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Some thoughts on Philip Pullman, free speech and de-platforming

I think often of this speech Philip Pullman gave regarding the rights and limits associated with free speech. I like what he says, and I like how he says it.

I’d like to see a similar one for de-platforming. No one has a right to be popular on social media. No one has a right to access and use a specific platform. No one has a right to stay on the platform if they don’t abide by the rules. If they get kicked off, they can complain on other platforms. They can complain to the owners of the platform. They can build a platform of their own and make their own rules and say what they want in a law abiding way.

But wait, isn’t that a violation of someone’s free speech? I don’t think it is. It gives too much power to existing platforms to treat them like utilities. They are not utilities. If they are utilities, then they should be heavily regulated. Better that they are not regulated, that they do not gain too much power, and that people that want to exercise their free speech build their own platforms.

Free speech should be defined within the context of a citizen and their government. People should be able to say what they want within the law. People should also be willing to accept the social consequences if they say something that offends others. That is what Pullman is saying in some ways. If his book shocks and offends you, you can take action that may harm him by reducing the number of books he might sell. That is the consequence he is willing to take in order to write the book he wanted to write. He understands that free speech has consequences. The one consequence he is not willing to accept is to be prevented from speaking. (I would add that the other consequence he is unwilling to accept is to be physically threatened, an all too common threat that hangs over discussions of free speech on the Internet.)

People who are deplatformed are not prevented from speaking either. They are being prevented from speaking the way they prefer, and that is a different matter. They want to speak their way without the consequence of being deplatformed.

 

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What Happens to Churches in the 21st Century?

Quite a few things, according to this: www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/what-should-america-do-its-empty-church-buildings/576592/

if you have a church in your neighbourhood, there is a good chance one of the things mentioned in the article will happen in the next 10 years.

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Are the new iPhones more expensive than ever?

That’s been a question I have been asking myself for some time. I felt like the price just keeps going up. And if you read articles like this, it’s easy to conclude it’s true.

But here’s some numbers on the least expensive models over time, taken from this:

iPhone (4GB): $499
iPhone 3G (8GB): $599
iPhone 3GS (16GB): $599
iPhone 4 (16GB): $599
iPhone 4S (16GB): $649
iPhone 5 (16GB): $649
iPhone 5s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 6s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6s Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 7 (32GB): $649
iPhone 7 Plus (32GB): $769
iPhone 8 (64GB): $699
iPhone 8 Plus (64GB): $799
iPhone X (64GB): $999

Looking at that, I have to think that the phones are getting more expensive, but likely they have always been that way. (And note, this doesn’t account for inflation or the improved quality of the phones, including greater storage.)

Occasionally Apple will make a cheaper phone like the 5C or the SE that are essentially remixes of older models. Or they will continue to support a wider range of phones, like continuing to sell the 7, the 8, and now the X. But it seems the high end was never inexpensive and likely never will be.

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Cinephilia & Beyond on the Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine


A visit to this page is a must for Blade Runner fans: Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine: A Fascinating Blast from the Past from the Heart of Ridley Scott’s Masterpiece • Cinephilia & Beyond.

Pull quote:

The Official Collector’s Edition Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine is a wonderful source of information, abounding in great photos and articles; a genuine treat both for hardcore fans of the film and all the newbies who just got introduced to the world of Rick Deckard. There are a lot of fascinating stuff here, but we’re especially excited about the interviews with Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford and Douglas Trumbull. We’re incredibly thankful to webmaster Netrunner from brmovie.com, who put a lot of effort into digitalizing the magazine and even contacted Mr. Friedman to get his blessing for the endeavor. While Netrunner shaped the material by separating photos from the accompanying text, we chose to offer you a .cbr file of greater resolution and quality, so you can browse the content more easily. If we may, we’d like to suggest using a little program called ComicRack for checking out this priceless blast from the past. Enjoy the read!

 

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Why suicide is falling around the world, and how to bring it down more

This fact is promising and the article in the Economist is worth reading (you don’t need a subscription to read it.)

Key quote for me:

Nonetheless, beyond America’s gloomy trend is a more optimistic story: that at a global level, suicide is down by 29% since 2000 (see article). As a result, 2.8m lives have been saved in that time—three times as many as have been killed in battle. There is no one reason. It is happening at different rates among different groups in different places. But the decline is particularly notable among three sets of people.

via Why suicide is falling around the world, and how to bring it down more – Staying alive.

 

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My favorite tutorial on setting up a Raspberry Pi


Is this Setting up Raspbian (and DOOM!) – learn.sparkfun.com

Not only will you be up and running with a working Raspberry Pi, but you can also play a limited version of the original Doom!

Very fun for old Doom afficianatos like myself.

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Taking a tiny home for a test drive

If you ever thought about living in a Tiny Home, here’s your chance to try them out before you buy one. Simply rent one of the ones listed here:  Tiny House Rentals for Your Next Getaway (Apartment Therapy). There is a range of places and styles and prices for them.

I have thought of living in one myself, but wondered if I could manage. This could be one way to find out.

Photo courtesy HomeAway