$ should = immortality

August 27, 2009

My father has told me stories about socialized health care for years.  Mostly they’re about rich people who die, in the very epitome of horror, from the evils of socialized medicine while traveling abroad.  He told me these stories while I was so poor I could barely afford to eat.  Health insurance was out of the question.  He’s not always very sensitive to his audience, since he can’t really imagine anyone disagreeing with him who can reason.

I wonder if anyone in the Democratic leadership has Republican relatives.  Why so blindsided?

My father’s stories have the moral that people should have money, and those who don’t have really failed to be people.  Though of course he’s polite enough not to say it like that to my face.  Of course, what he says and what I hear are different, just as what I say and what he hears are different.

Here’s what I hear.  Death is an unnatural phenomenon that should only overtake the weak.  Weakness has many facets, but foremost among them is poverty.  Having to share money with the poor is like giving part of your life away, which might otherwise not end.

I’m sure I’m oversimplifying his views.  In fairness, he had nothing but praise for the fact that Medicaire paid most of the cost for his knee replacement surgery.

Medicaire is almost universally popular and has nothing to do with government, much less socialism or being forced to give your precious bodily fluids to icky people.

What is it that the Dems don’t get?

Somebody’s Apocalypse

August 15, 2009

I read this today on TWOP in Jacob’s recap of the latest True Blood espisode, which he titled “Somebody Else’s Apocalypse.”

Any other week I maybe wouldn’t feel so compassionate, toward the Fellowship, but I just spent the last 36 hours watching people driven mad, murderouslymad, by their own racist, crazy stuff, whipped into a frenzy by powers that don’t care about them, and know they’re past caring if they even understand what’s behind the fear. Health care is the new gay marriage. In some ways it’s stupider — mostly it’s less stupid, because nothing is stupider than fighting about gay marriage — but all of it acts on nothing approaching facts or common sense. The birthers, the deathers, they scream the most appalling imaginary things, and none of them can tell you why they’re so angry: just that something precious is being taken away from them. And something is. I’m not denying that. Something precious is being taken away from these people, whether or not I agree with it. And that’s sad; it makes me sad to think of what that must be like. It’s super fucked up, but mostly it’s scary and sad.

Later he posits that liberals might be partly to blame in stirring up the naive right-wingers, though adults have to take responsibility for their own state.  And says, not in blame of anyone, but just about the situation “we owe them better.”

I think that’s an admirable sentiment, but I’m not sure what more it could be.  Certainly, based on my own experience with such people, which I believe is a lot longer-term and more intimate than Jacob’s, I know that offering any expression of compassion would be “kind to be cruel.”  What’s frightening them so much, as I see it,  is their loss of perceived control over the world.  Implicit in compassion is a shared condition or nature, which is what their loss would consist of – that sharing.

I don’t kid myself about how much my perceptions of the people who are currently known as “birthers” and similar are colored by my own fear.  I grew up in a small town in Texas, and started to understand at a young age that most of the people around me were irrational and angry about a lot of things that to me were just part of the fabric of reality – as I discovered it largely through outside sources, like books and radio and TV.  The outside sources jibed with observation.  The people around me had their own version, which could only be maintained through saturation and intimidation.  The biology teacher was allowed only one lecture to deal with the theory evolution, and had to say it was only a theory, without explaining how good a theory it was.  Stuff like that.  And the intimidation was not subtle.

I know enough about that way of life to have its textures, to miss some of them, like jokes that no one else will understand, but that doesn’t tell me how to reach out to them.  I’ve never known.

In response to Saje at http://whedonesque.com/comments/21298

August 13, 2009

Fascinated by your “snapshot of the brain”= “mind” idea. I agree about the observational/recording problems, but I think there could be more fundamental ones, in terms of conventional materialism. If I’m following you, you see the unique brain/mind scan falling into difference immediately once it’s transferred to another brain. That’s intuitive. But what is it in itself, while it’s on the improbable hard drive, experiencing no change? It’s only information, expressible in numbers, and thus belongs to the category of things that are real but not physical, with all the other numbers (dzr said that in the thread, I believe you’ve said similar things in the past, correct me if I’m wrong).

If it’s that then, isn’t it always that? Moments in time are as discrete or continuous as we care to make them, as I understand it. The improbable hard drive can be eliminated. At any given moment, the mind is the brain, a physical entity, in constant change, and also a set of numbers that will/need never change. I don’t see a need to envision one operating on the other. They are the same and yet one is physical and one metaphysical. The difference then is one of access. This file already exists. Replace this file? My personal take is that you could probably re-load the “self” anywhere/time, and it would run fine in any time frame, and to a lesser extent (if the body is damaged), in any version of the space/body. Hardware vs. software as the “residence” of the self, I have no idea. But I’m not sure it needs one.

Consider “unique” as the inverse of “infinite” (the math attempts are boring, anyway). The brain is unique at autospsy, and even more so (humor the oxymoron, if there can be sets of infinite sets, there can be sets of uniquenesses, I figure) at every point during life.

The self is unique, so could be anywhere, at all times. There can be dualism if you want it. Or you could say that you don’t have the permissions for access to the permanent file.

 About other problems, I think that there’s something with time’s arrow, but I haven’t worked it out.

Another thing I’ve been following…

August 9, 2009

…the case of the accused terrorists in North Carolina.  As I’ve twittered, it seems awfully thin, and I suspect that it might not be on the level.  Saw this last week , with the reaction of Hysen Sherifi’s pro-American,  Albanian Kosovar family to the arrest.  I guess I hope that after what he and they’ve been put through, he turns out to be guilty.  But like this judge, I doubt it.

Hello world!

August 8, 2009

This is my new blog with the closest approximation of my usual username that I could get.  I was already a bit frustrated with the 140 characters of twitter, and became more so when that went down to about 70 for 5 minutes a day due to the recent DDOS attacks.  Those attacks are also the subject of my first blog entry which is entitled…


According the security chief  of Facebook and others  the attacks that briefly crippled Facebook and are still affecting twitter [source: me], were directed at an individual blogger in the nation of Georgia, who at the time was recapping the build-up of Russian troops in Abkhazia prior to the Russian/Georgian conflict of 2008.  The blogger, Cyxymu (@Cyxymu on twitter), has claimed that the attacks came from the KGB.  The western cyber security experts think the damage to the social networking was collateral damage.

My Opinion, based on hasty, slapdash research:  The Soviet Russian KGB no longer exists, of course, but taking “KGB” as a catch-all term for “Russian bad guys, ” this appears to be quite plausible.  It would not be the first time that cyberwarfare was used in the conflicts in the North Caucasus.  Since I can’t cite, use Wikipedia and leads therefrom.  And some of those earlier attacks were linked by investigators to the descendants of the KGB.  Whether they are now public or private is probably indiscernible.

Dreaming of Logic (total, rank speculation):  It doesn’t make sense that the attacks would continue to this extent, after the original target was identified and rescued/republished  by his networks, and the facts leaked to the press, if they still had only the original objective of silencing this one guy.  The objective may have been expanded, after an unexpectedly awesome result, or it may have been dual purpose from the start.  Picture a cyberwar arms show.

Either way, We are all…