Aug. 11th, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen wonders if blogging can change you life, inspired by the recent post of blogger Ben Casnocha.

My theory is that when you know in advance you're going to blog something, it changes the actual experience, and you're inclined to try to make it a positive one so you can write about it positively. For example, I recently had a great solo dinner in Rome. I had a terrific companion (newspaper) and good food. About 1/4 of the way through this thought crossed my mind: "This is an awesome meal. I'm going to blog it." I did. I was committed in my mind to making it a positive night overall, and it did end up that way. In sum: when I know I'm going to blog an experience, I'm committed to making it a positive experience, and since intention and reaction mostly define the quality of an experience, it usually turns out positive. True, I could always commit to having positive days each day, but knowing I will blog something introduces a weird form of "public accountability."

Something like this topic came up two years ago, in relation to speculation about whether or not blogging distracts people from real-life social activities. The consensus in the comments to that post of mine appeared to be that blogging played a powerful role in creating communities which could manifest themselves in real time. Certainly that's my experience of this enterprise: Talking about this very issue with [ profile] wintermuted two years ago, I missed a phone call from [ profile] sandor_baci, both of them people I've gotten to know via the Internet. It stands to figure that these communities might in fact be capable of encouraging this sort of positive-feedback loop; it also stands to remember Richard Cory.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
When I did a search on Google using the keywords "Cuba" and "blog" yesterday morning, the first two hits took me to traveller's blogs.

Suzanne's Cuba Blog Travel journal, photos and hotel reviews from Havana (Hotel Nacional), Holguin and Playa Pesquero... - 32k - Cached - Similar pages

Steven’s Cuba Blog P9080584 Cuba Blog-3 With the sand under my feet, the sun beating down on my ... Anyways, this isn’ta blog about music; it’sa blog about Cuba. ... - 99k - Cached - Similar pages

Babalu Blog Needless to say, discovering Babalu Blog was a revelation. Not necessarily because of discovering the truth about Cuba, but because of the passion and humor ... - 263k - 8 Aug 2006 - Cached - Similar pages

I followed the third link which took me to Babalu Blog, a group blog on Cuba run by one Val Prieto. I intend to continue visiting this site, since Babalu Blog has a lot of interesting material on things in Cuba. I was taken aback by the sheer venom of the postings, directed towards Castro, towards members of the regime, and even towards apparently uninvolved third parties whose only crime is not to agree with the necessity for an immediate regime change. This isn't surprising, since as the terrorist associations of the Cuban American National Foundation demonstrate, the profound tensions that wrought Cuba during the Cuban Revolution remain quite active in the diaspora. What bodes ill for Cuba's transition is the fact that, as the erratic Christopher Hitchens pointed out in Slate ("The Eighteenth Brumaire of the Castro Dynasty"), Raúl Castro's accession to power creates a new military-backed regime in Cuba. The record of military regimes, within or without Latin America, on human rights aren't notably good even when faced with peaceful opponents.

Cuba's transition is going to be nasty, I fear. Romania in the Caribbean?
rfmcdonald: (Default)
I've a post up examining Cuba's demographic history and likely future. I suspect that, between Cuba's low birth rates, the island nation's established tradition of mass emigration, and the certainty of mass emigration after Castro falls and huge numbers of people find themselves underemployed or unemployed in a country with difficult long-term prospects, Cuba's population is set to fall sharply.
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