Blog: Serving the Community

Serving the Community
Serving the Community
Date: 2018-Nov-06 05:18:00 EST

On the way to the gym yesterday I saw someone driving badly. I filed a complaint with the NYC311 mobile app, which is great except now I might need to show up to traffic court. That could be really annoying.

Voting is tomorrow. Well, after this sleep cycle. I've been thinking a lot about one of the voter initiatives on the ballot, which aims to reform how long people can remain on community boards. It's not thrilling, in that I'd really like to either abolish community boards or make them elected. As-is they're some weird appointed thing, and I don't think they actually represent anything. In theory it should be possible to appoint people to represent various groups, but in practice I think that amplifies even further the voices of the strident. I strongly suspect, for example, that most non-straight people are not actually even remotely radical, but the most vocal ones are and that leads to a misunderstanding of the category. I don't want that perpetuated, but the current system of appointing people probably does that. At least sometimes. Anyhow, I need to figure out when to head to the polls - probably after work rather than before.

Scheduling my next ChaosEng meetup. Next week. Really hoping it's not another ghost town. If it is it'll be hard for me to believe continuing it is a good idea. On that note I need to followup and get my classes started at Biotech Without Borders. It's a fair bit of work but it should be fulfilling.

It's late, and the days are short these day, but some takes to start going after the huge pile of them:

  • Jin Yong died. I have some of his books on my to-read pile. These things happen, but I really appreciate storytellers.
  • I've been thinking a lot about the performance of Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit recently. I think Chris Lloyd must have had a great time doing it
  • MEI had a solid analysis, not a particularly rare one (I was thinking the same thing), on why Erdogan is criticising Saudi Arabia for killing critics given that his regime has been thin-skinned and terrible on those same topics.
  • Bolton's support for Bolsonaro is not principled so much as tribal, but it's not surprising to see him doing it given that he's always been pretty nutty and his eagerness to work with Trump means he has failed a lithmus test of ethics. Still, it's disappointing to see loud praise for a leader who lauded a nasty dictatorship and wished more people had died under it, just beucase it's a right-wing dictatorship.
  • Tanzania is a shithole. Any place that actively hunts down and arrests people for being gay is.
  • I find myself on the side of Michael O'Reilly in this complaint against government-run ISPs, sort of. It comes down to some codes of conduct for posted content, and whether the state can do that. I say no in the general sense, but there's an interesting counter - if private entities routinely have the exact same codes, what do we gain by not letting the state (even in the form of a community-run ISP) do the same? Does it absolve the state from something it permits if it steps back and has someone else do it? Particularly if it doesn't ensure there's competition? These are difficult questions, ones that will likely be big topics of discussion moving forward. I'd love to inject that free speech is important as a principle for private actors too, but that doesn't solve the problem entirely.
  • There are a lot of interesting arguments in here pointing all sorts of directions, on the relationship between heritage, identity, and genetics. Although I think we should solidly reject the singular definition offered by amerindian leaders, or at least consider it one perspective among many. And to some extent it's simply true that genes are a big part of who people and groups are.
  • I think the ECHR is solidly wrong in not protecting free speech rights in Austria, in a case where someone insulted Mohammad and was fined.