Today was another day organised-around-a-big-migraine, leaving me awake at 3am in a post-migraine high. Recently I've had the music from (the Genesis version of) 「Mickey Mouse and the Castle of Illusion」 stuck in my head. For those who haven't played it, it was one of the better games from the 16-bit console era.
Had a bit of an ugly interaction with the Dresden Codak author that will probably see me stop reading/recommending his comic; I'd probably sum it up as 「never get in the way of a dude playing cultural hero」; crusaders are not known for listening and appreciation for nuance/discussion, they just want to have the right opinion and get the patting on the back.
I thought 「this」 was one of the more amusing effects of recent political discourse I've ever seen. For those viewing this after the fact, UCDavis's English department posted this notice on their departmental webpage: 「The faculty of the UC Davis English Department supports the Board of the Davis Faculty Association in calling for Chancellor Katehi’s immediate resignation and for “a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus.” Further, given the demonstrable threat posed by the University of California Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to the safety of students, faculty, staff, and community members on our campus and others in the UC system, we propose that such a policy include the disbanding of the UCPD and the institution of an ordinance against the presence of police forces on the UC Davis campus, unless their presence is specifically requested by a member of the campus community. This will initiate a genuinely collective effort to determine how best to ensure the health and safety of the campus community at UC Davis. 」 This is in response to the recent campus police misbehaviour regarding recent sit-ins. Kind-of-related, the supercommittee assigned to handle the budget dispute, as everyone could predict, failed to do so, and we're now going to see the booby prize come into play. Republicans theoretically will be unhappy about deep cuts to the DoD, Dems will be unhappy about cuts to hard-won social programmes, and libertarians will unfortunately be throwing parties.
Recently made a post on G+ that summarises some of the problems I have with subcultural hegemonic discourse; it's primarily targeted to socialist groups (where I have seen this problem the most), but also applies to some issues with feminist discourse. It seems these topics bring out the worst in people, which should be more surprising than it is. It reminds me of the early Israeli experience; people really bothered by mainstream hegemonic discourse (logic of capital, patriarchial world-of-terms) go on to recreate something much like what they left. This is often unavoidable though, so I probably can't complain too much; by analogy, some people leave religion because they don't like the judgementalism that often comes with it, and some people leave it because it's based on lies. Those two camps have trouble seeing eye-to-eye because the meaning of the separation differs (I'm in the latter); a common argument I've heard from the former camp is "by making statements like you do, you're becoming a mirror image of what we're trying to get away from", which is a fair charge, I guess. In the general case, I try not to be pushy with my views; I'll express them quite a bit, but I am not hypersensitive to people believing differently or expressing differences so long as they're not setting up norms that will end up resulting in common public judgement (rules of politeness, etc) that wipe my kinds of perspective out. The 「It's just politeness, nobody's making you do anything」 line is a confusion; Yes, that's true, but we all have a stake in the standards of politeness by which we're judged. If we considered it polite for $somethingracist to happen but didn't consider it obligatory, that still amounts to a lousy situation on the ground; being judged by poor standards hurts.
I'm getting used to using G+ as both a place for ideas/comments that are not blogpost-length and as spillover to avoid saturating someone's input stream with everything that's in my head; I could probably post ten times as much to my blog, or plus, or twitter, but I think that's way too much and I get bothered when other people do that and my feed on any social service consists of one person flooding. I expect that if the amount I post now ever gets too much for someone, they'd just unfriend/unfollow me. I do like how clicky G+ tends to be for single article links; I wish it were easy to do do that kind of link-summarising on my own blog, but I am wary of doing even mild server-directed summarising/image-scraping because it's hard and if I do it wrongly sites will just block me; Google's size demands respect that protects them from that.
I should probably regard the TED thing as having fallen through, likewise with the MIT thing (not entirely sure if the latter is my fault or not; I was asked to provide contact info for a reference, heard they were already talking to that person, and so didn't respond to an email). Tomorrow (well, today, at this point) I'll start applying for jobs again, maybe OkC would be an interesting place (and it would get me into NYC), but I'm also considering maybe giving an entirely new city a go, maybe someplace warmer. I'm applying to grad school next winter, not this one, so I do have a lot of options in terms of where to live and what to do; getting back into academia is proving harder than I thougt, particularly in the fields I'd like to work, so...
I'm worried that the US is drumming up a case for war with Iran. The current framing is worryingly like that that led to the US invasion of Iraq. I suppose my concerns are going to be differently-shaped than that of dominant discourse in the US, as I'm not actually more bothered by the idea of Iran having nukes than ISrael having them. I'm also bothered by the continuing Egyptian protests that threaten to derail the elections that are scheduled on the 28th of this month. Yeah, temporary military rule sucks, and the military council is responding very badly to the continuing protests, but the protests are also pretty stupid; in six days, people will (hopefully) have the ability to entirely remove that provisional military government from power. Demanding they leave now is incredibly couterproductive.
Recently I've been spending a fair amount of time thinking about how a maglev train network across the US would affect the economy and the economic interconnectedness created by rapid/easy transit in general. Anyone know where I might find studies on the topic?
Finally, I'm leaning towards the idea of having an auto-cut mode for my blog, where the first sentence of any paragraph is shown and the rest (if the paragraph is big enough) is automatically behind a cut. Disablable on a per-post basis, of course. I think it's a reasoanble metric for blogging, as people reading this stuff in some stream form (e.g. in the LJ-mirror friends list) probably can tell from the first sentence if a post has some stuff that's interesting to them. Maybe I should also have the cut tag generate a character or word count so people have some idea how big a cut is; this is a feature that'd be easily to push into the preprocessing that goes into syncing to LJ and the RSS/Atom presentation modes.
Finally finally, if any of you want me to visit, I am seriously not doing anything nowadays and my cats can handle my absence for awhile if I leave food out. Let me know when you're free, and we can work something out, because I'm pretty lonely and could do for a change of scenery for a bit (and I would not demand even close to all of your time; I'd like to explore wherever y'all live too; all I need is a couch).