September 22, 2007 archive

Identities: Who do you think you are? (Pt.1)

Before Freud, there wasn’t a subconscious and identity just meant your name and parentage.  Once we found the key to our internal door however, it only took five minutes of poking around in there to realize it’s not that simple.

In the twentieth century, after Freud, identity came something else – your sense of self, the idea of yourself that you carry around with you.  It’s your psychic skin – your mental avatar. It orients you and shapes you and it’s taken for granted.

  But you’re not born with it.  Babies don’t know who they are, picture themselves or have a sense of self… so how do we get it?  Where does it come from?

French psychiatrist Jacques Lacan tells us a ‘just-so” story about how we first get our identity.  It’s a story that strips things down to raw consciousness, and holds some fascinating clues to the human condition…

The Free Hugs Report

“Free Hugs” signs went up this morning in Madison, Wisconsin at the Capital building downtown during the busy farmers’ market.

The weather was a beautiful 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My step-son Eddie and I spent about two hours walking the perimeter of the market while Firecrow played photographer.

Jump for more hugs:

Iraq Moratorium Action – Berkeley, CA


Posted for the Iraq Moratorium  (and Alma)

Peak Oil and the Fall of Suburbia.

Last week I diaried on Kunstler’s The Long Emergency (Wikipedia), first here and then at Big Orange … and the day after this went up here, a slightly shorter version of this essay became a diary at Big Orange.

One aspect of Kunstler’s work, and the one where he is on strongest ground, is the argument that the coming explosion in crude oil prices, as we pass peak oil and start descending down from the peak, is the end of Suburbia.

Of course, one reason I was so quickly persuaded by this argument is that I had already come to the same view. The 1950’s to 1970’s were Suburban Spring, the 1980’s to the Naughties have been Suburban Summer, and now we can look forward to Suburban Autumn.

Or, since I come from a northern climes with deciduous trees, the Fall of Suburbia.

How to Second Life 2 – Kossack Fullstop at Orientation Island.

Well, I spent the morning before Little Loner woke up walking around Orientation Island on Second Life, completing tutorials, and happily taking snapshots. Well, snapshots are disabled on Orientation Island, and I was too sleepy to notice, so there went my morning.

Still, thanks to the screenshot utility in Ubuntu Linux, I can show you  how to log in to SL, and the first four tutorials on Orientation Island – the required ones.

Again, if you’re not interested in Second Life and/or think it’s a waste of time, don’t bother telling us – this diary is a response to requests for help from the community having trouble with Second Life, so I’m not going to bother trying to sell it.

Oh, and lots of pictures below the flip. You have been warned.

Join me below the flip for links and what your first login to Second Life will look like.


On the one hand I have never been someone who celebrates “special occurences” since I have always believed that each event is special in its own way.  On the other hand my past bouts with my OCD have imbued a certain Monk-like behavior as regards to numbers.

Today is the 100th consecutive week with a Teacher’s Lounge.  The special meaning that holds for me right now is that it means in 4 more editions, TL will reach having existed for two years and on the following Saturday will be it’s 2nd birthday.  If the calendar went metric, maybe I wouldn’t have to quibble about this. 🙂

But I’ll start planning (famous procrastinator words) something bigger for next month.

Meanwhile there is today.  What I would like to generate is some feedback.

Pony Party : Dog Walking Edition

Now that the weather is more tolerable, Arno and I have gone back to our walking routine. At one point during August, even early in the morning, it was so humid you could have cut a piece of the air out and made a sand which. If Arno doesn’t get his walk he becomes pesky, even when he gets his walk he is a high energy clown. Once we get back from holidays in October he is also going back to obedience class.

Lapis Lazuli and Smoke

The outdoor tank serving as the home for a family of harbor seals was relatively quiet.  Only a few straggling tourists wheeling strollers filled with cookie-crunching toddlers were pointing fingers at the slowly lolling seals.

The very oldest, Smoke, swam by, her blue-white cataract eyes open, and her well-worn pattern through the water predictable and safe.  Always safe. She glided to the far end of the tank and diffidently sank to the bottom where sleep awaited.

One of her offspring stood silent sentry upright in the water above her. As vigilant and expressionless as a Buckingham Palace guard, his gaze never faltered, his posture never changed.

Emmanuel Todd: ‘Iran is not dangerous’ (but Sarkozy is)

In yet another fascinating interview, demographer Emmanuel Tood (best known for his prediction – based on demographic trends – of the Soviet Union collapse, and his more recent predictions of the “end of the US empire“) discusses Iran at length, and suggests that demographic trends in the Muslim world, and in particular in Iran, suggest a massive weakening of the influence of religion over their populations, rather than the opposite.

Bringing you one of our famous bilingual two-column diaries from the European Tribune

British Army Chief: “Our opponents…are Iraqi nationalists”

“Our opponents in the main are Iraqi nationalists, and are most concerned with their own needs – jobs, money, security, hope. And the majority, therefore, I would suggest are not bad people.”

General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the British Army, speaking about the Iraqi resistance (via) during a recent speech at the Institute for International Studies (IISS) in London.

Doing it for Ourselves 1.1

Last week I posted the first of this fledgling series here. This series is about the broad theme of self reliance and sustainable living. Each week’s post will have a different topic or focus, though I hope people will use the comments to talk about whatever their related interests and specialties might be or ask questions that others can answer. Today’s installment will focus on preservation, or how to make the things you have at home last.

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson from Self Reliance

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau from Walden

Race, Gender, Bigotry, and the Presidential Primary

An argument one can occasionally hear being made runs like this: a woman or a black man would enter the general election for the Presidency at a disadvantage due to (supposedly) widespread misogyny and racism. Under this logic, of the top three, being a white male, John Edwards is presented as the best candidate. This argument was made in a particularly irksome troll diary the other day, and a little digging uncovers it elsewhere on the internets.

There are many, and many good, reasons to support John Edwards, as I do. This, however, is not one of them, for the simple reasons that it’s morally reprehensible, that the candidate disdains it and that, lastly, it’s not supported by actual polling data.

Details over the fold.

(Originally posted at Daily Kos; the HTML rendering here is somewhat messed up, so you have to, alas, scroll to see the tables)

Load more