Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Digg Report

Digg Report: Todays #1 Digg, at 3627 Diggs, is a bit of the ol' pot calling the kettle black. It's a link to a cartoon depiction of commentors on YouTube. The commentors on YouTube.

Cox and Forkum on Karl Rove's Resigation

Cox and Forkum on the resignation of Karl Rove. As always, worth a visit.

I'll not comment on the whole affair, because it would require me to dive too deeply into the cesspool that is election politics. I know people who study such things and whose analyses I trust; I'd rather take their recommendations than get that dirty.

Russian Man Denied Claim to Russia's Worst Serial Killer

Just a little ditty about a Russian serial killer (admits to 62 victims, police found 49), for those folks who think that only America creates people like this. And, apparently, since the police failed to find the other 13 victims, the guy lost his chance to be known as Russia's worst.

Chinese Toymaker Boss Kills Himself over Recall

Man, but these Chinese take things seriously. Mess up as a manager, and the government either executes you or you kill yourself, as in the manager of the plant that made the million or so toys that Mattell was required to recall.

There's something pathological going on with China, I believe. Its communist government is trying so hard to turn China into an economic powerhouse (while utterly destroying the country's environment, executing incompetence, essentially utilizing slave labor) that it's pushing that nation to the brink of some sort of explosion.

If China makes it through a transition to a freer society and true capitalist economy, I'll be shocked. As it is, I'd predict that the entire nation will commit suicide one day.

Is "Bioshock" For or Against Objectivism? Remains to be Seen

This gentleman has played the "Bioshock" demo (which I haven't had time to play), and came away confused as to whether the game's developer, Irrational Games, is for or against Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. From everything I've read, I'm uncertain myself.

Even the company's name says nothing, because an Objectivist might come up with such a name just for some irony. I suppose we'll have to wait until the game is released, but I fear that even then we might not know. Not unless the developer tells us, of course.

"Punative Psychiatry" Returning to Russia?

The Soviets had a tendency to put dissidents into asylums (along with the gulags and wherever else, including the dirt), which I can only imagine was an unpleasant experience. That practice was supposed to have died along with the Soviet Union, but this story suggests that it might be returning.

Some quotes:

But the treatment of one critic of the Putin Government has raised fears among Russia's human rights community that the Kremlin is preparing to incarcerate a new generation of dissidents in asylums.

Naked and with her hands and feet bound to the corners of a metal bed, Larisa Arap eyed with quiet defiance the doctors who wanted to declare her mad.

It was a futile gesture. The men in white coats standing over her were bitter adversaries. Enraged by the allegations that she had levelled against them, they also knew that, as an open Kremlin critic, the state would do little to help her.

And it's apparently not just a change in practices, but rathe a change in Russian law that makes it possible:

Mrs Arap's allegations come as no surprise to those who have followed psychiatry in Russia in recent years. In 2001, the law was quietly changed to remove the rights of sectioned patients to seek an independent assessment. And dozens of incidents suggest Russia's psychiatric system is rapidly becoming as unsavoury as it was in Soviet times.

Andrei Fedorovich, for example, was held in a clinic for 43 days last northern autumn after his neighbours, who had powerful connections in the Moscow police force, reported him as being mad, in an attempt to seize his apartment.

Alexei Shuralyov tells a similar story — although this time his antagonists came from the FSB, the feared domestic spy agency that employed his wife. Such stories are common.

Read the whole thing.