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

There are no triumphs in foreign policy and many dissatisfaction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

goobster  ·  11 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 4, 2017

I read through the whole thread, and all of your responses, and I see one thing that has not been mentioned: Agency.

You had no agency in "cheeks" asking if the man with you was your dad.

You have no agency in the actions your brother is taking on your behalf.

Rest assured, Cheeks will lose his job. I have friends who are in both Management and Training at Goodwill, and one strike is enough to put you on the black list. They aren't hiring the cream of the crop at Goodwill. They are giving people an opportunity to pull themselves out of whatever hole they are in, by providing free job training, counseling, and other services people need to get back on their feet. So they have a very quick fuse. If you cause any sort of problem, you are out. There is always another person waiting behind you for the opportunity, and Goodwill needs to get people through the system and trained so they become productive employees, as opposed to unproductive trainees.

This man will now lose access to that opportunity permanently, because there was a claim made against him.

Goodwill will do the right thing and talk to your brother about the experience, and will do most of this verbally instead of in a written format, because it is a discovery process.

However all of these actions and activities are being taken on your behalf, because your brother has robbed you of your agency in this situation.

You chose to simply ignore Cheek's request. That was you taking the action you felt was appropriate to the situation.

I have no horse in this race, or have a position to defend in this situation. I'm just stating the facts in a way that might encourage you to take an active role - to regain your agency - in this situation.

I equate your brother taking action on your behalf as equally as demeaning to you as Cheeks' initial comment hitting on you. These are two men who have acted in their own interest, with you as the fulcrum.

Personally, I would not be happy in that place. I would feel used. That's my $0.02.

I'm not joking and I don't think my views are dumb.

I'm comfortable with you not agreeing with me, you have your own belifes and values, doesn't make you right or me wrong to value and worry about different things.

Nice knee jerk, doesn't agree with me so it's dumb.

mk  ·  25 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 21, 2016

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

This next year ought to be a different one.

flac  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 7, 2016

So, thenewgreen commissioned a shirt from me, and I decided to make a Hubski-themed one. Still mid-process, needs buttons and hems.

Here is is head-on. Mostly black, subdued, but then...

BLAM color everywhere.

Collar down.

Cuffs closed.

placket.

Proud of how this one is shaping up, lots of nice details in it - goobster, there are honest-to-god pleats and plackets on this puppy, I'll upload detail pics later.

----

Also

Made my sister a dress for her birthday.

(There is a picture of me modeling it, but it's a bit early in the day for that...)

-----------

Relatedly, my mother, who is a saintly woman, saw me working on this shirt last night, and she literally pulled my father by his shirt to the machine and said "OUR SON CAN MAKE A PLEAT" like it was the most mindblowing thing she had ever seen. My dad has been, uh, not super pleased with my sewing in the past, so it was nice to at least get a "huh, pretty good" from him (even if it was kind of forced).

Bottom line: my mom is awesome.

WanderingEng  ·  33 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Coal is dead, because nobody wants to build coal-fired power plants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odder  ·  37 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Has anyone read "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" by Eliezer Yudkowsky

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

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

johnnyFive  ·  58 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Are Still Crying Wolf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

snoodog  ·  39 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 7, 2016

Had a couple hours this weekend to start my hydroponic Deep Water Culture lettuce raft project. Every year when it gets cold and my garden dies back I get the itch to grow stuff indoors and this year right on schedule in time for the 28degree weather I've got the itch again. This will be the 3rd hydro iteration for me. The first one was a bubbler blueberry plant. The second was a pretty elaborate rain gutter tomato system. This one is going for middle ground 2'x2' lettuce raft under florescent lighting. Ill post pictures once I get the foam cutout and the plugs in. I ran into some issues with the air pump being way too loud and the airstones being more porous than I like (causing the bubbles to be bigger than Id like). Im looking for a better (quieter) air pump and some finer air stones, im thinking woodstones atm but if any of you guys are aquarium geeks and have suggestions im open to them. Tying to keep things simple/cheap this time, using a 1part nutrient solution form General Hydro, and going back to paper PH strips. Its always tempting to buy more gear/tools/stuff but past experience has shown me that a lot of that stuff is unnecessary and just adds cost.

someguyfromcanada  ·  56 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What We Lost: Undoing the Fairy Tale Narrative of Adoption

Outside of the Canadian residential schools system this is the first time I have heard an adopted child frame their experience as one of victimization. I know a lot of adopted kids, including all of my siblings. 2 out of 3 of my siblings would say it turned out great.

My parents thought they were unable to have biological children and in 1964 a priest approached my Mom and asked her if her and my Dad (who are white) would be interested in adopting from an orphanage in the slums of Kowloon. My eldest sibling, my only sister, then arrived in Nebraska at the age of 3, not knowing a word in any language and obsessed with hoarding anything she could get her hands on. The theory is that the orphanage was simply a dumping ground for children and they did not bother with education or have many resources. Weeks later they were asked if they would like a white boy from Ohio and along came my brother when he was something like 6 days old. So my parents went from zero to 2 kids in the span of about a month.

Less than a year later my Mom got pregnant and then popped me out. I assume they then realized I was a mistake and so went back to adopting. :) My youngest brother, who is black and Native American, arrived from Kansas at about the age of 1 month.

It was obviously never a secret that we had an adoptive family and we learned a lot about black, Native and Chinese culture, celebrated Chinese New Year, literally knew every black family in the small town we grew up in, lived on Native reserves for a few summers (my Dad was an archaeologist), etc. If they ever had any questions or concerns they knew it was always open for them to discuss it with our parents. Our very large extended family was 100% supportive if you can even say that about a bunch of people who never had/made an issue with any of it. Even my racist Southern Grandma who disliked all black people she did not know. Nowadays our extended family holiday dinners look like a meeting of the UN with whites, blacks, asians, muslims, jews, athiests, renecks, artsys, etc.

My sister and eldest brother have never really had any issue, and certainly no feelings of stigma or victimization about being adopted. My sister overcame her early lack of contact and education due to in large extent my Mom, who was a language special education teacher and probably as loving a person as one could be. She went on to get 3 university degrees and a long professional career. She is more well travelled than anyone I know and has even visted her orphange. Not to look for her bio parents (although she found out that even if she wanted to it would be impossible due to lack of paperwork) but just out of curiosity since she was in Hong Kong. My older brother went to university and was an Olympic and pro athlete and runs a very successful business. Neither one of them could care less about who their biological family is. After my sister's visit to Hong Kong I asked my older brother about it and he said something like "Why the fuck would I want to do that?" We get along great and have very similar personalities.

My younger brother is a different story though. A lot of it no doubt had to do with being one of the few black kids in a small, redneck white town. People would stare at him so he was very aware of his "otherness". He got called nigger. He would get watched by staff when he went into stores. All kinds of bullshit like that. It was a constant issue. Another factor is that he and my Dad had absolutely nothing in common and never really got along once he got into highschool. He did not give a shit about school and my parents were very academically inclined. He was completely irresponsible, extrordinarily self-centered and started acting up. I just recently realized that it started when my Dad developed a degenerative, progressively fatal disease with no cure. Maybe he was angry that my Dad was getting all the attention? Maybe he felt victimized by my brother and me giving him shit for not picking up the slack and being more supportive of our Dad? He would run away from home on a regular basis and only come back when he needed something, which my Mom would give to him. He would live in hell-holes and things would always go wrong and something would get broken or he would be evicted, etc. In his mind it was never his fault and he would not accept responsibility and it was always me that came to his rescue. He stopped going to school, eventually dropped out and never even finished high school. The first complete break in our relationship came when he and my Dad got into an argument and he physically attacked my disabled father and I jumped in and we duked it out until he ran away. That was the last time he ever saw my Dad alive. But of course he showed up at his funeral so he could act like the bereaved son and soak up the sympathy.

And so it went for many, many years. One of his "problems" is that he is incredibly charismatic and good-looking; he looks like a black Brad Pitt but better looking, with a better body. So he has always had women take care of him. My Mom has always given him money as he is a personal trainer and model whose income has always been inconsistent. I have bailed him out more times than I could count. Figuratively and literally. He had a son with a long-term partner and when that relationship came to an end he was charged with domestic abuse. I do not think anything happened but whatever. I had to come up with $10,000 cash bail on a Saturday morning to get him out. He moved in with me and I drove 90 minutes 3 times a week so he could see his son. For all of his flaws he was an excellent father who really loved his son. That went on for a year and a half until the charges were dropped. But he and the Mom hated each other so I still had to be the liasion in between the 2. For years. She was horribly cruel and manipulative even to me and he had it worse.

We had always got along amazingly but the relationship between him and the rest of the family began to unravel when he decided he was done trying to be a father to his son. It was too much work. Too mentally and emotionally tiring. To a great extent I could understand as the mother did everything she could do to make it hard on him to see his son. But I tried my damndest to talk him out of it. Perhaps I shouldn't have, but when I had used every other argument I could I even begged him not to reinforce a negative stereotype by leaving another black son without a father.

A few months later I had a bad break-up and, as I had been paying his mortgage and he was looking for a roomate, I offered to move in there. The night before the move I called to confirm that I would be there at such and such a time and he told me I could not bring my cat with me. When he already had 2 cats and a dog. And he would not relent since "I just don't want another cat here." "Umm... could you have not told me this a month ago?" "Do you understand what kind of position this puts me in?" At ten at night with ten hours before the movers show up. Too bad. Don't care.

My other brother was simply disgusted and my sister and Mom called him to say how unbelievable that was, especially considering all that I had done for him. He denied I had ever done anything to help him. So I emailed him once a day for ten days demanding the money I had lent him to pay his mortgage. He reported me to the police for harassment. I was so livid when the police called me. I told the cop to fuck off and mind his own business as this was a civil matter. I never tried to contact him again after that. My Mom and sister did but he would not get back to them.

That was 6 years ago. A month or so ago I was fixing something on my Mom's computer and saw that she sends him Xmas and birthday emails every year. And every year he does not respond. She told a good family friend that she cries all the time because she misses him so much. My sister emailed him a year ago and told him that our Mom has Alzheimers and he has not bothered to respond.

My nephew is in grade 12 now. I talk with him all the the and we go on vacations twice yearly at least. One of his friends told me that she looked his Dad up on FB and saw that he was posting pictures about meeting his "real family".

Going back to the original topic, as far as anyone knows he never had a desire to track down his bio Mom until after he abandoned us and am not sure which way the detective work went but he was the one who traveled several hours to meet them. There was no black man in the pictures so I guess he has not met his bio Dad. I might get some hate for this statement but I am unsure what he would have in common with them as he has always considered himself black and they are all Natives, obese, live in trailers and look they have had very hard lives. But apparently he now considers them his "real family". As I said, our mom would never have had an issue with meeting and getting to know them but I am not really sure in these circumstances since he has chosen to abandon his actual family. Twice now, both times when one parent was very sick. I think calling them his "real" family is simply wrong and maybe even cruel to our mother. Perhaps in this instance the adoptive parent is the one that has been victimized. We will never hear her side of the story though due to her disease.

Well shit, I did not start out with the intention, but that was by far the longest comment I have ever posted on any social media.

To finish on a happier note, my sister got knocked up in her last year of university, moved away so no one would know of her "shame" of having a child out of wedlock and gave the kid up for adoption. Only my Mom and I knew. That was 27 years ago and we have never spoken of it since. Not that it was taboo, it just did not come up. Two years ago the kid's Mom emailed my Mom asking if they were connected. My Mom was all confused so I handled it from there. First of all, I wanted to know if it was her quest or her daughter's quest. So she put me in touch with her daughter and everything was cool. My sister's first reaction when I told her was "What does she want?" and she was not ready to meet her. The kid and I kept in touch and about a year later my sister asked for her email address, emailed her and did not receive a response. I followed up with the kid a couple of weeks later and the email was in her spam folder! So they emailed, then spoke on the phone, then met, she eventually came to meet my Mom, my sister met the kid's parents, then we attended a large gathering of our family. And everything is great.

The odd thing is that they are so incredibly similar. They both have arts degrees, have traveled to dozens of countries, are in love with Jamaica (my sister lived there for years and the kid has spent 3 summers working there) and they are both obsessed with and have the exact same taste in clothing and jewelry. Next week end we are going to my younger brother's ex's house for dinner and my black nephew is going to meet the black/asian/jewish cousin he does not even know exists! So far, so good for that scenario.

[Fun Fact: My niece's cell phone was stolen from a bar and used by a gang-banger to phone the media trying to sell the cell phone video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.]