Print Story Attention Irish Infidels
Dublin trip. Reading: Singularity Sky. Politics.

Multipoll.



Attention Irish Infidels
Will probably be visiting Ireland sometime soon. Haven't booked anything yet but current possible plan is:

Monday 24 July: Fly from London to Dublin.
Thursday 27 July: Train from Dublin to Belfast to see my sister and new as-yet-unnamed nephew.

Probably wouldn't spend all the time in Dublin: take either day trips or overnight trips to somewhere else. So, questions:

  1. Can I just walk into a train station and get a reasonably-priced ticket to somewhere in the next few hours? In UKia they tend to charge you hundreds of pounds if you try to do something so outrageously inconvenient for the operators
  2. Similarly with hotels: do I need to book in advance since it's tourist season? I'm not particularly fussy and don't mind trying a few places.

What I'm Reading
Finished SF novel Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. Enjoyed it a lot. This one bucks the recent hard SF trend and has faster-than-light travel but takes a different angle on it: it takes the problem of FTL also being time travel and uses it, with an entity aggressively taking action to make sure people don't use it to muck about with history. It also deals a bit more interestingly with the supposed technological singularity, showing a society undergoing rapid collapse as hugely advanced tech appears from nowhere. Nice depiction of an encounter with a post-human entity too. Also a bit of traditional hard SF space battling.

Plot's handled OK, though the ending is a little anticlimactic. Character development is reasonable, though the love story is bit too easy.

Liked it enough to order a couple more books by the author. I'd read some of his short stories in Interzone a while back, but hadn't really got into any of his novels before.

Politics
Following up on this theantix diary: do people really find it that difficult to even understand the other side of the political spectrum?

I mean: any political philosophy with more than a few thousand believers tends to have had a certain amount of intellectual work put into it, and a certain amount of consistency. In my case, even though I strongly disagree with many of them, I can look at their arguments and I usually find that it's their premises that I disagree with, not their logic. It seems far more frequent that their assumptions are wrong than that they're using logical fallacies.

(Note that this doesn't apply to particular individuals. Individuals can adhere to political beliefs for entirely irrational or illogical reasons, but if it's a moderately widely-held belief there are always other individuals who have created an intelligible framework to surround it).

Now, in many cases, I think these frameworks are rationalized, rather than strictly rational. People unconsciously choose to make certain assumptions in order that they can be led to beliefs that they want to hold. Arguments like these seem to me to be made almost entirely to justify a belief that's felt at a gut level.

But even so, while it's rationalized, it's still not irrational. Premises, arguments and conclusions exist, even if I don't find them persuasive. And there's absolutely no way I can prove my own gut suspicion that the premises are chosen to fit the conclusion, rather than the other way around.

So no, I don't find it baffling at all that other people have very different political beliefs to me.

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Attention Irish Infidels | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
No need to book in advance by Evil Cloaked User (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 09:49:38 PM EST
They will shaft you equally regardless of when you buy. For perspective though, Dublin - Cork return is €59, and Dublin - Belfast return is €50.

Regarding hotels, I'd wait for Merekat to weigh in on that one, but I'd say probably no need to worry. We are an inherently lax populous.

I presume all those dates were actually supposed to be in July by the way?

D'oh! by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:01:22 PM EST
Yes, should read July. Any editors around...?

Those fares don't sound too bad. Just checked Virgin Trains for a standard-class open return from London to Manchester (about 200 miles) and it's €291, though in practice you can make it a lot less by booking even slightly in advance or choosing unpopular trains.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Fixed by hulver (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:20:11 PM EST
Note to self. Get off your arse and fix the edit code.
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
Thanks! by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:24:33 PM EST
Also, while I'm being cheeky, my latest greedylazy feature request is a Metafilter-style "great comments" sidebar. It could show something like the X most recent comments to get more than Y 4-ratings.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
If people rated by hulver (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:30:39 PM EST
I would do that. Not enough people rate to make it worthwhile I don't think.

When I get time I am going to change the rating system. The numbers are meaningless.

Thumbs up
Thumbs down
Hide (equivalent to zeroing the comment)

Maybe if I do that, and people start using it I'll do a "greatest comments" thing.
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock

[ Parent ]
Don't forget the LMAO and -1 Unfunny options by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:57:23 PM EST
Some stuff gets rated, some doesn't. Anything getting more attention than just a passing comment which has a coulpe thanks-for-looking/posting 4s stops me dead in my tracks since enough people were bothered to rate it that it warrants reading.

woof.

OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
obligatory nazification by martingale (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 01:04:12 AM EST
populace, please. I'm having flashbacks of slashdot.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Dublin: by komet (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:09:32 PM EST
avoid the Guinness Storehouse. It's a fucking tourist trap. I liked everything about Dublin when I went last year except the Guinness tour.

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<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
I second this by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:27:50 PM EST
The view from the bar at the top is great but best enjoyed courtesy of corporate vendor Christmas parties.

[ Parent ]
The other side by DullTrev (4.00 / 5) #8 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:13:35 PM EST

No, I'm not baffled by the other side of the political spectrum. As you say, a considerable amount of thought has gone into pretty much all political philosophies, and they are at least internally consistent. The way I see it, anyone involved in politics is (prepare yourself for a controversial statement) trying to make things better for everyone, they just disagree on how to achieve that.

What I do find baffling is that even after I have calmly and clearly explained my beliefs, the morons on the other side persist in clinging to their patently wrongheaded and childish views.


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DFJ?
For some values of by yicky yacky (4.00 / 2) #20 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 02:59:09 AM EST
'better' and, especially, 'everyone'.
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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Dublin & daytrips by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:26:13 PM EST
If you're doing daytrips in the Dublin transport area, get a rambler ticket for the bus - they also work on the airlink (though the aircoach - a private company - are nicer). Rail tickets are unreasonably priced imo but they are the same unreasonable price constantly and there's limited places you can go. In particular, they don't serve some of the key tourist attractions within 30 miles of the city. There can be huge queues for the Belfast train.

Accomodation in the city centre can be pricy but there's lots of it. If you want something a bit different I recommend here.

Oh and beer/coffee?


Yes, if you can make it by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 07:51:21 AM EST
Would prefer beer. I'm about the most lightweight LHusi drinker, though, so probably not a major session...
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
okey by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #25 Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 11:23:27 PM EST
remind me closer to the time.

[ Parent ]
Politics by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 12:38:00 AM EST
I often shy away from arguments with people on the right not because I can't understand where they're coming from, but because we disagree on so many things and to such an extent that you can't find any real starting point and the argument branches off all over the place.

On the whole though, I'd much rather argue with someone who has different views. I might learn something. I've got strong views but I'm quite open to new ideas (the result of being a repentent communist I think, and having to accept that I was woefully, totally and completely wrong about something).

I get frustrated with some of my friends who insist on talking about politics solely to shore up their own views, though it can be funny seeing them seize up when someone unexpectedly makes a well-made opposing argument.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

I think that's a good test by R Mutt (2.50 / 2) #12 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 12:43:03 AM EST
If someone's never changed their mind on a major issue, they're probably not too rational about their beliefs.

[ Parent ]
so what you're saying is by martingale (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 01:01:59 AM EST
that you don't believe infallible people exist? Even among the 6 billion of us?
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Well by R Mutt (2.50 / 2) #17 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 01:13:24 AM EST
Firstly, rational beliefs are based on data. A rational person will learn new things, encounter new data and arguments. If that doesn't cause something to change, there's something wrong with him.

Secondly, the world changes: what works politically or economically in one decade might not work in another. A rational person may well have to change his ideas to say "well X would have worked, but in this new situation we need Y instead."

[ Parent ]
you're skirting the question by martingale (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 01:56:07 AM EST
Surely, a belief is not intertwined with data as such? Analogously, a summary of a book isn't the book itself, but separate from it.

There are examples of beliefs which turn out to be correct without needing any data at all. The classic example is the existence of atoms, which some greek philosophers believed in without ever being exposed to evidence for or against them.

Such a philosopher, if he had been exposed to evidence for atoms, would have seen his beliefs confirmed. The opposite, being exposed to evidence that the world is not composed of atoms, cannot occur of course. Therefore, such a philosopher could not have changed his mind based on data. What was wrong with him?

On your second point, where is the data which makes the rational person change his mind? If X would have putatively worked, but it was neither tested in time, nor is it relevant due to a changing world, then what grounds based on data are there to change one's mind to Y?
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

[ Parent ]
Heh by R Mutt (3.00 / 3) #19 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 02:04:10 AM EST
Anyone who thinks his political beliefs can be deduced entirely a priori is definitely not worth talking to.

[ Parent ]
On the other hand... by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 01:04:57 AM EST
Extremists sometimes flit from one end of the spectrum to the other, Mosely for example, and I think Hitler was a lefty student. Might be more about jumping on the right bandwagon to gain personal power with those two though.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Well by R Mutt (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 01:09:02 AM EST
While they were evil psychotic nutcases, I wouldn't necessarily say they had logically inconsistent belief systems.

[ Parent ]
this diary haiku by fleece (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 06:29:55 AM EST
your politics bit
cured my insomnia
thank you, and good night

Not quite that by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #22 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 07:19:09 AM EST
I well understand the theories "on the right" here in the US and even agree with some of them. Where I part company is on the refusal to accept not the other side, but reality itself. I mean, I understand Rumsfield's theory of doing more, with less...what I don't understand is their refusal to accept that it simply does not work. I understand (and even agree with some) conservative views on smaller government. What I don't understand is the willful refusal to accept that the current Republican party has massively expanded government. I understand the idea of stopping well-armed tyrants preemptively. What I don't understand is the willful refusal to accept the evidence before and after the war that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. I understand the idea of going out and getting the bastards that perpetrated 9/11. What I don't understand is the willful refusal to notice that the Bush administration has done little or nothing to actually accomplish this.

It's not differing views that offend me...it's willful ignorance. "Truthiness" is sadly not a joke.

It's very different from say, the Reagan administration, where you could have lots of arguments about trickle-down economics and the US presence in Central America and whether it really was Reagan's defense policy that caused the Soviet Union to collapse. But at least in all those arguments it seemed as if both sides were operating with the same actual facts.

(This is ignoring the things that truly piss me off, which is the way the "other side" is intent on throwing away all our liberties using one of the smallest threats this country has ever faced as an excuse. Somehow we didn't need to give up what our ancestors fought for when threatened on two sides by two different empires but we have to because of a bunch of disorganized idiots with AK-47s and boxcutters.)
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Stross by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 09:24:42 AM EST
I forgot to mention: I've been reading a lot of Stross lately. I enjoyed "Iron Sunrise". "Accelerando" is better, though uneven. It deserves the Hugo nomination.

I've also enjoyed his "Merchant Princes" series. It's quite good. It's superficially fantasy, but not of the elves and dragons sort. It's really just the modern world, with one twist and everything the logical conclusion of that. The twist is that members of a certain family are able to "walk worlds" from an alternate Earth to ours. It then goes on to very logically follow how such a family would use this to gain power.

(Though I'm not sure I will forgive him for ending book three in a cliff-hanger...at least he seems to write fast.)

One oddity, though, is that he sets much of the action in the US (though the heroine is British), but the Americans use lots of Britishisms like "flat" and such. Funny, because those are often edited out for American release even in novels set in England.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Attention Irish Infidels | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback