Lanka and India, I believe the Tigers are a harmful force for humanity. Reasoning: Their aims seem to be an ethnically pure, strictly hindu homeland. I generally don't judge national struggles, but when such struggles are tied to notions of racial/cultural purity like this and minorities are heavily prosecuted (their record with Muslims is poor), it's a mark against them. The Tigers also have a record of playing very dirty, having pioneered the suicide bomb, and forcibly recruiting Tamils into their militia (regardless of age - they recruit young children). Their actions are not limited to Sri Lanka and India - they force Tamils abroad (as noted, in the UK, France, and other western nations) to "contribute" through threats of violence and use the same methods to control temples throughout the world to fund these wars. Regardless of need, I think these actions are beyond acceptability. I still don't have an opinion on the armed conflict between Sri Lanka (and India) and the Tamil nationals as a whole - I understand that there are other Tamil nationalist groups that operate in the region, and even if they fail to achieve a nation, the high degree of international attention that the Sri Lankan government is getting should make abuse of their people (to whatever extent it's not fabricated/exaggerated by the nationalist movement) less likely.
    • The Tigers are listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States Department of State as well as a number of other governments (its formal name is "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam"). As far as I can tell, neither group has quite the same notion of what "the pale" means when defining these groups as being beyond it. Just like individuals though, this is to be expected...
  • So far as I can tell, Musharraf's account and background of Nawaz Sharif's involvement in politics was largely correct. From what I can tell from independent news sources and a lot of discussion with the (few) Pakistanis I know, I believe Sharif's exile in Saudi Arabia is for the good of Pakistan and the world, and his breaking of the exile agreement and attempted return to Pakistan was irresponsible. As you may have read, he was arrested and deported back to SA shortly after his arrival. Although the exile agreement only lasts until 2010, it would probably be best if Sharif never were to set foot on Pakistani soil again, given his political record.

Still more random stuffs on governance and news:

  • The legal codes that the various Amerindian tribes have in the United States are interesting..
  • Surprise! Not at all about governance. Bunraku is a traditional Japanese theatre type. Awesome! I keep hearing about all these awesome types of Japanese traditional theatre (there are plenty of great things in the same genre in China), and wish they wern't so hard to see here. The last handful of dynasties in China and Japan would've been a really interesting time to live
  • Analysis on Google Office making inroads into the marketplace..
  • Oprah likes Obama, helps him with fundraising. Out of the frontrunners in the upcoming American presidential elections, Obama is still who I'd most like to see elected. Giuliani is my second choice - while I don't like his foreign policy, his election would cause a reemergence of factions of the Republican party that I think are less harmful to the nation (if the Republicans ever simplify to a sole tension between neoconservatives and theocrats, the two party system combined with a lack of liberal backbone will guarantee them slow, creeping american cultural dominance - I don't like industrialists or libertarians either, but Giuliani isn't one of those either - he looks to be a genuine centrist in American politics).
  • A handful of things on Hamas..
  • "Bring it on" 2.0: Bush's Homeland Security Advisor calls bin Laden "virtually impotent". At the same time, they apparently find his hair confusing. Somehow a mixture of fashion commentary and mockery arn't what I'd expect from people who are responsible on some level in matters like safety/advancement of western values..
  • Pushers for Sharia in Morocco make some gains, not as much as expected.

I think it's interesting that Scotland's nationwide ban on smoking in enclosed semipublic spaces has had such a dramatic effect on public health after just one year - the article cites a 17% drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks. The ban is also described as being rather popular, even with smokers.


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