Because We Love Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is not some magical thing: like all freedoms in politics, there’s got to be a justification for it. In the case of the US – on paper, at least – individual liberties are defined in terms of, “other than the things the state says you cannot do, you’re free.”  So, because the state has not legislated that I cannot dye my hair blue, I can dye my hair blue. Freedom of speech is specifically called out, though, as a positive freedom. It’s not that “because the state has not told you what you can’t talk about, you can talk about anything else” – it’s specifically stated:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

[Read more…]

Things That Delight Me – 3: Photography Apps

I’ve been a fairly serious photographer since about 1993, and even invested the requisite decade in perfecting black and white darkroom printing – just in time for the technology to vanish from commercial use.

Now, you can do amazing photographic things with a smart phone, and there are apps like Snapchat, Hipstamatic, and Prisma to do it. It used to be the thing to sneer at people who’d just grab an image in Photoshop and run some filters on it, but the filters are getting cool! And interesting! But most of all: fun. They’re taking advantage of the massive amount of computing we can carry around in our hand, to do face analysis and then apply the results.

[Read more…]

Vendredi Appartient à Voltaire

We’ve got Meslier on Monday and Voltaire on Friday. Our cups runneth over! Faire rire et danser!Voltaire by Houdon

I’m not going to post a Meslier every monday or a Voltaire every Friday. I’m just going to do that if I feel like it. But it’s nice to know that I can blog for 100 years here without my well running dry, if I am afraid of that happening. That doesn’t strike me as a likely outcome but having lifelines like these is particularly good.

In which I mention Milo Yiannopolous in the same breath as Voltaire (So that Milo loses horribly by comparison)

Nobody should accept mediocrities-by-committee like Milo Yiannopolous in a world that once held Voltaire.

[Read more…]