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kleinbl00  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The French Election Is Way Too Close To Call

So a "fixed payment annuity" is effectively an agreement between you and whoever manages the annuity. The agreement says that if you make payments over the allotted time, when the annuity reaches maturity, the manager will pay you back. What's typical (what my pension looks like) is you work for a certain amount of time to be vested, then you contribute the requisite number of hours or days or years of employment, then when you've reached that number (and usually a prequalifying age), the annuity manager lets you flip the switch from "putting in" to "taking out" which you typically do until you die.

My grandfather was a regional president of the AFL. He was a tool and die machinist, and then he was a union foreman. His pension kicked in at 65 and provided him with something like 75% of his salary until he died, and then it was supposed to provide his wife with 50% of his salary until she died. I think his other choice was 100% until he died, and then 25% to his wife until she died. That pension was written in the '40s, kicked in in the late '60s, and paid him until the early '90s.

It's not atypical for the money that you get out of a pension will be more than the money you put into a pension. This shortfall is covered by the fact that the pension manager has your money now to pay you later so they can invest it, earn interest, make stock splits, etc etc etc. In other words, they're taking on the risk but also capturing any gains above and beyond what's necessary to pay out the pensions of the accounts under management.

Now take me - I've been in my union since 2008. I got enough union work to start earning healthcare and start vesting in 2013. At the end of this year, I'll be eligible to actually get money out of my pension when I retire - but I'm a six figure guy and as it sits, I think my pension payout when I reach retirement age will be like $137 a month. Now - if I keep mixing high-budget full-pop network shows under my union contract for the next seventeen years, my payout will reach.... drumroll please... $837 a month.

Now granted: That's nice money. But I earn more than that in a day every time I work on a holiday and once I retire, i won't be. And a lot of the reason is that the pension managers can't guarantee they'll make killer gains to cover the shortfall.

A lot of the reason is medical plans. See, retirement and medical benefits are often mixed together and when the 'boomers were getting their rippin' pension and health plans set up in the late '60s/ early '70s...

...they weren't expecting to spend a factor of ten what they were currently spending.

I've got great health insurance. It's good enough that I leave my family for three months a year to keep it. And COBRA on it is like $1800 a month. That's for three young, healthy people. Now - I got a buddy whose wife is currently dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's. I have another friend who has been dealing with skin cancer. And I have another friend who regularly tears himself up falling off of horses. And the medical plan pays out for all that.

Combine that with the fact that it's gotten harder and harder to make the kind of gains that pension plans are used to.

twenty fucking percent. And since like 2011 the interbank rate in the US has been close enough to zero that it might as well be nothing. The rest of the world? Something like 2/3rds of the world's currency was under negative interest rates for the past three years. And if your pension plan was set up on the assumption that it could make an easy 10% a year because it always had forever and ever amen, you have a massive pension shortfall.

So that's pensions. You put a set amount of money in, you eventually take a set amount of money out, and the pension manager covers the shortfall by profiting off your contributions. Great to be a pension manager if that's easy, shitty to be a pension manager if it's hard, used to be easy, is now hard. Pension shortfalls 101.

401(k)s? Those are just bank accounts. They're bank accounts with special tax status but they're just bank accounts. You put money in, your employer matches it, and you play the ponies. You get to see every month (or every second, depending on how interested you are) just how your 401(k) is doing and you get to rebalance it, reallocate it, contribute to it, draw it down, use it as collateral, tap into it under penalty, all that fun shit entirely on your own. If you don't have enough money in your 401(k) when it's time to retire, that shit's all on you - you should have saved more. You should have invested more wisely. Your employer has fuckall to do with it - it's their pension fund but it's your 401(k).

If your pension is with CalPERS, you're fucked because they ran out of money. If your 401(k) was with Enron, you were fucked because you folded your retirement plan into a house of cards.. If you were a public worker, you had no choice other than what CalPERS invested in. If you worked for Enron you had all the choice in the world - but it seemed like the smart thing was to invest in your employer.

Ironically enough, Steve Bannon blames the latter for his worldview.

_refugee_  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 12, 2017

hey perhaps more importantly I GOT AN ETSY STORE OPEN AGAIN


Got 9 listings up as of this AM but something like 5 additional book styles/covers need to be added before my total inventory's represented. What I'm saying is hit that F5 through the day and through tomorrow too and get me some pagevyaaas. Spend some money. Spam people with my link.

And in May I'll have a vendor table at a little local art hall event one of the bars I like holds every month. That is far scarier than the Etsy shop, fwiw. But I'm committed. Eek.

flagamuffin  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Piketty’s Crumbs
snoodog  ·  57 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 1, 2017

The baby came yesterday morning four and a half lbs. tiny little thing. Taking care of her while wife takes short 2 hr naps between feeding. Baby care is hard

steve  ·  170 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: It's election day America!

look man... Yep... a vocal chunk of trump supporters reflect the worst of humanity (and so does he). But a larger chunk is just tired of the status quo. They're voting against "the system", they're voting against Senator/Secretary Clinton. They want the closest thing to a republican they can find... They don't hate you. They're not all gun-toting, homophobic, xenophobic, troglodytes...

blergh... now I sound like I'm trying to justify Trump or his terrible supporters... I'm most certainly not. I don't know many people who completely agree with him on everything. I could never vote for the man.

I guess what I'm saying is - we've broken bread, you and I. I think there are more of us (sensible people who agree on a lot of stuff, who want to be kind and civil, and have some minor policy differences) than them (cruel, divisive, inconsiderate bigots). You and I are super different, but can sit down and have a burrito. We can live next door to each other and bemoan the constant increases in CU tuition... I promise... regardless of the outcome of this election - you're valued and wanted around here. Stick around - I like you as a neighbor.

francopoli  ·  224 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 14, 2016x 2

We were set up in public, with telescopes, looking at Saturn and the Moon. I was looking at Saturn, at high magnification, getting nothing but ohhhhs and ahhhs. One of the groups that came up to me included a kid, he could not have been more than 10. He stared at me, as in STARED at me in a way that I knew something was about to go down. I've done this enough that I can tell the kids that are there because of mom and dad, and the kids that are there because they are curious. (I've also been able to pick out the pick pockets and sneak thieves fortunately they are rare.) He asks to look through the telescope and I give him the spiel on how to look and where to look. One of the reasons I like doing this is to watch the faces... you can tell the INSTANT they see Saturn. Or Jupiter. Or the faint stuff. This kid never lost the stare, so I asked him if he saw the planet. He said he did. I asked if he saw the rings, the bands on the planet, the shadow of the globe on the rings. He stood there for a good 2-3 minutes. At these events the adults will stop and watch the kids as well while they wait patiently. he finally comes down from the stepladder, and his face is now much softer. More of a kid and less, well, adult. I then realized I am dealing with a kid with a shit homelife and just showed him something that he is trying to process.

As he moves aside to let his mom(?) look, I look him right in the eyes and say "neat, huh?" He stares at me. The face grows a bit more of what I like to call "puzzled, curious child" and I can see he as a question. Mom(?) starts saying prayers and praise Jesus as she looks. He then says, and I quote him exactly here: How long was it after you got out of jail that you bought the telescope?

This confused me and I really did not understand that. I wanted to ask him to repeat the question, but then thought through what he said. I replied "I've never been to jail. I had to save up a long time to get this from working my job." The reply hit me like a truck: "All the men I meet have been to jail."

I sat there with my head spinning for a moment, then saw that the line was gone. I look the kid in the eyes and say to him "Want to see something really cool?" He looks at me and nods. I put M11 in the eyepiece and show him how to see the "V" that makes up the "Wild Duck" of the Wild Duck Cluster. I explain that this is 2900 stars over 6000 light years away, and ask the mom(?) to take a look. All I can say to this kid is "Life is much bigger than we think, and the universe is infinite. We all have the opportunity to end up where we can do the most good." The mom(?) says "amen" and they move on. I hope I see the kid again; I'm kicking myself that I did not get his name.

Why do I type it as mom(?) in the above? I'm not sure if the lady was a guardian, a grandparent, an older sister. Hard to judge ages sometimes in the dark at these events. And with some families, there are questions that should not be asked.

That same evening about an hour later as we were talking about packing up, a Chaldean family walked up to us, very excited to be able to look through a telescope. Excited people we help and spend time with. There were 3 men, 3 women dressed and acting like their wives, and an elderly couple, obviously the parents. The older woman whispered in Arabic, and the older gentlemen asked me if his wife could look at the moon. I say sure, and move the telescope off of Saturn after giving the younger couples a glance. While the scope is moving he tells me he is from Baghdad, he left as a child in the 80's and they are touring the USA before they move back to Iraq. I set the scope up so that the whole of the moon is in the eyepiece. The men look first. Lots of chatter in Arabic, smiles, and handshakes. Then the ladies look. The elderly woman looks last, gasps, takes a step back and makes the sign of the cross and starts whispering in Arabic. The other women all look and chatter excitedly. I look at the elderly lady and ask if she wants to look again. She does, only this time she looks longer. Finally, in English "So Beautiful!" I smile at her husband and say "I think she sees it!" He then asks me, a great question: So, is this the same moon my family in Iraq is looking at? I reply "Yes! Only they are 12 hours away, so the sun is up there... when we have a sunrise, it will be sunset and moonrise in Iraq." The lady is in tears, mumbling "So Beautiful!" I look at her, and ask, Do you want to see it closer? She nods. I put in an eyepiece that goes from about 70 power to about 150 power so she can see right into the craters in the Southern Highlands near Tycho. I let the men look first, then the younger women, then she looks. She starts speaking in Arabic, faster, more of a mumble to her husband. For a few minutes, I explain to the husband how Tycho formed, how big it is (54 miles), how the big mountain (1 mile tall) in the center formed, and that the impact made the bright rays they say before and he translates to the wife, eye glued to the telescope. The Husband tells me that his wife has always loved the moon as it reminds her of when they used to watch it back in Iraq when she was a little girl, and that they have never looked through a telescope before. He also asked me how I knew he was Chaldean, I told him where I grew up and he laughed. His family moved there not too long ago. We said goodbye and wished each other well in our travels.

It seems that every other time that I think this outreach stuff is not worth it, something like the above happens and it makes me realize that I may be making my tiny little corner of the earth suck a bit less.

tacocat  ·  233 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Adventures in Decoupaging: Part 2

I've made a ton of decoupage collages into art.

I got tired of repeating myself for two years or whatever and quit.

kingmudsy  ·  318 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, what do you do to unwind?

Here you go!

I can reduce the static too, if you want? I was going for a more glitch-y VHS feel with the original.

text  ·  #cars  ·  #shop.lm  ·  #shopski

So, this is going to be long, and you and I are not going to see eye to eye on this matter. That's fine. We can disagree and have a back and forth; that is how we grow as people. So below is my argument why "hate speech" laws are bad.

But first, what is hate speech, anyway and how do we deal with it?

In Germany, you cannot wear Nazi symbols, you cannot do the Nazi salute, Hitler memorabilia is illegal to display and it is illegal to deny the Holocaust. As a Lefty-Liberal type, this sounds GREAT! Those types of people were malevolent and anti-humanity so good, keep them out of the public debate, right? Only, that never works. Instead of tamping down on the hate from these groups, they retreated to the shadows and formed tight-knit groups, brotherhoods, who have a real persecution complex. The banning of the Nazi stuff ended up fetishizing it. Nazi stuff is on the rise in Germany, and the migrant crisis is only fueling the inclusiveness of these groups, making them stronger and bolder. Now, take what the rest of us have done. Hitler is a joke, a gag, a punchline. Danger 5 is hilarious in that the Nazis are a punchline. The term "Master Race" once made whole continents tremble, now it is best known as a reddit circle-jerk. The Nazis are being defeated, 70 years later, with snark, comedy, and satire. If someone here says they like the Nazis, they get laughed at. The fear the Brown Shirts imposed on the globe has been reduced to mockery and amusements.

But that sidesteps the original question, doesn't it. What is Hate Speech?

In Thailand, any criticism of the king and his position in society is considered a hateful act and they throw people in jail for such acts. The authorities will even demand foreign media hand over data on Thai citizens who they SUSPECT of this hate speech. This law is not being used to protect the fragile ego of a throwback to an ancient time; this law is being used by a military government to stomp down on dissenters and trouble makers.

But that sidesteps the original question, doesn't it. What is Hate Speech?

There is a sizable group of people online who think that any and all critique of their ideas is hateful. This debate comes to its ugly terminus in blasphemy laws. There are still nations in the modern era that state in their laws that criticizing the dominant religion is an act of hate that deserves punishment. Hopefully, nobody here on Hubski is going to defend anti-blasphemy laws, but there are still people in the US who think we need to protect faith and religion and even political ideals from any harmful speech. Saying "I do not believe in God" or "I am a Christian" or "I am Jewish" or even "I am a Muslim" in the wrong country and you do time in jail, or worse. Blasphemy is hate speech in the eyes of these people.

But that sidesteps the original question, doesn't it. What is Hate Speech?

So we've seen the hard right in action, now let's look at the other side of the horseshoe and look at the left. There are groups in Norway and Sweden that tried to pass laws in 2013 to make criticism of Feminism a crime as hate speech. Anita Sarkesian went to the UN and said that hate speech and harassment was as simple as saying "You Suck" and calling her a liar in a response video. Is pointing out someone's falsehoods 'hate speech?' Talk to some of the feminists from the 70's, however, who had their clinics firebombed, lost their jobs, had their husbands run off etc and ask them if this is hate speech. Or talk to the women fighting to end genital mutilation if being called a liar is hate speech.

But that sidesteps the original question, doesn't it. What is Hate Speech?

So, to answer the question, hate speech is not an ends, it is a means. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, someone out there is your opposite. That is the way we hairless apes seem to work (oh, and in some Catholic circles, acknowledging that humans are descended from apes and evolution is real is considered a hatred of Gods divine creation). Any time you limit a voice in the conversation ,no matter how foul, you don't make those thoughts go away and instead they go underground and fester into a malignant tumor that ends up damaging the host (the rest of us). As I have said elsewhere on hubski, I want my racist assholes out, loud and proud. I want them to have marches, wave their flags, have parades the whole bit. Because when they are talking, I'm mocking them. I'm also showing other people that we have a long way to go towards a humanist ideal where the accident of the ticket we punched at birth defines everything about us. And it gives me, as a private nobody, the right to know who the racist assholes are and not associate with them.

Living in a society with liberal free speech laws and protected speech like we do can be frustrating, annoying and make you angry. There are people here who say things that I think are offensive and wrong, but I don't shut them down I either engage if there is a conversation to be had, or let them have their say and see if I can get some insight into why someone would believe that crap. As I am certain that there are people in here who think I'm an asshole who should shut his keyboard. We all have experiences to bring to the table. You don't have to agree, you don't even have to engage, and you certainly don't have to associate with people whom you have major disagreements with. Nobody is saying that the Black Lives Matter people and the KKK have to friend each other on Facebook... yet.

So, what do I mean when I say that hate speech laws are a means, not an end? People in power are all terrible people, that is what. The hate speech laws that you pass to ban the thoughts you don't like will eventually ban YOUR thoughts as well. Think of something that you believe, a religion, a political action, that someone out there finds unpleasant. Now imagine they have the power to shut you up, or worse. The end of this ramble is that all of this concept is just circling the drain of one word; Feelings. Feelings and emotions do not belong in law. My dad once told me that when men get emotional, people get hurt and die, and that has sort of stuck with me all these years. A bit harsh, but there is a significant nugget of truth there. Did the bad words do harm? If the answer is "I feel like they did" then toughen the hell up and repeat after me 'Sticks and stones will break my bones; words will not hurt me.' If the words did actual harm to you, lawyer up and use the slander and libel laws we have in place here in the west to defend yourself. Yea, it sucks that lawsuits are expensive and all, but the reality of the internet is that every dumbass with an opinion now has a megaphone. And I do science outreach in and area with a real, honest to god flat earth contingent.

Does this mean a free for all in the speech front? No. There are rules. Threats should be looked at; the people blowing off steam let them go, the guy who says "I'm gonna kill XXXX" then goes to the gun store? Maybe he should get a visit from the cops and a restraining order. Don't lie about people. Stuff like that. Shouting "fire" in a building to cause a panic is illegal already and I agree with that in full. But spouting racist garbage on the internet does nothing but show that you are an idiot.

This gets to the next thing I want to touch on. I disagree with the term "Cyber Violence." There is no such thing (cue incoming hatred, I can take it but hear me out first.) Maybe because I grew up in the rough an tumble of real fights and real violence, but words on the internet don't impact me. The Chinese have a word, and it fits so perfectly: Strawberry Children. These are people who wilt in the faintest criticism, bruise easily and can't take the hard knocks of life. And it is not just the Millennials. I've dealt with 60 year old strawberries who cannot deal with people who are not exactly the same as they are. If you are getting shit-on in an online space, then either learn to fight back or turn the computer off for a day or two. This is the internet, people! most nonsense has a shelf life of hours and as long as you don't Streisand yourself into Infamy, you will be fine. Or, 'git gud' and fire back and become a legend and earn the respect of your adversaries.. or at least stop being a doormat so you don't get so much crap flung at you. (remember kids, bullies tend to be cowards and the only real way to deal with them is to not be a victim) Hell those assholes might even end up being your friends later down the road.

And finally, a note on what I think and education SHOULD be. The purpose of an education should be to expose you to the wider world, give you the skills to deal with people outside your comfort circle and give you a cultural center so that you can communicate to other people in your country/state etc. Part of growing up is learning how to deal with people who are different than you. People who look different, go to different churches, live in different parts of town etc. A good education will build within you an empathy for others. This is why segregation and filter bubbles are bad and why they need to be fought. A Great Education will even instill character, honor and strong sense of self. The kids at Oberlin and I walk in different worlds and almost certainly will never meet. So why do I care? You don't go to a place like Oberlin for an education, you go there to meet the kids of other rich and powerful people and network with them. People who go to schools like this end up writing legislation, working on campaigns, sitting on the Boards of big companies and have a big impact on how us peons in the muck live and work. That is why I care what they are learning and how they are organizing themselves. And one of the first things that show up in hate crime legislation tends to be the language poor people use. Having a generation of kids go to college and come out with the idea that free speech is a bad thing is not healthy for the long term survival of a democracy in my mind.

You and I are probably not going to see eye-to-eye here. And that's fine. I follow you because you have a neat outlook on life and have had interesting things to say in the past. I'm looking forward to seeing where this conversation goes. Thanks.

francopoli  ·  359 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Catching a Flight? Budget Hours, Not Minutes, for Security

I was going to write this up with links to facts and tons of data, but that is not what you need here. So, from some random asshole on the internet, stop for a second and hear me out. But first, a sound track No real reason for the 2nd, just what I am listening to now.

    Ok this is me having an anxiety riddled moment.

The reality of us as men living in the West is as follows. The number one cause of non-natural death for men under 40 is suicide. Number two? Car accidents. Then all work related injuries, then the category i loving call "hold my beer and watch this." Then and only then does homicide make the list. The only single health category that fits in the top 5 is cancer. Here is the 2013 list of all men in the USA, so everyone from newborns to the guys who died at 105. Crime in the US/Canada is at all time lows, something we here on Hubski have talked about in previous threads related to Stephen Pinker, for example. The reality of violent crime is that as long as you are not involved in the illegal drug trade, even if you are poor, the odds of you being injured in a crime are damn near zero. Look at that chart again. Crime is not even in the list. Homicide is on the list of black men and we should all be ashamed at that, but let's focus on the positives here.

You are more likely to be killed by a cop during a traffic stop than by a terrorist. There were 13,000 or so homicides in 2014; that same year there were closer to 45,000 automobile fatalities. This number includes about 5,000 on motorcycles. Why don't we freak out over the body count from cars? Because they are familiar. I am willing to bet that everyone here knows someone who has been impacted by an automobile fatality... How many of us know someone who died in a plane crash? Or a terror attack? Or any of the other big scary things we see on TV? Probably not many. That leads to a part of the problem.

    Is the world getting smaller?

Yes. When someone gets shot in the "bad part of town" it is all over the news. we can pull up google maps and street view the crime scene. We can measure how many blocks away the crime was. Even though the way cities work you are probably not going to interact with anyone involved with the event. You did not know this place existed until the news of the crime was all over the place. Now, think Pakistan. There was a terror bombing there in April that made national news. The local websites and news stations covered it with gruesome images of scared kids, bleeding women and dead bodies. Why? Because fear and panic sell advertising space, that is why. A plane crash in Russia that kills 30 people makes international news because plane crashes are very, very rare. After 9/11 people bailed on the airlines and drove instead. The high numbers of people on the roads versus the air lead to a statistical bump in fatalities from car accidents that rivaled the number of people killed in the attack.

    Are our lives getting smaller and more constrained? Are possible futures being killed in the crib as we slowly lose little bits and pieces of peace of mind and personal freedom?

Sadly, yes. Human beings are NOT RATIONAL CREATURES. Say that a fucking million times until it sinks in. We are emotional basket cases, and advertisers and marketing people spend billions on how to get that little reptile control portion of your brain to react before the monkey brain can kick in and say "stop, idiot!" Since fear and death and terror and horror and crime and murder and all the bad scary nonsense gets eyeballs, and eyeballs sell ad copy, well here we are. The two big cities here in Kentucky just finished up a massive planning outlay for the next 20 years. This plan impacts the lives of every single person living in the two of the 50 biggest population centers in the USA, more than 1/2 the state. And it impacts the way visitors travel through these two metro areas. These plans are nowhere on the main news websites. NOWHERE. But the attack in Pakistan is. The stupid shit Clinton and Trump are saying sure is. These plans marry us to the automobile for a generation, impact the density of the urban infill and impact the very air we breathe and water we drink. Why nowhere on the news? Because it is boring and you can't sell advertising around it. Land abatement, environmental impact trust transfers, zone density targets, and waste water control easements don't trigger the reptilian emotional response. Hell, the 4-5 people reading this probably instinctively tuned out reading that sentence; I'd doubt there are more than 5 people here on Hubski who even know what those things are (and I was one of them until I started getting active with the parks system and light pollution activism). I know those terms exist but I doubt I could explain them, so how is the bobble-head on the 5 O'clock news supposed to do that in 15 second blurbs around the crime footage? Yet, these plan gut public transport and change the way most of us out here will get to work, where we will work, and how much in taxes we pay to make it happen.

    I don't think I know a single person my age who associates any good feeling with airports.

That age is over. The joy I had meeting my dad at the gate after he came home from his dad's funeral, and the way his whole body shifted from a dour stoop to a standing tall smile when he saw his family greeting him and cheering lights up my memories damn near 40 years later, then I am saddened as this emotion is something that people today are not going to experience, ever again in an airport. The meeting at the baggage claim is one of business, not emotion: get the bags, jostle for room, get out. We've let fear trump sanity, and the needed changes to keep the bad guys off the planes have turned into a gong show instead. And as has been said elsewhere, if the bad guys really wanted to hurt us they'd never touch an airport ever again and instead buy a trucking company.

    We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

That was said by Thomas Merton a monk who went to isolate himself from humanity only to realize that we need to work to make the place suck a little less for those who follow. I really wish I knew of the guy when I was still a Catholic... I'm not sure what the change would be, but I learned of him after moving out to Kentucky. The one good thing about religion is that there are a ton of people who wandered out into the nothingness and came back with insights into the human condition. When I stopped being the atheist asshole online and went back to read some of the non-canonical gospels I also started to read on the philosophers and monks for insights into why people do stupid shit. It did not help with the understanding, but I did get insights into Stoicism and in dealing with a world that I don't always feel a part of. Social media is not making us better as I had hoped when I first got on the internet over 30 years ago. It is also not making us worse... yet. The internet and social media is amplifying our common traits which is why the festering sewer that is Reddit will come through once in a while and raise money for a good cause or help someone out who has been wronged in some big way. It also feeds gofundme's of liars and opportunists and cultists, but that stuff existed before the internet only not as loud and profitable.

So what do we do? Ban carry on gear and force people to fly naked? Declare martial law, put cameras everywhere and end liberty? Or do we realize that there are real things that we can fight that will make things better, vote for people who won't make the situation worse, stand with our friends when they fall, fight the battles to make our homes better than when we found them? One of the reasons that I think the suicide rate is so high is the push-pull from living in a safe environment while being force-fed a steady pop culture diet of "OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!111!!" I've fought this part of my personal battle by disengaging from the media and the news. I read news instead of watch it as that helps me digest data slower and makes me think about it more. I love the work that the Green Brothers have done, but fuck me I cannot watch JUMPCUT their JUMPCUT videos JUMPCUT as I don't have a damaged attention span. Realize that people have been having this conversation for about, oh, forever, and we are not going to fix it now. But, we can make it suck less for ourselves and those around us, control our reactions to the world and do better than our parents.

There are still people alive who were born in the 1800's. Think about that world they came into. They lived to see Electricity and clean water become a thing. They lived to see the creation of the suburbs, the introduction of the automobile, two World Wars, the end of the Ottoman Empire, the end of the British Empire, 1/3 of all US history, the rise of the educated American Middle Class, the end of Jim Crow, gay people and inter-racial couples not being killed for whom they love. They lived to see controlled powered flight, then jets, then space, all before they hit 70! They lived to see Measles, Polio, Whooping Cough, and Small Pox, wiped out of most of the human population. The diseases that filled the old cemeteries with the corpses of kids and infants, GONE. So gone in fact the anti-vax movement can take hold because the institutional memories of burring infants and toddlers does not exist here in the west. Radio, Television, movies, the Internet all came to be in their lifetime! Think about the wonders we will see in the next 50ish years. And stop watching video news, it exists to make you feel like shit so you by the Testosterone 5000 car and the body soap sold by the guy with muscles on his muscles. We are all on an involuntary rapidly accelerating train ride that ends six feet in the dirt feeding worms. And every one of us is fighting the same battle you are. Welcome to the suck, man; embrace it and enjoy the adventure wherever it takes you.

goobster  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Daydreams of leaving

kleinbl00 called me out because I am an American who pulled up stakes and moved to Budapest, Hungary on a whim, and stayed there for the better part of a decade.

So here's the trick. Both of you become certified English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers for Berlitz. (Or get an ESL certificate.)

Now you have a job anywhere you want to go in the world. You can walk into any Berlitz school and pick up a few hours a week. That will grow into more and more hours, and you will basically make a good college student-level salary.

The key thing is that you will MEET AND LIVE WITH THE LOCALS.

The big mistake that every single American thinks is that they have some sort of exalted way of life, or quality of life that is unmatched in the world, and that's just pure bullshit.

When you make a college student salary in any other country in the world, you are making a living wage. It's basic, but you have enough money to do the basic stuff. And since you are not going to the American Tourist spots, you are paying local prices for your needs... food, clothing, etc.

So you hang out in Prague for three months. Then you hop the train a couple hours south to Bratislava and hang there. It's cheap, and fun, and you love hiking in the hills, so you wind up staying for a year or so.

Then you go to Budapest and do the same thing. Or maybe zip over to the Baltics for the summer, and live it up in Tallinn in Estonia, then beat it down to Croatia for the winter.

Anytime you go anywhere, you jump on a train. You pay $20 to $90 to go anywhere. Or you find a RyanAir flight deal, and pay 20 GBP to fly to someplace crazy, like Morocco and chill there for a bit.

English is everywhere. And there is nothing you can't do without some goofy pantomime, some broken English, and some good-natured foreigner. (The ONLY time I got stumped was when I told a guy I was from San Francisco, and he tried to ask about earthquakes, and I just couldn't get it. Then the tram came, we laughed, got on board, and he slapped me on the back and we parted with a hearty smile.)

You and your wife are both good at something. You don't need a degree to prove it, but you will probably need a degree to get the right to stay permanently in any country. Fortunately, all school is free (and in English) in both the Netherlands and Sweden, so, shit... go there for a couple of years, enroll in school, get an education while working at whatever college students do there, and then go ANYWHERE.

And, being professional Nomads is WAY EASIER THAN YOU THINK. Especially if you have each other. Because the only problem my nomad friends have, is they sometimes feel lonely, and want to share a deeper experience with someone else. You and your wife have each other.

Here's the shitty part. This is incredibly fucking easy. You are going to agonize about it, and worry every detail, and make sure you buy exactly the right pack, and pocket knife, and notebook, and underwear... and you will travel for a week, and it will be stolen. And you'll never get it back. And you will have to wing it on the road, and scramble to replace things with whatever you can find, and there's no REI so you can't get those great socks anywhere, but there's this guy you met from Australia who told you about this place over in the Garment District of this city near by, and you can get there for, like... how much does that exchange to? Two dollars?... and you go, and you find things that work just as well, and you continue on your journey... and realize that YOU GOT THIS. Life can throw anything at you, and you don't even speak the language, but goddamnit motherfucker, I GOT MYSELF TO THAT NEIGHBORHOOD AND I BOUGHT MORE GODDAMN SOCKS!!! I AM A KING!!!! COME AT ME WORLD!!!

And shit will CHANGE in your brain. And you will become a citizen of the whole goddamn WORLD, not just one dopey little country that thinks it's shit don't stink.

And then you will look up and realize that it's been 4 years, and you could go ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET, and you get to CHOOSE now where you want to go. Your life is not dictated by keeping up with your high school friends, or whatever reality TV bullshit is driving the sale of those highwater pants, and you have friends you can visit in Perth, or Cape Town, or Minneapolis, or Hvar, or Berlin, and you travel, and see your friends... and then suddenly you have a job at a cool little startup in Barcelona. And then they want to give you an equity stake in the business, and then... hey... maybe I'll sell my motorcycle and stay in Barcelona. And then it's 7 years after that, and people visit YOU and wish THEY could do the amazing things that YOU AND YOUR WIFE have done, and how BRAVE you must me, and....

You will just shake your head at them sadly and vaguely remember when you thought that, too.

kleinbl00  ·  374 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insomnia bothers

Yeah, my mother in law does that.

So check it - you can fuckin' do something about it or you can miss out on your family, your friends, events, gatherings and shit that's important to you well into your 60s. Sitting on the computer until dawn doesn't sound so bad when you're 19. Lemme tell ya - a 68-year-old that can't come to breakfast because she was up until 6am playing Solitaire does not have the same charm.

    The first thing I did when I came here to study was look up sleep laboratories. I vowed to finally get looked at. But being freed from the strict schedule of school and a dozen curricular activities quickly led me to believe that it wasn't all that bad: Just take classes that start later! And holy shit, hubski, it got really fucking bad. Everything I experienced in school was tame. In retrospect, pressure from my parents kept me together pretty well. I might've only gotten three hours of sleep a night, but I funtioned pretty well. As soon I had the choice between skipping classes and activities and getting sleep, sleep won out increasingly more often. And then I woke up so late it wasn't worth it to cycle to uni for one last class, so I skipped that too. I became somewhat of a hermit.

This is the part where we're supposed to be nice and supportive and say there there it's gonna be all right and bullshit like that but I'm not like other mommies. TOUGHEN THE FUCK UP and address your problems. You know what the issues are, you know what the solutions are, you acknowledge that you function with external motivation but here you are, pussing out and begging for sympathy when you've slapped problem AND solution on the page. You could need chemo. You could need dialysis. You could need transfusing. But no, you need a nap and it's too much work to arrange your sleep schedule in such a way that you can get help arranging your sleep schedule.

My schedule in college? Wake at 7, go to class, come home at 1, sleep til 4, go to work, work til 3, come home, sleep til 7. That's a max of 6 hours if I had no homework. Then I did 80 hours a week while also spending 3 hours a day working on films. And exercising. So for about half of your life, I held down a job, got a degree, and got a short film into 23 festivals on a whacked-to-shit sleep schedule.

But no one's asking you to do that. All you need to do is toughen the fuck up until you can pick up the tools necessary.

Hey, read this part again:

    In retrospect, pressure from my parents kept me together pretty well. I might've only gotten three hours of sleep a night, but I funtioned pretty well.

You've got two choices: you can either meet some lovely girl/boy who will love you and adore you and admire you and help you through life and prop you up and become that external motivation you are no longer getting from your parents, or you can solve your own fucking problems and be on equal footing with the people who matter to you. 'cuz my mom did an exceptional job of staying up 'til 4am drinking and then sleeping through the day and lemme tell ya - this insomnia shit of yours externalizes right the fuck all over everyone who matters to you.

    I can't count the times I've had to decline going out or a party because I knew I wouldn't be awake at the time.

Right. And they invited you because they thought you might enjoy it. They really didn't give a fuck one way or the other, right? Entirely up to you, nobody cares whether you live or die, you're just a dude with a sleep problem, it's not like you're being a royal pain in the ass to everybody you know or something.

I got neighbors. They got a grandkid who's over a lot. He's 7. His dad's 35. I've known him since he was early 20s. He married a girl in a wheelchair and they clearly love each other. at some point while we were in LA, my neighbors made their entire house wheelchair-accessible. I seriously doubt any of them resent her, and I have no doubt that they're a happy family, working their asses off to make it through. But I also know that it'd be harder to have sympathy if the thing keeping her in the chair were inertia.

You got problems. I get it. You hate yourself for it. I get that, too. But there's this core of selfishness at the heart of all "I don't have the gumption to heal myself" that's deeply unattractive to me, and I'm calling you on it. You want some external motivation? look me in the eye, mutherfucker.

Get your shit together.

They don't own a theme or video format, they own a trademark, which falls under an entirely different set of rules from copyrights and patents. Any videos being taken down on YouTube because the Fine Bros filed a copyright claim is entirely the fault of YouTube for having a shit copyright system. If those videos had been published on any other website, the chances of them having been brought down is slim. Furthermore, any copyright claim against other reaction based videos in a court of law would have ended poorly for the Fine Bros.

A trademark is an identifier. For example, Coca Cola and Pepsi both make a drink called cola. But Coca Cola can't use any of the names, logos, slogans, etc that Pepsi uses as part of its business nor can Pepsi use Coca Cola's names, logos, slogans, etc. If companies were allowed to use each others identifiers, then consumers would quickly become confused as to which company they were buying from.

Likewise, if you created a show on YouTube, for monetary purposes, which depicted children reacting to various cultural memes and entitled the show "Kids React", then the Fine Bros would ABSOLUTELY have the right to order you to change the name of the show. If, however, you entitled the show "Children Respond", and used none of the logos, slogans, artwork, etc that the Fine Bros use in "Kids React", then the Fine Bros wouldn't be able to do shit to stop you (legally, as stated earlier, YouTube's copyright system is shit).

Furthermore, trademark law is not explicitly in the US Constitution. In 1879, the Supreme Court ruled in the Trade Mark Cases that the Copyright Clause in no way gives Congress the power to regulate trademarks, instead, Congress enforces trademarks via the Commerce Clause which means the First Amendment applies in full. On top of that, there are provisions in US law allowing for fair use of trademarks. Because trademarks are more limited than copyrights, the standards for fair use much lower. The use of someone else's trademark to accurately describe your product or to refer to a product/service which is trademarked are both considered fair use.

In summary, while we can all agree that the Fine Bros were behaving in an absurd way, YouTube's copyright system is the real villain here as it is easily used by some content producers to shut down competition. Chances are good that none of the Fine Bros copyright claims would have held up in court. Furthermore, the fact that the Fine Bros own a trademark on the names of their shows is no more evil than Canonical Ltd owning a trademark on the African word "ubuntu" (Registration number is 4578010) or Microsoft having a trademark on the word "windows" (Registration number is 4407849).

If you're still concerned about possible First Amendment issues, I recommend you read Rogers v. Grimaldi. You only have to read the background and section I under discussion. TL;DR The court did an amazing job balancing the First Amendment and the Lanham Act (trademark law).

cgod  ·  475 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A Fighter's Hour of Need

The NY State Athletic Commission is orders of magnitude better than the athletic commissions in some other states. This is not a defense of what happened that night, it's inexcusable. The things that go on in other states are just deplorable. Fighters that would never be allowed to fight in New York due to existing injuries are given no significant pre-fight medical exam and matched up against significantly more skilled opponents. Boxing needs a national over site board. Fighters need more education about the risks they face when they go in the ring and the risks of having anything but a brief career. There needs to be a unified sanctioning body and greater over site of the relations between managers, promoters, referees, sanctioning bodies and athletic commissions for conflicts of interest and ethical lapses. Many places that have enacted laws governing the over site of boxing often don't enforce their laws.

_refugee_  ·  579 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to deal with a victim mentality in the workplace

It sounds like from their perspective their jobs were really shitty for two years or as long as they've worked at the company. It sounds like this was an endemic, pervasive issue that most people experienced.

I'd hazard that if "shit" is the norm, most people aren't going to go to their managers and say "Hey what's with all this shit? It's shitty." I'd also say that because basically everyone had to deal with the shit, its all-encompassing nature would probably discourage employees from talking to their managers about it (you know, all that shit). If things suck for you, but also seem to suck for everyone, you're going to conclude "shit is the way of life around here," and/or "there is no option but shit." neither perception would lead one to believe that one direct manager would be able to alter that employee's personal amount of shit, in either quality or quantity. After all, if all it took to fix things was talking to a manager, wouldn't everyone be doing it? Wouldn't things stop being shitty very fast? If a direct manager was able to fix the shit, why would things have been allowed to get so shitty in the first place?

Bad jobs/work environments build distrust and resentment between levels.

(Side note: If I had a shitty job for two years I'd be trying to get out of there so fast.)

You say you want to make things better but I don't see how you are actually trying to do that for the employees.

If you don't believe that they are too busy, develop and launch a simple time tracking initiative to see how everyone is really spending their time. Any automated systems they use (like dialers in call centers) could also be used to build this data. Why don't you actually see where all the time is going instead of simply not believing what they see about their workload? Do a side by side with someone in the floor and see how long various tasks actually take in execution. It doesn't sound to me like you are an individual contributor but probably dept head or similar. The distance of such a role easily lets one forget, overlook, or simply never know how much work, time, attention etc, must go into each step of a process.

Instead of coming up with a project to improve things and forcing it on your employees unwillingly why don't you have a brown bag session where you discuss needs and potential ways to fill or improve those gaps. When an employee has a good idea first praise and be supportive, then ask him or her to take ownership of their proposal. They will be much more engaged, feel more valued, and work harder when they feel it is their idea which they are convinced will help them. Even if they come up with the same idea that you have.

I think you need to get more in touch with what's going on behind the scenes here.

Also I feel like anyone with any experience in corporate business would have been able to come up with and follow at least some of these steps without asking a kind of random, mildly anonymous Internet forum with no focus in business or management.

Don't you have a manager, mentor or guru who would have been better placed and more informed, probably more experienced, to turn to for advice in times like this? I also feel like some of this would be covered in people management classes as part of a decent MBA curriculum.

I don't mean to sound too negative here but there are a lot of easy ways to drive engagement, it just sounds like you aren't prioritizing that - you're prioritizing your project. If you want things to get better for the people, start by asking the people what they want and need. If you think your employees are shirkers exaggerating their time spent on current products do time tracking and touch base with managers weekly or biweekly to monitor team workloads and downtime. (That will not make anyone happier about your company, though. Time tracking always implies a lack of trust, a suspicion of dishonesty or inefficiency, and not to mention is an additional burden to complete in and of itself.)

I feel like you are thinking "fix the company, then the employee situation will right itself." But I think you need to flip it and work on the employees first. It's very expensive and time consuming to keep bringing in new hires and right now I would expect people at your company to feel almost driven away.

Also like your chosen verbiage - "victim mentality" is really dismissive. I see you mention it might not be the best phrase. I don't think it's a phrase you should ever use in the context of a business setting, honestly. Not behind closed doors, certainly not when you are "trying" to troubleshoot things. Imagine a laptop manufacturer who approached interface/user issues with the attitude that "our users are just so stupid, this is really easy, they just need to catch up to how things are done now" - vs. "this approach isn't working for our users. why not? how can we fix it?"

I've worked at a few big (global) companies in my time and employee engagements taken pretty seriously, so long as you aren't Bank of America. Good companies see disengagement and try to solve it from their end, instead of dismissing it as the lazy employees' fault.

Finally : if the sentiment that work is shit there is truly universal, why is your conclusion that your employees are universally lazy/shirking assignments? Why aren't you paying attention to the fact that everyone (but you) seems to agree there are issues with the current work environment still? You may be CEO my friend but even as CEO if your "gut" tells you 1 thing and then 100 qualified people line up and tell you that your gut is wrong, would you choose to ignore all of them and follow your gut anyway? When your gut doesn't even do anything on the ground floor of the work environment and they all do?

100% of your employees can't be lazy liars. If so you are really shitty at hiring. Trust them. Stop listening to your lonely opinion. this is like the girl who always dates assholes moaning about "why are all men assholes" and it's like "yo girl not all men are assholes, probably not even most, the problem lies with YOU and how you are interacting with everyone else." You're like "all my employees suck lie and are unhappy, none of them will do what I want." Dude I know corporate America. There's a guy willing to rim ass for a promotion on every team of 4 or more people. People want to work. People don't want to lie. Trust me dicking around for 8 hours a day for a paycheck actually sucks. So I think the problem may lie with you.

coffeesp00ns  ·  583 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 141st Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately" Threadx 2

I'm sorry artie, this turned into a monster.



you know what the fun thing about the history of Jazz is? The way I see it, it's basically the same story as classical music, condensed into 150 years or so. The story of a continued "harmonic breakdown" - basically things get more chromatic over time.

This is, of course, incredibly simplified and leaves out a lot - but the parallels are there.

We start off with a rigidly structured music, the Blues. Even though there are improvisatory elements in Blues music, the chord progression is almost always identical: I--IV-V-I. If you're not musically literate, those roman numerals won't make sense to you, but they're essentially the building blocks of all western art music.

This mirrors, in a lot of ways, the earliest periods of music in Europe that are in the scope of Classical tradition - Gregorian Chant. You know, this stuff:

very harmonically simple, and the words are the most important part. Blues is the same - a repeating chord rhythm, where the words are what differentiate each song.

After this, Classical Music had this intensely complicated period called Baroque. I'm no scholar of Jazz specifically, but as far as I know, Jazz never had a whole lot like that, but this period does have one element in common with baroque - the solidification of group sizes, and the creation of musical "forms"(like blueprints) . In the 1800s, The US gains Louisiana and Florida in a series of diplomatic sales and land grabs. On this land are slaves previously under Spanish and French rule - Creole (some of whom have been absorbing traditions from their owners, or even playing European Classical music to entertain them) -, and a group of people who had been expelled from Upper Canada in the 1700s - Acadians, or as we know them, Cajun. Over time, with lower class intermingling, Blues music begins to absorb all of these traditions. This is where we get this:

At the same time, after the Civil War, dance halls are becoming popular. African Americans, having more free time since, you know, not being slaves, begin to blend their music with dance culture. Musicians, employed to process in funerals, start to form bands.

You'll notice harmony is still pretty simple, but has a little bit more going on. There's even a few short solos. Armstrong was a relic of an older kind of Jazz. Even though he lived a long time, and performed until quite late in life, his style is always very reminiscent of 20's Jazz. Indeed, his style of trumpet playing defined how trumpeters played in Jazz for a long time, until he wasn't cool anymore. Because he was so popular with white audiences, he unintentionally became a kind of "Uncle Tom" figure in jazz late in his life, at which point people really began to pull away from his playing style. Just like Haydn, he started ahead of his time, and ended as a relic.

Cue: The Great War, the subsequent depression, and WW2. Music, and dancing fuelled by Live bands in particular was cheap and popular. Prohibition also helped things along, giving lots of venues for bands to play in. Majority white audiences are starting to catch on to this Jazz thing. Jazz composers such as Ellington start to appear (I'm jumping over a lot here to try to keep this short), and they begin creating larger bands, to give themselves more music tools for composition. To pander to Audiences, "Big Band" jazz is much more... genteel?

Like Beethoven before him, Ellington is not content to simply walk in the back entrance like a servant. He wants for be treated like the musical genius he knows he is. He and his band might be going town to town in beat up old cars, but damn if they don't look fine doing it.

We've moved into Jazz's " romantic period" here (depending on how one defines "romantic period" in classical music) the first threads in the sweater of Jazz's tonality are being pulled, and solos are getting longer, becoming more integral to the music.

After the war, Big bands start to lose steam. Trying to keep a 20-piece band employed is a lot more difficult than keeping a 4-piece employed. When you've just got 4 or 5 dudes, it's also a lot easier to experiment.

Then, just as Jazz is getting intensely chromatic and complicated, it simplifies - Like Classical, it's "neoclassical" period hearkens back to an earlier time. In concept, this piece:

and this piece:

have a lot in common, hearkening back to old music, old traditions. It's reactionary to the increasing chromaticism and complication. the chord progressions are simpler (though still tinged with more modern harmonies) and so are the forms. This strain still exists in a lot of ways, just like neoclassical music never really went away, even through the seriously avant-garde shit.

avant gard shit like this:

and this:

or alteratively this:

(the singing is out of tune on purpose)

It's really in this avant garde stuff that has the elements you're talking about - extreme technicality, "free" chromaticism, and stuff that is kind of hard to understand if you're not steeping yourself in it constantly. A lot of jazz being played right now is not like that - just like a lot of classical Music is not like that.

Regarding Buddy Rich: Buddy Rich was a great drummer. He was also a supreme asshole, who grew up in a time when conductors and band leaders were god when it came to the ensemble. Arturo Toscanini is the most egregious example of this in the 20th century - Messiah Complex if there ever was one. So he acted like God, and bossed a lot of people around. So did Stevie Wonder, so did Billy Joel - They made a lot more money, and were at least as good musicians.