America’s core ideal: the echo chamber

America is becoming increasingly polarized.

Right-wing discourse consists of endless hand-wringing about how the left consists of “special snowflakes” that need “safe spaces” (or in harsher terms, “echo chambers”) to function, and that left-wing views won’t stand up to the scrutiny of “the real world”. Left-wing commentators counter by pointing out the right’s tendency to ban the official use of terminology that runs counter to their viewpoints, and to exclude minorities from their spaces – correctly pointing out that this is the right instituting their own “safe spaces” and “echo chambers”. As America divides, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that even our core values are drifting apart.

I’d like to posit that this is because we don’t really have the core values that our founding mythology says we do. Instead, we just have one core ideal, the one that our country was really founded on: the very same echo chambers that we endlessly argue about. We want supremacy of the views that we hold, without being challenged by competing views, as a deep-seated cultural ideal.
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My opinions on firearm regulation

So, firearm regulation is a major topic here in the United States as of late, and is a political minefield.

Myself, I feel that additional regulation of the availability of firearms is required to maintain societal stability, but it can be done without banning any classes of firearm – no, not even “assault weapons”, although they’re not even the biggest problem.

I have some ideas for how firearm regulation could work in this country, while still allowing people to own firearms for personal defense, hunting, and other shooting sports. (Yes, I’m aware of the argument that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow armed insurrection. I’ll simply reply with this video.) Continue reading

Proposal: Let’s create a successor to RIAA Radar

For those unaware, RIAA Radar was a tool that Ben Tesch wrote, that made it very easy to determine whether a certain piece of media was released by a RIAA member label, to assist with boycotting the RIAA. It worked by searching Amazon for the search term in question, and returning all CDs that met that search term, along with the label that published that CD, and a simple “safe”, “unknown”, or “warning” image based on whether the label was a RIAA member or not. Unfortunately, due to maintenance and hosting issues, he took it down.

However, I feel that such a service is still extremely useful today, and in fact, should be extended to other content industry organizations, such as the MPAA. Continue reading

Why long haul trucking is an awful idea, and rail is far better for long-distance transport

Semi trucks are a common sight on American roadways, crossing the country, delivering goods quickly.

However, they’re actually a huge problem for our economy. They put tremendous strain on our infrastructure (and they don’t pay their way for their damage to our infrastructure), they’re inefficient compared to trains, and they present a serious safety risk to car traffic.

In my opinion, long haul trucking activity in the US should be extremely reduced. Read on for why that is the case. Continue reading

Communications networks, Tunisia, Egypt, Lieberman, UBB, and you.

Recently, revolts in Tunisia and Egypt have caused the governments of those nations to shut off access to the Internet, to try to prevent protest groups from communicating.

Also, various politicians in the US have been proposing an “Internet kill switch” that would disable access to the Internet, if our infrastructure is threatened. Of course, there’s no checks and balances on that…

In addition, major ISPs in Canada are forcing smaller ISPs into a nasty “usage based billing” scheme that threatens to ruin the Internet for Canada. Of course, US ISPs are seeing if they can get away with it.

So, in light of that, I think it’d be a good idea to set up infrastructure to work around any potential shutdowns or restrictions – both by the government and by ISPs. Continue reading

Thoughts on “The Underground History of American Education”

In my previous post, I linked to John Taylor Gatto’s book, The Underground History of American Education. I did note that I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading it, though.

So, I decided, now’s as good a time as any to start reading it. And, I thought I’d remark on what I was reading. I’m going to jump around a lot, though.

This is going to be a long wall of text, just like my last post. So, everything’s after the break. Continue reading

Interesting video on education, what’s wrong with it, and how to fix it

So, I noticed that Jeri Ellsworth tweeted a link to a video from Dr. Tae, a “skateboarder, videographer, scientist, and teacher,” with his point of view on education, what’s wrong with it, and what can be done to fix it.

I was going to use Twitter to mention my thoughts about this video, but then I thought, I’ve got a whole lot more thoughts than would fit in 140 characters, and this would be more appropriate for a blog entry. Because this is such a long post, I’ll continue after the jump. Continue reading