EdgeWise 19.4.2004

2004-04-19

PyDS bug or mismatched versions?

Ok... I ended up getting this figured out. Apparenntly, PyDS is not really "ready" for Python 2.3, and there's some controversy over newer versions of metakit. The pyds-dev mailing list has a corrected DownstreamTool.py that works with Python 2.3, so most of the rest of the stuff will work. Confused me for a bit though.
posted at 19:23:44    #    comment []    trackback []
 

Perfect is the Enemy of Good Enough

Voltaire said that "Best is the Enemy of Good" which apparently when translated from French into Russian and back to English via 1960's, Soviet Admiral S.G. Gorshkov, is "Perfect is the enemy of good enough."

This is similar to the Japanese concept of WabiSabi, which is basically finding beauty in imperfections.

Completely unrelated, but another cool Japanese concept is "ikigai" which combines purpose of life, value and meaning of being alive, ground for living, emotion that makes life worth living (joie de vivre, being enthusiastic about life, a sense of satisfaction with life). I couldn't find ikigawa, so I assume I was mispronouncing it (since the romanization is always phonetic). I heard about it on NPR some years ago.

Continuing the japanese concept trend, the word "yuimaru" means "connecting circle" and is used by Okinawans to mean something very similar to the cohousing sense of community. It's not really a mainland japanese idea (and I'm not sure it is even in japanses dictionaries. I read about it in a book about the Okinowan diet/way-of-life/something that I skimmed in a bookstore.

Yes. yes. All very random. This is mostly so I don't forget the concepts for later research (particularly better definitions). I want to make images of the japanese ideograms representing these concepts and print them out on nice paper, as well as maybe do some more reading. Linux nicely supports beautiful Japanese TrueType fonts, so I figure I'll use that.
posted at 19:21:36    #    comment []    trackback []
 

Secular Abortion Views

I would be very happy if alternatives to abortion were much more viable, as I think this would reduce the incidence of abortion more than outlawing it. Bolstering this opinon is this WHO report on unsafe abortions which has this quote:

Contrary to common belief, legalization of abortion does not necessarily increase abortion rates. The Netherlands, for example, has a non-restrictive abortion law, widely accessible contraceptives and free abortion services, and the lowest abortion rate in the world: 5.5 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age per year. Barbados, Canada, Tunisia and Turkey have all changed abortion laws to allow for greater access to legal abortion without increasing abortion rates.
By the way, the Netherlands has universal free prenatal, birthing, and child health care, along with subsidized daycare and a few others measures to increase the viability of alternatives to abortion. Meanwhile countries without such that do outlaw abortion have high abortion rates.

Further, I have long believed that neurological activity defined the beginning of personhood (as that is also the test for when personhood ends). From a secular abortion debate I recently discovered that this happens relatively late (five months):
[T]he fetus does not become truly neurologically active until the fifth month (an event we call "quickening"). This activity might only be a generative one, i.e. the spontaneous nerve pulses could merely be autonomous or spontaneous reflexes aimed at stimulating and developing muscle and organ tissue. Nevertheless, it is in this month that a complex cerebral cortex, the one unique feature of human -- in contrast with animal -- brains, begins to develop, and is typically complete, though still growing, by the sixth month. What is actually going on mentally at that point is unknown, but the hardware is in place for a human mind to exist in at least a primitive state.
The last big component to my view on abortion is that no adult has a moral imperative (nor should have a legal compulsion) to undergo a risky medical procedure, even when necessary to save an uncontroversially human life. This is true for kidney donors, and it's true for pregnant women. I honestly do not believe that there is a sex-linked difference in the nobility or instinctiveness of freely choosing to undergo risk and self-sacrifice for progeny (or potential progeny), so I don't think it should change our societal expectations and obligations with regards to medical procedures that are limited to women.

I do understand and respect that there are religious reasons for believing that full personhood (ensoulment) occurs at 14 days, since conception is a 14 day process, not an instanteous event. However I am largely unswayed by such religious reasoning, just as they are probably unswayed by my secular reasoning.

People on both sides of the issue tend to make moral judgments about those who believe differently, and I don't mean to do so here. I'm posting so I can skip explaining my views in any related discussion and get to more novel and interesting things to talk about.
posted at 19:21:36    #    comment []    trackback []
 

Nonviolent Communication in Dating

I started dating the most amazing woman on earth. Our first date we hung out in the Arb for 8 hours just talking. Pretty much all our dates end up lasting that long, just because we're talking, laughing and having a good time. I am delighted by her least remark, her most stray thought, her most mild opinion, and am fascinated by all her subtansive differences. The most wonderful thing is that she's at least as intelligent as I am, but her intelligence is very complimentary to my own (although we are both very articulate so there's some overlap). It doesn't even matter to me that she's gorgeous, because her appearance is of such insignificance to her other qualities that I adore. There's an "us" rather than just she and I as individuals, and that's the first time it's happened in a romantic relationship for me.

I'm trying not to make unilateral decisions, such as denying, conceding to, or making demands as in past relationships (not that she is demanding). Instead, we communicate our observations, feelings, needs, and our requests to one another and actually reach consensus through comprimise or creative solutions. This is just like the Nonviolent Communication book, although in a very natural way, not in any stiff formulaic manner.

Last night we had a little stress over possibly mutually being unable to meet some expectations, and when I restated her stress and expectation, as her feeling anxiety about a need of hers being unmet with a quite reasonable request for me to try to meet her need, she did much the same translation with my stress and expectation, and both the stress and anxiety went away (at least for me, and I assume for her). Instead of stressing over a possible lack of perfection, it was a very productive, compassionate way of reaching an effective working comprimise. I'm quite struck by the beauty of this relationship, independent of either of us.

She hasn't read the book (Nonviolent Communication), but she seems to very naturally apply the same skills. That's one of her amazing qualities. It takes me two days of thought and preparation to reach her instant conclusions on things to do with human interaction.

Oh yeah, she likes puns, garlic, and horseradish. I would have settled for "tolerates". How amazing.
posted at 19:19:28    #    comment []    trackback []
 

Nearly Perfect Geek Score

I managed to setup my new Shuttle ST62K Linux machine and reclaim alpha geek status. Both the new machine and the old machine did the same stuff, but this is something I could realistically leave in a living room, since it's small, stylish, and virtually silent. Plus, the new one is faster, has a DVD burner, and firewire and USB 2 (necessary for plan below). It's running Gentoo Linux, ddclient DynDNS, Squid, PyDS, IvyTV and MythTV. Gentoo was the only way to get all the hardware fully supported at the present time (the ST62K uses a bleeding edge ATI motherboard requiring a 2.6.5 kernel, which makes getting my shiny new Hauppage WinTV 250 hard to get working).

The plan is to now move my brother's fried computer's hard drive to my old machine, fix his old machine for my parents, and set everyone (including myself) up with video conferencing for talking to my sister in Chicago. Hence the need to upgrade everyone's hardware (including firewire or USB 2). After that, I guess I'll set up videoconferencing for my uncle Jerry in Boston.
posted at 19:17:20    #    comment []    trackback []
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