Check out anarchist
I read letters
to a young contrarian last night. I enjoyed Hitchens’ writing
quite a bit. He’s funny, self-deprecating, but also erudite and lets
you know it. His relentless anti-religiosity is sort of a relief in
these — what? — nothingness-forsaken times.
He does include a long defense of reductionism that I thought
missed the point. Most questions don’t resolve to simple moral
principles where we can take an unqualified stand; people adding
unnecessary complexity to a situation can (and his own principles
support this) be attacked on the grounds of disingenuousness; and
finally one might suspect reductionism simply because “all the wrong
folks are doing it.” (There’s a funny, but private, story about this
phrase, but I was too lazy to find another way to put it.)
He did call himself a “soixante-huixtard”, a term I’ve always
rather liked, just because I was born in 68 and feel a sort of literal
affinity for it as a good year .
The idea that “only an open conflict of ideas and principles can
produce any clarity” could be said to be one of the underlying
principles of free software.
I also read Word
Freak. This is an interesting look at both Scrabble and
consequently obsession. I found it quite gripping, though at times
(perhaps necessarily) predictable in terms of its format and topics.
I’d recommend it even to non-Scrabble enthusiasts.
Reading about Maven (not the Java Maven, the Scrabble-playing
program Maven) reminded me of my long-shelved plan to write a program
to play Clue (Cluedo for Europeans). My problem playing Clue was
always finding a nice way to represent all the information going by, I
thought it would be nice to have an omniscient assistant. I looked a
little but couldn’t find a free software program for this.