Opinions – last round

If there are any more takers, ask here.

: Massachusetts’ natives’ driving – Are you at that stage yet yourself??? I don’t have too many complaints, based on my experience driving to Boston from NY last month and then Boston to Gloucester and back the following day. I found the heavy traffic around the intersection of the 93 and the 95 near Stoneham a bit annoying, but bypassed it on the way back by detouring through the town to see the house where I lived in 1973-74. The worst congestion was encountered in southern Connecticut, and though some of them may have been Massachusetts natives, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

: spam, spammers and possibilities (if any) to fight them – you may or may not be aware that I managed part of the campaign to make spam illegal in the EU a few years back. In those innocent days, content-related filters were frowned on by us enthusiasts; what was wanted was a one-click LARTing mechanism (LART being an obscure acronym for the process where you complain about a spammer’s behaviour to their service provider). Things are very different now – one of the most attractive things about Gmail is that its spam filters are very good. These days I have less time for such activism, but once or twice a week I look in the spam folder of my Gmail account and run the most recent few through spamcop. The big picture is that we’re winning – the major service providers in the US have clearly decided to take legal action, the OECD is coordinating other countries’ responses and even the Chinese, I understand, are cracking down. But it’s ging to get a bit worse before it gets better.

: Fear – I have little time for it. FDR of course famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. If in a state of apprehension and worry, the thing to do is just take a piece of paper and write down the worst that can happen. Think through it, think through the consequences, and (normally) how the world will keep on turning afterwards. It’s a much better use of your time that going round in circles worrying about the same thing over and over.

: how the world could be made a better place – not unrelated to the last. First of all, on the geopolitical level, I’m a total supporter of the Make Poverty History concept and also therefore of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. As I’ve made clear before, I’m not an economist, but it seems to me that these are achievable and desirable concepts. Second, on levels stretching from the purely personal to the highest levels of politics, everyone should “seek first to understand, rather than to be understood”. So much conflict is based on an inaccurate knowledge of what the other side’s goals really are. I would like to make people just sit down and listen to each other for a change.

: Parenthood. What’s the most important things you want your children to learn, what’s the most important thing you think you can teach them/do for them? – Hmm, a very tricky one. First off, I think parenthood is the most worthwhile and enduring challenge of my life. But second, given our particular family circumstances, I’ve learned not to invest too much hope in my children learning any particular skill or pattern of behaviour. I think I’d be content for each of them, in their different way, to reflect in their interactions with the world the joy that I believe God feels in his creation. And I don’t think I can ask for anything more.

One thought on “Opinions – last round

  1. Note that the source for Hugo winners you have listed has an error. Patrick Nielsen Hayden won the Best Editor – Long Form. Ellen Datlow won the Best Editor – Short Form. Hugoawards.org has the winners reversed.

    I was very happy to see that Moon won. Less happy about other results. Spent yesterday evening with Fred Pohl’s wife at the Chicon 7 Site Selection announcement party.

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