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:
- 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
- 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.
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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