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Planetes, fish shell, libertarians, pakora

I finally finished watching Planetes last night. It's a hard science fiction anime: 2075, Earth orbit, a team of people picking up debris. It took me a long time to get past the first 4 episodes, but I don't know if that was their quality or my enervated mood at the time; past few days saw me go from 5 to 26. Good mechanics, silence in space. Not perfect: given all the debris tracking, criminals shouldn't be able to even think about getting away, but that was just one minor plot, and to be fair they did use the words "active stealthing" even if they didn't justify them.


Poking about my available Ubuntu packages today, I found 'fish'. The friendly interactive shell. It actually seems pretty cool, about as powerful as zsh, but with all the cool features turned on by default, with tab completion giving description of the completion options, and online help, and cleaner scripting language, not that I've written a shell script in forever.

I also discovered Genius, which looks like an open-source Matlab. No idea how good it is, or how it compares to Octave, but looks nice on the surface.

heron61 linked to quiz2d, which looks like your basic libertarian Nolan Chart, but with 11 questions, multiple nuanced answer options (not just Yes/No/Maybe), weights, a division of the grid into more categories, and detailed statistics on those categories. Yet Another political quiz, but a nice improvement on previous occupiers of this space. It also led me to people trying to reform the Libertarian Party so that it appeals to the whole libertarian quadrant and sympathizers, and might actually electable, rather than appealing to the narrow 1% corner that wants to abolish all taxes. They claim success in changing the party platform, though I don't know if I should also blame them for selecting Bob Barr as the new presidential candidate. But the quiz2d guy is also trying to work out a moderate left-libertarianism, left not in the sense of "property is theft" but in being more sympathetic to poverty/inequality issues than "a truly free market cures all ills", and being practically friendly to the environment. He's Christian, and partially addresses Christians, and article titles such as "God's Welfare plan" may raise secular eyebrows, but on my initial passthrough his stuff seemed fair and interesting. Seems to wander toward ideas of land tax, wealth tax, negative income tax, compensating landowners for environmental encumbrances from discovered endangered species, and such.

I think that can be summed up as "environmentalist libertarian with safety net", a position I'm sympathetic toward. He savages Objectivists (PDF), too:
"Hello, I am a Libertarian, and I am a jerk. Vote for me! It is in your rational self-interest! I support your right to be a jerk..."

Just ate at Bombay House. The chicken pakora is decent but really, not like what I discovered originally in San Francisco. Those were like little chunks of tandoor chicken... admittedly, every other place with pakora has had spicy battered chicken chunks, so that may have been a unique twist.

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