I recently heard the term "True Conservative" in a discussion about the political persuasion of a particular person. This tends to make me cringe because it feels, to me, like a dramatic oversimplification of political difference as well as an overactive urge to impose an order on politics. The best way to understand political difference, in my opinion, is to grasp categorising terms very loosely and grasp the specifics much more tightly. Among other things, this has the benefits of making things less confusing when the same term is overloaded to several meanings (e.g. "Republican movements" in the middle east versus things of the same name in the United States) and making one less easily confused by wordsmiths. Why do we need to reduce the many factions that compose conservative politics (or the Republican party of the United States) into "true" and "other" factions? I can't imagine it would do anything but be a confusing formalism. I won't say that it never makes sense to plant one's flag on particular terms (or other arbitrary things, like grammar or spelling), but it seems ill-advised to me to do so with terms that tie to such loose things as party membership or even gross terms. One thing I don't mind seeing is when people have multiple flags that they give more precise meanings - this seems to me to be a better stance between lingual absolutism and linguistic nihilism.
- There's an Anime convention called Tekkoshocon in Pittsburgh coming up soon. There is a small chance I'll attend. The chance will be somewhat higher if people I know want to go too.
- Alpha 3 of Firefox 3.0 is out. APNG support, some layout improvements, some new optional warnings, and some anti-XSS attack features are what's new with this release.
- I thought this news on advances that effectively allow A/B type blood to act like O blood (avoiding antibody responses from mismatches) was pretty cool. Go science!
- China's continual capitalistic value shift is hurting their literacy rates. More boos for Deng Xiaopeng.
- A neat article, courtesy jwzjwz, on neural plasticity in an area conceptually similar to synaesthesia.
- From Eric, Sad Kermit. "Rainbow Disconnection" is particularly nice (check out the video too).
- Katsuhiro Furusawa looks to be an interesting Japanese political figure
- More on Second Life being used for novel purposes.
- Government justice versus religious justice in Pakistan
- This is beginning to look like a political crisis in Britain - the House of Lords made the (in my opinion a quite wise) decision not to approve a casino in some city, in contrast to the House of Commons having approved it. It's going to be interesting to see how this interacts with ongoing efforts to reform or remove the House of Lords.
- "Interesting" political leader Gadaffi is pushing against a historic peace summit in Riyadh regarding Israel, claiming that the agenda is written by the west. Even though I don't expect much progress to be made by such a summit, it is an important symbol of interest in finding a lasting arrangement for peace, and may encourage Israel and the Arab countries to adjust the propogandising against each other to lower levels (thus making eventual peace more likely). It's hard for me to admire him given his position behind Islam in a cultural war - just as much as evangelical Christianity is a danger that I think is worthwhile to combat (through whatever effective means I find acceptable), Islam (which is not as far from its prime as mainstream Christianity has fallen) is worth combatting in the cultural war. Anyone on the other side of that, I can't see giving them much approval (and Gadaffi's Amazonian guard strikes me as a disgustingly sexist dream). That said, he is fascinating.
- Although as noted before, my framework of sex/gender is basically if there's a Y chromosome, it's male, otherwise, it's female, these twins is about as close as I could come to someone where I'd just toss up my hands - genetic chimeras are rare and fascinating. I'm pretty surprised that they've survived (so far).
- Mexico is considering legalising abortion. Given how rough that cultural battle has been in Spain and Mexico's unique current political situation (a very close presidential battle which spawned something between a shadow parliament and a second government), this'll be something to watch.
- Episcopelians may stop being in communion with the Anglicans over issues of homosexuality and cultural differences between Episcopal churches over the world.
- More Sunni/Shia violence in Iraq..
Today before I dropped the car off I got a very tasty build-your-own meal at Whole Foods. Yum. I should learn to make the noodles they have.