Friday, August 27, 2010

Links to ponder and appreciate

Some people really aren't like you and me. I've read some horrifying stories that convince me. If you haven't, here's one that is relatively benign:

Poisoned by Celebrity
A man called Graham Young poisoned several people, some to death and others only to near-death, in the 1960s and 70s in England without any pecuniary motive, indeed without any obvious motive at all, starting when he was thirteen or fourteen years of age. Among his victims (who did not die) were his father and his sister. It is probable that he poisoned his step-mother (who was devoted to him) to death.
The story is told by his sister, who proves that just as there are sociopaths, there are good people:
Furthermore, the goodness of the author herself is obvious, precisely because she is herself so unaware of it. Not only was she reluctant to believe evil of her brother, but even when that evil became manifest to her she did not cast him into outer darkness. Her love, the ordinary love of a sister for a brother, exceeded her condemnation of him: which did not mean, however, that she sought any legal exculpation for him, or made any excuses for him. She loved him as a brother, but as a citizen she knew that he had to be punished and the public protected from him.

James Hance has a series of prints featuring an alternate-universe Christopher Robin whose Hundred Acre Wood is full of creatures from Star Wars. Wookie-the-Chew is his Biped of Very Little Brain and the Piglet-analog is R2D2.

Both hat tip Isegoria, which is well worth reading.

One of the readers at Get Rich Slowly asks what he, as an 18-year-old, needs to know about finances? In addition to a good reading list and a set of general suggestions (about budgeting, learning a work ethic, etc.), the comments include such gems as:
Don’t sign up for a credit card just to get a free t-shirt or gift card.
Choose your friends wisely. It’s so much easier to fall into debt yourself when your friends are all putting bar tabs and iPhones on their credit cards.
Curb or eliminate “bad habits:” alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, coffee, binge eating, etc can eat up your savings pretty fast. During my senior year of school, I discovered that I was spending 1/4 of my work study salary on coffee drinks! Sleeping more helped my bottom line.

I Want a New Left explains why he's taking on his own side:
I’ve noticed that there isn’t much solidarity among liberal and leftist academics. It’s true that they can often have pleasant conversations because of a shared hatred of Bush, Sarah Palin, and conservatives generally. But beyond that, there can be a lot of anger towards other liberals and leftists.
* * * * *
As for giving aid and comfort to the enemy, as a self-critical leftist that is the sort of thinking I’ve left behind. I agree with conservatives on some things and disagree with them on others, and I don't feel a bit inclined to keep quiet about this.

Outer Life examines vocabulary and philosophy in the word "disillusioned."
I suddenly saw it as if for the first time. Dis-illusion. The removal of illusion. What is so disappointing about being freed from illusion? Why isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t disillusion be a happy word?

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