Just in case you forgot about Saudi Arabia
My understanding and appreciation for Foucault comes from his idea of 'regimes of truth' in which he asserts that human understanding can a have reading of fact that is highly contingent upon social context.
As a specialist in information technology, I find the implications of this concept very useful in my role in knowledge management and business intelligence. I thus think of a kind of 'thermodynamics of consensus' which is something that requires energy to maintain, rather than something that becomes established over time in positive incremental quanta.
For example, the ideas that 'all men are created equal' or 'polio can be cured' or 'E=MC^2' are not plateaus of human knowledge per se. They are levels of understanding that must be pumped with energy to maintain. That's the energy of education and the energy to sustain an environment of education, and the energy to sustain the will to provide that environment. These become 'regimes of truth' and these regimes may rise to power or fall from grace.
Foucault in this way rather undermines wishful thinking of 'progress' because he understands that knowledge can be created or destroyed because it must be sustained. The genie may be out of the bottle, but it has to be inside a house or the wind will blow it away.
Foucault is misread, I think, by people who reside in very isolated bourgeois societies (houses) where the winds of discovery rarely blow. 'Regimes of truth' which maintain knowledge about the state of nature have no impact on nature itself. You cannot will yourself to levitate. Even if you spend billions of dollars to organize World Levitation Day.
Similarly Foucault has motivated millions to think about 'deconstruction of narratives' towards a greater understanding. You might deconstruct the narrative of an automobile commercial and see that in fact that the roar of Ford Mustang does not make you sexy, but that doesn't change the fact of its engine does roar. People have taken Foucault (heh) a bit too literally in thinking every narrative should be suspect and the only relaible discovery of truth involves deconstructing someone else's version of the truth.
A certain question divides world opinion. There are people who believe in equal rights before the law, and people who believe there ought to be different kinds of laws for different kinds people. People in cosmopolitan, modern nations like America tend to be of the first opinion. People in unfree societies spend a lot of time, because their lives depend on it, trying to bolster up their side in a zero-sum game, and hiding from gunmen if their side falls out of power. It's cultural.
The responsibility for the mess in Iraq is precisely a compromised regime of equal rights and the culture of the Iraqi people themselves who are unused to anything but monarchy. Once upon a time, America and other nations were committed to help fight the second opinion's violent power in that country. Today, not so much. I hear that we are sending about 300 advisors into a population of 32 millions.
The rule of law in Iraq and other 'crappy governments' (c.f. Cobb : Honor Killing & The Innocence of Muslims) is established in bloody spurts by sectarian groups, the militant ends are merely the tips of spears that would always be pointing at each other. Many wags say that this hostility is 1000 years old and America (and other civilized nations) ought to be ashamed to think that it can be solved. They are half right depending upon the racist content of the conclusion. There can be no denying that Sunni and Shi'ites, Arabs and Kurds are at each other's throats. But we dropped atomic bombs on Japan, and they are our friends only 50 years later.
The United Nations is called United Nations, not United Humans because in the context of an equivalency of civil rights (misnomered 'human rights') the world needs to be organized into Nations. Iraq has a civil rights problem and fell and will continue to fall into civil war because all of its minorities believe other minorities are not worthy of life and liberty under one law. Saddam could only enforce 'national' unity in exactly the same way Hitler did, by militarizing society and drawing the people into war - 9 years against Iran, America's old foe, in brutal genocide against the Kurds and subsequently against Kuwait, America's friend.
America, and every other nation on the planet needs peoples to be organized into nations. It is the unquestioned evolution of human organization. These nations require a singular constitutional law defending the civil rights of all its citizens and non-violent and frequent transfers of power. Any other arrangement will lead to sectarian disrespect and hostility.
This is key to the matter of terrorism because a state where the equivalent of political parties operate with violent impunity, aiming only to sustain the ambit of their authority, establishes a permanent state of corruption. Here we called it the Mafia. Whose civil rights are respected when the Mob is controlling things? Nobody's. We have become accustomed to the image of young fools brandishing weapons in their pickup truck patrols. ISIS in Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, C14 in Ukraine. None of these are nation-builders. They are native catalysts of chaos and destruction.
Whether you agree or disagree that America or any nation should assist in establishing the rule of law, civil rights and liberty for any people, you must understand people that don't have that will hate their neighbors and the only power they will respect is power. That's human behavior. Sectarian conflict is primitive, period. Those invested in such arrangements are always to be blamed for their failures to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.
I personally believe with all my heart and soul that no person on this earth should not belong to a nation so dedicated and so consecrated. No one who believes in the brotherhood of mankind should believe otherwise. I understand that the price of evolution from sectarian rule and dictatorship is alwaysblood and treasure. So no matter how clumsy, any genuine effort to establish such rule of law and nationhood is a moral imperative of civilized countries with the wherewithal and courage required. Any backing away from such efforts is the co-signature of human misery.
I've been thinking about the different ways to die in a Bungie shooter or any video game, and I think that the most satisfying kills are those that uniquely humiliate the target. So far they have been the assasinations in Gears and in Halo. But there has always been something special about Halo's deadly purple needler explosions that are utterly unique in gaming. So I'm wondering.. If I had the skills of a Bungie progammer, what kind of super unique kills might I animate that haven't been seen in any other videogame?
Now interestingly, I have a set of ideas based in physics about how you destroy something. Sooner or later in life, you'll find an unopenable can or something stuck that you cannot open - and you think, how can it be with all the forces of physics that I can't get this open? So, yeah. I have a list that makes me think of extremes of temperature, air pressure, water pressure, torque, vibration, sound, sharpness, etc.
So today I'm putting on my twisted thinking cap to imagine some ridiculous weapons.
Liquifaction Being reduced to a crap stain on the ground, or a puddle of goo has got to be in the list. But we all just think of acid, and it's always green and hissy. Now what might just work here is an acid blob gun with a great animation. But what about an acid blob shotgun that shoots out two dozen baggies the size of gumballs? Each acid gumball sticks to you and then they all simultaneously pop and dissolve you in all those places.
Implosion How about a vacuum magazine for a sniper rifle? Instead of a bullet, it's a dart with a total vacuum. It hits your head, your head implodes like a stomped on soda can.
Filament Shredder For close quarters, a shotgun like weapon that shoots out a bolo net. The net goes through you like a cheese cuber, and the you are a pile of ingredients for a chunky Denver Omlette.
Fireworker Here's a weapon that shoots like an RPG. But as the projectile gets close, it lassos your leg and then jerks you up ragdoll style as if you were a mortar. It reaches apogee and boom, you're a red flower.
Spastic Balloon Just like the Fireworker except it drags you all random all over the sky or ground like, you know, a spastic balloon.
Harpoon Yeah we've seen this before in Cel Damage, but there's nothing quite so satisfying as seeing an impaled body fly into the nearest wall. Sick, no? Yes.
Taster's Choice Oooh. Here's a weapon the instantly freeze-dries all the water in your body. Boom, you're Lot's Wife. A pillar of salt.
F5 Who wouldn't want to have a tornado in a can? I think it would make for a really cool grenade. Not quite so deadly, but it can throw you 30 feet. Then again, that depends on where you land doesn't it?
Mortification There's something classic about how the Ark of the Covenant made skeletons out of the Nazi's in that first Indiana Jones movie. Any animation that rots out a body down to the bones has got to be cool.
|All Unintentional Injury Deaths||120,859||100.00%|
|Unintentional MV Traffic||33,687||27.90%|
|Unintentional Natural/ Environment||1,576||1.30%|
|Unintentional Other Spec., classifiable||1,395||1.20%|
|Unintentional Other Land Transport||1,358||1.10%|
|Unintentional Pedestrian, Others||1,074||0.90%|
|Unintentional Other Spec., NECN||1,023||0.80%|
|Unintentional Other Transport||875||0.70%|
|Unintentional Struck by or Against||788||0.70%|
|Unintentional Pedal cyclist, Other||242||0.20%|
I live in Los Angeles County. There are 10 million people here. The budget of the county is 26 billion dollars and it is controlled by five people. Everybody knows the names of those five people because they have been in politics since we were kids. Everybody keeps voting for those same people and nobody cares. We don't know exactly where the money comes from and we don't know exactly where it goes.
Think of it this way. Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant where a man is trying to impress his date? They spend all kinds of money on food, but the food is not so important. It's not about eating; it's not about solving a hunger problem. It's about impressing the lady. That's how our democracy works. It's all about impressing the voter, not about solving the problem, but showing that you can finesse the voter with a fancy plate of issues, policies and rhetoric. They will go all out to get you to the table. They will tell you how important democracy is and how important your vote is. But it's just to get our vote. The politicians don't care who they get the vote from, as long as they get it.
We have a fancy plate of services as voters, but America is a fancy restaurant. The we only get to vote from the expensive menu because America is rich. So what happens? We order whatever, we don't like it we send it back making a big fuss, we try something fashionable, and we never finish and we throw food away.
Many people I have met from other countries are surprised about the existence of dog food in America. Yes, we have so much that even dogs and cats get an expensive menu, and we pat ourselves on the back to show that we can care about anything to any degree.
You asked if my vote counts. Not really.We voters are only asked on the date once every two or four years. We don't get to see the kitchen. We don't know how the food is prepared. We only get to see the expensive menu. Everyday politics in America is like reading restaurant critics, just waiting for the next date.
Once, when we lived in small towns with very small government budgets, the vote counted for a lot more. Maybe we'll get back to that. Maybe we'll even learn how to cook for ourselves.