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Liberty and Tyranny

I recently encountered an childhood friend. We started talking politics, and it turns out that our thoughts politically have developed in very different directions. In keeping with the grand tradition of proxy war, we each agreed to choose a book for the other to read and comment on. He told me to read Liberty and [...]

First Impressions

Incheon International Airport has nothing to distinguish it from any other major airport I have ever been to. For the first 100 yards out of the airplane, I didn’t even see a single character of Hangul–everything, including the advertisements, was purely in English. The bus ride from the airport to the inprocessing station took us [...]

Review: Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

When George Orwell wrote 1984, the technology to implement the sort of surveillance state he feared didn’t yet exist. It still didn’t exist when 1984 actually rolled around; a person might be forgiven for having assumed at the time that the relevant tech would stay uninvented for the indefinite future. Just over two decades later, [...]

“By what law will you try me?”

Guantanimo prisoner, whose case had already been dismissed in 2006, is back on trial under the Military Commissions Act. But Hamdan’s central question remained: “By what law will you try me?” The judge responded with the only answer he could: The military commissions law passed by Congress in 2006. “But the government changed the law [...]

True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 9: So You Want to be an Expatriate

One of the more common reactions I get from people newly learning that I’ve lived in Japan is “I wish I could do something like that.” It’s actually not all that hard; all you need is a bachelor’s degree, some patience during the application process, a few thousand dollars to get you over there and [...]

True Stories of Life in Japan, pt 8: Nonverbal Communication

My entire stay in Japan originated because of my interest in Japanese. It wasn’t a particularly serious interest at first, but I discovered somewhat to my surprise that I really liked studying that language. It was only natural that once I actually got to Japan, I continued my studies, even though it meant paying almost [...]

the problem of sorting politicians by the issues should be easier

Politics has never been my thing. I know how I stand on the various issues, but I just don’t care enough to go searching through the huge number of potential candidates to find the one who most closely represents my views; I certainly don’t care enough to volunteer my time on behalf of any one [...]


When leaving Japan, I sold off my monitor. This was a bit of a gamble, but I knew that it would be expensive to ship, and hoped to be able to get something new and better. It turns out to have paid off; I sold the old one for a good price, and bought a [...]


My trip home from Japan was completed almost exactly 48 hours ago now. Aside from the colossal ineptitude of Liberty Airport (Newark, NJ), my trip was fairly smooth and easy. I’ve spent much of the last two days burning through the backlog of novels which were waiting for me here, visiting various relatives, and generally [...]

he writes well

David Brin proposes A Democratic Contract with America. It’s a stance I think deserves wide viewing.