Berry on competition

What are People For?I'm not posting this quote from What Are People For? by Wendell Berry because I agree with it. I don't know if I do. But it is thought-provoking and I'd like to hear what everyone thinks.

The ideal of competition always implies, and in fact requires that any community must be divided into a class of winners and a class of losers. The division is radically different from the other social divisions: that of the more able and the less able, or that of the richer and the poorer, or even that of the rulers and the ruled. These latter divisions have existed throughout history and at time, at least, have been ameliorated by social and religious ideals that instructed the strong to help the weak. As a purely economic ideal, competition does not contain or imply any such instructions. In fact, the defenders of the ideal of competition have never known what to do with or for the losers. The losers simply accumulate in human dumps, like stores of industrial waste, until they gain enough misery and strength to overpower the winners. The idea that the displaced and dispossessed "should seek retraining and get into another line of work" is, of course, utterly cynical; it is only the hand-washing practiced by officials and experts. A loser, by definition, is somebody whom nobody knows what to do with. There is no limit tot he damage and the suffering implicit in this willingness that losers, should exist as a normal economic cost (Berry 131).

Board games with siblings

Ticket to Ride OnlineLast night when I got home from class Jenny came over and we got online and started a game of Ticket to Ride with Mike in Florida. It's not very often that all three of the siblings get together and do something, so it was a treat. The online version of ticket to ride is pretty fun. If you want to play then go to the link above and get a username and password. It's free to sign up, but you can't create games. Since I own the game and I resistered with the code that came in the box I can create games. Let me know if you sign up and we can play some time. Mike went out and bought a microphone yesterday so we could talk via Skype while we played. In case you are wondering, Jenny won the first game and I won the second. This brings my all-time win-loss record in Ticket to Ride to 4-14.

Themes and skins

Recently I've been having fun customizing the look of computer stuff I use. I downloaded some new themes for my Pocket PC and the mp3 player on my Pocket PC. Firefox has some nice themes. I downloaded a bunch of them, but this is the one that I'm using now. You may also want to check out Pimpzilla. Here is a guide on how to skin Gmail. I didn't like the stylesheet I downloaded for it, so I think I'll leave it how Google designed it. I would like to customize the look of Windows XP, but there's no good way to do it without buying third party software. So, I downloaded a live cd for Kubuntu, which uses KDE for the desktop environment. KDE has tons of skins and themes. Good times.

Update: Now I'm using this Firefox theme. I think it's pretty slick, and it's related to the KDE project.

Flippin' sweet!

If they don't tumble, we don't sell them

What the . . .

This site combines terrible web design with a very unusual business. And you can view it in English and Japanese.

(via The Daily Sucker)

20 questions against a computer

20Q.net - I know I've talked about this before, but it deserves an update. This computer is getting better. I thought of 'car tire' and it guessed it in 19 tries. And now they've put the game into a handheld device and they're selling it for $14.87.

Protest

What are People For?I've exchanged a few emails with a friend about protest and when it's appropriate. I thought I should share this passage from Wendell Berry's What Are People For?.

Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone's individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence (Berry 62).

I'm more optimistic about the potential of protest to bring real change than Berry seems to be here. But, I thought his conclusion about the real value of protest was especially germane to our discussion about war protest.

Network+ Training

Tonight I start my Network+ training. I'll be at Foss Training Center after work for the next two weeks. I'm excited about the class and I've been going through the first few chapters of the textbook.

MP3 player in a cassette

Mobiblu DAH-220I've always liked listening to cassettes, but I hate that you have to place the cassette in a player. I just want to plug my headphones directly into the cassette. Now I can buy the Mobiblue DAH-220 and do that very thing. It's a portable mp3 player shaped like a cassette tape. Listen to it with headphones, or pop it in your tape deck and control it with the stereo controls. Ok, I don't think I would ever want one of these, but it is a cool idea.

(Via Accordian Guy)

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