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Scientific Socialism

The event wasn't too different from what I expected in some ways. Jerry White was well-informed, interested in talking about things (starting off with a discussion on Pim Fortuyn with me before the event started, and handling most things well when I needled him with a number of philosophical/historical analysis questions in the Q and A part after the event. As is often the case when I get into involved conversations with other communists though, I got pretty frustrated with dogmatism - there are some macroeconomic issues that a lot of people don't see and a lot of people are quite naïve about how the world really works, while most organised communists don't tend to share in my experience. The insistence that class struggle is behind every conflict on earth (rather than an important aspect of most conflicts) and the insistence that anyone who does not share this point of view simply needs to read more to correct their ignorance.. that's really irritating - that any philosophy or history can be as simple and cut-and-dry as science suggests a blinding dogmatism about both science and philosophy/history. There were also some specific analyses of his that I think were sloppy, and parts of the main presentation felt more like an extended rant than a talk. Still, the event was interesting and the surrounding conversations rather good.

I guess I'm amused at the idea of being considered heretical.

Currently, I'm also kind of amused by the enthymology of the word "jeopardy", and the idea that the game show's title is a slightly more elaborate play on words rather than a simple one.

Part of my job involves working with people in the engineering department in the bowels of Roberts Hall - the cultural differences are pretty interesting. There's a certain "sauberkeit" about engineers - present in their dress, their mannerisms, etc - distinct and very different from computer science. From their perspective, CSFolk probably feel pretty artsy in personal expression and pretty math-y in looking for universals in specifics. There's also this feeling of much greater discipline, much more data-centrism, and a different attitude towards gadgets (very functonal, not-exactly-minimal-but-something-kinda-close-to-it). I'm not sure how much of a "CS-Vibe" I still give off, but I did get the feeling that most trained engineers I've known in life (including my grandpa) would fit a lot better in Engineering-type meetings than I felt that I did. It's really weird given that in theory, computer-related engineering and CS are concerned about the same topics, but the culture gap felt about as large as if a CS person were sitting in on a meeting of the dance department.

Roberts Hall reflects some of this culture as a building too - it's quiet, hidden from the rest of campus, clean, everything feels well-thought (but maybe a bit sterile), and austere. I can't say it's not nice in it's own way...

Scott Adams (of dilbert)'s most recent blog entry describes a dilemma that relates to some irritants I have when conversing with people. In another entry, he expresses some disdain for learning for learning's sake though, which bugs me.

Hopefully Mohammad Khatami will run against Ahmadinejad in the upcoming Persian presidential election.

All I seem to want to do in my spare time is be asleep.