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blackbootz  ·  25 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 3, 2017

Two Fridays ago, I settled on my house. Overcome with gratitude and happiness.

Funny story. I was eagerly showing the house to a few of my friends the next evening when cop sirens and flashing red lights fill the street. We look amongst ourselves. Well, shit, we do live in Baltimore. There's always some foolishness bound to be going on. Then we hear a very stern sounding knock on my front door. Confused, I open it to greet my unexpected guests--Baltimore's finest. (Cue white privilege for not being immediately tackled to the ground.) "Sir, we're responding to a breaking and entering call, and possible house party." "Uhh... I closed on this home yesterday."

Then my next door neighbor steps outside and starts apologizing profusely. She's been living in her house for fourteen years, the last year and half of which my house has stood empty. She had no idea the house had been sold. Earlier I had knocked on her door but she wasn't home yet. The cops thought it was a rather cute use of their time and greeted me to the neighborhood.

All in all, I'm overjoyed. On the cusp of getting straight As this semester, my roommate is moving in just in time to help pay my mortgage, and I'm the block's most eligible bachelor. I'm less than two blocks away from one of Baltimore's biggest parks where I'm looking forward to a summer of soccer leagues and food truck rallies. Finishing and furnishing the basement will be my next project, so if anyone from Hubski wants to crash, have at it.

thenewgreen  ·  60 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 29, 2017

Hell yes kb! (almost sent this using your actual name, such was my excitement. You have been working so hard towards this opening. It's phenomenal to see someone set a goal as lofty as this one and achieve it. I know how much it takes to accomplish such things. It's Herculean.

I read below that you are the one that took the photos for the center's art. They're amazing. Also, in a previous photo, I saw the living wall. -Well done!

Hell, I'd have a baby there. Maybe I'll swing by in October with my wife. Turns out, we have a daughter on the way ;-)

Trombone  ·  65 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why does Mount Rushmore Exist?

This was offputting. It drips with disdain. I understand that he's trying to make a political point, but way to do that by being an arrogant tool to the entire state of South Dakota. The best compliment he can come up with in the whole thing is "It was as beautiful as any land I’ve ever seen". That's the compliment equivalent of "meh" while looking down your nose. I've been to South Dakota, and yeah, Mt. Rushmore is kind of strange. "The hubris of man" and all. But? Custer's a great little town, and it's an excellent base of operations to see the state. There's more than a freakin' Pizza Hut there. Try out Wall Drug. Custer SP is quite beautiful. There's Pipestone. There's Badlands. There's Teddy Roosevelt NP. South Dakota is a treasure trove of nature's wonders. Instead of appreciating any of this, our narrator tosses his backhanded compliment out and spills more words talking about the local fauna come begging to lick the salt off his car. Does he ever mention another human being outside of his family unit? Is he that self-absorbed?

If I was to give Mr. Anderson some polite advice, I'd say:

- Go on your trip in season, because things will be open.

- If you want to actually see things, do some research and take some time to get out of your car and take a hike.

- Put down your electronics, and please make your kids do the same. If they're unshackled from their screens for a while, they might actually look around them, and appreciate it. They should understand how fortunate they are to be able to go on such a trip to such a beautiful area of the country. If all they do is Snapchat, you've wasted all your money getting them there.

- Check your preconceptions at the door and talk to people.

francopoli  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-Fi club no. 29: Cowboy Bebop Discussion

The recent half of the family came over to get the hell out of Ireland when the Brits starved people intentionally, then sort-of intentionally, sort of accidentally started a religious civil war. According to the family bible, they stayed with black families that introduced them to Jewish people before they noped-the-hell-out of NYC and Boston in the 1830's. They ended up in Philly just in time to realize they had to go west. They kept a list of names of people that helped them out along the way and ended up mining in the Rocky Mountains when the Civil War started.

The father of one of the families notes in the margins of Romans 14 and not sure why this stuck with me, but in shaky pen was written: Hebrew fed me beef. First in my years eating flesh of cattle.

The older men in the group had to be in their 40's when they came over, so this was a 50ish year old man writing this statement. I wonder how many more Irish immigrants never ate cow/beef until they came to the US and started working here.

Oy, Democracy Now(!). I love Glenn Greenwald, but this is super disingenuous.

    And yet, all I heard from Democrats—not all I heard, because there were a lot of Democrats who supported Manning and Snowden and Drake—but certainly Democratic officials in D.C. were almost unanimous, under Obama, in saying that leaks—leakers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, that they’re traitors.

There's the rub. Conflating "Democratic Officials in D.C." who were "almost unanimous under Obama" with the unspecified "Democrats" in the title is misleading at best, and dumps the burden of hypocrisy on Democrats in general. You know who else was "almost unanimous" in condemning Manning and Snowden? Republican officials in D.C. under Obama. The Manning and Snowden leaks didn't uncover partisan divide so much as they uncovered a philosophical- and frankly totally predictable- difference between those in power and/or who stand at any point to gain power and those who just want to talk on their goddamn iPhone in peace. Snowden and Manning, to varying degrees, uncovered infrastructural mechanisms for abuse that could be used by anybody in power to bad effect; accordingly, pretty much everybody with their hands closest to the levers- Democrat and Republican- cried foul.

Meanwhile, I know next to nobody in my everyday life- Democrat, Republican or Other- who believed that what Snowden did was bad. Okay, let's be honest, I know a few conservatives that still think it. Illegal? Sure, because it was. That's the nature of civil disobedience. But the general consensus on the street is that Snowden did the necessary, and that Manning's actions, although very carelessly executed, didn't merit the sentence. NB- Manning was put in jail by a Democrat, but released by that selfsame Democrat.

So it drives me crazy- fucking. crazy. to read Democracy Now(!) articles that try to paint Democrats in general as somehow hypocritical because of the above. Mainly because then all my militant liberal Facebook acquaintances, still inexplicably bitter at Hillary Clinton and her perceived misdeeds, wallpaper my feed the next day with articles like this as their next gem of evidence that the current Democratic wing is corrupt and hypocritical because Bernie.

This is not that. Everybody in power hated what Snowden did, and a plurality if not a majority of those not in power celebrated what he did. Meanwhile, the current situation has underscored not systemic problems that need to be corrected for the good of the whole electorate, but a very current, temporary administration running roughshod over the systemic safeguards meant to uphold the good of the electorate. Basic conflict of interest regulations? Naw, we're not gonna pay attention to that. Private citizen undermining current presidential policies via back channels to international rivals? See no problem there.

If leaks are how these things come to light, I as a Democrat- and a citizen- applaud them just as I applauded Snowden. That's in full recognition of the fact that such leaks are illegal.

The only thing that surprises me at this point is that rogue actors in the intelligence community up to now have (openly) broken the rules only to uncover abuses of power rather than to perpetuate them. Who would have thought that safeguards to civil liberty would have arisen with such regularity from the agencies who enjoy the highest abuse potential.

OftenBen  ·  110 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 8, 2017

Of the two full-time projects that pay my salary: One is wrapping up and while there is some ongoing data collection, it's done paying out. The other is closing enrollment and is reducing in scale of time commitment dramatically. If I pursued no other projects, I'd be down to part-time come April or so.

BUT

I have been pursuing other things, with vigor. One research study ends? I'll start my own! The pilot program is expected to launch in May, assuming no hiccoughs with IRB. If the pilot data validates my feasibility tool, we're going to be applying for a grant to make it a multi-site study, possibly international if I can leverage my contacts in Rio, Copenhagen, London and/or Rome. This job is reducing from full time? I'll apply for a new one, at the suggestion of my bosses and with their full backing. If I'm accepted, I'll be directing clinical research operations for all of pediatric cardiology. Feelin' like a super badass, gotta admit. The hard work is finally starting to pay off.

My robust pleasure source and I keep finding excuses to spend the night together.

'Your house is closer to the hospital!'

'Your apartment is closer to my appointment on saturday'

'I'm worried my heat is going to go out and you're really warm.'

She's meeting my friends in two weekends, we're taking a short trip across the state for a concert.

Friday night I'm performing Beethoven's 9th with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under the direction of one of their founders, Ivan Fischer. We've been working on it for months and my German diction has never sounded better.

Thank you all, for everything.

Small edit, I've also lost a ton of weight in the past 3 weeks with no change in diet or exercise. I ate pizza yesterday and stepped on the scale this morning and it read 167.

francopoli  ·  121 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wallx 3

It's not a hope thing. It's an anger and frustration thing. They suck down more in SSI than I make a year, they have a full pension on top of that, have a house paid off, and with Prop. 13 in California are only paying $400 a year in property taxes, less than a third what I pay out in the sticks. And Medicare takes care of ALL their health bills. My dad retired after 30 years in a union job that offered they health care for life, so they get free Supplemental Medicare; they don't even pay deductibles. This is good for me as they are taken care of and I do not have to worry about my mom and dad ending up homeless. And here is where I start to get mother fucking hostile and angry at this generation of fuck shits.

The Boomers are the definition of privileged. They grew up in a superpower that invested heavily in the future. What did they do with the world they were given? Fucked over the planet's ecology, turned the US from the largest creditor nation ever seen to the largest debtor nation (IN EIGHT FUCKING YEARS BY THE WAY) Fucked over the educational system, tore up the unions, and sat in front of the TV for 40 years and did fuck all of nothing with the amazing gifts they were given. Computer revolution? their kids did that. Moon race? Their parents did that. They fucked up the housing market so bad I don't think it can be fixed. They turned College into a necessity then turned that need into a lifelong debt sentence while at the same time shitting on blue collar work that is in dire need of people. The one wage household died and was left as a rotting corpse in a barely read history book under their watch. Vaccinations that eliminated Polio, Measles, Smallpox etc? Their parents did that... they did so well that the anti-vax people are mow mostly the children of the people who worked so hard to eliminate those diseases. Now, Boomers like my parents whine that "those damn kids" (that they raised btw) are ruining everything and nothing is their fault. They are against tax reform unless it lowers taxes to starve the government, while also moaning that SSI is not giving COLAs. They suck down on Medicare while complaining of entitled Bernie people wanting socialized health care. And its not just my parents. It's most of them. The Boomers either became drug using burn outs (while also being the generation that waged an all out war on drugs), yuppies whom sold the industrial base to play stock market or apathetic losers who can't be assed to question the bullshit they suck down 12 hours a day from the media.

Boomers benefited from a functional government that would now be called socialist, then voted for three bands of robber barons that dismantled the benefits they were handed as children. Boomers gave us Reagan, W Bush and Trump. And while I have grave disagreements with Bill Clinton, he is going to get a pass by being lucky to get the benefits of the tech boom that masked the economic chaos of his war on pensions and unions not to mention the roll back of Roosevelt's work to separate banks from the stock market that lead to the '07 crash. More and more in my mind, it seems that everything the Boomer Generation touches turns to pure shit. The only 'hope' is that they all forgot to save for retirement as they voted to gut pensions and they all got fat and lazy so their life expectancy is dropping. We have maybe a decade left of the Boomers as a political force to have their one last hoorah at destruction, thank you for President Trump. Then the rest of us, I hope, can pick up the pieces and make some sort of future out of the ashes.

b_b  ·  124 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Trump's Staff Is Lying

Spicer's presser reminded a lot of the early days of the Iraq war when Hussein's information minister was on TV saying that the Republican Guard was on the verge of victory, as CNN was showing US troops on the outskirts of Baghdad marching toward the city center. It was a lie of such ridiculous proportions that you got the sense watching it that truth or untruth wasn't really the point of the press conference.

Similarly, Trump's claim about the inauguration was so farcical that you got the sense that the administration was really trying to cultivate a relationship with the truth. There may have been a component of Trump testing Spicer's loyalty, but I think that was secondary to intentionally picking a fight with "the media" writ large. A strongman, a man trying to build a personality cult, needs a foil. Usually it's easy, because America is the default foil for strongmen the world over. Trump is in the position of being in the belly of the beast, so his foil has to be some other subversive element. The media is a good one, because (a) they write bad things about him that just happen to be "true", and (b) his constituency is already distrustful of them. In that sense they're perfect. And how did the administration react? They threatened to cut off access to reporters who questions them.

That's diabolically brilliant. When they announced that they might move the press corps form the West Wing, everyone shit a brick. They realized they couldn't do it without cause. So they went out and sewed the seeds. Spicer cam out a day later and was clear-eyed and friendly. Do we not also think that was calculated? Of course it was. Now he can say he's been trying to be the good guy, but you reporters just won't quit. Give it two more weeks. They'll come up with another whopper to top this one. And if you think Chuck Todd was mean to Conway about lying about inauguration attendance, just wait until they lie about something that matters. Real reporters will flip out, and it will be the perfect time to cut them out of the deal.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  131 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

This last week has been overwhelmingly positive. I've come to terms with demons that are years old through coming to accept my limits, had nothing but desire to learn about and have fun with people, had a sober mind to help a friend go through a break-up with her girl friend (of which I'm particularly proud) and found some awesome music.

I've also survived chickenpox (which wasn't as bad as people think: just a flu) and had to come home - a place that used to loathe - for treatment, which may have given space to all of the great transformative experience I've had lately. It's the same city steve had so much fun exploring today/yesterday in the IRC, which fills me with joy. Dude, go ahead and drive around Tomsk and Novosibirsk, too! Let me know what you think! Tomsk is much calmer and more narrow than Kemerovo, with a lot of history on its streets, while Novosibirsk is bigger, more urban and modern (though the latter might be my own perception of it: I do love that city).

One of the biggest changes was in how I see other people. Some of you may know a friend used to have, Sveta; we've been friends for two years before breaking up badly: our flaws collided hard and I couldn't take it. This year, I wrote her a message saying how grateful I was for the time we had, given that I've never said it at the time. She responded with the same. Something clicked in my head: that maybe the person I've been demonizing all this while isn't evil at all and it was me who projected my problems onto her, which is what led us to all the trouble we've had. Suddenly, things became clear: she was no longer the demon - just a person trying her best to stay afloat in life, like the rest of us. Made me realize I still wanted to be friends with her because she treated me with kindness and care.

She said she wasn't sure she can let me into her life again - I was, after all, a major source of emotional pain in her life before. It's okay. What matters is that I've finally recognized my own feelings and expressed them openly; whether we become friends again, I'm just glad it happened to me and, hopefully, I was able to mend a couple of bricks of her bridge of life.

Which is another thing I came to realize: the past isn't merely gone - it builds a bridge that we walk on. Conflicts, when left unresolved, crumble and corrode the bricks of which it's built. We affect each others' bridges when we enter people's lives, and by leaving anger in their lives, we corrode the bricks. An apology, then, is mending another person's bridge - and, perhaps, your own; to mend another's bridge is an achievement, and if you are the source of the damage - a duty.

One of the biggest challenges lately has been losing weight. I took up this rather extreme meal plan to get rid of the belly. It was fun the first couple of days because of the challenge of not eating, and I also tried to do "cardio trim" alongside, but soon my strength, both of body and mind, deteriorated to the point where I could no longer sustain the exercise or have any will to do anything, in obvious contrast with the week prior. I guess the effect's supposed to be drastic, otherwise nothing would happen, but this is a lot; I took a day off it today, to figure out how to proceed. My motivation is that I can't wear my usual white shirt until I trim the fat - and, given how damn good I look in it, it's a strong motivator for me.

Moving to Tomsk tomorrow, partly for uni, mostly because I'm full with what this house has to give me.

And to finish with some awesome music...

Zvenit Yanvarskaya Viuga is a cover of a classic Soviet film soundtrack by the Italian pop-rock band Vanilla Sky. It hit the Italian charts a couple of years ago like a hurricane, and I'm so glad to finally find it myself, because it sounds awesome. There's a snippet of the original in the beginning of the clip.

Prisencolinensinaincuisol is a song from another Italian artist, Adriano Celentano. He may not be as known in the rest of Europe or in the US, but he was popular as an actor in Russia during my childhood. The song is a nonsense verse that means to imitate the sound of American English to an Italian ear; if you turn off your language recognition, you can hear something distinctly American there sometimes. The second video is the modern remix by Benny Benassi, featuring old Celentano in a background role.

I keep trying to put out a decent response but Portland is snowed in and the shop is busy. I'll be brief.

There are no triumphs in foreign policy and many dissatisfaction.

We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and now have troops in a few new countries. The Arab spring made nothing better. Pivot to Asia doesn't seem to have even happened. Rapprochement with Russia, well...lolz. Israel is...a fucking mess, we really couldn't be getting along with them worse. Relations with Cuba is a nice thing but pretty underwhelming. There have been some improvements in relations with regional economic and governance groups around the world. He killed Osama!

Health care costs jumped more this year than they have in decades. Health care is supposed to be Obama's big thing. Personally I don't feel like the health care reform was done well, it might mostly be because I've paid more for less care every year since it's been passed and I lack any objectivity about all the good it's done. I'm paying significantly more for significantly less care as are most other people I know.

He 'saved the economy.' I think most presidents would have done about the same thing he did. Lots of people lost their homes but the 1% did pretty well as he bailed out the banks.

Some decent work on the environment and workers rights. Don't call it a legacy because much of it will be gutted in the next two years. Gays can openly serve in the military and LGBT rights have been advanced, that's cool but not really big impact stuff that wasn't coming down the pipes in the next decade Obama or not.

The main reason I think he should live in infamy. Government has become opaque and the citizens transparent. Bush got things started but the Obama administration really ran with it. Massive surveillance technology has been brought to bear against citizens while Freedom of Information requests are being denied at a record rate. NSL letters, prosecution of whistle blowers, Sneak and Peek warrants, suspicionless stops of American citizens at internal US checkpoints by the boarder patrol, prosecutions that are based on the fruit of knowledge obtained by technology's like stingrays where the defendant never gets to challenge the initial search or even know that it existed (who knows what else they are using). I could go on but this is a fair collection of the things his administration has been up to that trouble me.

The people get to see less and less of how the sausage is made while they have lost most of the protections that used to be assumed to be protected under the 4th amendment against getting ground up by government. I think that the relationship between government and the governed has been profoundly changed and there will be terrible consequences down the line when the new powers and protections available to government fall into the wrong hands. I think people we will look back and say that this was the time things really went off the tracks. Bush II was the inflection point in relationship and Obama was the guy who pushed things over the edge needlessly.

I could be getting crazy. I sound a lot like people I've known who were survailed and assailed by the FBI in the 60's. They sounded a little crazy to me until I heard some of the dirty tricks that the government put on them. There are people I love and respect who think I'm a little wacky but I still think that our society is in deep trouble and that Obama has done things that are undermining our basic constitutional protections and enhancing government power by degrading constitutional freedoms and the liberal democracy.

On an up note I just found out that a coffee shop three blocks from me is closing down. Huzzah! The opened after me and there is plenty of space to put a coffee shop without being that close to another one in this part of town. It was kind of a dick move. Their coffee wasn't as good as mine but they had some nice pastries that they made on site. I think what killed them was not being open 7 days a week and changing their hours too much. If they had been open seven days a week and had better brewing equipment they probably wouldn't have closed up shop. I don't know that I'll see a lot of business from them closing but I'll see a bit. They were very new Portland with natural wood edge counters and shiny and slick, my old building shop has a lot of character. I'm sure they played a lot of very comfortable music, I play all kinds of weird shit that is delightful if you don't want the standard Portland playlist. It's a lifestyle guig. I'm very old Portland... WTE, things might get better but they aren't going to change. I'd rather jump off a bridge than look at a natural edge counter all cut from the same tree for the rest of my days. Huzzah! Huzzah! I've outlasted the competition! I'm busier this winter than last! Huzzah! Seriously I just found out about this and want to crow but don't want to come off as a dick to my customers so this is my outlet.

mk  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 21, 2016

Yesterday, I essentially put in my notice at a workplace I have been at for 15 years.

This next year ought to be a different one.

WanderingEng  ·  166 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Coal is dead, because nobody wants to build coal-fired power plants.

The wind tech is way better than it was even ten years ago. The expiration of GE's patent on variable speed turbine generators opened the versatile technology up to everyone. These turbines can control voltage more dynamically.

Separately, the cost of power electronics have come down, so now some turbines use full converters to change the generator output to the power system frequency. These can eliminate gearboxes, too, and also control voltage.

In the US, FERC has made a number of rulings that forced wind plants to improve. FERC Order 661-A (pdf) required wind turbines have low voltage ride through, forcing them to remain online during system faults. 661-A also mandated a power factor range, relating back to the GE patent and full converter turbines with their ability to control voltage.

We're also able to push the power system harder than ever. Fifty years ago we still had manned substations. People would sit there and call the control center every so often to tell them what the analog meters showed. Today we scan every analog and digital point every few seconds. And every few minutes the entire system is simulated to see what would happen if a failure occurred. That lets the system accept more wind. The output is variable, of course. The system was easy when it was the same generators running all the time. The variable wind output means one day to the next could be drastically different. The tools allow us to be confident the system is still reliable.

There were a couple wind output records broken in the US a week or two ago. I think MISO topped 13,000 MW. For comparison, that's about double the maximum output of Grand Coulee.

To me, the issue is wind doesn't provide capacity like a gas, coal, nuclear or hydro plant does. I think MISO allows something like 16% of wind nameplate capacity to count as capacity to serve load. So you build a 100 MW wind farm, and you get 16 MW of capacity. Build a 100 MW gas combustion turbine and you get 100 MW of capacity. Load needs capacity to ensure all load can be served.

Odder  ·  171 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Has anyone read "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" by Eliezer Yudkowsky

I don't plan to. Yudkowsky isn't remotely qualified to write a book on rationality, and he knows nothing about philosophy, computer science or cognition. He's just a sci-fi nerd with delusions of grandeur and no formal training in anything, and I know that no serious philosopher, computer scientist, or psychologist takes his work very seriously.

I have a very negative view on both LessWrong and Slate Star Codex. LessWrong is Yudkowsky's blog, of course, and he would have done better if he had bothered to read some philosophy before trying to teach others philosophy, instead of just deciding that Bayes Theorem was the answer to everything. Slate Star Codex strikes me as more irrational and reactionary than rationalist, mistaking fear, paranoia, and lack of empathy for "cold, hard logic." I'd be concerned for anyone that took anything they read there too seriously, as it seems like a precursor to nasty places like theredpill subreddit.

johnnyFive  ·  192 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Are Still Crying Wolf

I was with Scott's explanation until the Mexican immigrants statement. He had to twist himself into such contortions to explain why saying that Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally were rapists and murderers isn't a statement about Mexican people that the rest of it lost a lot of persuasiveness. I mean, he literally says that Trump saying that "Mexico isn't sending us their best" means that Trump thinks that Mexicans are some of the best people (completely ignoring what "their" means in this context). Talk about starting with your conclusion and then twisting the evidence to fit it. I also think that while it's not the same as actively supporting the KKK, if the KKK is supporting you then it's important to at least explore why.

But at the end of the day, I don't actually think Trump is truly a racist, and I think Scott totally and completely misreads who Trump is as a person.

The thing is, I almost wish Trump were a true racist. As the great Walter Sobchak said, "I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."

As the saying goes, hate is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference. Trump doesn't hate Mexicans, black people, Jews, women, whomever. He simply does not give even a single fuck about any of them (or any of the rest us). As David Brooks wrote in early October:

    Imagine you are Trump. You are trying to bluff your way through a debate. You’re running for an office you’re completely unqualified for. You are chasing some glimmer of validation that recedes ever further from view.

    Your only rest comes when you are insulting somebody, when you are threatening to throw your opponent in jail, when you are looming over her menacingly like a mafioso thug on the precipice of a hit, when you are bellowing that she has “tremendous hate in her heart” when it is clear to everyone you are only projecting what is in your own.

    Trump’s emotional makeup means he can hit only a few notes: fury and aggression. In some ways, his debate performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.

Trump doesn't insult people because he feels anything about them, he insults people because he literally feels nothing. He didn't say the judge hearing the Trump University case is biased because he's Mexican because Trump actually believes this to be true, it was just the first insult that came to mind, and one that would get him attention.

I don't remember if I ever said it here, but the underlying feeling I kept getting through the campaign was that Trump wanted to be elected president, but that he doesn't want to be president. Sure, he has ideas (or gets them from other people), but they're not tethered to anything. That's why he keeps changing positions and why everything seems so schizoid. He doesn't seem to have the courage of his convictions because he has no convictions. He wanted the validation from the outside, because he's wholly incapable of finding contentment within himself. That's the same reason he's purging his inner circle with a priority on loyalty rather than ability; he has to be the center of adulation.

He can brag about groping women or be perfectly comfortable calling his daughter a "piece of ass" because he's never really had an emotional connection with anyone. He wants the approval of those immediately in front of him, so he takes a guess at how to do that and runs with it. He was okay calling his daughter that because he was on the Howard Stern show, and he thought that was the best way to get Stern (and his listeners) to like him. He was Mr. Right Wing Crazypants during the election, because that's how he got his supporters and campaign staff to like him. He got to speak to crowds of thousands who thought he was just the greatest. Why would he change? The more outside criticism hurt him (and I believe that it does), the more he would just shift his focus to those who were worshiping him while lashing out at the outside. The best way to feel like part of one group is to talk about how you're all under attack.

Notice how now that his "circle" has expanded, suddenly he's become more moderate? It's because he wants the rest of us to adore him too.

So I for one don't hate Trump, and am not angry at Trump for being who he is. I pity Trump. I can feel sorry for all those who will be hurt by his latest round of narcissism, and can only hope that our country and our world are strong enough to survive it (and I think they are). He's like the dog chasing cars, and now he's caught one.

bfv  ·  207 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 2, 2016

    I have no point. I'm listening to Vas and wondering if Azam Ali bailed on the US like she threatened to in 2007.

She moved to Montreal.

johnnyFive  ·  210 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Undercover with a border militia

This was originally a reply to oyster, but expanded a little as I went.

I was going to say that gender identity is a huge part of this, I think.

    I mean we live in first world countries which in a way give many opportunities to be a part of something bigger...

That's the problem, though, as they're so big that they're abstractions.

Think about it this way. I grew up in the southeastern US. If I had been born even 60 years previously, I would've been on a farm. I would've learned to hunt by the time I was 10, I would've worked the fields, etc. I would've had real responsibility that mattered in a way I could see. I would see the crop fields, I could see my family eating what I helped provide, even from a very young age. It's all very tangible, and it'd be easy to to connect my own efforts with real results. I may not have been able to easily talk to people on the other side of the world, but I'd know everyone in my county, even if they lived miles away.

But now? Maybe I get to do a DIY project or something. Ever since I moved out of my dad's house at 18, I've never really known my neighbors. My ability to provide for my family centers on a job, and God help me if I lose that, because my identity goes with it. The highest rates of suicide in the United States are middle-aged white men in the mid-West, at 44 per 100,000.

I'm about as comfortable, educated, and liberal as they come, but I continue to struggle with this to this day. I was born in the early '80s, and while my mom is as liberated as could be, there was still the more traditional underlying dynamics in my parents' relationship, to say nothing of my grandparents'. So I was still kind of raised with this idea of being the provider, even though that dynamic doesn't really exist in our society beyond some echos. My wife has said she'd love to be a stay-at-home mom, but economically that's not in the cards right now.

Women's Liberation or Feminism or whatever was great, and as we've seen still has some work to do. Unfortunately, we can't have a corresponding conversation about what men should do too--Feminists too often get defensive, and Men's Rights Activists have utterly failed to come up with a reasonable alternative. These guys seem to have a lot of that going on, with militarism being the stand-in for masculinity. I mean, it's a little hard to take seriously with the code names and the names of the groups themselves. It really reads like an attempt to regain some ego. I notice too how (and I've seen this elsewhere) they talk about themselves as those who know what's really going on, and how they're the beginnings of some new elite. There's also the sheepdog nonsense, after a letter that's been circulating around the internet for awhile.

What's kind of sad about this is how easily taken advantage of these guys are. The firearms industry (and those that make associated stuff) makes a killing on this mindset. The prices for guns and ammunition go through the roof every time a mass shooting happens, because people assume the ban is coming. After Sandy Hook, you couldn't find an AR-15 if you wanted to.

And this mindset can have real consequences. If you watch the video of when LaVoy Finicum (part of the armed occupation of that wildlife refuge in Oregon) was shot by police, you can see the battle in his head. This was a guy who had written a book that culminates with the narrator quick-drawing on and killing corrupt federal agents (another review of sorts is here). Watching the video with this context, and you can almost see his thoughts as he struggles with the fact that his moment of glory has finally come but that reality is far different. He paid for this conflict with his life.

This line from the article sums it up nicely:

    It's as if many militia leaders know they are dealing with a pool of volatile white men, some of whom are convinced that society has screwed them and are at risk of exploding. For some, like Doc, the militia seems to rein them in by giving them a sense of purpose.
_refugee_  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insomniasexx and Randomuser weekend in Cali: Hubski Meetup

Actually, into his bag of holding.