Here’s a roundup of some things that are worthy of note.
• The very best thing to happen recently is Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, overturning prop 8 and granting homosexuals the right to marry in California. The whole decision can be downloaded here, but there are articles all over the place dissecting the good bits. The most important part, though, is this:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Thank you, Judge Walker, for doing your job well. And, as C. E. Petit notes, for being willing to take a correct position that will probably make you permanently unable to ever be confirmed to an appellate court.
• It is not a good thing at all that Christopher Hitchens has esophageal cancer which has metastasized and will likely soon kill him. But his essay in Vanity Fair on the experience of learning about it and getting treatment is as powerful as anything he’s written. Speaking simultaneously about the side effects of chemotherapy and the militaristic language which is so frequently used when discussing cancer, he writes, “In the war against Thanatos, if we must term it a war, the immediate loss of Eros is a huge initial sacrifice.” It’s a piece well worth reading. “Tropic of Cancer.”
• Charles Stross has been thinking some very clever thoughts about the hard limitations of space colonization. Most recently he has written an excellent explanation of why the practice is fundamentally incompatible with libertarian ideology. It’s an important reality check against having read too much Heinlein. (And yeah, I love me some Heinlein, but that joke is spot-on.)
• RadioLab is one of the best programs on the radio, and lately they are increasingly on the internet as well. To go with a recent podcast they have released a beautiful video exploring the concept of a moment. Utterly lovely.