kajarainbow: (Quietly feeling like a monster)
Going to try provisional voting, since I didn't get to register.

Also, sometimes I wonder at the purpose of this journal. Essays? Dream postings? Mundane life updates? Bits of surrealness? Commentary, fiction-bits, and more. Those are all things I've done. Every now and then, I get an urge to devote this space to something. I always do the usual generalization instead.

Anyway, I changed my journal's theme and am working on my tags. I had too much tag-proliferation before, caused partially by lack of standardization--often I would use different names for the same subject out of an inability to remember what I'd used before! But I'm fixing that, and more of my posts'll probably have tags, making for easier related-subject searches.
kajarainbow: (Anisha)
Planetes is one of the most romantic very, very hard science-fiction things I've read, and one of the most people-centered. I find it interesting because it's all about personal, human reactions to the terrifying vastness and hazard of space. Makes the point that humans can't conquer space, too, just learn to live and hopefully thrive in it.

And it makes a strong case for space exploration. I'm all for that (there're a lot of genuine benefits to be gained), but I'm not sure our current model is the best. There's been a lot of politics in the history of NASA. It was formed to serve our government, and it still gets used for political agenda. And our Space Shuttle isn't even the best model of launch, its design came from bureaucratic reasons.

Frankly, I have the most hope for commercial efforts. Pure profit motivations might have their own limits in terms of goods without immediate financial return, but they sure do get things done a heck of a lot better than bureaucratic inertia. And we have companies all excited about space, heh. Quarterly profits might be the trend, but there're always some long-term thinking people.

And in the Planetes manga, it was governments who started a war filling orbits with debris bad enough to ground many spacecrafts for an indefinite period. For short-term political gain. Hard to see companies doing that. On the other hand, companies have a lot of consolidated power to pursue selfish agendas with. Sometimes those selfish agendas're widely beneficial (the company provides something that widely improves lives all around and makes a profit from it, too), sometimes narrowly beneficial and widely harmful (much what gets lobbied to government, etc.). The same forces are true for government, actually.

This has slid sideways onto other tangents tangled up in all kinds of issues associated with government and commercial motives. But those are issues inherent to funding, which is inherent to any large enough effort. Sigh.

Post-in-a-capsule: Space good. Money/power greed that helps everyone good, greed that hurts most people bad.
kajarainbow: (old wolfie)
"We urge the [Palestinian] authority to open the way for resistance fighters to deter the continued aggressions of the enemy against the Palestinian people," [a Hamas figure] said.

Uh, but they're doing that, too. You know, killing your people to deter you from attacking them, so you decide to kill them to deter them from attacking you. And you're killing them to deter them from attacking you, so they decide to kill you to deter you from attacking them.

I guess that's why vicious cycles happen. That, plus both sides wanting the same pieces of land to be theirs and theirs alone.

A significant number of people seem to think this way. I couldn't really say how large that number is, though, but it at times seems far, far, far too many.

It's a failure to comprehend other people, I suppose. The petty little self-centered madnesses seemingly wired to differing levels into most or all human brains.
kajarainbow: (old wolfie)
Benjamin Franklin:
"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

I looked up the exact form of quote because I wanted to discuss it, but then my intended post changed because I noticed that people in quoting this tended to omit the modifier words. Without "essential" and "temporary", the quote assumes a very different and more absolute character. One can hold an interesting discussion about what is an essential liberty and why, or why the security gained through the surrender of essential liberties is temporary (the one you surrender it to gains the power to destroy not only the security it granted but also the security that was once granted by the liberty you gave up).

One cannot hold an interesting discussion about "If you give up any liberty for any kind of security, you don't deserve any of it." Nevermind that society is formed by constraints on individual liberty and even the most anarchistic society would be this way for reason of simple self-survival. Nevermind that the drive for security is one of the basic drives that has enabled us to survive at all as a species. All such nuances are thrown out in the shortened version, though I suspect many people don't realize this, or that what they're quoting isn't necessarily the full original.

On the other hand, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin. But, taken into context, I suspect he is talking about those essential liberties. So, what are the essential liberties? They appear to be outlined in the Constitution and the Acts of Rights, and our country's founders have made their wills clear in many manners. And, moreover, the quote invites discussion of why this loss of liberty also leads to loss of security.

Anyway, I've seen the Benjamin Franklin line repeated often enough to lose its much of its meaning (and the short version doesn't help). Ann Rynd pod-clones seem to like it, too.

The original post was going to be about how the United States' founders weren't omniscient gods (though they had some good insights into government), but then I got distracted by this. I see a lot of quotes mangled like that, actually. Occam's Razor and Murphy's Law being particular famous examples.
kajarainbow: (Default)
Using my laptop in the front room, I catch glimpses from the television more often than I used to. (This and other reasons, including the tendency for it to be filled with vibrations just from people moving through, are why it's bad for me to be doing it here. I should move operations to somewhere more quiet yet not my own room which I tend to shut myself into. Like the den.) Most of the time those glimpses from the TV are shit. This particular time excepted.

This time it was Malcolm in the Middle. I saw a brief scene-fragment in which it is discovered that Malcolm has done a bad thing to his brother because someone in a lab coat had told him to. The teacher showing the video of it said, "We can't know whether we would betray someone that trusts us that much if someone in a lab coat tells us to. What we do know, however, is that Malcolm did."

That scene was perfect. It encompassed so much. The tendency of humans to think that negative things do not apply to them, simply because they have not experienced those particular situations that causes the negative effects (whether it is health problems or improper actions). The lack of full self-awareness. The wonderful, wonderful irony. As someone who's been picking up tiny bits of knowledge of psychological studies, I find it particularly entertaining.

Many, even most, people are more susceptible to pressures from their peers and from authorities and from situations in general than most. That, in fact, is why, for example, Al Ghraib happened. The Stanford Prison Experiment is a very good example of one out of the many research studies showing that perfectly average persons are capable of having their senses of morality highly distorted by the right conditions. Just the very conditions in Al Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and other such highly secretive places to detain people labeled as bad and less worthy of humane treatment cause abuses. It is not a case of a few innately bad apples. It is the case of the very barrel itself writhing with worms, the barrel itself corrupting the apples within it.

That was more of a political digression than I initially intended, heh.
kajarainbow: (Default)
I forgot about this little tidbit for a long time, but let me mention it: Alexander Graham Bell wanted legistration passed to prohibit deaf people from marrying each other
Rant behind cut )

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