From Weird is Relative

Weird is Relative is a kind of websmorg of bizarre, weird, interesting, and surprising news. As I was cleaning out my bloglines subscription lists (and ongoing, and unfinished, project), I finally looked through the old posts there and found a lot that turned my head. Here are some highlights, which show why this lj is staying in my subs list, and why you should add it to yours.

American kids think the Constitution is permissive. Are they the New Bush Jungen or are they just ignorant kids?

Available everywhere, but just a reminder: there was good press about the vote in South Vietnam, too.

Don’t know what to cook? Have a look. Got a date? Careful with your Mastercard. Got a job interview ahead of you? Think about these questions. Wondering about your height? Compare yourself to some celebrities. Feeling some regret? Send a letter to the Dead Letter Office. Not getting anything written? Make yourself work. Can’t keep fictional timelines straight? Double check them, then! Need to write a resume? Get some tips here. Wanna talk to your prelinguistic baby? Try sign language.

An accidental stalker? Jewish vampires staying kosher? Isn’t this prom dress ugly? (Why is it selling at all?) Hey, if you’ve screwed things up, don’t feel bad—you could have done much worse! Hey, I remember reading about this statue being rubbed lewdly in some novel, but I can’t recall where… Now, this is a form of exercise I could get into!

Hyperdictionary… The online eymological dictionarycuriosities of iological nomeclatureAnatomy for Beginnerswhat mangroves saved during the tsunamimontage-a-google

The worst coporations of 2004Malcolm Gladwell interviewed on his new book, Blink… Carl Zimmer writes about Neanderthals and stem cell research… The possibility of a cancer gene! More Foucault than you’ll ever digest. Men’s and women’s brains are different, see? And here’s an interview with Thebe Medupe on astronomy and apartheid. A review of Jared Diamond’s new(ish) book at Wired, and

Fingerprint heredity… The risks of too much education for rightwingers… The testing of condoms(not what it sounds like)…

Ah… an archive of old SF stories. Wonderful!

UPDATE: Another review of the Jared Diamond book Collapse, this time from the New York Times. It looks interesting, and I want to read this sucker…

2 thoughts on “From Weird is Relative

  1. Hey Gord,

    You know, I consider the US constitution to be too permissive. I don’t think that the KKK, the Heritage Front or Holocaust deniers should have the right to say anything they want.

    Now am I a New Bush Jungen?


  2. Jean-Louis! It’s good to hear from you again!

    No, I don’t think you’re a New Bush Jungen. I think you’re wrong, but I wouldn’t call you that.

    For one thing, I wasn’t completely serious about that term, and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think they simply are ignorant kids. Surely we can’t diagnose America’s current political climate by asking high school kids what they think of documents they’ve likely never read or thought about much in depth.

    I mean, they’re kids, mostly! Most of them are more worried about that new pimple they developed last night, or how to hook up with the hot chick in math class, or not getting caught smoking in the girls’ bathroom. They’re not supposed to be so politically aware, they’re kids, right?

    I mean, not that I think that’s all that true, but since that’s what we’ve culturally licensed high school kids to be like, who are we now to castigate them for it? And so, I was in some ways being a little sarcastic. I really do think it’s fair to write it offto dumb kids, and start thinking instead about how we can educate them a little better, and provide them with better role models and better reasons to worry.

    As for whether the American Constitution is too permissive about free speech: well, you see, I happen to think that stupid, evil ideas are best combatted when the idiots who espouse them are expressing them out in the open. That way, the intelligent, responsible members of society can bitchslap those ideas down to oblivion. When you repress the expression of ideas, the good and the bad alike go underground, and there’s much less room for individuals to credibly sift the wheat from all of that nasty chaff.

    So what I find lacking is not the freedoms of speech, but the vigilance of the society that allows it. If freedom is to be valued, truth is to be valued as well. And online, you see this a lot: I have run across many bloggers whose politics I find ridiculous or even offensive, but when they say stupid things, whether those things are racist, anti-gay, or historical revisionist, they almost always get taken to task.

    too permissive? or just not a vigilant enough press and society in general? if permission to say hateful shit isn’t given, how do we bitchsmack the racists?

    However, I think the constitution is too permissive in some ways, too. My main complaint is focused on the notion of the right to bear arms. It’s a downright insane notion, having a whole society free to be armed with weapons like that.

    I might be able to stomach it if there were efforts to render the stipulation more protective of citizens from idiots bearing arms. For example, in this day and age, it need not be guns: why not bear nonlethal arms? There’s no shortage of those in development, and this long-ago article from Bruce Sterling burgeons with possibilities in that department.

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