Monthly Archives: July 2015

On doing more good than war is bad

War is pretty bad. The whole point is to kill people, destroy infrastructure, and break down the state in the target area. Also it uses a lot of money.

That's why I was surprised to learn that - according to Vox (archived here) - one program promoted by George W Bush, 43rd President of the United States, seems to have done as much good as, and perhaps more good than, his two major wars did bad:
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On Nature

I had lots of exposure to The Outdoors, much of it on school trips, much of it involved being an unfit kid having to keep up with a group of fitter kids or grownups, and one or two grownups who'd subtly chide me for not trying hard enough. I was in fact pushing my body through substantial fatigue.

Then after college I decided that I was a grownup and no one could make me go see nature if I didn't want to. I was a city boy and that was it. No trees or hills or dirt or bugs or lakes or anything. Just cities and bookstores and coffee shops and offices and apartments and museums and restaurants and subways. (One note of discord I might could have noticed earlier - I was always pretty happy when visiting California, to see the hills and trees and stuff, or whenever I was somewhere I could see mountains.)

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How I travel

I'm a planner. I don't cope well with travel where I have to make major decisions every day. I like to look up in advance what the major points of interest are, which ones are close to each other, and plan out efficient days based on this. I also care about actually enjoying the local food when traveling, so I use Chowhound and Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide (as well as the recs in guidebooks like lonely planet, recommendations from locals, and even Yelp if need be.)

I think this is related to my mood regulation - I can get excited about planning a vacation, and then about going and following the plan - but if I wake up in the morning and ask myself, "What do I want to do today?", I'm going to sit in my room bored and hungry and annoyed at myself for wasting time until something like 1PM.

While this is my native mode of travel, two alterations have made vacations much better for me:

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