litch: (arr)
Good bleeding gods!
I just saw in [livejournal.com profile] atomslife journal this story: http://www.statesman.com/search/content/metro/stories/09/14dragshow.html
(go to tom's journal if you don't want to use bug me not)

The mayor of roundrock is giving a downtown coffee house a hard time for having a drag show there. When he didn;t feel he was intimidating enough he sic'd the firemarshall on them.

Am I the only person (no) who see's a mayor saying something like "Maxwell said Roberts should pay attention to public perceptions if she's going to stay successful as a business owner." the same way I would a known mafioso say "nice place you got here, shame if something happened to it".
litch: (Default)
Cool, the city council voted to add an ammedment to their contract with walgreens (walgreens is the contracted pharmaceutical vendor for the city) requiring they fill perscriptions even if the pharmacist doesn't want to.

I'm glad I work in a city that is actually doing something about this outrageous crap the right to life pharmacists have been pulling.
http://news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=143579

Unfortunately at the same time they are ponying over 50 million in corporate welfare to get the new samsung plant. But it at least is a fit for our community.

meetings

Aug. 17th, 2005 12:04 pm
litch: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] fautian_wish was whining about her meetings running long

I've actually gone to a lot of good meetings, but they're outnumbered by the not so good meetings pretty significantly. Usually what happens is the meetings start to get out of control, people clamp down and you get a few good ones, then things spiral out again.

The one that worked best actually had a very formalized process (I'm told it's the model the toastmasters use) where you have a couple of roles and some understood structures:

One person defines the agenda. They take input from all concerned parties about what needs to be talked about and then sends out that agenda to everyone who will attend the meeting so they know what will be going on, when and where the meeting will be and can be prepared.

One person keeps notes and then disseminates the notes after the meeting along with a list of action items and who is expected to be resposible for bringing the results to the next meeting.

One person acts as a timekeeper, every one who has a presentation is expected to stick to a set interval (or let the agenda person know they'll need more time ahead of the meeting) and a similar interval for questions and the timekeeper signals them when they hit the point.

one person acts as the facilitator, makes sure that everyone who has something to say gets a chance (which is important in meetings with milquetoast women) but they also signal people when they start to repeat themselves or when the discussion starts to wander off topic.

The first couple of meetings with this sort of structure feel a bit odd but it makes the time spent in meetings so much more productive that everyone falls into the pattern easily.
litch: (Default)
So I've been poking through the Austin Library's Librarians List of Best Recent SciFi and checking out a couple of them. I am really impressed with Scott Westerfeld's Risen Empire series. I think my favorite sub-genre of science fiction is Space Opera, I like large stories, interplays of societies as experienced through individuals. I think it is this genre that most cogently addresses the fundamental question of "why are we here" by looking at what we can be.

I initally thought this might be a vampire novel, since its blurb touts a 1600 year old undead emperor, but it isn't really. I like the meditation on transhuman-human interaction and the the gooey love story in the middle of the yummy space battles is superfine.

The same day I got the first half of this book I also got Catherine Asaro's Primary Inversion it wasn't as good. Not utterly a waste but there was too much romance novel meets mediocre anime about it. It feels like she wrote a really bad novel, then went through and tried to salvage it and didn't completely succeed. She wrote a later novel that won a nebula, The Quantum Rose that I'll probably get around to reading but I am not in a great hurry.

Helmets

Jun. 21st, 2005 06:37 pm
litch: (Default)
I've started fishing through the available materiel on helmets, I was hoping someone has come up with something I've been wanting for a while but I can't find it. I used to ride three wheelers as a kid so I've spent a lot of time in them and not approaching this from a completely theoretical point of view. It seems that in the last decade the biggest advancement in helmets is the leap from fiberglass to kevlar on the highend buckets. whoop.

I want a helmet that augments my senses. At a very minimum they should have headlights on them but there's so much more your could do. You can buy helmet speakers but why the hell hasn't anyone ever put a pair of microphones on the out side of one? It seems like something you might want to be able to route in to your speakers and maybe even set to override your mp3s. Yeah you can get a camera for a helmet but not a helmet with a built in camera and lets just forget such obviously cool shit like mini-huds.

C'mon, what the fuck?
litch: (Default)
I feel like there should be a crime: "failure to raise a human being" such that if you kid does something that shock the conscience (like those in that pack of predators that beat the bum to death on a lark) you have to spend the equivelent of a minor manslaughter charge in jail.

But really, there shouldn't be, we don't need to punish anyone any more in this society than we do now. We need a nanny state for the children in our society, for our own protection. Every child should be assessed as they grow and if they seem to be twisting into something sick we need to take corrective action to try and shape their behavior into something acceptable (and if they can't be reshaped, than simply controlled).

Punishment

May. 25th, 2005 04:05 pm
litch: (Default)
Punishment doesn't work, it will not reliably change behavior. It's been studied intensively for half a century and proved repeatedly. But it is still a fundamental expression of our culture. Even people who are decent otherwise charitable and apparently loving cling to punishment like a lonely five year old with a wooby.

Punishment doesn't work, but we swim in punishment. Forget prison and the entire criminal justice system, look at our games, our common business practices, our childrearing habits, even our driving. Every damn thing we do reeks of punishment at some point.

is it any wonder life hurts so much sometimes?

Punishment doesn't work, but I feel good when I punish someone, it's a barbarous kind of glee. In it's most absolute sense it is just a delight in expressing power over someone. It's just hurting someone because you want to and you "can" (can in the sense that it's socially approved, are permitted).

So punishing doesn't work, what do we do instead? I think we should use behavior modification as much as possible, and where it doesn't prove effective, limit the transgressors exposure to society so that they are closely watched and physically prohibited from engaging in the unwanted behavior. I also think that any competent adult should always have the right to choose not to live in a society that make such demands. We also need to have rational social strictures that only limit activities to the degree they impact others and recognize that corporations are not people.

It's admittedly what many people would call idealistic, but it has the sterling virtue of not obviously not working (unlike our current system).

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