Saturday, March 14, 2015

I've started SICP... again.

Not much to say here, because I say it over on a new blog I just started.  I'm going through SICP... that is, the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.  Just thought I'd mention it here, in case anyone's following and might be interested in following that, too.  Don't worry, I don't expect it to be terribly interesting to everyone.  :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

What does Freedom mean to you?

There's a lot of lip-service given to Freedom in the United States. I was visiting with some friends in Berlin a few hours ago, and one of them (an American ex-pat) talked about there being much more freedom here. Like, that he could walk into somewhere, buy a bottle of beer, walk out, start drinking it on the sidewalk, and even then take it into the subway, and continue drinking. (I'll note that there are some signs about not drinking alcohol in the subways here, but I've never seen that rule enforced, and I've often seen people drinking a beer in the subway. And yet relatively rarely (though not never) have I seen the kind of drunkenness that seems to me so (comparatively) common in the United States.)

Now, is this an important freedom? As a non-drinker, myself, it's not one I happen to care all that much about, but I do think there may be something to it, somehow.

On the other hand, there's also the "freedom", I imagine some would see it as, for people to smoke in most bars here. A freedom that in many places in the states has been quenched, in favor of the freedom for others to be in a bar without experiencing second hand smoke. In this case, I'd quite definitely prefer the latter freedom, for myself. But maybe there's something to the former, as well, somehow? And even if not, who decides whose freedoms society will do more to protect, when freedoms come into conflict with each other? And how does the decision get made?

What freedoms are important to you?

No answers in this post. Only questions. It's just something my friend got me to pondering about. I'd enjoy hearing thoughts from anyone who may be reading this. Whenever that may be. Of course, you're free not to comment, too. :)