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Blah blah search terms blah blah

It’s the 15th again, and the means search terms. This one is going to be pretty short, because almost all of them were slight variations on stuff I see every month. In fact I almost just skipped it this month entirely, but there were just enough interesting ones that I’ll do it. This particular monthly exercise may not last much longer, though.

As usual, search terms are bold while my commentary is italicRead the rest of this entry

Bad day

Some days you just don’t have it in you. I did get a proper post started, but it’s not going up tonight. Maybe in the morning it’ll seem less daunting. Good night everyone.

The problem with short posts

Maybe it’s twitter’s fault, when I free myself from the 140 character limit, I just get verbose. I like to think I’m living Bruce Lee’s philosophy of being like water, I shape myself to the available writing space.
Anyway, the post I started last night is getting long with no end in sight, and I have places to be today, so this will have to do this morning. I’ll try to have something with substance up tonight. Have a great day!

Post a Day update

I got this in my email yesterday, telling me that site badges for the Post A Day challenge are now available for 2012. I’ve decided not to put such a badge on my blog, since that would be tempting fate and I’d probably never post again.

They also announced that the official Post A Day tag is now postaday, which surprised me. When I started posting again after the new year, I started using postaday2012 without a second thought. Having considered it, I’ve decided not to change that, though I will tag this post with the new approved tag. Partly this is ’cause I’m too lazy to go back and change the last thirty posts, but mostly it’s because having to check the year when I tag a post forces me to think about how I’m tagging it. Let’s face it, my poor mind needs the exercise.

Yeah, I’m phoning it in today. They can’t all be winners.

The Fucking Patriarchy, Part 3

Well, I’m clearly coming down with a cold, so I’m going to try to make this quick today.

What do you call someone who isn’t interested in a long term relationship, but just wants to swing free and have casual sex? Does your answer change with the sex of the person in question? These aren’t just rhetorical questions, it’s easy to accept things like this as normal and never really think about it, never even notice the double standard.

What’s with health insurance that covers viagra but not birth control? Or vasectomies any time, but tubal ligation only if the woman has at least three children? Why is sexual autonomy simply assumed for men, but women have to fight for it?

The only answer I’ve found so far is the base assumption of the fucking patriarchy, that women are inferior. Their desires simply aren’t as important. Controlling whether you get pregnant or not isn’t as vital as getting a good hard erection. As for sterilization, well, a man knows his own mind and can make his own decisions, but women clearly can’t be trusted with important choices like this.

Back in August there was debate going on about women’s health services being covered by insurance companies. (I think the actual issue was making coverage a legal requirement, but I don’t remember and I’m sneezing too much to look it up.) The GOP was heavily opposed, especially to covering birth control. The arguments they presented were bizarre, suggesting that broad access to birth control would threaten extinction. Leaving aside the insanity of such claims, why is it even a debate whether health insurance covers women’s health? Did they have a similar argument over health services specific to men? I must have missed that one.

Starting to feel pretty miserable, so I’m off to take some cold medicine and get some tea and soup. More tomorrow.

The mind is a strange thing

I got a flu shot today. While I was getting it I was thinking about how I never look at a needle when I’m giving blood or getting a shot. I don’t have any special terror of needles, I don’t have any trouble with the tiny amount of pain they inflict, but somehow I just can’t watch it. It feels like if I look I’ll chicken out.

I mean, it’s not like it feels any different whether I look or not, and it’s not like I don’t still know exactly what’s going on. I can’t fool myself into thinking that this guy isn’t jamming a needle into my bicep and injecting me with half a milligram of virus corpses just by not watching, but somehow I just have to look away.

This seems especially weird because decorative piercings, which require much larger needles that hurt a lot more, I watch intently the entire time. I don’t have many of those, so maybe it was the novelty of the thing that made the difference there, but that seems wrong too. It seems like unusual situations would make me more squeamish, not less.

In summary, the mind is weird and I don’t understand it. Tune in tomorrow for more weird stuff that I don’t understand!

The one depends upon the other

Well, so much for writing a day ahead. Anyways, here’s what we’re talking about today:

Topic #270:

… How would you compare the importance of electricity with the invention of the internet? or the cell phone? Can this kind of comparison be made? If you had to lose one of these inventions, which would you keep? And why?

Strictly speaking I don’t think such a comparison can be meaningfully made, but that’s no fun so let’s do it anyway.

Electricity is a natural phenomenon, one required by the laws of physics that our universe works within, and one that our own bodies make use of. Not only are the technologies mentioned dependent on it, if you were to magically remove electricity we’d all drop dead, so I’m calling that the most important!

But it seems more in keeping with the spirit of the question to assume it means the infrastructure we’ve created to run handy electrical devices at home. That puts us in a strange position, because it was adopted so much earlier than the others. The world was really a different place and it’s difficult to say how much of that was directly influenced by it. I do think it’s interesting that the first really world-changing electrical technology was that ancestor of the internet: the telegraph. It’s easy to forget that before that people had to carry messages to their destinations. But that wasn’t really a part of having electricity in your home, as far as I can tell in the beginning that was only used for lights. I say “only” like having artificial light isn’t a big deal, but however incredibly useful there were already many other ways to produce it.

Cell phones feel pretty obvious compared to the others, I mean they’re really just a synthesis of telephone networks & radio, technologies that were old long before anyone had batteries up to the needs of practical cell phones. If nothing else having pocket communication did change one thing forever: horror stories. Isolation is a major part of horror, and those pesky phones need to be taken out right away! Which highlights the incredibly big change cell phones have made: personal safety. The ability to call for help right away has certainly made a a difference.

Finally, the internet. It was game-changing right out of the gate.  Just like the telegraph before it the internet has impacted the world in ways nobody expected. Tactics that worked for centuries have to be modified to cope with the thing. We likely still aren’t fully aware of the ways it’s changed the world, and it’s not done yet.

I’m having trouble deciding just how to interpret “important” in that question. I think in terms of dramatically changing society the internet probably comes out on top, at least if you count the sort of smartphone software that uses the internet. But of course you always have to remember that both internet and mobile phones depend on the electrical infrastructure. In the long run they are subsets of the ongoing impact of widely available electricity. Bah.

I suppose if I could have some sort of magic computer & cell phone that didn’t need electricity, I could live comfortably washing my clothes & dishes by hand, keeping my food in an icebox, reading by candles or gaslamps. Remembering to wind the clocks. I’d miss the fans in the summer. But that’s silly, because I almost never use my cell phone, and I’ve only had it since the end of August. So I’ll keep my internet first, and then the thousand little conveniences of home electricity. The cell phone is handy in emergencies, but otherwise I can take it or leave it, really.

Ta ta for now.

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