Thursday, May 5, 2016

Another Academic Mistake About Libraries

Marginal Revolution recently dropped a link to Balázs Bodó's 2015 paper, Libraries in a post-scarcity era.

Post scarcity is, of course, a major error in itself. Granted, we have an abundance of text, but we only have two eyes and a finite amount of time to read. Second, the relative abundance of digital storage does not a library, in anyway, make. Libraries, too are extremely scarce, made all the more so due to the ideological impact of institutions like the American Library Association. No doubt, this forms some of the basis for Bodó's confusion on the matter- if the examples of functioning libraries are few and far between, well, one might be forgiven for assuming the mere presence of some files somewhere might a library make.

One of the most vital functions of a library is to actually exist in a particular time and place, so that people can come and discover new things- or at least things new to them. Additionally, we should be providing some level of help searching for materials. Google is, of course, extremely helpful, but it fails pretty fast if you don't know what to Google for, or your search string brings back tons of ads.

So, the digital age really only makes a library more necessary. There should be more of them, likely more specialized, and smaller- because we need more people reading about particular things. This is the real crux of the matter. The mainstream recommendation services can't keep up, and it seems they don't want to. As I have mentioned before, there appears to be a strong inclination to maintain the narrative.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of non-narrative, and more importantly, true things out there. There really isn't much of a substitute for someone actually reading it, and judging whether or not it is useful for their particular location. There are ways to filter text by computer, but this would only provide a ranking, improving the odds the best writing is on the top of the slush pile. It still must be read.

Attention still must be paid. Attention becomes the choke point. This should be the focus of an academic paper, because attention is scarce- especially the attention of intelligent people.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Christians Can't Accept Cultural Appropriation As An Appropriate Critique

Most of the time, progressives pick up things that are easy to pick on. The drunk frat boy in a sombrero. A full Indian headdress on someone not Indian. The sort of things the 'nicer' sort of Christians, including those who appear to be nice at the expense of Christianity, can easily get on board with- like when feminists whine about Trump insulting fat women.

But here's why a Christian can't really play ball with the cultural appropriation meme: we know this is part of the progressive, secular religion, and as such true revelation is not allowed, thus in cultural appropriation terms, we are thieves.

Yes, that's right, we- according the the cultural appropriation mafia, stole the Jewish scriptures, added some of our own notions, and then went and told the entire freaking world about it! We are the ultimate cultural appropriate transgressors.

No doubt, we are also the ultimate target.

Yoga would be cultural appropriation, well, if it was actually Hindu in someway, rather than being a bit of guru scam perpetrated on gullible western women. But if they were to be intellectually consistent, they should give up yoga, and their new love of Holi Phagwa.

Now, obviously, we didn't steal anything- God did some very interesting things, and we ended up with what we ended up with. This explanation is completely unacceptable to the progressive police, so you better not lend any validity to this nonsense.

Monday, April 18, 2016

An Anti-Tradition tradition: Disobedience to 1st Timothy

Much is made among people concerned with the Church about hermeneutics. The folks one would generally conceive of as conservative speak of a hermeneutic of continuity, whereas those on the left have their ever annoying hermeneutic of progess. They call it progress, anyway, but is more like a ritualized hatred of one's ancestors.

So, I have a basic idea that the general horror we suffer under today was brought about by bureaucrats. Bureaucrats have been around for a long time, but they gained significant power when the idea of an absolute king was fashionable, and seized near total power as the revolutionary movement unfolded across the Earth.
Anyone who can truly hold them accountable for their crimes is gone- sometimes one bureaucrat is sacrificed for the sake of another, but few ever feel the full consequences of their crimes. This happened in Christian circles just as much as anywhere.

But, as much as I don't like bureaucrats, there's still a problem with this approach- bureaucrats can, when they are teaching error, refer back to things of an earlier age. Sometimes they merely misuse and abuse what is there; sometimes they find writings that are genuinely problematic and wave them around triumphantly.

But I begin to see a reason:

Anthusa, the Mother of St John Chrysostom (347-407):

Anthusa was an intelligent woman living in the city of Antioch in the 4th Century A.D. She was a woman of means, being married to Secundus, an illustrious officer in the Imperial Army of Syria. The city of Antioch was the starting point of the Apostle Paul’s three missionary journeys and was one of the four chief cities of the Roman Empire. Of its population of about two hundred thousand, half were thought to have been Christian.

It was in this setting that Anthusa bore a son who she named John. While John was an infant, Secundus died, leaving her widowed when she was about twenty years old. Although she had the means to give her son a good education, she dreaded bringing him up amid the corruptions of Antioch and decided to teach him at home for a time. But the burden of rearing him, she later declared, was lightened for her by God’s support and the joy of seeing in him the image of his father.

Anthusa decided not to marry again, feeling that her child must come before her own happiness. She devoted her life to her son, who showed high intelligence and a love for beauty. It was her goal to nurture in him the highest quality of Christian character. In his early years she taught him to love the Bible and encouraged him to study and learn it. She instilled in him an intimate knowledge of the Scriptures which served to help him later in life.

A hasty (likely not the best translation) 1st Timothy quote:

9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

So, we have a younger widow who refuses to remarry, and, as we know from having any interaction at all with churchmen, we know they had no will to contradict her. She was wealthy, and they needed her money. Additionally, we see she is influential to her son, who, while growing up with a near inhuman capability to deny himself, did not do so well at actually being a bishop.

If we think about a wealthy young widow refusing to marry, we can know one of the key reasons might, in fact, be that she just didn't want to marry down. This is entirely possible, and is problematic to the community. The obvious temptation to the clergy is that, for every child she doesn't have, that's more resources for them, so they tend to forget the fact they were serving the God of the Living.

Now, one could be a little bit charitable to the celibate priests and monks, who would no doubt be sympathetic and a little bit naive about a wealthy young woman professing a desire to be like them. Unfortunately, there is no modern recognition that the celibates are what they are- the spiritual equivalent to a military force. Just as today, in the secular world, people are hard at work attempting to make people ignorant of the fact that women shouldn't be serving in the military, so too was this unfortunate coordination between wealthy women and clergy.

So, I suggest it may be possible to see this feminine influence on the Church as a proto-feminism, which, when taken together with gnostic influences pushed the Church in an unfortunate direction.

Of course, I expect even Anthusa would be aghast with the current pope and his childish assumptions, but we must ask ourselves why, can't tradition protect us from such nonsense? It is, is it not, because it is broken? That which we assume is tradition is not- this is something very clear to me because of the behavior of progressives- they will meddle with anything, just because, so that when you go back to it it doesn't work. But here we can see something relatively clear, and often identifiable, since many of those disobedient to 1st Timothy gained some renown. We even know, in this case, that she strongly influenced her son. I have a feeling her example was likely a lead cause in his inability to not make comments about the empress.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What Is The Right City Density?

There tends to be a pro-growth attitude with city density even among environmentalists. I suppose they are somehow assuming more humans in one place means fewer humans everywhere else messing up nature. Of course, we need nature, nature needs us, and we are natural. The problem is we've been behaving rather unnaturally.

So it dawned on me the megacities of the world tend to us government power to accrue more power to itself, which in turn leads more people to go to the megacity. I think it was some discussion of Tokyo. Tokyo politicians appear to be dominating Japan.

But there are similar issues everywhere, and I realized city population density is likely very similar to economies of scale. In all likelihood, given the nature of government costs, businesses have become bigger because then they can distribute those costs across more transactions, whereas if there weren't all those costs, then there would be more small, local businesses.

A similar thing happens with cities. Then there is the political equivalent to stealing- cities tend to annex new areas in order to tax them. Naturally they tax them before they put in new infrastructure, so some politician can make his books look good by annexing and taxing while not (yet) providing services. The city's budget begins to look bad when they finally do get around to putting in infrastructure and providing services, but the temptation is to do it again. What is good or bad is determined by election cycle time, and there is no one with an ownership interest available to take the long view.

Monday, April 4, 2016

And A Question About Ballet

Is it still 1980s style anorexic, don't eat much of anything but a carrot now and then?

If this is still true, the companies must be losing money.

Anybody trying ancestral health/paleo style diets? Athletes (and their teams) get benefits from getting their food straight; have any companies figured this out? I know there's a new crop of hopeful young dancers every year, but surely by retaining people you reduce costs?

Suspension Of Disbelief

When I go through the trouble of trying to watch something, I am actually trying to suspend my disbelief, but lately it seems like people are insistent on doing questionable things. If, for instance, you attempt to write something about ballet, please remember ballet is actually hard work. They've got to eat, train, sleep. Psychosis, excessive drug use, or even just badly timed late nights will tank their career. Whatever relationships they have had damn well better be low-key non-dramatic affairs, ideally of the sort that would be, in an earlier age, marriage. Indeed, one would think, given the discipline necessary, they should have more in common with a monk.

Another noticeable transgression is the applauding of a certain character as great at something, yet mostly relying on that applause to create this assumption in the audience's mind, rather than making much of an attempt at showing direct skill (however artfully generated- I know these people are actors). I noticed this recently in a certain chef movie. There were pretty pictures of food, but it was a jumble- a montage. The actor playing the chef didn't really display much skill- he mostly displayed obsessive compulsive disorder. Similar the ballerina spent more time displaying psychological problems than she did any proficiency. Gestures of adoration from supporting actors can only go so far.

Finally, I ought to like someone. Substituting the crassness of a trainwreck for a sympathetic character doesn't bring any longevity to movies or shows.

Sure, in some cases the surreal works, but it has to be more like a fairy tale. There are always rules in fairy tales. Many writers and entertainers today are allergic to rules. They have pushed so hard on the taboo, that the taboo has become passe. Come on, it's boring. In many cases, it is mind achingly unbelievable.

Friday, April 1, 2016

I wonder how many Bernie voters Trump will be able to get?

The GOP elite, having already hijacked the nomination process from the rank and file several times, are weak. They didn't see a billionaire coming. I am sure they will try something, but there are other elites. There are Democrat elites and their ability to hijack is just fine. Since Bernie is a true campaign finance reform type, the media won't even cover him very much- most campaign money ends up buying adds and stuff. If the money was taken out of politics, many media companies would go broke.

Bernie supporters, of course, see it coming. They've been to the giant rallies. They've had difficulties voting. Some of them can even do enough math to delegate counts and stuff.

So, when the convention comes and goes, and the elites get their way again, what's the answer?

Well, first, if they are actually mad about money in politics- especially business as usual money; the money that supposedly motivated the Occupy Wall Street crowd- Trump is the only candidate not using that money.

Second, if they want change, they must know the two party system must be changed. People on the right are angry enough to break the G.O.P.. What about the leftists? Do they have the will to undermine their elites?

Right now they are set up against Trump. Those idiots in Chicago were all pro-Bernie. But what happens to them when they get the shaft during the convention? Do they start feeling like the Ron Paul people?

I am willing to bet Trump could talk directly to them. Not giving them what they want, but giving them a win against those who took the process away from them.
They will be very emotional- they are very emotional now. Obviously they are not people who need to be anywhere near the reigns of power, because Bernie is a mess and his policies are retarded. But he is an honest mess. He's got more honor than the elites.

Now, obviously, the left will continue to use hate in an attempt to keep Bernie voters from voting for Trump. But I do have to wonder if they'll notice they are hating the wrong guy, and that the power structure that all of us despise is uniquely vulnerable here.

It is April 1st, but it is also intriguing to imagine.