Patlabor 2

This movie was truly way before its time … living in the post-9/11 world, seeing that this plot is from 1993 gives me goose bumps. *shiver*

Anyway, one of the most beautiful scenes has two characters have a more philosophical discussion set to a very “dreamy” (almost hypnotic) visual and audio backdrop:

What are you, the police officer, and I the JSDF officer, trying to defend? It’s been half a century since the last war. Neither you nor I have experienced a war. “Peace” … Peace is what we’re supposed to defend. But what is the peace of this city, this nation? The all-out war and the defeat. The US occupation policy. The Cold War under the nuclear umbrella and the proxy wars. And civil wars still go on in many nations of the world. Ethnic clash, military conflict. Blood-drenched economical prosperity created and sustained by those countless wars. That’s what’s behind our peace. Peace created by an indiscriminate fear of war. An unjust peace that is maintained by having the wars elsewhere, but we keep denying ourselves this truth.

No matter how phony the peace may be, it’s our job to defend it. No matter how unjust it may be, it’s better than a just war.

I understand how you hate “just wars.” Whoever said that word was never half decent. History is filled with people who fell from grace believing in that. But you know only too well that there isn’t much of a difference between a just war and an unjust peace. Ever since the word “Peace” became the excuse of liars, we lost our faith in peace. Just as war creates peace, peace also creates war. A make-believe peace that’s merely the period between two wars will eventually give way to real war. Have you ever thought about that?
While receiving the benefits of war, they’re hiding the truth behind the TV screen. Forgetting that they’re merely at the rear of the battle front … or rather pretending to forget about it. Such deceit will be punished sooner or later.

ArsTechnica on first-world-problems … ehm, Soylent

ArsTechnica has probably the best piece I’ve read covering the meta-problem with Soylent.

Nobody will live off of Soylent for extended periods of time. And even if there were people like that they would be considered  at least as weird or crazy as maybe vegans or people with similarly “limited” diets.

Soylent won’t destroy anything in our food culture that hasn’t been already destroyed. Why would anyone care if you drank Soylent instead of eating your drive-through fast-food alone. Chugging down a glass of Soylent instead of munching a chocolate bar between meetings. The cultural aspect of eating together is moot in those cases. At least Soylent would provide a “nutritiously balanced” choice here.

Yes, people must eat, but people don’t *need* to cook (themselves). And honestly many people don’t. I can’t really see the difference between eating out, just heating things up in a microwave or oven or drinking Soylent for that matter. The cultural aspect of preparing food is lost in those cases anyway. This may be partly because of the next aspect.

Cooking is not as easy as it may sound. It requires following “discrete series of steps guided by a mix of instruction, experience, and intuition” “surrounded with a complex support scaffolding” (I really advise you to read the 2nd page of that article). It is as easy and as necessary for a fairly normal everyday life as is compiling software. (I still believe that cooking is the analog equivalent of programming). I second the argument that as easy and essential it may look to some, it looks equally impenetrable and “magic” to others.

One interesting aspect I’ve not thought of previously was that Soylent may be a way to relieve people with eating disorders of guilt and anxiety when eating the “wrong food”. Since “for people struggling with food-related issues, it can be like a damaging drug that you can never quite quit cold turkey” it may provide an unambiguous food choice that is “satiating without being delicious.” It makes preparing and consuming food quantifiable which was the problem for the last two groups of people in the first place.

I don’t really care if it’s Soylent or something else. If find the possibilities intriguing. It’ll get a lot more interesting once anyone cared to study the long-term effects of consuming Soylent. But I’ll definitely try some once it gets available in Germany. 😉

Tim’s Vermeer

You have an obsession … it intrigues you … there is a mystery … you have a hunch … you consult experts … you try it … you succeed. It’s still not a proof … but you’re convinced … you feel good. 😀

Tim’s Vermeer is an awesome documentary following Tim Jenison trying to figure out what technique 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer may have used to capture lighting, color and minute details of the painted scenes. It’s an awesome way to watch the geek’s mind at work. 😉