April 25th, 2010

[BLOG] Some Sunday links


  • 80 Beats' Smitri Rao makes me wish that Canada, too, had a black R&D budget, since the United States Air Force came up with a very cool and equally mysterious space plane.

  • Acts of Minor Treason's Andrew Barton points out that even though streetcars are an old technology, they're still a very useful technology.

  • Daniel Drezner makes the point that just because the new governments in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan are friendly to Russia than their predecessors, it doesn't mean that they're hostile to the United States. (It also doesn't mean that they're not democratic, but that's a different issue.)

  • Extraordinary Observations' Rob Pitingolo strongly dislikes escalators and elevators, which he sees as essentially pointless wastes of energy.

  • At A Fistful of Euros, Douglas Muir writes about how Kosovo now has its own cell phone network, notwithstanding the Serbian government's unwillingness to let the UNMIK-mandated authority operate.

  • Geocurrents blogs about how the devastation of the Aral Sea has devastated the environment of the aquatic Karakalpak of Uzbekistan.

  • Joe. My. God reports that long-time Toronto gay bathhouse Club Toronto is about to become a straight swingers' club.

  • Marginal Revolution cites a new study suggesting that increased acceptance of queer men corresponds to decreased rates of HIV infection, by encouraging low-risk men to be active and by discourage some high-risk men from taking risks.

  • Michael's Bloor-Lansdowne blog reveals how the Dufferin Mall's site was occupied for fifty years by a race track.

  • At Passing Strangeness, pauldrye writes about how mysterious radio signals emanating from spots within the former Soviet Union turned out to be over-the-horizon radar systems.

  • Slap Upside the Head mocks Bolivian president Evo Morales for blaming homosexuality on chicken consumption.

  • At Sublime Oblivion, Anatoly Karlin criticizes Vladimir Putin for not having done enough, early enough, to deal with Russia's socioeconomic problems, in addition to his unrealistic plans for expanding Russian influence and power despite a lacking infrastructure.

  • Towleroad writes about the news that Archie comics now has an out gay teen character, and more, than his first storyline isn't going to be the learning-to-be-tolerant one so typical of these introductions.

  • Wasatch Economics' Scott Peterson suggests that the speed of the demographic transition in Mexico will diminish the number of immigrants to the United States from that country. Perhaps; then again, natural population decrease is quite compatible with mass emigration, as much of central and eastern Europe shows.

  • Window on Eurasia cites an article suggesting, on the basis of a comment by a diplomat at the Russian embassy to Estonia, that Russia may explicitly recognize the occupation of the Baltic States.

forums, me, non blog

[FORUM] Are current ideologies dead? What's next?

A John Quiggin post at Crooked Timber, "After the Dead Horses", is intended as an address towards a left-intellectual audience. Making the assumption that most of the established right-wing has decayed either into crude identity politics or rhetoric, Quiggin goes on to say that the left need to continue to engage with the right, not only because of its actually existing political power, but because many of its ideas are relevant for a modernized left: take the thesis of the classical social-democratic left, match it with the antithesis of conservatives who criticize convincingly the effectiveness centralized planning or the possibility of revolutionary breaks, and produce ... what?

Yes, I recognize the above post is written from a left-wing perspective. I'm not invested in the claims so much as in the idea that some sort of considered project is necessary if we'll be coming up with new ideologies suited for a globalized world. (I'll borrow a definition of "ideology" from Wikipedia for illustration's sake.)

An ideology is a set of ideas that directs one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare worldview), as in common sense (see Ideology in everyday society below) and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a 'received consciousness' or product of socialization). The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer change in society, and adherence to a set of ideals where conformity already exists, through a normative thought process. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought (as opposed to mere ideation) applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.


Mind, do we actually need new ones?

This post is more of a [FORUM] post than most. I've no particular interest in formulating any new ideology, religious or secular, left or right, whatever--it's just not relevant to me personally, or politically, at this point in my life. I've no time or energy for it. Call me a devotee of "well-meaning detail-orientedness," if you must. Others reading this, I know, do find this relevant and do have the interest in it. What say you all?