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As a trans women, I feel obligated to provide my perspective. This is an incredibly complex issue, and I will not be able to discuss all of the different aspects of it. While I do think it's important to understand that the experience of every trans person is different, generally speaking, being trans is not like being gay, lesbian, or bi. There is a lot more going on. (There are some trans people who don't suffer from gender dysphoria, but for the purposes of this comment, I'm going to sidestep them and the issues they raise)

Most people know that your brain doesn't finish developing until you are about 25 years old.

To the average person, it stands to reason that the decision to undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is not one that you should be making unless you can appropriately understand the long-term consequences.

Since you can't really do this until your brain finishes developing, it follows logically that you should delay the decision to undergo HRT until this age. But unfortunately, time is working against trans people in this regard, because the physical effects of puberty have long since made their mark by this age.

  
It's important to realize just how devastating this can be for some trans people. Biological females can develop wide hips & breasts, and will have a smaller rib cage. Biological males can develop broad shoulders & facial hair, and will have a larger rib cage. These traits will be finished developing long before the brain does.

What may seem like wonderful, normal, or perhaps mildly annoying traits for cis people can be a source of crippling, incurable stress, anxiety, and/or depression (more often referred to as 'gender dysphoria') for trans people. This can, and frequently does, lead to suicide for trans people.

  
Some of these effects of puberty cannot be reversed without undergoing extremely expensive, and potentially unsafe medical procedures. These procedures are considered "cosmetic" by virtually all insurance companies, which means you must pay for them out-of-pocket. Many trans people cannot afford them. Other effects cannot be reversed at all with current medical technology.

  
As coffeesp00ns mentioned, puberty blockers can delay these effects to give the child more time to seriously introspect and weigh their feelings against the reality of transitioning.

But this treatment, and its availability, can have unintended consequences.

The social repercussions of delaying puberty can be very serious (teenagers can be really mean), and unsupportive parents can use puberty blockers to buy more time for them to try to convince or coerce their children into taking a path that they will later regret.

Providing children with unbiased information about gender dysphoria is vital in that it builds confidence in trans children who are not confused or in denial about their gender dysphoria, which helps them get the treatment they need by standing up to adult figures who would claim to know better and suggest alternative treatments. But it is also vital to helping children who would otherwise fail to recognize their symptoms.

Information about gender dysphoria needs to be provided repeatedly, both early on and later when children are on the verge of starting puberty, because confidence is a hell of a thing that can take a lot to build up, and denial is a hell of a thing that can take a lot to overcome.

Trans people, and their parents/guardians, can struggle to come to terms with the fact that their gender dysphoria is a symptom of a disorder that can only be treated with HRT. This is especially true in light of the fact that gender dysphoria is something that virtually always worsens with age; This is why you see older people transitioning instead of simply continuing to cope in other ways.

I say this as someone who had OBVIOUS dysphoria as a child and teenager, but failed to recognize it until the age of 22. I was able to do this only as a result of the information I found online through /r/asktransgender on Reddit.

I suffered many consequences as a result of my denial, although I should count myself lucky in that I did not commit suicide despite a frequently overwhelming desire to do so. Many trans people are not so lucky.

Tl;dr: Puberty can be DEADLY for trans children, but puberty blockers should be a last resort for children who are still unsure of their gender identity after repeatedly receiving information about gender dysphoria.

Parents/guardians and doctors should not casually consider a treatment that undermines the feelings and social development of children that are already struggling to comes to terms with an extremely difficult decision.

matjam 2 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The social aggregator is a terrible business model.

Everyone should probably "get" this but I'll enumerate.

Social aggregators become, whether you want it to be or not, an advertising platform.

Now, I'm not saying, you will have some flash ads or have paid content or anything. What I mean is, when your user base gets to a size where it has some ability to drive traffic to another site, and make them advertising revenue, then sites will come to hubski and make posts to drive traffic to their site. This happened to digg, and reddit, but not so much to slashdot in the early days, because the curator model of slashdot meant they tried to be a bit fair about how many times they linked to any given site.

So anyway, you're driving page views on someone else's site, they're getting advertising revenue, it's costing you to handle all those page views and clicks and comments, and you get nothing, they get all the benefit.

So that sucks. Yeah, I don't have a solution either. What can you do? I mean, you need to allow links off site otherwise whats the point.

I read Kelinbl00's post about corporate structure. What did you guys decide? Did you look at becoming a BCorp? I like your intentions, both mk and thenewgreen, you both appear to want to build a lasting community that values quality over quantity, but if you cultivate the quality, quantity WILL come. Quality attracts quantity. :-)

Ultimately, I don't think Reddit or Digg or whatever failed just because of their size, I think they failed to lack of transparency. When you get to a certain size, you start to think that you must have some insight on the best way to run things, so you go off and have a "deep think" about how you're gonna handle a situation, make a decision, and then you might as well have just flipped a damn coin because half the time the community is going to think that decision is wrong.

Transparency of and participation in the decision making processes, will obviously make things longer to decide, but I think you'll be better for it in the long run. Being a BCorp and codifying that process into the charter of the organisation might be worth doing.

BTW, for a site that would replace my daily fix of news and opinions, I'd happily pay a few dollars a month. I'm not a huge fan of micropayments of indivudual features etc, but you know, it would be very easy to calculate to within a reasonable margin of error, how much compute a given user "consumes". Just having a dollar figure on the profile page saying "In the past 30 days, you used $1.50 of hubski's resources wasting time on this site" might guilt me into sending you some money every month to cover the costs. "Links you have posted used $5.60 worth of resources" ... you could keep track of the stats and figure out which users are driving the most traffic and if they're driving them off site to their own blog, then send them a bill. Hahah, just kidding...

Add some certain percentage to cover administrative costs, etc. I mean, I think if the site got big enough and the discussions were getting to the point where they were insightful as shit, and you guys wanted to make it a full time gig, then it's not unreasonable to add enough "administrative overhead" to support that.

Meh I dunno. It's a DARPA hard problem. Otherwise someone else would have nailed it by now. But it doesn't mean it's not worth solving.

Sword of Aragon. This game is one of my favorite games of all time. Fair warning, this game came out in '89, so the graphics are pretty amazing. You are the son of the slain ruler of Aladda, and your quest is to reunite the kingdoms of Aragon. You'll start the game by choosing a Warrior, Knight, Ranger, Priest, or Mage. This guy is you, and you'll see him in battle with a little flag that he carries around.

You'll want to recruit other heroes and form regular army units in order to defend against attacks on your city as well as capturing other cities or vassalizing them. In battle, your units and heroes will gain experience and level up, unlocking new equipment and spells (heroes only). You can have lightly armored "sword and board" infantry, or you can give them a huge, two-handed claymore and platemail. Similarly, archers can have anything from crossbows to compound bows, which affect what melee weapons they can carry in case you get charged by enemy calvary.

There are plenty of events that happen, some of which require you to choose an action such as sparing the life of an accused killer or seeing him executed. Girls are kidnapped by a minotaur. A dragon blocks your advance on a goblin stronghold. Do you kill these beasts or cower in fear? Your cities require your attention as well. Build up your agricultural, logging, mining, manufacturing, and commercial districts. Build more houses and bigger fortifications. Wait for the local populace to get in line to be recruited or forcibly conscript them into your army.

I've played hundreds of hours of Sword of Aragon and continue to get a run in every few months. The game's graphics are nothing to write home about, but the gameplay is fantastic. Best of all, it's free since it's abandonware. Here's a link to download it, if you're interested.

  
Other notable mentions off the top of my head include Dune (point and click), Dune II (real-time strategy), and X-COM: UFO Defense (turn-based tactics). I'd be happy to give you a run down on any of these games (and possibly others) as well.
mk 2 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: I'm interested in a history lesson of Hubski

I had two motivations. One was to teach myself a language other than Fortran, and the other was to make a forum that was designed around thoughtful content and discussion. The first posters where friends that I talked into joining.

I've been online since BBSes, and was a very early Redditor. Making a site that is fertile ground for quality interaction presents a lot of difficult and compelling problems. We are still working on it.

The team is now comprised of myself, thenewgreen, insomniasexx and forwardslash.

thenewgreen joined a few months after I started, and understood the goals completely. He also had the idea to incorporate the logo into the site's mechanics. (I first created the logo when spray painting it onto a t-shirt when I was 14). His passion has not flagged a bit.

b_b and sounds_sound were early community managers. They still help. b_b tells us when our ideas are stupid, and sounds_sound often lends his design chops.

insomniasexx crashed a Google hangout meeting we were all having, and after a short while, we had to make her part of the team.

akkartik was the first coder besides myself. He knows Arc better than most anyone, which was a godsend. He still has commit access, last I checked. :)

forwardslash joined shortly after akkartik left, and like everyone on the team, he was an active user beforehand. He now carries the bulk of our coding expertise.

All of the current team members have day jobs/classes, and all the retired team members remain good friends.

We are likely to be announcing a new member to the team soon. :)

But that's only part of the story. There are numerous people on this site that have had just as much influence on its evolution. I am going to regret names that I leave out, but other early users that have influenced the site include: alpha0 theadvancedapes cgod NotPhil caio lil mike ecib steve minimum_wage kleinbl00 thundara lessismore JakobVirgil bfv Mindwolf zebra2 ooli and StJohn. Those are some of the earliest, I think all members for more than 1000 days now.

For the younger generations, I think it's a little more complex than being obsessed with work and tech.

For those that grew up in the bubble years, a large number of men seem to be looking for someone to take their mother's role. Someone who will be home when they get back from work, have dinner ready, the house clean, kids in bed and a hot bath ready - the stereotypical 50s housewife in American terms. More and more Japanese women don't want this - they want a career and to be on equal terms with their husbands. They also face little to no financial pressure to marry since a large portion of single Japanese people live rent free with their parents until marriage, so they have a rather large disposable income to do what they would like, either alone or with friends.

For the "millennial" Japanese, they have many of the same problems that generation sees in America - a lack of jobs. Japanese companies have moved away from the lifetime employment that used to be the norm, and more and more jobs are contract or part-time work. Especially for young men, there is an enormous amount of pressure to get a full-time company job like their father has, and when they can't meet this expectation there is a tendency to withdraw socially.

Combine both of these with the a culture that's still fairly bound in tradition and hasn't really accepted women's rights as a whole, and it's not really that surprising that women aren't just jumping to give up their careers to get married and have kids.

With that being said, most Japanese people still want to get married (somewhat older survey, admittedly), and Japanese people are having sex.

Japanese people definitely aren't having children, but this is more of a developed country problem than a Japanese problem. If you look at birth rate by country, Japan is one of the lowest, but depending on which data set you look at, Germany is lower, and that's with a much higher immigration rate that should help that figure go up. However, no one seems fixated on the idea that Germans aren't having sex.

Look at fertility rate by country. Per the CIA Factbook, South Korea is at 1.25 to Japan's 1.42, but no one seems focused on the end of South Korea as we know it.

Wacky Japan sells; panty vending machines, hikikomori, rabbits on leashes - we've built up an image of this weird place that is so different than what we're used to, and it's easy to type up a quick story on a slow news day. The truth is, it's not so different than anywhere else in the west if we weren't allowing a fair amount of immigration.

kleinbl00 8 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: SpaceX Rocket carrying ISS cargo explodes

Let's be clear about something: NASA doesn't build rockets. NASA buys rockets. This particular contract went to SpaceX, a privately-funded upstart venture funded by an eccentric billionaire. Most launches up to now have been by the United Launch Alliance, the cartel formed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. That probably sounds like two corporations working in concert but those two corporations (which operate as one for space launch) contain the merged husks of

- Lockheed

- Martin Marietta Aerospace

- RCA Astro

- GE Aerospace

- Boeing Aircraft

- Vertol Aircraft

- Rockwell International

- McDonnell Aircraft

- Douglas Aircraft

- Hughes Aircraft

...and those are just the big players.

Look. Since 2006, the United States has been prisoner to launch monopoly. From 1996 to 2006, the United States was prisoner to a launch duopoly. It's not like there's ever been a whole lot of market choice - aerospace dollars are doled out in a system very reminiscent of Soviet patronage. Even Ben Rich said so (he was griping about the Rockwell B-1B, pretty much the last thing Rockwell made, which might explain why they ended up getting eaten by McDonnell Douglas rather than Lockheed). So for the past 20-plus years, the price of a space launch as been "whatever the fuck we want." Not because NASA has things that dialed but because the military-industrial complex has us that over the barrel.

Worthy of note: SpaceX's launch platforms are the only ones IN HISTORY not derived from WMD research. Know the real reason nobody ever tries to land the rocket after it launches the payload? 'cuz they're all derived from mutherfucking ICBMs.

So yeah. You can be snarky but fuckin' A we're so knee-deep in predatory privatization that sweet holy jesus there's little reason to be bad-mouthing competition, particularly when it's coming from a company that has never once gotten a bailout, built a bomber or faced congressional hearings.

kleinbl00 9 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Ask Hubski: Guns. Do You Have One? Do You Want One?

Disconnected Connected Thoughts

I got a hysterical call from my girlfriend in '99. I was mixing at the club and she was getting ready to go out with a girlfriend when someone tried to break into the house. They yelled and screamed and he went to the house next door where he pulled a knife off the kitchen counter and held a little Vietnamese woman hostage by holding it across her throat while SWAT tried to talk him out for five hours. No guns involved, nobody died. Did she want a gun? Yes. Was she the exact wrong person to own one? Yes. Did I own one at the time? Yes. Did I tell her? No.

I bought a Chinese SKS at 18 out of the Little Nickel. The dealer lived in a trailer in the desert and had Rottweilers named after Hitler's inner circle. Back then $79 would buy you an SKS, $59 would buy you 1440 rounds of Chinese steel-core and $9 would buy you a 30-round banana clip. It was a shitty gun and shitty ammo and I mostly used it for plinking (stealing shit from Ed Grothus and annihilating it at the pumice mines). My dad knew about it, my mom didn't.

I bought it because I was depressed, angry and powerless. Owning a Chinese assault rifle made me depressed, angry and powerful.

I took it to college. No assault rifles in the dorms; I had to keep it at the campus police. Which was inconvenient most of the time because chinese steelcore is corrosive and if you don't clean the gun within several hours of shooting, it'll pit the barrel and your pattern ends up worse than a Mossberg 12ga, rather than on par with. Meant that there were times I was literally cleaning an assault rifle in my dorm room. My roommate's best friend was an RA; he came by one time looking for my roommate while I was cleaning. I couldn't hide it. He said "you know what would happen if I reported that, right? Since I'm not, can I hold it?"

So you get sloppy and you end up with an assault rifle under your bed. Which isn't really a problem until the rival dorm sets a time bomb under your dorm such that at 2am during Finals Week you end up with about a hundred dollars worth of firecrackers and whistles going off and a bunch of chuckleheads across the canyon laughing at you.

And your first instinct is to grab the assault rifle. Why? Because you're angry and powerless and a gun makes you powerful.

I didn't. I had the forethought to go "these are fireworks, this is stupid" but not the forethought to go "these are fireworks, you've been punk'd" so I ran out with a claw hammer. Apparently I'm pretty scary at 2am with a claw hammer. Thank god I had the presence of mind to leave the SKS under the bed.

It broke something. I realized that I was allowing my emotions to be controlled by a cheap-ass $80 piece of Chinese junk - and that the only thing that piece of junk would ever get me was prison. So the last time I went plinking I left the gun with my cousin. he may still have it; he may not. He's got an FN-FAL and a couple AR-15s and a Barrett light 50 and a Desert Eagle and god knows what else. And you know what? He's a lot angrier and a lot more powerless than I am.

I was out with some buddies night before last. Friend's wife is on crutches; she's got a torn ACL. And it was 11:30 and Ventura was empty and they were hobbling across the street and some doofus in a Datsun 1600 comes screaming up, drunk, and he didn't see them so of course he leans on his horn because he's scared and pissed off and nearly killed somebody.

My friend's wife is also scared and also pissed off so she started beating on the dude's hood with her crutch. So he gunned the engine and scooped 'em both up onto the hood, drove 'em about 20 feet, then slammed on the brakes. Then he drove off. Whole thing took maybe 7 seconds. I was 50 feet away for the whole thing.

HERE'S THE THING

There are legitimate reasons to buy a gun. "Because I'm scared" isn't one. A gun is a terrible responsibility - it wants to be used. The Sikhs have a rule - you can't resheath the kirpan until you've drawn blood. This generally keeps the sikhs from carving the shit out of people who piss them off. Not always, but mostly in the US. But they also practice like 3 hours of martial arts per day. They've got discipline.

A gun will not teach you discipline. It will not make you hesitant to use deadly force. It will not de-escalate your problems, it will not simplify your life. A gun is a rhetorical nuclear option - "Yeah you maybe didn't really mean to do much but steal my liquor and credit cards but now you're dead."

Yesterday, you didn't have a gun. If you had, you'd still be talking to the police. You'd be looking down the barrel of a months-long investigation at best and somebody, who has a mother and probably brothers and sisters and people who love them, would be forever dead.

OR your girlfriend would have scared off the intruder.

Which - let's be real - is exactly what she did without the gun.

The difference between yesterday and today is today you're scared and flirting with destiny.

Used to go plinkin' with a buddy. He probably had two dozen guns. I looked at them admiringly once and he said "yeah, I prolly coulda won Waco."

Somebody pissed off one of his friends once. Everyone got upset. So they emptied out the rec room and went out to straight shit out. Armed standoff - 6 people on one side, 4 on the other, probably 12 weapons in the field. It's a miracle nobody died. Three of them have since, two by gun violence.

My buddy? His family stopped collecting assault weapons and started collecting livestock. And the world is a better place.

kleinbl00 6 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Last Week Tonight: Transgender Rights

I rescind the majority of my comments made on this post. The tone of the article pissed me off and clouded my judgement. The simple fact is it's the media's responsibility to protect the disenfranchised and shame the hateful and the fact that most of America is at sea regarding discussing transgender issues means the media needs to step UP, not step back.

I do think that the discussion needs more care than NYMag feels it deserves but the discussion does need to happen.

flagamuffin 8 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: SpaceX Rocket carrying ISS cargo explodes

Disappointed to see something this dumb here; carbon copy of the comments below the NY Times article.

insomniasexx 13 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: PayPal Cuts Off Reddit Clone Voat Over 'Obscenity'

PayPal is actually notorious for shutting down accounts for anyone doing anything slightly illicit. Cam girls. Donations on sexy wallpaper sites. Forums not entirely on the up and up. Donations to wiki leaks. Donations to proton mail. Etc. Google search it. It's crazy how clean you have to be to keep a PayPal account open. They don't touch controversy with 100ft stick.

No one... And I mean no one... In their right mind uses PayPal if they aren't a 100% clean business because of their tendencies to randomly shut accounts down. I don't keep any sum of money in there even though all my international clients pay me via PayPal and I pay my international employees via PayPal.

People told voat not to use PayPal the second they started using PayPal. It's odd that they didn't head the warnings.

All and all, this is just another sign confirming my initial thoughts about voat. Honestly, I wanted them to succeed. They had big, albeit naive, ideals. Plus they took all the people who "just want to watch the world burn" and sent the good users for us. ;) . But the more I hear and see, the more announcement posts that are made, the quick flip flopping, make the entire thing seem like no one is really thought this thing out. You know that you are attracting people who DDOS. Be prepared for that. And I don't mean some massive code to prevent ddosing - I mean a couple lines allowing your site to fail fast under those circumstances. Don't use paypal. Don't make promises you can't keep. You know saying "anything goes" is impossible. You have numerous case studies of sites (4chan,8chan) who tried to do the same thing and had the same exact things happen. No one wants to host your child porn, even if it's technically on a 3rd parties server. No one wants to fund that. No one wants to touch that.

I understand that the owners are quite literally kids with high hopes, but when your user base skyrockets and you're getting media attention every single day from every tech blog, it's time to get real.

At least hire a lawyer or two. Just cause you read the Pirate Bay blog and decided Switzerland is the shit, doesn't make your any more prepared for the 8000 issues you're going to encounter for linking to nefarious sites and taking the notorious user base from reddit.

If I were them, I would start by spending every single cent of the donations on a well recommended lawyer, consults with any people who have dealt with sites like 4chan,8chan,tpb etc in the past. Then I would write out a 1 month, 1 year, and 5 year plan as to what I would the site to be. Then I would write out the steps, tone, marketing, ideas, etc that I would need to do to get there.

Then I would get really fucking real and do the same exercise for what the site realistically is going to be based on the current user base, the current media attention, the promises I've made, the tone of responses to announcement posts and so forth.

The reality is, voat wants to make a site where anything goes. That's about it. They want to please their users. Based on the actions they've taken, where they are right now is entirely expected. You could see this coming from 1000 miles away. If you want to be something different, then do it. But you better start having real thoughts and wants for your site that are fucking SOLID. Not hopes. Not ideals. Instead of trying to please your users, be realistic about the balance between pleasing your users and making a sustainable site that fulfills your goals and attracts the users you want to fulfill those goals.

The one thing I can say about mk is that he knows, at his core, what he wants hubski to be and to represent. There are no doubts about it. Anything that makes him uneasy or doesn't move towards that goal is shut down. It's a hard trait to have and one that I don't think I've seen in such a pure form before. If you look at the features and the things we do and don't do, you can start seeing how mk thinks. Even the features that were removed or didn't work out for one reason or another work toward the greater hubski goal. If mk does something, I know it's because it fits into what hubski should be. I know mk has debated it internally for days if not weeks and gotten feedback from external sources. I know this without a doubt. If voat does something, it's because someone came up with the idea and thought it was cool and managed to implement it before the "what are the consequences, however unintended?" question even came up.