The content of this blog does not reflect the positions of the Peace Corps and is solely the responsibility of the author.

Things Outside my Front Door this Evening

hoppy toad!

gigantic terrifying spider

red-eyed grasshopper dude

always the lizards: they stick to walls using Van der Waals forces, which makes them even more awesome

Stories of Magic: Witches! Burning Schools!

A volunteer in Manyara told me that one of the girls' dorms at a school burned down.  The school blamed an electrical short and moved all the displaced students into an empty classroom, which has also now burned down.  At the same time of night, almost exactly, that the dorm burned down.  This classroom has no electricity.  Candles and lanterns are banned, which means obviously that no one has them, QED witchcraft.

In Which I get a Little Frustrated

Because I'm tired of people waking me up by calling before 7am or around midnight, interrupting me during my work, and generally assuming that their computer problems are automatically more important than anything I happen to be doing and I am obligated to help.   I don't mind helping people who ask nicely and realize that I do not exist as an infinite source of free tech support, but this is getting ridiculous.    

It's Darwin Day!

Time to celebrate human achievement in science and rational thought!  Today, I had electricity and yesterday I used VoIP protocols to speak with my parents an ocean away, and this is really quite a fabulous achievement.  I'm proud of us as a species.

In Which I think about Economics

Political thought for the day: for some US citizens, much as they worship the ideal of a free market and think socialism is this terrible thing, the majority of people in the US have never, and will never, experience a true free market.   We do not have usual places we can just go and sell anything*, and buy anything, with haggling a necessary skill for the transaction.  For all that 'the market' is an entity that will fix prices, we as free marketeers do not usually even think to make the price something that everyone at least compromises on.  When prices are written on things, we tend to either buy something or not on the basis of that price.  This rather interesting essay in light of the recent fights over internet freedoms does illustrate that customers interactions with movie studios may be many things, but negotiable isn't one of them.  It's an all or nothing deal, and consumer unhappiness has thus far not resulted in mystical invisible hands being waved to produce cheaper movie tickets or fewer DRMS.   Rather, in free market America, movie studios look to the government to enforce their monopoly on movies. In Tanzania, however, which has dabbled in the terrible terrible socialism which will destroy American values and healthcare or something, there are shops and restaurants in which the price might be whatever it is when I get tired of arguing about it, or might just get suddenly reduced because I am friends with the seller, or something.

Not, of course, that there aren't a ton of other cultural factors influencing how economic transactions work, but it's still interesting to think about.

*except for maybe flea markets?  I don't really know.  Ebay comes close, but buyers negotiate more with each other than the seller. 

Football on Sunday


Pre-game picnic:

My stadium is better than your stadium.  Really.  

Halftime show: 

Team spirit:

The banner for the Mawenzie team: as represented by a bird picking up a goat while a goat person in the corner eructates.  I don't understand this one so well. 

Everyone runs onto the pitch after a goal.  Can you find the white person?