Monday, February 11, 2013

random report

random thoughts after a trip home:

politics:I had the idea that you can view different political philosophies by how they respond to (or acknowledge) a certain axiom, that the state is effectively the ultimate master of all people, that any individual is subject in all ways to the power of the government. Fascists acknowledge the axiom and embrace it, they treat the state as a parent and the people as children, and they endeavor to make the state worthy of this status and authority. Anarchists, while they also acknowledge the axiom, view it as the reason that there can be no state, why the state has to be overthrown and dismantled and prevented from recurring. Anarchists will say that people should be their own masters (or not even that), and that no one should ever make himself master of any other. Socialists are the third group that acknowledge the axiom, but they seek to make the state somehow equivalent with the people - through democratic means - so that while it is still true, it becomes unconcerning, since now the people are their own masters, through the mechanism of the state. American libertarians - and the model American political philosophy that is given lip service but not much actual credit - believe that the state has the potential, which has usually been fulfilled, to take on the role of master of all its subjects, but that it can be contained and controlled like a pack animal. I think that Americans in fact, in their popular political system, actually take on aspects simultaneously of socialism and fascism, believing that the state is a function of democracy at the same time that it is - and I think this is a contradiction with the first property - a benevolent external force that requires respect and adoration. The American left and right both take this attitude, but toward different aspects, although in my systematization they are mostly deluded into thinking that they are model Americans, i.e. libertarians. I guess I am closer to a libertarian than anything else, though if there is some label that applies to a half social anarchist half american libertarian, it would mostly cover me (I like NASA and public healthcare and the NIH).

headache: A really irritating headache on Friday, which I think was partly provoked by jumping jacks in the afternoon and magnified by beer in the evening. Two aspirin either did nothing to help or kept it from getting much worse. Not sure this was a migraine, but I think it was. I could feel it mostly above my right eye, and could actually touch it at the supraorbital foramen. By this I mean that by pressing on this spot, I could modulate the main locus of pain; this is a common sort of property of my headaches. This is just one specific branch of the trigeminal nerve, and except for some slight twinge of pain in my right maxilla, I couldn't find any other specific locus. So, I don't know if this qualifies as 'migraine', or if it's actually some sort of ophthalmic nerve neuritis, but just by scanning a google search of 'migraine and trigeminal nerve', you can see that there is thought to be a strong link between migraine pain and over-excitatory dysfunction of neurons in the trigeminal nucleus, so...

Also, had a nice conversation with my aunt about migraine. So along with my mother and her, she says that my grandmother also had headaches, but not my grandfather, so that must be where it comes from.

work/writing: I realized that the project I'm currently working on would be good to divide into two papers: one on the broader aspects of blur adaptation and the connection to contrast adaptation (which I hope to have data on by the end of this week), and the other on the absence of phase-blur adaptation. The latter might make a good PLoS-1 paper.

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