Archive for society

Shadows In the Seeker

The most recent episode of Legend of the Seeker is a virtual tutorial on Jung‘s idea of shadow.

If you’ve never seen Legend of the Seeker before, a bit of backstory… Kahlan is a “confessor” which allows her to magically cause others to fall in love with her to the point of enslavement. In the course of her questing with Richard, they’ve developed a passionate romance, which remains unconsummated because the emotional intensity of lovemaking would surely cause Kaylan to lose control and accidentally steal Richard’s soul.

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How Business Works

I’ve been wandering through sites of folks looking to change the world and I happened across a TED presentation on motivation and business methods:

I really identify with him at that point about halfway though where you can hear the frustration in his voice at the disparity between the world he knows to exist and the way things are run.

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Jobby Jobs

If the unemployment problem has you down, never fear, the IEEE has a seminar on how to get a job in Europe.

“European Mobility – In or Out of Crisis?”

According to the International Labour Office – Global Unemployment Trends May 2009 Update, unemployment has risen to an all-time high. But as we will discuss during this Webinar, there’s still hope for employment in Europe.

Key takeaways of this Webinar include:

  • Where are (still) opportunities and where are new opportunities emerging
  • Which countries in Europe offer the best chance
  • How best to make use of the available opportunities

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Postmodern Fair Witnesses

I reread Stranger In A Strange Land last week. I read it in college as a story and this time as both a story and as a piece of literature that affected a society, and it was even better.

Stranger Cover

I was thinking about how to adapt his “Fair Witnesses” to a culture that doesn’t believe in objective perception, then I realized someone else has already figured it out.

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Semi-Retirement

I was sitting at lazing on the veranda here in Goa slowly getting baked in the noonday sun and contemplating just how fortunate I feel. Life has been good to me. It’s hard walking these streets and hearing the women beg me to just buy something for 20Rs ($0.40) so they can buy food for their family.

Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I’ve worked out a solution. I can feel OK about occasionally doing nothing more than lazing about if we just end poverty.

I think I can explain it simply enough that most people will understand. It’s not a complex idea, but it does require some understanding of Computer Science…

If you were dressed in the morning by reinforcement learning clustering algorithm you would arrive nude in a room with a deaf mute butler and a huge pile of garbage. He wanders over to the pile and returns with a banana peel. You scowl and throw it off to the side. He returns successively with a balloon, puppy and pack of gum which you throw away with derision.

Butler

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Quotable Drug Quotes

Stumble delivered up some entertaining quotes on the drug war. My favorite was either:

“Some days it feels like I’m watching a house on fire. And one idiot wants to put it out with a machine gun. The other one wants to use grenades. And I’m standing there with a bucket of water and they look at me like I’m crazy.”

or

“When a government uses military personnel, equipment, and tactics against its own citizens, is it time to call it a Civil War rather than a Drug War?”

A House Afire

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Starting A Revolution

I’ve been thinking for a while that I would like to post something to Slashdot. I’ve been having a hard time figure out how exactly to describe what I wanted to do though. Last night I figured it out. I want to enact a social change in a short period of time, we have a word for that in English: revolution.

It sounds a little odd to say, but realistically what I am trying to do is start a revolution. ☺

Revolution

So, I wrote up most of the major points in my plan. Before I submit it, I thought I’d run it by people I know and see if they have any suggestions. So tell me what you think of the presentation:

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Markets

“Market” is just another word for “a set of selection pressures.” What we really want, ideally, is to live in a world where people’s success is tied to their capacity to be trustworthy.

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Shopping Is A Moral Act

There was a fashion editor from Vogue on All Things Considered this morning who said:

“Not shopping is not a moral act. When people don’t buy, other people lose their jobs.”

I’m glad to hear someone recognize the corner we’re painted ourselves into with the way we’ve structured our economy. The idea of a secular world is nonsense for a moral person. Where else do moral values take form but in day to day life?

Gandhi Store

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Drugs Are A Market Economy

People know from the drugs that they can get their hands on, alcohol and pharmaceuticals if nothing else, that getting fucked up can be entertaining and relatively safe. This creates demand. Prohibitionist drug policies attempt to stifle this demand through authoritarian control (arresting people who operate in the drug economy).

It’s sadly ironic that the same conservatives so blindly certain of the creativeness of the market in solving all our economic woes somehow think those markets are going to get stupid and uncreative when meeting demands that they don’t think should exist.

There are potentially responsible use patterns for a variety of substances. No quantity of propaganda is somehow going to reach into the heads of the millions of consenting Americans who have first-hand experience with this fact and somehow erase it. The War on Drugs can achieve short-term market depressions, but they can’t remove the fundamental driving force of the system.

Drug Characteristics

(Source: Jack E. Henningfield, Ph.D. for NIDA, Reported by Philip J. Hilts, New York Times, Aug. 2, 1994 “Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria You Use.”)

What we have now, is bunches of people who don’t trust the government to tell them what is safe and what is not and, since many aren’t very good at researching the long-term effects of their actions, they’re just going to find convenient ways to get the state they want.

We really need to be putting our time and money into how to encourage responsible drug use. So long as people need to get away from their problems or are simply curious about the nature of consciousness, this market is not going to dry up.

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