Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Thu Oct 27 16:59:13 2011
Shrinking Pains

These migraines are ridiculous. So many, so bad. I have one today that's just bad; still managing to gingerly move around and carefully made my way to a coffeeshop downtown (really wanted to get out of my apartment). I know that once the weather restabilises I'll be ok; Fall is when I get migraines with about five times the frequency of other seasons, but making it through each fall (as well as the worsening weather) is a burden. The one I got a few days ago strongly tempted me to just lie down on the sidewalk and close my eyes to make the pain lessen, let whatever else happen may. Obviously a bad idea, and I didn't do it, but I almost did. Next time I'm insured I'll have to deal with this... and maybe counseling for the mess that was my second grade.

I have two upcoming interviews, with TED and MIT. I plan not to decide on one until I have offers from both (or one definitively doesn't offer). Either way, I'm looking at leaving PHL soon. The city has grown on me (significantly once I got in the habit of entering the city proper, but also because I've lowered my expectations; PHL is not a city that tickles my fancy, but it doesn't have glaring faults either and I've found enough nice places to be ok) but I don't think I'll miss it. If I move to NYC, that seems like it'll be a nervous process; even parking a U-Haul sounds like a bear. Right now I'm starting to figure out how to decide between TED-NYC and MIT-Cambridge in case I am offered both. So far it turns out to be plenty of comparisons between good-and-great on various axes.

The Livejournal API seems to be broken; I'm manually syncing my posts at the moment. I'm hoping there's a reasonably simple fix (that doesn't require me to rewrite the syncing code for my blog platform too much); I don't imagine I'll find it worth the bother to keep doing this by hand in the long term.

I recently had a Twitter argument with a tea partier, and like many tea partiers I've met, he's anti-university, doesn't believe in global warming or evolution, and seemed unable to substantiate any of his claims. Still, I think it's important that people be pushing (separately or together) both strong liberal positions and strong scientific positions; we should not be as tepid as Obama, nor as batshit-crazy-mad as Beck or Limbaugh, but rather the smart, principled people with the facts to support our claims and the philosophy to defend the things we hold (well, and we need to be willing to yield ground on the fact that the Democratic party is pretty corrupt, just like the Republican party). Anyhow, he made comparisons between the Tea Party rallies and Occupy. That's an interesting topic; ignoring his specific claims (which were not based on either being observant at Tea Party rallies or presumably actually going to Occupy protests, some reflections on comparisons:

First, where I am:

So, what can we say about similarities and differences between the Tea Party and Occupy protests? Most other differences flow from that.

As a social experiment, Occupy is fascinating. They're making a valiant effort to creating a relatively messy but vibrant democracy and providing all the general services. Apart from the obvious skills difference and politics, if I had to be part of a group of 100 people dumped on a fresh planet and hoping to build a new society, I'd definitely go with occupiers rather than tea partiers, but:

The habits of self-sustaining civilisation and democracy seem strong among the occupy camp, but they highlight one of the biggest failures of modern civilisation; we should've been doing that all the time. Liberal or conservative or something else, the social organisation I've seen in occupy is powerful, but it should not need to have been revived and recreated from nothing in modern times. We should be conversing this way, across political lines, in town halls across the nation, with universal participation. Maybe we should've been devoting a day for this in every neighbourhood or town and requiring reasonable participation to vote, or maybe this idea of TV plus the ballot box being the start and end of American democracy was the problem. Either way, this lesson and these habits should not end whenever Occupy does, and it should not retreat into small collectives. If we really want to spread democracy across the world, it should not be this sterile, controlled, centrally-produced thing we all grew up with.