Corruption and cynicism (in action) are two sides of the same coin.

Timeline of the human condition

Ways of Seeing

"There's something here that really, I'd like to twist round a little bit ... because, narcissism, is a very sort of pronounced way of stating a relationship to the world, whether it's a man or a woman, isn't it. But this other question, which is contained within it, doesn't go as far as it as an idea - is this sort of self-delight of a person, whether it's a man or a woman, in life, in what they'e doing, in their relationships with men or women. And it's a thing that matters tremendously. And it's not only a sort of inner thing, by which you live, but it's a very outer thing by which you gain relationships with your own context in the world that you can't gain any other way. That it's when you have somehow been made so unconscious of yourself that you easily, naturally sort of compulsively go out to whatever is going on around you. Now, when [inaudible] a child, that tends, more than people, to be other things, doesn't it. Mountains, streams, wherever you go. And then, only gradually, as you go on, you make this kind of absolutely necessary contact with people. But I do think that the sort of essence of self-delight as a kind of possible thing in the modern world, and something which fewer woman have than men, and want, and must have ... is the power, the compulsion, not the power, the compulsion to make contact with the world as you are living in it. And when I say that I don't just mean the people next door, or your friends, I simply mean what is going on."

I don't buy what she says about the differences between women and men here, but

The illusion of consistency
we tend to underestimate the amount we will change in the future

Brings up Chesterton
The Iliad may have been written by one man. It may have been written by a hundred men. But let us remember that there was more unity in those times in a hundred men than there is unity now in one man. Then a city was like one man. Now one man is like a city in civil war.

confusion, euphoria

Shiny new toy!

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Home & Professional Page
"Book-Jacket Style Summary: NNT is an essayist, belletrist, (literary) flâneur, researcher, and practitioner of uncertainty (“mathematical trader”) focusing on the attributes of unexpected events, with a focus on extreme deviations, the “Black Swans” (i.e. outliers), their unpredictability, and our general inability to forecast."

Also, coo-coo for cocoa puffs. I mean that in a nice way.

Common ancestors of all humans
mefi discussion

"It would seem possible that, even with a lot of geographical separation, the MRCA of the entire world is still within historical times, 3000 BC - 1000 AD. Quite likely the entire world is descended from the Ancient Egyptian royal house, c. 1600 BC...

Quite likely almost every Jew in the world today descends from the Prophet Muhammad, c. 600 AD ... it is interesting to think that every Palestinian suicide bombing attack on Israel is almost certainly some descendants of the Prophet killing other descendants of the Prophet."

Emma Watson
Hermione is hot all of a sudden. Or at least she will be in movie 4.

(imagine an image of Jackie O walking in New York, looking casual and happy and stylish)

Christopher Hitchens
Read this, then this, then this. (Thanks, Daniel.)

The Third Place
"The social scientist Ray Oldenburg talks about how humans need a third place, besides work and home, to meet with friends, have a beer, discuss the events of the day, and enjoy some human interaction. Coffee shops, bars, hair salons, beer gardens, pool halls, clubs, and other hangouts are as vital as factories, schools and apartments ["The Great Good Place", 1989]."

For the record, I don't think online communities can be talked about as any kind of replacement. I don't think Joel does, either; the "third place" stuff is mostly a hook for what he wants to write about online communities. I'm more interested in reading Bowling Alone now, though.

Better: What is a third place?

Update: more fuel for my hatred of zoning laws. "The newer neighborhoods have developed under the single-use zoning imperative -- which makes these critical, informal social gathering places illegal."

how pepys composed his diary entries
He wrote drafts for a diary meant for purely private consumption. Invert it: I wonder if this weblog's public nature causes me to censor myself.

Psychologists now know what makes people happy
Bullshit. I'm bookmarking this so I can read it closely later and tear it apart.

I finally got my copy of Greg's book, and I'm here to tell you: don't buy it because he's funny. Buy it because it has the only extant photo of him known to me on the back cover, and guess what, Greg Knauss is cute.

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