by John Q on May 15, 2007

This survey says I’m an Internet Omnivore, but reading the descriptions I’m more of a Lackluster Veteran. I don’t like mobiles/cellphones much, because they’re fiddly and unintuitive, and I only rarely send text messages – I keep forgetting where the space bar is. However, once the iPhone comes out, I expect to be properly omnivorous. (H/T Edumacation* – Also an Omnivore)

* While I’m at it, can anyone point me to the origin of constructions like Edumacation, Journamalism and so on. Wikipedia isn’t much help, and Uncyclopedia’s entry, while edumacational, gives no etymamology.

The Troll-Whisperer

by Kieran Healy on May 15, 2007

Cory Doctorow coins a phrase about Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Dogs and Other People

by Kieran Healy on May 15, 2007

Megan McArdle’s dog, Finnegan, contracted an infection and had to be put to sleep. She posted about it. I thought: soon, some gobshite will show up in the comments, deriding the way she felt at four in the morning the night her dog died. And sure enough. Gotta love the intertubes.

Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell has died, too. In terms of net good brought into the world during their respective lives, Megan’s dog is probably ahead of Falwell. The conjunction of events reminded me of Oliver Goldsmith on morality, dogs and men.
[click to continue…]

The Great Philosophers

by Harry on May 15, 2007

Via Larry Solum, a piece in the New York Sun by Steven Smith, about Rawls, occasioned by the publication of Rawls’s Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. (It’s sitting on my shelf, waiting for the summer: one friend commented that the paper is cheap, but in fact I like that for some reason).

One comment struck me as odd:

His very modesty and lack of speculative curiosity are what exclude him from the ranks of the great philosophers. Rawls is not an Isaiah Berlin with his anguished sense of the conflict of goods which besets human life; nor is he a Leo Strauss with his vivid awareness of the forces of persecution with which philosophy has always to contend; nor is he a Michael Oakeshott with his diagnosis of the dangers posed by excessive rationalism to the goals of a free society.

All true (except the not-great bit, in my opinion). But doesn’t this carry the implicature that, unlike Rawls, Berlin, Strauss and Oakeshott were great philosophers? Interesting thinkers, all of them, but great philosophers? Maybe I’m misreading it.