Skip to main content

More ways in which America is unquestionably superior to South Africa

1. Washing machines. Reading Noah's comedic masterpiece about handwashing stuff made me appreciate once again what a magnificent appliance the washing machine is. I bow down and give thanks to the mines, the iron smelters, the steel foundries, the (probably) Chinese manufacturers, the 104,400 ton freighters, and the national transport system that makes it all possible. ( Dryers, on the other hand, seem to me to be mainly an expensive waste of electricity.  Wet clothes are why God made the sun.)

2. Low crime. By developed world standards, America is a rather violent place.  But in my corner of Colorado, we sleep with the doors and cars unlocked.  That is simply unheard of in South Africa, and it's quite the psychological relief to not be constantly looking over your shoulder.  It's the kind of thing you don't really notice until you stop doing it, like a muscle you didn't realize you were constantly clenching.  (I'm moving to DC though, lets hope I don't get beat up by random douchebags.)

3. Road construction.  I remember some road repairs in South Africa that had started before I got there in July 2009 and weren't even close to finished when I left in August 2011.  Here I saw a road resurfacing out here in the boonies that, though it was a fairly simple and small project, was finished in about three days.  I never saw anything even get started in that time in South Africa.

I know I was saying South Africa's got the edge when it comes to dynamic governance, but by that I meant that they try and do big, ambitious projects.  Because it's South Africa, once they're started, it probably takes quite a bit longer than it would here, but at least they're trying.  Here we've got way better construction crews and the like, we've just got a "can't do spirit" that precludes basically everything except desperately needed repairs.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

The Conversational Downsides of Twitter's Structure

Over the past couple years, as I've had a steady writing job and ascended from "utter nobody" to "D-list pundit," I find it harder and harder to have discussions online. Twitter is the only social network I like and where I talk to people the most, but as your number of followers increases, the user experience becomes steadily more hostile to conversation. Here's my theory as to why this happens. First is Twitter's powerful tendency to create cliques and groupthink. Back in forum and blog comment section days, people would more often hang out in places where a certain interest or baseline understanding could be assumed. (Now, there were often epic fights, cliques, and gratuitous cruelty on forums too, particularly the joke or insult variety, but in my experience it was also much easier to just have a reasonable conversation.) On Twitter, people rather naturally form those same communities of like interest, but are trapped in the same space with differe