Blog: Cursive on the Page

Cursive on the Page
Cursive on the Page
Date: 2019-Jun-10 06:17:37 EST

Been reading a lot recently, but I'm not making good progress on reducing the massive backlog of things to read because I'm getting more books at the same time. It's a bit frustrating, even though maybe a backlog should not bother me so much. There's just a simplicity in my life that I'd like to have in an area where I clearly don't. And those simplicities (or their lack) contribute to how much peace of mind I have. I want to spend my attention on the right things, and I typically tune everything else to a low-but-acceptable payment. Even if it means I'm not dressed particularly well, or don't enjoy life all that much, and so on. I don't think this is that weird though. Most people just don't realise they're doing it, and a few oddballs really try to split their attention so they can get solidly good results from the basics before going after the hard stuff. I think that likely gets them worse results for the hard stuff (like having the most interesting ideas), although maybe I'm wrong on this and effort is upwards-trainable.

This weekend I had some very odd sleeping habits that led the weekend to feel like it had an extra day. It worked out pretty well overall, although I doubt it's repeatable. Was great for feeling like I got a good use of the weekend. Apart from some good walks and some reading, I also enjoyed playing through a new DLC for Borderlands 2. The plot wasn't particularly good, but that's been true of that series for awhile now - the environments and the gameplay are the real draw.

Recently been weirded out to see some political bother over rainbow flags for pride month. I think were I a national leader I'd prefer not to have flags of social movements be part of a state that's trying to represent everyone, for the same reason I wouldn't want the flag of my political party (let's assume I actually belonged to a party, and that parties have flags) be flown as part of national imagery. I'm not suggesting that nations shouldn't actually have leaders that try to enact policies that reflect their values, but flags-for-causes are actually a value-loss because without themselves actually advancing anything worth advancing, they lessen the vestedness of other people towards their nation. In the long rum, that's dangerous. So I think it's actually appropriate to curb that, and would respect politicians more for declaring that their administration will disentangle the state from such things.

A few other thoughts:

  • I would respect the ACLU more if it either did not celebrate this, or did it slightly differently - I don't feel specific accomodation for religions is a good thing if it amounts to giving people of those faiths permission to do something that others cannot, and although it's a lesser harm, I also don't think "we want to be compatible with faith X" is a good reason to reshape law even if it's done in a way that's completely general. Good law comes from considering the general good absent particular cultural movements/identities. So perhaps in the general case if clothing restructions are not necessary for military function, they should be loosened or lifted, but that's the why and they should be lifted for everyone.
  • I found the story behind How to Draw a Horse to be charming. Maybe lightly weird how far people might be willing to go to win the attention of another person, but many good things in life come from strange starts.
  • If people thought more clearly about names and the role they play in language, they would not get excited about the ability to name exoplanets or stars, because everyone in the world has the ability to name anything they like. Same with every nation. Names are not enscribed on the universe, they're things we make up, and everyone gets to do it.
  • A despotic move from Trudeau - trying to embed in Canadian government practice an unnecessary requirement that participating orgs have certain perspectives on social issues.
  • I was disturbed to hear about an Alabama mayor fantasising about killing a number of his opponents on social and political issues. I understand the fear of losing on issues that are important to us and the nation coming to feel alien to our mental lives and concerns - liberals and conservatives here both have to deal with that, and we all lose sometimes. It's easy to get scared and lose that feeling of vestedness. And unfortunately, when people feel those fears it leads them to irresponsible willingness to act - they call for unsustainable or destructive policies, or consider vigilantism, and these things harm our social fabric even more (to some degree even if suggested, although acting it out is usually far worse).
  • I'm wary of accepting this finding on quantum leaps as true without more evidence, but I am intrigued by the idea of the jumps being gradual and possibly controllable.
  • And on the other side, I'm a little disappointed that the galaxy seemingly sans dark matter probably actually has it and we just got the distance wrong. The sad thing about this is we lost what seemed to be both a fun little mystery and a bit of extra confirmation that dark matter fits certain gross models by its ability to be absent somewhere.
  • It's unclear to me why the FDA would approve a medication that costs two million dollars, or why insurance would ever cover that. At some point the costs of meds are more expensive than average (or even well-off) people could produce for society, and in my view a hard ban on medicines above that range makes sense. It's not a good use of societal resources, and those same resources spent elsewhere would produce far more benefit.
  • There's a fascinating little nugget embedded in the memory-alpha entry for Measure of a Man, where Roddenberry and the director of the episode disagreed on whether lawyers would exist in the future. I side firmly with Snodgrass that lawyers bring value, that an adversarial legal system has a lot of merit, and that Roddenberry's idea that criminality is simple and his preferred solution to it is creepy. I also enjoyed LegalEagle coverage of that episode.
  • Recently-ish discovered another great science/philosophy channel by the name of UpAndAtom. Great stuff.