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francopoli  ·  3 hours 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.

flagamuffin  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Julia Baird: Being Dishonest About Ugliness

    Two p.m. Vivian Jackson’s class, Room 207.

    What Calvin can’t see: He can’t see the small, pretty girl sitting opposite him, the one who is wearing little rows of red, yellow and blue barrettes shaped like airplanes in her braided hair. He can’t see the line of small, green plants growing in yellow pots all along the sunny window sill. And he can’t see Mrs. Jackson in her rose-pink suit and pink enameled earrings shaped like little swans.

    (“Were they really shaped like little swans?” he will ask later.)

    But Calvin can feel the warm spring breeze—invisible to everyone’s eyes, not just his—blowing through the window and he can hear the tapping of a young oak tree’s branches against the window. He can hear Mrs. Jackson’s pleasant, musical voice and, later, if you ask him what she looks like, he will say, “She’s nice.”

A Boy of Unusual Vision -- indeed.

rob05c  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Religion broad topic, what are your experiences?

I had a similar experience. I was raised in a Conservative/Fundamentalist Christian environment. Sometime shortly after undergrad, I realised I didn't believe those things anymore, and how many were logically indefensible. I now identify as a Progressive Christian, sometimes leaning toward Deism.

I believe in God, as a fact, from philosophical arguments. Primarily First Cause and the Ontological Argument (maths minor here). Logically demonstrating Jesus is God is a bit harder, but, I think he was about as good as any man who lived, and the absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, so, eh. Theologically, I'm at a point where I'm not sure it matters. One of my favorite quotes is a paraphrase of Marcus Aurelius,

    Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

I have a lot of friends who outright rejected Theism when confronted with the indefensible. Which I understand, but don't agree with. I think that rejection is often a continuation of the black-and-white philosophy of Fundamentalism and Conservatism. When faced with incontrovertible facts against black, it's easy to flip to white, rather than recognising it's not "black" which is wrong, so much as the dualistic worldview itself.

    do you still believe that there is someone who will greet us after your death?

Again, I lean toward Deism. I'd like to believe in an afterlife, but I don't think it would be the horror many people think if there isn't. Time doesn't cease to exist after it happens, if that makes any sense. As Mark Twain said, "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

    Do you still talk to God and ask for his help even though the belief is fading away?

Yes. Though I wouldn't say my belief is fading away. I'd rather say I deconstructed my faith and rejected the indefensible, and am now rebuilding it.

I'd add, I think a great many people, especially Fundamentalists, mistake God for themselves. That is, "God" is whatever they want and whatever supports them. That may mean rationalising their selfishness, or it may mean condemning vices they dislike in themselves. But regardless, it's self-worship, and bad. It's something I actively think about and try to avoid in myself. And also, just because many people worship themselves and call it God, doesn't mean a real, impartial, omnipotent God doesn't exist.

I'd also add, that I think "good" and "evil" are immature misconceptions. People aren't "evil", they're broken. The conservative theology of eternal damnation is childish. The philosophy of punishment because people "deserve it" is childish. People need helped, and fixed, not "punished" because they're "bad". Children think "bad actions are punished"; adults realise "bad actions are given negative reinforcement to teach good behavior". The purpose of all pain is learning, not some warped concept of justice. Suffering is bad. It takes a sick or childish mind to think otherwise.

You might be interested in Fowler's theory of Stages of Faith.

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is also a fantastic read, but especially for anyone caught between fanaticism and atheism. It doesn't have answers, so much as advice for living well, and honest, rational thought.

goobster  ·  12 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Fry's Blog post on Social Media.

I've been online since the early 1980's. Bulletin Board Systems. Email. The WELL. Usenet. Hand-coded web sites. eWorld. Tribe. LiveJournal. MySpace. Blogger. The original incarnation of Tumblr. Facebook. Blah blah blah.

What every commenter has missed in this thread, is the fact that Stephen Fry's article has nothing to do with technology... it's a love song to the rebellious nature of youth. And that it is the rebels who move the world forward. Not the sheep following along single-file behind the leader. He mourns the loss of the rebellious spirit of youth.

Women wore pants to rebel.

Rebels rejected the 2.5 kids and a white picket fence "nuclear family" and embraced communes, roommates, and living alone.

Punks tried to tear down every societal norm to rebel.

Metal heads applied skill and craft to rebellious ideas and tools and developed a finely honed precision to their rebellion.

Grunge rejected the precision of metal and went sloppy. Both in clothing and technology.

Rap rebelled against the structure of a band, and the assumption the front man should sing.

Every single one of these things were driven by the young, rebelling against the ways of the old.

Stephen Fry makes the simple point that the most common thing - the thing that Advertisers love, the thing the mass media has fully embraced, the thing even your parents are doing - is Social Media. So the most rebellious thing you could do is dump these tools of the modern bourgeoisie, and go analog.

Talk in person.

Make things with your hands.

Don't buy in to the machine and become a cog in their wheel... opt out! You don't HAVE to be on social media. You don't HAVE to have email.

The case he makes is that people like he and I have lived in both worlds, and by personal experience we know that both are valuable. But being electronically connected is now the norm. Adults today have grown up with screens and internet connections. These are today's Normal.

But rebellion is about fighting against the norm.

So the most rebellious thing one can do now is opt out of the digital advert-verse, and engage people in a real way. Face to face. Don't offer up your eyes, your mind, your time, and your soul, to advertisers, just to get another momentary endorphin jag.

The comments in this thread are really pretty funny to me. And a bit sad and pathetic at the same time... seeing people clutch so hard to something, as it cuts into their hands and the blood runs down their arms and they cry "I'm fine! Don't touch me!" and cower in the corner...

The internet is a tool.

A needle is a tool.

Put heroin in the needle, and you'll become unhealthily obsessed with the tool.

Put yourself on social media, and your internet becomes an obsession, rather than a tool. Now YOU are a tool of the advertisers. Rebel. Don't offer yourself up to be lied to. Go where they can't get you. Rebel.

The Post has long been a champion and cheerleader for Metro. That it is now expressing such despair is telling.

It may be hard to imagine how bad a system can be that still delivers passengers to destinations daily. I am well-situated as a rider: I can walk to a station served by two lines, both of which directly connect to a station from which I can walk to work. Yet I rode my bike every day last week, and intend to do so whenever the weather allows.

Some of the original 1000-series cars delivered in the 1970's are still in service, and show their age. Since a 2009 crash, Metro only uses them in the middle of trains, away from the crumple zones at the ends. Later cars have upgrades like digital displays which can display upcoming stations, but frequently show only the name of the line.

Electronic platform signs showing arrival times were a long-demanded upgrade, but when they show approaching train times it is often bad news, and they often don't show train times at all, rather information about elevator outages, a static PSA like the website address, or stupid see-it-say-it security reminders.

The escalators are notoriously unreliable; it is noteworthy when all the escalators in a station are running. Many were built to exit a station into open air. This was a somewhat magical experience when it was snowing, rather less so in the rain. Eventually glass canopies were installed over the exits. Same with elevators; I once saw a man give up waiting for a broken elevator and take his wheelchair down the escalator.

The farecard system is complicated, fares are charged based on distance (requiring turnstile interaction at entry and exit) and there is usually a queue of confused tourists at the farecard machines on weekends. Station managers, when present, are helpful, but the fare variation, difference in paper vs. plastic RFID fares (paper farecards were recently discontinued), and primitive vending technology are challenging for newcomers.

Even a seasoned commuter must stay alert. Approaching a turnstile, the heavy jaws of the gate are likely open to admit the previous rider. You wave or wiggle or drag your SmarTrip card over the reader, and once it registers, a tiny green electronic display, appropriate for a 1980's pocket calculator, updates showing your balance. You can't read this without stopping, so you proceed through, only to have the jaws close, bruising your thigh and destroying any smartphone in your pocket. Turns out the tiny display actually showed a low balance in the same tiny green letters. Only recently were you allowed to exit a station with a negative balance of a dime or two (you can enter with a low balance because your fare is not determined until you exit).

On board, the lack of good information displays on any but the rarely-sighted 7000-series trains oblige the operators to make high-volume, low-clarity announcements about upcoming stations. These are mixed with automated warnings about the doors. Metro doors are especially touchy, and frequently require several attempts to close. (Annoyingly, they also require several seconds to open, upon arrival at a station, as the operators have to stand up and look out a window before operating doors.) Operators will sternly warn passengers of the need to offload a train if a door jams. This happens to me once or twice a year, and when a loaded train unloads onto an already-crowded platform in rush hour, it is an ugly scene.

If I am leaving work between 5 and 6, I sometimes take the train in the wrong direction, further downtown, so I can turn around and catch a less-crowded train going my way.

Official IT tools are unpolished and clunky, so most riders rely on third-party tools that depend on an API. MetroHero is a recent arrival. You can look up historical data on performance of individual lines and see that most airlines manage better performance. I don't know if WMATA has a slogan, but they might want to adopt Delta's old underachieving promise: We Get You There.

b_b  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Reef discovered in the mouth of the Amazon River, under the silt

Super cool.

Last week in the New Yorker they had a story about a scientist's quest to cross breed corals (sorry, not sure if it's paywalled) to be acidification and temperature robust. I wonder if these strange new species thriving in crazy conditions will help such efforts.

goobster  ·  15 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.

here you go thenewgreen - I think you could do the vocals better, they're very you.

mk  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: PSA: Sorry about the time outs


kleinbl00  ·  15 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.

flagamuffin  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: PSA: Sorry about the time outs

Odder  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: No, You Can’t Feel Sorry for Everyone

I heavily disagree with this article. It attempts to support its ideas with science, but it does so poorly. The article takes a few general trends and preliminary studies from psychology, and then ignores all uncertainty or nuance, and takes an absolutist point of view. Additionally, the author conflates sympathy with empathy.

    Social scientists have found that in-group love and out-group hate originate from the same neurobiological basis, are mutually reinforcing, and co-evolved—because loyalty to the in-group provided a survival advantage by helping our ancestors to combat a threatening out-group. That means that, in principle, if we eliminate out-group hate completely, we may also undermine in-group love. Empathy is a zero-sum game.

    Absolute universalism, in which we feel compassion for every individual on Earth, is psychologically impossible.

In one line break, the article went from a "may undermine" to a "psychologically impossible." Also mysteriously, despite the citations elsewhere in the article, the author failed to cite what study exactly showed this. The rest of the article can now be read without assuming any scientific support, which will mostly cast it as the angry ravings of an author who does not believe in social change.

    In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at Northwestern University’s commencement bemoaning the country’s “empathy deficit” and urging people “to see the world through those who are different from us.” ...

    And then the pendulum swung back. People do care, newspaper editorialists and social-media commenters granted. But they care inconsistently: grieving for victims of Brussels’ recent attacks and ignoring Yemen’s recent bombing victims; expressing outrage over ISIS rather than the much deadlier Boko Haram; mourning the death of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe while overlooking countless human murder victims. There are far worthier tragedies, they wrote, than the ones that attract the most public empathy

The first paragraph complained about our former lack of, or inability to empathize. The second paragraph bemoans our supposedly new ability to empathize, because we aren't empathizing about the correct things. Rather than observe that this is an improvement, the author claims that this is a manifestation of our inability to empathize properly. There are many reasons why people empathize more with Brussels than Yemen, some of which have a bit to do with the ingroup/outgroup mechanics that this article has woefully misunderstood. But that's no reason to assert that it is impossible for westerners to feel sorry for Yemen. Hell, some Westerners do feel empathy toward Yemen, hence the complaints from some that we aren't taking violence throughout the world seriously enough. Many of us meet those rare, sorrowful people who seem capable of empathy towards everyone. If some people can do it, how is it impossible?

    We can and do override our moral instincts using our more logical and deliberative mode of thinking, so the in-group vs. out-group opposition is not absolute.

Well, this got weird. The remainder of the article is a scientist with no backing in philosophy entering the philosophical realm and thinking that data is the solution to all of our problems, while ignoring the actual problems. Apparently, morality should be determined by consensus reality, or something. Also, apparently Bentham was right, and we should just try to maximize individual happiness, because science. It's almost Sam Harris levels of stupid, but with moral relativism instead.

    Think of the great progress physicists made when they acknowledged the limitations of the physical world—nothing can move faster than light, or be perfectly localized in the subatomic realm. Similarly, we will make our greatest moral progress when we accept and work within the limitations of human moral cognition, and forego an unrealistic concern for respecting difference and moral diversity at any cost.

No, this is more like when the old scientists said that the sound barrier couldn't be broken, or that the human body could not run a 4 minute mile. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it's impossible.

veen  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: GET OFF LINE FOR BERNIE: Watch this to the end

The voting system used has lead to a democracy of only two parties (Duverger's Law). There's a very strong us-versus-them mentality comparing the Democrats and Republicans. Because of this, the interesting political debates don't really happen at the party level but at the candidate level - so it matters a lot which person is nominated, because if they win it's their ideas and policies that they will try to drag through Congress.

If you want to know why it is in the news every. single. day, Ryan Holiday explains in his book that news outlets like Politico figured out that they can start coverage of the race years in advance. They do this simply by discussing and speculating on potential candidates and ramping up the coverage from there on. This election has been nuts (at least from my perspective) in no small part because of all the media attention generated around it.

kleinbl00  ·  27 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 6, 2016

So as it turns out, I'm not my mother.

It's useful to be reminded of this because whenever I lose patience with my kid, the specter of my mother looms behind me. It's useful because whenever I'm depressed and feeling needy, my mother's face stares back at me from behind my forehead. And it's interesting to note that my clearest memories of my mother's parenting involve half-full jelly jars full of Franzia sloshing around and a shaky barefoot thing in terrycloth shorts towering over me shouting "most mommies say they love their children even when they're angry but I'm not most mommies and if you cross me right now I will FUCKING KILL YOU" and perfectly reasonable conversations on Sunday afternoons about how she never wanted kids in the first place so it's pleasantly surprising we turned out okay anyway and my memories still fall short of the reality.

She's medicated now, so that's useful. My biggest apprehension was that she'd scar my kid for life, but discovering that we were opening a birth center with a (gasp) profit motive was enough to flip her switch from "manic" to "depressive" so she spent the bulk of her visit under a haze of lorazepam, two of which my daughter found on the floor after they left. And I was able to get the raised beds in and half the yard thatched because rather than entertain them all weekend, they holed up in my bedroom and slept all day such that we were incapable of, you know, getting clothes and stuff. She would occasionally send her husband out to request food, usually an hour or two after we mentioned in passing on their way to the bathroom that meals would be prepared. The food requested rarely aligned with the meals prepared. At one point my stepfather was instructed to accompany me to the store because I cannot be trusted to purchase canned soup.

And that's an interesting one, too. My relationship with my stepfather is complex but objectively speaking, he's the best grandparent my side of the family can produce. He can hold a conversation, he's healthy and hale, he expresses interest in small people and he remembers names. My stepmonster is a quaint fellow that bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Huer from Buck Rogers that can take my daughter out on her pushbike for an hour and a half. I had lengthy discussions with him about Umberto Eco and Zoroastrianism. He's a career bureaucrat with the federal government whose exceedingly piss-poor taste in women happens to benefit my current family and my aims greatly while also destroying my former family. Which, hey, needed to be destroyed from before I was born. So... emotions are complex around that one.

The couch, as it turns out, isn't a bad place to sleep. Other than the fact that you can't cuddle with your loved one. We spent 4 days there. My mother took one shower the entire time, but never changed her clothes. She's long been fond of polyester blends and has always considered deodorant to be a plot of the patriarchy; I had to smuggle it in as a teenager. But the laundry is done (WASH ALL THE THINGS) and they're a memory and I will never be my mother.

My father has had a new girlfriend for about five years now. She's compulsive and a hoarder. As my father put it "I went from one crazy woman to another, but at least this one's just crazy. The first one was crazy and mean." It was interesting me to see her deprived of alcohol, medicated to the gills, sort of a Mrs. Potatohead of disdain and flatulence. She never lashed out, she never hit anyone, her verbal pyrotechnics were much diminished, but her face pinched up in disapproval every time anyone but her husband spoke. It was like watching a trigger pulled on an empty gun. You're safe, but you know that someone wants you dead.

And it's easier grappling with my bullshit emotions surrounding money when I recognize what a truly crazy place they come from. My sister described my parents as "antipreneurial" and commented that the last time my mother flipped the switch while visiting her, it was because she floated the idea of flipping houses with her housing-contractor husband. Never mind the fact that the stepmonster owned an 8-plex and flipped a half-dozen houses with his dead wife; if we do it, it's because we're yuppie scum. Pretty easy to look down your nose at people when you're pulling down a 95% government pension until you die and social security and, somehow, not sure how she wrangled this, a $3k a month alimony payment even though she remarried.

There are about two pickup truck bed's worth of plumbing fixtures in boxes in the spare bedroom. Faucetdirect.com had a sale that ended March 31 and our contractor is still a few weeks out from plumbing. Home Depot, for their part, canceled part of our order because who the fuck orders five sinks?

I do. Because I'm a filthy fucking capitalist.

But at least I'm not a mean filthy fucking capitalist.

rd95  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: More Than 40% of Student Borrowers Aren’t Making Paymentsx 4

Sorry this took a bit to respond to, but I've had trouble typing this out. This isn't stuff I like to think about and it seems like kleinbl00 has explained some of it. Here's what I typed out though, partially stemming from personal experience. . .

The thing is though, $8,900 is a lot of money for a large number of people. For paying back student loans, that's about $100 to $150 a month, something a lot of people can't afford. Let me break it down for you a bit, so you can see where I'm coming from because I found myself in this trap. Here we go . . .

Let's take a person, like me, college drop out working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Only, unlike when I was working 2 jobs, now thanks to Obamacare, the number of full time jobs out there is much lower. Now, people are working 2 part time jobs, max hours, with no benefits. That's two jobs, maybe above minimum wage, at roughly $8 an hour for 50 hours a week. That breaks down to . . .

$400 a week or about $300 after taxes. $1600 a month or about $1200 after taxes. That's about $20,000 a year or $16,000 after taxes. Money is fucking TIGHT. Here's the wild ride we're going down, and trust me, it's painful . . .

You take home $1,600 a month. Take away $500 dollars for rent. Congrats, You're down to $1,100. Now take away an additional $300, because you have to pay for utilities and your phone on your shitty plan. Now you're down to $800. Now take away another $300, because that's your money for your car insurance and gas. Heaven forbid you still owe money on that car because that's even more coming out of your pay. Now you're down to $500. Take away another $150 for food and another $150 for health insurance and you have yourself at the end of the month, $200. That's $200 dollars flex room, before student loans even come in.

Here's where things get shitty. Your car? It's a 15 year old GM J Body. Something breaks on it once every three months. There goes some of that money. What's that? You got a minor cold that somehow became an ear infection so bad that you have to go to the doctor because you woke up to literal puss oozing out your ear? That'll be an $80 copay for the clinic plus another $20 for antibiotics. In reality though, you spent half the day getting that taken care of so you're actually out more money, because you're not spending time working. After you get home from a long, half day at work because you work a shitty retail job, you find out that one of your roommates blew part of his money on a $25 dollar pizza delivery, instead of real food like rice and eggs. That's not the worse of it though, he bought that pizza to soften the blow of him getting fucking fired from his shitty ass job so now you have to cover his part of the rent until he can find something else. Now your rent just went from $500 a month to $750 a month and now you're hemorrhaging money every single month until he finds something new because you just can't kick him out, he's like family. Congratulations. You're now in a massive downwards spiral and you haven't even touched your student loans yet. Your debt is getting worse by the week and even when your roommate finally finds work again, climbing out of the debt will be that much harder, because you not only dug your hole deeper, but possibly wider. To make matters worse, if debt wasn't bad enough, the psychological pain of the inevitable collection calls and knocks on your door from the landlord will make things worse. Six years later, you're still afraid to pick up the phone whenever an unknown number calls you.

So many things go wrong when you're poor and everything that goes wrong ends up costing you money, making things worse and worse. There's a reason why savings are called "safety nets." Being able to afford to take care of problems when they first show up, keeps them from getting worse down the road, literally saving you money in the long run. You have to have that money to begin with though, to make things work.

rd95  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: More Than 40% of Student Borrowers Aren’t Making Paymentsx 3

I'm taking the time to pause A Fistful of Dollars to respond to this (great movie by the way, as is Yojimbo) because I like you and hate this topic, not for what the topic is, but because of the emotional weight behind it. I think though, that it's important, because here in the States, the poor are villianized by everyone, even themselves and I think a bit of perspective is important if we're to try and fight this issue.

    The problems you are talking about are related to crappy public transportation and expensive healthcare, not student debt. If people finish school with $8 900 in debt they likely dropped out or got a useless diploma from a private college. Sure that isn't a small amount to everybody but relative to what others spend on tuition it's very small. Even if they didn't have student debt to pay for the public transportation would still be garbage, healthcare would still be too expensive and they would still be struggling to keep their heads above water.

The problem with being poor is lack of money. Period. This lack of money manifests problems in so many ways and they often overlap and intersect each other that it creates a weighted net, to keep you tangled up and weighed down. There are a lot of problems in America. In some parts of the country, things are a bigger problem than others. In New York City and Chicago for example, public transportation might not be an issue, but rent is expensive as hell and food deserts are a threat to the well being of you and your family. The neighborhoods the poor can afford to live in often have problems with crime and disease and the general environment has a psychological impact on the people that live there. In places that are less dense, like my example of Ohio and Wisconsin, rent is much more manageable, but since things are more sprawled out, transportation becomes an issue. Food might be more abundant as well, but if the nearest Wal-Mart is three towns over, you might have to settle for the mom and pop grocery store down the road for the majority of groceries. Their selection won't be as good and you'll pay a higher price. A quarter or two on every piece of food you buy from them quickly adds up. Under normal conditions, people can balance things out relatively well, but it is very much a balancing act. Once you start having problems with your car though, or your personal health, or the people in your lives that are supposed to help support you, things can go pretty sour pretty quickly. What's harder, is sometimes the social safety nets you think are there for you, really aren't. For example, when I was having money problems, I knew there was no point in my going to a food bank. They'd see that I worked two jobs and had no dependents, so they'd turn me away. When you're poor, your options are limited, robbing you the flexibility to creatively solve problems.

    What's fair to say is that I certainly didn't understand just how bad things are in American, because 1) I don't live there and 2) for every person who tells you how bad things are 3 more downplay the hell out of it.

That's okay. True story, America is a huge place. Poor people in Maine probably have a different experience than poor people in Florida who probably have a different experience than poor people in Texas. Poor people in the South West probably don't have to complain about their heating bill, but poor people in Maine probably don't have to worry about suffering from heat stroke because they don't have central air. Different people have different problems and experience them to different degrees.

As for the people who downplay how hard it is being poor, we only have our selves to blame. For some reason, Americans in general have no problem with victim blaming, so when people who are poor fuck up and get taken advantage of, it's obviously their fault. Another issue is, a lot of Americans have a lot of pride. When I was going through money problems, I never once thought about going to my parents for help nor did I try to seek help from my local community like the churches around here. Would they have helped me if I asked? More than likely. Did the thought of asking ever cross my mind? Not once. But I did ask my peers for help, because they know what it was like to have the problems I had and so I didn't have to fear their judgement. When my car was broken down, I asked for lifts from anyone who was willing. When I was desperately hungry and pay day was two days away, I asked people to float me for lunch. The thing is though, the only reason I got help when I asked for it because they knew I would repay them when their time to ask me for help came. If I didn't, they wouldn't help me again.

    I have no desire to pretend like everybody who is poor is merely bad with money but I don't see the point in ignoring that we don't teach people anything about personal finance either. We also don't teach people to take out student loans unless they are sure they will actually pay off.

My parents did teach me about personal finance and responsibility. They taught me the importance of a good work ethic and to playing safe bets. The thing is though, when your income is really limited, all it takes is a mistake or two to throw you over the edge. My money problems came from renting a place I couldn't afford and having an irresponsible room mate that couldn't hold down a job. It took a while to get myself out of that hole and it took even longer to recover from it. It also took me willing to be homeless, swallow my pride, and live on my friend's couch for a month, commuting 45 minutes to and from work each day to make it happen. It was not fun and I think I would rather die than go through all of that again. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that.

The thing is, a lot of people who are poor know they're being fucked with. Check cashing fees, pay day loans, wage theft and last minute schedule changes from employers, bad landlords, on and on it goes. When you're poor though, a lot of times those are the only options you have. Back to my homelessness and living on my friend's couch. I had to leave my living situation, room mate and all, but I had absolutely no chance of paying a security deposit and first month's rent on a new place. So I cancelled my lease, left that place, and crashed on my friend's couch. The only reason I was able to get out so early was because my girlfriend at the time, now wife, was an angel and was willing to trust me enough to get a place with me. The security of living with her, her being responsible and making money to combine with my income, was exactly what I needed to get out of debt. I'm now in a much, much better financial place today and I live a good life because of it. But, I literally could not have done it without her. Not a lot of people get a saving grace like that.

    Nobody teaches young people anything about this shit and instead just tells them they have to do it.

This is indeed a problem. Landlords and employers take advantage of people all the time because they don't know the laws. Predatory lending companies take advantage of people who lack the financial savy to understand how interest and late fees work. Ignorance is a huge issue, but the fact that there are people out there who are willing to prey on the ignorant to make a living are a huge part of the problem.

    I'm not saying opinions on the internet are invalid, what I'm saying is that I'm not going to completely abandon an opinion that many people just need help figuring out personal finance because other people have different experiences. That doesn't override what I see from a lot of people who would have been helped a lot by a simple finance class in high school. What I will admit is that on top of this issue America has A LOT of other issues which I wasn't aware of to work on whereas that's not such a problem where I live.

Don't feel bad about having an opinion and trying to think this stuff through. You actually have a very good idea about the whole cars thing in general, but not specifically cars themselves. Cutting unnecessary expenses to help tackle debt goes a long way. It's also important though, to not look down on poor people who spend money on things like movies and booze. Entertainment and leisure is important for everyone and it gives us a much needed psychological boost to help deal with the hardships of life.

Look, this stuff is hard. It's heavy. It is devastatingly painful to witness and it is even more painful to live. When people like kleinbl00, mk, steve and others talk about this stuff, it's because why they themselves might never have had this problem, they're smart enough to understand some of the trends and what causes them. (Edit: That's not to say you're not smart, because you very much are and I love seeing your comments on Hubski.) They're people you can listen to about this stuff because they probably know. You can listen to me, because I lived it and the majority of my peers are still living it, it's such a part of me that I don't think it'll ever go away, no matter how badly I want it to.

Let me just end with this. There are a lot of outreach programs for poor people out there, from churches to food pantries to social programs. They help tackle issues of all types caused by poverty, taking care of both short term problems and helping to fight the fight in the long run. If this is something that even remotely causes you concern, I highly encourage you to educate yourself on some of the resources out there and how to find them, that way if you ever see someone you love going through a hard time, you can lend them a hand.

Odder  ·  25 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Overenthusiastic tagging of #spam in #rpg

I am the one who tagged both of the above users as spam. tacocat's explanation describes exactly why I did so. There are other users who mostly post links to one website, but with only one exception, I haven't marked any of those posts as spam.

When I'm bored, I go to global feed and mark things as spam. Here's my rationale:

1. If a user has commented, or shared posts from any other user, I do not mark their posts as spam.

2. If a user comments on their own posts when someone responds, I also don't mark their posts as spam.

3. If a user has self-promoted several posts in a row that have no shares or comments, I mark their posts as spam. If someone continuously posts things that no one in this community has interest in, it's spam.

4. If someone posts a new post every day, from the same website, then they're posting far more than most other people in the community. This is a good indicator, but not a guarantee, of spam. Most quality posts are not released on a daily basis, because good writing takes longer to read than it does to write.

I have no real problem with self-promotion. A fair amount of our regular uses do it. But I do have a problem with users who are not at all otherwise engaged with the community self-promoting. I have a rather low toleration for "blogspam" as it's commonly called on reddit, and I don't like people using online communities that they are not members of as an advertising platform. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this.

If 6d6rpg and rangergames want to comment on this, I'd be glad to hear their opinions. Assuming they are people, and not bots. If most people would prefer me to block these users rather than mark them as spam, I'll do so, but I marked those posts as spam assuming that most hubskians did not want to see those posts, either. As klein mentioned, if you follow #rpg and block #spam, you should still see those posts, so Devac, I know I'm not inconveniencing you directly.

Also, I'd like to point out that hubski does not work like reddit. #rpg isn't a subreddit, and the content posted with that tag isn't only visible to people who follow that tag. As such, it isn't like reddit, where I can safely ignore posts that don't interest me by not subscribing to #rpg. I would have to block #rpg, which I don't want to do, because several posts using that tag do interest me, just not those posted in excess by a few users. Any post, no matter the tags shows up to everyone who doesn't filter them. It's how Hubski is designed. This is a very small site, so the design works well.


This morning I joined my partner and their friend out on the front porch after I made some tea, both of them are current/former punks/anarchists/squatters and have been so throughout their entire adolescent to adult lives, and they were talking about former squats and houses they've lived in, and people they have come across when the friend says:

"Oh yeah, [mutual friend] sent me an article the other day about people discovering my first squat!"

I fucking know it's gotta be this link.

I pull up this article and show them the pictures and they just start laughing,

"yeah! that's it! They think some like, old man or something lived there and it was just [mutual friend] who would go crash there when he got tired of being around people"

In short, some weirdo teenage/early 20s punks lifted building supplies from a nearby construction site in 2007, made it as super stealthily as a few stoners could possibly be, testing out how far away you could hear conversational-volume voices, hammering in sync with some nearby clocktower that would help disguise the sound, giggling the whole time, and no one was the wiser for almost 10 years.

But yeah, lots of people passed through there and knew the place, definitely a bummer it had to go.