Thursday, June 04, 2009

Couple of Random Shorts..

I just finished reading Chris Abani's "Song For Night" last night. I linked to an excerpt from his address at the Brisbane Writers Festival last year. The address, along with this book is well worth a read. The story is the journey through a warzone from the perspective of a child soldier.
"Every star is a soul, every soul is a destiny meant to be lived out. They fill the night sky, revealing like a diviner's spread the destiny of those gifted in reading their drift, their endless shift, like a desert, revealing and burying the way alternatively.

I have killed many people during the last three year. Half of those were innocent, half of those were unarmed -- and some of those killings have been a pleasure. But event with all of this, even with the knowledge that there are some sins too big even for God to forgive, every night my sky is still full of stars; a wonderful son
for night.
" [page 59]

On my travels through the papers was this piece by Richard Glover about how lives are governed by a web of rules, and this interesting article about research addressing a couple of paradoxes puzzling social scientists.
The first paradox is the widespread perception among Americans that the US is a politically polarized country, when in fact ... research shows that most Americans are neither consistently "liberal" nor "conservative." In fact, among self-declared Republicans, 85% take a non-conservative stance on abortion, affirmative action, or government support for health insurance. Similar counter-intuitive results can be found among self-declared Democrats.The second paradox is that people also tend to think that their friends' beliefs are more similar to their own than they actually are—suggesting that people don't know their friends as well as they think they do. [from Friend Sense]

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